Although you may think it’s all light and daisies and amateur Real Simple editorial shoots over here, the real story is that for many months out of the year, it is dark and rainy in Santa Cruz. Especially when I work all day and come home at night.
Do you want your pictures to look like this? I know you do. I recommend picking dark, tubular foods and leafy-like substances, then putting the flash on. Oh man. Gourmet Goddess over here.
This was a very intense, stinky meal, so if you like intense and stinky meals, you are going to LOVE this one. I call this one the Long Distance Valentine because I made it in February and my valentine no fue aqui.
I’m fond of merguez because it’s Frenchy-Frenchy/Algerian, spicy, and made of lamb and pork. I got it from El Salchichero in the Ingalls complex because he’s a master of meat, although I have to say he could have made it 50% spicier, and I’m not even the kind of person who has those “who likes spicier things” contests with my friends.
I also make food because it is tasty. There, all of your questions answered in one fell swoop.
Long-Distance Valentine Merguez Sausage over Israeli Couscous with Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Kale Salad
Sausage: if you can’t find merguez sausage, hot italian sausage would be equally as delicious. I had about a half pound, so 4 ounces per person. Follow package directions.
Israeli couscous, cooked: it’s actually a pasta and thus not as healthy as I had hoped. This tastes like fat tapioca and cooks up quickly, which is why I like it. You might like this with bulgur, too — also cooks up quickly. The couscous provides a neutral base for the spicy sausage and garlicky kale.
Garlicky Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
1 bunch of Lacinato kale, stems removed, rinsed and chopped
1 head of garlic, roasted (remove outer paper skin, leaving cloves intact, and cut off the top of the garlic about 1/2 inch down - this is just to expose the cloves so you can pop them out easier later - rub a little olive oil over the head and sprinkle salt on top, then wrap the whole head in foil - heat oven to 375 and roast the cloves for 40 minutes or so)
20 pistachio nuts
1 ounce of soft goat cheese
Squeeze of one lemon
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put a steamer basket in a pan and fill pan with 1/2 inch to an inch of water. Place chopped and cleaned kale in the basket, sprinkle with salt, and cover to steam on high for 4-5 minutes until bright green and softened. Remove kale and place in a bowl, squeezing lemon juice over the kale, tasting after one half of the lemon to make sure it’s not too vinegary. Toss 1 tsp of olive oil over the top and massage lightly with hands. Once the kale has cooled off, top with pistachio nuts and crumbled soft goat cheese. Pop the garlic cloves out of their little adobe houses. Salt and pepper to taste.