Thursday, April 15, 2010

Orzo With Sausage, Peppers & Tomatoes

I'm back from vacation. Well, I think I'm back from vacation, it took Delta Airlines so long to get me home I can't really recall what I was doing in Arizona.

Does it really take 15 hours to fly from Phoenix to Michigan? I know we had to stop and change planes in Minneapolis, or maybe it was Osaka, but more than half a day? Really?

We were traveling on MONDAY! That's right, not the Sunday at the end of Spring Break, but Monday. SSSal travelled on Sunday and was bumped along with 14 other people. Fifteen ticket holders refused a seat and mollified with a $400 travel voucher, $10 meal ticket and a hotel room for the night. That's an airline giving away $6,150+ to not fly!

When CrabCake 2 and I got to the airport Monday things were no better. The airport was already packed with bumped-grumpy travelers stuffing themselves with indifferent burritos and tepid hamburgers. When exactly did the airport turn into the bus station?

The thing is, we actually had it pretty good; some poor saps trying to get to Salt Lake City had been bumped twice and had no real prospect of getting home before Tuesday. Folks, you can drive from Salt Lake City to Phoenix and back in 24 hours!! "Delta, we love to fly and it shows."

The high point came when the gate agent announced that the latest SLC flight was full and the 20 people waiting standby wouldn't be making this plane and that the next flight had an "equipment change" to a smaller plane so they wouldn't be making that flight either.

Delta, their slogan should be "Delta Air Lines. We love to fly, just not with you on-board."

Ah well, vacation was nice, I think. I'll try and remember some stories for the next post. Since Delta had packed the planes like a cases of sausages I searched for an appropriate recipe. Orzo with Sausage. Peppers & Tomatoes is a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe that fits the bill. Alright, the food will be served in sections, please wait for your plate to be called, enjoy...

Orzo with Sausage, Peppers & Tomatoes
from Giada DeLaurentiis

3 roasted red peppers, rinsed, seeded and chopped
1 pound orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP olive oil
7 ounces (about 2 links) mild Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 TBSP chopped fresh leaf parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

In a medium saucepan bring the chicken stock, water and kosher salt to a boil over high heat.

Add the orzo and cook until firm-tender, approximately 8-10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute.

Add the bell peppers, red pepper flakes and chopped tomatoes. Saute an additional 2 minutes.

Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the drained orzo to a large bowl. Add the sausage and vegetable mixture along with the parsley. Adjust the seasoning. Toss all the ingredients adding as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to loosen the pasta.

Top with the crumbled ricotta and serve.

OK, this meal is much better than the stuff you'll get on any plane at at any airport. I think you need to double the amount of sausage for this recipe to really work, but it's a great bring along to your next pot luck or picnic.

Until next time crablings, remember, you can do it, you can cook; just make sure your armrests, seat back and tray tables are in their full upright and locked positions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quick Update

Hi Crablings,

Some of you are wondering if I've abandoned you, but never fear, Crabby is still here. I'll be posting again early next week, currently I am skittering about the countryside taking a little break. See you next week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oatmeal Scones

CC2 and I are locked in mortal combat over the brackets. My first round three game lead has dwindled to a tie. If that weren't bad enough, I can't win. That's right, no matter what happens in the basketball tournament from here on, I can't win.

But I can lose.

Everything hinges on a single game, and it's not even the final. By the time they play the final on April 5th, it'll be all over. Fame and glory or bitterness and recrimination hang on the outcome of West Virginia vs. Duke. Here's the problem; I can't stand Duke. Normally I lump them in with the likes of Notre Dame and the NY Junkees - just one group of pompous, self-aggrandizing, preening schmo athletes. Duke is the jerk quarterback with cheerleader captain girlfriend. Duke is the too-slick-by-half frat boy driving his new convertible around campus. I hate Duke.

Duke has to beat West Virginia for me to hold onto my tie in the pool.

So here I sit on the horns of a dilemma, enjoy a favorite hobby and cheer against Duke and lose, or swallow my bile and root for Duke in order to preserve a tie. My own personal Scylla & Charybdis of basketball; either way I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. Which brings me to today's recipe, oatmeal scones. Scones are dry crumbly pucks of packed sawdust. Scones are one of those things you're supposed to like. They're the "perfect little nibble" with a cup of tea. Well Crabby don't do tea and he don't nibble. SSSal loves scones. Sometimes you can't win for losing, enjoy...

Oatmeal Scones
by Benji, M-Hoffmeister and adapted by SSSal







7 cups

3 ½ cups

1 ¾ cups


2 cups

1 cup

½ cup

Baking Powder

2 T

1 T

½ T

Baking Soda

1 T

½ T

¼ T


1 t

½ t

¼ t


1 ½ pounds

3 sticks

1 ½ stick


5 ½ cups

2 ¾ cups

1 3/8 cups

Dried Fruit

3 cups

1 ½ cups

¾ cups


2 1/8 cups

1 cup + 1 T

Generous ½ cup

Heavy Cream

1/2 cup

¼ cup

2 T


Lemon Juice

½ cup

¼ cup

1/8 cup

Powdered Sugar

3 cups

1 ½ cups

¾ cup

Lemon zest

1 lemon

½ lemon

¼ lemon


2 T

1 T

½ T


56 scones

28 scones

14 scones

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Blend together with blade attachment.

Cut the butter into small cubes.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats and dried fruit. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend just until the dough is moistened.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into rounds using a 3” cookie cutter. Brush the tops of the scones lightly with cream. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or so, until light brown.

While scones are baking, prepare the glaze. Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar in a glass measuring cup and microwave to completely dissolve sugar. Whisk in lemon zest and butter and nuke for 30 seconds more. Drizzle glaze over the scones 5 minutes after they come out of the oven.

· Use currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or whatever dried fruit you have on hand.

· The number of scones will vary depending on the thickness of your dough and the size you cut them. Be sure to vary the cooking time as well.

· Baked scones freeze well.

There you go crablings. They're saved by all the butter in them, so I can choke 'em down.

Watch the game, and remember you can do it, you can cook. GO......