I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc, Crash Hot Potatoes, Sour Cream Veggies

As much as I love coming up with new recipes or taking old recipes and changing them around, there are some nights where I want a really good meal that I don't want to have to think about. This is when I love turning to my fellow bloggers.

Yesterday I was really ready to actually cook again (and even to deal with the heat in my kitchen for a while to have an actual meal). When I opened up my google reader one of the first recipes I came across was Nemmie's Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc. Just the sort of thing I love (lots of butter and garlic and pork! my favorite things). I also have been dying to try out Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes. I served these alongside of my mom's sour cream veggies.

Thanks so much ladies for an amazing meal. I have to say that the white wine sauce over top of the crash hot potatoes is maybe one of the tastiest things ever. You must give it a try.

Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 thick pork chops
2 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, in crosswise slices
2 c. sauvignon blanc or other dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Salt and pepper pork chops on each side. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pork chops in hot pan, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown, 10-15 minutes per side, adding a tablespoon or two of wine to pan if it starts to smoke. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
Add wine to pan and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Cook to reduce liquid by half. Reduce heat to low and add butter, stirring until melted. Turn off heat.
Place pork chops on warmed plates. Garnish liberally with garlic and drizzle with pan sauce. Pass any remaining sauce at the table. Serve with sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling or gew├╝rztraminer.

Crash Hot Potatoes
The Cast of Characters: New Potatoes (or other small, round potato), Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and whatever herb you like. I’m using Rosemary (I used basil).

Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make, and cook them until they’re fork-tender.
Next, generously drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan. This will mean the difference between the potatoes sticking and not sticking, so don’t be shy here.
When the potatoes are tender, place them on the cookie sheet……Giving them plenty of room to spread out. Next, grab your potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes…Then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it. Of course, you don’t want to absolutely smash it into the pan—you want it almost to resemble a cookie. Repeat until all are flattened. And really, I don’t know why you couldn't use the bottom of a glass for this step if you don’t have a potato masher. The surface might not be as textured and interesting, but I think it still might work.
Next, brush the tops rather generously with olive oil. Next, grab some Kosher salt. You can use regular salt, but I’d really recommend using kosher. It adheres to the potatoes more easily and really flavors them nicely without getting too salty. Be ye ever as generous with fresh ground black pepper. Now, you can grab some chives…or thyme…or whatever herbs you have available. Whatever herb you use, just chop it pretty finely and sprinkle over the top.
Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes……Or until they’re golden and crispy and sizzling.

Sour Cream Veggies
(from my mom)
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 c. sour cream
salt and pepper
2 c. of frozen veggies (I prefer a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend)

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sour cream. Add the frozen vegetables and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are cooked through, around 8-10 minutes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prosciutto Robusto Panini, Insalata Caprese

And I continue with the recipes for those who can't stand to spend too much time in their sweltering hot kitchen. I do miss cooking some intense, time-consuming meals, but I just can't deal with dripping sweat into whatever it is I'm cooking--not really worth it.

So here we have another easy, quick, no-oven-necessary meal. A little heat from the grill pan on the stove, but they cook so fast it won't matter too much!

Prosciutto Robusto Panini
a piece of ciabatta bread, cut in half
2 pieces of prosciutto
slice of robusto cheese (robusto is a gouda style cheese)
1 1/2 TB pesto

Spread the pesto on one half of the ciabatta bread. Top with the prosciutto, robusto, and the other half of the ciabatta. Place onto a hot grill pan and place a heavy pan on top of the panini to work as a "press". Watch carefully so the bread does not burn. Flip once and remove once the sandwich has been heated through and serve.

Insalata Caprese
3 large heirloom tomatoes (I like to use 3 different kinds of heirlooms to add some variety to the flavor)
3/4 c. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
2-3 TB fresh basil, chopped
2-3 TB extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together all ingredients. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Buttermilk Cornbread, Creamed Spinach

I know that most people use their slow cookers in the winter. They turn out hearty, rich, comfort foods that are perfect for those cold winter nights. But for me, the slow cooker is a lifesaver in the hot summer months. I can turn it on, throw in some ingredients and keep myself out of the sweltering kitchen.

Thus the inspiration for slow cooker ribs. And what better sides to accompany the BBQ than some homemade cornbread and creamed spinach? There aren't any, I tell you. I do have to say the last cornbread recipe I posted on here was just ok. This one (from allrecipes) is perfect. I'm in love. (it is a sweet version, though, so those of you who are in the "cornbread shouldn't be sweet camp beware).
I did make my own homemade BBQ sauce to use on these ribs and it was just ok, so I'm not going to post it. Once I perfect the art of BBQ sauce, I will let you all in on the secret, though, don't you worry.

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
2.5 lb pork short ribs (cut into individual ribs)
2 1/4 c. BBQ sauce, divided
1 bottle beer (I prefer Stella)
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the ribs on all sides. Place into slow cooker with 1 1/2 c. BBQ sauce and beer. Turn on cooker to high and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Turn to low and continue cooking until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bones (about another 1 1/2-2 hours). Remove ribs from cooker (without the cooking liquid)

Place the ribs with the remaining 3/4 c. BBQ sauce into a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook on all sides of the ribs, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve with the sauce.

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
1/4 pound butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Creamed Spinach
(Emeril Lagasse)
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (I used onion instead)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.
Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I always think that vegetable lasagna looks so good and want to try it. But I don't make lasagna very often, so when I finally get around to it I find myself craving the regular kind. This time around I decided to make a slight combo of the two by adding some sliced zucchini to a regular old lasagna. It curbed both of my cravings.

I like my lasagna with a lot of cheese and sauce so it is extra gooey. I think this may be my favorite version I've ever had. If you're not feeling the veggies, you can leave them out, or if the mood strikes you you can always add some more! I have to admit that I made this almost overflowing from my 9X9 pan and had to sit it on a baking sheet to bake to catch any drips, so if you have an extra deep baking dish, it may bode well for you to use that instead.

1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
4 links spicy Italian sausage, removed from casings
3/4 lb. hamburger
2 TB onion flakes
2 t. garlic powder
2 TB Italian seasoning

3/4 of a 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 TB herbs de Provence

8 Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
3 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 zucchini, sliced thinly

To make the sauce: Cook the sausage, hamburger, garlic powder and onion flakes in a large skillet with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once cooked add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and sauce, and the Italian seasoning. Continue cooking until cooked through.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, and herbs de Provence.

To assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 375.
Divide up ingredients in the following way: 5 equal portions sauce, 3 of the ricotta mixture and zucchini, and 4 of the cheeses and the pasta.
Start by spreading 1/5 of the sauce on the bottom of a 9X9" baking dish (preferably one with extra tall sides). Place 2 pasta shells on top. On top of the pasta spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the zucchini slices, 1/4 of the cheeses, and finally 1/5 of the sauce. Top with 2 more pasta sheets. Repeat the filling layers two more times. Top the final 2 pasta sheets with the remaining 1/5 sauce and 1/4 cheese (you should have the bottom layer of sauce, then 3 layers with all of the fillings, then the top layer of sauce and cheese).
Cover baking dish with foil and cook for about 50 minutes. Uncover and cook 5-10 minutes more. Allow the lasagna to sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it and serving.

Aromatic White Trout Fillets

My husband isn't a huge seafood fan (at least he didn't used to be--I'm slowly training him ;-) ) so I don't cook a lot of it in our house. But occasionally I get a big craving for it and have to make it anyways. On this particular night I made the fish for myself and made the hubster a big steak so I could indulge in my seafood craving.

This recipe is light and simple, but full of flavor and very fresh tasting. The oil and leftover veggies/aromatics are great on top of the fish and would also be good on top of a light pasta or rice.

Aromatic White Trout Fillets
2 white trout fillets
3/4 c. good quality olive oil
1/2 of a lemon, sliced into thin slices
1/4 of a large head of fennel, sliced thinly
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, sliced

Heat the oil over low heat in a skillet. Add the lemon, fennel, rosemary and garlic. Allow to cook slowly until the lemons have cooked through and tender, but do not cook until the lemons completely fall apart (this should take around 12-15 minutes). Remove the lemons, fennel, rosemary and garlic from the oil and turn the heat up to medium, medium-high.
Salt and pepper the trout fillets and add to the oil when hot. Cook, turning once, until fillets are cooked through. This will not take very long, about 3-4 minutes per side (maybe less, depending on how hot your stove is--don't cook too long!).
Serve trout fillets topped with the aromatics.