Wednesday, March 30, 2011

grilled pork loin with rosemary and olive oil

i have ordered pork chops and pork loin at restaurants in italy while traveling on vacation.  the flavor is so wonderful.....some of it has to be the quality of the meat and the flavor of the olive oil not to mention what ever kind of wood or charcoal they are using to grill.  i set out to try and replicate this at home.  this recipe is so simple you would really not expect it to taste so delicious......give it a try.

i put 2 medium pork loin roasts in a gallon zip lock bag with enough olive oil to coat the whole thing...add a few teaspoons of kosher salt, some fresh ground pepper and a few springs of rosemary.  throw it in the fridge for a few hours.  take it out half hour before you are ready to put it on the grill and get it to room temperature.

i use a weber gas grill.  i sear it on all sides and test it for doneness w a meat thermometer stuck in the end of the roast the long way......take if off just before it gets to medium....i take if off the grill when i get a reading around 155 degrees.  put it on a plate and let it rest for a few minutes.  then slice it at angle like you would a london broil....very yummy....sorry no pictures of this one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the best blueberry lemon pancakes ever

this one also has a connection to tilly.  she bought me a subscription to yankee magazine for 2 years.  one of those issues had a fantastic recipe for blueberry lemon pancakes.....i modified the recipe but never wrote down my modications, i just know my substitutions by now.....i pull out the magazine from the cupboard it's cover is torn and there is flour all over the pages........the issue is from june 2000.....but it makes me smile everytime  i look at it.  why do i have so many crazy sentimental thoughts about cooking? anyway it's all good......these pancakes on a weekend morning any time of the year are pure heaven (although made with fresh blueberries in season they attain an even higher level of perfection!).
this one is a custom stack for one of the non blueberry lovers at my house

  recipe follows after the jump

Friday, March 25, 2011

NYC and some of the boroughs: buying easter goodies.......

road trip to nyc: a few weeks ago my friend karen and i took the day off and drove to nyc....several of the boroughs...some accidentally, in search of delectable european specialty food to stock the kitchen at home.   karen had read about a specialty irish grocery store in queens and was willing to drive so we could cart it all home.  we pulled into the butchers block at 11 am and got an awesome parking space right out front.   karen is irish....forgot to mention that... her brother and sister in law who recently moved to the states from ireland are missing some of their favorite foods.  as soon as we walked into the store and surveyed the wares karen dialed up her sister in law on the mobile and started giving her an inventory of what was available.   special easter eggs filled with cadbury treats, irish sausages, irish butter, cookies, crisps (the delightfully helpful staff opened cases directly off the delivery truck)... between the two of us we filled the back of her suv with bags. 

that was so lucrative we decided to start internet searching from the car and found another euro grocery less than a mile away.  this one turned out to be mainly greek.  pitas, olives, cheeses, olive was fun.  bought just a few things (italian olive oil for $8) but it was very entertaining.  some of the things at the deli counter resembled actual hoofs......and the sounds system played an all greek sound track, fantastic.

this is the olive bar at the euro market

starving by now we decided to walk a few blocks and found an awesome restaurant bare what an awesome ice tea was pink, the burger was fantastic, fries also delicious. 

next stop was eataly in manhattan.  we put the address into the gps and found ourselves at that address but in brooklyn stuck in traffic. we laughed a lot at how dense we were and how long it took us to figure out that we were not in manhattan. an hour later we pulled into the flatiron district, parked our car and headed in.  i had been there once before on a day that was insanely busy.  this was a friday mid-afternoon so it wasn't too bad.  we window shopped the olive oil (mostly very expensive) and visited all of the different departments.  we checked out the balsamic vinegar. it was very expensive.... twice as much as we had paid for really good quality balsamic vinegar we picked up last fall in florence italy.  we stopped at the coffee bar and had excellent macchiatos and we did buy a few things.....a load of bucatini, aborio rice and some nice italian cookies.  (karen also bought some prosciutto)

next up we met britany for dinner at momofuku noodle bar....pork buns...fabulous! then around the corner to momofuku milk bar for dessert....french toast soft serve ice you could taste the butter and syrup and the crack pie......yummmmmm.  we also got birthday cake truffles and 2 kinds of cookies way too much. i was still nibbling a cookie 3 days later.  we jumped back in the car and made it home by midnight...i have to say i had to sleep late and chill out all day the next day. what a wonderful day off!  thanks karen great idea!!!!

thick cut pork chops with spiced apples and raisins

i saw tyler florence make this a few times on his food network show.  it looked really good and who doesn't love apple sauce with pork? so i tried it.  it tasted really good and it was fairly easy to make.  kelsey and my friend karen were both so impressed they each made this recipe for a different audience   kelsey was visiting a friend's family home and offered to cook dinner if they did the shopping.  needless to say this family has invited her back anytime!!! karen made it for her family on a home visit to ireland.  the irish adored it as well.   essentially the depth of flavor of this is such that you appear to be an actual chef.  the first time i made pork chops with spiced apples i found that the volume of the marinade was a bit here is the recipe with my variations.  thank you tyler!
pork chops with spiced apples and raisins served here with vegetable risotto and citrus fennel salad

recipe after the jump

Thursday, March 24, 2011

hanger steak with carmelized mushrooms and onions with balsamic reduction and roasted mini potatoes

britany sent me this via email as a menu suggestion for one of our weekend cooking projects.  i headed over to the butcher and asked for hanger steak to feed four.  the steaks looked pretty weird to me but i figured i would give it a try.  the original recipe is based on the bromberg bros. blue ribbon cookbook.  i made some significant changes to the sauce and added my own potato recipe.  this recipe has a big wow is so delicious you will have trouble believing you cooked it at home.

you'll need:
ask the butcher how much steak you need based upon how many you are feeding
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper

mushrooms and onions
3 tablespoons of butter
2 onions sliced into rings
1/4 lb of cremini mushrooms (baby bellas) wiped clean and sliced
salt and pepper

for the potatoes
1 pound of tiny white potatoes
chicken stock
1/4 stick of butter
drizzle of olive oil
fresh chopped parsley

for the balsamic reduction sauce
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

lemon brown sugar cookies with royal icing

every holiday my daughter kelsey makes some kind of cut out cookies.  for this endeavor I am the sous chef.  i help set up, clean up, fetch ingredients and encourage her .....but mostly i watch the artist at work.  she turns out beautifully creative works of art that honestly are too pretty to eat.....these lemon brown sugar cookies tasted delicious!  this is a martha stewart recipe from her collection of recipes for every day cook book.  happy easter brother.....(inside joke those old easter egg dye/decorating kits had some ridiculous stickers in them...we don't have any brothers at our house so the dog had to wear that sticker...every easter we wish each other "happy easter brother!")

kelsey's ducks and carrots

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Portuguese Celebration Sopas

Tilly was born in Portugal and immigrated to the USA as a toddler.  The Portuguese Holy Ghost celebrations were a part of my childhood.  Going to the "Portuguey" hall and waiting in line for the chance to sit down and be served family style, the fantastic feast prepared by the ladies of the society was the high light of labor day weekend.  Tilly made her own version and I remember her proudly telling anyone who would listen that it was pretty much the only thing I would eat when I was 2 years old.  Unfortunately no written family recipes exist. ......
 I adapted the recipe from several I found on the internet. Did some memory checks from what my mom remembers of her grandmothers technique…Mom is not a cook so keep that in mind. I made some technique changes based on what I know about braising meat.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

bucatini all'amatriciana with mario sauce

this classic italian pasta dish is my daughter britany's favorite. we tried it at lupa, mario batali's roman trattoria around the corner from her manhattan apartment. it was so delicious that we ate every last noodle and had to stop ourselves from licking the bowl.  so i set out to re-create the recipe at home.

it sounds more complicated than it is. once you've made it a few times you can step away from the recipe and just estimate as you go. the richness of the pork fat in the sauce, coating the chewy bucatini, combined with the kick from the red onion and red pepper flake - very yummy! it's quite addictive.

you'll need:
- guanciale (cured pork jowls. if you can't find it, use pancetta which is more readily available. the recipe calls for 3/4 pound, i think you need a bit less, 1/4 - 1/2 a pound for this)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 red onion, halved then sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 tsp of red pepper flake (i reduced this to 1/2 tsp at my husband's request, it was still pretty spicy)
- kosher salt and pepper
- basic tomato sauce (you can really use any basic homemade sauce, the mario recipe included below is now one of my favorites. this recipe uses half of the sauce. i put the rest in the freezer to use for other pasta dishes! i always buzz it with an immersion blender to get rid of any big tomato chunks)
- 1 pound bucatini (i bought mine at chelsea market)
- flat leaf parsley and pecorino romano for garnish

recipe continues after the jump...