Just like fruits should realize they are so sweet and good for us… WE should also appreciate more our bodies instead of critizicing ourselves all the time.
Let’s be appreciative we have:
- Legs to can carry us wherever we want to go.
- Eyes that allow us to see the wonders of the world around us – sunrises, the blue sky, the sea, mountains, clouds, sunsets, etc.
- Skin to feel the wind brusing up against us giving us a lovely embrace.
- Arms to work hard, to lift the little kids in our lives and to hug someone who’s going thru a hard day.
- A smile to warm up someone’s coldest day.
- Hands to help someone in need.
- A chest that holds our heart to spread love to everyone around us.
We all have very sweet bodies… and our bodies will greatly benefit from eating more fresh seasonal fruits everyday. They are nature’s candy and the original fast food. Learn to appreciate the good they can do for you.
Have you ever cooked with grapes?? I have never done if before seeing this recipe…
This recipe is adapted from Johanne Kileen, owner of Al Forno in Providence Rhode Island. I saw this on Ina Garten’s TV show Barefoot Contessa. I have never been to Al Forno, or to Rhode Island for that matter, but I have always been a fan of Johanne’s recipes. She’s also the inspiration for the Baked Pasta and 4 cheeses recipe here.
I had never cooked grapes before, but given my appreciation for Johanne’s cooking I was willing to try this blindly. I adapted this recipe to make it vegetarian and also to make it for just one person. But it is very easily made for 2 or more by simply multiplying the ingredients to the amount of people eating.
ROASTED VEGETARIAN SAUSAGES AND GRAPES
1 vegetarian sausage – I use Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Vegan Sausages
1 tbs butter
2 cups of seedless grapes – I have used green and/or red grapes for this recipe
2 tbs pineapple juice
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Slit the sausages down the middle on the long side, creating 2 long halves of sausages. Take some of the butter and slather the sausages halves with it. This will add some moisture to the vegetarian sausages, which tend to be on the dry side.
- In a small roasting pan, add the grapes, remaining butter, sausages halves and pineapple juice. Nestle the sausages in between the grapes. Place in oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes, checking it once in a while and flipping the sausages if they get too browned on one side.
- After 20-25 minutes have elapsed, add the balsamic vinegar. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy.
- Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately, accompanied with mashed potatoes.
The original recipe calls for crusty bread too as an alternative to serve alongside this dish. I have always eaten it with mashed potatoes and it is sublime!!!
Dulce de Lechoza, Dulce de Papaya or Candied Papaya Syrup, however you prefer to call it, is a very typical Puerto Rican dessert.
When I used to belong to Mili’s cooking team at the Yoga Center, I needed to come up with different desserts for our menus all the times, because if not, Mili would resort to her trusted papaya dessert each and every time.
It got to a point that I kinda shunned dulce de papaya because I was so fed up with it… but now that Mili doesn’t make it so often, I miss it. I asked her for the recipe… because I wanted to learn how to make it.
I want to thank Jesiel, my long-time friend and author of Sweet Journey of Inspiration, for so graciously lending me the use of her photo of her dulce de papaya. Jesiel is a former advertising professional and currently is a pastry chef working as a food stylist in Paris, France. We met working together, and even though our professional paths have somewhat diverted, we always stay in touch and connected in more ways than you’ll ever think.
Jesiel’s recipe and Mili’s recipe were very similar indeed. The biggest difference is that Mili’s recipe she stopped using baking soda because we were informed it is not that good for you to cook with it. I will get more info on the WHY for you guys soon… promise.
In the meantime, enjoy the flavors of Puerto Rico…
Photo courtesy of Sweet Journey of Inspiration
CANDIED PAPAYA IN SYRUP
1 large green papaya, but that’s showing signs that it’ll start ripening soon
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tbs whole cloves
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla powder
- Cut papaya in half and clean the inside from all membranes and seeds.
- Slice it thinly, in about ¼ inch think and about 2 inches wide. Place in a large bowl. Cover the papaya slices with filtered water and let it rest for about 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours have passed, drain the papayas and place in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, vanilla and about ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the syrup is boiling too aggressively, turn down the heat. You sure do not want that hot sugar to boil over. Experience is speaking to you here…
- Remove from the heat and let it rest until room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
This candied papaya in syrup is best eaten cold and with a nice slice of cheddar cheese or queso del país.
It’s incredible… how daring we are sometimes.
My friend Tania visited Paraguay for the first time about 6-7 years ago. During that first trip she learned from our Yoga friends over there how to make Eggplant Milanese using cornstarch and oatmeal as the breading. We all loved the fried eggplants when she first made them at the Yoga Center.
Flash forward to March 2012… here you have Yazmín and I making Eggplant Milanese in Paraguay. Not helping them make them… noooo, making them ourselves to treat everyone after our short retreat near Asunción.
How dare we come and cook something for them that they actually taught us how to make??? We are daring indeed…
Something I have learned over the years I’ve known how to make these Eggplant Milaneses:
- No need to actually use a mandolin. They actually come out better when cut not as thin. After a nasty mandolin accident making these milaneses at home recently, I now cut them with a knife and they come out even better than with a mandolin even if they’re a tad uneven.
- No need to marinate for a long time. Soy sauce is fine, but you can only marinate for about 30 minutes and you’ll be fine. A tad of sesame oil adds a nice twist too. And when they marinate less, your end up with a juicier fried eggplant.
- Season the milk and the oatmeal very well before breading the eggplants. When the milk and the oatmeal are well-seasoned, it compensates for the short marinating time. Add generous amounts of powdered garlic, salt, paprika, pepper… your choices are endless.
I’ve been having cravings for these eggplants since I left Asunción. Time to run to the store and make some more…
Thanks Tania and the great cooks in Paraguay for their wonderful culinary inspiration always!!!!