Crock Pot Pork Stew Agrodolce

November 19th, 2017

Pork Stew Agrodolce

The days are counting down until Christmas; Christmas Tour that is.  My home will be on the tour with three other homes in my neighborhood on December 2nd.  All of this means that Thanksgiving has barely registered as I have been pulling out the Christmas baubles.  Thankfully, we will be having Thanksgiving at the kids’ home, so much of the responsibility is not on my shoulders.

When I am busy, I like to rely on my Crock Pot for meals.  This pork stew has the addition of raisins and vinegar which give the dish a sweet-and-sour (agrodolce) tang that is very pleasing.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite Crock Pot cookbooks, The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.

Pork Stew Agrodolce

The pork was very tender and it was delicious with Basmati rice.  I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins.

Christmas Mantel

We will get our tree after Thanksgiving but all of the rest of the decorations are in place.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.  Christmas will be here (for some of us) before we know it.

PORK STEW AGRODOLCE

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup golden raisins (I used dried cranberries)

Pat the pork dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the pork, without crowding the pan.  Brown the meat on all sides and transfer it to the slow cooker.

When all the meat has been browned, reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onions and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.

Add the wine and vinegar and bring it to a simmer.  Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the carrots and raisins.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the pork is tender.  Serve hot.

Great with rice or polenta.

Printable Recipe

 

Chicken Saltimbocca and Farro Salad

August 14th, 2017

Chicken Saltimbocca

I am overrun with herbs.  I’m not complaining.  I just have to make dishes that will take advantage of the fresh bounty.  The sage is doing so well this year.  I immediately thought of Chicken Saltimbocca; that Italian dish made with chicken, Prosciutto and sage.  I found a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for rolled chicken with prosciutto, spinach and Parmesan and added extra sage.

Herbs

You can see all of my sage to the right of the basil.  The balcony looks a little messy right now.  We have had a week of rain and clean up has been neglected.

Farro Salad

I also made this Giada recipe for Farro Salad using my cherry tomatoes and lots of herbs.  Keeping up with summer produce is a challenge for many with large gardens, but well worth the time.  I am limited to container gardening.

October Beans

We found these beautiful October Beans at a roadside stand the other day.  I couldn’t resist them.

October Beans

They are even beautiful when shelled.  Fresh October Beans cook in about an hour.  I simmered them in water with a slice of bacon, some onions and chopped sage.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product but they do lose their beautiful color, although the creamy goodness makes up for the beige color.

You can find the Chicken Saltimbocca here.  The Farro Salad recipe is here.

We are off next weekend to enjoy a complete Eclipse of the Sun on Monday in Highlands, NC.  The area will be crowded with people coming from all over to enjoy the experience.  Part of our family will be joining us.  We have rented a house and have been advised to bring all of our food because the one grocery store in Highlands will not be able to accommodate the demands.  Will keep you posted.

Pork Carnitas For a Rainy Day

May 25th, 2017

Pork Carnitas

Dinner was from the freezer and pantry tonight.  We have had four days of constant rain that have made me depressed. Pictures tonight are horrible without natural light. Maybe when the sun comes out again I will feel better, but I certainly haven’t been in the mood to cook.  Pork Carinas

The carnitas were in a freezer bag from a previous meal.  The meal was wonderful in spite of coming from the freezer and pantry.  You can find the recipe for the pork carnitas here.  The final run under the broiler makes the carnitas crispy. The recipe for the rice is here. It is basmati rice flavored with cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.  I opened a can of black beans and flavored them with oil, vinegar and orange zest.

The sun has come out today and I have hopes that my enthusiasm will return.  Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.

Herbed Brown Rice Stuffing

March 28th, 2017

Herbed Brown Rice

Brown rice has never been a favorite in our house.  But its nutritional value is so much better than white rice.  I was going through my stash of ancient Gourmet Magazines the other day and found this recipe for Herbed Brown Rice Stuffing to accompany a roasted chicken.  We had just gotten home from our 6 weeks in Florida and cooking was not high on my “to do” list. I put the rice on to cook (It takes 40 minutes), headed for the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken and finished the additions to the rice when I got home.

Herbed Brown Rice Casserole

The boring brown rice was transformed with the addition of roasted red peppers, chopped vegetables, bacon, tomato paste, parsley and chicken broth.  Plus, we had enough to go with our pork chops for the next night.

New York 2

I lost a friend last month.  So many memories.  We went on a girls’ trip to New York City a few years ago and posed for this picture in the “Friends” fountain in Central Park.  Karen (center), you will live on in our hearts always.

HERBED BROWN-RICE STUFFING ( Gourmet Magazine May 1992 )

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 rib of celery, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and puréed in a food processor
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion greens
4 cups cooked brown rice

In a heavy saucepan cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.  In the fat remaining in the pan cook the onion, the celery, the bell pepper, and the garlic over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the red pepper purée, the tomato paste, and the broth, and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is thickened.  In a bowl stir together the vegetable mixture, the bacon, the parsley, the scallion, the rice, and salt and pepper to taste, transfer the stuffing to a baking dish, and heat it in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until it is hot.  Serves 4 to 6.

Printable Recipe

Gingerbread Love

December 20th, 2016

Grove Park Inn

The place to be at Christmastime if you love Gingerbread houses is the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  It began with a few gingerbread houses built by members of the community in 1992.  No one had any idea that two decades later the Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition would be one of the nation’s most celebrated and competitive holiday events.  The event has attracted the highest quality of competition and the best judges in the United States.

Grove Park Inn Fireplace

The Grove Park Inn is the perfect venue for displaying the Gingerbread houses.  With fires burning in its many fireplaces and immense Christmas trees everywhere, the setting is something right out of a Victorian masterpiece.  Christmas magic is in the air.

Gingerbread Winner

The winner, from Innisfil, Ontario Canada, created her “Dream House”.  The gingerbread castle features Gothic spires and arches – an inspired sugar-filled creation.  The details were amazing.

Gingerbread Winner

Another view of the detailed work.

Gingerbread Dolls

3rd Place went to a local Asheville resident whose gingerbread sculpture “The Bakers”, featured two gingerbread cookies baking gingerbread.

Gingerbread Carnival

Of the top ten winners, this was one of my favorites because of its unique colors and whimsical theme.

Gingerbread Farm

I also loved the detail on this entry.  There were so many beautiful gingerbread houses.  I have not made a gingerbread house before, but this competition has inspired me.  What I have made is a delicious gingerbread cake.

Ginger-Cake-1

I have blogged about this before, but it is perfect for Christmas and full of freshly ground spices and fresh ginger.  The recipe comes from Ruth Reichl and was featured in her novel Delicious!  I think that you will agree that this is just what you need for dessert during the holidays.  I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May the holidays bring you joy and peace.

BILLIE’S GINGERBREAD ( From Delicious! by Ruth Reichl )

CAKE:
Whole black peppercorns
Whole cloves
Whole cardamom
1 cinnamon stick (I used 2)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large pieces fresh ginger root (1/4 cup, tightly packed, when finely grated)
Zest from 2 to 3 oranges (1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 6 cup Bundt pan.

Grind your peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom (individually) and measure out 1/4 teaspoon of each (You can use pre-ground spices, but the cake won’t taste as good.)  Grind your cinnamon stick and measure out 1 teaspoon (Again, you can use ground cinnamon if you must.)

Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a small bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the sour cream.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until the mixture is light, fluffy, and almost white.  This should take about 3 minutes.

Grate the ginger root-this is a lot of ginger-and the orange zest.  Add them to the butter/sugar mixture.

Beat the flour mixture and the egg mixture, alternating between the two, into the butter until each addition is incorporated.  The batter should be as luxurious as mousse.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until cake is golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Remove to a rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

SOAK:
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

While the cake cools in its pan, simmer the bourbon and the sugar in a small pot for about 4 minutes.  It should reduce to about 1/3 cup.

While the cake is still in the pan, brush half the bourbon mixture onto its exposed surface (the bottom of the cake) with a pastry brush.  Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack (I used a serving plate).

Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake.

GLAZE
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted or put through a strainer
5 teaspoons orange juice

Once the cake is cooled, mix the sugar with the orange juice and either drizzle the glaze randomly over the cake or put it in to a squeeze bottle and do a controlled drizzle.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.