Sunday, December 27, 2009

Garlic/Green Onion Roasted Potatoes and Pork Chops

Recipe adapted from Ashleigh Bennett's FB post of "is making baked pork chops with green onions and garlic and roasted potatoes".

Home sick, not feeling well, nothing to eat. Read the above post and decided it sounded good. OMG it was very good. :)

I turned the oven on to 350, peeled and cut up (about 1 in thick) 2 potatoes, spritz them with olive oil and added sprinkled on some savory salt and pepper, through them in the oven and head to the store...

  • 2 Medium Potatoes, cubed about 1 inch thick
  • Olive Oil
  • Savory Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • 2 Pork Chops - about medium thickness
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 Clovers Garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbs butter

Start the potatoes:
  • Set oven at 350
  • Put tinfoil on a bake pan
  • Spread potatoes evenly
  • Spray with olive oil (if you have a mister, or baste, etc.)
  • Sprinkle with Savory Salt, Rosemary and Pepper

Bake for 30 minutes and then start the pork chops:
  • Turn potatoes (they make stick) and group together, misting with some more olive oil
  • Add pork chops, sprinkle with savory salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes then turn:
  • Slice garlic and onions. Do the onions in 2 batches, lower parts and upper parts.
  • Turn the potatoes again and spritz with olive oil
  • Turn the pork chops
  • Spread the garlic and the bottoms slices of green onion over the potatoes and chops

Bake for 30 minutes then turn again. At this point the chops had been cooking for an hour.
  • Turn the potatoes again.
  • Remove the garlic and onion from the chops (just push it onto the pan) and flip them.
  • Put the onions and garlic back on the top of the chops.
  • Cut a few tablespoons of butter into little chunks and sprinkle around on the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with the rest of the onion

Cook for another 15 minutes or so.

At this point the chops were done, the potatoes were nicely golden with a crunchy outside but tender inside and the garlic and onions were cooked into everything. I plated them and then added a tablespoon or two of sour cream to the top of the potatoes.

The green onion / garlic added a great flavor to everything; and the rosemary on the potatoes along with the sour cream really finished it off nicely. Not sure if it was just because I was sick or what, but wow - the first bite was awesome. :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Italian Rustic Chicken Dinner

I made the following in 25 minutes; from the first slice of the tomato until I plated it. Fast, easy and very good. This does not have too much in the way of subtle flavors - its just a great tomato, garlic, olive oil and basil flavored dish. This makes a large serving for one of a Sauteed Chicken Breast, Fresh Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Italian Vegetables and Pasta.

  • 1 Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast, pounded to about 1/4 an inch (buy at WholeFoods or make yourself)
  • 4 Medium ripe Tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 a White Onion, julienned
  • 1 small Italian Eggplant, sliced thin
  • 1 small Zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1/2 a Red Bell Pepper, julienned and cut in thirds
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 5 Basil leaves, chopped
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Fresh Pasta
  • Parmesan Cheese - 1/4 cup or so

There are four separate dishes that are all cooked at the same time.
  • Preheat the oven to 325
  • Melt 1 tbs of butter in a skillet and saute the Chicken Breast on both sides, just until it is golden brown.
  • Cut the Tomatoes in half, top half and bottom half and place in a french chef pan or another skillet and start cooking on medium high heat.
  • Prep the Vegetables
  • By this time the Chicken should be done; move it to a pan and place in the oven to finish cooking
  • Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet the chicken was cooked in and start sauteing the Onion.
  • By now the Tomatoes should be starting to break down; mash a bit with a potato masher right in the pan, turn them down to medium and let them continue to cook.
  • Add the Eggplant to the skillet with the Onion and let them saute
  • Add a few pinches of salt to the Tomatoes and two or three tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Stir the Vegetables and let them saute until the onions start to caramelize. You should flip the eggplant so it cooks on both sides.
  • Smash the garlic to remove the skins and throw the broken garlic into the Tomatoes.
  • Add the zucchini and red bell pepper to the Vegetable mixture and continue to saute. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of kosher salt and some fresh black pepper.
  • Stir the Tomatoes and add more olive oil if needed - if too much liquid has cooked out.
  • Start a pan of boiling water for the Pasta. The pasta I had only took 1 1/2 minutes to cook. So I added it near the end.
  • Add the chopped basil to the Tomatoes.
  • Basically you are now stirring both the Tomato Sauce and the Vegetables - breaking down the tomatoes and forming a nice sauce, and sauteing the vegetables until they are done.
  • At the end (this was about 20 minutes from start); put a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce into the Vegetables and stir them around a bit to get some tomato and garlic flavor on them.

At this point everything should be done and you just have to plate.
  • Pour the pasta into a strainer
  • Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce onto a plate
  • Place the chicken on the sauce and add some pasta next to it.
  • Spoon sauce on top of the pasta and chicken
  • Add vegetables to the plate
  • If there is any sauce left spoon some on top of the vegetables
  • Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and serve!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

I made this for a Thanksgiving Potluck at work last week. I've made it a few times; but this time it turned out really well. Turns out this is vegan, without really trying. I used olive oil instead of butter (because I frequently do) and I used vegetable stock rather than a chicken stock because I didn't want the squash to get overshadowed by a meat stock. Not that vegan matters to me; but if you have vegan friends over for dinner; just another good reason to make this soup!

  • 3 medium butternut squash
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 gala apple
  • 1 box of vegetable stock. I forget the size... its the box :) - maybe a quart or so? And I forget the brand - but the ingredients were vegetables, seasonings and water. That was it. No MSG, etc.
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper

Salt and pepper are to taste... I never measure (just sprinkle some around) - but I *probably* used about a tablespoon of salt and maybe a few teaspoons of pepper. Its good to use white pepper both because of the flavor; but also that way you don't have any black flecks of pepper in the soup.

Make a Mirepoix by dicing the celery, shallots (or onion) and carrots very small and the sweating in a few table spoons of olive oil in a soup pot. Basically you are sauteing them until they become translucent, but not browned. Add in the apple (skin removed and diced small) and saute it as well. Stir occasionally and once it starts getting a little soft add in the salt and pepper.

Cut several slits in the squash - just stab them with a knife a 3 or 4 times, cut the steam off and microwave them for about 15 minutes. Cut them in half and the flesh should be fairly soft. If it isn't; microwave them some more. All 3 may not fit at once so you may have to do one or two at a time. Remove the seeds and discard, and then scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a potato masher. This is just to break it up some. Mashing with a fork or whatever would work as well.

While the squash is microwaving the Mirepoix/apple should have cooked enough. You don't want it to brown or stick, so once it is translucent/soft; you'll add in some of the vegetable stock. Just enough so its not quite covered. You then use an immersion blender to blend up the mixture and let it continue to simmer, adding stock once in a while to keep it a liquid and not drying out, sticking, etc.

As the squash gets down, mash it up and then add it into the soup base, blending it up and adding vegetable stock as needed. Once all the squash is added you'll have blended it several times and you'll also have used up all of the stock and need to add some water to get the right consistency.

I made the soup the night before, let it cool and refrigerated it. The next morning I put it back on the stove; warmed it up (blending it one final time) and then put it in a crock pot on low for several hours before the potluck. You don't want it in the crock pot all day or over night; because it will dry out around the edges, which will turn brown, and that will darken the soup.

A few final comments.
  • As noted, you don't have to use shallots, you can use a large onion
  • Better to under season in the beginning; taste after its cooked for a bit and season some more if needed. I probably cooked this 2 hours before putting in the fridge, then another hour in the morning. Plenty of time to adjust the seasoning.
  • I made this the night before, but I've also made it the same day and served it. This is the best its ever turned out; but I think that is probably more the marepoix (I didn't use carrot in the past I don't think) then letting sit over night
  • You don't *have* to use an immersion blender if you don't have one. Using a blender or a food processor would work as well. I just do it in multiple stages, so an immersion blender works better. But you could make the marepoix, food process it; then food processor the squash as it is done and add it as well. Which might make it all "smooth" enough w/o having to do it multiple times. I just like to play while I cook. :)
  • The texture is a personal choice thing. The immersion blender doesn't make it a total liquid. There is a bit of texture left. I blend it numerous times to get it very soft; but I've also made it with a little more texture, etc. So blend it, or food processor it; until it gets to the consistency that you think is right.

While it does take some amount of time to make this soup, it really isn't technically hard; and it has a very good flavor. Well worth the effort; plus the color is very cool at the Halloweeen/Thanksgiving time of year.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Backroad Pizza - Day 1 - Labor Day Trip to Tif's

Earlier this week I was watching Diners, Drive-In's and Dives and they covered Backroad Pizza in Santa Fe, NM. Since I knew I was coming down to Tif's this weekend, I decided to see if I could make it to Santa Fe (since I was leaving in the afternoon) and try it out. An adventure!

Trip south was pretty good, until I came up over the pass. Its always exciting to see what Northern NM has to offer. Sometimes the mountains stop the weather and you top the pass and its all clear blue skies. No such luck! I could see big storms in the south. The kind where you can see the rain falling to the ground in big black strips! But there was blue spots too and the road is all curvy, so you never know. I'd be heading for the storm, then head towards the blue, then back again. This kept up for about 30 or 40 minutes - and then I could see lightning and it was pretty obvious, by the cars heading towards me with their wipers going; that I was going to hit it. So when the first few drops hit; I pulled over and put my gear on...

OK... had to give those folks that know me a minute to recover. Yes - even though it wasn't *pouring* yet; I actually pulled over and suited up. Everything... helmet, pants and the jacket! Good thing too because in another mile or so it started raining. Not hard. Not the kind that makes you want to pull over and hide; but the kind that makes you glad you have a helmet on (so you can see) and a suit (so you are dry). The drops weren't too hard, and then the rain started hitting a little harder... That was when I noticed it was actually striking the ground and bouncing - and that it was little white balls. Yup - it was hailing. But not the golf-ball size stuff, more like peas. Not too bad really. Just enough to make you know you are alive! This lasted for 30 or 40 minutes... probably Springer down to north of Las Vegas. And from there it was clear all the way into Santa Fe.

As I got close to Santa Fe I toyed with the idea of heading into Albq.... but given I really wanted to try this place out, I decided better to stop while it was light out and I could actually rest up and stuff, rather than just pushing on.

So - I looked the place up online (yes laptops come in handy on the road) and it was about 10 minutes from my hotel. Woo hoo! I went there and it was pretty busy. I was standing in line with this family (grandparents, parents, little kids) and the dad says "I saw this place on food network so we decided to try it out!" and I said, "Me too!" and we talked a bit about Harleys and stuff. Then I ordered (walk up, not at your table) and went to sit outside and wait for them to bring me my food. I had my gear on and figured it would be warmer outside. Well... there was no place to sit. All 8 tables or so were full! I'm standing there looking around and this woman sitting at a table for four with her husband said, "Good luck!" and I said, "Yeah, looks like they are all full." The man then said, "You can sit with us if you want." And so I did!

Yes... more waiting for Kristi to recover from falling off her chair! ;)

So I sat with them and I asked them if they had ever eaten here before. "No, we say it this week on the food network!" Wow! :) The wait was probably 30 minutes or so at least; just because the place was so busy. So we just sat there are drank beer and talked. Their food came about 15 minutes before mine. They said the meatballs were very good - worth coming back for! I had a small pizza with homemade sausage (which has green chilies in it) and black olives. Plus a dinner salad and a Nut Brown Ale. It was all very good. And while the small was only 12 inches, and I hadn't eaten much since breakfast (other than some dill pickle sunflower seeds while I was driving down the road), it was hanging off the plate and so I brought 3 slices back to the hotel for breakfast! :) So - all in all I would definitely recommend this place. And because we had so much time to talk, they told me about 3 other good places:
  • Horseman's Haven Cafe - little dive cafe with good breakfast in Santa Fe (just down the road from my hotel) if you like hot green chili. I'll probably pass since I'll be having pizza for breakfast!
  • Buckhorn Tavern, San Antonio, NM - another little dive, with probably the best green chili burgers around - and they have good homemade fries too. Not on my trip on the way down to Tif's (since I'm taking 40), but definitely on the way on the trip back. And being south of Socorro... I might hold out and go there for lunch!
  • Gabriel's - north of Santa Fe. Great Fajitas and they make the guac at the table.

So... I'm all set for Road Food in this area! Woo hoo!

And since Kristi gave me homework when I'm out on the road... info to prove I actually *talked* to these people and not just about food!
  • Leroy and Melanie
  • He is from this area (grew up here his entire life) and she is from South Africa
  • They are going to their family cabin for the week
  • He worked at Pizza Hut when he was in college
  • He is a liquor salesman
  • They go skiing at Wolk Creek and stay in Pagosa Springs
  • They want to do a cruise to Alaska (not a motorcycle trip!)

There - I'm such the extrovert! ;)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Steak Diane - of a sorts

I was feeling like a steak dish - having just watched Alton Brown do an episode of Good Eats on sauces. I remembered a steak dish that Tina's brother Tony used to make. Basically sauteed steak with mushrooms and bell peppers. He called it Steak Diane. So I looked the dish up and found a version by Emril Lagasse. Totally different. This is a dish made with filet mignon medallions, quick seared on each side and then served with a sauce quickly made. This is many times cooked to order table side in good restaurants. Well I didn't want to use filet, I wanted to use the much cheaper (and tougher) eye of round steaks which were on sale. And to use that I figured I'd need to let it simmer for a bit to get it a bit more tender. Following is what I came up with - quite a bit different; but probably similar taste. I made extra sauce, so that I could let it simmer for a while and also because I served it with angel hair pasta and wanted some sauce to put on the pasta. As always - all amounts are approximations.

  • 6 eye of round steaks - 2.5 lbs in the family pack
  • salt and fresh *coarse* ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 a Leek - some from both ends
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • about 8 mushrooms slice
  • 1/4 C brandy
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 3 tsp deli mustard (Batampte from the Broadway Deli here in the Springs rocks!)
  • 3 or 4 "dashes" of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C beef broth
  • 1/4 stick butter

We have a pepper grinder that is really coarse. This is great, if you like pepper, because the sauce ends up with chunks and almost has a peppercorn sauce type feel to it.

Melt the butter and saute the steaks until they are slightly browned. Move them to the edge and saute the leeks until wilted then add the garlic for a minute or two then the mushrooms until they are cooked.

Remove the meat and veggies and deglaze the pan with the brandy. (I tried to burn it off like Emril said; but I think the pan was hot enough and there was enough butter left that it didn't light. It was fine). Add in the cream, mustard and Worcestershire and whisk until smooth - let simmer for a minute or so. Add in the beef stock, whisk and reduce for maybe 10 minutes. This is similar to doing a Marsala sauce - just letting it thicken a bit.

Add the meat back in; cover with the veggies and let cook for 15 minutes or so. The idea here is to let the meat tenderize a bit and for the sauce to thicken even more.

Right before serving take the meat and veggies out; add the rest of the butter and whisk till melted. Serve the steaks with veggies on the top and side and then spoon some of the sauce on the top and across the pasta (if you serve it with pasta).

To me it didn't have a *strong* mustard or brandy taste; just a really nice rich cream sauce. All in all a pretty simple dish that was very tasty.

Friday, August 21, 2009

As I walk back up and down the stairs for the 2nd time in one minute...

While some are very irritated with the fact that as they get older they tend to forget things and have to keep walking back and forth between rooms for things they forgot... I tend to think of it as God's way of making sure we get *some* exercise as we get older.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beartooth Pass

The accident show in this article happened a little before we passed by. There was a second truck there and it had about half the load cleaned up and reloaded. By the time we got there it wasn't slowing anything down too much; although we heard the road was closed for a few hours.

Twisties, great on a bike, not so much on a semi...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Clam Chowder

Snow storm yesterday; so good day for a cream soup and I decided on Clam Chowder.

I make all of my cream soups with the same base; a roux. While a roux is usually made with equal amounts of butter and flour; I usually use more flour as it makes it thicker. As the link above states; it is cooked till it no longer has a flour taste. Once I have the roux I can add broccoli, or potatoes and cheese, or corn and bacon for a corn chowder; or in this case potatoes, celery and clams for clam chowder.

  • 1 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 quart mile
  • 1 small potato diced small
  • 2 ribs celery diced small
  • 2 cans minced clams
  • savory salt and pepper to taste

  • Melt the butter and then add the flour, stiring into a paste and simmer until the flour taste is gone.
  • Slowly add the milk. At first it will thicken quite a bit, and then as you add more milk and continue to stir it will get thinner. It will slowly thicken back up as it reduces.
  • At the same time boil the potatoes and celery until the potatoes are cooked. Pour off the excess liquid; but you don't have to strain it as having a little extra liquid as fine.
  • Once the roux is a little thicker than you want the soup, add the clams including the juice; and then add the potatoes and celery with a little of the liquid. This should get it to about the consistency you want for soup. It will thicken a little as it cooks.
  • Let it simmer over low heat until it thickens and to allow time for the flavors to mix. This can cook in a slow cooker for a few hours; or on the stove over low for 15 to 30 minutes

You can pretty much adjust any part of this for own taste. And once you have this; you can use it for many other cream soups.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crock Pot Pork Roast w/ Cabbage

This took me 5 minutes to make and turned out really well.

  • 1.5# Pork Loin - don't trim the fat
  • Savory Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 Head of cabbage cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 Can Green Beans
  • 1 Onion Chopped in about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Family Size can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Put Pork Loin in bottom of the crock pot, fat side up, and season with savory salt and pepper.
  • Add cabbage wedges around the pork
  • Put onion and green beans on top
  • Cover with soup straight from the can, i.e, don't add any water/milk. In our crock pot I am able to cover the ingredients and have the soup form sort of a seal. This traps in the heat and keeps everything moist.
  • Cook "all day" - This is usually about 10 hours for us

This turned out really well. The fat all "melted off" and because none of the veggies put off that much liquid, the soup/sauce was actually still pretty creamy. The pork was very tender.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Italian Stir Fry w/ Whole Wheat Cheese Tortellini

As usual - amounts are approximate as I just throw stuff together. This is one of Jaime's favorite things, except we usually put it on spaghetti; but based on something Tif said to me the other day I decided to go with a different pasta. I was looking for something whole wheat and saw fresh whole wheat three cheese tortellini and it worked out great.

  • 1/2 white onion, julienne
  • 1/2 green bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
  • one stalk celery sliced thin
  • Small "stalk" of broccoli, flowers chopped a few time snd stalk sliced thin
  • 5 cloves of garlic sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup snap peas diced
  • 5 mushrooms sliced - each one about 4 slices
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breast; sliced thin and about 1 inch long
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tomato diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbs basil
  • 1 package tortellini

  • Boil water for the tortellini and add the pasta once the water is boiling, cooking according to directions while cooking the veggies - then drain until ready to add to sauce.
  • Turn electric skillet onto 350, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat.
  • Start preping veggies and add them as you prep them; stirring them in the oil as you add each one.
  • Add herbs and garlic
  • Add the chicken and stir-fry with the tomatoes until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
  • Just before done add in the tomato paste and thoroughly mix until combined.
  • When ready to server add in the pasta, combine and put into a large pasta dish for family style serving.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What are you?

I took the Harley to the grocery store the other day. Coming out there was a family in front of me and the mom was talking to another family who was in front of us. I loaded up the bike with the bags, put the cart away and was putting on my gloves and goggles when the 6 year old little boy turned and saw me.

"WHAT ARE YOU???" he asked with this excited voice.

Before I could say anything his mom responded with, "He's a super hero!"

The boy looked at me in awe and said, "oh..." and then climbed into his van.

The mom turned to me and said "He meant that in a good way" a little nervous. I just laughed and said, "I know."

So there... I'm a super hero. Brightened my day! :)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted

From an article in The Huffington Post:
Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that "the science is in." Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.