Tag Archives: food
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Happy Thanksgiving: Something NEW for your family feast

 Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Special equipment: butchers twine, a mallet (or meat tenderizer as some call it), plastic wrap, a chef’s knife and a sharp boning knife.  You will also need a long butane lighter or fireplace match sticks.  Trust me – this is going to keep your hair from catching fire!

 Items:

  • 10 lb Pork Loin
  • ¼ lbs Butter
  • 8 ea. Gala or Fuji Apples (¼ inch dice)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 cup Sundried Cranberries
  • 2 cups Walnuts (medium chop)
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup Rosemary
  • 4 oz. Brown Sugar

First, you want to make your filling so that it can cool down while you work on trimming the pork.  After chopping the apples and walnuts, get a large pot that can hold around 6 qts.  Next, put your butter in the pot and melt it down.  Add the apples, cranberries, salt, pepper, and walnuts.  Cook for 5 minutes – stirring often.  Add the brown sugar and cook an additional 5 minutes – again stirring often.  Let the sugars start to caramelize on the bottom of the pot.  Be sure to not let the mixture burn!  

WARNING: Be careful when doing the next step.  Turn off your burner if you are using a gas stove.  Pour the bourbon in the pot.  Turn the burner back on and bring to a boil – ignite it with the match or lighter stick. Watch your hair and Flambé!!!!  Let mixture boil until the flame burns out (which means all the alcohol is burned out).  Add the rosemary and pour the mixture out of the pot into a sheet pan to cool.  You can set it in your fridge or just on the counter while working on the pork.  

 How good are your knife skills?  You’re about to find out with this pork!  Quick story: I used to have to dice about 40 lbs of tomatoes with a machine to make pico de gallo.  The machine blade broke.  I told the chef I was working and the blade broke, so I couldn’t get the tomatoes done on time.  He told me not to complain to him because my knife skills sucked.  Ouch.  I no longer use a machine to dice anything anymore.  Lesson learned.  

Pork loin:  Grab your boning knife, and let’s get to work.  Trim off the top layer of fat.  Because this piece of pork is so long, you will need to filet it into three connected sections that create one large, thin piece.  Imagine it’s a cinnamon roll pastry log before its been cut into individual pieces.  

You’ll need to begin cutting an 1/8 of an inch from the bottom on the long side of the loin, making sure you keep the knife horizontal.  If you tilt the knife down, you risk going through the bottom and making a hole which your filling will pour out of.  So cut until you get ¼ inch away from the side of the loin.  Fold the loin out.  Then using the same process, cut another 1/8 of a inch thin across horizontally.  Fold the loin out until it’s all the way rolled out.  Wasn’t that fun!!!  If you made any holes then don’t worry you have 2 more pieces of pork to “perfect your technique” on!!  

Now lay the pork out flat and put two layers of plastic wrap over it.  Get out your meat mallet.  Use the flat side, and with controlled swings (don’t get crazy), pound out the meat.  Not too hard or you will make more holes in the pig.  If done correctly, you can potentially double it in size.  You can now take the filling and spread a layer evenly over the pork.  Roll it gently but tightly into a cylinder (like that cinnamon roll log I was talking about).

The fun has just begun!

If you were in boy/girl scouts, you may have the skills for the next task.  If not, I’m here to help.  It’s time to tie this porker up.  Cut a piece of butchers twine about 6 to 8 ft long.  Place the pork on your prep space, seam facing up – one end is facing you and the other away from you.  Grab one end of the string and with the other hand grab a foot down the string, drag it down underneath the pork toward you – stopping about ½ inch from the front of the pork.  Tie a tight knot at the seam of the pork.   Ok, (explaining this is tuff, so bear with me) with your left hand grab the string 2 inches from the knot and the right hand, 1 ½ feet from your left hand.  Drag the string between your hands, under the pork like earlier except stop 1 inch from the knot.  Take the string in your right hand and pull it under the left hand string.  Pull it all the way through the left, and tug it tightly.  Did you get that?  Repeat until you get to the end of the pork loin – tying the last one off with a tight knot.    

 Take the pork, and lay it on a sheet pan seam side down.  Turn the oven to 350.  Cover with a piece of foil.  You are going to be cooking this baby for a long time so covering it will keep the outside from burning.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Take off foil.  Cook for an additional 15 – 30 minutes.  If you have a thermometer, it needs to read 150 to 155.  Take it out of the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.  This will keep the juices from coming out and will insure the meat does not become too dry.  Each loin should yield between 14 to 16 cuts.  We use a brandy demi glaze on ours, but a reduced port wine would be nice too.

Enjoy!





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Recipe of the Month: Potato Leek Soup

 

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Ingredient

  • Yield 8 servings (or 2 quarts)
  • 1.5 oz (3 Tbs.) + 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 3 oz. Flour
  • 1 large Potato (peeled and cut into a medium size dice)
  • ½ lbs. Mirepoix*(small dice)
  • ½ lbs. Leeks (washed and finely chopped)
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • Sachet**: 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. crushed peppercorns
  • 4 oz. Dry White Wine or a good stout beer like Guinness
  • 4 oz. Half & Half
  • 1 lbs Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

I love soup!! Especially in the fall and winter months when I can curl up on the couch & watch cartoons (yep – I’m still a big ole kid at heart). This particular soup pairs well with a big chunk of crusty bread – a good sourdough or baguette! Warning: there are several Parisian terms in the recipe. Not to worry – I have included the definitions at the bottom. Pretend you’re in Culinary 101 class – ready, set, cook!

This is a 3 pot recipe. The first is for the roux, the second for cooking the potatoes (in water) & the third should be a large one for the actual soup. First you want to make your roux. You will use this to thicken your soup later. In your second pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil. Toss in the potatoes and cook until tender. Drain the water and put the potatoes in ice water. Set potatoes aside.

Melt 1.5 oz butter in a small pot, add the flour, cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Put aside for later. In the large pot (needs to fit about 3 qt) put in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, melt it down and add your mirepoix and chopped leeks. Sauté until the veggies are tender.

Add your chicken stock and roux, whip until it is mixed well. Bring to a simmer, add the wine (or beer) and half & half. Make sure you are whisking often. The roux likes to settle to the bottom of the pot and if you aren’t whisking (scraping the bottom the whole time) it can easily burn on you. When your soup thickens, turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese and whisk until it is fully melted. Taste. If you think it needs salt, add it. If you like a little heat add the cayenne. Just remember, you can always add seasonings but you cannot take them out, so don’t add too much!! Fold the potatoes in and your ready to chow down!!!!


*Mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwa) is traditional a mixture of carrots, celery and onions. Generally it is 50% onion, 25% carrot 25% celery. Sometimes you will hear of a creole mirepoix or “Holy Trinity” that consists of 50% onion, 25% celery and 25% green peppers.

** Sachet (pronounced sah-shay) is French for “bag of spices”. A sachet is different seasonings tied up in a pouch made of cheese cloth and tied up with a string of some sort (I use butchers twine). I use these when I want the flavor of a seasoning in my soup, stock, sauce but don’t want the ingredients floating around in it for the finished product. You can just pull the bag out and toss in the trash when your done.





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Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin Stuffed w/Blue Cheese and Caramelized Shallots

Ingredients

  • 5- 10 slices of a good quality Smoked Bacon
  • 2 medium size Shallots (julienne)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced)
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 4 – 5 oz cuts Beef Tenderloin (center cut)
  •  Maytag Blue Cheese (or a good quality blue cheese), crumbled
  • 4 inch skewers
  • 2 Tbs. Melted Butter
  • Salt n Peppa

First pre heat your oven to 300 degrees and preheat a grill.  Put your bacon on a sheet pan and pop it in the oven.  Cook until half way done.  It should still be very limp.  With paper towels pat the bacon dry and set the bacon aside.  Keep the oven on.

Now take a small sauté pan and heat on the stove.  When the pan is hot add your olive oil to the pan.  Next add the julienne shallots and minced garlic.  When the shallots start to brown turn the heat down to medium and keep cooking for 5 additional minutes or until onions are nicely caramelized.  Set the shallots in the fridge to cool.  When the shallots have chilled, mix them with the crumbled blue cheese.

Here is where it gets tricky. Using a sharp paring or boning knife, cut on the side of the steak a horizontal cut ¾ inch wide and 1 ½ deep inside the tenderloin. Stuff  1 Tbs. of the cheese/shallot mixture inside the steak.  If your bacon is long enough you may be able to wrap 1 piece around the tenderloin.  If not, you will need to use 2 pieces.  Keep the bacon in place with the skewers.  Brush both sides of the steak with butter and season with salt and pepper.  After successfully stuffing and wrapping the tenderloins stand back and look at your wonderful creation of pork/beef/dairy goodness and get ready to grill that sucker.  

Brush the grill with the remaining butter and very gently place the steaks on the grill.  They are very fragile at this point.  As the bacon finishes cooking it will get tighter on the skewers and could easily rip – be careful.  After putting the steak on the grill wait 1 minute then turn the steak 90 degrees to achieve the elegant diamond grill marks.  Flip them and cook for 2 minute on the other side for a good medium rare steak.  If you want your steak cooked more you can finish it on the grill (and mess up those perfect grill marks) or you can transfer them to a baking sheet and finish then off in the oven.   

Enjoy!