B is for BRUNCH

Lately, I've been enjoying hosting brunches. I get to feed people (one of my favorite activities) and people get to be fed by me (I'm assuming this is one of their favorite activities, but I really can't say for sure). Usually, my brunches involve people lounging on my couch and using foot stools as makeshift tables. Since my move to a studio apartment, I no longer have space for a kitchen table.

These cramped eating quarters seem to bother my guests not at all. They have become proficient in lap-balancing plates, dodging wine glasses on the floor, and throwing couch pillows at me if I set off the smoke detectors.

John does not come over for brunch. I have found that getting him to leave HIS couch (aptly nicknamed the "submarine" because of its vast size and risk of human submersion via pillow) in Hoboken to travel to the Upper West Side is like coaxing Punxsutawney Phil out of his cubby hole pre-February 2.

So he will not get this salad. Which is really just a shame. But you can! If you make it for yourself, that is. It's healthy, tasty and perfect for Spring. If you happen to have a porch with a Wisteria tree overhang, you really have everything covered. Except for the wine – which your guests should bring.

Kale and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

What You Need:

Feeds 2-3 hungry people 

Kale: 1/2 bunch from the grocery store should do it. Chop it up into bite size pieces.

Red russet potatoes: about 6, quartered.

Multicolored carrots: I used yellow, orange and purple varieties. Peeled, and quartered.

Asparagus: Small bunch, maybe about 10-12 stalks. You can use more if you like.

Chicken or Turkey sausage: 2 links, removed from casings.

Fresh Rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows) 

What To Do:

First, we roast the root veggies. Heat up your oven to 350 degrees (I actually used my toaster oven for this purpose). Place your chopped veggies and taters in a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt, fresh chopped rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Mix it up, so that it all gets evenly coated.

Lay your seasoned, oiled veggies out on a cookie tray and place them in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until they turn both soft and crispy. You maybe want to give them a flip halfway through their cooking time.

Remove them from the oven and set them aside.

While the veggies are roasting, you can start up the sausage.

In a skillet or frying pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

Add in the sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle in a little more sea salt, black pepper and rosemary if you like. Allow the sausage to brown up a bit.

As the sausage is cooking, add in the 1/4 cup of white wine. Let the sausage cook in the wine until the wine is almost completely reduced. This should take about 15 minutes, at which point your sausage will be cooked and it will still be moist and flavorful due to the wine it has absorbed.

I preferred my asparagus steamed. And there's a super-handy trick for steaming green veggies like asparagus. Here's what to do:

Boil some wanter. Plunge your asparagus in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. You don't want them to be soggy. I hate soggy veggies. You want the crisp - they need snap. 

Ready a colander in the sink. Pour your asparagus into the colander, allowing the boiling water to drain out. Immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Your veggies will be bright green like a newly bloomed tree in spring time. You can thank me later. Or now...now's always good.

By now your root veggies should be roasted, your sausage cooked and your asparagus steamed. What to do now? Throw them all in a salad bowl and make some Lemon Vinaigrette

This Lemon Vinaigrette is the easiest, lemony-est dressing. I learned how to do it from the fabulous and informative staff at Salumeria Rossi.

What You Need:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (first cold pressed, please!)

The juice from 1/2 lemon

Small tupperware bowl with a lid...or any container with a lid 

What To Do:

Pour the olive oil into a small tupperware bowl with a lid. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of a lemon into the olive oil.

Place the lid securely on and SHAKE! SHAKE THE Buh-jeezus out of it! Alternately, if you are opposed to shaking (who are you?), you can wisk it up in a bowl.

The lemon juice will be nicely incorporated into the oil. Pour it over the salad and mix it all up. 

Pick out one piece of sausage and test it....and then one more....