Saturday, January 28, 2012

Polenta Cakes with Spicy Sausage and Mozzarella Cheese

Opps, I should have read this recipe more carefully
~ almost two hours of prep time is not what you
want on a week night.

We tried a out this new recipe I had for Polenta Cakes
topped with tomatoes, sausage and mozzarella
cheese ~ kind of like Polenta Pizza.

I must not have read the directions carefully because
each step took a long time. The first set of
directions explained how to make the polenta cakes.
I followed the recipe carefully because I wanted to be sure
the cakes turned out right since they were going to hold
all the other ingredients.

After making the polenta, you move into making a tomato,
onion and white wine sauce that cooks for about 40 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking and the polenta cakes are cooling,
you cook and slice the sausage, slice the cheese and cut up
some fresh basil.

From there you take the polenta cakes out of round tins
and put them on a baking dish. You pour some of the sauce
over the cakes, top it with fresh mozarella, sausage and
basil. Then you bake it for about 5-7 minutes in the oven
at 400.

We were excited to eat dinner after such a long preparation.
The dish was good but the polenta cakes were lacking in flavor.
Looking back at the recipe, I noticed
that it called for the polenta to be cooked in water.
I think next time I will change this to be a broth mixture
of some kind to add a little more flavor. I might even
add some basil and oregano to the broth while the polenta cooks.

Here are some photos of the Polenta Cakes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pork Roast Recipe

I found this recipe for Pork Shoulder online.
It sounded fairly easy so I decided to apply
this recipe to the Pork Roast I had in my freezer.
I did have to make a few minor adjustments because
the piece of meat I had was little smaller than
what this recipe called for.
No worries, the roast turned out very good!

Shredded Pork Shoulder
by the

4 to 5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
*(I used a pork roast that was about 4lbs.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into wedges
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
* (I used fire roasted tomatoes )
1 12-ounce beer (a basic lager works well)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Trim the pork shoulder of any thick layers of fat. Combine the brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork with the spice mixture, getting into crevices and on the sides. Allow the pork to sit for about 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pot. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and beer. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits.

Return the pork to the pot. Cover and put in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, checking once or twice, until the meat is extremely tender and pulls away from the bone easily. Shred the pork in the pot, using tongs to separate the meat from the fat (see photos above). Discard the bone or set aside for another use.

*Since I had a Pork Roast instead of a Pork Shoulder, I just sliced the meat and
served it in a bowl with the vegetables. I had to adjust the cooking time to
be a little shorter because my piece of meat was smaller.

The meat was very tender and the vegetables were great!

White Chicken Chili With A Little Kick

Ok ~ I think I am back in the swing of things and ready
to start posting yummy recipes again.

This recipe is for White Chicken Chili that does have a
little kick. A few weeks ago I realized that it has been
a really long time since I made a batch of chili.
This is probably because the weather here in
Georgia just hasn't been that cold.
Well, I guess I can't wait on the weather anymore, I just
have to go for it. So here is a new Chicken Chili Recipe.

White Chicken Chili
(with a little kick)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 pounds ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons chili powder and
1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
2 cans of cannellini beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 bunch of Kale, washed and chopped
( added at the very end)
1 cup frozen corn
4 - 6 cups chicken stock
1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup cream

In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, chili powder and chipotle chili powder. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked, about 8 minutes. If you are going to use a crockpot go ahead and pour this mixture into the crockpot now. Add the beans,tomato, corn, and chicken stock to either your crockpot or pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow the chili to cook for an hour or so depending on when you plan to serve it. The longer it cooks the better because the flavors will become more balanced. About 5-10 minutes before serving add the Kale and cream. Make sure the Kale has time to cook for about 5-7 minutes. Serve in bowls. You can top this chili with a little sour cream and some Parmesan Cheese or even Monterey Jack Cheese.

When making chili you should always taste it along the way to test the flavor
and make any adjustments.
This chili has a little kick that is hidden deep within the flavors. The chipotle
chili powder gives the chili a slight smokey flavor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve

Please don't think that just because
there has been no blogging for the past few
weeks means that there has been no eating.
I feel like all we have done for the
past two months is eat!

We had a great Thanksgiving in Miami
with my parents and brother. There were many
nights out to great restaurants and
a very delicious Thanksgiving Dinner.

We enjoyed a fabulous Christmas in
Chicago. It was was full of laughs and
fun times with family. The meals were fantastic
~homemade ravioli and meatballs~ as Jim's
mom is a great cook.

We left for St. Lucia on New Year's Eve.
We enjoyed the beautiful weather and listening
to the waves crash as we relaxed on the beach.
I did not take many pictures of food on the trip
but we did enjoy some outstanding meals.

One of our meals was at La Toc, which is a
Parisian - inspired restaurant. I enjoyed
amazing Scallops for dinner and Jim had
a delicious Duck Stew.

We also enjoyed a nice dinner at
Kimonos Oriental Restaurant with four
other couples. Our waiter did an
outstanding job entertaining everyone
while he cooked right in front of us.

It is good to be home and back into the
regular routine. I have several
"new" recipes to try out this week.
I hope to be blogging again very soon
and letting you know how the meals turned out.