Showing posts with label Pork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pork. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil – An Exceptional Summer Exception

There are many people, myself included, that think cooking prosciutto is basically a crime against nature; but there are exceptions, and this plate of grilled peaches with burrata is one incredibly delicious example. 

Having said that, I used a domestic version, which works beautifully here, so we’re not expecting you to use up your precious prosciutto di Parma.

As far as the peaches go, you want something ripe, and sweet, but still somewhat firm. Above and beyond not being too soft, you must also make sure you’re buying “freestone” peaches. Non-freestone varieties will not separate as seen in the video. Ask the produce person at the market, and if they’re not sure, have them cut one open. They’re usually happy to do so!

After you talk to them, head over to the cheese department, and pick up some burrata. This extra rich and creamy cousin of mozzarella is not that hard to find, and really puts this over the top. You could use a nice, fresh mozzarella, or even a full-fat ricotta instead, but, if at all possible, find some burrata, and treat yourself to one of the world’s great cheese experiences. I hope you give this great summer recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 ripe, sweet, but not soft peaches (must be “freestone”)
3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn in ribbons
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) burrata cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves
Read More

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grilled Pattypan Squash with Hot Chorizo Vinaigrette – Almost Stuffed

Michele does a fantastic, sausage-stuffed pattypan squash, which was actually how these were supposed to be prepared, but someone, and we won’t name names, didn’t pay attention to buying ones of a uniform size, which is kind of a big deal if you want them to bake evenly. Okay, it was me.

In an attempt to redeem myself, I decided to grill them instead – a cooking method where any size will work – and top them with a hot chorizo vinaigrette. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and it really turned out to be a wonderful combination.

The ingredients below are just a rough guide, and you’ll have to figure out your own amounts, depending on how much squash you grill, but I do recommend a 1-to-1 ratio of sherry vinegar to olive oil/rendered chorizo fat.

I used a veal chorizo, which was very lean, so I had to add a good amount of olive oil. If you use pork chorizo, you’ll have a lot of rendered fat, so you may want to drain off most of it, keeping a few tablespoons, before adding your oil and vinegar.

Speaking of oil, don’t put any on your squash before you toss it on the grill. I used to do this myself, because it seemed logical, but it’s a bad idea. The dripping oil causes flare-ups that can make your veggies taste like gasoline, which is not good eats. Other than that, not much can go wrong with this simple summer dish. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions
8 pattypan squash
kosher salt to taste

6-8 ounces fresh, raw chorizo sausage 
(crumbled fine, and browned well in olive oil)
*you want to leave about 2 tablespoons rendered chorizo fat in the pan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (or, use any vinegar you like)
splash of water to maintain moisture level if needed
1 tablespoon freshly sliced mint leaves
Read More

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Creamy Pork Stew – Easy Does It

I didn’t want to end my vacation by filming anything too strenuous, so I went with this creamy pork stew, which is one of my favorite cold weather dishes of all time. This comforting stew is very delicious, quite easy, and ready to accept all sorts of seasonal produce.

As usual, I kept the ingredient list to a minimum, as not to get in the way of demonstrating this simple procedure, but things like squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, and root vegetables, would all be wonderful swimming around in the subtly sweet, just-rich-enough sauce.

As I mention in the video, you always want to buy a nice hunk of pork shoulder, and cut your own chunks. If you want to save five minutes of work buying the pre-cut stuff in the package, go ahead, but please know you’re paying more money for a lower quality product. Not to mention, you can’t control the size and shape of the cut.

If pork isn’t your thing, this would be lovely with veal, beef, or chicken thighs. No matter which meat you use, simmer it until tender, and this simple, cider-spiked, cream sauce will turn it into a big bowl of autumn goodness. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil for browning meat
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp horseradish
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broth, or as needed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup sliced carrots
a few sage leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 small sprigs rosemary
*Fresh herb note: I just tossed mine in whole, but if you don’t like that texture, you can simply pick and chop herbs before adding.
1 dry bay leaf
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
fresh apple strips and fresh chive to garnish
- Serve on steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
Read More

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bacon Cheddar and Spinach Strata – We’re Rocking the Breakfast Casserole

For such a simple dish, I sure have a lot of additional info to cover regarding the construction of this beautiful bacon, cheddar, and spinach strata. First of which, is the somewhat unusual name. Whoever invented this recipe apparently thought it looked like layers of rock, known in geological circles as, “strata.”

I guess it sort of does, and probably would a lot more, if we used a deeper dish, and did more layers. Regardless, even with just one layer of filling in the middle, you’ll still be looking at a gorgeous casserole, which should thoroughly impress your brunch guests…bottomless Mimosas or no.

As I mentioned in the video, if you want something a little eggier, a little more quiche-like, just simply increase the amount of egg custard used. As long as your pan is deep enough, you could as much as double the eggs and cream in this.

Speaking of the cream, this is a very rich dish, so you may want to cut the cream with milk. In fact, many people use all milk for this, but I do enjoy the extra butterfat the cream provides. As usual, let your conscience be your guide.

Above and beyond that, this recipe just begs for personalization. I’m not sure what your favorite omelet ingredients are, but I do know they would work in this, and work really well. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 portions:
1 pound loaf of day old bread, cubed
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, milk, or any combination thereof
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1 pound bacon, sliced and cooked crisp
1 pound fresh spinach, wilted, and squeezed dry (or enough thawed, drained frozen spinach to cover one layer)
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided (use 1/2 over the first layer of bread, 1/4 over the spinach, and the last 1/4 over the top layer of bread)
- Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes or until set. Then broil for a minute or two to brown the top.
Read More

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Home-Cured Holiday Ham – First You Brine, Then You Brag

There are many reasons for making your own holiday ham, but the best one of all, may be the most superficial. After the holidays, as people are standing around the water cooler, bragging how great their glazed carrots were, or how amazing the cranberry sauce came out, you can say, “That sounds great, but did anyone else cure their own ham? I didn’t think so.”

Above and beyond establishing your culinary dominance with friends, the other reasons are pretty good too. You can flavor your ham any way you want; you can somewhat control the salt content; and depending on how many people you need to feed, can cure any size cut of pork you want, from a whole leg to a small loin roast.

There are thousands of different brine and spice combinations, but the procedure is pretty much the same no matter which way you go. However, there is one thing all these recipes have in common, pink salt. To make a true ham, you’re going to need a curing salt that contains sodium nitrite, which is what gives the meat its pink color, and signature “ham” taste, verses something that just tastes like roast pork.

This magical ingredient goes by several names, including Pink Curing Salt #, Insta Cure #1, or the one I used, Prague Powder #1. Yes, you can theoretically use things like celery juice, but long story short, nitrites are nitrites, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. For more info on that, and potential health issues, this article by Michael Ruhlman is a good read.

Once the ham is cured, you’ll want to give it a soak to rinse off the brine, and how long you do this can effect how salty your meat is. I prefer just a quick dunk, but you can leave it for as long as 24 hours, which will produce what I’ll call a low-sodium ham. It’s still pink, and flavorful, but barely salty. Experimentation is the only way to figure out how long to you should go, but I wanted to give you the range.

If you do want a home-cured ham gracing your Christmas table, I’ve given you just enough time to get it done. A local butcher should be happy to give you a few tablespoons of pink salt, otherwise it’s quite easy to find online. Whether it’s for a holiday dinner or not, I really hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
7 to 10 pound fresh, bone-in pork shoulder “picnic” arm roast (or any large hunk of pork)
For the brine (adapted from Ruhlman’s basic ham brine recipe):
6 quarts water
18 ounces kosher salt (this is about 2 1/4 cups Morton's Kosher Salt, or 3 2/3 cups Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, as they have difference size grains)
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pink salt #1
1 rounded tbsp pickling spice, or any spices you want

For the optional glaze:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt  

- Once cured, you should smoke and/or roast your ham until it reaches an internal temp of at least 145-150 F. 

- For a more detailed video on how I prep a ham for the oven, check out this Crispy Honey-Glazed Ham video.
Read More

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sausage Cheese Balls - Rolling into Christmas

What these sausage cheese balls lack in sophistication, they more than make up for with their taste, simplicity, and proven track record for making party-goers happy. No one goes to a holiday party thinking, “I hope they serve sausage cheese balls,” but they all leave very grateful you did.

I’m not sure how these evolved into a Christmas snack, but I bet it has something to do with the fact you can stretch a few pounds of meat and cheese into enough finger food for a large crowd. They can also be made ahead, which helps in the old holiday time management department.

This is a recipe where everyone uses the same basic ingredients, but in wildly different proportions. Look online, and you’ll see versions with half the amount of biscuit mix, as well as ones with three times as much. It all depends on how bready verses cheesy/meaty you want your balls to be.

The bad news is, the only way to figure out your ideal formula is to test multiple versions. This is also the good news. Speaking of formulas, this originally calls for biscuit mix (like Bisquick), but I prefer to use self-rising flour. Besides some added fat, that’s all biscuit mix is, and a little extra cheese more than makes up for any missing shortening.

If you have some biscuit mix in the cupboard, by all means use it, but otherwise I see no need to go out and buy a box. If you don’t have self-rising flour, I’ve given instructions below for how to make your own. I really hope you give these sausage cheese balls a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 48 sausage cheese balls:
1 1/4 pounds raw hot Italian pork sausage meat (just remove the casing from uncooked, link-style sausages)
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1/2 pound shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
2 cups biscuit mix, or self-rising flour (*see below to make your own)
2 tablespoons milk

- Bake at 450F. for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through (I like to broil for a minute or two for extra color)

* To make your own self-rising flour, sift together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, with 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon fine salt.
Read More