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Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

One of Brandon’s all-time favorite dinners is pasta with red sauce so I wasn’t surprised when he requested it for our first “return to normal eating and homecooked meals” after the holidays. I wasn’t really in the mood for traditional spaghetti sauce and Brandon suggested arrabbita sauce. Spicy homemade marinara sauce with pancetta sounded perfect.

We usually top stuffed shells with arrabbita but I was not in the mood for the richness of stuffed shells after the holidays so we stuck with plain spaghetti noodles. This ended up being a great choice because it really allowed the awesome flavor of the arrabbita sauce to be the star. The pancetta is a must in the sauce – it adds so much flavor and richness. The red pepper flakes don’t dominate the dish but contribute a nice, slow burn.

I used my go-to marinara sauce as the base for this sauce and added the sauteed pancetta and red pepper flakes at the end. If you have never made homemade marinara sauce, you must! It tastes nothing like what you buy in a jar. I recommend doubling this recipe and keeping a batch in the freezer for a quick dinner option. It reheats wonderfully.

One Year Ago: Three-Ingredient Pot Roast
Two Years Ago: Kefta – Greek Meatballs

Pasta with Arrabbita Sauce
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 stalk celery, broken into 4 pieces
1 carrot, finely diced
32-ounces high-quality crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Pinch of sugar
Shot of red wine (1-2 tablespoons)
1/3 pound (around 6 ounces) pancetta, chopped
2 teaspoons (or more if  you like spice!) red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until they begin to look translucent. Add garlic, celery and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar and red wine. Simmer for 1 hour over low heat, uncovered.

While sauce is simmering, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then pancetta. Sautee about 5 minutes, or until it begins to look crispy. Add red pepper flakes and sautee for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into marinara sauce.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in fresh basil right before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

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We first tried these tacos a couple years ago after Brandon got his Big Green Egg and was looking for fun recipes for his grill. We couldn’t get over how flavorful and different the tacos were. The recipe came from The Barebcue Bible by Steven Raichlen. We have a couple of Steve’s books and they are fabulous for getting inspiration for different recipes for the grill. Also, his recipes provide very specific grilling instructions so they’re perfect for both the experienced griller who’s looking for different recipes and for the novice griller who’s learning that grilling is more than flip, flip, poke.

According to Steven, this dish is commonly found in Mexico and traditionally served with guacamole, spicy salsa and corn tortillas. The adobo sacue has a nice gentle heat but is not overwhelming. It’s such a nice twist on your traditional taco.

Switch it up and try something new on the grill this summer!

One Year Ago: Cajun Tilapia with Polenta and Peppers

Adobo Grilled Pork Tacos
(Recipe source The Barbecue Bible)

Ingredients:

6 guajillo chiles or 1/4 cup pure chile powder (the guajilo chiles are dried and were available in my local store)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (1 1/2 pound) pork loin or tenderloin

For serving: corn tortillas, guacamole and salsa

Directions:

If using the chiles, tear open and remove the veins and seeds. Soak in the vinegar for 30 minutes, or until soft.

Combine the chiles (or chile powder), vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cinnamon and cloves in a blender and process into a smooth, wet paste.

Cut the pork loin into four broad, thin (1/4 inch thick) sheets (butterflying them). Spread each piece of pork with adobo mixture and stack in a glass baking dish. Cover and let marinate in fridge, 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat grill to high. Oil grill grate, arrange slices of pork on hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until browned and cooked through. This should take around 2-3 minutes per side. Internal temperature should be 145-15o when you pull it. Let pork rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Serve with tortillas, guacamole and salsa.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 62

Regardless of whether you want to make this dish – you MUST scroll down and read the recipe. I guarantee you that you have never read anything like it! My in law’s were so thoughtful to give me a copy of the July 1946 issue of Gourmet for Christmas this year (knowing about the 68 Days of Gourmet project).

The style of the old issue is so interesting. All of the recipes are written into stories. I’ve so enjoyed reading through it!

I picked a few recipes from the magazine to make during the last few days of the project. This Veal Scallopine sounded good and I just couldn’t get over the way the recipe was written. I had to share. I think you’ll be very surprised to find that the recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup. I generally avoid buying “cream of” soups but had to make an exception for this recipe. Also, I originally was going to make this with veal but couldn’t find it at our local grocery and in the end wasn’t comfortable purchasing it anyway. I read online that pork tenderloin is a good substitute so I decided to go that route.

I sliced the pork tenderloin on a diagonal into rounds and then pounded it thin. I think it was a perfect substitution for the veal. It became so tender during the slow cook.

Overall, this recipe was very good. The only change/alteration I would recommend is reducing the salt. The chopped olives in the dish and sherry stirred in at the end really added a lot to the overall flavor. A fun throwback from Gourmet!

Veal (or Pork) Scallopine
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1946)

*Note – this is how the original recipe was written. I had fun following it! Take into account that this was part of a special boating section.

Believing that beef and steaks and things, barring fodder for stews and such, will continue to be scarce, stringy, bony, and tough, lets’ turn to a simple yet delicious veal scallopine – for veal’s not tough and never cheats you with many bones. Pound veal steaks firmly but evenly with wood mallet, flat of chef’s knife, or dinghy paddle, until about 2/3 original thickness. Trim out sinews, membranes, and gristly bits, and cut into serving size before cooking. Dredge with flour. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in Dutch oven on top of stove. In center of this put 1 level teaspoon of fresh-made garlic salt – tossing the rubbed-down nubbin of the garlic clove in also, to fizzle for a few moments before casting overside. When salt is lightly brown, put in your veal steaks. brown lightly golden on both sides. Now cover with canned cream of mushroom soup until meat is hidden. Toss in 4 bay leaves, a handful of chopped ripe olive meat, 1 tablespoon minced pimento. Step up with hand milled black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire, 1/2 teaspoon of origanum (the wild marjoram so beloved by all Mediterranean chefs), sweet marjoram, or basil – rubbed between palms. (Buyable under my friend Pat Winter’s House of Herbs label in all good stores, or write House of Herbs, Juniper Hills, Canaan, Connecticut, for her complete listing of hers, wine vinegars and all such.)

Go up on deck and sip your cocktail with the guest who matters most, simmering veal very slowly the while, with cover on tightly. (Use an asbestos disc if stove tends to be too brisk.) When veal is tender as a lovely lady’s sigh, top off by turning in 1 tablespoon of sherry for each 2 servings. Stir up sauce well and toot your dinner horn. A cold bottle of Gret Western sauterne, or perhaps one of Meier’s fine Sadusky Island sauternes from Ohio; or, as we happen to prefer with Italian type foods like this, a red (served cool, not cold), Louis Martini’s Nappa Barbera, a fruity lusty thing beloved in the Italian Piedmont, or his Sonoma Zinfandel, which when grown in higher altitudes gains a delicate softness and charm.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 55

An awesome grilled pork tenderloin to celebrate the first 80+ degree day of the year! It’s been such a cold winter and our recent bout of Spring weather is energizing and refreshing. Brandon, Sullie and I went for a run after work today and then came home and got to work on this delicious dinner!

I will only buy pork tenderloin when it is on sale and lucky for us it was on special this week. I remembered seeing this recipe and thought it would be a great for Spring grilling. This pork would have been great grilled with the marinade alone but the addition of the jalapeno onion marmalade really took it over the top. It was so easy to have Brandon outside grilling the pork tenderloin and our favorite grilled sweet potatoes while I worked on the marmalade and green beans. Teamwork!

Quick update on the fitness front. First, workouts have been solid this week. I’ve taught BodyPump 3 out of the last 4 days (teaching the new release – BodyPump 73!) and also squeezed in yoga and some runs. Feeling strong but getting a little tired towards the end of the week. Legs are pretty dead and my back is really sore. Still hoping to fit in one more yoga practice tomorrow morning before hitting the road this weekend. We’re going to visit my grandmother to celebrate her birthday and Easter!

Hope to have some updates for you over the weekend. My dad and I will be in the kitchen together so you know that means some good things are coming!  Also, I’ll be baking this beautiful Lady Strawberry Cake for Mema’s birthday dinner! Yum!!! :grin:

One Year Ago: Crescent Breakfast Casserole (one of the most popular recipes on my blog!)

Grilled Garlic Lime Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeno Onion marmalade
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, September 1995)

Ingredients:

FOR THE MARINADE
3 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Cayenne to taste
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), trimmed

FOR THE MARMALADE
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup water

FOR THE MARINADE
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine pork and marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out excess air and marinate 12-48 hours.
FOR THE PORK
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade and let excess drip off. Cook about 4 minutes per side (4 sides) until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes (resist the urge to cut in – let the temperature continue to rise and the juices redistribute).
FOR THE MARMALADE
While the pork is grilling, cook onions over medium heat in a large heavy skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. (I used cast iron – always do to caramelize onions!) Season with salt and pepper. Add jalapenos and cook for 1 minute. Add honey and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add vinegar and simmer, stirring until almost all liquid is evaporated. Add water and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened and onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Season marmalade with salt and pepper.
Cut pork into slices and serve with marmalade.
Yield: 2-3 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 45

This might seem like a strange combination but just trust me on this one – it’s good. What was not good was my decision to start this risotto at 8:45 after I got home from yoga. I was so hungry I didn’t know if I’d make it through all the stirring! Risotto isn’t hard, it just requires constant attention and a block of time. I was expecting this risotto to be a simple weeknight dinner but it really surprised me. The flavors green pea and bacon flavors were great together and the addition of lemon zest and juice at the end added an unexpected brightness. I also really appreciated not having to open a bottle of wine to make this dish!

Unhappy to report that my left leg is not getting much better. After my run on Monday it was swollen and sore. Boo. I planned on running the RaceFest Half Marathon in April but that’s not looking good for me unless my leg starts feeling better. I’ve taken the rest of the week off of running but I’m going to test it out again this weekend to see how it’s feeling. The high here is 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday and I can’t wait to get outside! It’s been such a cold and wet winter. I’m going to embrace the two days of nice weather to the fullest!

I taught BodyPump tonight and felt like pushing it a bit. Went super heavy on my weights for squats and back and hamstrings. Maybe the Olympics are inspiring me to be a better BodyPumper!? ;) (Seriously – did you see Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn win their gold medals? Amazing!)

And time for bed…up early tomorrow for my 6:30 hot vinyasa class. Can’t wait! Hope I’m not feeling too sore from BodyPump.

Risotto with Bacon and Green Peas
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2009)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bacon slice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced (my addition – omit if desired!)
2/3 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup frozen green peas
4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan.

In a separate heavy saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to bacon fat in pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat.

Add 1/4 cup hot broth mixture and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Make sure each addition has been absorbed before adding the next. Rice is done when tender and creamy but al dente, about 20-22 minutes. You might not have to use all of your broth but  reserve leftover broth mixture to thin the ristotto before plating.

Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Stir in cheese, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Thin risotto with some of reserved broth mixture if desired and season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 43

It’s funny how certain recipes get really popular in the food blogging world. I saw these Ham and Cheddar Pretzel Bites on Pink Parsley a couple months ago and thought they looked fun. Then I noticed the original recipe was from Gourmet – even better! I thought these would be a kid and adult friendly snack at my niece’s second birthday party a couple weeks ago. Since seeing the recipe on Josie’s blog, they’ve been popping up everywhere. So for my food blogger readers – I apologize if you’ve seen this one several times already.

I am sorry that I’ve been so slack with the blog this week. I’ve had a lot going on and no time to sit down at night to update. We have friends coming to stay with us tonight so I’ve been a busy bee trying to get our tiny apartment presentable and ready for guests. Also, we’ve been dealing with house hunting drama. Thought we finally found something we were excited about making an offer on this week but it didn’t work out. I am seriously sick of looking at houses! It’s been a long process.

It’s been a pretty lackluster week on the fitness front too. More rest days than I’ve had in a long time – which maybe isn’t a bad thing considering the injury and general soreness I’ve had the last several weeks. I taught BodyPump Monday, hot vinyasa yoga Tuesday, rest day Wednesday and taught BodyPump last night. Today is looking like a rest day too. I set my alarm to go to yoga this morning but we didn’t make it to bed until midnight last night (so late for us) so I was not ready to get up at 5:45 a.m. Hoping to get some good yoga classes in this weekend and test my leg out with an easy run.

Update on 68 Days of Gourmet: I’m on day 43 and ready to get this project wrapped up. I did some work this week planning out the rest of the recipes that I’m going to make. Trying to look back to make sure that I have a good balance of all the different recipe categories and a good mix of old and new. I still have a few recipes left to pick so let me know if there’s something you really want to see. I’m happy to take requests. :)

These Ham and Cheddar Pretzel Bites were a good snack for the birthday party but not something I think I will make again. This was my first time making soft pretzels and I enjoyed the process of making them. It was fun and different. But in the end I didn’t think these were worth all of the work. There just wasn’t enough ham and cheddar flavor to them and I think the dough itself could have used a little salt. I even added more ham and cheddar than the original recipe called for.  Also, I will say that they were much better warm out of the oven than served room temperature.  I’m really surprised that I didn’t love these because they did receive great reviews from the other bloggers who made them?

Promise more updates over the weekend and next week! I’ve got some good stuff planned!

Ham and Cheddar Pretzel Bites
(Recipe source Gourmet, October 2009)

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) finely chopped country ham or regular ham, divided
1/2 cup finely grated sharp cheddar, divided
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

Stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and warm water in a large bowl. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes (if mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast). In a separate bowl, stir remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar into warm milk until dissolved.

I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for the following steps but you can definitely just follow these directions: add 2 1/2 cups flour and the milk mixture to yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary (which it probably will be – this is an extremely sticky dough). Turn out dough onto a floured surface and gently knead with floured hands a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room (ideally around 80 degrees) until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours. Tip – I like to let my bread rise in the oven. I turn it on for a minute or two then switch it off and place the bread in there to rise.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and cut into four equal pieces. Working with floured hands, gently roll and stretch one piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you. Roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Gently press one fourth of ham and cheese into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Make three more ropes using the same method. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in baking soda. Cook pretzel bites in batches in gently simmering water, turning once, until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds total. Transfer with a slotted spoon to baking sheets.

Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if cheese oozes out a bit.

When you remove pretzels from oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with a honey mustard dipping sauce, if desired. (See original Jalepeno Honey Mustard in original recipe or see my favorite honey mustard here).

Yield: 4 dozen pretzel bites

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 40

Part two of Sunday’s impromptu brunch. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand for this frittata and it was delicious and easy. A great change from our normal eggs over medium. Also, this really stayed with me all day. I wasn’t  hungry for hours after eating this.

It’s been a busy week so far. I braved the icy roads on Monday morning to teach BodyPump at 6 a.m. Although it was a small crowd we still got a great class in. After work Monday I headed to the Y again to hit the treadmill for day one of my new half marathon training schedule. I really wanted to run outside but there was still a lot of ice on the sidewalks and Brandon told me that my clumsiness + the ice = recipe for disaster. I ran a half mile warm up, 3 miles at tempo speed (about 8:30 pace) and a half mile cool down for a total of 4 miles. After a lot of deliberation I decided to use the Furman FIRST program. I’ll run three times a week – tempo, speed and long. This plan just seemed to work the best for my schedule with teaching BodyPump and maintaining my yoga practice. I don’t think I’d ever want to follow a three day a week program for marathon training (just not enough miles and time on the road) but I do think that it’s great for me to maintain a balance for half marathon training. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it works for me.

Tonight I headed to Y2 Yoga for a hot vinyasa class and it was HARD. The class wasn’t any harder than usual but I think my legs were done after my Sunday yoga practice and two workouts yesterday. My balance was off and I was just sore. But sometimes it’s good to have to dig down deep to make it through. It challenges you in a whole new way – both mentally and physically.

Back to the frittata. I will definitely be making this again. It was a Sunday brunch treat! I think this would be a great dinner too when you’re looking for something simple and flavorful. I think it would be nice with a side salad and a light vinaigrette.

Herbed Ham and Cheddar Frittata
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 1995)

Ingredients:

2 scallions, minced (I used about 2 tablespoons of minced shallot instead – delicious!)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1/4 pound ham steak or thick ham slices from deli, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat an 8-inch heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, scallions or shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 2 or 3 minutes.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Add egg mixture to scallion mixture and cook, without stirring, 2 minutes. Add ham and cook, without stirring, 8 minutes, or until edges are set but center is still soft.

While frittata is cooking, preheat broiler.

Sprinkle cheddar over top of frittata and broil about 4 inches from heat until cheese is bubbling, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with parsley and cut into wedges.

Yield: 2 servings

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