I recently visited Roma Imports in Tucson with my good friend, Les Jackson.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020
BRINED PORK CHOPS WITH BLUEBERRY GASTRIQUE
My first choice was to smoke these giant, thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, but with temps exceeding 100 degrees I decided to grill them instead. But first I brined them for about 8 hours to ensure a tender, very juicy end result. It's easy to over-cook, and therefore, dry out pork, but brining guarantees a perfectly moist chop. Brining is easy. I wanted to keep my brine very simple, but you can add herbs, garlic, onion, maple syrup in place of sugar or any other similar ingredients. The key is equal parts sugar and salt. Here are the basic brine ingredients:
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 cups ice cubes
In a large saucepan combine salt, sugar and 2 cups water. Stir over medium heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and cool. If you are in a hurry, pop it into the fridge to cool down faster. Place the pork chops in a large zip-lock bag. Add the cooled brine plus 2 cups of ice cubes. Place the bagged chops in a 9x13" pan and put back into the fridge for at least 8 hours. Turn the bag every half or so to ensure that the chops get brined evenly. Remove chops from brine. Rinse. Pat dry. Brush both sides of chops with olive oil. Since I wasn't smoking the chops I still wanted a smoky flavor so made a dry rub and generously rubbed both sides of the pork with the rub.
3 Tbsp. smoky paprika
1 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin and ground dry mustard
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
After you have rubbed the chops let them sit on the counter for 1/2 hour before grilling. Grill chops about 5 minutes per side. Internal temp should read 145 degrees. Let them stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the served meal, but the Blueberry Gastrique adds a beautiful elegance to the meal...and enhances the rich, smokiness of these pork chops.
A gastrique is a French sauce that is made by combining sweet and sour, usually sugar and vinegar. Here is what I put together.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup blueberries
1 Tbsp. wild blueberry preserves
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until desired thickness. You don't want it to be liquid, but conversely you do not want a thick, goopy sauce either. I prefer a pourable liquid that can be spread on the plate with the back of a spoon making a swoosh. Either strain through a fine-mesh strainer pushing the gastrique through the strainer with the back of a spoon or serve chunky. I prefer a smooth, silken texture so strain it.
THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!
FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS...
Sunday, August 23, 2020
OK...true confession: I am officially on a diet. I joined Weight Watchers 3 weeks ago and am starting to lose some of the extra poundage I put on living through the last 6 months of Coronavirus. It's a very reasonable diet and I do not feel too deprived, but certainly am not making luscious sauces or extravagant desserts at the moment. One cool feature of the WW app is they have tons of recipes. I found this one on their site.
SPICY SRIRACHA CARROT DIP
|The inherent sweetness of carrots melds perfectly |
with the spice of Sriracha and peppery fresh ginger.
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce, more or less depending on how hot you like it (WW calls for 1 Tbsp.)
A few drops of toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced ginger root (WW calls for 2 tsp.)
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
A few scallions green parts only; more for garnishing
Place carrots in saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook until carrots are very tender. Drain. Chill.
Combine cooked carrots with remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth and blended. Serve garnished with scallions. So easy! And so delicious and good for you!
I served the Spicy Carrot Dip with a tray of veggies and an assortment of crackers.
Zinnias are edible, but fairly bitter. OK for a garnish, but would not advise eating them!
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY!
NEXT TIME I'M GOING TO BRINE AND GRILL
A BIG, FAT PORK CHOP AND SERVE WITH A
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
It's hot in southern Arizona. In fact, this July was the hottest on record for the last 20 years. 17 days were at or above 100 degrees! I was curious where the phrase Dog Days came from and this is what I discovered:
"The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog."
Thank you Google!
So, on to another cold soup!
ICY COLD CUCUMBER AND AVOCADO SOUP!This soup is rich and creamy, but served icy cold also very refreshing. I found the recipe in my Paleo cookbook, but altered a bit by using more avocado and chicken stock instead of water.
2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil, extra for garnishing
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint, more for garnishing
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh mint and olive oil for garnishing
Peel and pit the avocados. Place all other ingredients including one avocado in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Chill. Serve with slices of avocado, mint and a drizzle of olive oil. Easy Squeezey!
IT'S SMOKIN' TIME!
I got a smoker for my birthday and am really looking forward to perfecting the fine art of smoking. According to Bobby Flay, smoking really is more of an 'art' than 'science'. We christened the smoker by smoking a pork loin stuffed with panchetta, provolone, lots of basil pesto, fresh basil, spinach and arugala, and then wrapped the whole thing in a pound of bacon. This recipe was very similar to the Porchetta I made a while back, but this time smoked, instead of grilled. Since the smoker has 2 racks I also dry-rubbed some chicken thighs and smoked them, too.
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY!
JOIN ME AGAIN SOON
FOR ANOTHER COOKING ADVENTURE!
Saturday, July 25, 2020
|I found this recipe online, developed by NYC |
Chef Daniel Gritzer.
I was not familiar with him, but he has a
very interesting background. Check him out:
Thursday, July 16, 2020
|I served with Asian Carrots and an Asian influenced hamburger.|
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk, full fat, not light
1 1/4 cups water (which can be measured using the coconut milk can-exactly 1 1/4 cups!)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
In a dry skillet toast the coconut over medium-high heat, stirring until lightly browned; about 4 to 5 minutes. Because of the high sugar content it "catches" quickly so watch to ensure you don't go from light brown to burned. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Do not leave in the pan as it may overcook. You can do this ahead of time and even the day before. The toasted coconut stores well on the counter in a glass container with tight lid.
In a saucepan combine rice, coconut milk, water, sugar and salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to barely a simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is done; about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Re-cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with toasted coconut. So easy and such an incredibly wonderful combination of sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy. You will not want to stop eating it!
I served with hamburger patties that I marinated in a little soy sauce, Teriyaki, dried ginger, and garlic powder. Press about 2 Tbsp. per burger of sesame seeds into the meat, both sides. Grill to your preferred doneness. They are super juicy!
And finally served the dinner with Julienned Carrots cooked down with: 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. Teriyaki sauce, 3 Tbsp. honey, 5 pieces candied ginger, sliced thinly, juice and zest of one clementine. Gently simmer, covered, on low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and increase heat for the last 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. This also burns quickly. I made this a second time while also cooking some chicken on the grill and returned to the kitchen to find blackened carrots! Not so good!
WHAT ELSE IS COOKING?...
|The pizza had a slightly smokey |
taste like it just came from a pizza oven!
14 stalks celery, divided 10 and 4
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 onion, rough chopped
Salt/Pepper to taste
Optional: Greek style yogurt or sour cream for serving
Roughly chop 10 stalks of celery and bring to boil with the onion in the chicken stock. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 3 hours. Taste for seasoning. Cool completely and blend until very smooth. Finely dice the last 4 stalks of celery and return to the blended soup. Cook until the celery is just barley tender. Serve with yogurt.
I also used Mango puree in the parfait, which was left over from the Decadent Mango Pie I made recently--http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=decadent+mango+pie.
Some refer to me as the "Left-Over Queen"! I do not like to waste food!
Thursday, July 2, 2020
www.girlversusdough.com) and tweaked it just a little bit. I used less sugar in the graham cracker crust, more mango puree in the pie, and less sugar in the whipped cream topping. These mangoes were super ripe so extremely flavorful and sweet.
FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
12 full sheets Graham Crackers
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter
Preparation for the crust:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add 6 Tbsp. butter into the 9 inch pie plate you will bake the pie in. Put in the oven while it is heating to melt the butter.
Add the Graham Crackers to a large zip-lock bag. Smash them into fine crumbs using a heavy rolling pin.
|That marble rolling pin was my Mom's; |
a very special gift from my Dad to her one Christmas.
She cherished it. I do, too.
INGREDIENTS FOR MANGO FILLING:
4 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mango puree
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
Big pinch of salt (The original recipe did not call for salt, but I figured with all this sweetness we needed a little balance.)
Preparation for the mango pie filling:
To make the mango puree, peel and chop mango and blend in blender, mini-max or use a hand blender until the mango is very creamy with no lumps.
In a large bowl beat egg yolks, using an electric mixer, on high speed until they are thick and a creamy, pale yellow; 3-4 minutes.
|This is the color you want the egg yolks to be.|
|Pie ready to go into the oven.|
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup toasted coconut
Preparation for the topping:
You can toast the coconut several days before serving the pie. Keep in a tightly covered glass container on the counter. TO TOAST THE COCONUT: I use the oven-top method. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet to medium high. Add the coconut and let it brown, stirring often until desired toastiness. Coconut catches quickly so watch closely and stir often for 3-5 minutes.
|My husband, Jerry enjoying a slice of Creamy Mango Pie!|
|As you may notice, this pie has already been dipped into!|