Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ready In Under Thirty If You Don't Argue Chops

These really were delicious, easy and quick to the table thanks to our wonderful infrared grill.
Rather than bottled applesauce, so often paired with pork, I opted for a firm eating apples that provide fresh flavor add another great texture for the mouth.  The subtle flavors of hot pepper, cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg in the boiling water provide subtle compliment the pork perfectly!Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Asian-inspired Grilled Pork Chops

My husband paraded into our kitchen and announced that he intended to make pork chops for dinner. I was shocked and immediately overcome with feelings of disorientation and waves of dizziness. When I finally composed myself he had returned from the grocery store with a large package of good looking chops, 3 apples and some cleaned broccoli florets. "He's serious", I thought to myself.

As dinnertime rolled around he mentioned that he hoped I would prep for him. "No problem", I said. "What can do to help?

"Could you do your magic on the chops?" . . . "and what do you want done to the apples?" . . . "steamed broccoli . . .is that O.K.?"

I worked my magic on the chops, tried a new grilled apple that I first parboiled with red pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon and threw the broccoli in an half inch of water and steamed it, strained it and sauteed the cooked florets with a small amount of Olivio.

Then, I waited.

I nibbled a little here and there.
At 9:30 HE came looking for food.

By 10:30 we sat down to some fine pork chops. We had a lively discussion about "what he meant"!

His offer was that he was going to "grill" the pork chops!

Grilled Asian-inspired Pork Chops

Dash of Red Pepper Oil
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Dark Soy
1 tsp. rice vinegar or other white vinegar
1 tsp mango powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cup orange-pineapple juice

Marinate chops for at least one hour and place on a hot grill for about 8-10 minutes. 

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Anchovy-stuffed Olives From Spain

I just had to post this pretty picture; so pleasing to me.. From a simple digital photograph I am transported across oceans and continents.
Popular in both Tuscany and Spain, anchovy-stuffed green olives are enjoyable as a compliment to bruschetta or simple grilled cheese bread or paninni. For me, they are best by themselves with a Chianti or Pinot Noir.
For others, these can be an acquired taste! The mention of anchovies can really cause some to shake their heads in disgust or cringe with disapproval. But, I don't let little things stop me from trying to convert "fish haters".  
I recently won over my husband . . . "a fish hater" from way back! 
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Monday, March 15, 2010

California Sourdough Bread

I found this recipe in one of my favorite chef cookbooks. The recipe is made over a couple of days and calls for starter made from potato water. I had just made up a batch of potato starter-but with potatoes and the potato water, so, that was the first substitution I made. I also switched one cup of the required bread flour for a cup of Italian flour. The results were wonderful.

As you can see there is a golden crust around the entire bread but instead of a typical chewy sourdough crust this was a little more crispy. . .like German brotchen.

The recipe called for spritzing the dough with water before putting into the oven-which I did-but I also placed a small glass bowl with water in the oven-occasionally pouring water on the floor of the oven to create steam. My husband told me he loved me as he ate his hot-from-the-oven bread!

I wanted to share a photo of the inspiration behind all the sudden interest in bread baking.  My friend, Char Fontane gave this to me for Christmas the year before she passed away.  She and Roy Yeager, her husband, always liked my multigrain bread and Char thought I needed a cute French bread cart to adequately display my breads.  Char was always able to find exactly the perfect present and I treasure my bread basket. It will now be filled with home-baked goods for the guests of Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grilled Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Provolone Sandwiches

You know how you get stuck on a combo of flavors? Well, this flavor combo is in my head and I have to indulge it when the mood strikes.

Grilled pounded chicken breast, fire-roasted red peppers sauteed with a chiffonade of fresh basil, olive oil, Kosher salt, and some great aged cheeses.

Last night's dinner was spaghetti tossed with all the cooked ingredients and about a half a cup aged Asiago cheese,
For the grilled sandwiches I opted for a provolone, another favorite of mine. I chose that for the sandwich because it melts so beautifully!
The only secret I have for all of this - I saute the roasted peppers first with olive oil and then deglaze that pan with my fig balsamic before grilling the pounded breast in a little more olive oil. Kosher salt right at the end and viola!
I didn't even bother with a panini grill. I just pulled out another non-stick pan, added a little olive oil and we were enjoying tender succulent grilled chicken sandwiches in under a half-hour!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home Made, Hand Blended

We are just about to open our new Bed and Breakfast, Casa Bella. With the hardest work behind us my mind has shifted gears as I begin to focus on staples for the pantry.
With eight years of previous experience as innkeepers, we are fortunate to have so many delicious recipes to fall back on. The top picture is our Black Currant & Black Raspberry Syrup that I make my reducing a Black Currant Concentrate with Black Raspberry Preserves. It flavors grilled ham stuffed into our Sweet Potato Biscuits, it sweetens fresh fruit and yogurt and adds incredible depth to our frozen granitas served during the dog days of summer.
The second syrup is our own hand-blended syrup that we serve with French Toast topped with a Pecan Cream and a drizzle of this buttery cane and molasses syrup. But it is equally wonderful on buttery buttermilk biscuits!

Oh, Lordy!
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tea For Two

I spent the afternoon in the company of a dear friend who specializes in Southern grace and charm.

Teresa Cook Carter of Southern Touch Catering in Newnan treated to me to lunch at her lovely home. Her beautiful lunch table included this artful arrangement behind us on the side board and could have just as easily been a beautiful painting by one of the Masters.

Lunch featured these flavorful parmesan crisps filled with a delicious chicken salad delicately flavored with artichoke hearts. We nibbled the cheesy cups while chatting and sipping our perfectly-steeped Passion Fruit Green Tea. Dessert was more delicate treats delicately flavored with chocolate and almonds in the form of a whipped confection and cheesecake.

Teresa's joy in the art of serving tea is showcased in her beautiful displays and attention to detail.  Her passion for good food grows with each catered event and was lovingly reflected in her menu today.
To Learn More Please Visit Teresa's website for Southern Touch Catering

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