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Try, Try Again.

Without going into a long story, I’m hoping to start cooking and posting again.

Boy, that was definitely NOT a long story!

Prepare for food, people.  Prepare for food.

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Oh, Porchetta!

Prepare yourself. It’s pork… wrapped in pork belly. So much goodness. I took the recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/crispy-fatty-melt-in-your-mouth-porchetta/), and went to the butcher. I honestly had no idea what I was getting, but I walked out with about $40 worth of pork, and a smile. The butcher butterflied the pork shoulder out to about one inch. For those of you who don’t know (like I didn’t), that means he took a round hunk of meat, and started cutting it so that it unrolled to about an inch thick, and then it could be rolled back up.

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My boyfriend and I picked spices that we thought would go well with the pork, and rubbed them in.

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Then we took the pork belly and scored a crosshatch pattern on both sides. That skin is tough! Then we wrapped it around the shoulder that we had rolled back up, and tied it tight with cooking twine. (We actually started out with random twine that I was skeptical about, but it was the only kind in the house. It kept shedding though, and I was afraid it would catch fire in the oven, so we went to the store and got real cooking twine. And a jigsaw puzzle.)

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Oh my. Do you SEE THIS?? THAT is what came out of the oven!

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So juicy and crispy, it was amazing. I was doing a happy dance as we cut into it. It’s amazing I got a clear picture from all the dancing and jumping I was doing.

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Honestly, this was one of the best pork dishes I’ve had, definitely the best one I’ve ever made. It was incredibly tender and the juice was just running out of it. We had leftovers galore – something that made me very happy.

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Pumpkin Chili with Citrus-Guacamole

Okay, nobody panic! I can’t find the cookbook that I used for this recipe! I am sure it’ll turn up, I probably left it at my boyfriend’s house. Anywho, this was a really interesting chili recipe with cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, and pumpkin. Of course your standard ground beef, stewed tomatoes, chili powder, etc. were all involved. While it sounds crazy, it was actually really good. Lots of depth and layers of flavor! And to top it off was a citrus-guacamole made with orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice. Fresh, slightly sweet… it really worked with the chili. I think some call this a Cincinnati chili. I think next time I will throw in some pureed chipotle peppers. I think that smokey flavor will really go well with this.

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What inspired the chili?..

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Cold. Just dang cold.

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Red Curry Beef Stew

It’s been a while since I made this, and I think I kinda winged it. I’ve made quite a few curry soups/stews, so I just throw it all in the slow cooker now, and let it happen. I started by simmering lemongrass stalks in chicken broth.

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Put into the crockpot: Coconut milk, probably three or four ounces of red curry paste, some water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and garlic. Start heating…

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Chop up some fresh peppers – as many as you can tolerate! I only had jalapenos on hand, but my favorite are Thai peppers.

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I might sear the beef chunks next time… but this time I just threw it in! Add the chicken broth, minus the lemongrass stalks.

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I got home from work, threw in some cilantro and chili paste, and voila!

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This is just a super hearty meal, very savory and satisfying. During the winter, the spicier the better, in my opinion. Heat it up!!

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Steak and Bacon Pinwheels

Oh my, how time has gotten away from me! Well, I’m back and I’ve got pictures to prove it. Let’s start with steak pinwheels!

My boyfriend and I got some steak and pounded it out flat. Then put in whatever sounded good… fresh spinach, rosemary, oregano, salt, and a few slices of cheese. Then rolled it up, wrapped it in bacon, and held those bacon strips in place with bamboo skewers and sliced into servings.

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Pretty pretty!

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We had forgotten to add the all-important garlic, so that got put on just before baking.

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We decided there should be a little more cheese on a few of them, and topped it with a piece, followed by hitting it with the broiler for a few seconds. We threw some sliced potatoes into the oven as well, and made steak fries. Perfection? Possibly.

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Red Curry Scallop Soup

This is a punch of flavor from “OMG That’s Paleo?” LOTS of red curry paste along with scallops… Mmmmm! I just have to decide if I want to take this to work for lunch (reheating fishy things in the breakroom can sometimes cause problems), or eat it for “breakfast” at 9pm before work. Oh, what a dilemma!

I sliced a pretty red bell pepper first, because I knew the scallops wouldn’t take long to cook, and I sure didn’t want to overcook them while slicing veggies.

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With that done, I threw some bacon fat in a pan and cooked some chopped garlic for a minute or two and then tossed the scallops into the hot pan. I will admit, I should have gotten the large scallops, but the small ones were on a great sale! I couldn’t stop myself! In the end, I was more than okay with it, because they were very “bite-sized” for the soup.

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Time to cook the bell pepper in the garlic-scallop pan (after I emptied the pan, of course)! It’s just so pretty!

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Once those got soft and carmelized a bit, I threw in the coconut milk and red curry.

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While stirring, I thought Thai peppers would be amazing in this! However, I only have jalapenos and habaneros in the house, so I sliced a jalapeno pepper and put that in to simmer.

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How about some salt? Sea salt seemed quite appropriate, although I do have four or five kinds of salt to choose from…

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After the hot pepper softened, I was ready to put it in a bowl and add some scallops. Delicious. Very flavorful and hearty!

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Steak with Béarnaise and Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

Since this recipe has a sauce with it, I chose not to marinate the steak (although I do love a good marinade!). I started with the fries, since that took the longest.

Chopped up into fry-size, I put them into the baking pan with a nice chunk of garlic butter (Kerrygold) right on the top. I may have thrown in some extra chopped garlic as well…

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After melting, I stirred it up, making sure it was all coated evenly. I do think I’ll get a grid-kind of thing to cook the fries on to make them crispier.

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While they were in the oven, I started the béarnaise.

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I don’t have a double boiler, so I held the bowl precariously over the simmering water. (As I was trying to get this picture, the whisk flipped out and yolk mixture went flying!)

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As soon as it started getting thick, I took it off the heat and let it cool to room tempurature.

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As the sauce cooled, it was time to cook the steak… the fries would be done soon! Pan-fried with a bit of butter and garlic. Simple, classic.

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Served all together! Just a really nice steak recipe. The béarnaise added a very nice, creamy depth to the steak. The fries were sweet and garlic infused. Kind of some great comfort food!

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