Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rosemary, Garlic and Herb Pork Shoulder Chops with Rosemary and Herb Crusted New Potatoes

I house sit for a friend yesterday who has an amazing kitchen, and last night, I was inspired to create this dish.  It is one of those dishes that's quick, easy and full of warm, comforting flavors. I used my usual pork and chicken spice rubs, which I divided and used with the potatoes, as well.  The main flavor players were fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh minced garlic. You almost just do not need anything else!

First, let's get the spice rub together:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each of sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons pasilla chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, separated 2 and 2 , stemmed

Divide it, setting aside a quarter of it for the potatoes.  

Wash, dry and halve small baby new potatoes, quarter larger ones.  Preheat a pan over medium heat with about two or three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (two or three turns around the pan) with some of the fresh garlic and fresh rosemary to flavor the oil.  Add the potatoes and the spices, turn the heat up a little more to medium-high.  Saute' the potatoes until they are golden brown. 

For the chops, add some of the spice rub to one side of each chop, turn, and season the other side.  While the potatoes are slowly cooking, allow the spice rub to flavor the meat, leaving it out to come to room temperature over a thirty minute period.  Afterward, add evoo to another, but larger pan, three turns of the pan, and add minced garlic to the oil and turn the heat on to medium.  Once the oil begins to cause the garlic to cook and bubble, add the chops.  Saute' about six minutes, turn, and saute' another six minutes.  Gage from there if the chops need more time. If they do, reduce the heat to medium-low, partly cover and allow the cook through so the potatoes and chops can be ready simultaneously.  

I like to leave the rosemary stem in the evoo for added warm flavor. 

I plated potatoes, a chop, some small beautiful tomatoes, and some pickled peppers (my favs!).  Such a warm, flavorful meal.  I hope you try it and enjoy!

Thanks for viewing!
Asian Fusion Chicken Wings

I have done more than my fair share of watching Food Network, Cooking Channel and have read dozens of cookbooks by myriad authors with just as many versions of fried chicken and chicken wings. Which version is correct?  I think All of Them.  Or, more true to the matter, whichever your tummy prefers.  I cannot express just how much I LOVE fried chicken and have thoroughly loved frying it or baking it, or both,  making mistakes while enjoying the great successes.  I have had this craving, if you will, however, for chicken wings.  I have read about traditional hot sauce wings with blue cheese dressing and celery, Asian flavors, Mexican flavors (yum!), whether it is best to fry or bake, flour or not, and more.  Rather than give myself a headache about just how to make chicken wings "right", I decided to follow my own advice and follow my instinct.  I wanted a fried chicken version but with less fat yet full of flavor at every bite.  Right or not, this is what how I made my chicken wings, and I am proud of my very first time doing this. 

I broke up the process in to three steps.  First, I allowed the wings to soak in almond milk (yes, almond milk, not the traditional buttermilk) seasoned with Hawaiian red dirt sea salt and ground pasilla chile powder. I let the chicken soak for about an hour.  It'd have been great to have soaked overnight, if possible, but, I did not have the time. 

In the next step, I removed the chicken, dried it off on paper towels and let it soak in a strongly flavored marinade.  The marinade consisted of a half cup of Cento red wine vinegar, 3 cloves grated garlic, a  teaspoon of sriracha sauce, a tablespoon (eyeballed) of worcestershire sauce, two teaspoons of Tikka Masala paste, a quarter cup of Plum Sauce and a teaspoon of Hoisin sauce,two teaspoons of wild floral honey,  along with some roasted spices.  In a shallow pan I roasted over low heat, two tablespoons smoked paprika, two teaspoons cumin seeds, one teaspoon coriander seeds (crushed in my palms), a tablespoon of dried oregano (also crushed in the palms of my hands), two teaspoons of pasilla chili powder, one teaspoon garam masala (a wonderful, aromatic ground mixture of many spices), and three cloves fresh grated garlic.  To roast, add the spices to a shallow pan and turn the heat on low, bringing the spices to heat slowly.  Once aromatic, the roasting is over.  If you can toss them around a bit, that is best.  Add the spices the wet marinade. The aroma in your kitchen will be absolutely amazing.  A-Mazing.  

Here is the catch:  If you want a drizzle sauce, like I did, divide the sauce in to two parts and set one part aside in a sauce pan.  

The final step, after allowing the chicken to marinate for thirty minutes, was to set up a dredging station. This is simply a flat plate with about a cup or so of flour.  To flavor, add a tablespoon of garlic powder or garlic pepper, or, hey, why not both?  In addition, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of both smoked paprika and pasilla chili powder, and a teaspoon of ground cumin.  I love the warm flavor of cumin, seeds or ground. 

Preheat the oven to  355 degrees. 

Have a baking sheet lined with foil and topped with a wire rack.  Spray the rack with non-stick spray, or the chicken breading will stick to it.  It may, anyway, but not too badly, just so you know.  Now, take each chicken wing, thoroughly flour them, and lay them on the baking sheet.  Bake them for forty minutes, turning once, if you dare, twenty minutes in.  I did turn them, gently, and most turned without the breading sticking. 

So sorry, I do not know how to turn this picture sideways!

In the meantime, bring the marinade you set aside and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty minutes, reducing the sauce by half. 

I served my chicken wings over garlic couscous.  I purchased a box product, but did not use the flavoring packet.  I tossed the couscous around in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, two cloves grated garlic, and a pinch or two of dried oregano crushed between my palms before adding a cup of chicken stock and a half cup of water.  I arranged my cooked wings over a rounded pile of couscous, drizzled it with the reduced sauce, and garnished it all with chopped cilantro.

Thank you for viewing and enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Italian Turkey Bistro Burger
Please read more.....please select the "Read more button" for my hot summer night comfort food turkey burger!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Indian Spiced Chicken with Unconventional Mango Chutney

A wonderful friend inspired me to create a dish this last week upon gifting me with Champagne Mangoes. It was with this beautiful case of the small, orange mangoes that I learned there are several different kinds of mangoes.  These are smaller than most, sweet but not sugary. They were easy to peel, but a challenge to cut the soft flesh away from the pit.  Not a problem;  I am a pretty quick study.  I have been wanting a rich, spicy dish with Indian spices, along with wanting to use those beautiful mangoes.  I decided to put them together, sweet and spicy, as I did in my recent posts. (See the Hot Italian Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Chutney).  The interesting part of this dish is that I did not puree the mangoes with raisins and brown sugar and spices; instead, I put it all in a large skillet with the chicken and spices, then, after baking the chicken thoroughly, I added wine and apple cider vinegar and mashed the mangoes and raisins and reduced it to a thick sauce.  Ergo, why I am calling it "unconventional". 

This dish took less than fifty minutes to prep and cook.  Easy and amazingly aromatic and flavorful!

 Unconventional Mango Chutney
3 champagne mangoes, flesh cut from the pit, and cut into small chunks  (or, your favorite mangoes)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup yellow raisins
1 teaspoon cardomom
zest of one lime and juice of half a lime
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white wine

If you wish to make this in a more traditional manner, place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree.  Place in an air tight container and refrigerate until serving.  

To follow my more unconventional way, follow along!  Both are exceptionally easy!

Indian Spiced Chicken
 2 tablespoons garam masala (Garam Masala is a rich blend of spices, including turmeric, fenugreek leaves, and much more, and can be found in most Middle Eastern stores)
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 tablespoons smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh grated ginger 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add half of the dry spices to a large skillet over medium-low heat to toast.  After three or four minutes of toasting, add 3 or 4 tablespoons of Grape Seed oil, or  your favorite oil). As the spices toast, use the other half to sprinkle on to both sides of 4 - 6 chicken thighs.  I used skin on chicken thighs, although you can always use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or even drumsticks and wings. Whatever you are happy with. 

The spices should be Very aromatic when you add the oil, and even more so as they oil heats up.  Be careful of the cumin, as the seeds can sometimes pop and splash in the hot oil.  

Add the chicken to the skillet, giving them plenty of room.  Try to arrange them so they do not touch.  Sear each side for about four minutes, until the spices encrust the chicken and appears golden brown. Remove the chicken temporarily, set aside and reduce the heat to low.   

Add the ingredients for the mango chutney and thoroughly incorporate them into the aromatic, spicy oil in the skillet.  Nestle the chicken in to the skillet again. This is what makes the chutney unconventional.  Turn off the heat and place the skillet into the oven for 20 minutes. 

Remove the skillet from the oven, remove the chicken and set aside and place a foil tent over the chicken to keep it warm.  Turn the heat to medium and reduce the unconventional mango chutney. Use a potato masher to smash the remaining chunks of mango and raisins.  It will still have texture.  You will know when your reduction is done or nearly when you can run a spatula through it and it does not readily come back together. Try to remove as much of the oil which pools on the chutney's surface as possible.

At this juncture, you are ready to serve!  Plate your chicken, drizzle the chutney over the top of the chicken and proudly serve!  The flavors that dance on your palette are amazing.  First, you might taste the cumin and garam masala, next the sweet of the raisins, then the bite of the garlic and ginger, and finally, the sweet of the mango.  A wonderful sweet and savory party in your mouth is always a good time! This dish is more like a flavor rave. 

Thank you, gentle readers, for viewing this recipe post.  I hope you enjoy it!



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Marinated Flank Steak, Saffron Scented Rice and Huevos Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese

Friday was the last day of my company's visit, and I wanted to make a brunch to fill and make one feel fulfilled.  I could think of nothing better than a new twist to my Marinated Flank Steak Tacos, which I blogged previously.  In This version,  I added two healthy items to create a filling and impressive taco: Saffron Scented Rice and Huevos (Scrambled eggs with sauteed onions, garlic and roasted green chiles, topped with cilantro).  

Here's my Flank Steak Marinade:
The zest and juice of two limes
2 tablespoons Smoke Paprika
1 teaspoon salt (I used my red dirt Hawaiian sea salt)
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon Chipotle or Smoked Pasilla powder
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or two tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed in the palms of your hands
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 can of El Pato (red chili) sauce
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or, your favorite oil)

In a container, add the evoo, fresh finely chopped garlic, lime juice and the El Pato (red chili sauce).  In a bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well.  You could even put them in to a spice grinder to thoroughly  mix, although most of it is already granulated.  In any event, rub both sides of the steak evenly with equal amounts of the rub.  Place the steak into the container and allow it to marinate for thirty minutes to an hour, or for to save time, overnight, turning once.  However, to avoid the turning part, you could place the evoo, chili sauce and juice in a zip lop gallon sized plastic bag and place the steak in that for the same amount of time.  

Remove the steak about thirty minutes before cooking, so as to allow the meat to come to room temperature. 

Early-on Oaxaca cheese hint:  Place the ball of this stringy, soft Mozzarella-like delicious cheese into the freezer for about thirty minutes before you grate it.  That way, it will be slightly more solid and easier to grate.

Saffron Scented rice:
In a high-sided sauce pan, add one can of chicken stock (low sodium) and one cup of water, and a pinch of Saffron threads.  You do not need much, as a little is wonderfully fragrant.  Like the saying:  "A little goes a long way".  Steep the Saffron for about twenty minutes.  In the meantime, toast one cup of white rice (I used Basamati rice) with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one finely chopped clove garlic in a sauce pan over medium-high heat for about five minutes.  Stir to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  After toasting, add the Saffron scented liquid.  Bring the liquid to a boil and stir aggressively, again, to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.  Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, cover and allow to cook for thirty minutes.  Remove the lid ten minutes before serving.  I added two tablespoons of roasted green chiles to the rice after cooking and garnished with finely chopped cilantro upon serving.

Very quick and very simple.  To wrangle the eggs to be compatible with tacos, crack six large eggs into a bowl, add the other half onion, finely chopped, two cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated, and two heaping tablespoons of roasted green chiles.  Add salt and pepper, a teaspoon of Smoked Pasilla or Chipotle powder and stir vigorously.  Add a tablespoon of butter to a small skillet, allow it to melt, and add the egg mixture to the skillet.  Scramble over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then reduce to medium-low heat to finish. 

The Flank Steak:
Meanwhile, cook the flank steak however you wish to.  Last time, I grilled the steak, but his time, I seared the meat for about three minutes per side, then finished it in the oven until medium-rare. I also added all of the marinate to the oven-safe skillet to allow the meat to roast in the flavorful bath. The oven roasting time is about twenty minutes.  Afterwards, remove the meat from the skillet or grill, allow it to rest for ten or so minutes on a meat cutting board, and slice at an angle, against the grain.

Meantime, if you want a continued sauce, reduce the marinade "sauce" until it is reduced by half and thickened.  Drizzle it over the sliced meat before serving.  

I used various decorative plates to lay out my buffet service.  Makes for a festive, colorful service. 

And for the final product!!!

This entire recipe, when planned out, will take less than an hour.  If you marinate overnight, you do not have to work with the meat until you are ready to cook it. The rice and eggs take ten minutes prep time and thirty minutes (rice) cook time.  It is delicioso!!!  

Enjoy, and Thank You, my gentle readers, for taking the time to view my recipe!  
Gracias and Enjoy!

Hot Italian Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

I had company the latter half of this week, and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking the last two days of our visit.  This blog post and the following blog post are both slightly differing versions of dishes I have previously endeavored.  I have just added new spins to them.  First, I made King Cut pork chops stuffed with hot Italian sausage with a chunky Apple Chutney.  I wanted hot and spicy to meet sweet and tangy.  I think the two flavors were quite a tasty pair. 

I butterflied the King Cut pork cutlets or chops and seasoned both sides simply with salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.  Love Herbs de Provence!  The lemony thyme and lavender add an amazing aroma and flavor to the pork.  I set them aside on a meat cutting board to allow them to come to room temperature.  One thing I have learned is to allow meats to come to room temperature so that the meat, a muscle, does not seize and toughen when placed on a hot grill or skillet.  

To the hot Italian sausage, I added a stingy pinch of lavender salt (since the sausage contains a lot of sodium to begin with), about a quarter teaspoon or so of Herbs de Provence, two cloves of finely chopped garlic and a quarter cup of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley.  If you are wondering, lavender salt can probably be found at your local gourmet supply store.  I happily take a day trip to the wonderful Napa Wine Country town of Sonoma and purchase it (along with Hawaiian red dirt sea salt) at a fantastic gourmet store I happened upon on a visit there a couple of years ago.  I incorporated the above ingredients in the sausage, formed three sausage balls and stuffed each chop.  

I seared the chops, about four minutes per side, in a skillet over medium-high heat; the oil had been infused with garlic, for extra flavor.  Afterward, I finished cooking them through slowly in the oven at 375-degrees for about thirty minutes, turning at the fifteen minute mark. 

For the chutney, in a high sided sauce pan,  I added a half cup of apple cider vinegar and brought that to a boil, and added two tablespoons of brown sugar and a quarter cup of yellow sweet raisins to that.  For an extra tang, and which ingredient was Not a part of the original recipe, I added two tablespoons of Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar.  It just sounded good to me, and it worked very well.  To that, I added two apples, cored and chopped into small pieces, two teaspoons of honey, a teaspoon of Cardamom and a teaspoon of Cinnamon.  I reduced the heat and allowed it meld and slightly melt, in a way, for almost forty minutes while the chops were searing then baking. After the first twenty minutes, I added another two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for continued moisture. 

I removed the chops from the skillet (oven safe skillet) and allowed the meat to rest for about ten minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.  I topped my chop with the chutney and thoroughly enjoyed the sweet and tangy flavor distribution.  It starts off sweet and ends tangy on your palette.  So satisfying to cool off the heat of the hot Italian sausage.  In my opinion, a stunning pairing.  I could very well be wrong in the culinary world to think that, but you just have to taste it for yourself!

Thank you, gentle readers, for viewing this recipe!  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did!

Monday, July 1, 2013

S'Mores Stuffed French Toast

Break-ssert: S'Mores Stuffed French Toast

Normally I would start my blog post with what I hope is a fairly mouth-watering picture to make you want to continue reading or viewing the recipe blog post.  This time, however, due to an afterthought, since I only have one picture, I will share it at the end of this post.  Really, I had no intention of blogging this recipe at this time, but it turned out so well, I decided to post it, anyway.  Here is what I did:
My family and I have loved having breakfast for dinner ever since I can remember.  I had been toying with the idea of breakfast for dinner, but in a delicious dessert kind of way.  I have been craving S'mores for a long time, and decided to incorporate breakfast and dessert, and call it, oddly, "break-ssert".  I know, I can hear the groans now.  Sorry. 
But, when you have that odd desire to want both breakfast and dessert simultaneously, this is such an easy and quick way to get your cravings fix.  Here's the ingredients starting line-up:
8 slices of sweet french bread (to feed two people, four slices per person)
6 eggs, beaten, sprinkled with cinnamon 
half a stick of butter + a two tabs of butter
1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk for a richer taste)
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
6 graham crackers, cut into 1/4-inch wide sticks
1 cup of water
 I am quite sure my "what to do" section can be reworked to be more efficient and the recipe better in myriad ways.  As I said, I had not intended to blog this today, as I plan to refine my ideas, but, again, it was so delicious, I want to share it with my gentle readers!
On a large plate with a well or slight depression, Beat six eggs and sprinkle it with ground cinnamon. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a shallow baking pan or sheet, add a tab of butter and allow the oven to melt it.  Spread the butter around the bottom of the pan.  
Over high heat, use two sauce pans or a double-boiler to bring to heat a tab of butter, the quarter cup of milk and the half cup of mini marshmallows.  Melt the marshmallows only about half way, so as to retain some of the marshmallow's original texture. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
Cut the graham crackers in to quarter inch sticks.  Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the half stick of butter over medium-high heat. 

Dip two slices of the sweet french bread in the beaten eggs.  Sometimes milk is added to the eggs, but I did not do that this time.  Just my preference.  When thoroughly coated, add the two slices to the skillet and allow three to four minutes per side and remove the to the baking pan.  Take one piece of the french toast and spread the half melted marshmallow spread over the bread slice.  Top that with six or seven graham cracker sticks, leaving a quarter inch between sticks, so the marshmallow spread can ooze over the sticks. Sprinkle some of the chocolate chips over the sticks, top with the other slice of french toast, and return the baking pan to the oven to melt the chips and continue to crisp up the toast.   

Repeat until all four S'mores french toast sandwiches are in the oven.  

I served my mom's with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (her favorite) and sprinkled it with a few more of the chocolate chips.  And by all means, if half a cup is not enough, use more!  Who am I to regulate such goodness? 

Alright, alright, here's the picture!

  Seriously, thirty minutes or less.  Can you really resist this?

Enjoy folks!  And Thank You, as Always, for viewing!