I’m always on the look out for simple (read easy) recipes that are delicious. Of course for me there are also other deciding factors in whether or not I’ll try a recipe…for one I really really prefer to cook from scratch and 2 I really really don’t like a lot of ingredients, it’s too darn expensive when there’s a lot of ingredients. As part of my economizing this month I’ve decided to try a new approach…focusing on one cuisine in a shopping period. This week is Italian. So I broke out my wiliams sonoma italian essentials cook book and found Pork loin braised in milk. Pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Here is my adaptation (read non measured thrown together version) of this unkown (in america) classic.
IT’s no secret to my family that I use shutterfly…for most holiday gifts for grandparents…and great grandparents…and aunts. So check it out, sign up and they send you freebies constantly. They do a great job printing. I just got 101 free photos for easter, a free card and free shipping. good stuff.
I’ve developed a deep and abiding love for walnuts, late in life. So one day when I had some bananas that needed to be eaten I decided to try for banana pancakes and then wham…it hit me walnuts…and brown sugar and crunchy and OH my I had to try it. They are SOOOO good.
Pancake mix (prepared as directed on box)
Pour pancake mix on hot griddle
add banana, walnuts and then sprinkle with brown sugar.
Be careful when flipping as it can fall apart.
I’m a gadget collector. I love love LOVE kitchen gadgets, but only if they are something that does something that I couldn’t do on my own, unless it’s really cool and a multi tasker…or really functional or just plain cool. So, it will come as no surprise to you if I say I have a rotisserie machine. But, unlike most people who own one, I actually use mine. They are unbelievable and it makes the best roast beef, ever. You can also use a rotisserie attachment for your gas BBQ. Anyways this isn’t really a recipe… just a simple how to.
1. Let your meat sit at room temperature for awhile (not strictly necesary, but I’ve read it’s supposed to make your meat cook better…browning and stuff)
2. Pour your choices of seasonings and herbs onto a cutting board.
3. Rub the meat in the herb mixture
4. Stick the meat on the rotisserie skewer
5. Plug in the machine and let it cook
6. Check it a lot sooner than you’d think, the meat cooks quite quickly. enjoy.
Tonight’s roast is coated in McCormick’s garlic and herb mixture, Montreal Steak seasoning (buy both at costco for the best bang for your buck) and a little of my favorite seasoning…mustard powder (I put it on EVERYTHING)
Slow cook the beans until they are tender (dried will have a better flavor than canned). Then in a hot skillet make some homemade bacon bits. When the bacon bits are done remove half the fat and add a little olive oil. Sauté the beans, garlic and chopped spinach with the bacon bits then season with salt, pepper and mustard powder.
I tried this once before, the sauce was great, but the meat…tragic. So, I’ve been nervous about trying it again. The mess was horrific. But I keep seeing luscious pork belly on TV and once again I was tempted. SO I lucked out and found it in the meat, counter not frozen like last time. So I was able to get a piece with a better meat to fat ratio. You’re looking for about 50% meat 50% fat…surprisingly alot more of the fat rendered out this time.
1 Large Carrot (chopped)
1/2 Small Onion (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped cabbage
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
3 cups of white wine
1 pound of pork belly
McCormick’s garlic seasoning
3 tbsp cream ( half and half or whipping cream…even milk will do in a pinch)
Score then season the meat. In a heavy bottomed stock pot sear meat. Remove meat from pot. Sauté onion and carrot, until onion is translucent, then add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and wine. Return the meat to the pot, fat side up and cover. Place pot in 350 degree oven. Cook until meat is tender, but don’t over cook or most of the fat will render and the texture will be odd as most of the fat will have rendered out. Puree the veggies and liquid with a little cream to make a sauce. To serve pour a generous amount of the sauce in a shallow bowl. In the center make a mound with either steamed rice or cannellini beans. Serve sliced meat over top with a little drizzle of sauce over it for presentation.
Every family has that dish that grandma is known for…this is mine. My mother’s mother always came to visit carrying two loaves. I usually lucked out and was allowed to pick which one I wanted. And I always picked her A-Z bread (usually banana nut or zucchini) over her pound cake (recipe to follow soon…promise). Both were delicious, but there was something about her banana nut bread with a smear of butter on it that was irresistible. This is one easy recipe that is a real winner, and since it makes two loaves…freeze one and it’ll be a hit twice for half the work. It really freezes well, nobody would even know. promise.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon Read the rest of this entry »
I tried to make ratatouille one day, after being inspired by that ever so cute catoon by the same name…terrible. How sad, the food went in the trash. Tuesdays trip to the farmers market inspired this dish. Baby red and yukon gold potatoes meet sun dried tomatoes in olive oil meets cioppolini onions, baby squash and garlic all drenched in olive oil.
baby potatoes sliced 1/2 centimeter thick
baby squash (little little ones to be cooked & served whole)
small cioppolini onion chopped into quarters
Read the rest of this entry »
I love mushroom, my husband doesn’t so, I’m always trying to sneak it in. I’m allowed to use it as a favor enhancer, he just doesn’t want to take a bite of mushroom. So here’s what we’re having for dinner. Should be yummy. * just did a taste test* very tasty. I found in the past that red wine is too strong for my pallet when pared with the beef shank, and I thought that the marsala would be too sweet. The combination was nice a savory while a little mellow and didn’t overwhelm the meat. I found it to be almost perfect…it still needs to reduce a little.
3 slices of beef shank
1/2 large white onion
8 baby bella mushrooms Read the rest of this entry »
To be honest I’ve only had risotto a couple of times in a restaraunt, so I only have a vague idea of how the results taste and feel when they are properly cooked, but this is how I get to what I consider to be a yummy risotto.
1 1/2 handfuls (per person) of a short grain rice (calrose will work in a pinch though)
half and half
handful (per person) of baby spinach
3-5 (per person) button mushrooms or baby bellas sliced
tablespoon (per person) minced onion
Boil a pot of water and add spinach.
In a frying pan saute onion and rice in olive oil on high for about 3 minutes.
ladle some of the spinach cooking water over rice (enough that the rice is soupy but not so much that the rice is floating)
stir until all the liquid is completely absorbed
Keep adding the water and stirring until the rice isn’t crunchy anymore, but not soft.
Remove spinach (after 3 minutes) from water and chop, add to rice along with the sliced mushrooms.
Alternate stirring in ladle fulls the cooking water, half and half and white wine.
The risotto is done when the texture is similar to al dente pasta (soft but with a little bit of texture, not crunchy at all but also not smushy) there should be enough liquid in the rice for it to slide around the pan on its own, but not so thick that it’s a solid sticky mess
season with salt and pepper
finish with a good parmasean.
Enjoy pipping hot.