Tag Archives: fall

Christmas 2014 – Rosemary Sage Garlic Stuffed Pork

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Merry Chrisma-hanna-kwanzaa, my friends! I am writing to you from sunny Florida, jittery from the delicacy that is free hotel continental breakfast “homemade” waffles. Before I go any further, if any of you celebrate Kwanzaa, can you explain to me how your holiday meals were passed down? As my roommate and I tried planning a holiday fest that welcomed all winter holidays, Pinterest suggested that the “traditional” Kwanzaa meals included southern mac ‘n’ cheese, fried chicken, Gina Neely’s collard greens, and sweet potato pie. While I realize the holiday’s origins are in the US to commemorate the African heritage of African Americans, I’m curious if there are any dishes families actually make that are traced back to their African roots. Just some questions for you all…

This year, my Christmas was more adult that ever – we didn’t even open presents until 3 pm on Christmas day and skipped the crazy Christmas Eve masses for a quieter one on Christmas morning. I had a wonderful time in the presence of my closest friends and family and wanted to serve them the best dishes possible for their holidays!

Traditionally, my family has served rosemary crusted lamb chops for Christmas Eve, yet we never seem to find chops with enough meat on them from the butcher. This year, I thought a stuffed pork loin might be comparable and fulfill all the shortcomings of the lamb chop – tender, juicy meat that goes well with the same herby, garlic crust we like on the lamb. Turns out nobody on the internet had exactly what I had in mind. I really wanted to have the pork stuffed and rolled in a spiral so you could see all the pretty herbs on the inside, and I wanted to marinate it for at least 8 hours to ensure the flavors soaked in completely.

Thanks to all of you who helped me with your recipe recommendations! Here are some of the best ones that were recommended to me that influenced this recipe!

Katie’s Rosemary Sage Garlic Stuffed Pork for the holidays

Serves 10-12

1 5 lb boneless pork loin, not too fatty

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped rosemary

1/4-1/3 cup chopped sage

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1.5 TBS dijon mustard

2 TBS olive oil

4 slices of bacon

1 1/2 TBS kosher salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

kitchen twine or white sewing thread if you don’t have any twine

1. Prepping the pork loin: To ensure the maximum flavor richness and moisture, the best thing is to marinate the pork in the morning or the night before you’re going to cook it. This will also help if you’re pressed for time at night making other dishes and want to make it easier on yourself 🙂 Rinse the pork off if it’s in plastic packaging, and pat dry with some paper towels (getting it dry will help ensure the pork gets crispy). Here’s the best video I could find for butterflying a pork loin in thirds, but I can explain briefly as well. If you watch that video , skip to 1:13 for the important stuff. Also make sure to listen to T-swift jammin.

You want to make this big rectangle so that you’re able to roll up the pork and seal in the herbs. If you’re facing the short end of the pork you want to cut along the width of the pork so that it will open up like a book. We want to cut it twice so you’ll triple the width of the pork. Start cutting from the opposite short end of the pork to the bottom and the point you’ll pick is where you’ve cut about a third of the height of the pork. So, 2/3 of the pork is still together and we’ll cut that part in half in a minute. Cut the pork from the right into the center until it looks like a book and you’ve cut almost all the way through the spine. At this point, start from the “spine” and cut the 2/3 portion of the pork that’s still together in half so you’ve formed like a tri-fold poster board (for all you science fair experts). Here you are! If I’ve confused you thoroughly, watch the video above a few times.

Cover the pork with plastic wrap while prepping the herbs.

2. Chop up your herbs and garlic. The herbs dont have to be perfectly minced or anything, just not so big that you’d take a huge bite out of a rosemary stem. For the garlic, I minced it and then used the side of my knife to crush the garlic into a sort of paste. this can help get more of the flavors out of the garlic. For the pine nuts, I toasted them briefly then chopped them lightly.

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3. Mix your herbs, garlic, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, olive oil, mustard, and pine nuts in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Try to press them together with the back of your spoon to make the whole mixture meld together.

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4. Take the plastic wrap off of the pork and start massaging the herby mixture onto the pork (yea we’re getting graphic here). If you think it looks a bit dry, drizzle some olive oil over the pork and press it all into the pork.

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5. If you have somebody around, this is the part where it’s helpful to have help!! The same way that you cut the pork is the way to roll it up. Starting from left to right, roll the pork into a log, making sure your stuffing stays inside. Once you’ve rolled the log tightly, use twine or thread to tie the roll together. I used about 5 pieces of twine and knotted at the top after rolling the log up.

6. Drizzle some olive oil on the outside of the pork and coat with any leftover filling, salt , and pepper. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator either overnight or at least 8 hours before ready to cook.

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7. One to two hours before cooking the pork, take it out of the refrigerator to let the meat come to room temperature. Get your bacon out and drape over the top of the pork (this was a game time decision for me and such a good call). I cut the pieces of bacon in half.

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8. Heat the oven to 450. Place pork in a roasting pan and place in the oven. We’re getting a crust on the pork before dropping the temp to cook the inside. Roast at 450 for about 10 minutes then drop the temperature down to 350. Make sure not to cook too long at 450 or the bacon will burn. Add the chicken broth to the pan to keep the pork moist. Bake at 350 for 60-75 minutes, or until a meat thermometer stuck in the middle of the pork registers 145 degrees.

9. Take pork out of the oven and cover lightly with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. This will seal in all the juices. Slice into coins/rounds and serve!!!

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Joyeux Noel!

our delicious potato galette sides…

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Chinese Pulled Pork and Goodbye to summer

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What are you happy about today? I am happy for my family’s health, the existence of music (good and bad included I guess), and this barbeque I had on Saturday. My roommate put it perfectly: this is one of those times where Katie wants to make something, so she asks people to come over and try it. It’s less that I’m good at entertaining and more that when people smell food, they flock like sheep. Is that a phrase?

I was so excited to eat real food after a week of recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. While I didn’t let it stop me from nomming hard, it did stink not being able to chew. Poor me, I got to try Zesto milkshakes for the first time and had a banana pudding milkshake that rocked my world.

I recently visited the Dekalb Farmers Market in Atlanta and had a love affair I think. It was one of those lazy Sundays when I wanted to get lost somewhere and found myself purchasing a 4 pound pork BUTT for no reason in particular. I tried to ask the butcher what people usually get for BBQ and he was all “girl  you’re on your OWN.” After being shuffled through the baking aisle by some intense bakers and drooling over bags of the coolest whole spices you’ve ever seen, I went on my way with my big ole pork butt.

One week later, I found myself declaring “I’m making this pork butt TODAY”. And no, I don’t think I even thought about who’d eat it other than myself, but it was eaten! I started my pulled pork experience with an Asian recipe and found success!

It wasn’t too bad! The reviews from this recipe made it seem very versatile and easy to play around with. The recipe only calls for 2.5 lbs of meat, and I used 4 without changing the proportions too much. The recipe says to cook this pork on the stove, but I ended up doing a combo of stove and crock-pot

With this pork, we served Cookie and Kate’s peanut sesame noodle slaw and had TOO MUCH FUN using our new food processor. Then we sort of strayed away from Asian and served a good-bye summer panzanella salad. We tried to come up with some unique names for the dishes so that they could be dubbed as Katie and Christine’s special recipes, but the only thing suggested was Jamarcus and Chastity’s pulled pork. No good.

I’m smiling now, thinking of my friends hunched around our teeny porch nomming on pulled pork. Love it! My weekend ended with the most beautiful singing from the church choir at this new church I’ve been going to. One of those moments when you get all goosebumpy, don’t you love that?! Put me in a great mood.

Chinese Pulled Pork, adapted slightly from this food52 recipe

4 lb Boston butt, pork butt

2 tbs olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and sliced thin

3 slices of .5 inch thick ginger, peeled

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

1 piece star anise

1/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms (I couldnt find presliced so just broke them up in my hands)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

2 tbs rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1. Take a paper towel and make sure your pork is dry before you start cooking it. This’ll help it get a good sear in the pan. Get out a big dutch oven. Cut the pork into large chunks, doesnt have to be fancy bc it’s going to fall apart

2. Heat the oil on medium high heat and start to brown the meat in batches. You don’t want to put too much in all at once bc you really want a good crisp on the outside of the pork. Just brown the pieces on 2 sides, doesn’t have to be the whole cube

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3. After each batch is done, set the pork aside on a separate plate. After you finish all the pork, add the onion, garlic, and ginger (pork should be out of the pan) and saute on medium heat until the onions are sweating and the flavors are fragrant, scraping up the brown parts on the bottom of the pan. (says 5-8 minutes mine was closer to 5)

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4. Add the star anise and mushrooms for just a minute to get them sweating. Then add your pork back to the pan and mix with the sauteed onions/garlic/etc. Add in the soy sauce, white wine, stock, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to very low heat. If you’re on a high burner, put the pot on the smallest burner. Keep it at a gentle, moderate simmer (I found this hard to keep steady so had to come back and check periodically) for 2 hours.

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5. After two hours, skim the excess fat and shred the pork. Discard the star anise pod and cook the sauce down. At this point I put some of the sauce and the shredded pork in the crockpot and cooked it on low for another 2 hours.

Serve on potato buns with slaw or the reduced sauce! bon appetit!

Lena Kaligaris-Bombolito, otherwise known as Greek-Italian Pasta.

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The odd title of today’s post references a few things. First of all, yes, the name Lena Kaligaris sounds familiar because it is none other than Alexis Bledel’s character in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the movie. Meek and Greek, Lena is a beautiful Greek-American teen who ventures to Greece one summer. The Bombolito part just sounded really Italian to me. Hence, Greek-Italian food, leading to the most delicious lamb bolognese!!!!!

Okay secondly, I wanted to reference a multicultural name similar to an establishment in California I remembered from last summer. There was this place called Shanghai Kelly’s which apparently has nothing to do with two cultures but a wildly fierce Irishman. Here’s an interesting story I just found… I thought it sounded cool so I tried to recreate the name 🙂

Please make this lamb bolognese for your guests. Adrianna says this feeds four, and I must say this feeds four people of moderate hunger. I would double the recipe if you were having hungrier friends around. I’m working on prep these days so I’m not making such a mess in the kitchen, and I think it’s working out well. The first thing is, chop up your carrots and onions first. Most of the bolognese recipes I have made before include celery, so I added a stalk and a half of celery and the mire poix was solid. Plus it just looks pretty right? I had no shallots on hand so used 1/2 of a very large onion.

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bolo6I often freeze tomato paste if I dont use a can. This causes a tiny problem for measuring, but the good thing is, you can add less or more as you cook depending on how thick you like sauces.

bolo5What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? Oh, es okay, I make lamb.

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Cornbread Testing – Joy’s Brown Butter Rosemary Orange Cornbread

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I was a bit timid bringing the rest of this batch into work the next day, because it’s definitely not what you’d expect when biting into a cornbread square! But I think the intense moisture gives you a bit of open-mindedness going into the rich orange and rosemary flavors. If there’s one thing I require in my cornbread, it’s density!! They liked it, so you should bring it to work too 🙂

Mind you, this was like numero 10 on the midnight  toaster-oven bake series, for no other reason except I had to finally test this. And I FINALLY had an orange lying around. Maybe even if you want some natural potpourri this would be a good thing to make. My favorite part of these kinds of recipes is when you make the flavored sugar. You press the orange zest and rosemary into the sugar and it brings out the natural oils/essence in the fruit and herbs. A simple mix of wet and dry, this cornbread is simple yet seems pretty sophisticated right? Maybe this is meant alongside chili, but I liked it with a cup of milk or just as a regular piece of bread with my lunch.

What recipes do you like to vary? My friends Collin and Mike came over on Monday and Mike brought an AMAZZINNGG mouthwatering, sweet, dense cornbread (see meal pics at the bottom). Chili and cornbread can’t be beat. This weekend I’m making white chicken chili…got any recipe suggestions?

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chili and a different cornbread that’s classic and amazing…thanks Mike!

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Mushroom Spinach Wheat Crepes with Dill and Sherry

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I’m not sure if I’d try crepes again, BUT, I am so glad I made these, because the filling was bomb. Although this was a rich dish, I strayed away from adding cream because I wanted to really test a healthier version. The problem was, every single recipe I could find was either so creamy or it was super vegan. Always somewhere in the middle, what can you do.

So, I mushed some together and here’s what I came up with. Ingredients:

– 4-5 shitake mushrooms

– 1 lb button mushroom, sliced thinly

– 1 onion, thinly sliced

– a big ole handful of dill, chopped roughly

– 1/4 cup sherry

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 3/4 cup chicken stock

– 1-2 TBS butter

– 1/2 tsp dried thyme

– A whole bag of fresh spinach

– 1 TBS flour

– a few cloves of minced garlic

Steep the shitake mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid.

Make this recipe according to Alton Brown’s recipe, substituting white wheat for All Purpose if you have it. Set aside in the fridge while you whip up the filling.

Sautee your thinly sliced onion in butter on medium heat until the onions soften. Sprinkle with salt and pepp. Add garlic but cook only for a minute before adding mushrooms, as they can burn easily. Add sliced mushrooms and let them get a little brown and soft. Remember, mushrooms like their space so spread them out! Slice up your shitake too. Again, season with a bit of salt and pepp. Once the mushrooms are soft, add in your sherry and turn up the heat to high, cooking off the ALCH. Then add in your wine. These ingredients are based on what flavor you like, but I added a lot since I thought that without the cream it needed a big boost of flavor.

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At this point I added the dried thyme, and let everything meld together before adding in the chicken stock. In addition to the chicken stock, I added a bit of the shitake mushroom cooking liquid. I let it boil, then wilted in the spinach and returned the heat to low. Simmer for around 15 minutes, and I added flour because I thought the sauce needed some more thickener. If you’d like to add cream, that’s an option as well! At the very end, with a few minutes left, add in the dill.

Get your bad self on with the crepes. After I had the sauce all simmering and bubbly, I set up the crepes right before eating. Ugh, I don’t think I can provide any advice on how to do this, but follow Alton’s directions!! I added in some chopped dill to my crepes to give them flavor. Serve with a big ole salad and some vino! Big point here is have everything ready with the filling so you can focus entirely on making the crepes that cook really quickly. If any other bloggers/experimenters/crepe lovers out there have any recommendations to help me in the future, share your crepe recommendations below s’il vous plait!!

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