All posts tagged: pork

Sausage Mascarpone Crostini

Why is it that the best foods are usually the simplest, having the least amount of ingredients.  A sharp hunk of cheedar cheese with a slice of apple… toast with butter… bacon and eggs.  All bring such satisfaction to the palette and belly.  This is one of those foods.  It only has 3 main ingredients: sausage, mascarpone cheese, and bread.  A little spray of Pam if you like on the bread and some chopped parsley for garnish are lovely too, but not necessary.  This combination is so wonderful–I serve it all the time as an appetizer at parties or even just with a salad for a light supper.  Everyone always loves it.  I never have leftovers.  And amazingly, with such a short list of ingredients, most people can’t quite identify them. The origin of this dish is in Italy.  My mom was taking a cooking class there, and during one of the days, the chef took her to a local market for sausage.  Once back in the kitchen, the chef simply crumbled the meat, cooked …

Split Pea Soup

This is a soup I’ve made every year since I moved to New York.  I don’t know if its the chill in the air that calls me to make it or the autumn craving for earthy goodness, but either way, this soup has been a wonderful standby.  I like to make a big pot, spooning individual servings into my Tupperware for lunch all week and then freezing the rest.  This version is made with ham hocks (vs. bacon as you often see,) which gives it all of its character.  I suppose you could try it without the ham hocks, but don’t yell at me if it doesn’t wow you. The process for making this soup couldn’t be simpler.  In some butter in a large pot, I added the chopped celery, carrot, and onion until softened. Next I placed the ham hocks on their vegetable bed and added the marjoram.  A quick minute in the pot, and then I added the dried split peas and water.  Yes, water.  Not chicken or vegetable stock.  Trust me: the …

White Bean, Bacon, and Pork Soup with Thyme

  When life gives you leftover pork chops, make this wonderfully silky and rich soup.  I have actually made this soup twice: once with the addition of leftover pork chops and once with the recipe as is (except without carrots as I didn’t have any on hand.)  Both had wonderful results.  But the addition of leftover pork chops (or any leftover pork you have) adds another dimension of flavor and umph.  The soup becomes a meal in itself.  I ended up topping each bowl of soup with some grated parmesan which added even more richness and bite.  Super delicious. I started by soaking the beans overnight.  Please don’t skip this step and substitute canned beans.  Here’s why.  When you cook with dried beans that have been soaked, they still have a lot of firmness to them.  As they cook in the soup and soften, they release their starch–which thickens the soup. After chopping thick bacon into lardons, I placed them in a lightly olive oiled cast iron pot.  Once browned, I removed the bacon and …

Maple-Glazed Pork Chops with Toasted Pecans

  Who doesn’t love pork chops?  I think we all can remember a time when pork chops for dinner meant super dry, pan-fried, bricks on your plate.  Now we all know better.  I like to cook my chops (especially the really thick ones) with a quick sear in a really hot pan on all sides and then finish them in the oven.  The result is the most tender, juicy chops you’ve ever had.  Super easy, super cheap, and super delicious.  This particular combo of maple syrup, rosemary, pecans, and hot sauce (yaay!) sings of cool Fall nights and warm bellies. I started by quickly brushing the chops on all sides with olive oil and rubbing with salt and pepper–all in the styrofoam package they come in!  Who says you need to dirty another dish?  Not me.  (Although Nick would argue when I cook, I like to dirty every dish in the kitchen.) Then the searing begins.  In an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat with a light coating of oil, I threw in the chops and …

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Pancetta, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and Beurre Monte, Part Three: Sauce and Serving

Ahh… the finish line.  The first bite.  Experiencing the combination of textures and tastes: smooth & crunchy; sweet & salty.  Everything in one bite.  Total bliss.  Total joy in knowing that it all turned out–rejoice in your accomplishment!  Now, the final step in making butternut squash agnolotti. After making the fresh pasta, the filling, and composing the finished agnolotti, it’s time to bring it all together by making the sauce and plating.  This part probably takes only 20 minutes–so make sure you save this to just before serving.  Fill a pot with well salted water; cover and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, start dicing the pancetta, thinly slicing scallions or chives, and chopping garlic into big chunks. Add the pancetta and garlic chunks to a COLD large pan.  Place over medium-low heat.  Once the pancetta and garlic are browned, discard the garlic.  Add the pancetta and pancetta fat to a ramekin and set aside.  Lower the pan heat to low. When the water comes to a boil, drop the fresh (or frozen) agnolotti into the …

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Almonds with Haricots Verts

I love Anne Burrell.  If I had to pick one Food Network chef I’d like to meet it would be her.  I’ve learned the most from watching her.  Some tips I’ve picked up: 1.  How to use salt during the cooking process and not as an afterthought. 2.  That black pepper’s taste doesn’t go with everything as salt does.  Think about substituting white pepper or red pepper flakes. 3.  That brown(ed) food tastes good. This recipe makes use of all of these tips.  The result is something so rich, so tender, so perfectly-seasoned.  I found myself grabbing a spoon just to take full advantage of the sauce that still lingered on my plate after devouring every bit. To get started, I added 8 skin-on chicken thighs (seasoned with salt and black pepper) to a hot dutch oven, bottom coated with a pre-heated layer of olive oil, over medium-high heat.  Anne gives a another great tip here… The thighs become easier to flip over after they’ve browned adequately–the pan “releases” them from the bottom.  If you …

Rub-a-Dub-Dub Baby Back Ribs

Nothing tastes or smells more like Summer than baby back ribs off the grill.  They’re messy and you eat them with your hands.  And dammit, if you don’t lick your fingers between eating ribs, than you’re not invited to my Summer picnic table.  On a recent trip to Las Vegas, my mom, MC, served up her latest preparation of baby back ribs.  Feel free to modify the spice blend to your liking (and what you have on hand), but no matter what, don’t leave out the beer and the liquid smoke.  Serve these babies with some fresh corn on the cob and a tomato salad and definitely, more beer. An important note before you start this recipe–you need to begin the process at least 14 hours before serving (which means starting the night before.)  I have broken down the steps accordingly. The evening before you want to serve the ribs, start by rinsing off the ribs and patting dry.  Mix up the spice blend in a bowl and start rubba-dub-dubbin’ those ribs down.  Really massage …