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Halloween Chili Ideas

23 Oct

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My favorite tree in Westerwood is at it’s most glamorous right now. It is bright orange and glowing in the sunlight and loosing leaves daily. Winston and I love taking short trips over to stand under the tree and gaze at the orange filtered light. It’s also a reminder of Halloween around the corner. Every year, I make a big pot of chili and invite friends to join me on my front porch for bourbon cocktails and bowls of goodness. This year I’m planning on making a beef brisket chili and I look forward to reporting back. In the meantime, here are a variety of chili recipes if you’re looking to get into the swing of Fall and Halloween!

 

Pear Pulled Pork with Currant and Caper Cauliflower Slaw

20 Oct

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It’s a joke between my friends that ever since my friend Jessica moved away, we’ve been eating a lot of pork. It’s true – we’ve saved up a lot of pork recipes while entertaining and cooking with our kosher friend. Now that she’s gone, we send tipsy texts and devour pork noodle soups and slow roasted pork shoulder. Kidding aside, it’s the perfect time of year for slow cooking anything  and this pear pulled pork is perfect on it’s own or with a tangy cauliflower slaw on a warm roll. This is pretty fancy for a tailgate but would impress plenty of friends at any gathering.

We enjoyed this on Friday night while sipping pear & ginger cocktails on the front porch.

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council. 

Pear Pulled Pork

  • 7 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons, kosher salt
  • 1yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pear chopped
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 3 chipolte peppers
  • 1 tablespoon, each, garlic powder, corriander, cumin, fennel, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Around 8pm (the night before), put the pork shoulder into a dutch oven. Season generously with salt. Add a chopped onion, a chopped pear and sliced orange. Top with brown sugar and spices. Cook overnight – until about 6am-ish at 225 degrees. This is at your own risk – trust your oven to sleep with it on over night! But, it’s the most simple way I’ve found to cook a whole pork shoulder.

The next day, chop or shred the pork. Reduce the liquid for a sauce – I also like to add some apple cider vinegar to the sauce (if you’re an Eastern BBQ lover).

Cauliflower Slaw from the Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Using an adjustable-blade slicer (this is mine; it takes up very little room) to cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!

Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken

7 Oct

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Large bins of pumpkins are starting to pop up around town. They all say, “it’s Harvest time!” and I personally like their chipper. After a successful fundraiser in Center City Park (with many many pumpkin) I had my own personal kick off to Fall with this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken. My friend Jessica sent this recipe to me last year in honor of the Jewish holidays. We celebrated late (at an absolutely inappropriate time) but with good intentions.

I skipped the boiling of the marinade and blanching of lemons for the sake of time and laziness. I chucked the marinade and lemons into a bag for about 5 hours before roasting. Add onion, dates and carrots and roast away. This dish has great flavor and leaves the house in a desire for a fire and blankets.

Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken from the NY Times

  • 1 lemon, plus 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more for pot
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezedorange juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  •   Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick)
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  •  cup sliced dates
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pistachio nuts, for garnish
  1. Quarter the lemon lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges and add to small pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch for 2 minutes and drain. Reserve slices.
  2. In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Put chicken in a bowl and add honey mixture. Add carrots, onion, dates, thyme and blanched lemon slices. Turn mixture several times to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a sheet pan with a rim. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes for breasts and 30 to 40 for legs and wings (remove the pieces as they are done cooking). When the chicken is done, give the carrot mixture in the pan a stir; if the pan looks dry add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.
  5. Spoon carrots over chicken and top with cilantro, scallions and pistachio nuts.

Spicy Pork, Kale and Noodle Soup

22 Sep

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This weekend, my friend Margaret and I had a “quiet night in” that turned into an evening of much wine, laughter and a bit of minor mayhem. Those are the best kind, in my opinion, unexpected rolling of hilarity between bottles of red wine, political gossip, skyping with friends far away and cooking. We picked out this recipe for Pork, Kale and Noodle soup early in the day because Margaret had a pound of Massey Creek Farm ground pork on hand and we are both devouring kale right now. It’s also fun to make new recipes with friends – finding replacement ingredients when you just happened to purchase “salted sand lance” instead of fish sauce (lemon juice is a good replacement).

With all that said, have casual nights in the kitchen cooking with friends. You’ll have an unexpected fun time, a delicious meal and a night to remember. This recipe is perfect for the start of Fall.

Spicy Pork and Kale Soup, from Eat Live Run

1/2 lb ground pork

1 tsp chopped ginger

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/4 tsp lemon zest

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp vegetable oil

4 cups chicken broth

4 scallions, sliced thin

1 large bunch curly kale, roughly chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

8 oz rice noodles

If you have a mortar and pestle use it to smash together the peppercorns and lemon zest. If not, use the back of a knife on a cutting board (carefully). Do the same thing with the cumin seeds. Place the smashed peppercorns, lemon zest, smashed cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic in a medium size bowl. Mix well then add the ground pork and mix very well to combine the spices with the pork. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, add the oil and heat over medium high heat. When hot, add the seasoned ground pork. Sprinkle with salt and break up pork with a spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes, until pork is done.

Add the chicken broth to the pot along with the scallions, fish sauce and soy sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 6 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Add the kale — don’t worry if it seems like a crazy huge amount, it will cook down! — and stir well. Keep simmering for about 10 minutes while you prepare the noodles.

In another pot, cook the rice noodles in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

To serve the soup, place some rice noodles at the bottom of bowls. Ladle soup on top. Serve with sriracha if you desire but keep in mind that this soup already has a big kick!

Grilled Lamb with Porcini Mustard Sauce

5 Sep

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What pairs well with Pommes Anna? Grilled lamb, of course. With a hint of fall air, this recipe for grilled lamb chops with a porcini mustard sauce was perfect. Instead of individual chops, I grilled an entire rack on the grill until 125 degrees. It’s important to watch the thermometer like a hawk – over cooking lamb is sinful. With a little focus and the perfect glass of wine by the grill – you’ll be just fine. You’ll certainly regret not trying.

Grilled Lamb with Porcini Mustard Sauce , Gourmet 2009

  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 rib lamb chops (about 3/4 inch thick; 4 1/2 to 5 pounds total), frenched if desired

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas). Soak mushrooms in boiling-hot water (2 cups) until softened, about 20 minutes. Lift mushrooms out of water and strain liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve set over a small saucepan. Coarsely chop mushrooms.

Boil mushroom liquid in saucepan until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 13 to 15 minutes. Whisk in mustard, butter, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly. Stir in 2 tablespoon parsley.

Meanwhile, pulse rosemary, kosher salt, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor to form a coarse paste, scraping down sides. Rub oil all over chops, then coat evenly with rosemary mixture.

Oil grill rack, then grill chops in 2 batches, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes per batch for medium-rare.

Sprinkle porcini mustard with remaining tablespoon parsley and serve with lamb.

 

Slathered in Summer

30 Aug

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I’m enjoying the final days of official summer in the North Carolina mountains. It feels like fall up here already. Prepare yourself for some great recipes next week!

But before you say goodbye, I highly recommend making a simple supper to toast to the season. A grilled pork chop or steak seasoned heavily with ground cumin and corriander, some crispy and sweet corn fritters and a simple chopped salad with the best produce you can find.

Make a batch of your favorite green goddess dressing (Ina has a good one – as well as Gwyneth Paltrow) and slathers on tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados. When ingredients are that good, lettuce is only a filler. And check out this awesome fritter recipe below. I recommend more jalapeño!

Corn and Jalapeño Fritters, Bon Appetit

 

  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sour cream and lime wedges (for serving)

Pulse eggs, flour, Parmesan, and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor to combine. Add corn, scallion, and jalapeño; pulse 2–3 times.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook heaping tablespoonfuls of batter until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side; season fritters with salt. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

13 Aug

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For me, there is nothing better than discovering a new, easy and delicious recipe for solo weeknight dining. With a super busy work schedule, an avid gym regiment and one that finds socializing a priority – recipes like these fit in well. This one is super healthy too – packed with kale, anchovies, lemon juice and lean fish.

After a full day of work, an hour at the gym and a quick run by The Fresh Market, I made this delicious and beautiful plate in less than 15 minutes. I devoured it and didn’t feel a bit of guilt. That’s my kind of victory.

This is become a regular for me. Make it for one or it’s an easy and elegant entertaining dish too!

PS: I love a big selection of flavored olive oils to top dishes. The fire red cayenne pepper olive oil really jazzes up this plate!

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale or other kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise
Tuna steaks
Cayenne pepper olive oil

In a food processor, blend together first 6 ingredients. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. This will make enough for many salads.

Thinly slice kale and dress with Caesar dressing. I like to dress kale a little earlier than a typical lettuce.

Sear tuna with salt and pepper in a super high heat skillet or grill. Cook to your desired temperature.

Drizzle with a super spicy cayenne pepper olive oil for a nice kick and beautiful presentation!

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

12 Aug

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North Carolina is surely becoming swampland with all this rain. It’s really not good for morale – however, this weekend I didn’t let it get in the way of my cooking plans. Thanks to the encouragement of the North Carolina Pork Council, I embarked on a rib making adventure on Sunday. In attempt to make them seasonal, I made a spicy peach and sriracha BBQ sauce that has plenty of vinegar and tang. Additionally, roasting the ribs with a whole cinnamon stick and slices of ginger gives your rainy day Sunday a nice aroma. Instead of grilling this bad guys, I had to broil because of the downpour. It was worth my time as they were almost as good as the smoky real thing. I recommend doing this on a beautiful day when you can grill – but don’t let the rain get in the way of a delicious culinary adventure – especially with ribs.

This peach and sriacha sauce would be good on any grilled meats – pork tenderloin, chops or even poultry.

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

Rub:

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 2- to 2 1/4-pound racks baby back pork ribs

Braise:

1 large onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 thin rounds peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups apple cider

Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup orange juice, with pulp
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups peaches, peeled and chopped

1. The day before, remove the silver skin from the rack of ribs. Mix together the dry ingredients and rub all over the ribs. Refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day, about 3 hours before you want to serve, layer in a roasting pan – onion, cinnamon, ginger and cider vinegar. Place the ribs on top and cover tightly with foil. Braise for 2 hours – or until meat is fork tender – at 325 degrees.

3. While the meat is roasting, in a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add water, vinegar,  Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, Sriracha and salt. On medium heat, cook until reduced for about 10 minutes. Add peaches, cover the pan, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until peaches are soft. Move the mixture to a food processor and puree.

4. Once the ribs are tender, slather them with the peach BBQ sauce and grill. Or, broil if it’s raining. Serve with additional sauce – because it’s that delicious.

This post is sponsored by the NC Pork Council.

Open Faced Tuna Steak Burgers

6 Aug

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Recently, I’ve taking a liking to Hops a Burger Bar so much that I’ve decided to test some of my own recipes at home. Burgers are great to experiment with and easy to lure friends over for a simple supper. This take on a burger is an open faced seared tuna steak on top of toasted bread and slathered with a rich remoulade sauce. I love the bite of onion, caper and anchovy on a rare cooked piece of tuna.

I recommend a simple season on the tuna – salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Grill or sear for just a moment of two and top with this oh-so-rich sauce.

Grilled Tuna Steak Burger Remoulade Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon (packed) minced fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 hard-boiled large egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers

A Southern Sendoff; on friends and brisket

29 Jul

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This is weekend I hosted a house full of friends to wish my very good friend Jessica best wishes on her adventure north to Michigan. When Jess broke the news a couple months ago that she was taking a new job at Michigan State, I said “you gotta do what you gotta do.” No doubt, I was ignoring the fact that my friend was actually moving away. It may have taken the preparation of fourteen pounds of southern slow cooked brisket for a large crowd of Jessica’s friends for the reality to really settle in. Four hours of standing by a 325 degree oven leaves room to account for late nights at College Hill, paddle boarding adventures, hikes to Hanging Rock with Winston in tow, marathons of Law & Order, latkes parties, truffle popcorn and countless gossip sessions at the nail salon.

I’m a believer that places are really only spaces without people. So it is my hope that the house full of  friends on Saturday night will leave a reminder to Jessica that Greensboro will always be home . Our friendship has been filled with much laughter, a few tears and many adventures, both significant and insignificant. Without a doubt, you’ll be missed on Mendenhall. Come back and see us soon – I’ll probably still have leftover brisket.

Atlanta Brisket, Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 lbs beef brisket, flat cut fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 lb onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups cola
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Using fork, poke holes all over brisket. Rub entire surface of brisket with 1 T salt. Wrap brisket in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325. Pat brisket dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Heat 2 t oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over med-high til just smoking. Place brisket fat side down in skillet; weigh down with dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet and cook til well browned, about 4 minutes. Remove dutch oven, flip brisket and replace dutch oven on top and cook til other side is well browned,about 4 minute Transfer to platter.

Heat remaining 2 t oil in same skillet over med til shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10-12 minute Transfer to 13×9 inch baking dish and spread into even layer

Combine cola, ketchup, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, thyme, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper in a bowl. Place brisket fat side up on top of onions and pour cola mixture over brisket. Place parchment paper over brisket and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake til tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Let brisket rest in liquid, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Transfer brisket to carving board. Skim any fat from top of sauce with large spoon. Slice brisket against grain into 1/4 inch thick slices and return to baking dish. Serve with sauce.

 

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