Category Archives: What’s 4 Dinner Solutions
Porchetta is as much a cooking technique as it is a particular recipe. This one uses a pork belly but can be done by butterflying a pork butt or tenderloin. The pork belly came from the butcher as a slab about 10 inches by 22, I cut this in half so I was working with a piece 10″ x 11″.The first step is to score it like so – it helps the herbs and spices gain penetration. I sprinkled kosher salt liberally on the slab and followed that with fresh grinds of pepper.Next came black peppercorns and fennel seeds that were toasted in a dry pan, ground in a spice mill, then added to a dozen or more garlic cloves in a little food processor. They were whirled about to mince the garlic and then spread on the meat, the fresh herbs were processed to a paste and spread along with the garlic mixture, followed by the zest of 2 lemons. I wish my patio herb garden had survived, I had to go to town for the herbs: rosemary, chives, sage. I also bought a fennel bulb for the fronds to add to the other herbs.Last thing, before it spent the night in the fridge, was to rub it with salt and baking powder in a ratio of 1 tbs salt to 1 tsp of baking powder. This is to help crisp the skin. Ta Da! This was cooked in a 300 degree oven for about 4 hours, then taken out to drain the fats off. While it’s out, crank the oven to 500 and return the pork roll to really blister the skin, it wants to be crispy! Watch it closely, it will brown really fast in that screaming hot oven.I mentioned that I bought a fennel bulb just for the fronds but I hate to waste a food item and so tried a braised fennel recipe. First, slice the bulb into about 1/2″ slices long ways, and brown both sides in a little oil. Add chicken stock and water to the pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper, cover, and simmer until tender – another 15-20 minutes.Serve the fennel with fresh parmesan and garnish with more of the fronds.
Creole Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice
- 1 cup Jasmine Rice
- 1 -15 oz can no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
- 1/2 each: green, red and orange pepper, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1-14 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
- salt to taste
Cook rice according to package directions, keep warm.
Add beans and a dash of limejuice and salt to saucepan and heat through.
In a skillet, heat olive oil, add onions and saute until softened, add peppers and celery, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, cook additional 2-3 minutes and add tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of Creole seasoning (recipe below) and mix in. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until carrots are tender. Salt to taste and add more seasoning as needed.
Place rice, beans and tomato mixture in separate bowls and let everyone mix to their own taste. Put remaining Creole Seasoning on the table for garnish.
- 2 tsp paprika (go for the good stuff)
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp dry basil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on the heat you like)
Mix all together and grind with a mortar and pestle or run through a spice grinder. Add to tomato mixture.
*you can use dried beans, cooked and drained
I’ll call these bruschetta for lack of a better word. Some leftover awesome sauce spread on slices of that sourdough with Parmesan topping. Toasted in the oven. Hmm… might be pizza bread? Tasted good whatever its name.This was the big holiday dinner. We did the rib roast sous vide and set the temp to 130, holding it there overnight. It was in the water bath for 12 hours or more. I roasted three kinds of potatoes in olive oil and honey – fingerling (white), sweet potato, and purple potato. In the little dish is a horseradish sauce for the beef. Also plated is a cranberry relish and a scoop of dressing leftover from the turkey day dinner.I had the oven cranked to 550 for finishing the roast. Pat it dry then pop it into that smoking hot oven for 15 minutes or so. Here it is just out, resting while everything else was made ready. I cut the ribs off and tied them back on with string before sealing the bag , they make a nice rack.Mrs J claimed the roast was delicious even though the rare finish was just barely within her comfort zone. I may do the next one to 135 or so. I can eat it medium, no problem!Breakfast for dinner! That sausage was made locally, it was so good I decided to make a batch of sausage myself. More on that, later.I did a sweet and sour pork dish for dinner today. The sauce was ketchup, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, juice from those pineapple chunks, brown sugar, and sesame oil. The pork tenderloin was browned a bit on both sides and then diced and tossed with the sauce and the pineapple bits.Pretty good stuff! Post needz moar kittehs!
Here is part two of the dessert tray – these are all gluten-free sweets. Easy to make, never know they are anything different from the floured desserts. I’ll post a photo of the full dessert tray later.
Picking up a friend from the airport tonight – lots of delays have made for a long day. I’ll be packing a few of these cookies and hot tea for the drive home.
First up, I made a batch of these. They are melt in your mouth and so chocolaty. I love the dark chocolate cocoa powder, makes them not-too sweet.
Then I made a batch of these (pictured at top). So easy – I made a double batch, hoping they last until Christmas Eve. Just in case, there will be the traditional Ice Cream Sundae Bar to back up all the cookies.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg
Cream ingredients together and drop by spoonful onto a baking sheet. Dip a fork in sugar and press down dough. Bake at 300 degree F for 10-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool ON the baking sheet.
I added chocolate chips to a few after I flattened them on the baking sheet. They were good, but it did make the cookie more fragile and they broke apart as I transferred them to the plate. So second batch got peanuts instead.
For Dessert Tray pt. 1, click here.
Don’t let these angelic faces fool you:
There was quite the row tonight. I thought there would be blood. I was working on separating them when Emma, my 8 lb calico (see her here) came running down the hall, full furred and yowling like Linda Blair. She was about to wade into the fray to break them up. I’m not sure if she was doing it to rescue me, or more likely, and funnier, rescue her beloved Bixby. I put a quick stop to that and threw Bixby outside and Bailey into the dining area. Still not sure what set them off, but they’ve been grumpy with each other all night. I also explained to Emma that she was not to do that again.
Over Thanksgiving, we had a houseful, but all Bixby cared about was his favorite lady, Gracie. Gracie seemed more interested in proving her place in the pack to Bailey, so there were some big Dane hurt feelings from the Beast.
Bailey is doing fine, though she ate the couch (see the sheet covering the demolished cushion in top photo), she’s taken to being crated easily. I hope no one ever asks me how to crate train because I have no idea how I do it. I just leave the door open and they wander in and once they are comfortable, I put the gate on it. Took two weeks with Bailey.
During our first heavy snow storm last week, I caught Bailey outside, head up, mouth open catching snowflakes. It was so adorable. They both love the snow and I had to pretty much drag them in, they would have played until frozen.
Bailey also taught herself how to play fetch – I’m sure from watching Bixby do it – but she was so proud of herself the first time she brought me the ball and I threw it. She was practically giddy when she brought it back to do it all over again.
Meanwhile, Bixby has become very needy and we are working to give him the extra attention he needs. And by needs, I mean he drapes himself over whomever he can find and sighs heavily while they pet him. Love. That. Dog.
So far the Christmas tree has remained unmolested, fingers crossed it stays that way. – TaMara