Apple Cider Pork Shoulder

5 lbs pork shoulder, deboned
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 large shallot, cut into wedges
4 c apple cider (or enough to cover the pork)
Salt + pepper

Season the pork. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours. 

Sausage and apple stuffed pork loin

3 lb Pork loin, with a layer of fat on the top
Lemon grass paste

3/4 lb Maple flavored sausage 
2 Granny Smith apples 

4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp spicy mustard 

Butterfly the pork loin into a 3/4 inch thick, flat piece. Pound between Saran Wrap with a tenderizer to flatten if nessesary. Rub with lemon grass paste (this contains salt). 

Filling: Peel and chop the apples into 1/3 inch cubes. Remove sausage from casings and mix the meat and apples.

Place the filling onto the seasoned, butterflied pork, along the edge, making sure when you roll up the meat the bit of fat end up on the top exterior. Roll up the meat as tight as possible and tie off with butchers twine, spacing by about an inch.

Preheat oven to 450f. Place the stuffed pork loin onto a shallow baking sheet, and brush with the glaze. Cook at 450f for 20 minutes, then switch to 350f until it reaches 145f at its thickest point (about 30 more minutes but will vary based on your oven and size of the loin). Rest for 20 min before cutting. Slice as thinly as possible; I preferred it even more the day after cold.


Cinnamon Raisin Babka

This really should otherwise be titled, "stick to what you know".
I used a challah recipe with the cinnamon sugar creamed butter, and raisins. While the spreading & rolling technique works well with other breads, it wasn't the best here. Nonetheless the finished product is delicious.


Lamb Plov

It was one of those fall days when the air is crisp, leaves are skirting the yard and sunshine through the trees appears a colorful stained glass window. You want to wear a chunky knit and dine al fresco on a hot soup. Except not a hot soup, but a spicy, pungent one-pot stew.

2 lamb steaks (cut into 1 inch cubes)
3 carrots, shredded
1 parsnip, shredded 
1 onion, chopped
1 cup, chopped cilantro
2 cups, jasmine rice
1 full head of garlic, cloves peeled
10 prunes
1/4 cup barberries
2 quarts of low sodium stock
Spices: cumin, paprika, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon 

Wash the rice, cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Let stand for 15 minutes and drain. Do the same with prunes but use boiling water, drain after 15 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, heat some oil and add onions. Cook on medium heat until turning golden, add carrots and parsnips. Cook mixing for about 4 minutes. Add a bit of salt and spices/barberries, and cook for another minute. Add lamb and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro. Spread rice in a uniform layer on top. Carefully pour in the preheated stock without disturbing the rice. Note that water has to cover the rice by about 1/2 inch, if your stock isn't enough, add some boiling water to make up the difference. Insert garlic cloves and prunes into the rice. Cook uncovered until the liquid is fully reduced. Cover with lid and turn the heat off. It's ready to enjoy in 30 minutes. 


Smoked Sausage

This was my second time using the sausage attachment on the kitchenaid. And I will honestly say, like the first time, I find natural casing to be very disturbing. That said, it's a surprisingly fun (and funny, there I am a 5 year old) process. The first batch was made with friends and grilled for dinner, following Sausage Bible cookbook.  Today, I wanted something between kielbasa and Canadian bacon...

5-6 lbs pork shoulder 
1/2 cup oatmeal (dry)
5-7 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of cracked pepper
2 tsp of dry coriander 
10-15 juniper berries crushed
Salt (I used about 2 tbsp)

Debone the pork shoulder and remove skin. Separate meat and fat. The lean meat chop into cubes about 1-2 cm, and the rest process in a grinder. Cook the oatmeal in 1 cup of water and cool before using.  Crush pepper and coriander in a mortar until uniform and add to the meat. Crush juniper berries and garlic add to the meat. Add the cooled oatmeal and season with salt. Mix and stuff into natural casing. Smoke over water bath with cherry and hickory wood chips until fully cooked through. Serve cooled on a sandwich or reheated on the grill with braised cabbage (my plan tomorrow!)


Build Up to Uova da Raviolo

I've been trying out pasta dough recipes to find just the right one for my dream dish. Today's attempt is a strong competitor so it's worthy of recording.  

3 c flour
1 c water (warm)
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil

Kneed together and let stand at least an hour covered before rolling out.  

I used the dough for some simple meat ravioli.


French Crullers in Pink Glaze

1 cup water
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar 
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs
2 egg whites

Bring to a boil water, butter, sugar and salt, until butter is fully melted. Turn the heat to low. Add in the flour, all at once, and stir vigorously until smooth. Cook stirring for about a minute.  Mix in 3 eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the egg whites. For those of you who may think this is too eggy, you know who you are, there is chemistry at work here, trust the proportions!

Pipe 1/2 inch thick, about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 6 minutes, turn the temperatures down to 350 and bake for another 7 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the door ajar, and keep the doughnuts in it for another 10-15 minutes.

Glaze: 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp water, a few drops of orange extract, and a few drops of beet juice for the color.

Leg of Lamb in a Blackberry Balsamic Reduction

After seeing a friend's Greek Easter celebration spread in pictures, I was inspired to make lamb. 

2-3 lbs boneless leg of lamb 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt + pepper

Rub the lamb with spices, olive oil and salt. Insert garlic into inscisions (1/2 inch deep) in the lamb.

Bake covered with foil at 375 for 40 min and then uncovered for another 50-60 min. Add seasoned young potatoes into the baking sheet with the meat, if using, when you uncover the meat. 

Sauce: Reduce 1 cup of frozen blackberries, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt for about 10 min on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and taste (may need a bit more salt for balance). Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp of truffle oil.

Rest the meat for 15 minutes and then slice. Serve with fresh English peas, potatoes and the sauce.


Ramp Wrapped Dover Sole in Tequila Butter

It's been a very long winter, and despite the unnaturally cold April day, spring is still here. Ramps were for sale...even though they looked a little sad, I decided if I cooked with them, I am going to will warm weather to get here.

7-10 ramps
1 lb Dover sole filets
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c tequila 
Salt + pepper

Season sole filets with salt and pepper on one side. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of olive oil and roll them up. Rinse and trim off the leaves off the ramps. Reserve the staulks. Wrap each fish roulette with a leaf, tucking the ends under each other. 

Place rolls, seam down, on a preheated pan with olive oil and butter. Turn heat to low and cook the fish about 7 minutes. Adding the tequila and lemon juice after about a minute.  Cooking time may vary if  your filets are bigger.

I served this with pan roasted radishes, about 5 min on medium- low heat, sprinkled with chopped ramp staulks.


Turkey Bolognese

I made a non traditional bolognese that I thought was worth recording. 

1-2 lbs ground turkey meat
2 large parsnips, peeled
1 onion
2 c milk
2 c red wine
2 c water
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash of cumin

Melt butter in olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped onions. When onions turn transparent, add grated parsnips. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add turkey meat and mix to break down clumps of meat. When mostly consistent and broken up, season a bit of salt, cumin and pepper. Add milk and cook on low heat until most of it is evaporated. Add the wine and do the same. Now add the diced tomatoes and water and simmer (no bubbles) until it reaches the desired consistency.  Check the seasoning.

Serve over pappardelle with parm slivers.


Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant

This is a variation of the stuffed eggplant I've made before (http://farejudgement.blogspot.com/2011/05/stuffed-baby-eggplant.html ). I wanted to make a slightly healthier version, mostly, to use up the remaining quinoa in the pantry (I purchased the black quinoa for salads that I can't wait to open!).

1 cup cooked white quinoa
1 large tomato, skinned
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small shallot, minced
1-2 tbsp lemon juice ( adjust acid based on taste)
Flesh of 3-4 baked baby eggplants
Fontina cheese, grated (for the top)


Stuffed Chicken Breast

1 split chicken breast filet, skinless
1 c, Riesling wine or mirin 

3 baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
2 prunes, chopped
1 shallot, minced 
1 c panko
1 egg, yolk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mushroom powder (dry porcini blended)
Salt + pepper

Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing together. 

Pound chicken between two pieces of Saran Wrap, until about 1 cm in uniform thickness. 

Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the stuffing at the edge of the chicken breast.  Roll tightly to encase the stuffing.

In a ovenproof pan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the chicken breast seam side down onto the pan. Panfry just barely to give the chicken breast some color. Add the wine to the pan carefully. Transfer to a preheated 450° oven for 20-25 minutes. Baste with pan sauce about every five minutes.

To serve, cut into 2 cm sections and finish with some pan sauce on top. I served with colorful couscous. 


Apple Rose Tartlets

While visiting Cape Cod last summer, we happened upon an awesome French bakery, PB Boulangierie. After enduring a long line in the morning, we finally filed our way in to get a couple of croissants, Pain Au Chocolate, and an apple tart, E selected.  After watching her eat the tart, which is a story of its own, I haven't been able to stop thinking about how appetizing it looked. Dozens of thinly sliced apples weaved together into a rose; wafting of caramelized sugar, apple and butter. 

I took my best guess at the technique to create the roses.  Set in pate brisse with boysenberry jam, this is easy, but meticulous. I can't wait to buy the original this coming summer.


French Style Meat (Chicken)

Does "French style" meat, as it's known at the Russian table, really take its origins in France? Not exactly... The Russian version is a distant reproduction of a dish prepared for the Count Orloff in 19th century France, a popular destination for Russian nobility.  He enjoyed the dish so much, it was named after him, and eventually served by his staff back home at Cathrine the Great's court.  Of course, a culture of culinary excess, this was a cardiologist job security dream.  Today, it can be found quite readily gracing most Russian tables, with varied interpretations that may include meat (originally veal) potatoes, mushrooms, cheese, onions, and most likely mayonnaise replacing the original b├ęchamel sauce. 

Here's my version:

4 skinless chicken quarters
3 potatoes
1 onion
1 cup of your favorite grated cheese ( I used gruyere) 
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup sour cream
Salt + pepper
2 tbsp olive oil 

Season skinless chicken quarters with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet.
Slice onions on a mandolin and mix with a tbsp of oil. Sprinkle on the chicken. Slice potatoes on a mandolin, season with salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Arrange potatoes atop the chicken with some overlap. Bake at 385F for 25 minutes. Mix sour cream, mayo and cheese with smoked paprika. Remove the chicken from the oven and spread the cheese mix atop potatoes. Return to oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes raise the temp to 425 and watch for the cheese to turn a nice caramel color. Once it does, your "French" chicken is ready to remove from the oven and serve.