Saturday, October 8, 2022

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Kale

I am so excited to realize a long term dream of mine and finally branch out into making cooking videos! I’ve now got a TikTok account and will also be adding a YouTube channel in the near future.Of course I have watched loads of these short form cooking videos, to learn the most popular format (also because I can’t resist learning about new foods). 

Lately I’ve been seeing a fabulous trend: creamy, silky pumpkin pasta sauce. In some instances this is created by combining pasta water with pumpkin puree and in others the puree is thinned by cream. I’ve decided to go the cream route, as well as incorporating some white wine. To balance the sweet I’ve added kale and to heighten the decadence of the rich, creamy sauce I’ve added mild Italian sausage. The anise in the sausage brings out the lightly sweet notes in the kale and is a fabulous compliment.  If you like a bit of crunch you could  add toasted pine nuts over top of the finished dish.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Kale


6 ounces chopped kale, stems discarded

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup (reserved) pasta water (see method)

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1 lb thick spaghetti or bucatini

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

For serving: 

Fresh parmesan

Chopped Parsley

Toasted chopped nuts


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and sausage. Once the water is boiling add pasta and cook according to package directions. Break up sausage into small bits and saute until thoroughly cooked, scoop out sausage into a bowl and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. In the fat saute shallots until starting to brown, then add kale. Saute until kale begins to crisp lightly, then add wine and pasta water to deglaze. Once kale is cooked to your liking, scoop it out into the bowl with the sausage, leaving liquid and fat in the pan. Turn heat to low, add pumpkin and cream, stirring to combine. When the pumpkin is combined, reintroduce kale and sausage and add pasta and toss to combine thoroughly. Serve hot topped with grated parmesan, chopped parsley and toasted nuts (if desired). 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Kale & Toasted Pecan Pesto

 Are you growing kale in your garden? We’ve had lots of cold weather this spring, but it was interspersed with some very hot weather and so my brassicas, kale included, have all bolted (gone to seed). I'd been planning to make some kale pesto even before I’d realized they'd bolted (seems like it happens overnight!). I'd had broccoli raab pesto at a restaurant before with littleneck clams, navy beans and spicy sausage tossed with farfalle and it was excellent. The fresh, grassy, sweet broccoli taste was present, but was in no way overwhelming. I had a similar good feeling about the taste of kale pesto, and I am pleased to say I was right. It was just as delightful as its broccoli raab counterpart and even less funky. The toasted pecans lent it a lovely bit of sweetness. It is a good way to use up Kale that has bolted, as it does not taste bitter, especially alongside the sweet, nutty toasted pecans. I never include cheese in my pesto (only add it at the time of serving), as it keeps better in the fridge.

The first night we enjoyed it on oversized macaroni noodles with lots of parmesan. Night two we enjoyed it with a sweet potato fry and andouille sausage tray bake. It was delightful! I’ve included the recipe for the pesto as well as the tray bake. For the tray bake, any spicy sausage will do, as long as it is already fully cooked.  


Kale Pesto

Yield: 1.5 cups




2 cups kale, stems trimmed off

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup olive oil

Big pinch kosher or sea salt


1/2 cup toasted pecans (toast at 350 for no more than 3 minutes) 


Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino for serving (to taste)




Combine all ingredients except cheese in your blender. Pulse until it has become a silky paste.    


To Serve


Boil pasta according to package directions. When pasta is done, ladle 1/4 to 1/3 cup pasta water into your serving dish, along with 1/4 cup pesto, a handful of grated cheese and 1 Tablespoon butter. Toss in pasta and stir to thoroughly coat. Serve with the amount of cheese preferred by each person.

Sweet Potato Fries and Andouille Tray Bake

Serves: 4


1.25 lbs sweet potato, cut into 1/2“ wedges

1 lb andouille sausage, but on the bias into 1/2“ chunks

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Kale and Toasted Pecan Pesto (recipe above)


Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss sweet potato wedges with olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder and smoked paprika. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove tray from the oven and raise heat to 450F. Spread sausage slices evenly. Return to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until the fries are fully cooked and the sausage has crisped up a bit. Serve tossed with Kale and Toasted Pecan Pesto.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Miso Ramen with Roasted Chicken Thighs and Ramen Egg

We love ramen. The rich, satisfying broth, the fresh, crunchy vegetables and the chewy, silky noodles. Not to mention the jammy, savory-and-sweet marinated soft boiled egg. Until recently, I didn’t think it was possible to make ramen at home. Now, with a little prep and some imagination (and the availability of good miso these days), it is actually pretty easy to make ramen at home, although I’ll admit this recipe has a lot of parts. The ramen egg, a soft boiled egg marinated in sweet, slightly boozy soy sauce, needs at least four hours to marinate (some recipes say a minimum of 24 hours), and can be kept in the fridge for up to four days. So, it’s a wonderful thing to make ahead. If you don’t think you or your family will enjoy having a runny yolk and soft egg with their ramen, feel free to skip making it. But it really is delicious and a part of the traditional ramen experience, so I do recommend trying it at least once. It is called ajitsuke tamago in Japan.

With regards to toppings, the only necessary toppings are some kind of crunchy vegetable (julienned carrots and bean sprouts are my favorite), some nori (seaweed sheets; I use nori snacks, cut into ribbons with my kitchen shears) and your chosen protein (in this case the roasted chicken thighs). Optional toppings are chili powder (the Japanese chili condiment is called shichimi togarashi), sesame seeds, seafood cake (narutomaki) and sliced spring onions.

Miso Ramen with Roasted Chicken Thighs & Ramen Eggs

Serves 4

ramen egg ingredients

4 eggs


1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin (Japanese sherry); any semi dry white wine will do nicely as a substitute
2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon of gochujang, or any hot sauce (pref a sweet hot sauce)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Heat the marinade ingredients in a small pot until the sugar has dissolved. Set marinade aside. Put a medium sized pot filled with water on to boil. Beside the stove place a metal bowl filled with cold or ice water. When the water is boiling, lower the heat to low and gently place your eggs into the water, taking care not to crack the shells (I use a soup ladle for this). Bring back to a boil and cook the eggs for 6 1/2 minutes. Transfer them quickly to the cold water. When they have cooled down enough to peel, do so carefully and combine them with the other ingredients in a quart freezer bag. Place the eggs and marinade together in the bag and refrigerate until ready to use (minimum four hours and up to four days).

Roasted Chicken Thighs

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (approx 1.1 lbs)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey (opt)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil


Rinse and pat dry your chicken, especially the skin. Rub skin with oils and honey, season with spices and drizzle with the soy sauce. Roast for 35-45 minutes (or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 or above). Set the chicken thighs aside for serving with the ramen. Strain the fat and set aside. Now you’re ready to assemble the ramen.

Ramen Noodle Soup

3 packages store bought ramen, flavor packets reserved for another recipe
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white or yellow miso
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and scored
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons reserved chicken fat


1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
1 cup julienned carrots
Ramen eggs
1 ounce nori, sliced into ribbons


Pan roast garlic in vegetable oil until the garlic has turned golden and has softened. Set aside. In a large pot bring 5 cups of water and the chicken stock to a boil. Boil ramen noodles for 3 minutes, then divide noodles up between four serving bowls. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add miso and chicken fat. Mash garlic and add garlic as well. To serve, divide broth between bowls. Pull the chicken meat from the bones. Top with 1/4 of each of the toppings, starting with the chicken and vegetables, then one egg each, sliced in half and finally the nori and chili powder (if desired).

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Ginger Teriyaki Tempeh with Kale Special Anniversary Edition

 I’ve recently celebrated the ten year anniversary of my first blog post. To mark the occasion I’ve given the dish from that first post a bit of a makeover, as well as an updated photo (of sorts). Below are some excerpts from the first post and the update to the recipe.

Lately I've been craving Tempeh and Kale with rice; growing up as I did in Woodstock, it is considered something of a comfort food dish. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Tempeh is a delicious soy protein cake made from soy and other whole grains fermented together. It is nutty, very dense and quite dry, which can make it difficult to work with. It softens and becomes more moist when it has been heated. 

In this updated version of the recipe I sear the tempeh and use ginger in the accompanying light teriyaki sauce. I was very happy with the small amount of zing it imparted to the tempeh in my dish. I recommend serving this with white rice.

Ginger Teriyaki Tempeh with Kale

Serves 2


1 lb tempeh, cut into 2” pieces

5 ounces kale, washed, stems trimmed & chopped into 1” pieces

1/2 yellow onion, julienned

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons neutral oil

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For Serving

3 cups cooked white rice

(optional garnish) small sprinkling of black sesame seeds


In a small, heavy bottomed pan over low heat, combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger together with 3 Tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to the lowest possible heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has reached the desired consistency (it will thicken a little bit on standing). Set sauce aside in the pan. Meanwhile, rinse rice under running water several times and drain. Bring to a boil with stock or water (I do half and half and since I like firmer rice I usually use 1 1/2 cups liquid to 1 cup of rice; this will make approximately 3 cups cooked rice), then reduce to the lowest heat. Cook rice for 12 minutes.  Once you’ve finished the sauce and while the rice is cooking, add the oil to a large wok or saucepan, saute onion and kale together with a tiny pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper until cooked through. Set kale/onions aside. Add sesame oil to the wok. If needed, add more oil to the wok, enough to shallow fry the tempeh. Pan fry the tempeh on medium heat for about 1 minute per surface. Cook until it is lightly browned on all sides. To serve, reheat sauce, pile tempeh over greens and drizzle generously with sauce.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Joyous Kitchen Turns 10! Celebrating 10 years of Food and Fun + 10 new ideas

 Howdy folks! It's been too long! Yesterday was a long travel day for us, where we drove almost 400 miles home from visiting our family. We already miss them! yesterday was also the tenth anniversary of my very first blog post! Unbelievable that it has been a decade of food, fun, laughter and warmth 💕

To those of you who have followed along, commented and supported The Joyous Kitchen, Josh and I are so grateful for you! Thank you so much for your support; we are deeply thankful and I truly don't know what we would do without you! Since this is a special blog post, it will follow a special format. First, I'll announce ten ideas for The Joyous Kitchen, in honor of our ten year anniversary. Then, we will highlight the top five posts (by views). Stay tuned next Tuesday for a revamp of my very first post. It's about time I re-take my very first photo ever. Now on to the special content!

Ten Ideas for Ten Years

1. The Joyous Kitchen YouTube channel. Starting in January you can look forward to videos with recipes from The Joyous Kitchen, as well as special guest recipes. If you have interest in the occasional food history episode, let us know in the comments.

2. We are going to be featuring gardening tips, including composting tips, soil quality tips, planting times and recommendations on what to grow to nourish your family. I'll also have a guest on our YouTube channel who is a lifelong gardener and is full of fabulous information.

3. As many of you may already know, I've recently branched out into publishing with a monthly recipe magazine, first under the name Food in the Time of Quarantine and now under Global Gourmet Magazine. Under the former name it started as a magazine featuring pantry recipes; under the latter name our focus is now environmentally friendly recipes. The magazine includes recipes directly from my blog, but often with updated writing. It also features the writing and recipes of several of my very talented blogging friends.

4. One week a month I'll be doing a basics post. For example how to make gravy with a roux or the different types of mirepoix.

5. I'm planning a site redesign, which, 6. will include a skip to recipe feature. 

7. I'm working on a garden to table cookbook. I hope to be making it available in the spring,

8. I've gotten into fridge pickles in a big way and I am experimenting with fermentation, so expect to see some fun pickle recipes in the future.

9. The Joyous Kitchen is excited to be featuring kids crafts and rainy day ideas.

10. Most excitingly, I'll be moving my blog to its own domain name, so it will be easier to find and share.

Top 5 posts:

Leftover Shakshuka with Potatoes 

Zucchini & Parmesan Arancini

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Teriyaki Glaze

The Hound: Grapefruit, Vodka & Elderflower Cocktail

Shredded Chicken & Refried Bean Dip

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thanksgiving Day Master - Fabulous Sides and Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving Sides Compendium

Are you like me, in that you look forward to Thanksgiving partly for the Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Perhaps you'd like a fancy version of mashed potatoes, like my Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

Or a fancy vegetable? In that case, you're going to love these Honey Cognac Roasted Carrots

For something different, but amazing, try this Peruvian Sausage Stuffing

And of course, the best Green Bean Casserole is the From Scratch Green Bean Casserole

For a fancy, delicious and complex brussels sprouts dish, try this Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Dressing, Candied Pecans & Chevre.

Don't stop with these handy recipes! We have two years' worth of Thanksgiving issues of our magazine: November 2021 & November 2020 (under a different name)

Whatever you choose, I hope you have a marvellous holiday with the ones you love!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

August issue of Food in the Time of Quarantine + The BEST Corn on the Cob (Elotes)

We want to help you make the most out of your summer with the August issue of Food in the Time of Quarantine (DOWNLOAD HERE)! From cooling, refreshing recipes, to meals that make the most of summer vegetables and fruits, you will find lovely dishes 

Also in this issue are my Elotes (Mexican Corn on the Cob)