Braised Pork Shoulder (Ragu) with Fennel and Mushrooms

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1½ inch cubes

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium

3 celery stalks, diced medium

4 large carrots, peeled and diced medium

1 medium fennel bulb, end trimmed and diced medium

1 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons tomato paste (preferably double concentrate)

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly

1/8 teaspoon crushed red (chili) flakes

1 tablespoon toasted whole fennel seed

1 cup red wine (red zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon)

2 cups chicken stock

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 cup water

2 dried bay leaves

7 sprigs fresh thyme

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh oregano

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Ragu Base: pasta, polenta, gnocchi (your choice!)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre grated

Season the pork (cubes) all over with the salt and pepper.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle-lower position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Evenly distribute the pork and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. (Work in batches if need be to not overcrowd the pan) Transfer the pork to a medium bowl. (You should have about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the Dutch oven. If not, add some extra-virgin oil to make up the difference.)

Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel and mushrooms. Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, chili flakes and toasted fennel seed. Stir. Cook uncovered for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened.

Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes more; it will begin to thicken and you will see large bubbles.

Stir in the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, oregano, soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar and pork with any of its juices left in the bowl.

Bring the Dutch oven to a simmer throughout (not just the sides), cover partially (opening the lid about an 1-inch) and transfer to the oven. Cook for 90 minutes, stirring once after 45 minutes, until the pork is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, covered (lid on fully). Remove the pork and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the pork with two forks. Discard the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary and oregano. Return the pork to the Dutch oven. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle pork ragu over pasta, polenta or gnocchi. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield:  4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any discolored outer leaves discarded

1 large shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 small apple diced small

1/3 cup toasted and salted pecans, roughly chopped

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Feed Brussels sprouts and shallot through the food processor chute with the slicer attachment.

Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, shallot, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and stir to combine.

Spread Brussels mixture evenly on an aluminum foil-lined sheet tray.

Place an oven rack in the upper position. (Approximately 5-inches below the heat source.) Place sheet tray under broiler for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir and broil for an additional 3 minutes. (Keep your eye on things!) Remove from oven and set aside.

In the same bowl you used to mix the brussels sprouts, add the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture from the sheet tray to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

Add the apple, pecans, pomegranate, parsley and Parmigiano and stir to combine.

Serve while still warm.

Cinnamon Spiced Carrot Ginger Muffins

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Yield: 12 Muffins

½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup whole roasted and salted pecans (you will also need an additional ½ cup finely chopped pecans – see last ingredient below)

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 equal pieces

2 whole large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup (Zante) currants

¼ cup small diced candied ginger

½ cup grated carrots, grated on a Microplane

½ cup whole roasted and salted pecans, finely chopped

Set an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Place oats on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Once oven is preheated, bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring halfway through, until toasted. Set aside.

Place the sugar and ½ cup of the whole pecans in a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse 15 times until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pulse 10 times to combine. Evenly distribute the butter. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until it starts to resemble wet sand. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Pulse until the texture turns into a uniform, thick batter, approximately 25 times.

Add the toasted oats, currants, ginger, carrots and finely chopped pecans to a medium bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Transfer batter from food processor to the medium bowl with the ginger carrot mixture using a rubber spatula. Fold to combine with the spatula.

Fill each muffin tin equally with the batter. (It’s just over a ¼ cup per muffin.)

Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Test readiness by poking a toothpick or knife in the middle of a muffin; if it comes out clean, it’s ready.

Remove from oven. Place tin on a cookie rack and let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.

Lemony Spaghetti with Cannellini Beans, Arugula and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

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Yield: 4 servings

Brown Butter Breadcrumbs:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup panko

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the butter until it foams up, subsides, and begins to turn golden brown.

Add the panko, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are toasted, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Set aside.

Lemony Spaghetti:

2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest, zested on a Microplane

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 packed cup baby arugula

¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (not pre-grated)

Add 16 cups water to a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While the pasta is cooking, in a Dutch oven, add the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, butter, olive oil, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon zest and beans. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the pasta is al dente, lift the pasta out of the water with tongs, and add it to the Dutch oven. Add in 1 cup of pasta water and the lemon juice. Stir until the liquid has thickened. Add in the parsley and arugula and stir to combine. If you feel that the sauce has gotten too thick, add additional pasta water.

Serve immediately by dividing the pasta among bowls and topping each serving with generous helpings of breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Steamed Mussels in a Coconut Lemongrass Broth

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

12 (2-inch) pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

3 (3-inch) pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ red pepper (chili) flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 large makrut (Thai) lime leaves, each leaf torn into quarters

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup water

½ pint (5 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)

1 small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved/set aside

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Sourdough bread, sliced and toasted

In a 5.5 quart dutch oven add the oil and set over medium heat. Heat until oil is shimmering, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, black pepper and lime leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, water and cherry tomatoes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits aka deglaze.

Add the coconut milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced by half, approximately 20 minutes.

Add the cilantro stems (do not add the leaves) and stir.

Stir in the mussels. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes, shaking the pan every minute for even cooking, until the mussels are cooked through and have opened.

Turn off heat. Transfer mussels, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl.

Add the lime juice to the coconut milk broth and stir. Taste and season with additional lime juice and/or salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, distribute the mussels among large shallow bowls. Spoon over broth and a sprinkle of the cilantro leaves. Serve with copious amounts of toasted sourdough bread to sop up the liquid gold coconut lemongrass broth.

Note: this makes a nice appetizer or light lunch, but if serving for dinner, you may want to add a serving of rice and double up on the recipe!

Spicy Gochujang Meatloaf

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Gochujang Glaze:

5 tablespoons gochujang, divided

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane

3 tablespoons (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Add 4 tablespoons gochujang, the Worcestershire, soy sauce and sesame oil to a small pot. Whisk to combine. Transfer ¼ cup of this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of gochujang, the ginger, rice wine vinegar and sugar to the small pot. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Meatloaf:

¼ pound frozen bacon, roughly chopped (it must be frozen!)

1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 large whole eggs, whisked

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (white or black)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2¼ pounds ground beef, 80% lean

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

2. In a food processor, pulse the frozen bacon until it’s finely chopped. Transfer chopped bacon to a small bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

3. In the same food processor (no need to clean) pulse together the onion and garlic until very finely chopped. Transfer to the large mixing bowl with the gochujang mixture.

4. Add the mustard, egg, pepper and sesame seeds to the large bowl. Mix together thoroughly.

5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the mixture.  Sprinkle the ground beef (breaking it up as you go) over the mixture. Finally, sprinkle the bacon over. Fold together (get in there with your hands) until combined. Avoid squeezing the meat.

6. Press the meat into a 9” x 5” loaf pan, pressing the top to make it level. Using a pairing knife, run the blade along the inside edges of the pan to loosen the meat from the sides of the pan. Turn the raw meatloaf out (flip it) onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. If your oven has a gas (flame) broiler, use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper. (Remove the loaf pan.)

7. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet tray and continue cooking for an additional 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 150ºF.

8. While the meatloaf is cooking, place the small pot of glaze over medium-low heat. Reduce the glaze, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until it is thick like a barbecue sauce.

9. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Turn oven to broil. Glaze the top and sides of the meatloaf using a brush, with half of the glaze. Place sheet tray back in the oven on the middle rack and broil for 1 minute. Keep your eyes on it and set a timer – the high heat may cause the parchment paper to brown (which is why you should use aluminum foil if your heating element is gas/a flame).  Remove the sheet tray and glaze again with the remaining liquid. Broil again for 1 minute.   

10. Remove and let the meatloaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pairing suggestion: serve meatloaf with a vegetable, such as green beans, as well as rice and kimchi. Go crazy and top your slice with a fried egg!

Chicken Teriyaki Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

TeriyakiChix

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Teriyaki Chicken:

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon freshly grated garlic, grated on a Microplane

1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

Add all ingredients, except chicken, to a medium saucepan (do not put over heat) and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let sit at room temperature while you prep the pilaf.

Pilaf:

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained well

1¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons white miso

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced medium

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias, white and green parts

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the oils, ginger, garlic and shallot to a 5.5 quart dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and are soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Add rice, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add stock and rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add miso and stir until incorporated fully. Add squash and pepper and stir to combine. Level rice mixture with a spatula. Add the chicken thighs (but not the sauce – keep the sauce in the saucepan!) in a single layer on top of the mixture. Cook, uncovered, until mixture is simmering all the way through (center and sides – everywhere!). Once a simmer is achieved, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven (keep covered) and let rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

While the pilaf is resting, put the teriyaki sauce over low heat and reduce, stirring occasionally, until 1/3 cup sauce remains. Remove from heat. (You may want/need to reheat sauce if you wait a long time before serving pilaf).

Pour teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Top with scallions and sesame seeds and serve!

Summer Fruit Cake Cobbler Crisp

crumble copy

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Crisp Topping:

¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 cubes, chilled

1/3 cup whole raw almonds, roughly chopped

¼ cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)

 

Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine, approximately 5 times. Add butter and pulse 10 times. Add the almonds and oats and pulse 10 times, until the texture is like chunky sand.

Transfer into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Do not clean food processor – you will use it to make the cake cobbler batter.

 

Cake Cobbler Batter:

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 large whole eggs

1 tablespoon grated ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons orange zest, grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons Amaretto

1 cup whole milk

 

Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position, then preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom to the food processor and pulse to combine, approximately 5 times.

With food processor running, stream in melted butter and oil. Turn off food processor.

Add eggs and process for 5 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients. Process for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom (as best you can around the blade) and process again for 5 seconds.

Set aside.

 

Fruit:

3 tablespoons butter, cubed into 12 pieces

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons corn starch

3 medium plums (9-ounces), pits discarded, diced medium

1 (6-ounce package) blackberries

 

Add the butter to a 7×11-inch (2 quart) casserole dish. Place on a sheet tray and transfer to the oven. Bake until the butter is melted, but not browned, and pan is hot, 8-10 minutes. (Set a timer!)

While the butter is melting, add the sugar, salt and corn starch to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add the fruit to a medium bowl.

Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture evenly over the fruit and fold together gently.

Gather your ingredients and bring them close to your oven – it’s go time!

Remove sheet tray with casserole dish (with now melted butter) from the oven. Pour in the batter and use a rubber spatula to make sure you get as much batter as possible into the dish. Evenly distribute fruit throughout the dish –  starting with the perimeter of the batter.  Evenly distribute/sprinkle over the crisp topping.

Transfer dish on sheet tray to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, rotating the sheet tray after 20 minutes, until the the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven. Transfer dish to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before diving in.

Tray Bake Sausage with Cabbage and Roasted Cherries

sausagetray2 copy

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yields: 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small cabbage (1¼ pound cabbage) cored, quartered and thinly sliced (7 packed cups)

1 large shallot, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

4 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

1½ pounds fresh Spicy Italian Sausage (4 links), poked with a sharp knife (5-10 times per)

1 pound frozen, pitted cherries, thawed

½ cup roughly chopped toasted and salted pecans

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, shallot and rosemary and mix thoroughly to combine.

Spread the cabbage mixture over 2/3rds of a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.

Evenly space the links on top of the cabbage mixture.

In the remaining 1/3 space on the sheet tray, spread out the cherries.

Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the sausages.

Continue baking until the internal temperature of the sausages reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 15 minutes.

To serve, place some of the cabbage in a shallow bowl. Top with a sprinkle of pecans and parsley. Spoon roasted cherries around the cabbage and top with a sausage.

Ploye: your new waffle/pancake contender

Ploye

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

The Ploye is an Acadian dish and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner – in a sweet or savory context. It’s similar to a pancake, but traditionally you do not flip a ploye when cooking.

Yield: 16 ployes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups water (room temperature)

½ cup boiling water

 

Add flours, baking powder and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add room temperature water. Whisk to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add boiling water, whisk vigorously to combine and let sit for 5 minutes.

Place a medium nonstick pan over medium low heat. Once pan is hot, pour a ¼ cup of the batter in the pan. Swirl pan to distribute batter. As the ploye cooks, it will form bubbles. Cook until no light portions of the batter remain, approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute. Do not flip.

Serve with your favorite toppings, sweet or savory, or as is. Traditionally, the ploye is eaten by rolling it up into a tube-like shape and then taking a bite (no forks or knives needed)!