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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce

There isn’t much to say about this recipe except that it was very tasty.  I think the fact that the pork chops I used were really great helped things. They came from my meat buying club.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce (Gourmet, May 2005)

  • 4 (3/4-inch-thick) pork chops
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots  *I used red onion*
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup country-style Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream *I used unsweetened evaporated milk*
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, swirling to coat, then brown chops, turning over once, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a shallow baking pan, reserving skillet, and bake, uncovered, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour off fat from skillet, then cook shallots in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and any juices from baking pan and boil, scraping up any brown bits, 2 minutes. Add mustard and cream and return to a boil, then add lemon juice and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

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   I will never understand why I can’t get myself out of bed on time during the week, but on the weekend I am wide awake at 6:30.  Thank God that doesn’t happen every weekend. 

It wasn’t too terrible to wake up early this morning because I got to enjoy the sunshine before the clouds rolled in.  There was also extra time to put this breakfast casserole together.  I know that this recipe is not original.  I was excited to try it because it let me use the breakfast sausage from Brad Moore’s Farm.  This is my first dish using any of the pork that he brought to our Farm to Fork meat buying club (see more info here).

I don’t normally like sausage all that much, but this stuff was great!  There are about 1 million different variations of this casserole, and you can put it together the night before and just pull it out and bake it in the morning.  I halved the recipe and it turned out fine. You could freeze the leftovers and pull them out during the week for a quick breakfast if you wanted.  The next time I will add some vegetables to the mix; tomatoes and green onions come to mind.

Weekend Breakfast Casserole

  • 4 cups of english muffins, cubed (you can use bread if that is what you have)
  • lb pork sausage;   crumbled, cooked and well drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10 large eggs
  • cups milk(I used 2% and it was fine)
  • 1teaspoon dijon mustard
  • teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Place bread cubes in prepared dish, top with sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs, milk, mustard and salt.  Season with pepper.  Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture.   Bake casserole until puffed and center is set, about 50 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

       

     

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    Farm to fork large pork box

    I was so excited this week to get our first delivery of pork to the Farm to Fork meat buying club that we started at work! 

    Meat buying clubs are an opportunity for people to purchase organic and humanely raised meats directly from the farmer. You can find more information about programs like ours here and here

    Our group operates on a month to month basis right now, and for the first month we decided to go with pork. Our farmer was Brad Moore from Liberty, NC.  It was really great to finally meet him this week after we had been playing email-tag for so long.   It really puts lots of pressure on you to put the meat to good use when you meet the people who obviously take such good care of their animals! 

    Well, we got a large box of pork. The large order included 2 pork roasts, spare ribs, pork chops, bratwurst, breakfast sausage and a ham steak.  I have lots of recipes to find now!

    I plan to put all of our adventures with these great cuts of meat here on the blog.  Wish us luck!

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    img_0353.jpg 

    The daffodils are blooming here in North Carolina and that is the first herald of spring.  Easter is on its way, and my Mom spends many hours before Easter Sunday making loaves and loaves of Easter bread.  I went online this past week to find the history behind these recipes, but all of the recipes I found were savory breads.  The two recipes that come from our family are breakfast breads. They are sweet and go perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. 

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    Vegetarian Chili

      Every year at work, we have a chili cook-off to kick off the start of March Madness.  The cook-off is always on a Friday, and it’s always during Lent.  For us Catholics, Lent is a time when we don’t eat meat on Fridays.  The only chili that I felt I made well enough to serve to other people has always had meat in it.  Leaving the meat out just didn’t taste right.  That meant I couldn’t eat my own chili during the potluck lunch! 

      This year, I thought I would do some research online for good vegetarian chili recipes.  This recipe base came from a recipe in Gourmet magazine. You can find it on epicurious.com.  It was highly rated, so I tried it out this week on my Hubby before I made it for the cook-off.  (Thanks for being my guinea pig, Love!)

    (more…)

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    frittata-1.jpg

    This week we had a pot-luck brunch at work.  Since I’m not that big on sweets for breakfast, I brought a frittata as my dish.  Frittatas are the Italian verison of an omelette.  They are super easy to make, all you need is a good nonstick skillet and a broiler.  I threw everything together in the morning before I went to work.

    My favorite frittata has bacon, feta cheese, tomatoes and fresh basil.  You can use whatever you have on hand or makes you happy. 

     Maria’s Favorite Frittata (this is all an estimate, so just wing it!)

    • 3/4 of a pound of bacon, chopped into small pieces
    • 2 small tomatoes, diced
    • fresh basil, about 2 tbps chopped
    • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
    • 6-7 eggs
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

    Preheat the broiler in the oven.  Cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan and spread out on a paper towel to drain.  Pour the bacon grease from the pan, leaving a thin layer on the inside of the pan. (This step is important to allow easy removal of the frittata from the pan at the end). Place the pan back on the stove and keep on low heat.

    Beat the eggs and the water together in a large bowl, then add the bacon, tomatoes, basil and feta.  Toss together and pour into the pan.  Turn up the heat and cook the mixture on the stovetop until you can see everything starting to set.  Add the cheddar to the top of the frittata.  Transfer the pan from the stovetop to the broiler.  If your pan doesn’t have a metal handle, wrap the handle in aluminum foil to protect it before it goes in the oven.  Broil the frittata until the mixture is completely set and the cheese is brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a plate.   NOTE:  THE PAN WILL BE REALLY HOT, USE A POTHOLDER!!!    Frittatas are good warm or room temperature.

    breakfast

     As a side note,  if you think that this recipe sounds good, or if you can’t follow it, please leave me a comment know so I can make changes!

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    besides chocolate cake

     The only real reason I can give for the lack of actual recipes lately is being lazy. Well, more like just being tired of doing dishes.

      The better culinary reason I can give goes hand in hand with laziness;  most of our dinners lately have just been a roasted meat of some sort with starch and vegetable.   When I say roasted meat, I mean I have been roasting chicken breasts and pork tenderloins in their most basic form: seasoned salt + canola oil + convection roasting.   To me, it really is the lazy girl’s guide to a good dinner.   Actually I read in the paper not too long ago that our local restaurant critic always orders roast chicken when on the job because he feels it is the best judge of how skilled the kitchen is.  Something that is so simple, but is really bad when done poorly.

     greek chicken

    After trial and error I have found some good tips for the perfect roast chicken breast, so I figured I would put them here.

    1) Start with good chicken. I have been using chicken breasts on the bone with skin.  I remove the skin after cooking, but it is important to leave the skin on while cooking to protect the meat. 

    2) Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then brush with canola oil and season with whatever spice rub you want. I am partial to McCormick’s seasoned salt.  Put this above and below the skin.

    3)  Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.  I think this is the key to moist chicken. Actually it is the best way to avoid overcooking any type of meat in my opinion.  They aren’t expensive and take so much guesswork out of the process.

    4)  Place the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 450 degree oven set for convection.  I can’t guarantee this recipe if you aren’t using a convection oven because that is what I have in my kitchen. I love it because it circulates the air around the food and allows it to cook quicker.  You can follow this recipe in a regular oven, but it might not brown as nicely and may take longer.

    5)  Cook the chicken until it reaches 165 degrees on the thermometer (about 25 minutes).  Take it out and cover with foil. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, the temperature should hit 170 during this time. 

    6)  Eat!

    See how this can be an easy weeknight meal?   The recipe for the photo above can be found here.

     Anyway, I am going to try and have more interesting posts in the next few weeks.  While you are here, feel free to drop me a comment just to let me know what you think!

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