Friday, January 30, 2009

Transylvanian Baked Sauerkraut

3 tbs bacon fat
1 onion chopped
1clove garlic
1 lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1tsp paprika
1 package of kielbasa cut into small slices
¼ lb bacon chopped in to small pieces
1 c. sour cream
¼ c. rice
1 lb ground pork
2 bag sauerkraut

This is not an original recipe at all. It was one of my favorite things as a kid. It is also just one more reason to love winter cooking. I totally forgot to take a picture of it so the picture is curtsey a Google image search.

In a skillet began to cook bacon, pull off your 3 tbs and add to another skillet.
Add sausage to the skillet with the bacon and allow it to cook over medium until bacon begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

In the pan the bacon fat was added to, sauté onion until it starts to wilt. Add pork and allow it brown. Stir in garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Make the rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Heat oven to 325. Grease the bottom of 3 quart baking dish.

Rinse sauerkraut and pat dry. Place 1/3 of the sauerkraut in the bottom of dish.

Over that put the bacon and sausage mixture including all juices.

Spread another 1/3 of the sauerkraut on top. Dot with 2 tbs of sour cream. Sprinkle the rice over.

Add the pan with the pork mixture and all the juice and cover with the rest of the sauerkraut.

Pour 1 cup of water in the skillet that had the pork and swirl it around, and then pour it over everything.

Cover with the rest of the sour cream and put in the oven and let bake uncover for 1 hour and a half.

Let stand 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Curried Salmon over Golden Raisin Brown Rice

1 lb salmon
4 tbs butter divided
1 clove of garlic grated or crushed
1 tsp corn starch
½ c. milk
2 tbs cream
1 tbs plus 1 tsp (divided )of sweet curry (I used Penzey’s)
½ tsp salt
1tbs soy
2 tsp brown sugar (could use honey or agave too)
1 roasted read pepper
1 medium onion sliced
2 tbs dry vermouth
Salt and pepper

I have to be honest. I almost abandoned this recipe. It wasn’t coming out right. I added a bit of this and that and almost pitched it and stated over. I couldn’t get the richness I wanted. I thought I needed coconut milk and didn’t have any, but the brown sugar hit the notes I wanted. I am so glad I didn’t give on this. It is one of my favorite dishes of late, and I WILL be making this again. That said, I think that the roasted red peppers get pretty lost in the dish and I ended up using the sugar to give the sweet I was looking for. I would say, if you have them put them in. The red pepper surely made it pretty, with flecks of red spotted off the mustard colored curry. I just am not totally convinced that it made much difference in the flavor of the dish.

In a small skillet heat 2 tbs of butter. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Meanwhile in a small dish, whisk together milk and corn starch. Add that to the butter and garlic.
Then add the cream, salt, soy, red pepper (if you have), 1 tablespoon of curry and sugar. Heat until thick and set aside.

In a separate skillet heat remaining 2 tbs of butter and sauté onions over low heat until nice and brow and soft.
Add the teaspoon of curry and stir.
Add vermouth and cook for 1 minute.
Salt and pepper fish.
Place the salmon in the dish with onions, turn heat up to medium high. Cook salmon for one minute, flip and cook on other side one minute.
Reduce heat to medium low and pour you curry sauce on top. Cook for another 5-8 minutes.

I served the salmon over rice. I used brown but you can use whatever rice you like. If you use anther type of rice, just cook it to the package instructions.

1 cup brown rice
3 cups of water
3 bullion cubes
2 tsp curry
½ c. golden raisins

Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil, stir to incorporate the bullion, cover and cook for 45 minutes over low heat.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Italian Chicken

Okay this isn’t fancy or exciting folks, but it was good. My mother-in-law got Joel and I some Omaha Steak things for Christmas. In there was chicken. I wanted to keep it simple and see if these really were any different than plain Jane store chicken.

4 4oz chicken breasts
6 tbs of parmesan (I use Locatelli)
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic
1 tbs olive oil

Mix parmesan, Italian seasoning, a nd salt together. Set aside
Heat oil in a skillet and add garlic and turn heat up to medium high.
Dredge chicken in the cheese-herb mixture and lay in pan with oil and garlic.
Cook each side for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium low.
Cook each side for an additional 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and let set for about 5 minutes.

I do have to say, these were particularly good chicken breast, nice and juicy and supple. Worth the price…not so much. We had this with just plan old frozen spinach that I cooked in some oil (about 1 tsp) and a clove of garlic. I added about ½ cup of chickpeas to 2 cups of spinach, and 2 tbs of Greek yogurt, a pinch of crushed red pepper and salt….good. My husband asked for a repeat performance tonight with our salmon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just a Simple Girl

I like things all sorts of ways. I love new twists on old dishes. I love fusion. I pretty much love anything that tastes good. Give me some Cajun risotto, I am game. I think grilled root vegetables would be grand. However, there are certain things I like just plain and simple. Shrimp is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, no matter how you fix it I am sure I will love it. I will eat it and ask for more. It won’t be about being polite, I really will adore the dish. However, at the end of the day give me some plain old shrimp with a little cocktail sauce that has some bite and you can color me happy.

I am also simple when it comes to the cocktail sauce. In fact, the simpler the better . I know there are folks that put Worcestershire in theirs and other fancy stuff. To make me happy I just need a ton of horseradish, and if I feel extra fancy a squeeze of lemon and I call it a day.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Ukrops Rant

I swear! I know I am the only girl out there, but I detest Ukrops. I could go into all the philosophical reasons, like them squashing the ability for a really good store to come into Richmond, among many other things but I won’t. I dislike them for so many reasons and no one has the time to hear them all. I do, sadly however, LOVE their cake. I mean, love love. So I was in there the other day for my monthly fix of cake. The bakery is right near the meat section and I don’t know why but I went by the meat section. I really should know so much better than to do this. Other than the occasional ground pork, I do not buy meat at Ukrops because every time I have it has been wretched. Like an idiot, I peruse the meat section. I see these 2 veal shanks that… well frankly that just needed me to take them home and make them into something lovely. So I obliged. They were pretty…so pretty… and I am a sucker for pretty packaging. Why do you think I married my husband?

I seared them in butter and olive oil. I then added shallots and wine and mushrooms and I cooked them over a very low heat turning them every 10 minutes, keeping them moist , taking loving care of these little shanks. They simmered in liquid for a good long time. I added a touch of cream at the end. I plated it and then drizzled porcini and truffle oil over it. It was a thing of beauty. I had been looking forward to this meal for 2 days and I was sure it would not disappoint. I cut in and it was like sawing through leather with a butter knife. I tasted. All gristle. The two shanks were a pound and a half. I would tell you all said there was possibly ½ pound of meat that was edible between the two, but that is being extremely generous. It was terrible. The sauce was lovely, the meat seasoned well, just the meat itself was unlike anything I have ever put in my mouth.

Honestly I do not know what Ukrops does to their meat. I know it is all theirs now, but they might wish to consider having someone that knows what they are doing supply it again. I have had a filet from them, that again was pretty, but tough unlike I knew a filet could be. Same for a gourgous, thick pork chop, cooked barely to a full medium, tougher than nails.

There was a time I would tell you that what Ukrops brought to the table was unparalleled customer service however, that is not the case anymore. Long lines, few open registers and no one around on the floor to help when you can’t find things make for a frustrating experience. Sure, they still have those sweet guys that bring your grocery’s to your car, but I guess you have to buy a lot of groceries to get their service, because my 2-4 bags never bring that guy around, and with two kids and no cart returns in the parking lot, it makes for an unreasonable shopping experience.

So there is my rant on Ukrops. Thanks for bearing it, and I am sure, many Richmonders will disagree with me, because Ukrops, for reasons I do not understand, is beloved here. It is just one girls opinion. I would tell you if you want to support a local grocer, go to Ellwood’s. Again, just this gals two cents, because nothing this pretty should be so bad…. Anybody know of another great place to get cakes and cupcakes?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pork Loin with Apple Stuffing

This dish was made in honor of the arrival of one Ms. Verity Grace. Our neighbors (and good friends) had their very first wee one and she is just lovely. I decided to help by stocking the fridge and freezer with a bit of food.

3-5 lb pork loin


2 TBS oil
¼ c. onion
2 celery stalks
1 large tart apple (I used granny smith)
1 c. of raisins
½ tsp salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 cup of stock
6 pieces of whole wheat bread
1 egg

½ c. maple syrup
6 tbs Dijon mustard
2tbs soy sauce

Heat oven to 400.

For the sauce combine all ingredients, mix until well blended and set aside.

For the stuffing, heat the oil and add celery, apple and onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft.
Add raisins, salt, poultry seasoning, garlic, pepper and stock and bring to a boil.
Break bread into pieces and add to mixture until all the stock is absorbed (you may need a piece or two more or less. Add a piece at a time until you all liquid is absorbed but it is not dry). The bread should be mushy.
Take the stuffing off the heat and let cool.
Filet open the pork tenderloin. Salt and pepper it.

Once the stuffing has cooled a bit, add the egg. Lay the stuffing in the middle and roll. Secure with butcher string (I found out after I started I did NOT have butcher string so I had to toothpick it with this.)

Put the loin in a roasting pan and cover with roughly 1/3 of the sauce. Put in the oven and bake covered for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 and add another 1/3 of the sauce to the meat, recover and bake another 20 minutes.
Add the final 1/3 uncover the meat and bake another 15-20 until done.
Let meat set 10-15 minutes before cutting into.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Black Sheep and Good Company

You can’t beat good food, at good prices with great company. I have heard nothing but raves about The Black Sheep. This past Saturday Ms. and Mr. River City Food and Wine and my husband and I went to brunch and finally got to see what everyone was raving about.

It was a miserably cold morning but the small restaurant was nice and cozy. Everyone got something different and I think everyone was pleased. Ms. River City had the Fedora, which was a frittata with mozzarella, roasted peppers, basil and onion. It looked wonderful. Mr. River City had the biscuits and gravy. The plate was large and the gravy looked wonderful (nice brown grave not that white anemic stuff) and the biscuits nice and fluffy. My husband had the Trucker frittata which had potatoes, country ham, pimento cheese and was topped with sausage gravy. I have to admit I love me some pimento cheese. I know it is a half step up from cheese whiz, but this girl loves it. I wasn’t however, sure how well I would like it on a frittata and with sausage gravy. I have to say it was a little bit of heaven. The mix of the pimento cheese and gravy was… well, sinful. My husband said next time he will have it made sans the potato, which he felt distracted from the overall perfection. I had Grillades and Grits. Other than butchering the pronunciation of the dish while ordering (thus having to nurse my ego a bit) the dish was flawless. It was two pork cutlets in a tomato based sauce that was so rich and oily and heavenly, I wanted to lick my plate (and had I not be surrounded by folks other then my dear husband I SO would have) all of it was served over yellow grits. If I had one complaint, I wish I had more grits. I love grits, however only when they are done well. I hate grits that are cooked in water, because it results in a textureless flavorless mess. In my mind, grits really must be cooked in either a broth or milk. Period. These grits were surely cooked in milk and were rich and creamy and the prefect accompaniment to the pork, I just longed for a wee bit more.

All I can say of the two dishes I tasted, was that they both were out of this world. We all had coffee and the total bill was $37. You just can’t beat it. To top it all off we had wonderful company which always makes a great meal heavenly. So I highly recommend, the next time you are looking for a great brunch head on over to The Black Sheep and they will hook you up, the great company you must supply on your own though!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rib Roast Pizza

I am going to take you back to something I did right after Christmas. Our Christmas dinner is rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, and potatoes. We had quite a bit of rib roast left so I sliced it thin and made a rib roast pizza. It all sounds a bit weird but it was SOOO good.

I made my pizza dough, but you could use a pre-made crust if you want. On the pizza was the sauce below, the sliced beef, caramelized onions and of course cheese. However, what really made is special was the sauce.

2 tbs flour
2 tbs butter
1.5 c. half and half
4-6 tbs horseradish (depends on your taste)
Lots of pepper

Melt butter in skillet and add flour to make a past. Slowly add half and half (or milk if you want) while whisking to incorporate. Add the horseradish and pepper cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lamb and Goat Cheese Eggplant Rollatini


1 tbs olive oil
1 onion diced
6 oz of mushrooms chopped
1 large clove of garlic grated
2 tbs oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 tbs dry vermouth
1/8 tsp Penzeys lamb seasoning (optional)
¼ lb soft goats cheese
1 lb ground lamb


1 large eggplant slice thin
Cooking spray


1 c. chicken stock
12 oz Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tsp oregano
1tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
2 tbs goat cheese
Any leftover meat filling

Honestly when I made this my intention was to use ground veal. If I could not get that, I would use ground pork. Sadly 2 supermarkets and 1 butcher later, only to be told finally that there was some odd shortage of both??? I settled on lamb. I also borrowed my parents meat slicer for the eggplant so I could get even and thin slices (a surgeon, I was never destined to be).

I started by slicing the eggplant longwise, then I salted it and let it sit.

In a skillet heat your oil to medium and add onion. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and vermouth. Let cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the lamb and cook until done. Suck off (there has got to be a better way to say that… is drain correct??) the excess grease.

Add the goats cheese and stir to incorporate, set aside.

While the meat mixture was cooking I took another skillet and coated it with cooking spray and cooked the sliced eggplant for about a minute on each side. I removed and set aside.

Once the eggplant and the meat mixture is done, I took about 2 tsp of the mixture and put it at one end of the slice of eggplant and rolled it up. I put it in a baking dish. Roll until you are out of eggplant or out of meat.

In a skillet I added the chicken stock, yogurt, seasoning, goat cheese and leftover meat filling (if you have) and heated to let thicken a bit (about 3-5 minutes). Once thickened, remove from heat and pour over rollatini. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuna and Fennel with a Lemon Dill Aioli and an Embarrassing Story

Every once in a while we all have to chuckle at ourselves. Hopefully that chuckle can be followed with a bit of relief at how far we have come. I used to not like sushi. I think in retrospect, the first several trys I had at it, just also turned out to be bad sushi. When we went to dinner with friends, who unwittingly, ordered a ton of sushi for us to share…I had little choice but to eat it. I waited anxiously for the sushi to come, not knowing how I would make my way through (the last sushi I had had, I couldn’t force myself to swallow…literally). Luckily for me (and several sushi restaurants near me), it turns out I love sushi if is good and now there is not a week that goes by I don’t indulge in some.

Prior to realizing raw fish could be good ,I went out to eat with a young chap I would later marry. He took me to a lovely restaurant in his town. We each got a salad and decided to split an entrée. It was a thia tuna dish. The waitress brings it out and we dig into the tuna, and it was rare!! Egad. We immediately called the waitress over and explained the obvious issue. God love her, with out bursting out laughing, she carried that beautiful piece of tuna back to the chef and had that man cook it within an inch of its life. Honestly, I just simply did not know you could eat tuna rare. I still like mine medium rare and not full on rare, but now a well done tuna steak, in my mind is ruined. It is dry and heavy. So to that chef and that piece of tuna who sadly gave its life to have me desecrate it… my humblest apologies. I hope this recipe offers some solace.

Fennel topping
1 fennel bulb sliced (tops removed)
½ large Vidalia sliced
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper

4 tuna steaks
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp dill
1 tsp caper

Make the aioli, by combining mustard, lemon juice, dill and capers. Mix well and set aside.

In skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil to medium high. Add fennel and onion and sauté for 1 minute reduce heat to medium low and sauté for another 10 minutes until nice and brown.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet over high heat. Add tuna and sear for 30 second on each side. Reduce heat to medium. I personally like my tuna medium rare, so I cooked it and additional 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other and let it rest, but it was a pretty thick steak. Unless you like it very well done, it is always better to pull it off early and put it back if need be than overcook it. Once you pull fish off squeeze lemon over.

Top tuna with a heaping spoon of fennel and onion and then top with a healthy spoonful of aioli.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Salmon Wrap

This weekend we went to a party and someone brought these amazing pork lettuce wraps. That is what inspired this dish.

½ lb salmon
4 Savoy cabbage leaves
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper
¼ tsp fresh grated ginger
1tsp corn starch
4 tbs cilantro leaves
4 tsp chopped spring onion

In pan put, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and corn starch and wisk. Heat over medium low heat until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool.
Remove and clean cabbage leaves
Cut salmon into 4 equal pieces.
Salt and pepper salmon, and place in the center of cabbage leaf.
Spread a heavy teaspoon of the sauce onto the salmon. Sprinkle with teaspoon of onion and a tablespoon of cilantro, roll and place in steamer basket. Repeat for all four rolls.
Steam for 10-12 minutes.

I served this with a Asian inspired coleslaw. I used the remaining Savoy, 2 cups of carrots and put it in the food processor. I put in a bunch of spring onions, chopped (about 5) and a bunch of cilantro chopped, I mixed it all together and put a dressing of:

2 TBS lime juice
3 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
2 TBS white vinegar (Asian would have been better)
4 TBS sugar
Zest of ½ of a lime

Mix together, pour over and let sit.

Mac and Cheese Off

Hey guys don’t forget to go by Gourmet Gastronomer’s site and vote for my mac and cheese(bacon and swiss). Just a side note, I think the dish would also be really good if you added about a ½ lb scallops or shrimp, plus it would make it more of a main dish as well.

Here is the link, , stop by and visit the site, and while your there vote for my Bacon and Swiss mac and Cheese!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bacon and Swiss Mac and Cheese

The Gourmet Gastronomer is having a Mac and Cheese off and I just had to get in on the action. Please go by the site and vote for my mac and cheese!!! .

5 pieces of lean bacon chopped(I use one marketed as low fat, normal bacon just a lean cut)
3 tbs shallot
2 tbs flour
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. dry white wine or vermouth
2 c. swiss
1 cup (dry) macaroni cooked
½ tsp salt

2 hamburger buns
1 small clove of garlic
3 tbs parsely
2 tbs butter
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cook your one cup of dry macaroni according to package. Drain and set aside.
Heat over to 350 and put in hamburger bun and cook 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook chopped bacon until done.
Add shallots into pan with bacon. Sautee for 3 minutes.
Add flour and stir to coat.
Add wine and cook over low heat until sauce thickens.
Add heavy whipping cream. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Add Swiss cheese and salt. Cook until melted and sauce smooth.
Remove from heat.

In food processor add clove of garlic and 2 tbs of parsley and pulse about 10 times. Add butter and pulse another 5 times. Add toasted buns and pulse until mixture looks fine. Add last tablespoon of parsley and pulse 3 times.

Mix together macaroni and sauce and pour into a baking dish. Top with bread mixture and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shrimp and Smoked Pork

If you have not been to Bende (to the right under “sites I love”) you really should check it out. They have lots of really lovely things. Among my many favorite is their smokes pork loin. It traditionally is sliced thin and served as part of a cold plate (with other meats and cheeses). I will often use it to cook with. It is super smoky and imparts a wonderful flavor, however it is a super lean cut of meat. I would tell you a really good smoky bacon would be a good substitute, but cook the bacon and blot prior to putting in the sauce.

3 tbs smoked pork lion (or smoky bacon)
½ onion sliced
2 tbs butter
½ lb shrimp cleaned and chopped into bite sized pieces
1tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper diced small
1 cup dry white wine
2tbs flour
1 c. half and half
½ lb pasta
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon (if you have it)

In a pan heat butter and oil.
Add onion and loin.
Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add flour and stir to coat, then add wine, shrimp and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add bell pepper and cook. It should be thick.
Add half and half , nutmeg, sugar, salt and pepper (I suggest a lot of pepper). Cook about 3-5 more minutes to heat half and half and thicken just a bit. Toss with pasta and squeeze a little lemon over.