Monday, July 30, 2012

Pork Chops w/ Stuffed Rosti Potatoes & Cherry Confit

Our AC has been out since Friday.  Apparently the motor went out on it.  Not the best couple of days in the house.  Especially because when I step outside, it feels 20 degrees cooler out there than in our house!  However, hope is not lost because the repairman is due to be here shortly and we should be back in the cool air (hopefully) in no time!

I had my little sister and her boyfriend over for dinner and game night last night.  We sat on the porch (because it was too hot to eat inside lol) and had this lovely pork chop meal!  While I didn't win ANY of the games we played, (I should have won Clue - but someone didn't realize he had a card that I guessed!) we had a lot of fun and it was great to see them!

This meal is just a little bit fussy, but a lot of things can be made ahead so really, it's not that bad!


Stuffed Rosti Potatoes:

2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and julienned
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped

4 bone-in pork chops
 olive oil, for rubbing
salt and pepper, to taste

Port Wine Sauce:

1/2 cup ruby port wine
1 & 1/2 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Cherry Confit:

1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon port wine sauce
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar

To prepare the potatoes, combine the potatoes, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet under medium high heat.  Add potato mixture and pack down with the back of a spoon into one even layer.  Cook until potatoes start to brown.

Flip the potatoes over and place the pan in the oven.  Cook until potatoes are crisp, flipping once in between (about 20 minutes per side). 

Let cool slightly.  Cut the potatoes into two round halves.  On one side, spread the goat cheese.  Top with the chopped rosemary and chives.  Place the other potato half on top to form a "sandwich".

In a medium saucepan, combine the beef stock and port wine sauce.  Bring to a boil.  In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and cold water.  Add to saucepan and cook until mixture starts to thicken.  Keep warm until service.  Before plating, mount sauce with butter for a shinier appearance and added flavor.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make cherry confit, heat the butter in a medium saute pan under medium high heat.  Add red onion and cook until softened, but not browned.  Add cherries.  Add brandy and flambe (carefully tip pan toward flame if you have a gas range, if not, just bring a match or long lighter close to pan until flame comes up).  Cook until flame runs out.  Stir in port wine and vinegar and cook until almost dry.  Keep warm until service.

Preheat a grill to medium high.  Rub pork chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Grill chops to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes per side for a good medium.

Cut the potatoes into wedges and place in center of plate.  Lean pork chop against the potatoes and top with port wine sauce.  Sprinkle some cherries around plate.  Voila! 

There's tons of different flavors going on here.  Savory, sweet, delicious! 

Enjoy guys!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Herbed Pork Noisettes w/ Red Wine Sauce

How was everyone's week?  Hope you're glad it's Friday, because I know I am!

It was sausage week at school and my group was tasked with making Andouille and Hot Italian Sausages.  They. Are. The. Bomb. Gonna have to start making sausage at home because it's way easier than I ever thought it would be!

Anyway, I've got a tasty pork tenderloin recipe for your guys today!

This is pretty simple and you could definitely play with the rub ingredients, but I happened to have tons of herbs from my garden, so I decided to use those and some simple salt and pepper!  No need to be fussy to be tasty, right?!  One of the guys in my class brought a bunch of tomatoes from his garden to give away to the class, so I put those to use in a simple and refreshing tomato and zucchini salad as a side.  After all these hot days, I'm trying to turn on the stove as little as possible so a cool side dish sounded perfect!


1 lb. pork tenderloin
1 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Red Wine Sauce:

1/4 cup onion, minced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Trim the pork tenderloin of any undesirable fat..  You want to have a little to keep the loin moist, but not too much.

You'll probably want to make your sauce first since it will take longer than your pork.

In a medium saucepan, saute your onions under medium high heat in a little bit of olive oil.  Once the onions are slightly softened and translucent, add the red wine.  Reduce the mixture to a syrupy consistency, about 1/4 cup or so.  Add the beef broth and reduce again until about 1/2 cup remains.  Mount (stir in) the sauce with butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm until needed.

In a medium bowl, combine the sage, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Place the spice blend on a flat plate and spread evenly.  Place the loin on the plate and roll in the spice blend until fully coated.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat a large oven-proof saute pan under medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Place the pork tenderloin in the pan and sear for about 3-5 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of your cut).  Let the loin rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into noisettes (small portion of meat that originates from a rib about 3/4 inch thick).  Drizzle the red wine sauce over the slices and serve alongside a refreshing salad of vegetables or starchy side!

This is definitely another winner in our book!  If Andy's happy, I'm happy!   Hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to French a Rack of Lamb

Lamb is one of those love it or hate it types of meats.  Some people can't stand the gamey-ness of it (my husband and I would be some of those people) - but then there's people who love it!  Having the lamb at the restaurant I work at is a whole different story.  It doesn't taste gamey at all.  So maybe all these years I was avoiding lamb because I just wasn't buying the right kind!

I decided to give it another go, despite my husband's weird looks.

Frenching is just basically removing any excess fat from the rib bone, leaving a beautiful chop leftover.  It just makes the rack look more appealing!  A lot of times, you'll find that when you buy a rack of lamb, the butcher has already frenched it for you.  However, I think if you ever run into the problem of needing to french something on your own, this is a valuable skill to have! 

It's a bit of work, but once you get the hang of it, it's like riding a bicycle!

1. Assuming you just have one half of the rib cage and not the whole thing, start by pulling at the natural seams on the surface of the rack to remove the natural layer of fat from the meat.

2. Make an even cut through the fat, perpendicular to the ribs and about 1 inch from the rib eye.  Flip over and do the same thing on the other side.


3. Score the center of each rib bone from the perpendicular line.  Place your thumb in between each rib bone and press down.  The majority/all of the fat/meat should come cleanly off the rib bone.  Repeat for each bone until all are clean.  Make sure to get them as clean as possible, because leaving any meat or fat on the bones will discolor them during the cooking process, giving you a less pretty product.



4. Trim away any excess fat covering, leaving a thin layer to protect the meat while cooking.  You can also trim the fat completely if you want a leaner piece of meat.  Sear and roast as is or cut into chops to grill - the choice is yours! 

We ended up going to a friends house and grilling them with some Moroccan spices (allspice, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, nutmeg).  They were oh, so tasty!  Have a great rest of your weekend guys!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grilled Veal Chops w/ Mushroom Ragout

How's everybody's week going so far?!

I don't know about you, but I've kinda been draggin' a little bit.  I just need a burst of energy from somewhere to get me back into the groove! 

School has been great so far this week.  We're doing galantines and balantines which are pretty cool.  They're basically a deboned poultry bird stuffed with a forcemeat (like a sausage or pate).  Pretty tasty, if you ask me!

Anyway, we hadn't done much grilling since the beginning of the spring because it's been so hot, but yesterday, I just couldn't resist.  Andy's first reaction to this dish? "You need to stop making salads and go be the actual chef somewhere.  I really feel like I'm eating out right now!"  How awesome is that?!  And trust me, he wasn't just saying that because he's my husband - he gives me honest criticism all the time!  Hehe.  Anyway, if you want to fix something special that doesn't really require too much fuss, this is your dish!


2 8 oz. veal chops
olive oil, for brushing
salt and pepper, to taste

Mushroom Ragout:

3 slices bacon, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 leek (white part only), julienned
1 cup pearl onions
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup white wine
1 cup demi-glace (if you don't want to go through all that trouble, you could always buy one of those demi-glace packets at the store, I won't judge!)
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making your ragout.  In a large saute pan, render the bacon under medium high heat until slightly crisp.  Add garlic, shallot, leek, pearl onions, and thyme.  Saute until just tender.

Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add demi glace and reduce to your desired consistency, about 10-15 minutes. 

Stir in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat a grill under medium high heat.

Brush the veal chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chops to desired doneness - a medium rare/medium is about perfect for me!

Serve chops over a bed of mashed potatoes and a side of vegetables.  Top with mushroom ragout and enjoy!

This was seriously one of the best meals I've ever made.  So simple, yet so refined at the same time.  Maybe I'm just getting better as the days go by, eh?  Hehe!

Have a great rest of your day guys!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beef Bourguignonne


However you spell it or say it, Beef Bourguignonne (Bourguignon, Burgundy, etc.), is a classic French dish made most famous by Julia Child. 

While we won't be making Julia Child's version here, it'll definitely be just as delicious!  One thing that does differ here is that we'll marinate the meat for a couple hours before we start - this helps to infuse the deep flavor of the wine and aromatics, and in my opinion, makes this one of the best recipes for this dish!

There's a long list of ingredients, but most of them are just pantry staples, so there's really no reason why not to make this!  Of course, it may take a little time to get the meat tender, but the end result is well worth it!  So this is how we spent our Sunday afternoon...


3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
small bunch of parsley stems (about 10)
4 inch piece of leek, split in half
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
salt and pepper, to taste
3 & 1/4 cups red wine
Beef chuck roast, about 2 & 1/2 to 4 lbs.  (ours was on the lighter side since it was just for the 2 of us!), cut into 1 inch cubes
 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tomatoes, quartered
2 cups beef stock
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup pearl onions, boiled and peeled

In a large bowl, combine the crushed garlic, onions, carrots, parsley stems, peppercorns, and wine.  Place the leek, thyme, and bay leaf in a cheesecloth or coffee filter.  Tie up tightly and place in mixture.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the meat to the mixture and let marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator, uncovered.

Remove the meat from the marinade and pay dry with paper towels.  Reserve the marinade, don't get rid of it.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, and working in batches, brown the meat until caramelized.  Set aside until all meat is browned.

Return all meat to the dutch oven and sprinkle with the flour.  Stir until a blonde roux is formed (about 3-4 minutes).


Stir in tomato paste and cook mixture for about 5 minutes.


Add the reserved marinade, quartered tomatoes, and beef stock.  Place dutch oven in the oven and cook until meat is tender, about 2 & 1/2 hours.

Remove the meat from the sauce.  Strain sauce though a china cap or mesh strainer, pressing down to get any excess liquid.  Discard solids and return liquid, as well as the meat, to the dutch oven.

In a medium saute pan, melt the butter and saute the mushrooms briefly.  Add to dutch oven.  Add the pearl onions and season mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.  Simmer mixture for about 10 minutes to blend all of the flavors together.

Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice, whatever you like!  This is definitely comfort food at it's finest!

Hope you all have a great start to your week!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blanquette de Boeuf


Hey everyone!  How are you guys doing?

This week is just flying by, isn't it?!  Well, it is for me anyway!

Today we've got a Blanquette de Boeuf.  The name in and of itself is an oxymoron because a true blanquette (white stew) is made with a white meat, veal, or lamb.  It's not usually traditionally made with beef.  However, since beef is probably the cheapest out of veal or lamb, and I wasn't particularly in the mood for chicken, beef it was! 

The main difference with a Blanquette is that the stew meat is blanched rather than sauteed.  But just because we don't caramelize the meat beforehand doesn't mean this lacks in flavor!  It really packs a flavor punch and you'll definitely want to try this for yourself!


3 lb. beef shoulder/chuck roast
9 cups beef stock
1 onion, julienned
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
10 parsley stems
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
salt and pepper, to taste
1 oz. butter, plus more for sauteing vegetables
1 oz. flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 cup pearl onions
4-5 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
juice from 1/2 lemon
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Start by trimming any excess fat or silver skin from your roast.  Then cut meat into 1 to 2 inch cubes.

Place meat into a dutch oven or large soup pot and cover with cold water.  Season with salt and bring to a rapid boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, turn off heat and carefully drain the meat.  Rinse to remove any impurities.


Return meat to pot and add enough beef stock to cover.  I had about 9 cups of stock before all of my meat was covered.  Of course, this will vary from roast to roast (and how small or big you cubed your meat), so you don't have to strictly use 9 cups.  Just enough to cover the meat.  Place the parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns into a cheesecloth (or coffee filter) and tie up tight.  Place the bag in the pot along with your julienned onion, celery, and carrots.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.


Strain the meat from the stock, keeping and setting each aside.  Discard the cheesecloth with spices.  In the pot, add your butter and flour.  Make a blonde roux (about 3-4 minutes, until golden in color).  Slowly add back in stock, whisking constantly.  Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Now, if you just wanted regular beef stew, this would be your stopping point.  You've basically got your brown gravy and all you would have to do is add back in your meat.  But we're gonna take it a step further and make this a little bit richer by adding the liaison of cream and egg yolk.

Return meat to the thickened stock.  In a small bowl, whisk together your egg yolk and cream.  Make sure the soup pot is not at a boil, you want it to be at a slow simmer (under 135 F).  If you're at a boil, you'll just curdle your eggs as you add them in.  Slowly add a couple ladle-fulls of hot stock to the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent clumping.  Once your egg yolks are tempered, add them to the soup pot.  Stirring somewhat constantly, keep the mixture at a steady simmer.

Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of butter.  Add pearl onions and mushrooms.  Saute until just softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Add vegetables to soup pot.

Finally, season the stew with lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Ladle into bowls and serve with a desired starch or all by it's lonesome.

This was definitely a hearty and rich bowl of stew.  Andy definitely loved it.  The meat was tender, the gravy was out of this world good, and it was oh so filling!  Give it a shot and let me know what you think!  Have a great rest of the week guys!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Herbed Ribeye Steaks

I've been a real carnivore lately.  I don't know if it's my current workout, the heat, or whether the meat in the meat department looks especially tempting - but we've had some steaks at least once a week for the past couple of weeks. 

These ribeyes were so easy and tasty, I knew I had to share them with you guys.  If you have an herb garden like I do, just pluck your favorite herbs, throw in some garlic if you'd like, and you're on your way to meat heaven.


2 ribeye steaks
2 tablespoons herbs of your choice (I used rosemary, thyme, and sage), finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the herbs, garlic, and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  The herbs should be dense like a paste so you can spread them on the ribeye. 

Heat a grill or cast-iron skillet (it was way too hot outside to be grilling) to medium high heat.

Spread the herb mixture on both sides of the steaks.  Cook steaks to desired doneness.

And bam, a fantastically easy steak dinner in no time!  You can even deglaze the cast iron skillet (if you didn't choose to grill, of course) with some red wine and beef stock to get a fantastic sauce.  Let it reduce until slightly thickened and then mount it with a pat of butter - pour the sauce on top of the steaks to take them to a whole other level!

Hope you guys are still staying cool - we're expecting temps in the high 80's this week (which is a MAJOR change from triple digits!) - so hopefully we can enjoy the outside while we can =)  Have a great day guys!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie

Check out my awesome stein I got from the Warrior Dash Race I did a couple weeks ago!
It's that time of the month again - Secret Recipe Club time!

I'm glad to say that I got a fellow Kentucky Food Blogger - Katie from This Chick Cooks!

She's got a plethora of healthy, feel-good eats.  We've been experiencing a major heat wave here and I haven't been in the mood to turn the stove, oven, or microwave on for anything!  My older neighbor even said that she's been living on popsicles to stay cool!  I haven't gone that crazy, but who knows - if this heat keeps up - I'll be sitting on the porch eating popsicles 24/7 before you know it!

Anyway, Katie has tons of different smoothies on her site - and with this heat, a cool smoothie sounded like the perfect treat!  With everything I needed already, I couldn't resist =)

Recipe from This Chick Cooks

handful of ice (about 5-7 cubes)
1/2 cup raspberries (I used fresh, Katie used frozen)
1/3 cup water
juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons honey

Combine ice, raspberries, water, lemon juice, and honey in a blender.  Puree until at desired consistency.

Drink up!

Hope you all have a great Monday and where ever you happen to be (especially in the Midwest!), I hope you're staying cool and hydrated =)

Want to join the SRC?  Click here to find out more!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mushroom & Beef Soup

Happy Friday everybody! 

It's been a crazy busy week, but I've got today and tomorrow off so I'm going to be catching up on some cleaning and some homework for school.

We've been going through a MAJOR heat wave here and I almost can't believe that I made this, but it was so good - I had to post it.  It's so easy and is done in less than 30 minutes!  If you want to wait until winter to make it, then I don't blame you, but if you're like me, and like soup ANY time - this is the real deal!


2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 & 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced - plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
croutons, optional - for garnish

In a medium stockpot under medium high heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil.  Add mushrooms and cook until tender and most of liquid is evaporated.

Add stock, parsley, and mint.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with croutons and chopped parsley.

I served this with a grilled cheese sandwich - it's a perfect soup for dipping!  I think I loved this soup so much because it reminded me a lot of French Onion soup without all the onion and cheese.  It's definitely a keeper!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chorizo & Purple Potato-Stuffed Matzo Balls

How is everyone?! 

School started back up last Monday (hence my absence all week!) and I couldn't be more excited for what's to come this quarter.  I'm in Garde Manger - which is basically all cold prep and charcuterie -type stuff.  Can't wait to share what I learn with you guys!

We basically just spent the first week butchering different animals - fish, duck, chicken, pork, beef. And this week we've already made Worcestershire sauce (it has to sit for at least 5 weeks before being fully developed!) and some infused vinegar (my group made a lemongrass, orange, and thyme infused vinegar - majorly excited about that) and some garlic salt!  Our vinegar and salt is supposed to be incorporated into our 6 course final at the end of the quarter, so I'll be busy brainstorming the possibilities!

I made a trip to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and ended up with some local chorizo and some purple potatoes (among the other plethora of things I nabbed up!).  I had some Matzo meal that has been staring me in the face every time I walked into my pantry so I figured it was begging to be used up - and I didn't want to go the normal route and make some soup - it is WAY too hot for that right now!

So I ended up deep frying these babies and making a totally non-kosher Matzo ball.  And they were every bit of delicious. 

Makes about 12 matzo balls

2 eggs
1 oz. water
1 oz. unsalted butter, softened
2 oz. matzo meal
1/4 cup ground chorizo, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup mashed potatoes (I boiled off about 3-4 small purple potatoes and quickly mashed them), cooled
salt and pepper, to taste
oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and water.  Beat until mixed together.  Stir in butter.

Add matzo meal, chorizo, potatoes, salt, and pepper.  Stir until combined.

Chill mixture for about 1 hour.

Portion into 2 tablespoon rounds - you'll end up with about 12-15 balls.

Bring oil to frying temperature (around 375F), and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer to paper towel-lined plates to dry and season with additional salt, if needed.

Now chow down!

Hope you all have a great week - stay cool!