Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yellow and Red Pepper Soup (Giallo e Rosso Pepe Zuppa)


This rounds out my meatless Monday meal.  You may have seen yesterday's post on a unique sandwich, Layered Mushroom, Marscarpone and Polenta Bake (Polenta Concia)!  The "sandwich" paired perfect with this sweet (Mascarpone Cheese) and Earthy flavors of roasted peppers, all made fresh tasting with the addition of some fresh cut thyme leaves.

I showed off a bit for the photos with some fresh made Italian spiced croutons, but that's optional.

PLUS, this is one of those crock pot meals, easy and time convenient, just set, forget and serve when you want!  There are potatoes in the mix.  I have found that you will get better texture if you set your slow cooker on HIGH and limit this to a 4 hour cook.  Longer and slower makes mushy potatoes.  4 hours in the pot and you have fully cooked yet with a bite potatoes with texture.


 OK... here's what I did...


Yellow and Red Pepper Soup (Giallo e Rosso Pepe Zuppa)

Ingredients
  • 2 Medium Red Bell peppers, Fire roasted, blackened skin removed, stems, seeds and white inside membrane removed
  • 2 Medium Yellow (or Orange) Bell peppers, Fire roasted, blackened skin removed, stems, seeds and white inside membrane removed
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, Sliced into rings
  • 2 Medium Russet Potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves, plus additional for Garnish
  • To Taste Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Cup (8 Oz) Mascarpone Cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. ADD BUTTER FOR ONIONS
  2. OK, first up set your slow cooker on HIGH, add the chicken stock.
  3. Fire Roast your peppers. If this is your first time fire roasting peppers, do a quick google search. They are easy, basically stab with a fork and over a stove top burner flame (or under the broiler in an electric oven) heat until; the peppers blister black. Seal in a paper bag until cooled (about 20 minutes), the blackened skin will peal off easily. But again, take a look at a video if you have questions.
  4. While the peppers are cooling, add the butter to a large saute pan and melt over medium high heat until just before the butter starts to smoke. Add the sliced onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until they soften and start to lighten in color.
  5. While the onions are cooking, slice the potato and add the slices to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the sauteed onions to the slow cooker
  7. Slice the roasted peppers into 1 inch squares and add to the slow cooker
  8. Season with the Thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
  9. Close up the lid for 4 hours.
  10. After 4 hours, taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Add the Mascarpone cheese and stir until melted and combined.
  12. Garnish with fresh Thyme leaves
  13. Serve HOT and ENJOY!

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Layered Mushroom, Marscarpone and Polenta Bake (Polenta Concia)


I LOVE Polenta.  Sort of corn bread, but instead of the bread texture, it comes out sweet, creamy and closer to a pudding with hints of bread.

By itself, it is similar to grits.  That is very little taste, but is wonderful to flavor.  This particular dish is a perfect example.  After the polenta is made in a skillet (that bread pudding consistency), the polenta is then baked to add a crunchy top texture.  Then comes the flavors, grilled onions, pine nuts, mushrooms and a cheesy Mascarpone sauce.  All made pretty by layering like a sandwich and extra fresh Thyme added for a garnish.

This would be a Primo Course on an Italian table.  Soups, Salads, Pasta, Rice, Risotto and as here, polenta are the usual suspects for the course following the Antipasto and before the Meat (Secondo) and vegetables (Contorni) course.

But that's at a formal 5 course Italian meal.  I made these as a sandwich for a soup and sandwich lunch (more on that later)...



OK, here's what I did...


Layered Mushroom, Marscarpone and
Polenta Bake 
(Polenta Concia)


Ingredients
  • 3/4 Cup Uncooked Polenta (cooked according to directions on the box)
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, Cut into rings
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 8 oz Marscarpone Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. ADD SALT AND PEPPERT TO TASTE
  2. OK, start with the cooked polenta while it is still soft and somewhat pour-able. Move this to a jellyroll pan and flatten to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Now allow it to set (about an hour and a half at least).
  3. Cut the polenta into squares (or use cookie cutters for any appropriate design for any holiday).
  4. Place the squares under a broiler for 5 minutes, until they just begin to toast, flip them over and repeat for only 3 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they go from toasted to burnt pretty quick.
  5. While the polenta is baking, start the toppings and sauce.
  6. in a large saute pan, over medium high heat, melt the butter until just before it starts to brown.
  7. Add the onions and saute until soft and just starting to turn color.
  8. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.
  9. Add the mushrooms, thyme and pine nuts and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, in a seperate small saute pan, over medium low heat, warm the milk to just at simmer stage.
  11. Add the Mascarpone cheese and whisk until combined. Continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the nutmeg and whisk until mixed and remove from heat.
  13. OK, now just layer and serve... A polenta square on the bottom, @a TBS of mushroom/onions in the middle, a TBS of Cheese sauce, another square of polenta, another TBS of Mushroom/onions and topped with more cheese, garnished with some more fresh thyme leaves.
  14. Serve WARM and ENJOY!!!

I served this as part of my meatless Monday, along with a wonderful crock pot easy Pepper Soup (come back tomorrow for that post).

These are simply FANTASTIC, so much flavors in the simple polenta, and they look spectacular in their rustic charm!

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chili with Beans - On a bitter cold day, you want CHILI


Three reasons to enjoy a bowl of heart warming Chili...

Cause it's good anytime!

And

Bitter nasty cold, what could be better?

And

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!
Go Chiefs (Crap),
Go Bears (Crap Again), 
Go Saints (Double Crap, wouldn't that have been amazing since the game is played in New Orleans this year?), 
Go Patriots (Sigh and Crap)

Sounds like it's Chili Makin' time


 A wise man once said that after the age of 18 or so the world's best pizza is from the greasy spoon pizzeria that you went to growing up.  Everything, no matter how artisanal is measured by those sweet memories of youth.

For me, that;s really not true, I have grown to love and appreciate a different style of pizza from my youth.  But I can say that there is nothing like this warm comfort food that I have known for years.

Any and all chili's are measured and found wanting by this recipe... At least to me.

Here's what I do...

Exquisite Bohemian Chili 
 
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes (any flavor, drained)
2 cans of chili beans or kidney beans (drain and rinse kidney beans)
3 Tbsp chili powder (or to taste) 

Serve HOT and Enjoy!
Brown hamburger and onion. Add remainder of ingredients and simmer. I use a crock pot for 3-4 hours. 
** If it is too thick, I add Chicken Stock, if it is too soupy, I add tomato paste.

Yes, it has beans and i know that real Chili freaks go crazy when they see beans in chili.  Live with it.

And yes, ground meat instead of steak cubes (same Chili freaks want steak cubes).  Live with that too.


*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Monday, January 28, 2013

Layer Cake with Pastry Cream (Torta Margherita con Creama Pasticcera)


At last, the end has come... It's time for the Dolce... The Italian dessert.  If you have been following along for the last few days, you know that I am posting recipes from a classic Italian 5 course dinner party I hosted.  5 Courses, 7 separate dishes served in the Italian style.  Meaning relaxed.

So recapping, I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ...Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass. I did start to cook a bit when I made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce! Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work. I planned to make 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course). Once again, as with the Primo (pasta and salad course) I chose the dishes for a variety of reasons, but center stage was the ease of cooking. I had made a , Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto). This simple potato dish has several advantages for a party platter. First, they are very tasty. Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil. The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook. But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish. All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy. The second Contorni side was a beautiful colorful Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives (Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)! It does sound like a lot, and it was. but again, proper planning got everything organized, dishes served timely with a gap of only about 10 minutes between courses.  And finally, the Secondo or Meat course of Roast Pork in Milk (Arista in Latte)!  A wonderfully fork tender pork loin served up with a mustard gravy.

I have to be honest, by the time dessert course rolled around, I was thrilled.  All of my work was done.  Food had been cooked, served and enjoyed.  Also, all the thought processes of getting the timing right had worked flawlessly.  I had made this cake the day before, and I felt my work was finished.  Whew, great feeling.

BTW, not that you ever need a reason to have a dinner party, this one had a reason, my good buddy, fellow geek - Shawn (Superman, geek movies, model collector (you remember those horror movie models back in the 60's... this guy still has his, Oh and he is also my minister, after spending decades as a Federal Prosecutor for the US Department of Justice, a few years ago he retired and went back to school.  At an age when many folks were slowing down, Shawn decided what he wanted to be when he grew up was an Episcopal minister..  Interesting guy).  Anyway, this was a celebration of the 31st anniversary of his 29th birthday (do the math... he is 60).

This was his birthday cake (complete with vintage Superman cake decorations.

OK, let's talk cake... This was a very interesting cake.  Very little flour, very little sugar but plenty of eggs.  It cooked up very light.  In fact, not only was I tired, but there were more than one slight moan as I announced dessert.  We had all had about 2 and a half hours of non stop food.  And good food at that.  We were full.  But we put on our big boy stretch pants and dug in, planning to eat only a couple forks worth just to be polite.

When all was finished, only 1 of the 8 had not licked their plate clean.  We were all pleasantly surprised at how light and easy this cake was to eat on top of a heavy meal.

In other words... perfect for the night.

As to the "icing", in fact it was some pastry cream.  Sort of like a filling for a Boston Cream Pie.  Again, whipped up so it had volume but was in fact much lighter than a sugar icing would have been.  Like I said... a fine Dolce for the evening...


Here's what I did...


Layer Cake with
 Pastry Cream 
(Torta Margherita con Creama Pasticcera)


Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 4 Room Temperature Large Eggs
  • 2 Room Temperature Large Egg Yolks only
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Prepare a 9 inch springform cake pan with nonstick spray
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together for 1 minute
  4. Sift the flour into the bowl and gently fold into the egg mix. Do not over mix, but incorporate as best you can with minimal beating.
  5. Pour the mixture into the pan
  6. Bake until a knife can be inserted and comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the cake out on a wire rack and let cool completely (at least 2 hours).
  8. Slice the cake horizontally, fill with pastry cream and top with same cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve
  9. Serve chilled and PARTY LIKE YOU ARE 29 AGAIN!
And here's the recipe for the Italian Pastry Cream I used...


Pastry Cream
 (Crema Pasticcera)


Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • Grated Zest of 1 Medium Lemon
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks only
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk and lemon zest to a slow simmer, stir constantly but DO NOT LET THIS BOIL.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and egg togetehr, add the sugar and vanilla and whisk some more, add the flour and whisk for 1 more minute.
  3. Temper the raw eggs by adding 1/4 cup of the HOT milk to the eggs mixture, whisking CONSTANTLY until incorporated. If you do not whisk, the eggs will curdle (bad).
  4. Add another 1/2 cup of the hot milk and whisk again
  5. Now add all of the egg mix back into the sauce pan and whisk over heat until the mixture simmers and thickens, 5 minutes
  6. Transfer the thick pastry cream (now a pudding consistency) to a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap. put the wrap directly on the cream to prevent a skin forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or more.
  7. And use for a dozen purposes (like CAKE "frosting") and ENJOY!
It sounds like a lot of work, but not nearly as much as making a scratch cake.  The look is a bit rustic, meaning no fancy frosting style, but where it counts...

The taste was WONDERFUL

Light and airy, lemony, creamy delicious.

As a dessert for a dinner party, it was everything I was after.  Not filling, light enough to enjoy after a big meal, tasty enough that everyone wanted to eat even after a meal of this size.

One bite and they sucked it in and forks were flying. The sign of a wonderful dessert!

A new favorite I will make again...

******************************************************

This simple recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Cakes and Pies at Home"!

These are the desserts you make for your family.  No fancy amazing wedding cakes, just the rustic beauty of the classics.  From pumpkin pie to cheesecakes to layer cakes, these are what your family craves for dessert.  You may even see a few unusual crusts and frosting ideas to try.

You get the idea. These recipes are simple, delicious and will have your family wanting dessert first...
*************************************************************************

And of course, I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roast Pork in Milk (Arista in Latte)


OK, we are getting down to the star of an American table, the main course (the meat course, called the Secondo at an Italian dinner).  Most folks have heard that meat is considered a luxury item and served sparingly in most of the world.  Think about sausages... Meat with fillings.  If you have been reading along over the last few days, following a large platter of Antipasto meats and cheeses, a Tomato Bruschetta, a Pasta and a Salad served as the Primo, A potato dish and a cooked Swiss Chard salad dish served as Contorno (side dishes, vegetable dishes).  By the time the platter of meat was served, it was not the star of the show... Simply a balanced course served as part of a single meal.  All the parts were coming together!

So recapping, this week I am posting recipes and thoughts behind a large (for me) "formal" Italian dinner party for 8 people. 5 courses, 7 separate dishes (plus a drink) all cooked fresh, served in a timely manor and of course, tasty and delicious.
I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ...Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass. I did start to cook a bit when i made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce! Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work. I planned to make 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course). Once again, as with the Primo (pasta and salad course) I chose the dishes for a variety of reasons, but center stage was the ease of cooking. I had made a , Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto). This simple potato dish has several advantages for a party platter. First, they are very tasty. Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil. The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook. But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish. All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy.  The second Contorni side was a beautiful colorful Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives (Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)!  It does sound like a lot, and it was.  but again, proper planning got everything organized, dishes served timely with a gap of only about 10 minutes between courses.

And serving this was no exception.  The Secondo (meat course) and the Contorni (vegetable side dish course) were served at the same time.  But the meat was cooking throughout the early part of the dinner.  This is a wonderful dish to prepare as it spends most of it's time in a milk bath (well, HOT hot tub really).  The only "cooking" that needs to be done is to remove the meat when it reaches the proper internal temperature (please cook this with one of those new fangled CHEAP battery operated remote temperature probe that you insert and watch for th proper temperature... I never have dry overcooked meat cause I do not cook by time, just temperature... But I digress).

Once out of the milk bath, the meat MUST rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it.  This keeps the juices inside the meat making it fork tender and juicy.

As to this beautiful sauce, the milk forms almost a yogurt consistency while it cooks the loin.  A quick whisk, a little flour and you have a mustard gravy that was the hit of the evening.  In my cooking career I have spent more than my fair amount of time grilling meat.  I love it and it tastes great.  BUT it does require attention from the cook.  Very little time for the whirling dervish that is serving up multiple dishes for a multiple course meal.  Cooking the loin in milk for a long amount of time gave me a luxury of time to have everything hot and ready to serve all at the same time.

So, tender, full of flavor and simply amazing... And the timing is a cook's friend.  Perfect Secondo for my party...




Roast Pork in Milk 
(Arista in Latte)


Ingredients
  • Two 1-1/2 to 2 lb. Pork Loin, Center Cut
  • 4 TBS Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 TBS Salt
  • 2 TBS Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • Up to 3 Cups Whole Milk
  • Sprinkling of Flour for the gravy
Cooking Directions
  1. Allow your pork to come to room temperature, remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before beginning to prepare.
  2. Generously rub the mustard on the outside of the pork.
  3. Season with the salt and pepper
  4. Over your stove top, on Medium high heat heat a heavy bottomed large skillet (I use my cast iron frying pan for this dish), but you will need a lid, so the largest heaviest pan you have with a lid,
  5. Once hat, add the butter and sear all sides of the loin. Some (most) of the mustard will char and not remain on the meat and that is fine. It is there to season the gravy as much as the meat.
  6. Sear each side for only 2 minutes each.
  7. Once the sides are browned, REDUCE THE HEAT TO JUST ABOVE LOW. You want to slow cook the pork in about 225 degree liquid.
  8. Add the milk to the pan. This will help lower the temperature of the pan. You want the milk to rise to just a bit above half way up the meat.
  9. Insert the temperature probe and cover the pan.
  10. You are going to cook to cook until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees. Then turn the loin so the part that was out of the milk is now in the milk, reinsert the temperature probe and cook until internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140 degrees.
  11. Remove from the bath, allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10-15 minutes. The meat will continue to cook for awhile so the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat is 145 degrees.           My total cooking time was about 1 hour 15 minutes, but will vary according to how hot the milk is, type of pan, etc.  Cook with a thermometer)
  12. While the meat is resting, make the gravy. You only want to use about 1 cup of the liquid, but be sure to spoon the thick globules of yogurt that form on the top in that cup. Also all of the mustard and seeds from the whole grain that were chard during the first step should be fished out. There is GREAT flavor in the roasted mustard seeds.
  13. Add this cup to a small sauce pan and whisk until smooth. If you need to thicken, add a tsp of flour at a time and whisk for a full minute with each tsp.
  14. After the meat has rested, slice and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the gravy on the slices and ...
  15. Serve HOT and ENJOY!

FANTASTIC... the gravy adds a huge flavor to the pork.  But the pork on it's own tasted wonderful.  Fork tender, juicy throughout and with that sweet hint from the milk bath (hot tub).  I simply adore this platter of meat.

And of course, as I said it is very nice to have a meat dish that impresses and still allows the cook time to be a part of the party and still assemble all of the side dishes.  Worked like a charm!

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives (Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)


Oooh Aaah, Pretty colors!  You bet pretty and that makes it a wonderful dish to serve for a dinner party... Still recapping, this week I am posting recipes and thoughts behind a large (for me) "formal" Italian dinner party for 8 people.  5 courses, 7 separate dishes (plus a drink) all cooked fresh, served in a timely manor and of course, tasty and delicious.

I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ...Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass. I did start to cook a bit when i made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce! Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work.  I planned to make 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course). Once again, as with the Primo (pasta and salad course) I chose the dishes for a variety of reasons, but center stage was the ease of cooking.  I had made a , Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto).  This simple potato dish has several advantages for a party platter. First, they are very tasty. Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil. The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook. But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish. All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy.

This freed me up to actually cook the second Contorni course of quick sauteed tomatoes, Swiss chard and more. I was also serving a main course of a braised pork loin. Again, all this had already been set in motion. So I only needed to remove the pork loin, allow it to "rest" for 5-10 minutes before slicing, work the Swiss chard dish, make a gravy for the pork and plate this potato dish. Again, sounds like a lot, but it all only took another 10 minutes.

remember, it's an Italian dinner... No rush, enjoy the meal and relax... Everyone will get fed, everyone will enjoy the evening.

The key to cooking this dish fast is to have everything Mise en Place or already diced, torn, measured and ready to go.  The dish only takes 10 minutes total cooking time if you are ready to go.  If you mix continents, just think of this as a vegetarian stir fry.


 OK... Here's what I did...


Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives 
(Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)


Ingredients
  • 1 Head Swiss Chard, Green Leaves stripped from the stems, torn into business card size pieces
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, Large Dice
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and minced
  • 1 Dozen fresh Olives, Pitted, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 6 Medium Plum Tomatoes (I used fresh Kumato tomatoes)
  • To Taste Salt and Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large saute skillet, heat the Olive Oil over medium high heat until just before it starts to smoke.
  2. Add the Onion and garlic. Saute until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the olives, pine nuts and garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the Swiss Chard and Saute for 2 minutes until the leaves have wilted
  5. Add the Chicken stock
  6. Add the tomatoes and heat until the liquid simmers, a couple of more minutes.
  7. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed
  8. Serve HOT and ENJOY
DELICIOUS!

You betcha it was.  and a PERFECT side dish.  Totally unexpected from my guests, looked wonderful and a blend of flavors.  An opportunity to discus Italian cuisine and what makes it special.  Not a lot of seasonings and sauces that mask or alter flavors, but blending fresh ingredients, often ingredients that are easily available in any Italian grandmother's garden.

And of course the ready on 10 minutes aspect worked great for the party.

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Friday, January 25, 2013

Version 2 - Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto)



This is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to make potatoes.  Especially for a party.  As a recap, I am continuing to post my party recipes and the thought processes that went into their selection and execution. Recapping, I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ... Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass.  I did start to cook a bit when i made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce!  Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work.

Well, to day we start explaining the 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course) that I chose to make.  Once again, it is rarely a good idea to make something for the very first time for a party.  So I chose to make a very easy dish, Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto).  I made these first just a few weeks ago.  They have several advantages for a party platter.  First, they are very tasty.  Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil.  The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook.  But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish.  All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy.

This freed me up to actually cook the second Contorni course of quick sauteed tomatoes, Swiss chard and more.  I was also serving a main course of a braised pork loin.  Again, all this had already been set in motion.  So I only needed to remove the pork loin, allow it to "rest" for 5-10 minutes before slicing, work the Swiss chard dish, make a gravy for the pork and plate this potato dish.  Again, sounds like a lot, but it all only took another 10 minutes.

remember, it's an Italian dinner... No rush, enjoy the meal and relax... Everyone will get fed, everyone will enjoy the evening


So, here we go again with the potato recipe...


Potatoes in a Pouch 
(Patate al forno in un sacchetto)


Ingredients
  • 1-2 Medium Red Potatoes per serving, quartered and sliced,
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil drizzle per serving
  • 1 Thick sliced Pancetta (bacon) per serving, chopped
  • 1 Leaf Sage per serving, rough chopped
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • Several turns of a Pepper Grinder
Cooking Directions
  1. OK, this recipe is easily adapted for 2 people to many many more. A wonderful side dish, but also could be an easy lunch.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  3. Take a large sheet of Aluminum Foil and form a pouch.
  4. Add the potatoes
  5. Drizzle Olive Oil and sprinkle the chopped sage
  6. Top with the bacon bits
  7. Seal the pouch
  8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour
  9. Check to make sure the potatoes are done, Remove from the pouch, mix to mingle the bacon bits
  10. Serve HOT and ENJOY!
And wonderful they are!

Potato flavors, mixed with bacon, sage and olive oil.  Salt and pepper and delicious!

*************************************************************************

So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

****************************PINTEREST**************************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

FMP