Grilled seafood can be either an awesome experience or a lesson in frustration. Follow these very simple recipes from Food Republic on their site and you can show off your grilling expertise the grilled clams and chorizo sounds really good). Check them out and give them a try!
Monthly Archives: July 2012
I love pulled pork. There’s nothing quite like the taste of pork slow cooked and then covered in a barbecue sauce. I have made pulled pork before and posted the recipe here, but that recipe is for outdoor cooking. The weather here has been so hit and miss this week with rain that I decided to make one completely indoors and without the slow cooker being involved. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen, makes a great rub for the pork so you get great barks and the sauce is perfect.
Indoor Pulled Pork with Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the pork: Dissolve 1 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke in 4 quarts of cold water in a large container. Submerge the pork in the brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
While the pork brines, combine mustard and the remaining 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the black pepper, paprika, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining two teaspoons of salt and cayenne pepper in a second small bowl; set aside. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the pork from the brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub the mustard mixture over the entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle the entire surface of each piece with the spice mixture. Place the pork on a wire rack set inside a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pork, then cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, sealing the edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast the pork for 3 hours.
Remove the pork from the oven; remove and discard the foil and parchment paper. Carefully pour off the liquid in the bottom of the baking sheet into a fat separator and reserve it for the sauce. Return the pork to the oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender and the internal temperature registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the pork to a serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
While the pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of the defatted cooking liquid from the fat separator into a medium bowl. Whisk in all the sauce ingredients.
Using 2 forks, shred the pork into bite size pieces. Toss with 1 cup of the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.
If you can’t find smoked paprika, sweet paprika will work just fine here. Using the parchment paper will help prevent the mustard from eating holes in the foil (it is acidic). I served the pork on plain hamburger buns with some pickle chips and sliced red onion. You could always use any store-bought barbecue sauce for the sauce if you prefer or don’t want to go through the work of making your own. The leftovers, of course are great for sandwiches the next day or even for pulled pork nachos (which are very tasty, by the way).
There are several side dishes you could do with this meal. Cole slaw, of course, is a great addition. You could also add some baked beans to the side as well. I came across a recipe this morning by Guy Fieri for mashed root vegetables that Michelle and I both liked, so I went with that one.
Creamy Mashed Root Vegetables
5 cups milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 pounds turnips
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
Set a large pot over high heat and add the milk, cream, salt, thyme and bay leaves. Peel and cut the turnips into 1-inch chunks. Add the turnips to the pot and cover partially with a lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the turnips for 30 minutes.
Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. After the turnips have cooked for 30 minutes (turnips take a lot longer to cook than potatoes), add the potatoes and continue to simmer until all the vegetables are very tender, about 20 more minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Drain the potatoes and turnips, reserving 2 cups of cooking liquid, and then mash. Add the cooking liquid and the butter. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
You can play with this recipe a bit and add or subtract things as you wish. You could use other root vegetables, like carrots, parsnips or sweet potatoes, instead of or with the turnips or potatoes. I like the idea of cooking with the milk and cream to add some texture to the vegetables and they mix really well when you are mashing.
Some good eating for today, and I did get a few things to make for this week, like some chicken (a whole one and some boneless breasts), a skirt steak (it was a really good sale on these this week) and some ground beef, so we’ll see what I make this week. Sean starts his cooking class this week so I think he’ll be helping in the kitchen with some things, so we’ll see what we can come up with. Check back to see what we cook. Enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
I have been eyeing up the salmon at Adams Farms for a couple of weeks now. It has looked great and this week, the price was finally low enough where I decided to get some to have for dinner this weekend. Now, Michelle is not a big fan of salmon, but what she doesn’t really care for is the Atlantic salmon. This salmon is typically farm raised and can have a distinct, fishy flavor. Wild Pacific salmon, like sockeye salmon, has a completely different flavor to it, It’s a deeper red, more delicate and doesn’t taste fishy at all. The catch, of course, is that wild salmon tends to be very expensive. It’s most abundant in the spring and summer, when the price might be lower. I got mine for $11.99 a pound. Off season, it typically approached $20.00 a pound. The great thing about wild salmon is that you practically have to do nothing to it. This recipe is fast and simple, with next to nothing included but the salmon.
Pan-Seared Wild Salmon
1-2 pounds of wild salmon, cut into fillets (about 6 ounces each is good)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Lemon or lime wedges, for serving
Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Gently lay the salmon skin side up in the skillet and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes.
Gently flip the fish skin-side down and continue to cook until all but the very center of the fish has turned from translucent to opaque, about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.
A couple of notes about the fish. First, with salmon, you need to check for pin bones in the fish before you cook it. Typically, in most stores, the pin bones have already been removed for you, but it never hurts to check again to make sure they are all gone. Just run your fingers gently over the surface of the flesh. If you feel any bumps, there is a bone there that you should pull out. A pair of pliers will do the trick nicely. Second, a nonstick skillet when cooking salmon is a godsend. It will help you cook the fish all the way through without drying the fish out and leaving half the fish stuck to the pan.
I made a simple, quick sauce to put over the fish. This sauce will work for anything really – fish, chicken, rice, pasta, vegetables – you name it. It’s really just a simple vinaigrette with some herbs added to it.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Put the oil or butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is warm or the butter is melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens (turn the heat down if the onion starts to color), 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in two tablespoons of water and the lemon juice and sprinkle with some salt and pepper; maintain the heat so it bubbles gently for a minute or two. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
There are a lot of different ways you can go with this. Instead of using onion, try garlic, shallot or scallion. Add a couple of tablespoons of fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, oregano or mint. Add some jalapeno or a dried chile for some heat. You can pretty much do whatever you want with this. it also makes a great dipping sauce for some crunchy bread. I served the whole meal with some sweet potato, a tomato cucumber salad and some crunchy bread I got at the farmer’s market today.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow I plan to make some pulled pork indoors, so I’ll be posting the recipe for that one. It looks pretty good. Check back and see if you like it. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!
For everyone who will be watching the Olympics in London starting tonight, Williams-Sonoma offers up some classic British recipes. I’ve tried several of them and they taste pretty good so they are worth a look (especially the Black & Tan!). Check them out and try a few.
I’ve had a number of doctor appointments lately so I haven’t had much time for blogging, but I hope to add a few of my own recipes this weekend. Stay tuned!
11 Recipes for Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast That Are Not Even Slightly Boring: BA Daily: bonappetit.com
Here’s another good blog post from Bon Appetit. If your house is like mine, we always have boneless chicken breast around and I am always looking for something new to do with it. Here are 11 new and interesting recipes to liven up your chicken dishes. Check them out!
10 Farmer’s Market Rules to Swear By (According to the BA Foodist): The Bon Appetit Foodist: bonappetit.com
It’s that farmer’s market time of year. I love to shop the local farmers markets in our area. You can get all kinds of good deals and the produce is out of this world. If you have never checked into one in your area, I highly suggest it. You might also want to follow some of the advice set out in this blog entry from Bon Appetit. Check it out and then go to the farmer’s market! It’s great food and it supports your local farmers and businesses!
There’s nothing quite like some roast chicken. Crispy skin, juicy meat, it just plain tastes good. However, there are some days (today being one of them) where it is just too hot to turn on the stove. Sometimes you feel like using the stove for something else, like a cake or a pie. Today, it was just too hot for the oven but I had some chicken pieces that I wanted to cook. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen, gave a good solution of roasting the chicken on the stove top. I still got the dark brown crispy skin and the moist meat, and got a really good pan sauce to go along with it.
Stovetop Roast Chicken with Lemon-Herb Sauce
3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, trimmed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon butter, chilled
Salt and ground black pepper
For the chicken: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and cook without moving until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces skin side up. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chicken broth to the skillet, cover and cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 155 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh/drumstick registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 16 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up.
Pour off the liquid from the skillet into a measuring cup and reserve. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet skin side down and cook undisturbed until the skin is deep golden brown and crisp, the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees, and the thickest part of the thigh/drumstick registers 175 degrees, 4 to 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Using a spoon, skim any fat from the reserved cooking liquid and add more broth if needed to measure 3/4 cup.
For the sauce: Heat the oil in the now-empty skillet over low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the reserved cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer, scraping the skillet bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Simmer rapidly until reduced to a 1/2 cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated juices from the resting chicken; return to a simmer and cook for 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the parsley, chives, lemon juice and butter; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce around the chicken and serve immediately.
I served the chicken with some noodles and peas. the sauce was spectacular and went perfectly with the chicken. I would make this one again for sure.
I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring for dinner. I’ve been bad about planning things out lately; we’ve just had so much going on that I haven’t really had a chance to plan. Now that Sean is home from his trip south (Yeah!) maybe we can plan things a little better. Check back and see what the next meal will be. Enjoy the rest of your evening and enjoy your meal!
I had been looking at the fresh mussels in the market the last several weeks I have gone there but I didn’t buy any because it would have been too many for just Michelle and myself. I decided to break down and bought some yesterday to have for dinner and bot am I glad I did. There were so good, and this recipe is just a perfect way to make them. Make sure you have some good, crunchy bread around to help soak up some of the delicious broth that you get from the meal.
Spaghetti and Mussels with Tomato and Basil
Salt, to taste
6 ounces spaghetti (I used fettuccine, that’s what we had on hand, but anything you like will do)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound mussels
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and red pepper flakes and saute until the shallot is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels, wine and lemon zest. Cover the pan and cook until the mussel shells begin to open, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Drain the pasta and transfer it to a warmed large, shallow bowl. Pour the mussels and sauce over the pasta. Add the basil and the extra-virgin olive oil and toss to coat the pasta. Season with salt and black pepper and serve immediately.
Just a couple of quick tips regarding the mussels. If you have never purchased mussels before, you want to look shells that are tightly closed or close when they are tapped. Avoid any cracked or broken shells or any that are just sitting in a puddle of water. Make sure they smell clean. If they don’t, you don’t want them at all. You so need to scrub them before cooking, and you may even need to de-beard them. All that is is a little weedy piece sticking out between the shells. You can give them a quick tug out or use a paring knife and cut it off. Very few of those I bought had a beard. Expect a few not to open when you cook them. It’s perfectly okay, it happens in every batch, but if they don’t open, don’t eat them. You don’t need the stomach problems you’ll have later on if you do eat them. I served the meal with a small, simple salad with some balsamic vinaigrette.
I also had a small batch of ground beef so I decided to make a few meatballs to have around since Sean is coming home and loves them with his pasta. I use a very simple recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and they come out great.
2 slices of white bread (use good white bread for this)
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
Remove and discard the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small pieces. Mash the bread pieces and buttermilk to a smooth paste in a large bowl, using a fork.
Add the beef, pork, Parmesan, parsley, yolk, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper to the mashed bread. Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform. Gently form the mixture into 1-inch round meatballs ( I got about 20 out of the mix)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the meatballs on a wire rack in a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until well browned. Remove them from the oven and either place in tomato sauce or brown gravy and serve.
It’s very easy and simple and tastes quite good. The recipe calls for a mix of beef and pork, but I only used beef this time and they came out fine. Baking them on the wire rack helps keep them from sitting in any fat and they brown nicely all over.
That’s it for today. I got a number of things at the market last week, a lot of chicken, so we’ll see what I can come up with for the week. Until then, enjoy this beautiful day and enjoy your meal!
Stir fry dinners are a staple in our house. We eat them about once a week and I try to vary them as much as possible between chicken, seafood, beef and pork and sometimes just vegetables. here are some good tips to follow from Cook’s Illustrated on how to create a really good stir fry. Check it out!
Yikes, it has been unbelievably hot and humid here in New York. Every day it’s muggy and sticky and even thunderstorms don’t seem to cool it off. It certainly doesn’t make me feel like cooking at any time – morning, afternoon or evening. I also have difficulty breathing when it’s this humid, so it really limits what I can do when it’s like this (an after effect of my illness in 2009. You can see my other blog if you’re interested in more facts). The fact is, we have to eat something. There’s only so many nights you can get away with making sandwiches and even grilling can be too much in this weather. I decided to make a meal tonight that take almost no time at all to cook. You’ll actually spend more time preparing the sides than you will the main course. I have made fish tacos before, but this is a fast version of fish tacos from Williams-Sonoma.
Fast Fish Tacos
- 1 pound cod or other mild white-fleshed fish
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice from 1 lime
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 1 cup fresh salsa
- Sour cream
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley
Split the fillets lengthwise along the seam. Place the fish on a plate. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, oregano and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of the fish. Drizzle with the olive oil and lime juice.
Heat the tortillas
Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy fry pan over medium-low heat. On another burner, preheat a stovetop grill pan over medium-low heat. One at a time, warm the tortillas in the fry pan until flexible. Stack them on a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Cook the fish and assemble the tacos
Increase the heat under the grill pan to medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the fish and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until golden around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes more, depending on type and thickness. Transfer the fish to a plate and cut into bite-size pieces.
Place an equal amount of the fish on each warm tortilla and top with shredded cabbage, a spoonful of salsa and a drizzle of sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley and serve.