In the wake of a number of gay teen suicides, Dan Savage and his partner have sent out a call to action to gay adults to help show the next generation of gays that there is a future for them outside of their tourment. They created their own channel of videos of gay adults who survived their teen years and have full and amazing lives.
This project really struck a chord with me and I plan on making my own video and posting the videos of others soon. Growing up in a world where you are made to feel ashamed of yourself without even the understanding of your family can be hard. Looking at the ways gays are still laughed at and denied rights in this country can be even harder. It's the responsibility of the gay comuinity to show these kids that they are not alone and they can be both gay and happy.
Sweet potatoes make an amazing cream sause with sausage and sage. I made this recently for a friend's mountain birthday getaway and it pretty much blew my tits off.
Penne with Sweet Potato and Sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 sweet potato baked and mashed* or 1 cup canned
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
*If using a fresh sweet potato: Heat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and sweet potato and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese.
The Apple Stack Cake is a cake from the deep south that I had for the first time a few weeks ago. My friend Kelly's grandma in Tennessee dries her own apples in the sun and gives them to relatives to make this cake. The cake is made up of thin layers of a cookie-like cake sandwiching a rich apple filling not unlike apple butter. It would be good for dessert or even a brunch.
Dried Apple Stack Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
*Cooked dried apples (see below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar; add beaten egg, molasses, buttermilk, and mix well. Sift flour, soda, salt, and ginger into a big mixing bowl. Make hole in center of dry ingredients and pour in creamed mix, stirring until well blended. Add vanilla, stir well, and roll out dough as you would for a piecrust. Cut to fit 9-inch pan or cast-iron skillet (this amount of dough will make 7 layers). Bake layers for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. When cool, stack layers with spiced, sweetened old-fashioned dried apples. (See recipe below.) Spread between layers and smooth around sides and top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, or beat egg whites into a meringue and spread on outside of cake. You may brown the meringue if desired. Prepare cake at least a day before serving it and put in refrigerator (it will keep several days, if necessary, in a cool place). To serve, slice into very thin layers.
*Cooked Dried Apples
Put 1 pound dried apples in heavy pan and cover with cold water. You may need to add water several times to keep apples from sticking to pan. Cook until soft enough to mash. While still hot, mash apples and add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves, and 1 teaspoon allspice.
*If dried apples are not available, cook several pounds cooking apples with a little water. Add spices and sugars as listed above, and cook until mixture is very thick.
I made these muffins this morning to use up some extra apples we had in our fridge. They're easy to throw together last minute and perfect seasonal eats. The recipe I found for these included walnuts and a streusel topping, but I left it out and they were still crazy good.
Apple Raisin Cream Cheese Muffins
2 apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ cup raisins
3 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup butter, melted
4 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and gently combine (do not over mix) Portion into greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 min.