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Sloppy Dogs

dsc_2119-1600x1200It’s like a chili dog but with sloppy joe fixings.  This one is dressed with cheddar and hot giardiniera.

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Porchetta

20170127_142719-1600x1200Porchetta 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″.20170128_104947-1600x1200The 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.20170128_110359-1600x1200Next 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.20170128_111940-1600x1200Last 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.  dsc_2071-1600x1200Ta 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.20170129_122018-1600x1200I 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.20170129_125412-1600x1200Serve the fennel with fresh parmesan and garnish with more of the fronds.

Perfect Corn Muffins

20170113_113631-1600x1200Amazon tempted me with one of their lightning deals on some silicone muffin trays.  I’m pretty easy.  These corn muffins from smittenkitchen looked like a good way to test drive them.20170113_110542-1600x1200The method was interesting, 1/2 cup of cornmeal was simmered in the milk until it started to look like porridge, then cooled slightly in a bowl in which the rest of the ingredients were added in their turn.  The cup of sour cream was a nice touch.20170113_110711-1600x1200Two eggs were the last of the wet ingredients added before the dry mixture was folded in.20170113_111538-1600x1200The resulting batter was pretty stiff.  The cookie dough scoop worked great in portioning between the dozen cups.  It wasn’t the perfect size so I did have to top off the cups by eye.20170113_113323-1600x1200I’m not sure how long these were in because I forgot to set  a timer.  These passed the toothpick test.20170113_114006-1600x1200Mmm… red beans cooked with a smoked ham hock – a perfect way to enjoy these perfect corn muffins.

Lunchtime!

20170105_113312-1600x1200Made the tomato soup from a big can of those San Marzano tomatoes.  I found a couple of 280z. cans in the bargain basket at Kroger a while back and this last one sat in the cupboard till I had this flash of inspiration.

Mince a carrot and half an onion and sweat them down in butter in a sauce pan.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on the veggies and stir for a minute, then add chicken stock and a can of tomatoes.  Season with celery salt, a pinch each of nutmeg, ground cloves, and black pepper and bring to a simmer for half an hour or so.  Let cool a bit, then puree in a blender or with a stick blender.  I like the stick blender because it’s easier to clean up.  Add more chicken stock if it looks too thick.  Some folks like to add cream right before serving but I never did eat it that way.

Moar Dumplins!

20161220_171945-1600x1200I was 6 hours into a crockpot beef and vegetable run when my mind was changed by the memory of those delicious chicken dumplins.  I put back the veggies and several ladles of gravy for a dish TBNL.

Soup ‘n Sammy

20161215_162950-1600x1200The soup is a plain potato soup – no cheese or cream,  I made it small to eliminate leftovers, there are three peeled red potatoes, half a medium onion, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in chicken broth.  The potatoes were diced small to hasten cooking and I used a potato masher to help it along.  Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour.

I had a turkey breast that made a couple of plates worth of sliced turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cranberry sauce, and still had enough for a turkey salad.  It has mayo, green bell pepper, Spanish olives, celery, and the other half of the onion from the soup.

Greek Marinade – Pork Tenderloin

20161020_1557121600x1200We saw this on one of our TV shows, the diner guy chopped a pork tenderloin into smallish pieces, put them into a small hotel pan, and started adding marinade ingredients.  I scribbled them down as best I could because we had just bought a tenderloin and this looked like a great recipe:  Olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  He said cover and refrigerate for a week.  OK.  We nearly forgot it because it was in the basement fridge but we got it out in time.20161020_1621181600x1200I wish I had let the grill heat better but I was afraid to overcook the meat.  I brushed it with garlic oil while it was on the grill and that really flared up.  I did manage to get a touch of brown on there.  It was really tender, and the garlic was prominent.  I think the long marinade in lemon/lime juice had o lot to do with tenderizing it.20161020_1621281600x1200I served it over a bed of wild rice with a side of Brussel sprouts and corn sauteed in duck fat.

Smoked Chicken

20161001_165129These two bird spent about 5 hours in the electric smoker and turned out great.  First 4 hours were at 225, I cranked it to 250 (max for this unit) as supper approached.  Peach wood all the way.  They both were rubbed with a dry mixture that I keep on hand.  I make my own but can’t really provide a recipe because I’m always adding to it.  Most any of these recipes will work fine.20161001_170402

Dinner Menu: Salmon in Dill Sauce with Raspberry Pear Salad

Haven’t posted a dinner menu for a while. Pears are on sale right now, so I wanted to take advantage of that. It  has nothing to do with me being tired of plums, grapes and tomatoes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

On the board tonight:

  1. Salmon in Dill Butter Sauce
  2. Rice
  3. Pear-Raspberry Salad

Salmon in Dill Butter Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 4-6 oz boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup chicken broth

skillet

In skillet, melt butter, add dill & lemon juice.  Brush lightly over fillets.  Add chicken broth to remaining butter in skillet and bring to a low boil, lower heat and let simmer until reduced by half .  Grill fillets for 3 to 4 minutes each side (be sure and oil grill rack well before using.  You can also grill on foil or in a grilling pan).  Drizzle with sauce.

Pear-Raspberry Salad

  • 8 oz walnut halves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz baby greens
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing

baking dish, serving bowl

In baking dish, toss walnuts with oil, soy, ginger, salt & garlic.  Toast in a 250° oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are crisp. In serving bowl add lettuce.  Seed and slice pears, add to lettuce, along with raspberries, bleu cheese, & walnuts.  Toss with dressing.

dill-2



 

Dinner Menu: Chicken Primavera and Fruity Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake1

I love a quick and easy meal that looks and tastes like it took much longer. This menu sure qualifies. Lots of fresh vegetables and if you want to really amp up the flavor, use a flavored linguine, either from a local source (farmer’s markets usually have them) or the gourmet section of the market. A lemon pepper pasta is really good with this. For the vegetables, I’d go with whatever you favor and is fresh, think of the list below as a suggestion. Maybe add mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh spring peas.

The carrot cake is not what you’d expect, it is a fruity, light confection with a definite spring touch.  A favorite when I’m taking birthday cake requests.

Meanwhile, on the board tonight:

  1. Chicken Primavera
  2. Carrot Cake

Chicken Primavera

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed in large pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed or ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine

skillet, large saucepan

Sprinkle salt & pepper over chicken pieces. Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and saute for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until golden on all sides. Add carrots, broccoli and squash, and stir for 2 minutes. Add basil, garlic, tomatoes. Stir additional 2 minutes. Remove mixture to bowl. Add chicken broth and wine to skillet, deglaze drippings, bring to a boil, reduce heat, add chicken mixture, toss and cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while pasta cooks. Bring water to boil in saucepan and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain very well and toss with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Frosting:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar*
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 bowls, 8×8 baking dish, well greased

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine grated carrots, flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in egg, oil, vanilla, pineapple and pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except nuts. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake and garnish with pecans.

* I use half of the sugar because I don’t like it quite that sweet.

Shopping List:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Also: salt, pepper, olive oil, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, garlic, basil,