Cherrapeno: Winter Cranberry Cupcakes

Love these Melted Snowman Cupcakes!

Cherrapeno: Winter Cranberry Cupcakes.

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Porchetta for Hooligans

Traveling Bistro (my company) sponsored the Heartbreak Hooligans tailgate party at last weeks Texas Rollergirls roller derby bout. Good times!

Porcheta is an Italian food sold at festivals and street corners. So I thought this would be a great opportunity to roast up this porky treat. Porchetta is often a whole pig stuffed with sausage, fennel, onions and garlic. I have used just the pork loin in this application.

Porchetta:

5  Sweet onion (like 1015 or  Vidalia)

10 Garlic cloves sliced thin

1 Fennel bulb diced small (reserve the fonds)

Mild Italian Sausage, removed from casings

5 Eggs

Pork loin  4-5 lbs

Salt and Pepper

1 qt chicken stock

Return the loin the the fridge or cooler.

Dice two onions. Place the diced onion and fennel in a large saute pan and saute until golden brown. Add about half of the garlic to the pan. Saute for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the sausage. Fully cook. Allow this sausage mixture to full cool in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425.

Once sausage mixture is fully cooled, add the eggs and fennel fronds and mix thoroughly. Butterfly the loin. You should have a flat piece about 8″x 15″. If you have a nice butcher he may do this for you. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the spread out loin. Roll the loin up like a jelly roll. Salt and pepper the loin on all sides. Tie the rolled loin in several places with butchers twine. Halve the remaining onions. Place halved onions in roasting pan and place the loin on top of the onions. Roast in the preheated oven for 70 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Once the Porchetta is done remove from pan and place on cutting board. Cover with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes while the gravy is prepared.

Place the roasting pan on the the stove top with medium high heat. Leaving the onions and the juices in the pan add the remaining garlic. Saute until the garlic is soft. Add the chicken stock. Be sure to scrape the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Strain the gravy through a fine sieve.

Slice the loin and serve on rolls or crusty bread for tailgates or slice the loin and serve on plates with sides for a more formal affair.

Cucumber Cup With Peach Gazpacho

I was testing out both the application of a Cucumber cup and and idea I had for a Peach Gazpacho. It turned out to be a great Summer hors d’oeuvre.

2 English or Hot House Cucumbers (often individually wrapped)

3 Ripe Peaches

1 Roma Tomato, seeded and diced

1 Small Red Onion, diced

1 Serrano Pepper, seeded and diced (1/4 Green Bell Pepper may be substituted)

1/4 cup of Cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Lemon

Salt and Pepper to Taste

First prepare the Cucumbers by peeling then slicing into 5-6 equal pieces. Then with a small melon baller scoop out the center of each piece leaving both a bottom and border to the “cup”. Set aside. Peel Peaches and remove the pits. In a food processor or blender, puree 2 of the Peaches, add a dash of water only if necessary. Finely dice the last Peach. In a medium bowl combine the Peach puree, the diced Peach, diced Tomato, diced Onion, diced Serrano Pepper, Cilantro, Olive Oil and Lemon juice. Salt and Pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into Cucumber cups and serve chilled. Makes 10-12 cups. Enjoy!

Will Someone Please Think Of The Vegetarians?

Fresh Local Arugula

Summer is upon us, at least here is Texas. That means the grills and pits are primed for another season of mostly meaty delights. As you might have gathered from previous post I adore slow smoked meats and and seared cuts off the grill in a big way. Oh sure, we might throw on some corn or peppers on the grill to go with the meat fest but so often the vegetables get ignored once the grill is lit. I have been as guilty as any but I now have two sister-in-laws that are (Gasp!) Vegetarians. So I better change my ways if I know what’s good for me!

I have recently been enamored with Arugula. I had a spectacular salad of Baby Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Spiced Pecans at the Belmont. Since then Arugula has been high on my list of greens with it’s peppery bite and delicate texture. So next time I have the sister-in-laws over for dinner I think I’ll try this great looking recipe from Epicurious’ grill guide, Bruschetta with Arugula, Smoked Mozzarella and Tomatoes.

Bruschetta with Arugula, Smoked Mozzarella and Tomatoes