Tag Archives: Foodie

Braised, Shredded Pork from the state of Michoacán, Mexico (Carnitas)

Carnitas (1 of 1)This delicious dish is from the Pacific Coast state of Michoacán, although it is prepared throughout Mexico. It makes a lot of shredded pork, and it is very versatile — the first night you serve it on its own with a few sides, the next night you make tacos with it, etc., and it freezes well. The other day, I added it to a home-made ranchero sauce, and it was fantastic! Original versions seem to be full of fat. They typically call for pork shoulder or (aka Boston butt), which is a fatty part of the pig. I’ve made this a few times with center-cut pork loin, with all visible fat removed. After braising for three hours, it turns out moist, delicious, and it just falls apart like its counterpart does. I also replace the typical ton of lard with a couple tablespoons of olive oil — I realize that this probably changes the flavor and texture, but there is already so much flavor, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, in the photo, I serve it with a simple red cabbage coleslaw, corn sticks and slices of blood orange. Yum. I hope you’ll try this next Sunday!

1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups chicken stock
1 12-oz can cola
2 tsp oregano, toasted in a dry, medium-hot skilled
2 bay leaves, toasted in a dry, medium-hot skillet
8 whole allspice berries
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
2 chipotle chilies en adobo, minced
2 Tbsp salt, divided
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 – 6 lbs boneless pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into fist-size chunks
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 small oranges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, add the onion, garlic, chicken stock, cola, oregano, bay leaves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, chipotle chilies, 5 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, and stir well.

Season pork with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.

Bring the onion mixture to a boil. Add pork and oranges, cover so that the lid is ajar and place in oven.  Bake for about 3 hours, until pork is very tender. Remove pork from pan and shred with a couple of forks.

Remove the oranges, slice in half and squeeze juice back into pan. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Add shredded pork back to pan and stir well.

Increase heat to 425, place pork back into oven, uncovered. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and serve.

Serves 8.

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American Black Bean Chili with IPA Beer

Black_Bean_Chili (1 of 1)Chili is a popular go-to comfort food in this household, especially when the snow is as deep as f#$^%$! and the temperature is constantly below f*^%k!. I have many recipes for chili, and this is a combination of the things I like the best about each. Additionally, I’ve added IPA (India Pale Ale Beer) and allspice, which I think help to create a fantastic depth of flavor for this version. I hope you’ll try it next time you are wanting comfort food!
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, very finely grated or minced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 – 5 dried Thai (or similar hot) chilies, cut with scissors into 1/8 pieces, seeds and all
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 28-oz whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed to a pulp in a bowl by hand
3 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz bottle beer (preferably IPA)
Sour cream for garnish
Grated white cheddar for garnish
Diced fresh tomato for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Tabasco sauce (optional) for garnish

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, beef and bell pepper. Cook for 8 minutes.

Stir in the next 8 ingredients (chili powder through ground black pepper) and cook 1 minute.

Stir in the beans, squeezed tomatoes and beer. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove lid and simmer an additional 30 minutes, or until chili has thickened. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning (I added an additional 2 1/2 tsp salt, which seemed good). Ladle into serving bowls, garnishing each with a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, diced tomato, parsley and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. I like to serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Chorizo with Chickpeas, flavored with Saffron, Tomato and Sherry Vinegar

Chorizo_with_Chickpeas (1 of 1)It’s Tuesday evening, and we’re in the midst of a blizzard here in New England. Blizzards are nice, but only on weekends. We have over 2 feet of snow in my town, and the wind is whipping it all over the place. The snowblower won’t start, so it’s going to be the shovel — ugh! Anyway, during the summer between high school and college, I went to Europe with a couple of buds of mind. We had Eurorail passes, and went to just about every western and southern European country. We spent a lot of time in Spain — exceptionally beautiful, including the people, but I was too immature to really appreciate the fantastic cuisine. Well, I’ve learned to love that food, and I have to say, it’s exceptional! Last night, I made this delicious dish, which has the key Spanish ingredients of saffron, chorizo, sherry and garlic (together with other great stuff). Serve with fresh, crusty bread, or steamed rice. I hope you’ll try this tonight!

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 tsp very loose saffron threads
2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
6 oz roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced into 1/4 X 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, until brown. Add saffron and stir 30 seconds. Add chickpeas and stir 1 minute. Add the garlic, fennel, celery and roasted bell peppers. Stir 2 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and stir 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomato sauce and bring back to a boil. Stir in the salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Veal Roulades with a Flavorful Beef and Wine Demi-Glace (Paupiettes de Veau)

Veal_Wraps (1 of 1)Perfect for a small gathering of dinner guests, this dish is amazing! It may seem strange — meat stuffed with meat, but it’s not an unusual dish in France (or Germany). And hey, how can you go wrong with meat stuffed with meat. Veal, in and of itself, has a fantastic flavor, and this dish is enhanced by the simple, but fantastic filling inside. The crown jewel of the meal, however, is the demi-glace — a delicious touch!. Serve with a green vegetable and a starch. I hope you’ll try the dish out for dinner guests this weekend!

Filling

1 oz butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
8 oz lean ground pork
8 oz ground veal
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp dry white wine
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 boneless veal cutlets (about 1 3/4 lbs total), pounded into 5 inch by 8 inch rectangles (I like to pound to between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness).

Demi-Glace

1 oz clarified butter (to make clarified butter, simply heat butter in a small pan over low heat until it foams. Skim off the foam/milk solids. This is important for this dish, as it allows the butter to cook at a higher heat without burning).
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/3 cups beef stock

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add shallots and cook 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, combine with the rest of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl.

To make the veal roulades, place a good amount of filling on each cutlet, leaving about 1/4 inch of room from each side of the cutlet. Roll roulades up length-wise, and gently secure with butcher’s twine on each end. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the demi-glace by heating half of the clarified butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat up to high and brown vegetables (about 2 additional minutes).  Remove from pan.

Heat the remaining clarified butter in the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the veal wraps and brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Remove from pan. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Deglaze pan for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, bay leaf, beef stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add onion mixture and veal roulades. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove veal roulades from the pan and keep warm.

Strain the demi-glace back into pan, pressing down with a spoon to get all of the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook liquid until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Serve veal roulades, drizzled with demi-glace.

Serves 6.

Pan-Cooked Chicken in a Fragrant Cumin-Carrot Sauce

Chicken_with_Carrots_and_Cumin2 (1 of 1)Last night, we felt like making something that you might see on a menu in a Parisian bistro, so I made this delicious (and apparently classic bistro) chicken dish. To me, it is a cross between Indian and Moroccan flavors, but I’m guessing the influence is mainly Moroccan for historical reasons. Anyway, all of that is good (love the ginger and lemon in it!). Paired this with a nice pinot gris, simple green beans and nice crusty fresh bread — it’s a wonderful little meal, and I hope you’ll try it tonight!

6 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Fill a medium sauce pan 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 2/3 of the carrots, and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and reduce heat to low. Sauté gently for 4 minutes. Add ginger and sauté another 1 minute. Add the remaining carrots and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, cumin seeds, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/4 of the pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 6 minutes. Pour contents into a food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the carrot sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl (discarding any solids) and return to sauté pan. Stir in the reserved boiled carrots and the parsley, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover and keep warm while you prepare the chicken.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Rub remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper all over chicken breasts. Add chicken to pan and cook on one side for 8 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Transfer chicken to the carrot sauce and turn over a few times to coat. Place each chicken breast in a bowl and ladle the sauce over each. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4.

Chicken with Olives, Rosemary and Peas

Chicken_with_Olives1 (1 of 1)This dish is from Rome, and is prepared with wonderfully fresh and simple ingredients that are typical of Mediterranean cooking. The key to this type of dish is the anchovy paste (or crushed anchovies), which adds a necessary depth of flavor that isn’t at all fishy in the final product. This recipe smelled so great while cooking that family members, cats and dogs were hanging out underfoot, waiting to sample it — I hope you’ll try it tonight!

2 lbs, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup flavorful black olives (such as Kalmata), pitted and halved lengthwise
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 cup peas
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Combine chicken, salt and pepper in a bowl, and set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, rosemary and wine. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in olives, anchovy paste and peas. Cover and simmer 15 minutes (cover partially for last 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in red wine vinegar and serve with fresh bread or steamed white rice.

Serves 4.

 

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with Thyme

Sweet_Potato_and_Corn_Chowder1 (1 of 1)This extremely tasty chowder warms the soul on a chilly autumn night. I enjoy any type of chowder (fish, clam, corn, you name it!), but I find this version particularly interesting because of its use of sweet potatoes, sherry and thyme, and the crème fraîche adds a delicious finishing touch. Long list of ingredients in this recipe, but it’s really easy to prepare — I hope you’ll try this chowder one night!

4 oz bacon, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and finely chopped (white part only)
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
2 – 3 medium red potatoes (tot. 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large sweet potato (1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb frozen corn kernels
6 Tbsp dry white wine
3 Tbsp dry sherry
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus some additional for garnish
2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups beef or vegetable stock
4 oz crème fraîche

Heat bacon in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve 1 tsp of the bacon fat.

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, shallots, celery and reserved tsp of bacon fat. Sauté about 8 minutes, until leeks and shallots are translucent (and not burnt). Add the bay leaf, garlic, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Cook 8 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the wine and sherry. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart. Remove from heat. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Pour into serving bowls, and garnish with chopped parsley and black pepper. I like to serve this dish with cornbread sticks.

Serves 6.

Chickpea and Pasta Soup with Sage and Rosemary

Chickpea_and_Pasta_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s another hearty and deliciously satisfying soup for fall. We’ve had a few nights of frost, but I still have some healthy sage and rosemary in the garden, as well as the other ingredients on hand in the pantry. I decided to make this comforting soup, and I have to say, it was wonderful. The fresh herbs and dash of nutmeg make it — I hope you’ll give this one a try!
4 oz very small pasta (I used ditalini)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed, sliced once lengthwise (white part only), then thinly sliced crosswise
1 large clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
6 cups beef or vegetable stock
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg (little less that 1/8 tsp)
1 16-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package instructions, minus two minutes of cooking time. Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over low heat. Add leeks and garlic, and cook 10 minutes. Stir constantly so nothing burns. Add 1 cup of the stock and deglaze pan for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the stock, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, nutmeg, pasta and chickpeas. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired (I added another 1/2 tsp salt). Serve with healthy amounts of parmesan cheese and crusty country bread. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6.

Leek and Potato Soup with Pearl Barley and a Hint of Nutmeg

Potato_and_Leek_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s a hearty fall soup with German roots. It has two of my favorite ingredients:  leeks and nutmeg, which are key to this dish (well, so is the butter). The barley adds a very nice texture and flavor, as well. I’ve had this soup before where it is practically all white because of the broth that was used, but for this recipe, I prefer to use a dark, rich vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics). This soup is very easy to make, yet it is very flavorful — I tend to cook recipes with long ingredient lists, but I have to remind myself now and again that simple is elegant and often better! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

8 cups vegetable stock
1 large leek, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb red potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add vegetable stock and stir in leek, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes. Stir often, so that the barley doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. Stir in butter, and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and plenty of Parmesan. Fresh, crusty bread is a must with this soup.

Serves 4.

Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Spices

Red_Lentil_Soup (1 of 1)Last evening was blustery and cold here in New England. We even had some snow — it was the perfect night for this delicious version of red lentil soup! Red lentil soup seems to have various versions around the world, each with its unique variety of spices. The star of this international version is the spice, fenugreek, which has a wonderfully distinctive sweet smell that is similar to maple syrup. In fact, if you can’t find fenugreek (but please try!), you can substitute it in this recipe by omitting the sugar and adding 1 tsp maple sugar. The simmering of this soup melds the flavor of the fenugreek very nicely with the other spices in the dish — I hope you’ll try it tonight!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1 red Thai chili, minced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
7 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Crusty bread

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in yellow onion, garlic, chili, cumin and coriander seeds. Sauté 4 minutes. Stir in carrots and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in fenugreek, sugar, tomato paste, red lentils and chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 40 minutes with lid ajar. Stir occasionally while simmering.

Remove soup from heat. Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning (I added another 1 tsp or so of salt, which seemed about right). Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with red onion and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6.