Saturday, 27 April 2013

Shrimp Scampi

Have you ever had such an intense week at work that you go into a manic frenzy at 4:59 on Friday afternoon because you still have a lot of work to do, and you want to get it finished so you don't end up still sitting at your desk working at 8:00? Gah!~ That was me this week. Driving home, all I could think about was how I couldn't wait to pour a nice glass of wine and make a fabulous tasting dinner. But I was short on time from working late. So I came up with the idea of Shrimp Scampi! Easy, fast and bursting with flavour. And just that little bit decadent enough to reward myself for working so hard. (I adore rewarding myself for every little thing!) My employer definitely got their money's worth out of me this week! So I'm going to take that paycheque and make it worth my while too!

 For this recipe you'll need:
4 - 5 colossal raw shrimp per person
about 1/3 cup of olive oil, or a bit less if you're cooking for 2
1 spring of fresh thyme, remove the stem and just use the leaves
4 large cloves of chopped garlic

And for the sauce:
1 finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons of capers
juice and zest of a lemon
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

Saute the shrimp on Medium high heat in the olive oil, thyme and garlic. Flip them after a few minutes. Don't let them over cook. Remove them from the heat when they turn pink and scrape all the contents into a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat and saute the shallots just until they're soft. Add the capers, wine and lemon zest and juice. Let this simmer until it has reduced by half. Add the shrimp and garlic mixture back into the pan and stir it around for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe only takes literally minutes to prepare. You can serve it with rice or salad or noodles and some fresh sliced baguette. I like to serve it with rice. But that takes longer to cook. So start your shrimp when your rice is about halfway done. This is lightning fast to make, but the taste is full and robust, so it's fine for a  special meal on the weekend too! Team it up with a steak on the barbeque and you have Surf and Turf. Enjoy!

Sunday, 21 April 2013


We're coming up to our one year anniversary of our blog this week! It's been our pleasure to share our recipes with you this past year. And our stories too. We hope you've enjoyed some great meals and hope you enjoy many more. Now when my Ladygirls and I decided to start a blog, we all agreed that we would never share our Vichyssoise recipe. Hahaha I don't know why we decided that. I guess because we were heading into unknown territory, and a lady always likes to keep an ace up her sleeve! Vichyssoise is by far, our favourite food. Bailey and Kelly have been loving it since they were toddlers. And we have always kept our recipe top secret! But it seems like silly and strange hoarder behaviour not to share it now. In just one year, we have had more than eight thousand readers (Yay for us!) and we thank each and every one of you for visiting our site!

Now the thing about Vichyssoise is that it requires very few ingredients, and sometimes that isn't the easiest recipe. You don't have the luxury of garlic and spices and tomatoes to bolster up your flavour. But to keep it pure and classically French, you cannot cheat. The flavour is subtle and elegant, and you really must use the best possible, freshest ingredients you can find. This is the one I break out my Fleur de Sel and my pink peppercorns for. And I use only homemade stock for it because you will taste it if you use canned. And here is the best advice I can give you - Inform your guests before they pick up their spoon that they will be enjoying COLD soup! I can't tell you how many times my lovely guests have informed me that my soup is cold! Hahah Whoops! Sorry, I must have forgotten to heat that up for you! Yes. This is cold soup. Don't even be tempted to eat it hot. Just skip over this recipe altogether and make a hearty chowder if you don't like the idea of eating a beautifully chilled, classically French, gorgeous and subtle soup!

And just of note, if you have a fussy eater, children love this! Bailey and Kelly have been eating this all their lives. And my friend Tamba, mother of Bailey's Godson told me that she thinks possibly 25% of Narayan's body weight is made up of Vichyssoise because he adores it so much! So lets get started.

You'll need:
3 leeks, well rinsed and thinly sliced. Just use the white parts and throw away the tough green part
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks of finely chopped celery
2 peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
1/2 cup of salted butter
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Or vegetable if you want to make this vegetarian
salt and freshly ground pepper
About 2 cups of half and half cream
Sliced green onions to garnish

Saute the leeks, onion and celery in the butter on medium heat just to soften them. Don't let them brown.
Add the potatoes and chicken broth. Simmer for about 30 minutes covered, and about 5 minutes uncovered. When the potatoes are very soft and easily break apart, remove from the heat and puree it with an immersion blender or a blender.
Whisk in about 3/4 cup of the cream, season it to your taste with salt and pepper and bring it just to a simmer and remove it off the heat. Chill this for at least 6 hours, but overnight is better.

Just before you serve, whisk in more cream slowly. You don't want it to be too thin. So keep tasting it until it comes to the consistency you like. You don't want it to be heavy like a chowder. So a bit less than that, but not thin like a broth. It should still coat the spoon. You have to experiment till you get it to your liking. No rules here. You decide. And also taste it for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with sliced green onions.

You can serve this as an elegant starter for a fancy dinner, or if you love it as much as we do, just have it for your main on a beautiful spring day with a nice, green side salad. Enjoy!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Shrimp Tacos

Spring is so great. It really is. I love it. But, on the other hand, it does slightly make me feel like I’ve been loafing on the couch for six months, and this makes me feel a bit like I should do something to change my life. Renewal and all that. Predictably, I assume, I then buy into all that business of “getting bikini-ready” and such. Spring is much more a signal for me internally than New Year’s Resolutions. At the time of the New Year, I am still comfortably numbing my body with all sorts of delicious and unhealthy things.

So anyway, I’m also weirdly defensive about this healthy living thing though. Like, I secretly don’t want people to know I’m making good choices and trying to get a grip. The other day I posted a smoothie photo on Facebook, and a friend of mine commented that I was on a health kick. I wrote back something along the lines of, “Well. Not a HEALTH KICK. I’m just like, drinking water and running and making smoothies and clean eating and generally trying to not be a fat hooligan, you know?” Because, I’m not jumping on any kind of bandwagon, you know what I’m saying? I am NOT going to be on of Those People on Pinterest who posts up 9 million posts a day on motivation and cross fit and vegan choices. You know? Because my shit is private on Pinterest.

Anyway. Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that I was, in fact, going to do a 50-day clean eating challenge. And again, just for the ease of discussion, let’s also say I am following this great blog on how to do exactly that, which I may or may not have re-posted on my Facebook wall. So let’s also agree that possibly, you might be interested in eating clean too. Because perhaps you are being sucked in by this warmer weather, and maybe you also have an itsy-bitsy Kate Middleton bikini bottom that you are planning on wearing at some point this summer. Now, the only question is, what the hell are we going to eat?

This is important. This is important to all foodies, (and yes, I just referred to myself as a “foodie”, so get over it) because I feel a constant internal struggle between loving food and loving being healthy. These do not always match up. Various fad diets make this more impossible. Recollect, for example, Skinny Bitch, the book promoting a completely vegan lifestyle in order to be thin. Well that is great, if I want to eat chickpea curries for the rest of my life. But then it came out that soy wasn’t great for you, and any kind of soy created fake cheese/turkey/ mayo/etc. was probably more processed and chemically poisonous than if you just ate some damn evilly-raised chicken. Out the door that went. So now it’s eat clean, blah blah, but is this going to be DELICIOUS? Is it going to be fun to make wonderful things to eat? Because this is crucial for me. It has to be delicious and not taste only of curry powder and kale. (What is it with vegans and curry powder? Just because you put curry powder on something does not make it delicious. Not only that, it makes every single thing you cook taste the exact same.)

Short answer? Yes. We can make delicious food that tastes great (okay, not Kraft Dinner great- but good all the same) and is also healthy. Case in point: shrimp tacos. I made these the other night (inspired by something from Pinterest, I admit) and they turned out so perfectly.

Fish tacos are also great, but they are battered and deep-fried. This is not healthy eating at all, so the shrimp tacos are not. Start with several bell peppers, which you are going to julienne. Add to that an onion. Put all of this in a pan with a little olive oil or oil of your choice. I actually used coconut oil. Allow these to slowly caramelize in your pan. Add about a teaspoon of cumin, coriander and chilli powder to taste. This is going to taste exactly like the powder taco seasoning that comes in those kits, except without all the other bits they put in it. If you’re avoiding salt, then don’t add it. If that isn’t your thing, then put some salt in.

While those are simmering on low, make an avocado dressing. This is actually the highlight of the meal. Take an avocado or two and put in a food processor or blender. Now add some fresh cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and just a kick of Tabasco or something spicy. Think guacamole but a little thinner, more the texture of a sauce. Guess what? Now you don’t need to add sour cream to your tacos!

When your peppers are just about ready, add your shrimp and cook until pink. I recommend pre-peeled, pre-tailed, de-veined shrimp for the ease of your life. Wrap in a whole grain tortilla. (This may not be “clean”, per se, but go for your healthiest choice.) Add some chopped fresh tomato and spinach, and there you go! Shrimp tacos for the clean-eating-bandwagon win.

Editor’s note: If you would like to know why there are no final photos of the tacos, refer to Fish Taco. These are not a photogenic food.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Bailey is totally going to kill me for this blog. She thinks we have been way too heavy on the swine blogs of late, and she's right. But I'm a sale shopper when it comes to meat, and pork is what they're practically giving away this week at my local grocer. I thought we were a little red pepper heavy a few weeks ago, but I didn't hear her complaining about that since she loves red pepper so much! And when you can pick up a nice pork shoulder roast for $4.00, then that's God telling me to make a slow roast, pulled pork sandwich dinner. I don't think a family could get take out anything for a mere Four Dollars!

And today, I declared it a "Me Day", so this day was dedicated to my own pleasure. And why not? I've been working hard and just endured my 53rd Canadian winter, so I wasn't about to stress myself today. Pulled pork is a meal that you can make without having to peel a potato, or break out a whisk, but the oooohs and ahhhhs you get will please you immensely. And your family will swoon with delight. So let's get started.

You need a picnic style pork roast. I don't know what that exactly means. But it will shred up for you unlike a tenderloin or a loin roast. Get it with the bone in and the fat cap on it. Get a butt cut if you can, but a shoulder will do. (hahah butts rule!) It needs a spice rub. And pulled pork aficionados will insist you use a butt and smoke it and so on. And if I were ever to go to Memphis on vacay and dine on this speciality, that`s what I would insist on. But since I live in Canada, and this is just a meal for my family, and I don`t see myself competing on Top Chef, we're go to do this pedestrian style.

For my spice rub, I just used my Cajun seasoning that I had on hand. I make my own you know. That's sort of a joke because I'm too cheap to buy the already made Cajun seasoning. You can look up the Jambalaya recipe in this blog to see what that is. Or you can just make up your own blend. Rub your roast all over with olive oil and massage the spice blend onto the meat. Put it in the oven uncovered at 275 degrees for 6 hours. Or 7. No less than 6 and no more than 8.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool down enough to handle. Remove the fat and the bone and discard. Now some recipes will tell you to shred the meat with two forks, but where is the love in that? They aren't called Shredded Pork Sandwiches! They are Pulled Pork Sandwiches. So take the time to break it all down with your fingertips. Pull it apart! Discard all the yucky fatty bits and throw away any of the tough outer bits that are too crispy from the roasting process.

Now here is where I'm certain I am not doing this Memphis style, But this is what tastes the best to me. I used Ciabetta buns because they have enough body to sustain themselves for a moist sandwich. I slice them and butter them and put them under the broiler just to toast them a bit. I mix just enough barbecue sauce into the pulled pork to moisten it. Not too much. And you can make your own or use a good quality store bought one. Spoon the meat onto the bun and add a bit more barbecue sauce. Serve with sides of coleslaw and baked beans. Some people like to put the coleslaw right on the sandwich and to me, that's awesome. Skip a step right there! Why bother forking it into your mouth if you can ingest it in the same bite as your sandwich? So I do that now too.

This is easy and fun and delicious! People will beg you to make it again and again. So sorry about that Bailey. Swine really does rule the world!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Prime Rib

Well normally I would have an anecdote or two to share with you, but Bailey just posted a Supreme Goddess recipe for a jazzy uptake on a BLT, and I enjoyed reading it very much, so I'm just going to give you a tip on how to cook a Prime Rib roast. And I have to do it while it's fresh in my mind, or else I'll forget and there won't be a decent  recipe for that on this blog.

Now the Ladygirls are young and talented cooks and they keep abreast of all the trends and they do research and test out  recipes all the time. I do no such thing. I only post the basics here and it's up to you to experiment and make each recipe your own like they do. I don't follow recipes because I've been cooking all this stuff for 30 years or more. I can tell you how to make the basic thing, just to where your meat will be perfect and your potatoes will compliment the dish and such as that, but I keep all my posts basically to a blank slate so you can put your own sexy spin on it. So if you're lucky like me, and you spotted a smoking good sale on Prime Rib, and you can grab a 3 pounder for 8 bucks like I did just recently, then I'm your best friend today!

Lots of recipes tell you not to salt your meat because it draws out the moisture and blah, blah, blah. I salt the fat cap on a Prime Rib because I definitely want that salt to give me some flavour and draw the moisture out of that fat and reduce it down to a yummy crispiness. So I rub the fat side of it with butter and salt the bejesus out of it with sea salt. And then add some freshly ground pepper. Some people slice open the meat and introduce garlic cloves into the flesh. And do it if you like. But have you ever tasted prime rib? There really is no need to do that. Just some salt and pepper on the fat cap does the trick. This part of the cow doesn't need enhancing. When you are fortunate enough to serve the best part a cow has to offer, believe me, less is more. And if you want to introduce some exotic flavour, do it with your side dishes.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Lay your beef up on it's rack and butter just the fat cap and season just the fat with sea salt and pepper. Let it roast up on it's rack for 20 minutes then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and let it roast for 20 minutes per pound. I don't have a meat thermometer, but if you do, take it out of the oven at 140 degrees. But really, you don't need a thermometer because the 20 minutes rule will work if you follow these instructions. So after the 20 minutes at 450, let's say you have a 3 pound roast, you'll go on for an hour at 350 from here. NOW HERE IS THE KEY: Take it out and cover it with tin foil on your carving board and let it just hang out for 20 more minutes for a medium rare roast.

The meat will continue to cook even after you take it out of the oven. It will come out of the oven at RARE. But you cannot serve it at this point or you will have a bloody massacre on your carving board and all the juices will run out across your kitchen floor and your meat will be tasteless and of course dry and bland. The resting time is the key. I don't even turn on my potatoes until the meat is to the rest. If you let it rest for 20 minutes, it will be medium rare. If you let it rest for 30 minutes, it will be medium. That's as far as you want to go because it stands to reason that 40 minutes of rest time will result in medium well. And now it's ruined because a medium well prime rib is pretty much overcooked in my mind. Well not even "pretty much". It's too well done by far. But you get the idea. Hahaha! Another basic recipe by Mad Men Mama and this one will take you through your life for all time! Enjoy!


Who doesn’t love a BLT? Everyone loves them! Bacon helps. Bacon helps everything, and in five thousand years, when human-bots are sifting through the wreckage of our ancient civilization, they will probably analyze the entirety of the Internet on some little microchip implanted in their brains, and they will say, “Why did these ancient beings worship thin, cured strips of animal flesh?” And they will come up with all sorts of reasons, but they won’t know, because they probably will have evolved beyond needing to eat, so they won’t know the deliciousness that is cured pork belly. They will just plug themselves into various electrical outlets. Or maybe they will have evolved to eating only bacon. Who knows!

            Today, I hope to convince you that bacon is actually not the be-all end-all of pork cuts, despite what the meme-makers will have you believe. In fact, I don’t even really like pork that much, truth be told (and an unfortunate experience in Cuba just cemented that for me.) I find pork chops to be a little dry, ham is just bizarre to me, and this new offal cuisine has taken things to a whole other level. (“Back in my day, we bought pigs’ ears in Price Club and fed them to the dog, we didn’t pay $28.50 for them in a restaurant!”) BUT, I am not a total sus-phobe, (and yes, I Googled the scientific name for pig there). I very much love prosciutto, ribs can be great, and I do like bacon when it’s cooked to death.

            Maybe you’re waiting for me to actually get to a point here. What I’m trying to say is give prosciutto a chance. Put it in your fry pan. Toast it up. See what happens. (I’m actually a little afraid to put this on the intra-webs, what if Anonymous finds me and outs me for screwing up the whole Internet by not loving bacon and cats?!) If you try this, you might just find a lighter, friendlier version of bacon. A gentle bacon. A bacon without weird bits of chewy fat. A bacon without the potential to death splatter into your eye and possibly set your kitchen on fire and require you to scrub down your entire stovetop after cooking it. You MIGHT find this to be a crisper, more delicious alternative to bacon. Try it. What is life without adventure, right?

            So, on to the recipe. Use bacon if you must. I may never go back to bacon after my prosciutto experience. Here’s what we are going to do. We are going to make a jazzed-up BLT. Maybe I’ll call it a PLT. Let’s think of our classic BLT elements here. 
  • Bacon. Jazzed version: Prosciutto.
  • Bread. Jazzed version: Panko bread crumbs.
  • Mayo. Jazzed version: Garlic aioli.
  • Tomato. Jazzed version: Tomato (BUT coated with that Panko and fried in a pan!)
  • Lettuce: Jazzed version: Arugula. (What the hell did people do before arugula?)

Are you ready for this? This is as easy as a BLT but people will be all like, “Oh, that Bailey is so pretentious. She’s into that whole re-fab classics cuisine thing. She’s one of those people that uses “rustic” when she describes her food. I KNOW, right? Who says RUSTIC? I bet she pretends to like that offal cuisine too.” Seriously. People will say that.

            Start with your aioli, because the longer it sits, the better. And by the way, this is cheat-aioli. You could make real aioli if you want to, it’s super easy. But, I have that paranoia about food safety and it becomes very difficult emotionally for me to eat raw egg things. So cheat-aioli is incredibly easy, and it starts with mayo. Put a large scoop of that in a bowl.  Grate in some fresh garlic. Squeeze half a lemon in. Whisk while you add olive oil until it’s a nice consistency. Thinner than mayo, but not completely soupy.

            Put that in the fridge (food safety, y’all!). Now, put a few strips of prosciutto in a pan and let it crisp. This will happen MUCH quicker than bacon, and it’s a lot less responsibility. Set aside. In the same pan, because everyone likes using only one pan, add a little olive oil and get that ready for your tomatoes.

            Slice your tomato thickly, and if you’re dealing with a not quite ripe tomato, that’s even better. You want a nice, firm tomato that will stand up to being heated. Tomatoes are pretty moist, so I found the panko stuck to them just fine, but you could moisten them with an egg wash or something if you wanted to. I also added salt and pepper to the panko. In your hot pan (sorry, I should have told you to heat that pan up) and your slices of tomato. Sauté until golden brown, then flip.

            Now plate it. Choose something rustic. Bed of arugula, slice of tomato. Add some aioli, then top with another slice of tomato (just like a sandwich!).  But! We’ll be tricky and artistically lay your prosciutto slices across the top. Drizzle with more aioli. There you have it. The jazziest BLT you’ve ever eaten.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Banana Cream Pie

Let’s get one thing straight: this is not, by any means, your working mom 1970s second wave feminist instant pudding mix banana cream pie. This is serious, serious stuff. If you’re not up for devoting several hours to this pie, you should maybe just buy one instead. But if you are underemployed and obsessed with David Chang like I am, then give this one a try.

David Chang, for those of you not in the know, is the culinary world’s Second Coming of Christ. He revolutionized ramen and other Asian faves. He owns Momofuku which, if you don’t know what it is, you just don’t watch enough Food Network. He also owns Milkbar, which is a dessert restaurant and the origin of this recipe.

I saw this pie made on an episode of The Mind of a Chef, the brainchild of Chang and Anthony Bourdain. The theme of the episode was “rotten,” and the pie was included because it uses bananas that have turned black. I happened to have a few of these lying around (not on purpose) so I figured I would make good use of them.

Here’s how to make the pie.

First, you have to make your cookie crumb crust. I was expecting that you could buy a chocolate cookie crust in much the same way as you buy a graham crust. But unfortunately no. So what you have to do is smash up some chocolate wafers until they make a powder, mix that with some melted butter and a bit of icing sugar, and press it into your pie pan. This is actually the least labour-intensive part of the whole thing, believe it or not. Put this into the fridge now. You'll come back to it in several hours. 

Next: In a blender, combine two blackened bananas (sans peels, obvi) with 1/3 cup heavy cream and ¼ cup milk. Puree it until it’s completely smooth. Now add in ½ cup sugar, two tablespoons of cornstarch, half a teaspoon of salt, and three egg yolks. Blend again until smooth. (We aren’t even close to done this pie yet!)

Put the whole blended mixture into a saucepan over medium heat and stir casually until it starts to boil. This is going to activate the cornstarch so that the mixture thickens. It will look something like cement paste at this point. Meanwhile, bloom one packet of unflavoured gelatin in cold water (don’t use too much gelatin, either. I measured a bit off and it was too gelatinous and kind of strange). Once the banana mix is boiling and stirred for two minutes, whisk in the gelatin. Add a silly amount of yellow food colouring until you have cartoon banana yellow. (Otherwise you’ll have a grey pie – not appealing).

Okay, put all that in a bowl and let it cool down for several hours. Tired yet? Maybe have a drink at this point. Once it’s completely cool, whip together ¾ cup heavy cream with 1 cup icing sugar until it forms peaks (mine didn’t, but it’s supposed to). Now slowly fold your cold banana mix into the cream mix. (My banana mix was hard like jello at this point – too much gelatin! – but I just used an electric mixture to combine it all).
It’s finally time to assemble the pie. Take your chocolate crumb crust out of the fridge and pour in half the banana filling. Layer in some slices of banana, then cover with the rest of the banana filling. I garnished with banana half moons around the edge because my crust was uneven. Let sit in the fridge for an hour or so to set up. Slice and enjoy!

And then wait a year or two before you make it again, because it was so much work!
My finished pie! Just kidding - it's David Chang's.

This one is mine. Ha! Not as pretty.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Epic Meal Time: The Belly of the Beast

If you watch a lot of cooking shows and Food Network, you soon learn about what are currently “trendy” ingredients or dishes. If I have to see one more television chef do something with polenta, shrimp and grits, watermelon gazpacho, etc., I will pull my hair out. Alright, already! You’re super downhomelowcountryrustichisptercool. But, there is one so-called trending ingredient that I am obsessed with. And that is pork belly.

Pork belly, for the uninitiated, is exactly what it sounds like. You see it a lot in Asian cooking (hello, David Chang!) but also in southern food. Which is how I first enjoyed this cut of meat. It was at a restaurant in Ottawa and it was simply awesome. But since I live in Kingston and we are not exactly a culinary mecca (or even a metropolis – I sometimes go weeks without seeing a person of colour) I certainly didn’t expect to ever find pork belly in town.  Enter Farm Boy.

Farm Boy, as I’ve written many times, is like my second home. No lie – when they started following me on Twitter it felt like one of the biggest triumphs of my life. So wandering around Farm Boy one day, I asked the butcher casually if they sell pork belly. I wasn't expecting them to say yes. But they do. She came out with an enormous slab of delicious pork and cut me off a piece. I’m not even kidding: I was so emotionally overwhelmed and giddy that I almost burst into tears. Farm Boy, if you’re reading this, if you ever need someone to come work in your marketing department, you know who to ask. (Not kidding. I am underemployed).

So here is how to cook your belly of the beast. First of all, southern cooking has a lot of regionalism and people tend to get their back up over the best way to do anything. Researching pork belly recipes online and reading the comments was like stepping into a reproductive rights debate. But here is the recipe I went with.

First of all, pat your whole pork belly dry and sprinkle it with salt. This helps draw out the moisture, which will crisp up the skin. Next, score the skin. (Many many people online said not to score the skin, but I did and it turned out yummy). Don’t you dare cut into the meat though – just the skin. Turn your oven up super hot. I did mine at 450. Pop your pork belly in (on a rack, for goodness’ sake) for fifteen minutes, skin up. I forgot about mine for a bit (I believe I may have been watching an episode of The Wire) and it was too crunchy, so make it just fifteen minutes. You’ll see the skin start to blister and render. (By the by, as you’re prepping your pork belly cut, you’ll notice that it’s alarmingly human-like. Definitely avoid any and all crime shows before and after this meal).

Now turn your oven down to a mild 325 and roast your belly for a solid two hours. Brush it with a barbecue sauce of your choice every fifteen minutes or so. I used apple butter and that was quite good. Let your belly rest for about twenty minutes out of the oven before slicing. The skin should be crisp and saucy and delish.

I served my belly with a simple tomato and spinach salad and some cashew green beans (both courtesy of my love – guest blog forthcoming?)

Now if you’re feeling super ambitious like I was, cap off the meal with a homemade banana cream pie and you have yourself a southern meal you won’t soon forget! Nom nom nom. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Roasted Rack of Pork

Not very often, but just every once in a while, it pays off to be a lazy drunkard. This is the case with today's recipe. Bailey was in town and we decided to go out for a nice brunch with the ladies this morning. My sister, my sister-in-law and her mom joined us. I had to go out anyway because I needed rosemary for my gorgeous loin of pork rack I was saving for Sunday dinner. A dinner I was so very excited about cooking too! So we all met for brunch at 11:00 a.m. (yes a.m.) and I would proceed directly to the grocery store from there. I only needed rosemary, but it was key to my pork recipe. So no problem.

Our server approached the table and asked if we wanted drinks. Now did she mean coffee or tea or alcoholic drinks I wondered? I asked her "Is anybody else in this restaurant drinking yet?" "Oh yes!" she said. "Those guys right over there at the bar are drinking." I glanced over and saw two poorly looking fellows with Bloody Mary's clearly drinking off the hangover from what looked like a fabulous night they had on the town the night before. "Sure then." we said. So my sister and I ordered Bloody Caesars. I don't need a hard push when it comes to these things! (I just couldn't shake the feeling though that she marched right into the kitchen and announced that she had some middle-aged morning boozing lushes in her station.)

So we all visited and caught up with each others news. Then we rehashed some old stories that are always fun to tell over and over again. Still no food. Then we started looking at photos on our phones. By now, over an hour had passed, when finally the manager came to our table and announced that they had run out of eggs in the kitchen! Not to be daunted, she told us that they had sent a runner out to the grocery store to buy some eggs, and brunch would be a while longer yet. BUT "the house would be happy to give us a complimentary round of drinks!" Rosemary or vodka? Rosemary or vodka? I knew right then and there that the grocery store would be cancelled by the demon side of my brain. That vodka loving little varmint that just adores screwing up my plans! And even the sensible side of my brain knows a free drink when it's offered one. Hahah so two and a half hours later, we left the restaurant having consumed what was possibly the worst breakfast we've ever had. But jubilant spirits prevailed nonetheless for getting a freebie!

I came home sans rosemary and jumped right on the internet to find an alternate idea for my pork. Usually I make a crust of breadcrumbs, garlic, rosemary, parsley and Dijon. I found a blog on a page called Chef Dennis. (Sorry I don't know how to post a link) but I loved his recipe because it contained all things I had in the house and by now I was feeling lazy and tired and a cooking spree was no longer the priority of the day. A nap was starting to emerge as the best plan for the afternoon.

So here you go. A nice recipe for people who morning drink but can still get a fabulous meal on the table in time for dinner!
1 rack of pork loin
Big, roughly chopped - 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 onion, 5 cloves of peeled garlic
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Put the roughly chopped vegetables in the bottom of the roast pan
Lay the pork over these and rub olive oil all over it
Season with just a tiny bit of salt, pepper and a good amount of Montreal Steak Spice (enough to form a crust)
Bake it for 15 minutes at 450 and reduce the heat to 325 for 2 hours. Uncovered for the whole time.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before you cut it. Cut into chops following the bone just as you would a rack of lamb.

You can serve this with apple sauce if you like or you can make an au jus. Just add a cup of red wine into the pan drippings and simmer it until it reduces a little bit. Strain out all the veg and serve it up. The meat was surprisingly moist, but I'm a gravy type person, so I recommend some additional moisture always.

I served this with scalloped potatoes (that recipe is featured in this blog) and maple glazed carrots.
Delicious and you would never know I boozed the morning away!