Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crispy Pork

Not often, but every once in a while I cook a bit of Chinese. Tonight I had some pork loin cut into thick chops so I made it into Crispy Pork. **Warning**: I rarely measure so make sure you taste, taste, taste and adjust your seasoning accordingly.

1 pound of pork loin sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 c corn starch
1 Tb ginger powder
3-4 Tb oil
sugar peas
green onions
julienned carrots
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Red Pepper flakes

1/4 Soy Sauce
1/4 water
1/4 c sherry
2 tbs corn starch
3 tbs sugar
1 t sesame oil

Steamed rice.

Combine flour and ginger powder. Mix sauce ingredients. Heat oil and dredge pork in flour mixture. Fry till golden in batches and set aside to drain on paper towels. Continue till all the pork is cooked.  Empty all but a tablespoon of oil and stir fry the veggies, adding the garlic and ginger when the veggies are just crisp tender. Pour sauce over veggies and allow to come to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat. Add the pork and toss to coat. Serve over rice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A rare pasta evening....

Well, that turkey breast did not last near long enough and the meatloaf is almost gone so what to do for dinner?
It's been a while since we have had any pasta and I have a package of Italian sausage in the freezer so tonight is a good night for Pasta with Sausage and Cream. There is no cream in the recipe but you could sub it if you want. We use skim milk here so I thicken the sauce with a bit of flour and no one seems to miss the cream.

1 pound of Italian sausage, mild or hot, cut into chunks if links.
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 chopped onion
3-4 tablespoons of flour
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 cups of milk
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 box of pasta, bow ties or regular spaghetti

Start by browning that sausage. Once you have a nice color and it's no longer pink, add the garlic and onions. Stir till softened then add the flour. Once the flour has cooked for a few minutes add the tomatoes. The sauce will begin to thicken then add some milk. Hard to say how much but it usually almost covers the sausages. Stir and simmer till nice and thick then add the Parmesan. Serve over the cooked pasta. Pass some Parmesan.

A family favorite, I had been making this so long I have forgotten where it came from. I know the recipe originally had cream but I have never made it that way mostly because of calorie concerns. It's a great quick meal that sticks to the ribs. Serve it with a side salad as you see it is lacking in green.  I always had a nice loaf of crusty bread to sop up the sauce but even that has fallen away since the great carb counting  life style we now embrace. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Don't let your Meatloaf.......

Ok I broke down and thawed a turkey breast for the rest of the week. I told you I really needed more turkey. Today, however, I made a meatloaf. A roulade to be exact. I used 2 pounds of ground beef and a pound of ground pork. After I mixed it all with an egg, breadcrumbs and chopped onion I placed it  on waxed paper and pressed it into a large rectangle about 3/4 inch thick and prepared a stuffing.
For the stuffing I sauteed 8 ounces of mushrooms, half the chopped onion and a few minced cloves of garlic. I spread that on the meat and added some sliced prosciutto, capacola and Italian cheeses. Everything was seasoned properly with salt and ground pepper then rolled up jelly roll style and place on a pan to roast at 350 for about an hour. It was slightly rare in the dead center so cook it longer if you like done in the center. The last 20 minutes of cooking I used that old ketchup and brown sugar glaze.

We ate this with roasted asparagus and some of the holiday leftover veggies. BTW, the creamed Parmesan onions were outstanding and even better leftover.

Hot from the oven

Thanksgiving Past, Game Day wings and regrets.....

Game day wings...had to work but not suffer! Brenda brought these to the Fangman's to watch the game and I took some to work for a little potluck. Some great stuff going on at work but had to be there most of the day.

The dinner rolls...you gotta love Rhodes.
So the day has come and gone and I have nary a photo to display. The dinner was good, the gravy fantastic and the turkey, moist and brown. Those of you who do not brine are missing out mightly. Just a 1/4 cup of sugar and salt in 4 cups of water and soak that poultry for a night (if it's big like a turkey) or a few hours if it's a chicken or breasts.

Sadly, there is very little leftover and I am still hankering for turkey. I have a few more breasts in the freezer so I may have to indulge once more. After all the meat is low fat and I do have a bit of gravy left.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Gravy....

Well...it's never too early to start cooking for me so today I picked up some gigantic turkey wings, about 2 pounds a piece. I am roasting them now about to make the stock for the gravy I will serve on Thursday. I can freeze the broth or keep it super cold till then. On Thursday I will make the roux and finish the gravy. Ok so I am a little compulsive about some things but last two years I have made this gravy I wanted to drink it for a main course.  From Tyler Florence the recipe follows:

2 pounds of Turkey wings
1 onion quartered (not peeled)
1 head of garlic halved (un peeled)
3 carrots chopped
1/2 bunch of sage
1/2 bunch of thyme
8 peppercorns
3 tbls olive oil

2 tbls butter
1/4 c flour
Salt and pepper

Roast the wings in a small roaster, 400 degrees till golden. About 30 mins

Heat 3 tbls olive oil to a heavy stock pot and add the vegetables, peppercorns and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes then add the turkey wings and  cold water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-2 hours.
Make sure you add water to turkey roaster and scrape up all the brown bits and add that to the pot also.
Strain and set aside warm.  Clean the pot and the butter then flour. Toast the flour then add the broth, wisking lumps away and thickening the gravy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chicken Soup...not your mama's

It's a good day for great friends and soup, bread and cheese. This recipe I adapted from Tyler Florence "Ultimate Chicken Soup" has chicken meatballs and cheese tortellini instead of the usual fare. My family likes it better than the regular soup but I still miss the frozen noodles and chunks of chicken from the old days.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  6 to 8 servings  Ingredients
For the soup:
  Extra-virgin olive oil
  3 cloves garlic, smashed
  2 large carrots, chopped
  1 medium onion, chopped
  2 ribs celery, sliced
  1 bay leaf
  4 fresh thyme sprigs
  3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  4 black peppercorns
  Kosher salt
  Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
For the meatballs:
  1 medium onion, diced
  Olive oil
  6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat (I can't find this so I ground some chicken with a 1/2 Granny Smith and the rest of this stuff. I used 2 breasts and 3 thighs and the food processor.)
  1 egg
  1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  1 handful fresh parsley leaves
  1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot,
onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7
minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt,
to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs
and tortellini.
For the meatballs:
Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium
heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, and cheese to the bowl of a
food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and
pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking.
Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until
golden brown.
Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once
meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook
for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with
a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

Friday, November 11, 2011

French Onion Soup

Isn't it romantic? On a moonlight night, she'll cook me onion soup.....

It's a soup day in the Big O. So here is my version of a quick easy French Onion. Make sure you have some toasted bread rounds and good melting cheese. When you are ready to eat, the broiler has to be hot and ready to go!

It does not get much better than this...

3 to 4 medium yellow onions sliced thin.
2 tbls of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbl butter
2 t dried thyme
1 can of beef broth, 2 cans of water
1 can of beef consume
1 pkg vegetable bullion concentrate (Swanson's)
salt and pepper
3/4 c red wine

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and start cooking the onions over medium heat. As they begin to soften, add a sprinkling of salt. Cook till translucent and starting to caramelize. I added a tbl of butter to help browning a bit. Add the minced garlic and thyme. Pour in the red wine and scrape up any brown bits from the pan. Add the broths and concentrate. Add 2 cans of water. Allow to come to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Allow to simmer slowly for 20 minutes or more. I added a tbls of Kitchen Bouquet to enhance the color a bit. Start the broiler. Get the soup nice and hot then ladle into oven proof bowls. Top with toasted bread rounds and cheese and broil till the cheese bubbles. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Panko Chicken with Fennel and Tomatoes

Great recipe from an ad for Olive oil. Surprised me how tasty this was.


1/3 c flour
2 whole eggs beaten
1 1/3 c Panko
1 T oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
4 6 oz chicken breast pounded to 1/2 inch thick
3 T olive oil

2 fennel bulbs trimmed and sliced thin
2 T Olive Oil
4 medium garlic cloves minced
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt
2 cups grape tomatoes halved
1/2 oz parmesean shaved

Place eggs in a bowl, flour in another and Panko, oregano, paprika in a third.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge first in flour, egg then panko. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large skillet 4 minutes per side till no longer pink. Set aside on paper towels.

In the same pan, add 2 T olive oil and sautee the fennel till edges brown, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and red pepper cook another 2-3 minutes. Add garkic last for 20 seconds.  Seanson with salt and pepper.

Place veggies on serving platter, top with chicken and shaved cheese.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Homesick Texan Carnitas
Adapted, just barely, from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
Corn tortillas, for serving plus
Avocado slices, chopped cilantro and fixings of your choice (we love pickled jalapenos or onions, lime wedges and a bit of slaw)
Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.
After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.
When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.

Ribs, slaw and wings.....Game Day

Raked leaves and out for breakfast today. Everyone is otherwise occupied so we are empty nesters today. We hit a 245 show "Crazy, Stupid Love" and then came home to grill some baby backs, roast some chicken wings and make a bit of slaw.  Yeah, I know we pretty much missed the game but caught up with it everywhere we went.

Served up these bad boys with a nice 2010 Predator old vine Zinfandel. Nice wine, spicy, medium dry paired well with the barby sauce (Sticky Stuff)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roasted Parmesan Creamed Onions

From Thiebaults Table I give you this. Delicious!


 Roasted Parmesan-Creamed Onions

 Roasted Parmesan-Creamed Onions. 

If you love onions, you have to try this dish. 
It is the perfect accompaniment to pork, chicken, beef, lamb, etc...

Roasted Parmesan-Creamed Onions

Rick Tramonto - Osteria Cookbook

Talk about succulent! The yellow onions are pretty pungent when you slice them, but surrender their kick when they are roasted and become sweet and tender. When they reach this point, the cream sauce is poured over them, they are topped with shaved cheese, and then the whole thing is returned to the oven for a slow melt. I like to cook these in a wood oven to get some smoke on them, which makes them even better-if that's possible. Great with chicken, lamb, beef-you name it! I also like it served as a first course.
Serves 4

4 medium yellow onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
Minced garlic (my addition)
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved (about 2 tablespoons)

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 slices the onions into 1/4-inch-thick rings and lay them in a shallow baking pan, such as a sheet pan or jelly roll pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
3 Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the cream and wine (and garlic) to a simmer over medium-high heat. As soon as the liquid starts to bubble around the edges, remove from the heat.
4 Spoon about a tablespoon of the cream mixture over each onion slice. Cover with aluminum foil, return to the oven, and cook for about 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
5 Remove the foil and top the onions with the shaved cheese. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the edges caramelize. Serve hot.


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