Monday, August 18, 2008

Pork Meatballs

For the past few years I've largely been making a "meat sauce" with beef, as per my wife's liking. This time I went for something a little different, making my own meatballs...actually for the first time I think. Hi Kelly. You can stop making fun of me now.


1 cup (250 mL) fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (50 mL) milk or cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb (500 g) ground pork
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, milk, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and egg. Mash to a paste and add pork; mix thoroughly. Form into walnut-size balls.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add meatballs and cook until no trace of pink remains and browned evenly, about 15 minutes. Or, cook in oven on a greased baking sheet at 325°F (160°C) for about 20 minutes.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

(Healthy) Shepard's Pie

Not fancy, not really photogenic, and usually pretty boring stuff. But I've never made one before, so it was neat to finally crank one out. It was really good, and this is a healthy version so it was even pretty decent for ya. Recipe cribbed from here. Karen's mom positively loathes Shepard's Pie in all it's forms, so it's sort of like forbidden fruit around here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt

In pork terms, butt means "shoulder" so get over yourself. Anyway, good news / bad news. Good news is, this is fantastic. It really is one of the best meals I've made in months. Bad news is, I took a terrible photograph and I'm not even using it. I'll update this with a new photo when I make it again (and I will).

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman
Show: Good Deal with Dave Lieberman

For the dry rub:
2 tablespoons salt
About 40 grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground mustard seed

12 ounces good ale or dark beer, such as Bass
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 5-pound pork butt (shoulder of the animal)

Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub all over pork butt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Unwrap pork and place in a roasting pan with sides about 2 inches high. Cook 45 minutes until dark browned and even blackening in places. Remove from oven. Lower oven to 325 degrees F. Pour beer over the top and add chopped garlic around the pork. Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or twice with regular foil. Poke about 10 holes all over the top of the foil. Cook pork butt 2 1/2 hours longer until so tender that it comes away very easily from center bone.

Place the meat on a plate and pour the pan juice (there will be plenty) into a saucepan. To the pan juices add:

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Bring to a simmer until reduced by half and thick, about 20 minutes.

While the sauce is boiling down, pull apart the pork with 2 forks. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork and work through until fully absorbed.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Greek Vegetable Skewers with Feta Olive Drizzle

It's been a while since I've had anything of note to put here, with spring arrival I've done either a lot of re-visiting of my earlier BBQ-friendly foods from earlier items here already, or some generic hot dog / burger stuff like everyone else. This, however, was finally something I've not done before, odd since I really love Greek takeout-style food, and these turned out great, I was really pleased with them. Easy too.

Serves 4

4 bamboo Skewers
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
12 medium mushrooms
8 slices (about 1-inch thick) zucchini
8 chunks (1 1/2-inch pieces) red bell pepper
8 chunks (1 1/2-inch pieces) yellow bell pepper
8 chunks (1 1/2-inch pieces) red onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Feta Olive Drizzle
1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano

Soak skewers in white wine and lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the Feta Olive Drizzle ingredients together in a blender and combine. Once the skewers are soaked, pour the wine and lemon juice into the drizzle also.

Place all the vegetables, except for the red onion (it'll come apart) into a large bowl with the drizzle and toss to coat.

Thread onto each skewer the mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, red onion. Just before pushing a chunk of red onion onto the skewer, dip it by hand into the drizzle.

Lightly brush skewers on each side with olive or salad oil and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Place on a preheated medium-high grill and cook until vegetables are cooked crisp/tender, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

To serve: Drizzle with Feta Olive Drizzle, serve with rice and tzatziki.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baked Beans

I used to hate baked brown beans. HATE them. From the can? Hate them. The ones my grandfather made? Hated them. Much like my broccoli re-awakening (going from boiled-to-death-and-covered-with-packaged-cheese-sauce of childhood to discovering that one could actually leave them a bit firm, bright green, and enjoy them on their own) it took a single alternative meal to reverse my feelings on the bean subject.

The memory is a little fuzzy now, but it was one of my earlier meals in Almonte, courtesy of Michael Dunn. When I learned that baked beans were a featured part of the meal, I had to prepare myself for some pretending-that-I-liked them acting. No need, they were great. I mean, really great. It turns out, canned beans and my grandfathers were sort of "UK style" based on tomato sauce, with not much sugar, and no tanginess at all, and made with mushy white "Navy" or haricot beans. These were more southern US + a dash of Quebec style, which means firm black turtle beans, and aforementioned tang from the addition of yellow mustard and ketchup (which has vinegar), and much sweeter (molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup). Wow, just so different, so good, so dark, such a different texture.

Karen's parents latched onto this recipe also, and as far as I know, have made no other one since.

3 cups black turtle beans
1/4 lb. slab bacon or salt pork
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes
2 cups chopped onions
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dark maple syrup to taste '

Rinse beans and sort, if necessary, discarding any blemished ones and any grit.

In large Dutch oven or stockpot, cover beans with 3 times their volume of water. Bring to boil; boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain, discarding liquid.

Return soaked beans to pot along with 3 times their volume of fresh water. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, dice bacon and it set aside. In bowl, and using potato masher, mash tomatoes in their juice.

In bean pot or 16-cup casserole, combine beans, reserved cooking liquid, bacon, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper.

Bake, covered, in 300°F. oven for 2.5 hours. Uncover and bake for 1 - 1.5 hours longer or until sauce is thickened and coats beans well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Hmph...finally got around to making this. I've been meaning to, oh, forever or so. Spicy, warming, good for ya.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 strip bacon, diced
1/2 Tbsp flour
1 (8 oz) bottles clam juice along with 1 cup water
1 can high-quality diced tomatoes, processed until smooth
2 cups Clamato
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 potato, scrubbed and cubed
1 (6.5 oz) can of chopped clams, juice drained and reserved
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepot, heat olive oil over medium heat and toss in the onion, celery, garlic, and bacon; cook 4-5 minutes until the onion is wilted and translucent. Stir in the flour until it blends
into a paste.

2. Slowly whisk in the clam juice until smooth. Add tomatoes, Clamato, and sugar and give a good stir. Toss in the pepper flakes, thyme, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the potato, bring to a boil, and boil hard for about 5-10 minutes or until the potato start to
break down. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add clams and simmer an additional 8 minutes or longer as flavors come together. Season again as needed and serve.

WW hand-wringers take note, each cup of this is two points. Enjoy.

Crab and Corn Pasta

Hey, where have I been? Well, I've been dragged into WW with my wife. So, in the beginning I was eating so simply there was nothing worth writing about, but now I'm putting some effort into finding extra-healthy things to make that I'd not be embarrassed to post (for example: ham sandwich on whole wheat bread with some lettuce!). This meal here, for example, was very satisfying and feels more decadent then it really is.

If you have all the ingredients on hand, this simple supper can be made in 20 minutes.

6 oz uncooked penne
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 medium onion(s), sliced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cup fat-free skim milk
10 oz frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz canned crabmeat, drained

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Cook the penne according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

In a large saucepan or saute' pan, heat the oil. Sauté bell pepper and onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly (use a wisk to scrape up any cooked flour from the bottom of the pan, to thicken the milk), 1-2 minutes. Stir in corn, crabmeat, basil, salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat; stir in penne. Reheat 2-3 minutes and serve, sprinkled with cheese and parsley.

For you WW monsters out there, divide this into four portions, each is 8 points.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jalapeño Poppers

I'm not usually the kind to crank out hors d'ourves, actually these were Karen's idea...I liked these so much I think we'll be making these a lot. They're hot without being brain-melting painful (well, perhaps the odd one is if you don't seed it with care), crunchy, and savory. Easy to make too.

* 2 sprays olive oil cooking spray, divided
* 2 oz light cream cheese
* 1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 Tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
* 8 small jalapeño pepper(s)
* egg whites from two eggs
* 3/4 cup cornflake crumbs


* Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

* In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and mayonnaise; mix well and set aside. Halve jalapeños lengthwise and remove seeds. (Don’t rub your eyes.) Stuff jalapeño halves with cream cheese mixture.

* Place egg substitute in a shallow dish. Place cornflake crumbs in a separate shallow dish. Dip stuffed jalapeño halves into egg substitute and then roll in cornflake crumbs to coat.

* Transfer jalapeños to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

* Bake until filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Yields 2 poppers per serving.

For you WW freaks, each popper is 1 point.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Roasted Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust

Cider Brine:

4 cups apple cider (or apple juice I guess)
1/2 cup pickling or kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pounds (or so) of pork loin

Bring the brine ingredients to a slow boil, stir until everything is dissolved, then cool to room temperature. Put the pork into a large ziploc and add the brine, press the air out so the pork is in constant contact with the brine. Put in the fridge for 8 to 18 hours.

For the roast:

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine the crust ingredients. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture. Roast the pork for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 F and continue cooking until internal temp (thickest part) is 145 F.

Served with the Brussels Sprouts from the previous post, and some finely chopped potato and carrots that I had in the roasting pan, with the pork loin on top of them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Thyme

First, here's the recipe.

Ok, so, what's with the bad reputation of Brussels Sprouts? It's one of those "yuck foods" you see in children's stories. They're great. Like cabbage only sweeter and seemingly less sulfurous...although that only comes from overcooking anyway. Certainly more elegant-looking then cabbage. I've just had these for the 1st time in my life, seriously. I don't know how I made it to 35 without having these. Will be making them a lot now.

Any why boil them? This method has got to be much better.