Been away for a bit… but I’m back!

Chicken Marsala at Jake’s in Portland,

So it’s sure been a while since I’ve Posted, but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that I have been watching in the background and I am seeing some new traffic. So I thought I’d jump on real quick and let you all know I am going to try to work harder at posting new stuff.

Today, I am 83 days sober and while I’m grateful to be sober it’s days like today that I truly miss the act of having a drink while I eat delicious food.

Pressure Cooked Pork Roast with Parsnips, Carrots and Mushroom Gravy{Low Carb} and Bacon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Hello, from Oregon! I haven’t focused my energy on documenting a recipe in about 5 years, so I’m nervous and excited at the same time! In the past several years, I have taken on two new jobs, had weight loss surgery and quit drinking.  I want to make it clear that while I try to follow a high protein low carb diet, I am not perfect and I do overindulge sometimes. But I do try. So with out any further adieu, here is this most wonderful recipe [found herehttps://pin.it/wzgbgrk3ic5gem] for pork shoulder roast in the pressure cooker!

ORIGINAL RECIPE So for this recipe, I felt it was very easy and attainable to me at first glance. I switched up some ingredients to make it my own, mainly the cauliflower was substituted with one whole parsnip, added carrots, about a cup of roasted garlic was subbed for 4 cloves, and I used bone broth instead of water. In addition, I subbed two large shallots for the onion.

Next, season the meat. This is pork shoulder. It has wonderful flavor and it seasons well, but it is best when slow cooked. It is popular for a lot of recipes like pulled pork and carnitas and I just love it.

Season liberally (tip and bottom) with salt, pepper and Old World Seasoning.

Penzy’s Old World Seasoning

Place roast in your pressure cooker. Set the appliance to cook on high pressure for 60 minutes. If it’s frozen you can cook for up to 90 minutes. Then kick back for a bit.

After the roast has pressure cooked(I did 90 minutes by accident, it was just fine), carefully remove the roast from the cooker and place in a oven safe dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you would like to shred it before finishing in the oven, I suggest adding some stock(enough to cover bottom) before putting in hot oven. Let cool some before handling. I shredded it only after realizing I had cooked it under pressure for too long, and I won’t lie, it was a little tough to pull apart and a tad bit chewy, but it was my first time using this pressure cooker and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing!

Pork roast, hand shredded

Meanwhile, put all of the hot vegetables and liquid into your blender. Process for a few minutes, check for seasoning and blend again to incorporate any new flavors.

Vegetable gravy with added seasoning for flavor

In the pot of your pressure cooker, add a couple of tablespoons of butter or coconut oil to the pan and let heat enough to form tiny bubbles. You can do this with the sauté or browning feature on your particular unit. When nice and hot, add some garlic in a tube and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add some sliced mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes, just until the vegetable sticks to the pot. Deglaze with a few tablespoons of white wine( I always have some open), stirring to combine, yet careful to not add too much. Let some of the alcohol cook out. Then and add the puréed vegetable gravy and set the cooker on a holding setting, to keep warm.

To make Brussels Sprouts:

First cut off the stem end and halve your sprouts, removing brown outer leaves. At least, the first layer or two. Then, cut your bacon, first in half in the middle, then down the center and across to make a small dice. In a large, heavy bottomed pan(maximum surface area) render your bacon until tender and crispy. I found that with this much surface area, it was hard for the bacon to render because the fat was too shallow. So I added a bunch of rendered bacon fat I had in reserve. If you don’t have already rendered bacon fat, a pat or two of butter can be substituted. It worked like a charm, and my bacon came out exactly how I like it, crispy but not burnt. It took about ten minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Pour off most of excess fat( a mason jar is usually the best vessel) leaving a thin layer for the Brussels to brown evenly. Arrange in a single layer, faced down. Sprinkle salt all over. After about 3-5 minutes check the underside for a nice brown color. Flip so the cooked sides are facing up. By now a nice film of flavor should be developing. By adding stock to the hot pan(only a few tablespoons) the flavor should be released and the steam should cook them until just tender. No need to cover pot.

Brussels face down, taking a bacon grease bath

I then added about a half cup of the bacon bits and about a quarter cup of Parmesan Romano mix, stirring well to combine. Serve immediately.

To serve: toss the roast gently to coat the meat in the pan juices and then top with a nice amount of warm gravy. Add sprouts and garnish with freeze dried chives and voila! Enjoy!

Ingredients

For Roast:

  • Pork shoulder roast, about three pounds
  • Carrots, 2-3 large handfuls
  • Celery ribs, chopped (3)
  • Shallots, peeled and sliced into rings
  • Parsnip, large, cut into rings
  • Roasted garlic cloves, about a cup
  • old world seasoning (penzys)

For Brussels Sprouts

  • Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved,1 pound
  • shaved parmesean or romano cheese
  • about 8 strips of your favorite thick cut bacon
  • chive, freeze dried or fresh(optional)

Equipment and ingredients you will need:

~ Pressure Cooker, electric

~ Vitamix or other heavy duty blender

~ large, heavy bottomed sauté pan, 12 inches across or larger

~glass baking dish

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Faux-tatoes and rich gravy.

This recipe was adapted from a Root + Revel recipe (found here), but I omitted quite a few ingredients and used the faux-tatoes instead of the polenta. In my adaptation, short ribs are transformed with simple ingredients and cooked in an eloquent braise, or broth bath. Use a heavy dutch oven or even stainless steel covered pot (in the biggest one you have!) but make sure all your ribs fit in the pot. It is one of my favorite methods of cookery for an otherwise tough cut of meat. Use extra meaty short ribs and make sure you brown all edges very well, 2-4 minutes per side.  For vegetables, I chose onion, parsnip, carrot, and mushroom and omitted potatoes, all cut to be around the same size(medium dice).  The ribs are served with faux-tatoes (or rather creamed cauliflower), and you’ll be surprised at the volume and likeness to mashed potatoes. The braising liquid is strained and thickened with a little flour and thinned out with a delicious Syrah and rich beef stock.  Finally, there is a key step not to miss- a mear thickening of the braising liquid after cooking with a quick pulse of the immersion blender will make a wonderfully flavorful gravy you’ll be sure to love. Serves 3-4 hungry bellies!

Ingredients

  • 8-10 extra meaty Short Ribs
  •        Salt and Pepper
  •        Avocado oil, or olive oil, as needed
  •        1 onion, chopped medium dice
  •        3 carrots, peeled and diced into medium rounds
  •        1 large parsnip, diced medium
  •        1 whole garlic bulb, finely chopped
  •        1 container of brown Cremini mushrooms, stems cut off and quartered
  •        small container of oregano(fresh), thyme, Bonnes Herbs (totaling around 4 tablespoons)
  •        1 bottle of Syrah or other flavorful Red wine
  •        1 box of beef stock, or homemade stock(32 oz)
  •        1/4 cup of flour(enough to coat cooked veggies)
  •        2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

The easy way to do this is start cooking with out setting up your Mise en place, but believe me you will want to have all your ducks lined up in a row. Start by cutting up all your veggies, as directed. On a sheet pan, line your short ribs up and season them generously with salt and pepper and a little oil. It is perfectly okay to allow the ribs to come to room temperature as you gather your veggies together, as this will allow more even browning when the time comes. First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Coat the pan with oil and let heat through until it shimmers. Add the seasoned short ribs in batches, ensuring to turn and rotate until evenly browned for 2-4 minutes per side and make sure there’s no redness. Remove once browned and reserve to the side. Repeat with remaining ribs.
  2. Add onions, cook until translucent. Then garlic, parsnips, carrots and finally mushrooms. Add seasonings and stir to combine. Salt and pepper too.
  3. Sprinkle flour(can use gluten free flour if your sensitive) over veggies and fully absorbed. Cook for at least one minute to cook out the raw taste of flour. Should be thick and kind of gummy texture.
  4. Add liquid. First the wine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, then repeat with the broth. Add mustard and stir well to combine. Cook for a few minutes to allow it to reduce some and come to a low boil. Add ribs back into the pot and snuggle it bone side down into the pan. Cover and place in oven, set timer for 3 to 3.5 hours.
  5. Check the meat every hour or so. It will be done when the bone pulls out but if you want really tender meat, allow it to cook slow and low for as long as you can stand it!
  6. When meat is done, pull it out and set to the side. In a separate bowl, strain as much of the veggies out using a long handled strainer and also reserve to the side.
  7. Using an immersion blender, or stick blender, pulse the sauce on low until it lightens in color and slightly thickens, and all clumps are smoothed out.
  8. Remove bones from ribs and plate with some veggies and the faux-potatoes and certainly lots of gravy! Enjoy!

IMG_3865
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

 

For the Faux-tatoes

  • 1 head cauliflower
  •        1 large parsnip
  •        Couple of tablespoons beef broth
  •        1/2 cup buttermilk or heavy cream
  •         1/4 cup cheese, farmhouse style
  •         1/2 stick, diced butter cubes
  •         salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice parsnips and place in microwave safe dish. Add some broth to coat the bottom and microwave uncovered for about 9 minuets until tender.
  2. Cut cauliflower into florets and repeat.
  3. In a food processor or heavy duty blender such as a Vitamix, add both parsnips and cauliflower and add buttermilk or creme and season with salt and pepper. Using the tamper, blend the mixture until smooth and creamy. Transfer to an oven proof bowl and stir in cheese and butter. Hold in oven until your short ribs are ready, stirring to combine cheese and butter. Serve immediately.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese and Chives

I got the idea for this soup from a pin on Pinterest for Butternut squash soup. The recipe was adapted from Damn Delicious’s preparation Here. I added a zucchini, a yellow pepper, and used sweet white onions for some nice flavor nuances. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 3-4 packages chopped butternut squash
  • 2 sweet onions in rough chop
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (can be omitted) rough chopped
  • 1 small Zuchinni rough chopped, skin peeled off
  • 1 parsnip peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • .75 pounds bacon in large pieces
  • Sprinkle of Aleppo Pepper
  • ⅓ cup minced garlic
  • Sprinkle of ground thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste(I used a lot!)
  • Avocado or Olive oil to coat veggies
  • ¼ cup half n half
  • ½ cup room temperature butter
  • Chives chopped finely
  • Box of chicken stock
  • ½ pound bacon🥓 (yess more bacon!) diced
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Cream or fine sherry if desired

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl add squash, onions, bell pepper, zucchini,parsnip, salt and pepper, all of the garlic and toss in oil and dump onto a parchment lined sheet pan(full size) spreading evenly. Sprinkle with Aleppo and ground thyme, lay out bay leaves evenly, and top with raw bacon. Roast vegetables in oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Pull from oven when tender and just starting to brown. In a small pot, brown diced bacon until crispy and remove to a paper towel lined plate and set to side. Chop Chives. Remove bay leaves from vegetables. Add roasted veggies and their juices to stock pot and add chicken stock, stirring to combine. Cook until soft bubbles form, and then use an immersion blender to make smooth. Make sure to blend for about 3 minutes, taking care to move about and fully incorporate all the ingredients. Add half n half, blend again. Turn off heat on stove and add butter, stirring well until all the butter is melted and incorporated. Garnish with cooked bacon, Chives and goat cheese and enjoy! Can finish with fine sherry if you desire to.

Herb Buttered Whole Chicken in Sous Vide

This whole chicken is smothered in herb compound butter and immersed in a water bath for a mere 4-6 hours in 150-75 degree water. First, make your compound butter:

  1. Butter(unsalted) up to a pound (I used 3 sticks)
  2. Fresh chopped lemon thyme, about two tablespoons
  3. Fresh parsley chopped fine, about 2 tablespoons
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Minced garlic(I use the stuff in a tube)
  6. Optional: lemon juice or other acid

Stick the whole container of butter in microwave for about 45 seconds. Watch it closely, you don’t want it to melt at all. Take out of paper and add minced herbs, salt and pepper, acid and whisk together with a hand held mixer until well incorporated and kind of fluffy. Add garlic and mix well. Set aside and prepare chicken. Remove from package and take out giblets. Rinse bird well, pat dry and set on cut surface. Dry with towel very well. Using your hand and the spatula, spread compound butter as evenly as possible on both back and front of bird, making sure to get the breast and underside well rubbed. Double bag or vacuum seal the whole bird and get ready to put in water bath.

Next, prepare your water basin for the sous vide device. Heat water to 175F. Immerse the bagged chicken in heated water and walk away! Yes, just leave it. Turn 180 degrees halfway through cook time and let it be. After about 4 hours the bird is cooked through and just the skin needs to brown.

Heat oven to 375F and get your pan ready to transfer into. It will be hot but a pair of tongs will help with manipulating the chicken. Set breast side down and cook until nicely browned, then flip again(using tongs) and brown breast up until golden. Allow to rest for up to ten minutes. Slice and serve immediately

There will undoubtedly be left over herb butter. Scoop onto parchment paper and roll it into a cylinder for later use. You can use on salmon, pork, even veggies! Bon Appetite!

Sous Vide Brown Sugar and Basil Marinated Chicken Thighs

This is an experiment. I read about another similar recipe and liked the flavor combo but didn’t have all necessary ingredients. You can find the original herehttp://damndelicious.net/2014/11/29/garlic-brown-sugar-chicken/. My version is marinated, cooked sous vide, and broiled in the oven instead of pan fried and baked. Start with a large bowl and add: 

  • Large cup of light brown sugar, free of clumps
  • Large squeeze of minced garlic from the tube
  • Large pinch of freeze dried basil and Cilantro each
  • A little avocado oil or olive oil (¼ teaspoon)
  • Dash of white wine(I used Riesling) 
  • About a Teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Several turns of freshly ground pepper
  • Dash of aged balsamic vinegar
  • Long squeeze of honey
  • Butter, small pat for sauce to finish

Combine well with whisk or use electric beaters set on low. This marinated about 8 thighs. 

Marinate Chicken

Set up your sous Vide cooker to 140 degrees and let chicken thighs marinate while the water heats up.  When ready to cook, prepare your sous Vide bags by vacuum sealing the thighs in the marinade and placing in a second air tight bag for cooking. 

Insert package into the water bath when water reaches temperature. After about two hours raise the temperature to 165 and cook for 45 minutes longer. You can leave it for about three hours, but I don’t recommend much longer. With sous Vide, the meat will be cooked thoroughly and only the skin will need to brown and crisp. 

Submerge chix in water bath
Set up an ice bath for removal of chicken from water bath. Allow chicken to cool for about 20 minutes. In a large bowl, remove chicken from  marinade and transfer chicken carefully to pan with tongs when ready to broil. Preheat broiler to 400, line pan with parchment or foil and line up the chicken, reserving the juice in small pan. 

Use heavy object to fully submerge
Broil chicken for 6-8 minutes and allow to rest for a few more minutes, until just blackened. In pot, reduce juices by half and serve with broiled chicken on the side. Stir occasionally and add salt or pepper if needed. Finish by adding butter to sauce with heat off and incorporate. Spoon over chicken and enjoy! 

Building a fruit and cheese platter

hard cheese with bluberries, pomegranate and salami

It is to say the least, edible art. I find myself building platters all the time. In culinary school, I did a cheese and wine pairing for my final project. The cheeses all had little name tags and mini pewter cheese knives used appropriately(which I still have!), layered on a platter and elegantly paired with Waterford Crystal wine glasses. It was fun to gain knowledge and learn the history of regions represented by the cheese and wine respectively, and I gained a better understanding of what was being eaten. Some of those picks are my top fivers today, easily. In work, it was my job to find a way to display various seafoods and meat cases attractivly for customers, to build deli and seafood trays, and package and wrap portions. At home, we often eat cheese platters with lovely fruits and vegetables found locally. By having a nice variety of crackers and nuts will provide enough dietary fiber and protein boosts. Providing a variety of cheeses will also add to style, taste and texture, and will surely be a conversation piece.

spinach and artichoke dip with bread and crudités

Its always wonderful to wash and treat the vegetables to a cool ice bath,  but really, simplicity is key when prepping for a party or work function. Try not to take on too much and enjoy your party! The key to building a fabulous party tray is to know what ingredients you are using, a sufficient platter to mount on, plenty of ramekins for height differentiation, and a beautiful kale or romaine lettuce leaves to line the plate. I tend to mix up the cheese and do one or two soft ripened, one or two semi hard and sometimes a fresh or semi hard variety. Some olives or cornichons are also a nice accompaniment. A great resource for cheese is cheese.com, it covers all types!

Lastly, make sure to include some protein in the form of thinly sliced aged salumi, or a paper thin sliced prosciutto, or pate made of game meat. It will help to keep a balanced meal, but most importantly, keep your palate busy with all the tantalizing flavors. Build your platter with grounded purpose, a focused eye, and an vision of how you want it to look. You may feel free to garnish with edible flowers or sprigs of green parsley.

Baked Figs with Boursin Frosting

Baked Fig with Boursin Frosting

This idea came to me like a flash in the night! My 5 year old daughter had been home from school sick, and we were talking about what to eat for dinner, when I asked her if she wanted me to save the last two figs. She said yes, but that she wanted them hot. Well, I had had a box of Boursin Shallot and Chive soft cheese in the fridge for what seemed like forever(6-8 months) and all of a sudden it just fell into place.

You will need :

 1~ 5.2 oz box of Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese

 1~8 oz container Creme Fraiche

 2-3 oz local honey

 2-3 tablespoons Mango Fruit Pulp Vinager

Heres how to make the frosting

IMG_8639
whipped boursin frosting

Add a ½ container of creme fraiche, a long squeeze of honey, and a smidgen of the Mango Pulp vinegar and stir with whisk to combine, and voila! We have Boursin Frosting! If you would like to, you can use the rest of the creme for a smooth and velvety texture. Figs are then quartered with a pairing knife,then got a spoon full of frosting, and and finished by wrapping  with a piece of stretched out thick bacon, and sat on top of a bed of brown sugar. Once the pot was filled(4)  I sprinkled a bit more brown sugar on top and added an extra bit of frosting and covered. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until bubbly and the bacon has started to render. Uncover and let brown until service.  Plate with a large dollop of frosting and some of the pan juices.