Sunday, February 27, 2011

A thought for Canadians

Amazing facts about food and how it gets to Canada, from Hellman's.  Some frightening statistics.  Check out the Hellman's site on how to buy locally and what good you'll be doing for your local economy. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Watermelon Feta Salad

Again another pairing that I would never try, but was pleasantly surprised when I placed the first bite in my mouth.  With a huge watermelon on the verge of going bad, and eating just slices again didn't seem appealing, this recipe was a find.  I also had a huge bunch of mint (leftover from another recipe) left to use, since I couldn't pass up the bargain I found at 2 bunches for $1!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco (or your favorite hot sauce, mine is Red Hot)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:
Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds.
Set aside and chill (the melon, not you).
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper.
Add the watermelon, onion and feta and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.


Stay hungry my friend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

I am always looking for new recipes of things to do with chicken.  Cooking in a slow cooker, I always just want to throw everything in the pot and not have to do much prep work.  So cooking with chicken in a slow cooker, and having to cook it first was a bit of a pain.  But once I put it in the pot, it looked really pretty, so I may have to make it again.

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
Hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (14 oz) whole kernel sweet corn, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and cook in oil until brown (about 4 minutes) turning once.
In slow cooker, mix salsa, beans, corn, chili powder and hot sauce.  Top with browned chicken.
Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut.
Plate chicken and top with fresh cilantro (optional)

Stay Hungry my friend!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Places to visit in Napa and Sonoma

Napa
Round Pond Estate
Castello di Amorosa

Places to eat:
The Martini House
Bistro Jeanty - Our faves: Tomato soup, the pate plate, the bone marrow and pied de cochon.
The Oakville Grocery - visit this place when you're searching to fill your picnic basket for your day of wine tasting.
Sonoma
Benzinger - for a tractor tour of their 85 acre estate
Eldorado's Hotel
Buena Vista Champagne caves
Garden court cafe - bakery breakfast

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Parmesan crusted pork chops

Ingredients

2 pork chops, approximately 8 ounces each
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup ground nut oil or similar, for frying

Directions

Trim the thick white fat off the pork chops, cutting carefully around the outside edge. Lay the chops between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and, using a mallet or a rolling pin beat them until the meaty part of the chop is half as thick. You will need to beat around the bone, so turn them over once as you go.

Beat the egg in a shallow wide bowl with the mustard, oregano, and salt and pepper. On a large plate or platter, combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan.

Press each of the chops into the egg mixture, coating either side. Then dip the eggy chops into the bread crumbs, covering them evenly. Let them lie on a cooling rack to dry slightly while you heat the oil in a large frying pan. When a small cube of bread sizzles if dropped into the oil, then the oil is hot enough. Cook the chops until they are a deep golden color, about 5 to 7 minutes a side (depending on how thin you've managed to get them and how cold they were before going in the oil).

Stay hungry my friend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wine Facts

Did you know...

1 grape cluster = 1 glass
75 grapes = 1 cluster
4 clusters = 1 bottle
40 clusters = 1 vine
1 vine = 10 bottles
1200 clusters = 1 barrel
1 barrel = 60 gallons
60 gallons = 25 cases
30 vines = 1 barrel
400 vines = 1 acre
1 acre = 5 tons
5 tons = 332 cases

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

OMG I love sauerkraut!  I always thought I hated this vinegary vegetable, but I do love cabbage, I just never really took into consideration what sauerkraut was.  It wasn't until a visit to the HofbrÀuhaus in Las Vegas that I discovered its goodness.  I was thrilled to find this recipe, that and Piggy2 had bought a jar of it and I had no idea what to do with.  I try and use what I have on hand when I'm searching for recipes, and ones for pork and sauerkraut were pretty much the same.   When done, the pork was tender and fell easily into pieces.  I would so make this recipe again, if not to just eat the sides!

Ingredients
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
6-1" slices of boneless pork loin roast cut into chunks
1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut with liquid

Directions
Place the potatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker; stir to blend
Season the pork roast with salt and pepper; lay atop the potatoes
Pour the sauerkraut over the roast
Cook in slow cooker on Low 8 to 10 hours

Stay hungry my friend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

What is a Fiasco?

A fiasco isn’t always a disaster. It’s also a:
Straw-covered Chianti bottle

Literally, fiasco means flask, and “far fiasco” means "to make a bottle." But colloquially it refers to a complete failure. Bottles were originally wrapped in straw to protect them during shipping. A broken bottle of red—now THAT’S a fiasco.

Stay thirsty my friend!

Cheese Pairings

Amarone- Parmigiano-Reggiano
Asti Spumanti - baby Swiss
Barolo/Barbarescos- Fontina
Beaujolais - US brie, Feta, Muenster
Bordeaux - Havarti
Brunello- Pecorino Toscano
Cabernet Sauvignon - stronger Brie, Camembert, strong Cheddar, Danish Blue, Humboldt Fog, Cambazzola
Champagne - vintage Brie, mild Cheddar, Chevre, Colby Edam, Gouda, Mascarpone,Gruyere
Chardonnay - mild Cheddar, Gruyere, Provolone
Chenin Blanc - Camembert
Gewurztraminer - Boursin, Caraway, Chevre, Swiss, Muenster
Gruner Veltliner- Blue
Madeira – Bleu
Port, Tawny - Bleu, Roquefort, Stilton, aged Cheddar
Port, Vintage- English Stilton
Ribera del Duero- Manchego
Riesling - Cheshire, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Monterey jack
Rioja - strong Cheddar, Havarti
Sancerre - goat cheese
Sauternes – Gorgonzola, Roquefort
Sauvignon Blanc - strong Cheddar, Gruyere, chevre
Sherry – Bleu, aged Cheddar
Sherry, sweet - vintage Brie
Shiraz (big)-
Syrah- Chatham, Maytag Blue
Vin Santo- Taleggio
Vouvray - goat cheese
White Zinfandel - cream cheese
Zinfandel – Muenster, hardy Jack

Add some toasty rounds of a baguette, a few olives, some hard Salami and you have the makings of the perfect wine tasting.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Herb crusted pork loin

Another recipe from the pork loin collection.  Instead of cooking in one "log" of a pork loin, I chopped off a few slices about 1" thick.  I was trying to get the most out of an eight pound pork loin and I wanted to increase my left-over options.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more, to taste
Sea salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds pork loin roast, cut into slices
4 tablespoons olive oil

For the Herb Crust:
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
Sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and salt, to taste
Rub the mixture on both sides of sliced pork
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the pork on both sides, just until golden Remove the pork to a plate

In the meantime...make herb crust
Chop onions, garlic and ginger
In the same saute pan in which the pork was browned, add the olive oil and the onion mixture and cook until softened.
Stir in the bread crumbs and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until moist
Season with salt, to taste
Spread mustard on one side of pork chop, then top with herb crust.  Do the same on the other side.
Bake about 20 mins, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 mins, then plate.


I had to add this photo of the weird onion that I cut into.  Look ma twins!

Stay hungry my friend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Places to shop

I'm always looking for places to buy kitchen related stuff, check these places out for some great deals.

California Closeouts and Liquidations
6821 Watcher St.
Commerce, CA 90040
562.928.6268
Hours: M-F 8:30-6, Sat. 9-6, Closed Sunday
Parking lot/street parking
Cash/ MC/VS
>Map

Gibson Factory Outlet (check out what >Gibson housewares look like)
2410 Yates Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040
323.832.8900
>Map

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Whiskey pork loin

Cooking with liquor is always an intriguing possibility for me. Sure I've heard of using wine but or cognac, but scotch or Jack Daniels, always a risk. A risk, because then I won't have anything to drink when I want some JD and cola.  The last time I marinated meat in whiskey (see Whiskey Tri-Tip) I only marinated the meat for 3 hours, and it left the meat a little lacking of flavor.  But this time, I left the pork loin over night and the meat was very flavorful, and Piggy2 could swear he could smell the liquor. 

This recipe also gave me the chance to finally buy a pork loin.  An eight pound pork loin, at least a foot and a half long.  I searched for a variety of recipes of what to do with this behemoth of meat, as I didn't want to waste this porcine goodness on just one recipe.

Ingredients
Marinating in Jack Daniels
1/2 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
1 tablespoon Mediterranean sea salt
2 tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1 /4 cup honey
1 (2-pound) pork loin, cut into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces

Directions
In a shallow dish, mix together all ingredients.
Add the pork loin and let marinate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Transfer the pork to a hot heavy-bottomed skillet and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the pan to oven and finish cooking for 4 minutes.

Stay hungry my friend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Artichoke dip

This recipe is smooth enough for vegetables, yet is able to coat a cracker, due to the artichokes.

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 packet Hidden Valley® Dips Mix
1 cup kefir 
¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
Juice from 1 lime
Fresh dill
Sliced French bread, crackers or fresh vegetables, for dipping

Directions:
Coarsely chop artichokes and dill.
Combine kefir and lime juice until smooth.
Stir in dip mix, pecorino cheese, dill and artichoke.
Chill 30 minutes, garnish with fresh dill sprigs.

Stay hungry my friend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Science of Jello Shots

One late night, after a day of making jello shots in a hotel room, our resident engineer began to ponder our product.  Is Jello a liquid or a solid?

So if you're as geeky as my friend, such that unanswered questions bothers you, here's the except from the email I received barely 3 hours after we returned from our trip:

Actually it is neither. Jello is something that we call a colloidal suspension. The gelatin in Jello is made of long solid chains of protein molecules. When you mix the gelatin with hot water, these protein molecules break apart and become suspended in the water. However, the individual molecules remain solid. So this is not a solution. As the mixture cools, the protein molecules come back together to form long chains again. However, these chains go in random directions and form a lattice that traps the water molecule within its structure. So, what we have is a mixture of solid and liquid. When it’s hot, then it is a solid suspended in a liquid. When it’s cold, it’s a liquid suspended in a solid. Thus it is classified as a colloidal suspension rather than as being either solid or liquid.

So how much alcohol can we add before jello shots break down?
Check out My Science Project to find out the limits of alcohol you can put in each shot before the colloidal suspension breaks down!

If you're in an adventurous mood, check out some holiday recipes in Better Recipes.

Stay hungry thirsty my friend!