Saturday, October 19, 2013

Crab and lobster chowder

5 potatoes, diced
2 cups white wine (i use a Rhine wine)
1 stick butter
2 ounces smoke cured bacon
1 cup leeks, diced
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup celery, diced
2 small lobsters, cooked
1 lb lump crap
2 cup half and half
1 cup dry potato flakes
1 teaspoon corn starch

cook the potatoes and leeks in butter till the potatoes are just brown
add the wine, tarragon, celery and paprika and reduce the heat to just a simmer
remove the lobster meat from the shell and set aside
take all the shells and put them in a separate pot with water and boil for 30 minutes
Add the remainder of the liquid to the pot with them potatoes and rinse once.
Brown and crisp the bacon and add to the pot
add half and half.
dissolve the corn starch in a teaspoon of water and add to the pot
Increase the heat and stir continually until the desired thickness is reached
add lobster and crab and serve.

Pork should with a different flair

I often combine methods and spices from different cultures that i have been exposed to.
An simple example is that i will often "toast" my spices the way i was taught to in Indian cooking.
This time i went a bit crazy, i did not want Pernil, but rather a traditional roast pork flavor.
Yet i wanted the tenderness that goes with a slow cooked pork.
The other thing i wished to incorporate was the flavor rum imparts to pork when used as a marinade.
You do not taste the rum, but something changes dramatically and it is something i love.

Pork Shoulder with apples

1 pork shoulder - remove layer of fat to make ChicharrĂ³ns
6 cloves garlic, whole
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
2 cups rum
apple juice (~2 cups)
6 apples, cored, not peeled and halved

mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside 1/2 half of it
make 6 deep cuts into the shoulder and place whole garlic in each one
place pork garlic slices down in a baking pan and pour the rum over it
place apples over it, covering the pork
rub the shoulder with the dry mix and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours
before cooking turn the pork over and rub with the remaining dry rub
ChicharrĂ³ns are cut into strips and then pieces and placed in a separate baking dish not covered
begin cooking the pork covered with foil at 250 F for 4 hours
add apple juice to maintain moisture
Increase to 320 F for 2 hours
Remove the foil and increase oven temperature to 385 for 30 minutes
remove and serve with the apples

ChicharrĂ³ns are ready at this time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall cooking inspiration

As weather turns color and the colors begin to show on the leaves the inspiration in my cooking turns to my French/German roots, Alsatian to be correct.
So what first?
Going with a non-traditional sauce for ravioli, meaning not a red sauce.  Everything (save the ravioli, olive oil, wine and sausage) were out of the garden.
I shared my creation and they took a picture, cause i usually don't remember to take a picture!
1 Italian style squash (pale green, with a thick skin, but not hard) - peeled and roughly cut into 2 inch chunks
1 eggplant - peeled, soaked in salt water for 1 hour
5 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
2 inch sprig of Rosemary - finely diced
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano - roughly chopped
1/4 cup basil - roughly chopped
1 onion - roughly chopped
1 lbs Italian sausage
5 tomatoes - roughly chopped
2 red cayenne peppers
1 sweet red pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 5 inch stalks of celery - roughly chopped
4 cups rose wine
Olive oil to coat the pan
Store made frozen ravioli (i simply do not have to confidence yet to make it from scratch!)

Cook the sausage in a large pot coated with olive oil on high heat
when just brown, add onions and when just translucent add garlic and continue cooking on high for a minute, stirring constantly.
Add all the peppers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, celery and spices.
Add the wine and reduce the heat to a slow simmer when it starts to boil.
Cover a cook for 1 hour.
Salt to taste

Cook the ravioli according to the directions, drain and plate ravioli with sausage on the side with the "vegetable stew/sauce" over the ravioli.
Grate a good Parmesan cheese over it.

More cooking tonight!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Thinking i am in a rut,
not being very "creative" with the food i serve;
i have a chance to eat as a neighbors.
Plain simple food is served:
rice, beans and a thin meat flavored with peppers and carrots and Latin spices.
It was good, really good and it dawned on me that this is how i have been cooking as of late;
I have been using very seasonal ingredients, cooking with flavor, but no flair.
Squash, peppers, tomatoes, peppers, spices from the garden.
There is nothing "special" or out of the box, but people are happy and full  at the end of a meal.
I forget that that is what cooking is and on occasions we do something that makes the ordinary special,
but i can not forget that the ordinary is also always special!