Once a month, on a Wednesday (except in the summer), I make the meal for Refuge Ministries of Mexico, Missouri. Each fall, there is a new set of faces and enthusiasm as the fifth graders from last year have moved into junior high and are now old enough to attend. Lots of catching up to do amongst the ‘ladies in the kitchen’ from my summer hiatus. Attendance dips a bit in the summer and I get terribly busy with farm work, so my contribution is about 8 months of the year.
The changes in some of these young peoples’ lives are subtle in some cases and drastic in others as they learn about God (Yahweh) and how He can use broken lives for His good through repentance and redemption. For some, this weekly gathering of strong Christian volunteers are the only parental-like mentorship they have in their lives. These volunteers are real heroes as they uplift and teach these, oftentimes, rowdy and rambunctious young people, week after week.
I’ve taken to starting the meal the day before since I get so worn out now if I try preparing all day then making the drive, serving, then drive home. My son, Nathan and friend, Christian, leave at 4pm for Mexico, MO and return about midnight. So, Tuesday I mixed up, rolled out, and cut 9 batches of egg noodle and stuck them in the freezer. Since I didn’t have any sausage, I had set out 7 lbs of ground beef to thaw, then added 1/2 cup of sage, 1/4 cup black pepper, and 1/4 cup Real salt, then mixed that well (in two batches) in my Kitchenaid mixer. Then set the whole thing in the frig overnight for the flavours to meld and it passed muster with enthusiasm, except my husband, who deemed it too ‘peppery.’ I may back off the black pepper just a bit next time. I used spinach for my recipe today and adjusted the amounts to feed about 60 people.
Egg Noodles w/Sausage & Kale*
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb lamb or beef sausage
1/2 lb kale, tough stems and centre ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 lb egg noodles
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large slotted spoon, drain over pan, and add to cooked sausage in skillet. Saute stirring frequently and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet. Return cooking water in pot to boil and cook egg noodles in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Add noodles to skillet with a slotted spoon and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water if necessary, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water in desired. Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side. Serves 6. Lettuce or other greens can take the place of kale. Hint: Retain some of the cooking water and add to any leftovers for easier warming up. As always, use eggs (for making noodles) from pastured hens and sausage from grass-finished animals for best nutrition and flavour. Grow your own or buy the greens from your neighbour. *adapted from recipe in the March 2006 Gourmet magazine.
2 cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Make a well in centre of flour. Add egg yolks, egg, and salt; mix thoroughly . Mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is stiff but easy to roll. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll dough, one part at a time, into nearly paper-thin rectangle on well-floured surface. Cut into narrow strips with a knife or noodle cutter. Shake out strips and place on towel until stiff and dry, about 2 hours. Or I just drop the individual fresh noodles directly into boiling water. Cook in 3 quarts boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt) until tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain. About 6 cups noodles. Storage: after drying, noodles can be covered and stored no longer than 1 month.
Use these noodles for the Egg Noodles w/Sausage & Kale Recipe.