Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops

Since we did not cook a turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, we are not trying to eat our way through a couple pounds of turkey leftovers. Last night, I grilled a couple of Delmonico steaks. Tonight, I am going to once again fire up my Weber and grill a couple of pork chops. Deirdre and I are still debating the side dishes, but I am fairly confident that there will be some tossed greens, maybe some sort of rice.

Back to the main course, the pork chops. We are using the All American Seasoning from Mickey. We love love love his products and tonight I sprinkled some of his All American Season on the chops. The piggies are quietly marinating in the fridge and I know that they will turn out great, all because of Mickey's seasoning.

I took a gamble this past summer and purchased some of his stuff at Oscoda's Art on the Beach fair in June and I am a believer. As readers of this blog know, I am a little picky about the ingredients I use when I cook. I can't say enough about Mickey's products. Take a moment, look at his website and see if there is a rub or a seasoning you might want to try. Mickey's stuff is awesome.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Ex on the Filet Mignon with Shallot Pepper Cream Sauce

I am happy to report that our Thanksgiving meal was an unqualified success. Here are some images of the preparation of the meal.

Here are the shallots on my food processor:

Here are the filets seasoned with pepper:

No description here is needed:

Heating the filets prior to cooking them on the stovetop:

Into the oven to get the filets up to ~100F:

Warming up:

Making the sauce:

Our Thanksgiving table:

Well, we did have turkey on our table on Thanksgiving Day:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner: The Main Course

We tend to be a little unconventional when it comes the Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, I have made a whole turkey with all the traditional side dishes. However, when it is just me and Deirdre, cooking a turkey, even a small one, yields a lot of leftovers and we end up throwing a lot of it away. So tonight I am cooing up two beef filets.

Here is the recipe:

Filet Mignon with Shallot Pepper Cream Sauce
· 1/4 cup coarsely crushed black peppercorns
· 4 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2 inches thick
· salt to taste
· 1 tablespoon butter
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1-2 shallots, finely chopped
· 2 T cup beef broth
· 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 275F. Place the peppercorns into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the beef tenderloin filets with salt on both sides, and coat both sides with crushed peppercorns. Place the filets on a cutting board or dish and cover with foil. Let the filets sit at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.

After the filets have warmed, place them in a pan and put the pan in the pre-heated oven. Cook the filets until they have reached an internal temperature of 95F (12-15 minutes). Once the filets have reached an internal temperature of 95F, take the filets out of the oven.

Melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat in a heavy skillet (not nonstick) until the foam disappears from the butter. Gently place the steaks in the pan, and cook until they start to become firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 3 1/2 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C).

Remove the steaks to platter, and cover tightly with foil. Cook the shallots in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then pour the beef broth into the skillet, and use a whisk to stir the broth and scrape up any dissolved brown flavor bits from the skillet. Whisk in the cream, and simmer the sauce until it is reduced and thickened, 6 to 7 minutes.

Place the steaks back in the skillet, turn to coat with sauce, and serve with the remaining sauce.

Cook's Notes: This was an easy and incredibly easy dish to make. It has an incredibly sophisticated taste but it could not be easier to make. We will serve this meal with a bottle of Educated Guess Cabernet.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Apple Pie: A Thanksgiving tradition

Ever since I can remember, I liked apples. I liked apples is all forms. I especially like apple pie, or I used to say as a small child in my dyslexic world, "Pie apple." My mother found the recipe below in a newspaper, probably the Detroit Free Press, and it became a staple in our home for Thanksgiving.

Of course Deirdre had to document my work preparing the pie (and she helped peel and cut up the apples):

Apple Pie Ingredients:
• 3-4 lbs Braeburn or MacIntosh apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
• Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix or Jiffy Pie Crust Mix
• Sugar
• Cinnamon
• Nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 of remaining pie crust mix
Teaspoon Cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Peeled and cut apples

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 of the remaining pie crust mix
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Follow the directions to make the crust for a single pie crust and
reserve the remaining crust mix. The Betty Crocker or the Jiffy mix work well with this recipe.
The remaining pie crust mix is an important part of the filling and the topping, so split in half
the remaining pie crust mix for the topping and the filling.

In a large bowl, mix well the filling ingredients. Pour the filling into the waiting pie crust.
Mix the topping ingredients into the same bowl and sprinkle the topping over the pie filling and
place into the pre-heated oven, and bake the pie on the lower rack of your oven. Check the pie
at approximately 35 minutes (normal cooking time is 40-45 minutes). Cook the pie until you
see the apples bubbling.

I prefer to use Braeburn or MacIntosh apples as they bake well. Avoid using Red Delicious
or Granny Smith apples as they tend to be too bitter for a good pie

Here are a few images of the finished product:

Deirdre and I will enjoy a slice or two of this pie with our Thanksgiving meal. Look for that recipe soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paul's Chili

I purchased a couple of whole beef tenderloins recently. I asked the butcher to trim the tenderloins and grind the trimmings. These trimmings make an excellent chili. As luck would have it, we felt like making a pot of chili for dinner tonight. Below is the recipe I used:

Chili con Carne

2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots, sliced
3 lbs boneless beef chuck, ground coarse
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot cook the onions in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and carrots, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook it over moderate heat, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and the red pepper flakes, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, cider vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. After the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 60-90 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 15 more minutes.

Serves 6

The chili has about another hour to go. We also have sour cream and grated cheese to top the chili. Yum!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

Several months ago, Paul made this dish.  It was AH_Mazing and we vowed to make it again.  He updated some of the spices and we have some additional ideas if you would like to make this.  True confessions, I am not a big fan of lamb.  A rack is lovely once in a while but I normally find if oddly tasting and way too greasy for me.  This recipe is wonderful - the taste is great and it's not greasy at all. 

Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

    1 lb ground lamb
    1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon coriander
    1/2 teaspoon dry mint (new)
    1 small red onion, half finely chopped and half thinly sliced
    Kosher salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup couscous
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    3 plum tomatoes, sliced
    1/2 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
    1/4 cup Feta cheese for the mixture (new)
    4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (for topping)

Pre-heat a broiler. In a bowl, combine the lamb, Feta cheese, apricots, coriander, chopped red onion and salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into meatballs, approximate 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a broiling pan. Broil until cooked through, approximately 12 minutes.

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the couscous per the directions on the box.

From 2011-11-18

Again while the meatballs are cooking, mix the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the meatballs are done, spoon the couscous onto a plate, serve the meatballs on the couscous, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and Feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing.

From 2011-11-18

Cook's Notes:
This was an incredibly easy meal to make. Paul used the food processor to chop the apricots and the red onions. This time, he added a 1/4 cup of Feta into the lamb mixture and dried mint to the dressing and HOKEY-SPITBALLS it was incredible. It was nothing short of delicious.  We might add a little bit of honey in the drizzle next time.  We served it with a wonderful red and it was the best Friday night meal.  Quick, easy, and so delicious! Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tuscan Pork Roast

Tuscan Pork Recipe courtesy of

    1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed
    1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; rub over pork roast. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan juices. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Why the strikethrough?  Because I can never follow directions. It's both a blessing and curse really. I made the paste and did let the pork roast sit overnight.  Then, I threw it in the slow cooker.  Slow cookers are made JUST for people like me.  I have no idea really what I am doing.  A few hours into cooking, I threw a little chicken broth and white wine in. 

I wish that I had a smell-o-blog because this house smells divine.  There is no way that this isn't going to be fabulous.