Stuffed Pork with Some Roasted Potatoes

Here is another somewhat easier meal to do if you take the time and plan ahead. In this case, I made some simple roasted pork along with some potatoes to go with.

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From my past experiences working in a meat room during part of my college tenure, I came to learn the various cuts of meat as well as different cuts of meat which are in actuality the same thing, just cut differently to look different. This is very apparent when it comes to boneless pork. Your boneless roasts are utilized as: roasts, pork chops (thick or thin) and also these lovely pieces they call country-style ribs (comes from the end roasts as opposed to the chops coming from the center part). So as it is cheaper by the pound to get the roast, I do that and then cut at home to whatever thickness I may choose. For the instances of stuffing- I make them a little thicker. I typically buyt whatever else I may need in the same grocery trip (unless I already have the needed supplies) so then when I get home, I can prep the meals, and then freeze the meals.

Here, I did a simple stuffing of apple pieces, diced up red onion, some brie cheese, and I crushed up some walnuts. Put these in a bowl together, mix and then cut a slit in the middle of the chops (not quite all the way through) and then stuff. Then weeks later since these are prepped and frozen, I can take them out and toss right in the oven.

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The potatoes I find it quicker to par-boil them, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, dice up and then sautee in oil and other spices. Here I used some olive oil, cut up some garlic, sweet paprika, salt, and some fresh parsley.

Enjoy.

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Always Fun to Walk into a “Real” Bucher Shop- Followed by Grilled Elk-Blackberry Sausage

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This past weekend I had the fun time of heading over to Philadelphia and walk around the Italian Market Festival. Streets were lined with vendors selling all different types of products, fresh produce stands were out in abundance, and along the streets in the storefronts you had everything from pastry shops, cafes/restaurants, cheese shops, to one of my favorites- the butcher shop.

Of course they had the traditonal styled butcher shop- got all of your beef parts in one case, pork in another (I did get a nice 4.5 lb. piece of pork belly), and others with poultry, lamb, etc. It was when I went into another more “exotic” shop, that the fun began.

It started off just by looking at the display in the front window…quail, snake, kangaroo…the list goes on. So when I went inside i started looking around and the variety was quite distinguished. And so I ended up buying a nice package of quail for future cooking endeavours, however for this post we will go into the sausage that I obtained: Elk sausage with blackberry.

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Now, some people may be turned away by some of your gamier meat- but not me (especialyl when it is cut with something like blackberry to add a slight sweetness and some mositure when cooked. So at that point it was sausage (check), then I needed to get some rolls (check) and well a look in the fridge and we found some toppings (check).

I started off by throwing the sausages on the grill. While that was happening outside, I had a pot of water boiling (with salt added) on the stove and tossed in some broccoli rabe to cook for about 2 minutes. When it was done I drained in the sink and flushed with cold water to stop the cooking process. I then had a pan set up with some olive oil, butter, diced garlic, and black pepper. I then checked on the sausage and at the appropriate time I sauteed the broccoli rabe so it was nice and hot just as I borught the sausages inside.

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I started off with cutting the rolls. I then grated some cranberry-cinnamon cheddar onto the roll, tossed on the sausages, and then topped with the broccoli rabe. Overall, a nice flavorful meal which did not require too much time or effort. If you happen to stumble upon elk sausage, I would say buy some and try it- you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy.

Fresh Bacon- Hmm, Let’s Make Some Burgers… Part Two

So, at the beginning of the week I finished (quite successfully) my first attempt of making my own bacon- which can be found here. So with fresh bacon, beautiful weather, and having the time to barbecue, of course I’m going to take another crack at type of burgeri with past attempts beinf found here and here.

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In this instance with the bacon imparting a slightly sweet flavor from the pecan woodchips, I wanted to add flavors to accent. I just so happened to have on hand a cheddar infused with cranberries and cinnamon- that seemed like a good place to start having a little tart and a slight spice. Now with sweet and salty ahh, need something a little fat and oily so I made some fresh onion straws and then a vegetable to sort of soak it all in (fresh spinach leaves). And finally, can never leave out the side of homemade potato salad.

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Enjoy.

Cavatappi with Grilled Chicken and Sauteed Shrimp in a Light Sauce

With grilling season in full swing, I felt it was time to combine a few different cooking styles to form a dish that breaks away a little bit from traditional grilling.

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I started off with some boneless thighs which I seasoned lightly and then tossed on the grill. While on the grill, I basted them with a combination of balamic vinegar, honey, and chili powder. Upon completion I put them on a cutting board and cut into small pieces/strips and set aside.

In my double burner griddle, I poured in a little oil and a teaspoon of butter and put the heat on low. I then tossed in some diced garlic and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. I then tossed in some broccoli and let cook for a few minutes and then tossed in some cooked baby shrimp. At this point, I added in 2 more teaspoons of butter, 1/4 cup of diced up parsley, and stirred around. I When it was close to being done, I threw in the chicken, some heavy cream, and  grated on some fresh pepito cheese.

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After the cavatappi was done cooking in a separate pot of water, i drained it, poured in the mixture with the sauce, mixed well and served.

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Enjoy.

Summertime Grilling: Burgers Part One

A while back in the winter time I had originally posted an “indoor” version of a burger which can be seen here.

Now that the weather is warm and the grill can be fired up, it is time to have some fun and experiment with different variations of burger concepts and toppings. Today I will present two wonderful ideas and as the summer progresses, there will be many more to come.

Before I get into the main jist of things, I’ll quickly go through the making of the patties. I am not typically one to add a whole lot fo stuff into the burger itself or jump on the tv craze of “stuffed” burgers. I am somewhat agreeable with chef Bobby Flay in that the burger itself should be simple and that adding additional flavors and elements should be in the roll, toppings, etc.

The patties I created I used 90% ground beef. I take a few strips of uncooked bacon and dice them up into a mush and mix well into the beef. I know a lot of people may utilize seasonings such as onion/garlic salt, but I prefer to finely dice up both vegetables themselves and add them into the mix. I then utilize some sweet paprika and a touch of sage and then make the patties by hand (no tools required).

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The first version I attempted was a nice little bit of sweet and spicy. Along with grilling the burgers, I had also cut up slices of fresh pineapple and some orange habaneros and tossed them on the grill as well. In a small skillet I had fried up and then used breadcrumbs to coat and make some crispy onion straws. I had also fried up some bacon which I added some fresh peppercorn for a little kick.

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When the burgers were close to being fully done, I tossed some Colby cheese onto the patties and let it melt on top (about 4-5 minutes).

The final product was as follows: Bottom layer of roll, Romaine lettuce, burger with Colby cheese, grilled pineapple, onion straws, bacon, and finally the orange habanero.

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And, now on to the second version.

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In this instance I decided to go with more natural and “woodsy” flavors as opposed to sweet and spicy combinations.

As in the previous instance, as the burger was almost done I had added on the cheese to melt a little. I chose a nice 3 year aged cheddar to top. After the cheddar, I cut up a fresh avocado and threw on a nice slice of that. I had some dried lobster mushrooms which I had re-hydrated in some water and then sauteed in a little oil. Now with my birthday just happening, one of the gifts I received was the Polyscience Smoking Gun. What better way to test was to cook up a few slices of bacon and then add some applewood smokiness to them? This was all served on a ciabatta roll with some red leaf lettuce and a side of polish pickles and some chips.

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Enjoy.

Home-made Tortelloni

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Home-made Tortelloni

Sorry for being a bit lax the past several days, have been a tad under the weather and thus not much cooking happening. That should change by the weekend though so bear with me in the meantime.

Before taking ill, I was able to create these as part of a weekend meal. I started off by making a simple egg-pasta and rolled it out really thin. I then cut it into small squares.
For stuffing, I halved a spaghetti squash, basted with some oil and spices and proceeded to roast in the oven. In a pan I sauteed some swiss chard that I chopped up finely.
After the squash was roasted I pulled out the strands, added it to the chard, tossed in some asiago and and some romano and cooked until melted in.

After making the filling I pulsated it in the processor to make it a tad more consistent and easier for stuffing the tortelloni. I took a spoon, added some to the center of each square. I then folded them into a triangle, took the two corners from the longer side and wrapped around in a loop separate from the rest of the triangle. To cook, I just tossed them in some boiling water and let cook for about 5 minutes after they started to float.

I made a sauce with some Asiago, Parmesan, and some milk in a saucepan. I then topped the tortelloni with some pumpkin-seed oil.

Enjoy.

A Mixed Cream of Vegetable Soup

I always enjoy going to a produce market as in most instances there is a variety of vegetables you do not normally see in the grocery store and there are typically a lot of very great prices. And in times like this, I get a tad overzealous and have more than I know what to do with so I start to try different combinations and types of meals and thus I came across an interesting soup combination: Cream of Broccoflower and Asparagus with sweet onion and lemongrass- topped with mild cheddar and sauteed broccolini.

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You can choose any stock you want as a base, but since yesterday I had made 5 quarts of fresh chicken stock, I went with that. I started off by pouring in a little olive oil and sauteed the sweet onion along with the lemongrass. I diced up the broccoflower and asparagus into smaller pieces and added them to this mix.

I let that cook for a few minutes and then added in 5 cups of stock and 5 cups of warm water and brought to a simmer. I then put the lid on the stock pot and let it cook for an hour or so.

At this point, I proceeded to add in 1 and half cups heavy cream and put the lid back on again. In a separate pan I sauteed some broccolini which I would later on put as sort of an edible garnish on the soup along with the cheddar.

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At the two hour mark, I took out my immersion blender and blended the whole thing right in the stock pot (saves time and effort of transferring to a blender/mixer etc. and doing it that way. I then poured the soup into the bowl tossed in the broccolini and some shredded cheddar.

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Enjoy.