Thursday, February 21, 2019

Porchetta

During the holiday season last year America's Test Kitchen had an episode titled "Home for the Holiday's" found here.  I watched that episode and was inspired by the porchetta recipe. When we lived in Queens we were invited to the Osorio's house in Astoria for a wonderful feast.  Chef Osorio works at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, he's actually from Bogota Colombia and his wife Jen is from Queens.  I can't remember his name, anyway he is an amazing chef!  He prepared a traditional Porcehetta in a La Caja China, which is a wooden or metal box you grill a whole pig in basically.  His porchetta was a huge piece of pork rolled with fennel, and other traditional seasonings.  He had my husband Parley cut it into slices, Parley sliced it into one inch thick slices.  Which at the time I'm thinking these dinner plate inch thick pieces of porchetta are enormous!  It was the most delicious, flavorful, and moist pork I'd ever tasted.  I didn't think anything about trying to make it myself since I didn't have any way to cook something that big or even know where to find such a huge piece of pork.  Then I saw that Holiday special from America's Test Kitchen I mentioned earlier and the chef used a manageable easy to find pork butt roast and I knew then I could make porchetta in my home kitchen.  While at the store I saw pork butt steaks and decided why cut slits in the fat cap of a huge roast and try to flavor a huge butt roast when I could flavor each layer and use the steaks, that's my contribution to this recipe.   Funny enough I went to a local Italian market to get supplies for our second Christmas dinner we were having with our Serbian "daughter for the school year" and they had porchetta in the fridge section and they were huge one-inch dinner plate slices; so I apologize to my husband for dismissing his cutting skills.  Did I mention we have a "daughter for the school year" from Italy and Serbia right now?  Probably not, anyway they are loving the food and are great inspirations for our family trying new food from both Italy and Serbia.  Mina is our Serbian "daughter for the school year" and Camilla is our Italian "daughter for the school year."  I've been preparing our holiday meals according to some of the food they normally, like Christmas for example.  By way of a little known fact we have just learned, the Serbian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar for holiday's so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and Easter is also a week later than we traditionally celebrate it.  We'll be having two Easter Celebrations as we did for Christmas and highlight some Italian and Serbian holiday celebrations.  





Porchetta

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs Pork Butt Steaks
3 Tablespoons Fennel Seed
1/2 Cup Fresh Rosemary
1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
12 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Process:  

Grind Together all the herbs, and spices in a blender or coffee grinder.  

If making in a blender you can add the olive oil and grind and mix together into a paste.  

Using a boning knife remove the t-bones from the steaks. 

Rub paste between each steak and stack the steaks together.

Using three lengths of butcher twine, tie the layers together, double the first part of the knot to make it easier to get a secure knot.

Put on a rack of a roasting pan in the fridge, allow it to dry for up 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place pork in the oven covered with aluminum foil for 2 hours, make sure the pork reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees, remove foil from meat and place in a lined pan with foil, add meat to pan with twine removed.  15-20 minutes, Cook meat until an internal temperature of 190 degrees. 

Rest 15 minutes, cut across the grain. 

Enjoy!




Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Years ago my family and extended family got together at PF Changs to celebrate my brother Todd's thirtieth birthday.   It was my first experience having their food.   We had the chicken lettuce wraps and oh my goodness they were so delicious!   I've thought about those wraps and made them once or twice since then but this is my first time making them and sharing the recipe with all of you.   I've changed and streamlined the process a little.   I used whole chicken thighs, but you could substitute with preground chicken.   Instead of iceberg lettuce, I opted for the pliable butter lettuce but if you like the crunchy lettuce then use iceberg.   These were very delicious and a quick weeknight meal choice.





Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (1 1/2 lbs ground chicken)
6 Cloves Peeled Garlic 
1 Vidalia Onion
1 Orange Bell Pepper
2 Heads Butter Lettuce
1 Cup Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
2 Teaspoons Cold Water
Sesame Seeds

Process:

Cut the bell pepper into large chunks, peel and cut the onion into quarters.  Pulse the vegetables in a food processor into a rough dice.  Cut the chicken thighs into quarters, add to the food processor.  Process on high until chicken is ground and mixed with vegetables.  

Blend hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar in a blender. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce in a separate container.

Cook meat mixture over medium-high heat until meat is browned, add remaining sauce and reduce until thickened.  After it has reduced by half add a slurry of the cornstarch and water blended together. Remove from heat and serve spoonfuls in lettuce leaves with drizzled reserved sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Chicken Antipasta Pizza

Pizza is such an easy recipe to change and suit your needs, toppings can be seasonal or colorful, vegetarian, or full of meat.  This pizza is a good combination of both.  Originally I made it using just the antipasta vegetables but decided it really needed something else.  At Costco they sell very yummy inexpensive rotisserie chicken that I've posted about previously and we had one in our fridge we hadn't used yet.  The pesto was also from Costco and bought two bottles when it was on sale so I used on right away and froze the second one.  We had just one bottle left in the freezer. I took out the frozen one and thawed in the refrigerator over night before adding to the chicken.  If you are looking to change up your Friday night pizza then this is the recipe for you, it's a good blend of flavors.  


I made a video of myself preparing the pizza and used that in place of the many photos I normally have in a post.  Let me know if you prefer the video or photographs for the recipe steps.




Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

7 cups Hi-Gluten Flour (Bread flour may be substituted)
2 3/4 cup Warm Water
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Tbs Kosher Salt
1 Tbs Honey

Process:

Warm up water in microwave for 40 seconds.  Add yeast to water, salt, honey, and olive oil in a stand mixer mixing bowl.  Allow mixture to activate(rest) for 5 minutes.

Add flour and blend with dough hook on medium until a smooth ball forms.

Place dough in bow greased with olive oil.  Allow to rest in refrigerator overnight before using for pizza.

Chicken Antipasta Pizza

Ingredients:

1/4 of Prepared Pizza Dough
3/4 cup Shredded Rotisserie Chicken Breast
2 Tbs Pesto
1 cup Shredded Provolone & Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Marinara Sauce
2 Tbs chopped Kalamata Olives
2 Tbs chopped Artichoke Hearts
2 Tbs chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Parchment Paper

Process:

Mix pesto with shredded chicken in small bowl, refrigerate while dough rests on counter.

Preheat a pizza stone or baking steel in oven set to 525 F for at least 1 hour before baking pizza. 

Section off a ball of pizza dough and roll it in olive oil on a piece of parchment paper large enough for a 12 inch pizza.  Rest for two hours on counter.

Press the dough with fingers and use knuckles under dough to stretch the dough into a thin disk with a thicker outer edge.  

Ladle on sauce in a thin layer leaving the outer inch crust without marinara.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese then the other toppings, ie chicken, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and sun dried tomatoes.

Using a pizza peel or inverted cookie sheet move the pizza to your stone or steel.  Bake for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and under carriage of pizza has brown spots.  

Place pizza on a cooling rack for 3 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!






Friday, March 30, 2018

Blood Orange Marmalade(Freezer Preserved)

Last year I ventured into the world of orange marmalade and attempted to make some with a box of Florida Navel Oranges I bought from our local High School color guard fundraiser.  As instructed I used the peel, white pith and all and I couldn't get past the bitterness of it.  My husband enjoyed it.  Recently I bought six pounds of blood oranges to add to a fruit salad and decided instead to forgo adding them.   That left me with six pounds of blood oranges to use somehow.  My children aren't big on fruit that requires a lot of effort to eat and that meant these oranges were still hanging around in my refrigerator when my husband left to work in Manhattan for a week.  While he was away I did some searching and found a wonderful recipe for blood orange marmalade that was minimally cooked and preserved in the freezer.  I'm a big fan of freezer jam, it maintains the freshness of the jam and it requires only a freezer to preserve instead of canning essentials.  My first batch set up so nicely and tasted amazing that I gave away two of the four pints I made, to friends.  My friend Jennifer liked it so much we made two batches together.  Yesterday was a particularly nice day so she brought her three children over to play and we made marmalade together.  Her hand and arm modeling are in the photos I took for this post.  This marmalade has been enjoyed on toast, biscuits, and Challah french toast and I'm sure you will find many more ways to enjoy it.  Blood Oranges are originally from Italy and Sicily but now Sunkist in Florida has been growing the Moro Blood Oranges and those are what I found in our local Walmart Grocery and Food Lion Grocery stores.  Blood Oranges are available December through May.  

 The deep red and pieces of orange really produce a beautiful marmalade.  


Ingredients:

6 lbs Moro Blood Oranges
3 boxes Pectin
2 1/4 cups Water
8 1/2 cups White Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Citric Acid or juice of 1 Lemon

Soak oranges in the sink with cool water and a splash of white vinegar for a few minutes to remove any residue.  Scrub the oranges and rinse the thoroughly.  

Using a microplane remove the outer layer of the oranges into a large bowl, do not remove any white pith.  The pith is bitter.

 Cut the peel off and slice the orange segments into small pieces.

 Mix the cut up oranges and oranges zest with the sugar until mostly dissolved.  

 Microwave the fruit for three minutes and stir until the graininess is gone.

Pour water and the pectin into a small sauce pan over medium high heat.  Stir and dissolve pectin, when the mixture begins to boil set a timer for one minute and continuously stir till.

 Add the hot pectin liquid to the fruit and stir continuously for three minutes. 

Be sure to sterilize your jars, lids, and seals, before filling.  Either fill with boiling water and pour out or clean in the dishwasher.  Carefully pour your marmalade in the jars and secure the lids.

This recipes makes close to seven pints.  Leave the marmalade to set on the kitchen counter for 24 hours before freezing.  After the twenty-fours you are ready to enjoy your delicious marmalade.  


Enjoy!

Blood Orange Marmalade(Freezer Preserved)

Ingredients:

6 lbs Moro Blood Oranges
3 boxes Pectin
2 1/4 cups Water
8 1/2 cups White Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Citric Acid or juice of 1 Lemon

Process:

Soak oranges in the sink with cool water and a splash of white vinegar for a few minutes to remove any residue.  Scrub the oranges and rinse the thoroughly.  

Using a microplane remove the outer layer of the oranges into a large bowl, do not remove any white pith.  The pith is bitter.

Cut the peel off and slice the orange segments into small pieces.

Mix the cut up oranges and oranges zest with the sugar until mostly dissolved.  
Microwave the fruit for three minutes and stir until the graininess is gone.

Pour water and the pectin into a small sauce pan over medium high heat.  Stir and dissolve pectin, when the mixture begins to boil set a timer for one minute and continuously stir till.

Add the hot pectin liquid to the fruit and stir continuously for three minutes. 

Be sure to sterilize your jars, lids, and seals, before filling.  Either fill with boiling water and pour out or clean in the dishwasher.  Carefully pour your marmalade in the jars and secure the lids.

This recipes makes close to seven pints.  Leave the marmalade to set on the kitchen counter for 24 hours before freezing.  After the twenty-fours you are ready to enjoy your delicious marmalade.  

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Stephanie's Kitchen Drawer: Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker


One of my NYC friends, Kristie Nybo PhD wrote an amazing article on BioTechniques where she is an editor about the Prefect Turkey, Sous Vide style.  The article can be read here.  I know what your thinking, that was three years ago and you still remember her article and are finally saying something?  I know I know, I'm slow.   A few weeks ago I was at Target and saw the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker that my friend Kristie recommended.  March 19 I reached my 39th birthday and asked my husband for my own Sous Vide Precision Cooker.    My husband said yes to my gift request!  The particular model I picked up is this one.  My Sous Vide is attached to a 12 qt Cambro Container I bought at a local restaurant supply store.  The container I have is this model.  Also using the advice of Serious Eat's J. Kenji Lopez I use ping pong balls to insulate and keep the water temperature and evaporation under control.  I ordered my ping pong balls from Amazon here.  For my birthday I prepared NY Strip Steak with my new kitchen gadget, after cooking for an hour at 150 degrees I seared the steaks in a hot 12" Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  Would you like to know more? Serious Eat's J. Kenji Lopez explains the virtues of Sous Vide cooking here.  I'm excited to try my gadget with many more recipes, Kenji also helped create a Anova Culinary App to be used in conjunction with the Sous Vide Precision Cooker.  The app can be found here.  My experience so far with the app is good, it has a lot of great articles and control option for the cooker.  If you like perfectly cooked meat, with consistent results every time and an easy method this is the best tool to use.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie

As a kid I remember certain meals we had for dinner, like creamed peas over toast and liver and onions.  Other meals I remember were Banquet brand chicken pot pies and meatloaf.  The pot pies were always served with an extra helping of steamed carrots and peas.  This particular recipe I'm going to share is in honor of the chicken pot pie dinners I remember as a child but of course they're homemade.  Pie crust is one of the recipes I know almost by heart because it is so easy to remember the ingredients, but the real trick is how to handle the dough so the perfectly formed crust is tender and flaky.  Alton Brown has an awesome video with boxing hand puppets and everything explaining the delicate relationship of ingredients to create both a tender and flaky crust.  By far my favorite part of every pie is the crust, but in this case of my chicken pot pie both the filling and crust are perfect together, deliciously intertwined.

 Sometimes the best meal isn't pretty but very delicious.  I'm not a big fan of peas, in fact peas are rarely ever served at my table but this was a perfect reason to include peas.


Ingredients For Pie Crust:

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
4 tablespoons cold Lard
5-7 tablespoons ice Water

Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.

If you have a food processor, make your pie crust in it.  Put flour, salt, and lard in the processor with the dough blade and pulse until fine crumble consistency.  You may also use your finger tips to gently crumble the lard and flour together.

Slowly add the ice water to the flour, still pulsing or mix with your fingertips.  Not to much, mixing to much create gluten that doesn't make a flaky tender crust.  Knead until a somewhat loose disk is formed.  Place dough disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 



Ingredients for Pie Filling:

2 cups Chicken Broth
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Carrots
1 cup frozen Peas
4 Green Onions
1 1/2 cups shredded Rotisserie Chicken
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

 Cut the carrots into small 1/2 inch dice, cut green onions including white part into 1/4 inch pieces.  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch chunks.

 Sauté carrots in olive oil over medium heat until tender. 

 Remove dough from the refrigerator, cut in half and roll them on flour to 1/8 inch thick rounds.  place the larger round in an 8 inch tart pan or pie pan.  Place the other round on a plate.  Place both pie crusts in the freezer.

Melt butter in a 12 inch saute pan over medium heat until the foam has subsided.  Add the flour and mix until combined and cook for a few minutes until flour taste is gone and replaced by a nutty flavor.

 Add the chicken broth and cook until thickened and bubbly.

 Mix in the frozen peas, sautéed carrots, green onions, and chicken.

 Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pie crust from freezer, pour the chicken filling in the crust.  Place second pie crust on top, press and seal.
 Cut slits into top crust to allow ventilation.  Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 30 minutes. 


I took a piece before I took the after picture, its isn't as pretty but it was yummy.
Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients For Pie Crust:

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
4 tablespoons cold Lard
5-7 tablespoons ice Water

Process:

Cut the carrots into small 1/2 inch dice, cut green onions including white part into 1/4 inch pieces.  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch chunks.

If you have a food processor, make your pie crust in it.  Put flour, salt, and lard in the processor with the dough blade and pulse until fine crumble consistency.  You may also use your finger tips to gently crumble the lard and flour together.

Slowly add the ice water to the flour, still pulsing or mix with your fingertips.  Not to much, mixing to much create gluten that doesn't make a flaky tender crust.  Knead until a somewhat loose disk is formed.  Place dough disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 

Ingredients for Pie Filling:

2 cups Chicken Broth
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Carrots
1 cup frozen Peas
4 Green Onions
1 1/2 cups shredded Rotisserie Chicken
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Process:

Cut the carrots into small 1/2 inch dice, cut green onions including white part into 1/4 inch pieces.  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch chunks.

Sauté carrots in olive oil over medium heat until tender. 

Remove dough from the refrigerator, cut in half and roll them on flour to 1/8 inch thick rounds.  place the larger round in an 8 inch tart pan or pie pan.  Place the other round on a plate.  Place both pie crusts in the freezer.

Melt butter in a 12 inch saute pan over medium heat until the foam has subsided.  Add the flour and mix until combined and cook for a few minutes until flour taste is gone and replaced by a nutty flavor.

Add the chicken broth and cook until thickened and bubbly.

Mix in the frozen peas, sautéed carrots, green onions, and chicken.

Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove pie crust from freezer, pour the chicken filling in the crust.  Place second pie crust on top, press and seal.

Cut slits into top crust to allow ventilation.  Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Any Day Turkey Sandwich

Years ago when I was still living in Beaumont, California my friend Messe whom I went to church with and knew for several years had a sandwich shop in Beaumont called "The Sandwich Stoppe." He was and is a gifted chef, his sandwiches were amazing.  One particular sandwich was my favorite, and I still think about it too this day.  That sandwich was called the Black Friday sandwich, it was a turkey sandwich on toasted dark rye bread with cranberry sauce and his wife's spinach dip and lettuce.  Honestly I don't know the rest of what was on that sandwich, but I've made it at home with variations these past few years whenever my homesickness gets the better of me.  This morning while driving to the library with my oldest daughter Isabella I played the Wilson-Phillips album "California" starting with the song "California."  Today my thoughts turn to California missing my parents and siblings and the support they have always been to me in my life.  This sandwich reminds me of home.  The sandwich is easy, doesn't require any chef skills or even any hard core food prep.  You are welcome to make it at home with the little fuss I put into mne today, or you can put your own spin on it.  You may enjoy it on any day besides the day after Thanksgiving.  

 The flavors are perfect together, pairing well in a simple sandwich.


Ingredients:

2 Slices Whole Grain Bread
4 ounces sliced Turkey
1 Romaine Lettuce Leaf
2 tablespoons Spinach Dip
1 1/2 tablespoons Cranberry Sauce

I suggest using whatever favorite whole grain bread you like, dark Rye is also an option.  The spinach dip and cranberry sauce are from Trader Joe's any spinach dip and cranberry sauce you find that you enjoy are acceptable.  You may even want homemade and by all means that is also delicious, I've made homemade with very good results as well.  For the sliced turkey, choose a sliced turkey meat you enjoy, or use leftovers after Thanksgiving for a more fresh sandwich.

Toast the bread until just lightly toasted, spread cranberry sauce on one slice of bread and the spinach dip on the other slice of bread. 

Place turkey and washed lettuce on the sauce and dip and place both halves of your sandwich together.

Enjoy!

Any Day Turkey Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 Slices Whole Grain Bread
4 ounces sliced Turkey
1 Romaine Lettuce Leaf
2 tablespoons Spinach Dip
1 1/2 tablespoons Cranberry Sauce

Process:

I suggest using whatever favorite whole grain bread you like, dark Rye is also an option.  The spinach dip and cranberry sauce I used are from Trader Joe's but any spinach dip and cranberry sauce you find that you enjoy are acceptable.  You may even want homemade and by all means that is also delicious, I've made homemade with very good results as well.  For the sliced turkey, choose a sliced turkey meat you enjoy, or use leftovers after Thanksgiving for a more fresh sandwich.

Toast the bread until just lightly toasted, spread cranberry sauce on one slice of bread and the spinach dip on the other slice of bread. 

Place turkey and washed lettuce on the sauce and dip and place both halves of your sandwich together.

Enjoy!