Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pork Loin Chops with Potatoes in Tomatillo Sauce

This was based on Rick Bayless' Tomatillo-Braised Pork Loin recipe in his Mexico One Plate at a Time cookbook. I had some end cut, pork loin chops in the freezer, and didn't have any idea what to do with them. I sent a tweet to Rick and he suggested that I braise them in a tomatillo salsa.

1 1/2 T Olive Oil
2 pounds thick-cut pork loin chops
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 jalapeno (for a very mild dish, more for a spicier sauce)
1 medium white onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds creamer size yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

Preheat the broiler with a rack placed about 4" from the heat source. Place the tomatillos and chile(s) on a sheet pan lined with foil. Broil for 5 minutes until the tomatillos and chile begin to char. Turn over and broil 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn the broiler off and turn the oven to 325 degrees. Once cool, transfer the tomatillos, chile and all the the juice from the tomatillos in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Bring the potatoes to a boil and simmer in salted water for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the pork chops. Brown well on both sides and remove to a plate. Remove the pan from the heat and let the oil cool slightly. Place the pan back over medium heat, then add the onions and cook until soft. Turn the heat to medium high, add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomatillo mixture and cook until the mixture thickens and darkens. It will be very fragrant. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and cilantro. Add salt to taste.

Transfer the pork chops to the pan, and cover with the sauce. Cover the pan, place in the oven, and cook for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the potatoes to the pan and mix so both the chops and potatoes are covered with sauce. Return to the oven and cook 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and check the internal temperature of the chops. They should be 140 degrees. If not return to the oven and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove the chops to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

Adjust the sauce for salt, then serve the chops with sauce on top and potatoes on the side.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Garlicky Kale with Toast and Poached Eggs

Ever since my wife had the Boiled Kale with Toast and Poached Egg at Zuni Cafe, it became a standard at our house. Natalie Coughlin tweeted about a Garlic Soup she made which inspired me to change my recipe a bit. This recipe is so simple I was willing and able to make it after completing the California International Marathon earlier in the day.

6 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup plus 1 T olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 bunches Kale, center ribs removed
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices crusty bread (I like a sourdough batard)
4 poached eggs
Cheese to grate over finished dish (parmesan, asiago, etc.)

Cook the garlic in the 1/4 cup olive oil over very low heat for 30 minutes or so until soft.

In a large pot, cook the onion in the 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft. Meanwhile, cut the Kale crosswise into 1/4" ribbons. When the onion is soft, add the kale and continue cooking. When the kale has wilted completely, add enough water to cover and cook over low to moderate heat for 30 minutes. Once the garlic is soft, remove from the olive oil and add to the Kale. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve the olive oil.

Toast the bread and place one slice in each of four bowls. Cover with the Kale and some of the broth. Top with a poached egg. Drizzle some of the oil used to cook the garlic over the egg. Grate cheese over the top and serve.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tuna Pasta

This is a "I don't feel like going to the grocery store, in fact I don't even really feel like cooking" dish.

Mince some onion and saute it in olive oil. Add some minced garlic and red chile flakes. Chop up a can of imported tuna and add it to the pan. Throw in some white wine and let it cook down a bit. Throw in a tablespoon of butter. Cook some spaghetti noodles until almost done. Drain the pasta but reserve some of the pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the tuna. Add some of the pasta water and finish cooking. Toss with some minced parsley and serve.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stir-fried Shrimp, Kerala Style

This was based on a recipe from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Seductions of Rice cookbook. If I were to make it again, I might cut back on the dried coconut and add some coconut milk. It seemed to need something to make it more saucy.

Stir-fried Shrimp, Kerala Style

1-1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/2 cups dried grated unsweetened coconut
1 T minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried chile flakes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 T rice vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp raw long grain rice
1 tsp minced ginger
1 large minced onion
1 minced anaheim chile

Chop half the shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside with the whole shrimp

Combine the coconut, garlic, chile flakes in a bowl. Stir to blend. Add a few tablespoons of water to make a paste. In another small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons water with the vinegar and set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat the oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the mustard seeds and rice and stir once or twice. Lower the head to medium high and add the ginger, onions and green chile. Cook until the onions are softened, then keep warm over low heat.

Heat an oiled wok over medium heat. Add the coconut mixture and stir for a couple of minutes until the coconut begins changing color. Add the shrimp and stir to coat with the coconut mixture. Add the water and vinegar, raise the heat to medium-high and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover and add the onion mixture. Cook another minute or so until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve with steamed rice.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fresh Dungeness Crab

Okay, so I didn't cook. I did make a Caesar salad though.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green Chile Stew

Dos Coyotes is a Southwestern food cafe that opened in Davis back in 1991. One of my favorites is their Green Chile stew. My recipe is adapted from the recipe they have posted on their site.

Green Chile Stew

2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 large Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
28 ounce can Diced Tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
1 pound fresh chiles, roasted, seeded and diced (I like a mix of Anaheims and Pasillas)
1 quart Chicken Stock
3 T Olive Oil

Seasoning for Chicken
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

Spice Mix for Stew

2 T Mexican Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1 T Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes. Mix the chicken seasonings in a large zip-lock bag and add the chicken. Toss to coat the chicken pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot along with the onion. Cook, scraping the browned chicken bits from the pan, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and spice mix and cook another minute or two. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, chiles, broth and chicken to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked through.

We like to eat this topped with creme fraiche and served with steamed flour tortillas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Squash Pie with Bulgur and Feta

I adapted this recipe from Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest. Butternut squash is roasted then added to an egg, onion, bulgur and feta mixture. The crust is made with a yeasted olive oil dough. The original recipe called for dried mint. I used marjoram and thyme instead. The pie was good but not great; it lacked a little flavor. I would add more feta next time.

Winter Squash Pie with Bulgur and Feta

Butternut Squash (about 2 pounds)
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
3 T medium bulgur
1/4 cup warm water
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large eggs
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 recipe Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a small knife and pierce the whole squash in several places. Place in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and make it easier to peel. Remove from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes, then peel and cut into 1/2" chunks. Place the squash in a baking dish, then toss with 1 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish with foil and return to the oven to roast for 1 hour. Stir once or twice during roasting. When done, set the squash aside to cool but leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, soften the bulgur in the warm water for about 15 minutes. Stir and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and crumble in the feta. Add the bulgur, onion, squash, marjoram, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the pastry dough into a 14-inch round. Fit the dough into a well oiled 10-inch tart pan and pinch a lip around the edge. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until firm and beginning to brown. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry (Makes two 14" pie crusts)

2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and leave for about 5 minutes. Add the egg and olive oil and beat. Mix the flour and salt together then add to the wet ingredients. Work the dough until it comes together in a mass. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth. This won't take long. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for a minute or so. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out as directed in the recipe.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Achiote Fish and Rice with Black Beans and Plantains

Rick Bayless gets credit for this regular on our dinner list. Mahi Mahi filets are marinated in achiote paste and lime juice; then broiled. The rice is a pilaf with onions, garlic, black beans and fried plantain. The steamed green beans were tossed with the last peppers from the garden (roasted). Both Tess and Lisa say this reminds them of Hawaii. That's because whenever we go someplace tropical for vacation, I take achiote paste in case we find some nice fish to cook.

Monday, November 16, 2009


After a 20 mile run today, I wanted something that didn't require too much effort. I used a pizza dough recipe I adapted from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. The toppings were what we had in the refrigerator - Piquillo Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Whole Milk Mozzarella, and Laura Chenel Goat Cheese. I also broke up a couple of heads of garlic, and simmered the cloves in some olive oil for about an hour.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Julia's Beef Stew

This recipe was adapted fram a Julia Child essay in Food and Wine magazine. Although the beef marinates overnight, the dish is easy to put together.

3 pounds beef chuck, well trimmed of fat and sinew
2 onions, chopped
9 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
9 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 T+ olive oil
1 bottle red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Cut the beef into 2-inch chunks. Add the beef, onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes and wine to a large enamel-lined cast iron casserole. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the beef chunks from the marinade and dry thoroughly on paper towels. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches. Add back to the marinade. If the crispy bits in the pan look like they are in danger of burning, add some chicken stock to the skillet to deglaze the pan. Add the deglazed pan juices to the marinade, wipe out the skillet, add a bit more olive oil and continue browning the meat. Do a final deglaze of the pan, then add these pan juices to the marinade along with the remaining chicken stock.

Bring the beef and marinade to a simmer on the stove. Place in the oven uncovered and cook for three hours.

When the meat is cooked, remove it from the casserole. Strain the cooking juices, wipe out the pan, then return the meat and strained cooking juices to the pan. Rewarm if necessary.

We like this served with buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gulf Prawns with Spicy Tamarind Sauce

This is one of our staples. The recipe is in Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors. I process tamarind pulp into liquid then freeze it in ice cube trays. Two cubes equal 1/4 cup. This was Tess' idea after I told her that Gulf Coast Prawns were on sale at Nugget, our local grocery store.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale, Prosciutto and Peppers

This is a Bruce Aidell recipe from his Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat cookbook. I use a Lodge Logic Pro 20-by-10-7/16-Inch Cast-Iron Grill/Griddle to sear the meat, then I transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. Don't forget the Romesco Sauce.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coq au Zin

Okay, I used a Malbec instead of a Zinfandel. This is a recipe from Epicurious that I really enjoy. Fairly simple to put together although it does spend an hour in the oven. Served it with Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pappardelle with Cripy Prosciutto and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce

My Mother, Sister and I all have November birthdays, so we pick a restaurant and do a single birthday dinner every year. This year we decided to go to Ella in Sacramento. Tess and I downloaded their menu to see what looked good and we found Pappardelle with Crispy Prosciutto and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce. It sounded so good that I came up with my own version.

3 slices prosciutto
4 large shallots
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 stick cold diced butter
1/2 of a preserved lemon, diced
chives for garnish

Fresh Pasta
2 2/3 cups unbleached flour
4 eggs
1 1/3 tsp salt

Prepare the fresh pasta, roll out and cut into 3/4" wide noodles.

Cut the prosciutto into 1/4" slices. Fry in a saute pan until crisp. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Fry shallots in the rendered prosciutto fat until lightly browned. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, add the preserved lemon. Keep sauce warm while you prepare the pasta.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook the pasta until it is almost done. Drain and add to the pan with the sauce. Raise the heat and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Toss with the crispy prosciutto and serve in bowls. Garnish with 1 1/2 inch lengths of chives.

This turned out to be very good. I'm curious to see how the Ella version compares.