Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ever wonder how restaurants get their bacon so perfect? They bake it.

Just line them up on a baking sheet, they have to be touching or slightly overlapping, so they don't curl up. Then bake at 375* until crispy, up to 30 minutes. they're easier to crumble into bacon bits too,

Slow Roasted Chicken on Grilled, Herbed Sourdough with Creamy Basil Sauce

Slow Roasted Chicken on Grilled, Herbed Sourdough with Creamy Basil Sauce..Jeez, that's a mouthful... I'll bet it would look better in French... 
Lente Poulet rôti aux herbes sur Sourdough grillé avec sauce au basilic crémeuse...Mmhm, Just what I thought, everything looks better in French.

 I feel a bit silly, giving instructions for building a sandwich. But, I've taught a lot of people how to cook, over the years, and try to write every recipe, as if  I were addressing a beginner cook. (I start teaching them around 7 or 8 years old.) I'm always afraid that It may seem condescending.  So I'll throw in a few, xoxoxo and a big :D.....there, aaallll better! Seriously though, I just think this is an awesome sandwich. This is the only reason I slow roast a chicken. It reminds me of those rotisserie chickens sold at the market.

Slow roasted chicken or Rotisserie chicken
2 Slices  Soft Sourdough bread
1 or 2 slices of your favorite cheese (Provolone and Muenster are great with this)
2 Slices tomato
2 slices crisp bacon

Parmesan Garlic Spread:
2Tbl. butter-softened
1Tbl. Parmesan cheese
1tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. dried parsley
1/4tsp. basil.
Combine. Use at room temperature.

Creamy Basil Sauce:
1/2cup yogurt
1/4cup honey mustard salad dressing- or-  Homemade honey mustard salad dressing
1Tbl. Parmesan cheese
1tsp. basil
1/4tsp. garlic powder
1/4tsp. salt
1/4tsp. sugar
Combine and chill.

Spread Parmesan garlic spread onto one side of each bread slice. Place spread side down, on a warm griddle.
 Top one slice with chicken and one slice with cheese. Leave open faced for now. Grill until lightly browned, and the cheese has melted. (As if you were making a grilled cheese sandwich.)
Place the open faced sandwich on a plate.
Spread the cheese slice with creamy basil sauce.
Top the chicken slice with bacon and tomato.
Flip the cheese slice onto the chicken slice. Serve.

                                          Creamy Basil Sauce

                                        Parmesan Garlic Spread

           I baked the sourdough bread in a loaf pan, for sandwich slices.

Slow Roasted Chicken

                                          Slow Roasted Chicken
What is it about slow roasting a chicken, that brings out such an amazing flavor, and becomes so tender it practically falls apart. I cooked a chicken this way, once, without any seasonings, and it still had that wonderful flavor. The whole house becomes filled with a Thanksgiving turkey-like aroma. The taste reminds me of those rotisserie chickens you buy at the market.
It's cooked in a roaster on a rack. If you don't have a roaster with a lid, and a rack. Wad up 1-1/2 inch balls of aluminum foil, and tuck them under your chicken, to keep it from boiling in it's own juices. then cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, to let the juices steam the chicken. I don't actually use a recipe, I just oil or butter a chicken, then sprinkle on a little of these seasonings, and rub them in.

sweet smoked paprika
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

Bake the chicken at 300* for about 3-1/2 hours.
Remove the lid or aluminum foil, turn the oven to 375* and bake another 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Piri Piri Chicken

                        Piri Piri Chicken with Roasted lemon potatoes

Pan grilled chicken and sweet peppers, simmered in a mildly hot, Portuguese-African sauce. I love this, quick and easy too. I've done a bit of research on this dish, and have been altering my original recipe, which, in turn, was altered from one of Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals. It has a much deeper flavor now. I'm removing the old post.

Piri is Swahili for pepper, particularly, the African birds eye chili. It is said that this dish originated in Mozambique. The peppers were believed to have been brought to Africa, by Portuguese settlers.  It always seems, the most complex sauces come from combining cultures, no matter what part of the world it happens. Such as the The Caribbean, Mexico, the Louisiana bayou, just to name a few. Many of my favorite dishes derive from these cross cultures.

I've made this using green bell peppers, it was almost as good, but the sweetness of ripe bell peppers really compliments the sauce. I think I'm also going to try: Grilling the chicken outdoors, then basting on sauce, like BBQ sauce. I let you know how it turns out.

1tsp.-plus-1tbl. oil
boneless, chicken breast-thawed and flattened between two pieces of plastic-this sauce is enough for eight
1-to-3 Ripe bell peppers- julienne sliced (I use 1red,1yellow and 1orange, for a 3lb. bag of chicken breast.)
1/4 cup water

For the Piri Piri Sauce:
1 onion-diced
1Tbl. minced garlic
1/2tsp. pureed ginger
2 bird chili peppers- broken
2 red, ripe jalapenos-seeded and diced
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/4cup white wine vinegar
1Tbl.Worcestershire sauce
1/4cup water
1Tbl. dried basil
1/2tsp dried cilantro
1/2tsp dried thyme
1/2tsp. salt
1/4tsp. tarragon
1/2 of a bay leaf

Puree the sauce ingredients in a blender, until smooth.
Heat the tsp.of oil in a skillet. Saute the peppers until crisp-tender, remove the peppers from the skillet.
Add another Tbl. oil to the skillet, and turn the burner to a high flame.
Brown the chicken on both sides, cooking until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Most of the browning occurs at the end of cooking.
Add the 1/4 of water to the hot pan, to de-glaze the bottom of the pan. This adds more flavor to the dish.
Add the peppers back to the pan, along with the sauce.
Simmer about 3-5 minutes, to allow the chicken to absorb the sauce. Serve hot.

                                        Puree the sauce ingredients.

                         Saute the peppers until they are crisp-tender.

     Pan grill the chicken until it is cooked through, and lightly browned.

De-glaze the pan with 1/4cup water. Add the peppers, chicken and sauce. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve hot.

Roasted Lemon Potatoes

    Roasted Lemon Potatoes- these are good with just about anything.

1 gallon storage bag
4-6cups potatoes-diced large
juice of 1 lemon
1Tbl. basil
1Tbl parsley
1/4tsp. thyme
2Tbl. olive oil
1/2tsp. smoked paprika
1tsp. salt
1/4tsp. pepper

Preheat the oven to 375*
Add everything except the potatoes, to the bag. squeeze to combine.
Add the potatoes, close the bag and shake to coat.
Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet, spreading them into a single layer, and bake about an hour, or until the potatoes are tender and starting to brown. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tartar Sauce

                                                 Tartar sauce

4Tbl. minced white onion
4Tbl. dill relish or minced dill pickles
1Tbl. Sweet pickle relish
3Tbl. real mayo
3Tbl. miracle whip
1/4tsp. salt
1/4tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill at least 30 minutes, to blend the flavors.
You could pulse it in a food processor, if you prefer it smoother.

A nice harvest for a drought. It's time to make Cooked Salsa

                                      Cooked Salsa-finally!
It's been a tough year for gardeners, not to mention farmers. The government declared 90% of Illinois corn crops were lost. We use a well for our water, so we have to be very conservative, only watering the garden once a week. But my husband harvested a nice batch today. If you want to make this hotter, add 2 cayenne, if you want it very hot, add a habenero.

It looks like I can finally make some salsa. The main reason I garden! I love both the cooked and un-cooked versions.( Pauls perfect salsa cruda)

                                                An Okra flower.

1tsp. oil
 1cup diced tomatoes (I prefer romas but any tomato will work)
1 bell pepper-diced
2 jalapenos- minced
1 small onion diced
1tsp. minced garlic
1tsp. white vinegar
1/4tsp. salt
1/2tsp. chopped cilantro (dried is fine too)

I prefer to puree the sauce after cooking, but you can puree first, if you like.
Heat the oil in a sauce pan.
Add all other ingredients and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated.
Puree in a blender, I like to leave it a little chunky, for texture.
Allow to cool. I think this tastes best at room temp. Use as a serving sauce or serve with tortilla chips. This makes 2/3cup.

Simple Enchiladas


The nice thing about enchiladas is that you can bake or microwave them.
Just roll one or two on a dinner plate, top with a little sauce and cheese, then toss them in the microwave until the cheese melts. This makes 10


For the Taco meat:
1-1/2lbs. ground chuck
2 envelopes taco seasoning (I like Taco Bell brand)
1 cup water

You'll also need:
1 package small flour tortillas ( I like Azteca brand)
1-28oz. can enchilada sauce
8oz. shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 375*
Brown the beef. Drain the pan drippings and return the beef to the pan.
Add the seasoning and water. Simmer until most of the water has evaporated.
Dump the beef into a colander (over a bowl), and allow it to drain for a few minutes.
Fill the tortillas with the taco meat, roll them, then place them in a 13x9x2 baking pan.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas.
Top with the shredded cheese, then bake until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Then top with cheese and bake until the cheese melts. I doubled the recipe here, and baked it in a half sheet pan.

    Here's one I microwaved on a saucer. It looks and tastes exactly the same.

Mexican Apple Pie

                                              Mexican Apple Pie
If I want Tex-Mex, I always want Taco Gringo, It's a local chain that serves simple, fast, cheap, addictive food. It's been around, at least, since I was a teenager.  I crave their Super Sancho, not to mention the Super Salad and the best Enchiladas I have ever eaten. They have a dessert called Mexican Apple Pie, that of course, I had to try and duplicate. It's served like nachos. You could use canned apple pie filling, but I always thought that stuff was way too sweet. Here is my version.


For the cinnamon chips:
1package small flour tortillas-cut into wedges
4Tbl. sugar
1tsp. cinnamon
oil for frying

For the apple filling:
5 tart apples-peeled and diced- I prefer Jonathon
2Tbl. sugar
1/2tsp. cinnamon
1/4cup water

You'll also need:
4oz. shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese
more cinnamon for sprinkling

In a large sauce pan, combine the apples, water, cinnamon and sugar, cook until the apples are soft, and the moisture has evaporated. About 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the chips. Mix together cinnamon and sugar.
I keep a large old spice container full of cinnamon and sugar mixture, for these and cinnamon toast.
Fry the wedges until lightly browned, less than a minute.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture, or toss them in a bowl of the cinnamon mixture while they are still warm.
Spread the chips in a baking pan or 2 pie pans. (one that you plan to serve it in)
Spoon the apple filling, evenly over the chips.
Top with the shredded cheese, and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon.
Bake at 375* until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Taco Salad

                                    My not so pretty- Taco Salad
My kids wanted me to post my taco salad recipe, so they would have it handy.
It's not attractive, but they love it. This makes a HUGE bowl.
If you think you are going to have leftovers, don't add the beef mixture to the salad. Reheat the beef in the microwave, then add it to individual portions.


For the taco meat:
2lbs. ground chuck
2 envelopes of taco seasoning (I like Taco Bell brand)
1cup water

For the dressing:
1 large jar of prepared salsa
16oz. sour cream

1 head of lettuce-chopped or shredded
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos-crushed
5 roma tomatoes-diced
8oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown the beef. Drain the pan drippings and return the beef to the pan.
Add the seasoning and water. Simmer until most of the water has evaporated.
Dump the beef into a colander (over a bowl), and allow it to drain, while you are preparing the salad.
Combine the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
Combine the salad ingredients.
Mix the dressing into the salad.
Add the beef and mix to combine. Serve.

Banana Split Pie

                                             Banana Split Pie
There was a restaurant I went to, as young woman, that served a banana split pie, that I adored.
But like a lot of my favorite restaurants, sadly it closed, and that was the end of my beloved pie.
I immediately went to work, trying to duplicate it, and wound up with something I liked even more. How often does that happen?
This is sort of like, a cross between a no bake cheese cake, and a pudding dessert. OMG I love this. I've made it the last two weeks in a row.
It makes enough to fill a lasagna pan, or two pie pans. This has to be refrigerated overnight, to blend the flavors. Then it really comes into it's own. This would be a good choice for a gathering, if you can keep it chilled.


For the crust:
1-1/2cups graham cracker crumbs
4Tbl. melted margarine

For the filling:
8oz. cream cheese-softened
16oz. sour cream
1can crushed pineapple-drained
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
16oz. thawed cool whip-divided
8oz. fresh strawberries-sliced or diced
4 bananas-sliced or diced

1 jar of maraschino cherries-drained and chopped
2Tbl. nut topping
chocolate syrup-for drizzling
(I make a dark chocolate syrup by combining 2Tbl. corn syrup, 1Tbl. dark chocolate cocoa, 1tsp. vanilla)

Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese a minute, then add the sour cream and half of the cool whip. Beat until fluffy.
Add the pudding mixes and pineapple. beat until well combined.
Stir in the strawberries and bananas.
Drop spoonfuls of the filling over the crust and spread out evenly.
Top with the remaining cool whip.
Garnish with the cherries and nuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.
Refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter
I've been in the mood for Frisco style sandwiches,(Slow roasted chicken on grilled herbed Sourdough with Creamy Basil Sauce) on grilled sourdough. They're best on homemade bread. I guess I'll have to make a starter.

I usually have the best intentions going into it, ie..trying different sourdough recipes, baking a loaf every few days, giving away starters... but after a couple of weeks, I usually forget about it, and wind up with a dried up container, in the back of the fridge.
But I ran across a great idea a while back, freeze the leftover starter, then let it thaw a few hours, before using it in recipes. Here we go again, the last time I made a starter, it went totally berserk, and started overflowing from the container in a couple of hours.
From what I understand, the dough captures live yeast from your kitchen... if it ferments very quickly, you have a lot of those little buggers running around.

Before dried yeast became available, you had to add fruit juice or similar to flour and water, then wait..and wait..then wait some more, until you finally capture enough yeast..sounds kinda dangerous to me.

Sourdough is nothing new, it's been used for thousands of years, but somebody had to have discovered it by accident. Somebody, somewhere, (probably a man) looked at an ancient, bubbling, oozing pile, and decided to cook it. Yep, definitely sounds male-ish. I'm not generally the squeamish type, but I would have looked at the pile with a bit of interest, maybe poke it with a stick, then kept on walking. So these fearless types are really important, and have made huge contributions to mankind...the ones who survived, that is. What's that saying?..."There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity" I've been on both sides of that line.

This is the old King Aurthur Flour sourdough starter, Ill give their exact instructions..

2cups warm water
1Tbl. of sugar or honey (optional)
1Tbl. or packet active dry yeast
2cups flour

Pour the water into a 3- to 4-quart glass or ceramic container or bowl, and add dissolve the sugar or honey and the yeast in that order. Stir in the flour gradually. Cover the jar or bowl with a clean dishcloth and place it somewhere warm. By using a dishcloth instead of plastic wrap, you'll allow any wild yeast in the area to infiltrate and begin to work with the domestic yeast which itself is beginning to develop "wild" characteristics and flavors.
The mixture will begin to bubble and brew almost immediately. Let it work anywhere from 2 to 5 days, stirring it about once a day as it will separate. When the bubbling has subsided and a yeasty, sour aroma has developed, stir your starter once more and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. The starter should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Here is what Better homes and Gardens had to say about the process.
" Let stand in at room temperature (75 degree F to 85 degree F) for 5 to 10 days or until mixture has a fermented aroma and vigorous bubbling stops, stirring 2 or 3 times a day. (Fermentation time depends on room temperature; a warmer room will hasten the fermentation process.)"

If you don't want to freeze your starter, it has to be replenished.
King Arthur Flour's instructions for maintaining your sourdough starter 

                                Whisk together the starter ingredients.

I'm making sure it doesn't overflow this time! I know, it's overkill.  I covered it with a dishcloth, secured with a rubber band.
I think this plant room, under fluorescent lights, is a good warm spot. I have lots of room since I kil...er...uh..over-loved all the orchids. It's amazing how long an orchid can live after you've rotted all it's roots away!( a year in some cases.)
                    This is after only 1-1/2 hours. let's take a peek inside.

Definitely signs of life. The expansion comes from the carbon dioxide, the yeast gives off, trapped in the batter. Just give it a stir or shake to release it, if it looks like it will overflow.

            After1 day, the starter has separated, give it a stir, and re-cover.
I let the starter ferment 3days, then baked soft-parmesan garlic sourdough bread.

Homemade Ice Cream in a Freezer Bag- Overnight

                             Homemade Ice Cream in a Freezer Bag

I guess, one of these days, I'll break down and buy an ice cream maker, but I don't eat the stuff very often, so it's not very high on my list of priorities. But I've been running across a lot of recipes for 15 minute ice cream in a bag. I became curious, and wondered if you could skip the ice and rock salt process, and just toss the bag in the freezer. That's just what I did.

I checked after an hour and noticed that it was beginning to solidify around the edges, I squeezed the bag a few times, then put it back in the freezer. It was getting late, I went to bed thinking I would wake up with a solid cream-cube in the morning. Lo and behold, I had ice cream. Not just ice cream, but really good ice cream, much better than anything I buy.

It reminded me of of the kind my Great-Grandma would make in the back yard, once in a while. If you made the mistake of running past her while you were playing, she would quickly bamboozle you into taking a turn at the crank, "It's fun, come on and try it for a while." I guess I always had sucker written on my face.
I haven't had that delicacy since I was about 8 years old. It's funny, how after 40 years you can still remember exactly what something tastes like, but call your Grandkids by the wrong name. I usually go through three names, before I get the right one. One of my Grandmothers who had Alzheimer's disease, would forget who we were, and call all of us "Lou" (one of my cousins), So I tease my Grandkids, by occasionally calling them all "Lou", they get a kick out of it. I'll have to make a batch of ice cream, the next time the Lou-s come to visit.

(Update: the second batch I made, froze solid, I had to thaw it, for 1 hour, knead the bag until I crushed it into kind of a slushy texture, then refroze it, it was fine after that.)

1 quart of half and half
1tsp. vanilla
1/4cup sugar
a gallon freezer bag

Whisk everything together, and pour it into the freezer bag.
I removed the air, but I'm not sure if it's necessary.
Freeze overnight. Squeeze the bag several times before serving.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings-and Great-Grandma

                                        Chicken and Dumplings

I consider myself very lucky to have gotten to know two of my Great-Grandmothers, one lived to be 100 years old. I wish I had paid more attention when she tried to teach me how to make chicken and dumplings (Her signature dish), it took a couple of decades to figure it out on my own. I shudder to think of all the things she could have taught me, had I been inclined to learn.
She was born in 1889, and passed in 1990, Just imagine the huge changes that came to pass, all around her, but she was very spunky and fought them tooth and nail.
When I was a little girl she still used a hand pump for water, an out-house, and a wood burning stove, to cook on. One year my Grandfather piped in water and natural gas for her. She was OK with that, but they never heard the end of replacing her beloved wood burning stove with a gas one. She pretty much gave up cooking after that, saying she couldn't cook on that "blasted contraption". I can certainly understand that one, My husband has bought several expensive sets of pots and pans for me, as gifts, but I still cook on my old, original set. (30 years old, and looks it.) It is not possible for me to cook this dish, and not think of that feisty German lady.
Her Family came here when she was very young. The whole family was musical, and traveled around the country, performing in Vaudeville. That's how she met my Great-Grandfather ( a magician and violinist in Vaudeville) She was only 14 when they married. (that was common in those days) and stayed married their entire lives.
I think that alone is truly amazing. This isn't Grandma's recipe, but still a good one.

I think the best tasting dumplings and noodles, come from stewing a whole chicken. But not all families are as large as my brood, so it's not really practical for them. I make 4 batches of dumplings for an entire chicken.
Really, you only need the finished broth for the dumplings, You could save most of the chicken for a meal the next day, like chicken salad.
You can get pretty good results, from using a chicken breast or two in chicken broth and water, along with the celery and onion. You could also add vegetables if you like such as carrots, peas, and slice the celery.

For the chicken:
1 whole chicken
2 ribs celery- whole
1 small onion diced
1Tsp. salt (or more)
1tsp. pepper ( or less) 

Dumplings: Makes about 18
3 to 3-1/2cups flour
1-1/2tsp. salt
1Tbl. baking powder
1/2tsp. baking soda
1+1/3cup buttermilk
2Tbl. melted butter

Add the Chicken, celery, onion, salt and pepper to a 4 quart pot.
I cook the chicken until (literally) the legs almost fall off. Adding water as necessary. By this time the broth is very rich.
Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Remove the celery and discard.
Shred the chicken and return it to the pot.
Mix the dumpling ingredients. Dumplings are kind of tricky, they need to be the right consistency, or they fall apart. I added photos (below) to help.
You'll need at least 4-1/2cups broth from the stewed chicken. (Add more water if needed)
Bring the broth to a boil. Drop in the dumplings one heaping tablespoon at a time.
Don't stir or dumplings will fall apart.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, Cover with a lid. (no peeking)
It's really important not to lift the lid for 20 minutes. Once you add the lid, the broth will rise (like a pressure cooker, and cover the dumplings, if you lift the lid, the tops will be mushy.)
After 20 minutes, turn off the burner, and serve.

 Add the chicken, celery and onion to a 4qt pot. cook until the chicken begins to fall apart. 2-3 hours.

Add the chicken back to the pot, there needs to be at least 4-1/2 cups of broth in the pot, more is better.

After 3 cups of flour, this is still a bit sticky, add flour a little at a time, until it looks like the next photo.

Just right. It is possible to add too much flour, then they become dry on the inside, sort of like a biscuit. I think I've made every possible mistake, making dumplings, over the years. The worst mistake was, not enough broth in the pot, I had to throw out that burnt mess. But, as with cooking any recipe, it's a learning process, mistakes teach you something, so don't give up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chilled Marinated Garden Vegetables- (no oil)

                                       Chilled Marinated Tomatoes.
You may have noticed, I don't post many vegetable recipes. I am a true vegetable lover, no recipe can outshine, what Mother Natures has already perfected. (although she could, maybe re-think beets, I'm sure there is a recipe out there, that may make me change my mind...maybe)
During the summer, there is always a plate of sliced, salted tomatoes at the dinner table, still warm from the sun. I didn't grow cucumbers this year, or there would be salted plate of those as well.
Every now and then, I like to marinate, and chill them. My favorite combination includes: diced tomato, cucumber, diced onion, sliced mushrooms, sliced black olives and diced red bell peppers. This is an Italian marinade.

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1Tbl. sugar
1/4tsp. celery seed
1tsp. salt
1/4tsp. pepper
1tsp. minced garlic
1tsp. onion powder
1tsp. basil

Place cut vegetables in a large bowl.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients, pour over vegetables, cover and chill.
The longer these marinate the better, I sometimes make this, the day before.

Grandma's Sweet Pickle-Celery Seed Pasta Salad

                      Grandma's Sweet Pickle-Celery Seed Pasta Salad

1lb cooked rotini -also called skroodles
6 hard boiled eggs-peeled and chopped ( save one to slice)
1 cup thin sliced sweet pickles
1/4 cup pickle juice
1/2tsp. celery seeds-plus more to sprinkle on top
1-1/2cups miracle whip or mayo

Combine everything in a large bowl.
Garnish with egg slices and more celery seeds
Chill before serving.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Porkloin with Moroccan Stuffing

                                Porkloin with Moroccan Stuffing
I adapted this from two Moroccan stews that I really like. It's my favorite stuffed porkloin recipe.
Sorry about the photo, the battery died on my camera, just as I was about to take it.

1 porkloin
1Tbl. butter
1tsp lemon zest
1-1/2tsp. mined garlic
1tsp. pureed ginger
1 large or 2 small onions- minced
1tsp. cinnamon
1tsp. coriander
1/2tsp. ground cumin
1/2tsp. chili powder
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp. pepper
1/2tsp turmeric
1cup died apricots-chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/2cup water
2tsp. honey
1cup canned chickpeas-drained
1Tbl. dried parsley

Melt the butter in a skillet.
Add the zest, garlic, ginger, onion, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, chili, salt, pepper and turmeric.
Saute until the onions soften a bit.
Add the apricots, lemon juice, water and honey.
Cook stirring until the water has been absorbed.
Crush the chickpeas, just to flatten a bit, then stir them into the apricot mixture, along with the dried parsley.
Set aside to cool.
Here is a video to show how to cut a porkloin for stuffing. prep meat for stuffed porkloin
Preheat the oven to 375*
Spread the stuffing over the loin, then re-roll it.
Place it in a baking pan, cut side down, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until cooked through. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Soft-Parmesan Garlic Sourdough Bread

                             Soft-Parmesan Garlic Sourdough Bread
This went great with Garden Style Spaghetti. My sister commented, that it tasted like Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits. Hmmm. Maybe I'll add cheese next time.

Ingredients for soft sourdough bread:
1cup sourdough starter
3/4cup sour cream or buttermilk
2Tbl. butter-melted
1pkg. dry yeast
1tsp. sugar
1/2tsp. salt
3cups flour- more if using buttermilk

In a large bowl, mix together everything except the flour.
Stir in half of the flour with a spoon, beat into a batter.
Stir in the remaining flour, then knead 3-5 minutes, it into a smooth soft dough that isn't sticky, adding a bit more flour if necessary.
Turn into an oiled bowl, flipping twice, cover and let rise until doubled.
About 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Punch down, and shape into an oval, that looks kind of like a flattened football.
Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal.
Place the loaf on the baking pan cut a few slits in the loaf.
Let rise until double again. usually only 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375* until golden brown. About 30 minutes.
I prefer a lighter crust so I don't bake it as long.

Parmesan Garlic Spread
2Tbl. butter-softened
1Tbl. Parmesan cheese
1tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. dried parsley
1/4tsp. basil.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
After you put the loaf on the baking sheet, spread the Parmesan mixture over the top of the loaf.
Cut slits in the the bread, and let rise until double.
Proceed as with the regular loaf. Adding this topping will make a soft crust bread that becomes only lightly browned.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pernil- Puerto Rican Roast Pork

                                    Pernil- Puerto Rican Roast Pork
An incredibly flavorful, slow roasted pork shoulder. You can use a boneless or bone in roast. The layer of skin (chicharrón) on top of the roast, is cooked until very crispy, and considered a delicacy.
This is even better if you bake it in a 250* oven overnight, so about 8 hours. It becomes extremely tender. But, it's too warm outside this week.

1 pork shoulder roast- (also called a picnic roast)
2Tbl. minced garlic
1Tbl oil
1/2tsp. pepper
1/2tsp. oregano
Dry Adobo Rub

Make several deep slits in the roast.
Grind the garlic, oil, pepper and oregano into a course paste.
Fill the slits with the garlic paste. Coat the roast with the dry adobo.
Wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 350*
Bake until cooked through, and the skin becomes crispy.
I used a 4lb. bone in roast. It took 3-1/2 hours. A larger roast will, of coarse take longer.

 Fill the slits with the paste, Rub it with the dry adobo, how much is a matter of taste. I used, maybe 1-1/2 Tbl. of the adobo, rubbing it in both sides of the roast.

                             Bake until the skin becomes very crispy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dry Adobo Rub

 Dry Adobo Rub. There are probably thousands of variations of this rub, used in Mexico, throughout the Caribbean, and South America. One sniff and you will see why it's so widely popular. It,s great used on any type of meats.

1tsp. dried cilantro
1tsp. tumeric
1tsp. corriander
1tsp. dried lemon zest
1tsp. paprika
1Tbl. salt
1Tbl. garlic powder
2tsp. onion powder
2tsp. ground cumin
2tsp. oregano
2tsp. black pepper

Add everything to a storage bag, shake to combine.
Rub onto meats before grilling or baking.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Okra- with Stinger Sauce

                   Fried Green Tomatoes and Okra- with Stinger Sauce

I was never a big fan of fried green tomatoes, until a couple of years ago, when my husband made a batch, from a recipe he found in a magazine. He served it drizzled with a sauce, sprinkled with bacon bits and scallions. It was perfection! I've tried his method for other vegetables,(okra, jalapenos, zucchini) with equally good results. I used only half of this breading. (I put the remainder in a storage bag) It was enough to coat 2 tomatoes and 2 okra. The temperature of the oil is really important with these, they burn very easily. If they are browning too quickly, lower the temperature a bit.

1cup cornmeal
1cup flour
2tsp. paprika
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp. onion powder
1/2tsp. garlic powder
1/2tsp. cayenne
1/4tsp. pepper
1/2tsp. oregano

You'll also need:
1 cup buttermilk
oil for frying
3 strips bacon- chopped
scallions from 1 onion

Stinger sauce:
1Tbl. hot sauce
1/2tsp. soy sauce
2tsp. sugar
1/2tsp. brine from pickled jalepenos
1/2tsp. worcestershire sauce
1tsp. molasses
1/2tsp. celery salt
1tbl. water
1/8tsp. garlic powder
1/2tsp cornstarch
Whisk everything together, then heat in a saucepan, about 1 min. until syrupy. if it's too thick to drizzle, add a bit more water. Set aside.

Make the sauce, slice the tomatoes and okra.
In a skillet, fry the bacon until crisp.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in a pan.
Add about 1/2 inch of oil to the bacon dripping, heat over a medium flame.
Dip the tomatoes in buttermilk, shake off the excess, then dredge it through the breading.
Fry about 4 slices at a time. Brown one side, then flip with a metal spatula. brown the other side.
Fry the okra the same way, drain on a paper towel, and serve immediately drizzled with the sauce, sprinkled with bacon and scallions.

 Stinger sauce. Try making your own sauce with your favorite ingredients.

Cut your tomatoes 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. I had a couple of okra ready in the garden, so I'll cook those too.