Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baked Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing


When I eat pork chops they have to be stuffed or marinated with something really tasty, otherwise I find them bland. This started when I was little.  Since my mom knew my dislike for them she used to say we were having 'pork cutlets' and that fooled me into thinking we were having something completely different. I always found them dry and boring and if not cooked the right way I still find this.  These on the other hand have lots of flavour and have made me reconsider how I feel about them.


Ingredients:

1/4 Cup of olive oil
2 Apples, cured and chopped (try Cortland apples)
2 Thick pork chops
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs of fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 Tbs of Fresh Chevril, chopped (optional)
1/2 Tbs of Fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 Tbs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 slices of multi-grain bread or any other type, cut into small cubes
1/4 Cup of butter
4 slices of bacon, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

For the pork chops:

Preheat oven  to 325F.

Sweat the bacon and after a few minutes add the onion, cook and add celery and apple and sweat another 5 minutes, add herbs at the last minute or two.
Deglaze the pan with about a 1/4 cup of red or white wine or chicken stock.
Cool slightly, combine with the bread, add the soft butter.
Cut a slit in the pork chop side without puncturing the other side.  Don't make the slit too wide in length, place your finger and/or knife in the opening and spread open to form a pocket.
Fill with stuffing.  You may need to fasten the opening with a toothpick.
Brush with a little olive oil.
Heat remaining oil in a pan and brown chops on both sides.
Bake in oven until done. about 20 minutes.  Baste frequently with a bit of extra butter, don't overcook.


If you  have have extra stuffing,  freeze and use the next time you're making the dish or stuff chicken or a pork tenderloin.  

Serve with brussel sprouts and sweet potato mash with a little nutmeg.  This is a perfect fall meal.

Breakfast Time with Phil

My favourite part of the weekend.

Breakfast usually consists of a fruit smoothie, breakfast sandwich and some lovely fruit arrangement ... love it!  Last night we had to pick up painting supplies for the weekend and our only other priority was to make sure we had all the makings for breakfast the following day. 

Do you see that packaging the bacon comes in?  It's packaged in a clam shell container that's easy to open and store.  What a great idea, eh?   Years ago I talked about how it should be that way and then one day I see it at the super market and it now looks like I missed the opportunity. Don't you ahte it when that happens??   It's so much easier this way and you don't feel like you have to use all the bacon in one go. sigh... it's really a very good idea.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicago

This is a place we ate at while in Chicago.  Unfortunately the photos didn't really turn out since we were on a dark patio.

Phil and I never really have a plan for when we set out in search of food, we just get ready at the hotel and walk.  This time we stumbled upon Vermilion. We browsed the menu and were on the fence, mainly because I just didn't know what I was in the mood for. I think what made us decide to go with it were the reviews they had posted.  I'll admit it, I saw Oprah had eaten there and that did it for me.

I just noticed all the smears on the plates of goat cheese and pomegranate molasses.... does that make it fancy when a restaurant does that?  It used to be foam, but I heard that's 'so yesterday' I guess smears still cut it though.   
Blue Corn Crusted Scallops
Kali mirch Latin calabasa, goat cheese puree
 Duck Vindaloo Arepa
Brushed pomegranate molasses, curry leaf mango
 Caldeirada de peixe
Traditional Brazilian seasonal seafood stew, Indian seasoning, tomato rice
 Shrimp Paella
Ancho tequila marinated, Indian flattened rice poha, shrimp and mussels

We shared pretty much everything and I especially loved the appetizers.  The Seafood Stew was my main and that was just okay.  The coconut milk was a little overpowering.  My favourite was the Duck Vindaloo.    And no I didn't see Oprah. 

Since we're on the topic of tomatoes...



For my American readers a caesar is a drink similar to the Bloody Mary but with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice.  Clamato is exactly how it sounds, clam juice with tomato juice.  That sound unappetizing, but trust me it is delicious!  One of the things I like best is the liquid isn't as thick as tomato juice.  To me the other key ingredient is horseradish. 

Phil makes a killer caesar.  This one here that he made me was like a meal with all the garnishes.

1-2 Ounces of vodka (or no vodka if that's your thing)
2 Drops of Worcestershire sauce (I obviously had to look up that spelling)
1 Tsp of hoseradish
Pepper, to taste
Clamato juice
Montreal Streak Spice, to taste
Celery salt for rimming

Garnishes:
Baby Bell cheese
Celery stick
Pickled onion
Wedge of lime

Rim the edge of the glass with lime and dip into the celery salt or store-bought caesar rimmer.  Add ice, vodka, seasoning and juice to glass and stir.  Add garnishes just before seasoning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Salsa Recipe

As I mentioned before, I went a little overboard with all the tomato plants.  It was my first time planting a vegetable garden so I had no idea how big they would grow.  I was also told this summer was a really good year for tomatoes.

After making a lot of tomato sauce I decided what I needed next was a good salsa recipe, so I bugged my friend Jen for one.  Jen lives on a huge property by the water in Kingston and plants tons of tomatoes among other things and has a big party at the end of the year to do all her preserving.  In the past when we were living in Toronto in a small condo without a garden she was nice enough to bring us salsa and pickled tomatoes.  So thank you Jen for sharing your recipe! I made a few changes to work with what I had in the fridge, but this is pretty much what Jen gave me.  Included are also preserving instructions. 



Ingedients:

7 cups Peeled tomatoes (to remove skins place in boiling water for about 2 minutes and remove and place in ice water)
2 cups Jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 cup of seeded jalapeno peppers, chopped (if you like the heat, leave some seeds in)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
½ Cup cider vinegar
¼ Cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
1 Tsp salt
2 Tbsp lime juice

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened about 10 minutes.

Prepare jars and lids.  (I usually just run the jars through the hot rinse cycle of the dishwasher.  This ensures there is no bacteria and that they are sterile.  You can also simmer them in a big, big pot ensuring they are covered with water.  Just bring the water to a boil and then put the jars in the pot.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Keep them warm until you are ready to use them.)

Ladle hot salsa into prepared jars, leaving ½ inch of headspace.  Remove air bubbles by inserting a spatula/spoon/utensil and moving it up and down the inside of the jar.  You will see the bubbles come to the surface if there is excess air.  Wipe the rim of the jar.  Centre lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.
  
Place jars in large pot, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. (i.e. leave them in the boiling water).  Turn heat off and leave jars in pot for 5 minutes.  Remove jars (preferably with tongs because they are going to be very hot), cool and store.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rib Eye Roast

First of all is 'rib eye' one word or two? 




Phil and I picked up a nice piece of beef from Boffos for dinner.  Every once in awhile we like to treat ourselves to nice Saturday evening meal.  Actually, I didn't realize what a treat is was going to be until after they weighed it and the price came up.  They already cut off enough for two and I didn't want to tell them I changed my mind.  I'm not sure why I get awkward about those things.  What am I worried they're going to think if I say it's more than I expected and I'll go with the chicken?  Anyway, dinner was a little pricier than what we had planned.  Don't worry I got over it about 10 minutes later. 

Before Boffos we stopped in at the Kerr Village Farmer's Market.  I picked up vegetables and went to my new favourite stand called Smokeville that I've mentioned before.  They smoke trout, salmon, chicken and pulled pork.  I'm looking forward to having the pulled pork sandwiches later this week.  It's a great weeknight meal because you just have to thaw the meat and heat up in a saute pan and add some BBQ sauce and you have delicious pulled pork sandwiches without  having to spend hours yourself slow cooking the meat.   

Now back to the dinner.  I always think if you have a really good piece of beef you should hold back from over marinating and seasoning.  I kept this one simple. 


Ingredients:

1 Tbs Freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs fleur de sel (salt)
Rib Eye Roast
1/4 Cup of olive oil
2 Onions, quartered
2 Tbs of unsalted butter
4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Tbs of fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbs of fresh oregano, chopped


For the Rib Eye:

Remove beef from the fridge an hour before your ready to cook and bring to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Season outside of the meat with pepper and fleur de sel, pressing into the meat with your fingers.  If not already done by your butcher, tie around the eye of meat with kitchen string to allow meat to keep its shape during cooking.
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add beef to pan and sear all sides until dark brown.  Place in oven and allow to cook for about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in sauce pan and add herbs and garlic.  Turn beef over and pour butter and herb mixture over beef and place onion quarters around beef.  Continue to cook until desired temperature using a meat thermometer.  Remove meat from the oven and allow to rest in tented foil for about 10 minutes.  I usually pull the meat out about 10 degrees before my desired temperature because it continues to cook while resting. 

I served the beef with goats cheese mashed potatoes and steamed carrots and beans.  The potatoes are simple, just add the cheese to how you usually make your mashed for an extra rich flavour that compliments the beef very well.  I think a blue cheese would have been nice too. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Apple Juice

Have you tried this?  It's amazing.  I also recommend the lemonade and orange juice.  I'm a big fan.  

Tomato Mushroom Polenta

This is a quick meal I put together with the leftover polenta that works great on a weeknight.  I also make this with that polenta roll you sometimes find at the grocery store.  The only difference is I bake it with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese and top off with a tomato sauce.

 There’s no recipe here, really.  Just use whatever tomato sauce you have in the fridge weather it’s store bought or something you’ve made.  When I know I’m making this I pick up a variety of mushrooms like Crimini, Chanterelle, Shitake, Oyster, Porcini and whatever other favourites you may have.  I never really choose Portobello, I think they’re overrated, but that’s another blog post.   

  

Chop up your mushrooms and sauté with some olive oil, Thyme and garlic.  If you have some sherry pour a little of that, or red wine - and if you don’t have any wine try sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar.  Once  they’re soft add the tomato sauce and let simmer.  When heated through pour over polenta with a healthy portion of parmesan cheese.