Monday, January 12, 2015

What I Have Been Up To 
In My Kitchen

Hello and Welcome, Gentle Readers, to yet another episode of "What I Have Been Up To In My Kitchen".  I have three brief recipes to share with you:  Charcuterie and Tomato Pizza, Pork Saltimbocca with Garlic Tomato Pasta with semi-homemade rosemary garlic foccacia and, Grilled Marinated Tri-Tip Steak Tacos. Ready?  I have a lot of visuals and brief recipes. Let's get to it!

Charcuterie Tomato Pizza
Fresh Pizza Dough
Charcuterie meats:  Prociutto, Dry Italian Salami, Coppa Salami
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Grated Romano cheese
fresh basil, diced or torn
fresh thyme and oregano
red pepper flakes
two cloves garlic, grated
half a red onion, slivered
extra virgin olive oil
non-stick spray

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

You can work the fresh dough - store bought or not - however you wish.  I sprayed foil I'd rolled out in a rectangular baking sheet.  When the dough had been worked to reach all four corners, I brushed evoo (extra virgin olive oil) lightly over the dough and baked it for four minutes.  Arrange the ingredients over the pizza as you wish and bake for upwards of eighteen (18) until the edges are a light golden brown.  Add the fresh basil after baking; add the fresh oregano and thyme either before or after baking, whatever your preference. Here's what mine looked like before and after baking. 

Another view....

And Baked!!!

And slices!!!

And Now, Pork Cutlet Saltimbocca, Garlic Pasta with semi-homemade rosemary garlic foccacia. I made this dish with my bff Anne (pronounced Annie) and her bf, Chase.  Here is a quick run-down of what I did. 

Saltimbocca Ingredients:
6 thin pork cutlets, pounded out
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
salt and pepper
6 -  12 large fresh sage leaves
extra virgin olive oil

I pounded out each pork cutlet between two pieces of foil on a cutting board.  I arranged the cutlets with the sage leaves and sprinkled each with paprika, salt and pepper on a plate ready to saute. 

Adding two tablespoons of evoo to a large skillet, add pork cutlets sage leaves side down.  Add a sprinkle of smoked sweet paprika, salt and pepper on the side up.  Saute over medium-high heat on each side for three minutes per side.

And now, my When Pasta Met Garlic.....

Simple Garlic Tomato Pasta Ingredients:
1 box spaghetti (your favorite long pasta)
6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
shaved Parmesan cheese
1 pint halved grape or cherry tomatoes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil leaves, torn or finely chopped
*I usually crisp up diced pancetta to top this, but with the saltimbocca, it is not necessary.  I did add it to this dish this particular time as I was testing out this as a meal with my friends. 
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 scallions, chopped at an angle

Bring 4 quarts of water to a roiling boil and salt the water liberally. Cook the pasta just before al dente.  

In a high-sided skillet or wok, add the extra virgin olive oil over high heat and add a teaspoon of the fresh garlic. Bring the heat up slowly so the garlic can infuse the oil.   Strain the pasta and add the pasta to the very hot oil.  Add the halved tomatoes and the scallions and garlic and toss together and coat all of the pasta with the hot garlic infused oil. Your kitchen will smell incredibly amazing!

 And the Rosemary Garlic Semi-Homemade Foccacia.....

Simple Ingredients:
Fresh whole-wheat pizza dough
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh, cracked black pepper
 extra virgin olive oil

Work the fresh dough - store bought or not - into the corners of a foil-lined shallow baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Brush evoo over the dough.  Add the garlic, scattering it all atop the dough.  Randomly sprinkle the fresh rosemary atop the dough and sprinkle the dough with the finely grated Parmesan.  Bake at 425-degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. The aroma is going to be fantastic!

 Serve all three parts of this meal together to form an aromatic and flavorful dish.  

And finally, last night's meal:  Marinated and Grilled Tri-Tip Steak Tacos.  Here's my starting line-up, including a very simplified version of my Mexican Spice Blend:

Toasted Spice Blend:
2 tablespoons paprika 
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano
2 teaspoons pasilla chile powder
1 teaspoon Chipotle powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds, as ground
salt and pepper

Additional Marinade Ingredients:
3 tablespoons garlic vinegar
zest and juice of two limes
4 tablespoons vegetable or grape seed oil

One-half red onion, chopped

1-2 packages thin cut strip Tri-Tip Steaks


In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients and whisk together.  Drizzle some of the mixture into the pan, spread the mixture around, and place the steaks atop that.  Drizzle the rest atop the steaks.  Allow the steaks to marinate for one hour, then turn, and marinate another hour.  24 hours is ideal, but if you need this in a hurry and can spare an hour, that will be fine, too.  The acid from the vinegar and limes help break down the connective tissues, thus tenderizing the meat and allowing the spices to marry with the meat.  Yes, it is a science. A very tasty science!

After the meat has been marinated, brush some evoo onto a grill over high heat.  Add steaks to the grill and grill for three minutes per side.  

I hope this video of grilling steaks works!!!

 After grilling for three minutes per side, remove the steaks and set aside on a grooved cutting board and allow the meat to rest five - eight minutes.  Afterward, slice the steaks against the grain into slivers or strips and set aside.  Add cheese to fresh tortillas (I love flour tortillas, but please use your favorite tortillas), add some of the steak strips to it, and add fresh greens of your choice.  I only had herbs on hand, so fresh oregano and thyme are what I added, along with a bit more cheese and spicy salsa.  

There is only ONE more thing to do:  

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of "What I Have Been Up To In My Kitchen".  Thank You for your readership and support!  Enjoy these dishes!!!


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