Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Crisp Skin Pork Roast Trick

For some reason only pork roast with bone in and skin on in all 3 supermarkets in my small town carry only narrow cut that is impossible to roast with the skin on top. The meat always falls on the wide, flat side with skin on side. You can never get a crisp skin, the reason I buy this cut in first place. I have come up with a solution to keep the roast skin side up. Since picture is worth thousand words, here are 2,000 words. Try it, you will be amazed how well it works. Make sure you are using strong bamboo skewers, though. I used recycled skewers from seafood kebab but they were just about adequate, not as strong as I thought they would be. Since then I bought flat bamboo skewers from Dollar Store and they are perfect.

How is that for crispy skin!

Schnitzel from Pork Tenderloin

Over the years I found that pork tenderloin makes the best Schnitzel regardless if prepared breaded or natural without any coating. Since it is so lean I shallow fry it in butter in less then 5 minutes. I usually serve it with boiled red potatoes so the meal is done in under half-an-hour. By the time potatoes are ready the tenderloin is cut up, flattened, seasoned and cooked. The browned butter from frying pan is the only sauce I serve it with. Sometimes I whisk in 1 Tbs. of hot mustard.

Here is how I divide and process whole small pork tenderloin with pointy ends cut off and used in other dishes like shishkebab.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Waffle Iron Potato and Zucchini Pancakes

I am always looking for new ways to cook healthier food. We just love latke and pancakes but I am turned off with the fact that in order to make them nice and crispy outside and soft inside I have to use quite a bit of fat; one reason that until recently they were not on my menu very often. Then, while cleaning my small kitchen appliance storage area it hit me: use an electric waffle iron! Not only is it healthier but also heck of a lot cleaner. Both of these points make it a real winner.

2 medium russet potatoes, coarsely shredded
2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 large egg
2 green onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour


Place the grated zucchini and potato in a stainless steel bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for up to 30 minutes. Place the mix in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove some of the liquid. Transfer back to a bowl, mix in the beaten egg, green onions and flour. The consistency should be that of a thick pancake batter. If the mix is too thick, add some milk, if it is too runny, add more flour.
Preheat the waffle iron and cook the mix just like you would regular waffles. I cooked mine about 6 minutes but since every iron has a different power you have to experiment for the first time you make them.
Serve with plain sour cream or yogurt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pasta with Chicken Breast, Zucchini and Tomatoes

I never knew what I was getting into when I planted 3 tiny zucchini plants last May. As recommended by GardenWeb members I have planted 3 seedlings on top of mound that was around 8” in diameter and 3“ high. Now it occupies area about 3 X 6 feet! And are they ever prolific! I had to find all kinds of uses for this great summer squash and one of our favorite ones is wide pasta noodles with sautéed onions, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes. Very quick and light summer meal.
1 small chicken breast cut into thin strips
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4” thin
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. maple syrup
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil or parsley
Salt and pepper
Wide noodles, penne or fettuccine
1tbs butter
Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and toss with butter and keep warm. While the pasta is cooking heat olive oil in frying pan and sauté chicken breast pieces that were seasoned with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown on all sides. Add onions, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper. Drop cooked pasta into frying pan with sauce and toss till pasta is well coated with the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or fresh basil and serve.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes were my biggest discovery and surprise in my garden this year. It is a paste tomato that is considered in foodie circles as the best variety grown for making sauce or paste and it has a fanatical following judging by articles and blogs on the Net. Jason L Morrow even started blog dedicated to this gem called, what else, San Marzano Tomato Blog. What an incredible article! It is worth reading to the end. It even has a recipes for sauces etc.
Anyway, I am hooked and it is one variety that I will grow every year from now on. I have planted only 2 seedlings that I started indoors from seeds bought from Thompson  & Morgan seed company. Problem is/was that packet had 300 seeds! Three Hundred Seeds!!! That’s for a farm and not a hobby gardener like me. It is even too many to give away. Until now I have harvested about 18Lb from both plants and I still have at least 6 weeks of growing season left. My freezer will be full of bags with sauces!

Here is a picture story of San Marzano tomatoes from harvest to freezer.

After quartering  7 pounds of  tomatoes for food processor there was hardly any juice on cutting board, that’s how dry they are, no need for hours of reduction on the stove.

This is straight from Cuisinart, check how thick the sauce is already.

The sauce after 45 minutes of simmer. No rapid boil is needed since tomatoes do not have much water.

After the simmer I used food mill fitted with smallest holes plate to remove skin and seeds.

All done in ONE hour!  I freeze the sauce in large freezer bags and just break apart small piece I need for whatever I cook.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer Harvest Soup with Rice

Another delicious soup that is made with fresh local ingredients. Only drawback, as is the case with most soups or stews, is that it requires a lot of slicing and chopping. After more than 30 years of owning original Cuisinart and for the last 3 years its small brother, the Mini-Chopper, I still hesitate in using machines for soup vegetables even though it would make the job of chopping 10 times faster. Still, I do have a certain knife skills and I like the uniformity of knife chopped vegetables so I just keep slicing, dicing and chopping.
In this version I used onions, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, parsley and thyme from my garden and from road-side farm stand I used corn and new small potatoes. Rice, oil and chicken stock came from my pantry.
Use any vegetable combination to suit your taste and have them chopped and ready. Heat oil in Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Sauté onions and garlic till garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Add rice and cook till lightly brown making sure that onions and garlic do not burn. Do not use more than a 1/4 cup of rice for 4 servings (rice triples in volume when cooked)! Add rest of vegetables and stock, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper (I always use white), fresh or dried herbs and salt if needed. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled Skewered Chicken Wings

This is about technique or “how-to” rather than a recipe.

I just love chicken wings, especially whole grilled wings with nice sweet and hot glaze like Char Siu. One problem with grilled wings is that the skin tends to stick to cooking grate no matter how much you oil it before cooking. I cook a bunch the other day but I wanted the skin intact and only sure way to do it is to keep them off the grill, suspended in the air. Easy to do! Just skewer them on flat skewer and rest them on something about 1”-2” high. Why I didn’t think about this technique before, after all I grill whole bunch of foods on skewers, not just meat but veggies and fruits as well and I keep these above the grill. As for the marinade and glaze use whatever you like. To cook them to “fall-off-the-bone” I grill them 15 minutes per side and since my skewers have a flat at the end they stay parallel to the grill. If you don’t have one use 2 bamboo skewers, that were soaked in water for an hour side by side and about 1-1/2” apart.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Char Siu Spare Ribs – Easy Way

This is basically same recipe as “Chinese Style Sticky Pork Back Ribs“, main difference being that the ribs are cut into individual pieces before marinating and cooking. They come out tender and browned on all sides, just a delicious and messy carnivore delight.

1 side of pork back ribs
1/3 cup Oyster Sauce
1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/3 cup Buckwheat honey or other dark honey
2 tsp. or to taste Sriracha Sauce
2 tsp. crushed garlic

Remove the membrane from bone side of ribs and separate rib sections into individual ribs. Mix all ingredients and rub the marinade on all sides of ribs. Place in resalable bag, remove as much air as possible and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Every now and then massage the ribs in order to redistribute the marinade.
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Bring ribs to room temperature. Remove the ribs from bag and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to make a bag with second sheet of foil on top. Reserve the leftover marinade. Seal the edges by folding them over several times, place on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven for 1-1/2 hours. Remove from oven and cut diagonal slots from corner to corner and fold open so that ribs are completely exposed. Brush on remaining marinade, increase oven temperature to 400 °F and bake until the meat is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy.