Sunday, August 29, 2021


Pork is a great meat. It is inexpensive, easy to prepare, makes great leftovers, and best of all, tastes delicious! I love both Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin. A Pork Tenderloin is a boneless, narrow round cut of meat from the muscle that runs along the backbone of the pig. It is extremely tender and cooks in minutes. A Pork Loin is a cut from the back of the pig, either boneless or with bone. It is larger and flatter than the tenderloin, but still cooks very quickly. Pork can dry out quickly if overcooked. I came up with this apple stuffing, which also helps to keep your Pork Loin very moist. It is starting to feel like fall here in Ireland so this meal was perfect.


First, the stuffing, which can be made in the morning, and then assembled just before roasting.


2 Gala apples (You can use any apples you have, but I like the texture and flavor of Gala's.), peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 Green Granny Smith Apple, peeled and roughly chopped; plus more of both cut into thick slices for bottom of roasting pan. You don't need to peel these slices.
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced leeks--more leeks thickly sliced for the bottom of the roasting pan. Use white part only.
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh parsley, sage, chives, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread, cut into small 1" cubes
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil, plus more for rubbing on the pork loin
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt/Pepper to taste, but don't skimp on the salt

To save on washing up I made the stuffing in the pan that I roasted the Pork in. Heat oil and butter in a roasting pan. When the oil and butter are bubbling, add celery, leeks, apple. Mix together and cook down for about 10 minutes, until just soft. Add garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and cook another couple of minutes. Add bread cubes, panko bread crumbs and apple juice and cook another 10 minutes stirring well to incorporate all ingredients. Taste for seasoning.


Lay the pork on a cutting board and carefully slice down the middle to open the pork like a book, or a butterfly, hence the term, butterflying. Do not cut all the way through the loin. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pork. Oil the bottom of your roasting pan and toss in the sliced leek and apple slices. Generously salt and pepper that, as well. 
Lay the butterflied pork on the bed of apple and veg, drizzle with olive oil, and evenly distribute all of the stuffing over the pork. Close the pork around the stuffing. Some of the stuffing may fall out, but that is ok. 

Using kitchen string, tie the pork to keep the stuffing in. Start by bringing the string all the way around one end of the pork. Tie a knot. With the long, loose end of string continue down the length of the pork about an inch, and then loop the string around the pork again, catching the string you have brought up the middle. Continue this until you are at the end of the pork. This is not a classic tying job, but does the trick! If the pork has just come out of the fridge keep it on the counter until it warms up. In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

I like to start roasting the pork at high heat and then reduce heat to finish. This helps to brown the pork and seal in flavors and moisture. The cooking time will depend on the size of your roast, but usually is about 20 minutes per pound. I now always use a meat thermometer to test doneness. 145 degrees is considered 'safe' and I like pork on the slightly pink, juicy, tender side, not overdone and dry. 160 degrees will cook the pork to a whiteness and very well doneness (aka dryness). 

After 15 minutes reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and cook the pork for another 30-45 minutes until you have reached the desired internal temperature.

I served the pork with steamed and buttered peas, carrots and leeks, very roasted baby new potatoes and the additional stuffing that fell out of the pork. Next day we had it with steamed broccoli, and a big garden salad. 
And finally I sliced it very thinly, cut some of the new Artisan Bread I have been making, topped the bread with Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, slathered butter (Kerrygold, of course!) on both sides of the bread, and grilled the pork and cheese sandwich. No pic as we ate it too quickly!

Our first course went beautifully with this Pork Tenderloin with Apple Stuffing. We started with...


I make butternut soup often as I like the rich creaminess and fact that you don't even need to add cream or butter to make it perfectly creamy and delicious! Adding the potato also helps to thicken the soup.

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green Granny Smith Apples, peeled and roughly chopped
1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped; about 1 cup
1 shallot, chopped; about 1/4 cup (You can also use leek or onion, but I love shallots!)
1 clove garlic, chopped
About 1 inch of ginger root, peeled and diced; at heaping 2 large Tablespoons
1 fresh sage leaf
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground dried ginger
4 cups (preferably) homemade chicken stock. Store bought works, too.

Garnish: Finely sliced green apples with peel; fried sage leaves; sour cream or Green style yogurt.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until nearly smoking. Add squash, apple, potato, shallot, garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. Add ginger root, sage leaf, salt, pepper and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until butternut squash is fork tender. Allow to cool and blend thoroughly until you have a very smooth consistency. The soup will be quite thick so you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency. I like it thick, but not the consistency of baby food. 

This soup is good hot or cold. The ginger makes it quite spicy.




After 3 wedding dates canceled due to COVID,
Justin and Alison finally got married
this past January privately on the beach
at Key West. Here they are this summer
enjoying a concert at Boston's Fenway Park


Sunday, August 15, 2021


My plan this summer was to keep dinner creative. It is so easy for me to get in a rut and keep cooking the same things (chicken, chicken, more chicken!) so for the last couple of months I have been trying to branch out.


To make the schnitzel, pound boneless pork cutlets to just under a half inch. Liberally salt and pepper both sides. Coat each side of the cutlet with Dijon mustard. Cover with caraway seeds and finally pat on a generous amount of Panko bread crumbs. I let these chops marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Bring them back to room temp for about 30 minutes on the counter. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil until almost smoking. Cook cutlets for about 3 minutes per side. I served this dish with Potatoes Anna, but forgot to turn the Anna over before taking the photo. They looked much better seared side up! Beautiful crisp and pretty design. I also made an Apple Chutney to pair with the pork.


Peel and chop 2 apples. I used two Pink Ladies. Finely dice 1 small shallot and 1 clove of garlic. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, dash of cinnamon, clove and white pepper. Put all ingredients in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup apple juice. Heat to boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples are just tender; about 15 minutes. This Chutney is good on just about anything!


There is nothing really unique about this dish, but the salmon here in Ireland, both wild and farm-raised is of the highest quality. The trick with making the skin crisp is to dry the skin thoroughly before putting in a very hot pan with a little butter and olive oil. Depending on the thickness of your salmon you don't even need to cook on both sides, just keep it skin side down. Once the flesh becomes translucent and the fish flakes slightly you know it is done. To ensure the skin stays crispy, always serve skin side up.

My good friend, Bonnie Ungerecht gave me a beautiful bread cookbook for my birthday.

This is a completely different method for baking bread and literally takes only minutes to put together. I have made bread for years the old fashioned way...mixing, kneading, rising, punching down, kneading again and rising again. It's pretty much an all-day event. Buy this book-The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day-and try it!

Here's my first loaf. I look goofy because I was very excited!
This loaf was a little misshapen, but tasted GREAT!
It made an excellent Grilled Gruyere and Red Onion
sandwich that I served to my new friend, Brenna Reilly.

With the Grilled Gruyere sandwiches I made a thick and rich tomato soup.

Here's my second loaf, which is better shaped, but I forgot to cut
the slices in the top so the crumb (inside part) was a bit dense. 

I invited Brenna for lunch a couple weeks ago and these are the gifts she showed up with! The cake is a Victoria Sponge, which is her Bubbie's recipe on her Mom's French side, and the Irish Soda Bread is from her Nanna on her Irish Dad's side of the family.  Coming to a blog near you...soon! And she also brought me a Mary Berry cookbook as she learned I am addicted to the Great British Bake Off program. How thoughtful! Thank you, Brenna! 

The Tomato Soup is basically the same recipe I have made in the past, but with a few twists. Here is the original recipe:

Scroll down until you find the Roasted Tomato Dill Soup with Boursin cream. What did I do differently...

Before roasting the tomatoes I sprinkled about 1 tsp. of sugar over them, along with the salt. This time I also roasted the garlic and onion with the tomatoes.  The sugar brings out the sweetness in both onion and tomatoes.

I didn't have any sun dried tomato oil, but did add 2 Tbsp. of sun dried paste and 5 Tbsp. of tomato paste. I also was missing dried dill, but instead used 1/3 cup fresh dill. I intended to garnish with fresh dill and the Boursin cream when I served it to Brenna, but forgot the garnish. Next day, I served to my husband, Jerry, and did remember! This soup is excellent either cold or hot. 
I truly do believe that food IS love!

This is also a different and fast way to make rolls. I had some beautiful lamb mince and decided to make burgers to go with these homemade buns. Go to:

With some of the dough I also made Cinnamon Sticky Buns. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Generously dot with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough along the long side and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Very tasty with a strong cup of coffee!

I love to cook...even something as simple as a lamb burger. Although I did smother these burgers with caramelized leeks and mushrooms.

My birthday dinner...Filet Mignon with baby crab claws warmed in butter, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms in red wine and garlic and shallots.
Irish free-range chicken. OK, so occasionally we still eat chicken! This 2 kg (about 4 1/2 lbs.) chicken made many meals. With some of the leftovers I made 1950's style chicken croquettes with a thick white sauce. Comfort food! Go to your Fanny Farmer Cookbook for the recipe.
I didn't make these croquettes in the traditional cone shape, but simply formed patties. The potatoes are twice-cooked. First, baked and then smashed and pan-fried in a little butter and olive oil.

Why have I waited so long to make Gnocchi? They are fast, easy to put together, especially if you have leftover mashed potato in the fridge, and delightful little puffs of potato. So delicate! When Brenna was here for lunch the other day we were talking food, of course, and she brought up Gnocchi. She is a fabulous cook herself and I have much to learn from her. I served the Gnocchi in brown butter, garlic and sage along with some butcher-made garlic sausages.

To make the Gnocchi, place about 2 cups creamy mashed potato in a bowl. Make a well and crack a large egg into the center. Briefly whisk the egg and then using your hands, mix the egg into the mash. Pour about 1 cup of flour on a board and drop the egg/potato mixture. Knead the flour and potato together until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cut the dough into quarters and then roll each piece into a 1 inch log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces. If you want the traditional Gnocchi 'look' use a fork to score each little piece of potato. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and in batches drop in the Gnocchi. They are done when they rise to the surface; only takes a few seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and finish in a hot pan of butter, garlic and sage. I can't wait to start trying variations...parmesan, spinach, or other veg. In Ireland there is an old-time dish called Colcannon. It's basically mashed potato mixed with boiled cabbage and then baked. How about IRELAND meets ITALY and make a Colcannon Gnocchi?!?


My Spiddal butcher, Mr. Feeney's Pork and Apple
Sausage in those quick buns with potato salad,
roasted baby peppers and more of that apple chutney!