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Effortless Pork Chop Braise

effortless pork chop braise

I’ve never been a big fan of pork chops, as a general rule. In fact, there really is only one other pork chop recipe on Discovery Cooking in the two-plus years I’ve been writing here. Part of that is that it’s really a difficult task to get a chop that’s  not too dry or just unfit to eat, really. But I came across a really simple pork chop recipe that, for some reason, I just had to try, in part because it was a simple evening meal that for some reason just seemed like I had to give it a shot. The results were very good. Even excellent, in fact.

This recipe uses  chops that are very thick. If all you can find at the grocery are thin, under an inch thick, stop by the meat counter and ask for something at least an inch and a half or maybe two inches or more. You’ll be glad you did. The rest of the recipe is fairly simple, with mainly tomatoes and a bit of anchovies, and some polenta, rice or noodles to soak up the juices. 

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Pane Bianco — Bread with a Superb Stuffing

pane bianco

Although I have not done much of it lately, there is something special about a home-made loaf of great bread, especially when it’s loaded with a superb stuffing that sends it over the top. That’s where this Pane Bianco comes into the picture. This concoction has a wonderful but simple stuffing that’s very good on it’s own and even more important, I’ve already started thinking about what might be added in future editions.

This is not any kind of original thinking on my part. It started out as a post by King Arthur’s Flour. The idea was to get people to give the bread a bake-along project for the month. It’s a very simple dough but what makes it stand out is a filling made with tomatoes, cheese, basil and garlic. The filling is the wonderful part. Dipped in some of olive oil, or dabbed with a little bit of dip or just by itself, the filling is amazing and definitely worth giving this bread a try.

I made mine in a couple of loaves, but the recipe really just calls for one large loaf. It works either way. And FYI, this is a great little Labor Day appetizer.

The recipe below, is pretty much exactly from King Arthur’s Flour.

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Sea Scallops Persillade

sea scallops persillade

Once or twice, you gotta have some summer sea scallops, even as season starts fading into fall. And this fairly effortless scallops persillade is a sensational way to turn them into a winner. This is one of those dishes that done right turns out beautifully, but especially in making the persillade, can get just a bit difficult if you’re not careful.

For the sea scallops, the treatment is rather simple: fry them for a couple of minutes on one side and turn them, allowing the bottom side to just barely cook — maybe a minute or so. 

The persillade is a kind of French sauce, which consists of fat, some garlic and a little parsley. You basically start out with some butter, cut into chunks, which slowly get added to the hot scallop pan, and then when their all melted, you add garlic — cook for only 30 seconds. The scallops go back in to finish them, add some parsley and your on your way. Serve with a little lemon juice and maybe some couscous or some rice and that’s a meal.

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Turkey Cutlets with Corn and Basil

turkey cutlets with corn and basil

Turkey is not one of those things I tend to think about during summer. Not sure why, because turkey done well really does some nice things if I give it a try. This turkey cutlets with corn and basil is one of those things. It’s easy and quick to prepare and it makes a great summer dish for a quiet evening.

The first thing about this dish is that once the ingredients are prepared, it takes around thirty minutes (maybe less) to make. The turkey is browned and set aside, the shallots and vinegar get a quick saute and then the rest of the ingredients are quickly added, with basil at the end to give it a little herbal flavor. 

That’s all there is.

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Sesame Chicken, A Delicious Chinese Dish

sesame chicken

There are many wonderful Chinese dishes you can use as a nice two or four person meal or maybe as one of several dishes you can use as part of a bigger meal. This sesame chicken would be very high on my list of things to include in that kind of meal. It’s relatively easy to make and it turns out really well.

For this dish, I often use whatever chicken I’ve got left over from other dishes — an extra breast or some thighs, usually. Given that you’re only really just browning them quickly, both turn out just fine. The ginger and garlic really make this dish, however, and while I’m normally a huge Chinese pepper fan, just a little bit of Sechuan or other good pepper really livens this dish up. Just don’t use too much, because it can quickly turn the dish into something hot and spicy, which isn’t what this preparation is about.

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Chicken and Beans Tagine

chicken and beans tagine

You can find plenty of various tagines (that special North African cookware) all over the net, but once in a great while I love to make something up as I go along and chicken and beans tagine  is one of those. Took a few tries to get it just right, but in the end, got it just the way I like it.

I’ve written a little about tagines in the past, and while you can make this is in a nice deep pot of almost any kind, the tagine is better if you can find one. There is something about the conical lid and little escape vent that changes the flavor just a bit and makes it superb.  And if you haven’t had white beans labored with onions, garlic and basil, I’ll warn you, it’s really a dish to crave. Something about that combination, especially if cooked slowly over a low fire, that lights up my taste buds. Add a little mushrooms and lovely browns chicken thighs and legs and maybe a little rice and you’ve got a great meal. 

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Stifado of Lamb

stifado of lamb

Stifado is one of many things you can find often in Greece, although in my limited purview in the states, it’s something you rarely see here. It’s what I would call a braise, but using red wine and red vinegar rather than broth or water as the liquid. The stifado of lamb is a perfect option.

I’m told by those who do some travel in Greece that you can find stifado with almost anything that can be braised, which accompanies a lot of things, if you really think of it. The lamb stifado is done using stewing lamb (basically shoulder) and given long enough in the braising liquid, it works out really well. The spices used are quite pronounced and they really add a great deal to the dish, especially the cloves and cinnamon. Served with a little bit of orzo or maybe some rice, it’s great.

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