Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bone-In Pork Loin

This year we did a Bone-In Pork Loin for Christmas.  I had never done one before and after poking around the web for ideas I became intrigued with the wonderful presentation of this dish.

This recipe calls for having your butcher "French the bones and remove the Chines".  Well, I instructed my local butcher to do so, and he told me what I needed him to do was "crack" the bones... Not what I said, but what am I supposed to know...

On Christmas morning, when it became time to prepare the roast, I opened up the wrapper to find a beautiful 6 Bone Loin without the chine bones removed and cuts at each rib... I guess that's what I needed, right?  

I was pretty upset, thinking that these cuts would ruin the Loin's culinary potential... 

Nonetheless, I cleaned up the chines and decided to press on... and everything turned out just fine.

Photo: Mary Ann Rice

Prep Time:  1/2 Hour
Cook Time:  45 to 60 Minutes
Servings:  6


1 Bone-In pork Loin (4 to 5 pounds)
30 very thin slivers of garlic (from 3 to 4 cloves), plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:  (For a photographic step-by-step check out Martha Stewart's original Post)

  • Make Slits - Heat oven to 450 degrees. Use a sharp knife to make 24 slits evenly all over pork, including the ends, and insert a sliver of garlic and a small pinch of chopped fresh herbs into each one.
  • Cut Pork - Holding knife against the bones, cut about 2 inches down to separate meat from the bone to create a pocket, leaving the bottom portion intact. 
  • Season Pork - Season inside the pocket with salt and pepper, then add chopped garlic and remaining chopped fresh herbs, spreading evenly.
  • Tie Pork - Tie roast closed with kitchen twine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Roast Pork - Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part (avoiding bone) registers 130 degrees, 45 to 60 minutes. (Start checking temperature after 40 minutes so you can better gauge its progress.) 
  • Serve Pork - Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes to allow the internal temperature to rise to 140.

Recipe Links:

Here is the original web post that provided the inspiration for the method.
Here is a similar post that provided the inspiration for the fresh herbs and seasoning.
Here is a video of the original post.
I also served a gravy with this dish - here is a link to the Pan Jus which provided the base.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prime Rib Soup

This Thanksgiving I served a bone-in Prime Rib instead of the traditional turkey dinner.   There were just five of us total and what a great meal it was.  Served with fresh bread, this is a wonderful next day meal and a great way to use the wonderful browned and seasoned ribs that are left over.

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  3 hours 
Servings:  10


Oil for sautéing
1 Large Onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
Bones of a rib roast
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
3 carrots, sliced in ½" rounds
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" dice
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cans (14 ounces each) diced tomatoes with their juice
½ small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup leftover roast beef, cut into ½" pieces (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a soup pot, heat oil, then sauté onions until just tender. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have formed. Add bones, stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours.
  • Place a colander in a large bowl and strain mixture. Add stock back to pot, then add all ingredients except cabbage and leftover beef. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are just tender.
  • Meanwhile, remove any meat from bones and set aside.
  • When carrots and potatoes are just tender, add cabbage and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in beef pieces and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve with a crusty French bread or warm dinner rolls.
Recipe Links:

Here is the original recipe from Foodiekitchen.

Here is a link for the Prime Rib of Beef ... Don't forget the Au Jus!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pecan Pie

A sumptuous trifecta of homemade Crust, Pecan filling, and hand whipped Cream
Last weekend we went out to the Stables and planned to spend the day with the horses.  While there I noticed that the mature Pecan trees had dropped their bounty.  As you can imagine, my focus quickly went from our horse Gypsea to... "What in the world can I do with these nuts?"

I had to come up with something, and quick. Thanksgiving was less than a week away, and we were hosting dinner at our house!  
I decided to start and finish the meal with my latest find... We started with an appetizer tray that featured Brined and Roasted Pecans and the "Finisher" was this wonderful Pecan Pie.

Part One: Tender and Flaky Crust


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1/4 cup +/- ice cold water

Using a cheese grater to cut in the butter has forced my pastry cutter into retirement.
This is such an easy technique, with great results.

  • Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • Using a cheese grater, grate the cold butter over the top of the dry ingredients.
  • Carefully work the ingredients into a coarse texture using the tips of you fingers - DON'T OVERWORK DOUGH!
  • Add just enough ice water, about a 1/4 cup, and with floured hands, squeeze and push and work mixture together until it just picks up the flour in the bowl.  If too dry - add just a couple more drops of ice water.  If too wet - sprinkle just a little more flour.
  • Roll out the dough on a dry floured surface until just bigger than the pie pan.
  • Transfer dough to the pie pan and carefully lift edges and press the dough into the corners of the pan.  Trim around the perimeter and crimp the edges with a fork.
  • Refrigerate the dough while making the filling. 

Part Two:  Pie Filling


3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 cup ground Roasted Pecans
1 cup medium Pecan pieces (not roasted) with a pinch of salt.

Note the air bubbles in the pie filling prior to baking.
The bubbles, eggs, and the two types of Pecans produce a truly delicious dessert.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk the eggs vigorously in a mixing bowl until air is incorporated as evidenced by very small air bubbles.
  • Add the granulated sugar and continue to whisk until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  • Then add the corn syrup and whisk until the mixture is a consistent color.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the melted butter and continue to whisk.
  • Fold in the ground roasted nuts and then the Pecan pieces - mix untill fully incorporated.
  • Add Filling to crust - Be careful to leave some room for the filling to rise.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
  • After the 40 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  • Give the pie a "jiggle", if the center is set, you are good to go.  Otherwise, leave in a few more minutes and test again.
As the pie cooks in the oven the filling rises - Don't overfill your crust prior to baking!
Part Three:  Hand Whipped Cream


1 cup high quality cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Put a metal mixing bowl and a whisk in the freezer at least a half hour prior to making the whipped cream.
  • Put all ingredients into the cold bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
  • Place a dollop of the cool cream over the top of a slice of the pie - serve immediately. 

Recipe Links:

Here is the original video with chef Frank Brigtsen that inspired this dish.
Here is a maple and brown sugar variety that will provide some material the next time I make this dish. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy as a Clam Chowder

Photo: Shaw
Foraging for Clams is a great way to spend some time outdoors with family and friends.  Sometimes the tide, the weather, and some good luck grace your experience.  Last weekend was one of those times. 

Photo: Shaw
We had a friend visiting and wanted to share some of the "local" experience.  I checked the tide charts and it looked like we needed to be in place just prior to dawn.  My sister made us a fabulous breakfast, sans toast, then we were on our way... 

Photo: Shaw
Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Cook Time:  45 Minutes
Servings:  6 to 8 servings


2 to 3 pounds little neck clams, washed
3 cups water, divided
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tbl butter
2 tbl flour
1 1/2 pounds russett potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley and oyster crackers to garnish


  • Place washed clams in a large soup pot and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly, and cook for a couple minutes, until the clams open. Remove the clams to a bowl and reserve. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. 
  • In large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the bacon in the butter until almost crisp. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the onions. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups of cold water and the reserved clam juice, slowly at first. Bring back to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • While the potatoes are simmering, dice up the clams. 
  • Stir in the clams, milk, and cream. Reduce heat to low, and cook until just heated through. Do not boil. 
  • Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
  • Serve hot. Garnish with parsley and oyster crackers.

    Recipe Links:

    Here is the link to the classic New England Clam Chowder recipe that provided the inspiration for this dish.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    JoJo's Chicken Potpie

    I got a call the other day from my sister asking me if I knew of a good Chicken Potpie recipe. She had some time on her hands and thought it would be fun to try out something new.

    Well...I've never made a Chicken Potpie...and did not have a recipe.

    I felt terrible, she was reaching out for help, and me, the only one in the family who posts stolen recipes on the web, was of no use...

    You know what they say, "Nothing Stolen, Nothing Gained", so I decided to give Chicken Potpie a try.

    A singularly exquisite pie con pollo
    Well, I quickly gave myself an education on the matter and actually came up with this recipe on my own - well, not really, I stole bits and pieces from here and there, and what can I say...I think we all "gained" from the experience...

    Prep Time:  30 Minutes
    Cook Time:  1-1/2 hours (to pre-cook chicken and filling) then 30-40 minutes (for the pie)
    Servings:  One Pie serves 6.  There is enough filling to make two pies.


    1 large chicken (about 4 pounds)
    2 quarts water or broth
    2 bay leaves
    4 cloves garlic

    3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    3 ribs celery, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
    1 large onion, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp white pepper
    1 tsp cayenne
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tbl herb de provence
    3 tbl fresh tarragon, chopped
    2 tbl fresh rosemary, chopped

    1 stick butter (4oz)
    1/2 cup flour
    1/3 cup milk or cream

    1 box (15 oz) refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

    Preparing the filling:
    • Wash and clean chicken and put into a dutch oven along with 2 quarts of cold water and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer.
    • Add the cloves of garlic, cover, and continue to simmer for 1 hour.
    • While the chicken is cooking, prep the veggies, spices, and bake the okra.
    • Remove the chicken.  Strain and reserve broth in one bowl and pick chicken and reserve meat in another.  
    • Add butter to empty dutch oven and saute carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add dry spices and continue to saute another minute or so.
    • Make a roux by adding the 1/2 cup of flour to the mix, and cook for another 5 minutes at medium heat.  Be careful not to burn the roux.
    • Add the 2 quarts of reserve stock back into mix, 2 cups at a time.  Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or so.
    • Add milk, chicken, okra, and fresh herbs and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and let filling cool slightly.

    Preparing and cooking the Pies:
    • Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Fit pie crust into 9-inch glass pie plate.
    • Spoon chicken filling into crust-lined pie plate.  Top pie with second crust; seal edges and flute.  Cut slits in several places in top crust.
    • Cover crust edge with a pie shield (or 2-to 3-inch wide strips of foil) to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 10 minutes of baking.
    • Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

    Recipe Links:

    Here is a great chicken and biscuits post that provided the inspiration for the filling.  This is a great dish on its own and is a crowd pleaser.

    Here is your classic Chicken Potpie and is about as simple as you can get.

    This one provided the inspiration for the single serving Ramekin potpies.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    Awesome Artichokes

    A click from the garden - late June

    Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Wine Dip
    As published in Cooking Light magazine June 2007

    Prep Time:    15 minutes 
    Cook Time:   One hour and 15 minutes
    Servings:       4 servings

    2 whole garlic heads
    4 medium to large artichokes
    3 cups of vegetable stock
    3 to 4 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 cup of vegetable broth
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
    chopped fresh parsley (garnish)

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    • Remove white papery skin from garlic heads (do not peel or separate the cloves).  Wrap each head separately in foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes; cool 10 minutes.  Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp.  Discard skins to compost pile.
    • Clean and trim artichokes.  Place artichokes, stem side down, in a large dutch oven.
    • Pour in the vegetable stock and enough water so that the artichokes are almost covered.  Add bay leaves and spoon about a teaspoon of minced garlic over each artichoke.
    • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily.  Remove artichokes from pan.
    • Combine the garlic pulp and the wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add broth, butter, and salt; whisk until garlic is nicely broken up.  Cook until reduced to 1/2 a cup.
    • Sprinkle dip with parsley, if desired.  Serve dip with warm artichokes.
    Recipe Links:

    Here is the original post from Cooking Light.

    A click from the Kitchen - late May

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Tofu Marinade

    This is a simple baked tofu recipe which was originally posted on the savvyvegetarian site.  What stands out and really makes the dish is the marinade.  This versatile dish can be served any number of ways. I like to serve it topped with some homemade marinara along with spaghetti squash and soybeans for sides.

    Prep Time:  15 Minutes plus time to marinade
    Cook Time:  30 to 40 minutes
    Servings:  4

    1 pound firm Tofu
    2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
    2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    4 Tablespoons soy sauce
    4 teaspoons sugar
    1 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 teaspoon minced fresh
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon coriander
    pinch cayenne
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    sliced green onions

    Marinating the Tofu:
    • Remove the tofu from the container and pat dry using several paper towels. Clean and reserve container. Line the container with clear plastic wrap.
    • Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, except the green onions, and mix thoroughly in a bowl with a whisk. 
    • Cut tofu into 8 equal slices. Carefully arrange the tofu back into the plastic lined container.  Separate each slice with several pieces of the green onion. 
    • Add the remainder of the green onion to the marinade and give that one last whisk. Pour or spoon marinade around the perimeter and between the slices of the tofu.  There should be just enough marinade to completely cover the tofu without flowing over the edge of the container.
    • Place the container in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour.

    Baking the Tofu:
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    • Spray a baking sheet with Olive Oil and arrange the Tofu slices evenly. Spoon some marinade over the top of each and bake 30 minutes, uncovered.
    • Turn over half way through the baking and spoon remaining marinade over the top of each.
    • Broil for a few minutes if the Tofu isn't golden on both sides.

    Recipe Links:
    Here is the original recipe - Basic Baked Tofu.

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Chicken Soup for the Whole You

    This recipe is not a "Stolen" recipe, but one that I have evolved since learning the basics from my mother as a kid.  This is my definition of "Comfort Food".  I can't say I have made it the same way twice.  Here is my latest version, sans potatoes and served over egg noodles.

    Prep Time:  20 to 30 Minutes
    Cook Time:  2 Hours
    Servings:  About 12

    1 Fryer chicken
    4 to 5 stalks celery cut up
    1 16 oz bag peeled baby carrots
    1 white onion, peeled, left whole
    2 chayote squash, cut up
    1 16 oz bag shelled soybeans (edamame)
    1 16 oz bag cut okra, baked
    1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dried sage
    2 to 3 bay leaves
    6 cups cold water

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and pre-bake the Okra following the Basic Baked Okra procedure
    • Place the carrots and celery at the bottom of a large dutch oven or kettle
    • Set chicken atop carrots and celery and surround with onion, squash, and edamame
    • Add water and cover with tomatoes, baked okra, seasonings, and bay leaves
    • Bring to boiling; reduce heat
    • Cover and simmer for 2 hours
    • Remove chicken, let cool, and debone
    • Tear or cut up chicken meat and add back to soup
    • Serve over prepared egg noodles, Enjoy!

    Drop in Dumplings Alternate:
    These fluffy and chewy herb-flecked dumplings are a great alternate to serving over egg noodles.   Dumpling recipe can be easily doubled for serving a family.  This dumpling recipe is directly from the Herbed Chicken and Dumpling post originally published in Cooking Light magazine October 2008, by David Bonom.

    Dumpling Ingredients:
    5 oz all purpose flour (about 1 cup)
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup low-fat milk

    Dumpling Method:
    • Combine Flour, chopped parsley, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
    • Add milk, stirring just until moist
    • Spoon by heaping teaspoonfuls into soup
    • Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until dumplings are done

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