Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pork Chops Saltimbocca with Sautéed Spinach

We had this for dinner tonight... I was going to post on something else but it was SO GOOD that I just had to share.  Sorry I don't have any pictures buts we just ate it way too fast... it is that yummy.

I've made this twice now and I think the modified version is much better.  But then again I love prosciutto and while I thought the original recipe from Gourmet is very good - I just needed more cheese and prosciutto. :)

Note about the cheese:  Apparently there is Fontina and Fontinella, do not confuse the two, they taste very different.  Although both will melt well and if you accidentally brought Fontinella (which I did the first time I made this) it still tastes good. Fontina is much richer and creamer, so I think it tastes better. ;)

Pork Chops Saltimbocca with Sauteed Spinach

  • 2  pork chops - boneless works easiest, but I've done it with bone-in as well.
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped (can use dried - about a 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 very thin slices Italian Fontina 
  • 2 thin slices prosciutto (1 ounce) 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • 1 (10-ounce) fresh spinach, stems discarded (or less depending on how much you like spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Pat chops dry and cut a deep, wide pocket in each pork chop.  Sprinkle sage into each pocket and stuff pockets with cheese and prosciutto. Season with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. (You don't want to over salt as the the prosciutto is quite salty as well)

In a ovenproof skillet, heat butter and cook one side of the chops until it is golden brown.  Flip over, put on some more prosciutto (a slice or so), cheese and a bit of sage.  Stick into the oven to roast.

Roast until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

While chops cook:
Heat butter in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Plate pork and spinach.  Drizzle a little bit of lemon juice on both.  Serve.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How cool is this? Women butchers

The GoodEater Collaborative had a posting about women now going into the butchering field (again).  I know that we don't have many butchers any more in the states.... but it's good to think that perhaps times are a changing.

Here is the article:

In Heels and Backwards – Women Butchers Break Bones and Barriers | the GoodEater Collaborative

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chicken Paprikash (sort-of) with Bell peppers

I made this for my sis, Coco, for dinner as she is in surgery recovery mode.

A great recipe that re-heats well and has that warm, comforting feel to it.  We don't eat it with pasta or rice so it's more like a soupy stew...but you can put it on top of something if you feel the need. I know the sis is going to do so. :)

Anyway ... Coco.. here is the recipe like I promised you.

Chicken Paprikash with Bell Peppers

  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 teaspoons paprika 
  • 1 chicken (3 to 3-1/2 pounds), cut into serving pieces (skin off or on, depending on what you like)
  • 4 tablespoons fat/ghee for frying 
  • 1 medium onion, sliced 
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-2" squares 
  • ground pepper to taste 
  • 1-½ cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche
Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix salt and paprika.  Toss in chicken and coat.

In a dutch oven, heat up fat on high/medium high heat.  Add chicken to pot, being careful not to crowd the chicken .  You may have to do several batches.  Once all the chicken is browned (see picture).

Reduce to medium heat and put in the onions and bell peppers.  Saute until onions have softened, about 5 min.    Add black pepper and anything you may have left over in the bowl you had placed the chicken in.  Do a quick stir.  Add chicken stock and chicken.  Bring up to a simmer.  Just before placing into oven, add yogurt.   If using sour cream or creme fraiche, wait until chicken has cooked and add at the end as I'm not sure how either of those will cook down in the oven. 

Place pot into the oven and bake for about 50 min. 

Serve... in a nice bowl or with something traditional like spaetzel. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gambas al ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic)

This is one of the quickest and easiest dishes.  I'm not even sure it really needs a recipe!

After all the key ingredients are garlic, parsley and shrimp... not too much to it.  I know a lot of recipes that have you put the whole thing in a terracotta dish and place it in the oven.  This is not one of those recipes... because, as you know, I'm lazy.

So, what do you need?  Ideally a really good cast iron pan, as it just gives that great flavor and holds up the heat well.  If not, a good frying pan will work. 

Gambas al ajillo

Shrimp in Garlic 
  • 1/2 pound shrimps or prawns, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 handful of italian parsely, roughly chopped (1/4 cup approx)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (more or less) of red chili flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic (more or less),  crushed
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
Heat up the butter.  Add shallots and salt, cook until shallots are soft (about 1 or 2 minutes).  Add garlic and chili, and give a quick stir.  Add shrimp and cook until pink / cooked. If you cook it too long, shrimps get rubbery, so keep a close eye on it.   It should only be 2, maybe 3 minutes.   Pull off heat, toss in parsley and put in a serving dish (so that you don't keep cooking the shrimp from the heat of the pan).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Patatas bravas

I love potatoes. While we do not eat them often, perhaps once in 3 or 4 months, I prefer to eat Patatas Bravas to almost anything else...even french fries! And to those who know me well, know I was a french fry addict.

The tangy, spicy tomato sauce is just so much better than ketchup... although there is a great restaurant called DMK which makes it's own house ketchup that is pretty spectacular and they have grass fed/finished burgers that are SO good. ummm...I just ate and I'm hungry again. ;)

Anyway.. back to patatas bravas...the first time I had it was at a small place in Madrid called Jaime's that has some of the best food... the bravas and the gambas...the champiñones (mushrooms)....  oh, my goodness, so good.  We went back two nights in a row!

Patatas Bravas

Potatoes in Spicy Tomato sauce

  •  2 lb potatoes, any kind
  • lard or some fat for frying
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons sweet paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (more or less) cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup of water
Peal and cut the potatoes into bite size cubes (about 3/4 inches).  Rinse, drain and dry the potatoes.

Keep the oil to the side and warm while you make the sauce.  Or you can make the sauce first and keep that warm.

Heat oil/fat for frying, take out 2 tablespoons for doing up the sauce once the oil is hot.  Once the oil/fat is hot, cook the potatoes (as if you were making french fries) in batches. Set to drain on a paper towel. 

Start up the tomato sauce by using the 2 tablespoons of oil/fat once and bring it up to heat. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add garlic, cayenne, paprika and saute for about 2 minutes on medium low heat.  Add tomatoes, bay leaf, 1/3 cup of water and cook until tomatoes break down to a sauce like consistency.

Put the sauce on top of the potatoes and serve. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chorizo en Sidra

Chorizo en Sidra in Madrid, Spain at a lovely little tapas place
The BF's favorite dish!

Spanish Chorizo is very different from Mexican Chorizo. While I like both of them very much, I don't think you can substitute Mexican for Spanish Chorizo and get anything of Spanish dish. 

Spanish Chorizo has such a distinct taste and mouth feel... that I wouldn't want to substitute.  But, if you cannot find it and do not wish to order online,   Cooks Thesaurus suggests kielbasa, pepperoni,linguisa (hotter) or other dry-cured pork sausage as substitutions... and you can have a go with it if you want.  Just note, they say you can sub mexican chorizo as well, and I can tell you that would not work at all for this recipe.

So what are the differences between Spanish and Mexican Chorizo?

Spanish Chorizo:
  • lower fat content
  • more finely ground
  • deep red in color because they contain pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • seasoned with sweet paprika and garlic
  • cured, rather hard like pepperoni or salami
Mexican Chorizo:
  • higher fat content, chunkier ground
  • seasoned with chili peppers and vinegar
  • not cured, more like breakfast sausages in consistency

Chorizo en Sidra

Chorizo in Cider 

  • 3 teaspoons butter or ghee
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika or pimenton (if you can get it)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 chorizo, sliced diagonally (I do thin slices, since it cooks faster and the cider melds into the meat better but you can do as you wish)
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add onion and cook until translucent.  Add paprika and cook for a minute.

Increase heat to medium and add the cider, stock and bay leaf to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add Chorizo and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add vinegar and stir.  Add parsley, season.  Serve.

Note: for the cider - if you can get Spanish cider, brilliant!  However, if not, I've used Woodchuck Granny Apple Draft Cider and it works out well.  It has the bite that some of the sweeter hard ciders don't - which is what you are looking for - something with a tang.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

For Joe - Albondigas

The meatballs for Tapas night were done a bit fast and so some broke up a bit.  The secret to the meatballs not breaking up is to place them in a well oiled pan (or even better a non-stick pan), cook on medium low heat and wait.  You are waiting for each side to cook through and get a nice crust before turning them to the next side....and to make them a bit small.... golf ball sized or so. 


Meatballs in tomato sauce

Meatball ingredients:
  • 6 oz ground pork
  • 6 oz ground beef or veal (If you are going to use veal, please use rose veal which is humane )
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste
 Tomato sauce ingredients (spicy):
  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or sherry)
  • 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes (or diced) or approximately the same of fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your heat level)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed.
Combine the pork, beef/veal, garlic, spices and egg. Mix by hand refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes. (you know I didn't do that part. *grin*  But, it may make it a bit more solid to work with.)

Heat butter/ghee on medium heat and add onion, cook until translucent, about 3 min. Add garlic, cook for about a minute.  Raise the heat to high, add wine and bring to boil.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste and stock.  Simmer for about 10 min.  Add cayenne.   Keep on a very low heat, just so that it stays warm and start up on the meatballs.

Take meat mixture and make golf ball sized meatballs.  Heat ghee or butter in pan and place meatballs in pan taking care not to let them touch.  You may need to make multiple batches.  Cook for about a min or so on each side or done to your taste.   Once all the meatballs are done, put them in the sauce.  Add peas and bring up to temp on medium low heat. 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tapas Night

A few nights ago I made tapas for dinner - because I had planned to cook and I was going to cook.  No matter that I had come home late from work and wasn't prepared at all for the feast.

Tapas night
And since it was not very well planned dinner - it was quite late when we ate and not all the dishes planned were made.  But as you can from the "Tapas Night" picture - there is a good quantity of food. Starting at bottom center and going clockwise: Chorizo en sidre (in cider), Patatas bravas (potatoes in tomato sauce), Albondigas (meatballs, actually meatball in this case. *grin*), Gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic butter sauce).

Scallops and chard
We were suppose to have Acelgas con pasas y pinones (rainbow chard with raisins and pine nuts) but just didn't have enough time.  I made it a few days later with scallops but I don't think the flavors worked as well as it would have done with the Tapas meal.

I would say if you plan to make a tapas dinner give yourself a hour or two.  Most of the stuff I made was quick - but there is a lot of cutting, chopping and basic prep that needs to be done and well ... tapas is all about little samples of food.  So, lots of dishes.

And if you are motivated to make Tapas - more power to you!  Here and here are a sites I like for quite a few dishes - I haven't tried them all but the ones I have tried turned out good.  I also recommend ordering from La Tienda as they have a great selection of Spanish meats that you can get delivered.  I ordered the Iberico + Serrano Duo for the BF a few Christmas' ago, which he liked very much.  They also have proper Spanish Chorizo - which we use to order but lucky for us our local meat market, Paulina, carries it now and so I don't have to plan too far ahead.

Since Chard is currently in season and has been looking very bright and fresh at the farmers' markets, that is the first recipe I will post up.  And, as I've been slacking for a bit... I'll make this easy on myself and just post up a recipe in the next few days for the other items from Tapas night.

Acelgas con Pasas y Pinones

Chard with raisins and pine nuts

  • 1 lb chard
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (unless you are like me and like more)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small red onion or shallot - sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
Wash the chard, trim and shred the leaves into bite size pieces.
In a cup, set raisins in some boiling water to rehydrate - this should just take enough time for the chard to have cooked through.
In a frying pan over medium heat, lightly brown the pine nuts and set to the side.

Heat butter, add onion and cook over low heat until softened. Add garlic.  Saute over medium heat for about a minute until garlic is fragrant.  Add the chard and give a quick stir.  When the char wilts, add the raisins (strained of the water) and the pine nuts.  season and serve.