Tag Archives: Gourmet

Easy Breezy Stuffed Pork Chops

Okay, so the flavors in this dish are distinctly fall, but as much as I love to buy produce seasonally, I buy apples all year round.  What can I say, I love apples.  So, when I pulled these chops out of the freezer and realized I had bacon, apples, and onion, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and let me tell you, this is truly a knockout combo no matter what time of year.   To be honest, there’s not really much more of a story to this one, it was just a regular mid-week dinner that was absolutely tasty and well-suited to illustrate a method that makes a simply prepared dish look super-impressive.  Seriously give it a try, dinner will be on the table before you know it.

Ingredients

Bacon

Apples (I used granny smith, but any firm cooking apple will do)

Onion

Fresh Rosemary (or another woodsy herb of your choosing)

Thick Cut Boneless Pork Chops

Butter

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Poultry Seasoning

Process

Heat a large skillet over medium fire.  While the pan heats cut bacon into small pieces.  Toss into the hot pan to cook.

001While the bacon cooks, finely chop onion, apple, and rosemary.

002Once the bacon is browned, drain off a little of the excess fat.

004Then toss in the onions.

005Once the onions begin to go translucent, add the apples, rosemary, and a little butter.

006Now, stir it all up and allow to cook down for a few minutes.  Then season with a little salt and pepper.

007Turn the heat to low and allow to cook a few more minutes while you prep the chops.  You can also preheat your oven to 400 degrees at this point.  Place your chops on a cutting board and grab a sharp knife.

009Now to create a pocket in the chops to stuff the filling in, press your hand flat down on the top of the chop and insert the tip of your knife into the side of the chop.  Slice into the chop to create the pocket leaving about a 1/2 inch on each side.  Do not let your knife go all the way through the chop.

011Here’s what the pocket should look like:

012Repeat the process on each of your chops then liberally season the with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.

013Now, grab the chops one by one and spoon filling into the slit until it is just about flush with the edge of the chop.   If you think you need to, you can use a toothpick to close up the opening, but this time around my filling was pretty secure.

015In the same pan that you used for the filling, heat about a teaspoon of butter over medium-high.

016Add your porkchops to the pan.  We just want to give them a golden brown crust.

017When the first side reaches desired color, flip ’em over and allow the second side to brown.

018Once both sides are nicely browned, transfer the chops to a baking dish and pop in the oven.

019They are probably only gonna need about 15 minutes in the oven, depending on the thickness of your chops.  They should look like this when they are done:

021I served them up with creamy whipped potatoes.  I happened to be low on fresh veggies this day, but any steamed green veggie would also be fabulous alongside.

024Enjoy!

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Simply Sinful Shrimpy Mac ‘n’ Cheese

About a month ago, I had a terrible craving for mac ‘n’ cheese.  Recipes were floating around all over the food blog circuit and I kept seeing it on TV.  I just couldn’t seem to get away from it!  So I attempted to whip some together, after work one day, and failed…pretty miserably.  I was rushed and I think I just wanted it too badly.  What I got was a decent tasting pasta dish, but it was not mac ‘n’ cheese, it was not ooey gooey and awesome, it was a little dry and just okay.  My craving was not satisfied.  I tried again last week, and I hit a home run.  I still didn’t really plan ahead so I had to work with what I had on hand…a great mixture of three cheeses, some wine, and frozen shrimp.  This is not a traditional, homey mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s rather gourmet and definitely more for the foodie crowd, so mac ‘n’ cheese traditionalists should beware.  My hubby and I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to make another batch.

Ingredients

A few of your fave Cheeses (I used Rosey Goat, Cheddar, and Parm)

Short-Cut Pasta (like elbows, penne, etc. I used whole wheat)

Milk

Dijon Mustard

White Wine

All-Purpose Flour

Shrimp (Frozen or Fresh)

Onion

Garlic

Nutmeg

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kosher Salt

Butter

Process

First, set a large pot of water to boil for your pasta.  Then sautee enough shrimp to suit your fancy, in a large heated skillet.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until just pink.

003While the shrimp cooks, preheat your broiler and finely chop the onion and garlic.  You can also start bringing a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente (still a little firm).

0041When the shrimp is cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add the onions and garlic.

005

Cook until softened and sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of flour.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well, until flour is smooth.

0081Allow the roux to cook out for a few minutes.  While it does so, shred up a heaping pile of cheese.

002At this point, your shrimp should be cool enough to handle, and you can cut them up into bite size pieces (you can also leave them whole, I just think this dish eats better with the shrimp in smaller pieces).

007When the roux has darkened just a tad in color and no longer tastes pasty, you can begin adding liquid.  I started by adding in the wine.

0111Stir rapidly until everything smooths out and allow to come to a boil.  The alcohol must be cooked out before you add the milk, or the sauce will curdle.

0122Then add milk until sauce reaches desired amount and consistency.  Remember you want enough to coat all of your pasta and a little extra.

013Season with salt and pepper, add a dijon mustard to taste, and just a touch of nutmeg, bring to a boil.

015Next stir in all but a few tablespoons of the cheese and continue stirring until melted and completely incorporated.

016At this point, you should check your pasta for doneness, strain it when it’s ready, and return it to the pot.  Then stir your shrimp into the cheese sauce.

0171Pour the sauce into the pot of pasta and gently stir until every noodle is coated (note how I’m using two different pastas, this is not technique my friends, this is lack of planning…still tastes good though).

0181Add more seasoning if necessary, transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and pop into the broiler.

0192Remove from the broiler when the top is brown and bubbly.

0201Serve it up and indulge in this cheesy delight.

0222ENJOY!

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Filed under casseroles, Pasta, Seafood, Uncategorized

Tastemaker Review: Recchiuti Confections

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You can not get more gourmet than Recchiuti.  My friends over at FoodBuzz have outdone themselves once again, providing me with another product that I love more and more every time I indulge.  Hailing from San Francisco, owner, entrepreneur, and true chocolatier, Michael Recchiuti has created a product unlike anything I’ve ever tasted, and I have reason to believe that the incredibly addictive Asphalt Jungle Mix from his Dragee line is only the tip of the iceberg.

0221An unbelievably satisfying snack of balanced salty sweet nuggets and chewy, melty, and crunchy textures, it meets every demand of the tastebuds with smooth panacea and elegance.  My favorite are the burnt caramel hazelnuts and almonds.  The burnt caramel itself is a signature of Recchiuti.  From the first taste of these nuts, I was intrigued.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what made them so delightful, but  after a quick visit to Recchiuti.com, it all made sense.  That perfect balance of salty sweetness came from the alluring flavor of delicately burnt caramel mixing with gently roasted nuts.  I couldn’t ask for anything more in a chocolatey treat, but Recchiuti has lots more to offer and for such an upscale, high-quality product, the prices aren’t too bad either.  The Dragees run at only 12 dollars for a 6 ounce box.  In fact, I may even order one of their many other selections.  Who could resist such innovative flavors as Rose Caramel, Bergamot Tea, and Tarragon Grapefruit?  Not me that’s for sure!  And, don’t even get me started on how badly I want to try their brownies!  I’ll be sure to let you know if I do.

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