Blue Cheese, Bacon, Apple and Chive Stuffed Pork Chops

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chive Stuffed Pork Chops

2 boneless pork loin chops, butterflied

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

2 slices bacon – cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 Granny Smith apple finely chopped

Garlic salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a shallow baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the blue cheese, bacon, apple and chives. Divide into halves, and pack each half into a loose ball. Place each one into a pocket of a butterflied pork chop, close, and secure with toothpicks. Season each chop with garlic salt and pepper. Keep in mind that the blue cheese will be salty. Place in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or it may take longer if your chops are thicker. Cook until the stuffing is hot, and chops are to your desired degree of doneness. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Tonight, I’m serving with scalloped potatoes, steamed green beans, garden salad and fruit compote.

Tomato, Capsicum and Chorizo Soup

Tomato, Capsicum and Chorizo Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 stick celery, chopped
2 red capsicums, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons paprika
1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz. can of Black beans (rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can of White beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons roughly chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic and celery. Cook, while stirring, for 3 minutes then add the capsicum and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir through the paprika and add the tomatoes and chicken stock and beans. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a fry pan and cook the chorizo until golden, draining away the fat. Chop the slices in half and stir into the soup. Season with salt and black pepper.
Once bowled up sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped cilantro.

Tonight, I’m serving with crusty baguette, fresh garden salad and fruit compote

Grilled NY Strips with Cilantro & Black Bean Sauce

Grilled NY Strips with Cilantro & Black Bean Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans (see Note) or 1 tablespoon black bean-garlic sauce (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup Shao Hsing rice wine (see Note) or Japanese sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin, (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems trimmed, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24-30) large dry sea scallops, (see Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  1. If using fermented black beans, place them in a small bowl, cover with water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until light golden and fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the black beans (or black bean-garlic sauce) and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Carefully pour in rice wine (or sake), mirin and sesame oil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, lightly crushing the black beans, until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Preheat grill to high.
  4. Put cilantro, lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a blender; process until smooth. Transfer the marinade to a large bowl, add steak and gently toss to coat with the marinade. Season with pepper. (Discard marinade.) Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the steak until golden and crisp on the edges and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with the black bean sauce and garnish with cilantro chopped.

Tonight, I’m plating the steak with sautéed zucchini, French fries, garden salad and fruit compote.

Notes: Fermented black beans, oxidized soybeans that are salt-dried, have a savory, salty and slightly bitter flavor. They are frequently used in Chinese stir-fries, marinades and sauces. Before using, they should be soaked in water 10-30 minutes to get rid of excess salt. When purchasing fermented black beans, look for shinny and firm beans, rather than dull and dry with salt spots. Once open, store in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. Black bean-garlic sauce, made from pureed salted and fermented black soybeans, is a widely used condiment in Chinese cooking and can be found with the Asian food in most supermarkets. Shao hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine available in many Asian specialty markets and some large supermarkets. Japanese sake or dry sherry is acceptable substitutes. Mirin is a low-alcohol rice wine essential to Japanese cooking. Look for it in your supermarket with the Asian or gourmet ingredients. An equal portion of sherry or white wine with a pinch of sugar may be substituted. Tip: How to oil a grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Creamy Mustard Chicken

Creamy Mustard Chicken

  • 4  thin-sliced chicken breasts, or cutlets (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1  large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  1. Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and coat both sides of the chicken, shaking off any excess. Reserve 2 teaspoons flour; discard the rest.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Combine water with the reserved 2 teaspoons flour. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream, mustard, 2 tablespoons sage and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce.

Tonight, I’m serving with Jasmine rice, garden salad and fruit compote.

Top the rice with half the sauce, the chicken and then the remaining sauce. Garnish with more sage, if desired.

Brisket with Wine-Soaked Apricots

Brisket with Wine-Soaked Apricots

  • 3-4 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 pound dried apricot halves
  • 2  mild or sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted (toast in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat)
  1. If you’re cooking the brisket in the oven, preheat oven to 300°F. Trim all the visible fat off your brisket.
  2.  Wash the apricots and put in a medium-sized bowl. Add enough wine to cover them and soak for one hour.
  3. Add canola oil to large Dutch oven (or similar pot) and heat over medium-high heat on stove. Add the sliced onions and brisket. Brown meat and onions, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spices and the dried fruit with wine to Dutch oven and stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to low (if you’re cooking on the stovetop) or move Dutch oven to preheated oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until brisket is very tender.
  5. Remove brisket from pan and place in center of serving platter. Let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Surround the slices with the apricots, and drizzle 1/2 cup of the pan juices over the top. Sprinkle toasted almonds over the top of the beef and apricots.

Note: To assure kosher status, prepare recipe to meet kosher guidelines.

Tonight; I’m serving over a bed of fettuccini with a garden salad and fruit compote.

Grilled New Orleans-Style Shrimp

 Grilled New Orleans-Style Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 lb large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Special equipment: 7 (12-inch) wooden skewers
  • Accompaniments: a baguette and lemon wedges

Snip shells of shrimp with scissors down middle of back, leaving tail and first segment of shell intact. Make an incision along length of back where shells are cut and devein, leaving shells in place. (Shells will prevent shrimp from becoming tough on outside when grilled.) Toss shrimp with oil, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and marinate at cool room temperature 15 minutes.

While shrimp marinate, prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to moderately high.

Heat butter, chili powder, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until butter is melted, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Thread 4 or 5 shrimp onto each skewer and grill, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Push shrimp off skewers into a bowl, then pour butter mixture over them and toss to combine well.

Cooks’ Notes:

Don’t have a grill or it’s too cold for you to grill, the shrimp can be broiled on a broiler pan 6 inches from heat, turning over once, about 6 minutes total.

Tonight; I’m serving with a loaf of French baguette, garden salad and fruit compote.