Braised Pork with Leek Sauce

Recipes in this PostBriased Pork with Leek Sauce

I was surprised at just how good this came out when I made it. Even Spane liked it once I explained what leeks are.

Leeks, I have told him and others, are a mildly sweet member of the onion family. They look like giant green onions. The only part that is edible is the white part, the green part is too tough to eat. No matter, there is plenty of the white part.

You don’t have to use a pork loin to make this. Pork chops would be fine. You could even use a rather tough piece of beef that does well with braising.

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Cranberry Couscous

Recipes in this Post2015-07-01 17.12.03

We just moved into our new apartment this week, and we had to have a celebratory dinner. We still don’t have a refrigerator, that’s coming tomorrow, so I was a little hindered in exactly what I could make.

Because we don’t have a refrigerator, and I’m limited in what I can make, I went to the local small store near my office and bought 2 lovely chicken breast halves. I already had Parmesan and garlic, so I made Nancy’s Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken and I wanted something fun and interesting to go with it. Couscous is a favorite of ours, and they had a nice box there at the store just as I was going crazy trying to find the perfect side dish for my chicken.

If you have never made couscous, it couldn’t be simpler. Couscous is a fine-grained pasta that can have any number of extra ingredients to make it tasty. I chose onions and cranberries.

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Crab Bisque

Recipes in this PostCrab Bisque

I am so happy that it is finally getting cooler in Southern California. As a matter of fact, there was thick cloud cover this morning, and I had to wear a sweater. It was a good day for soup.

After making Crab Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, I had a half a package of crab left over. I also had some cream left over from making something else. I knew I needed to use that crab, I needed to use the cream, and I wanted something warm. I have always liked crab bisque, so I decided to make that.

I had this brilliant idea when looking in my pantry and spying a can of Great Northern white beans. I didn’t have that much cream, and I really wanted the soup to be filling. To compensate for not using real crab, or real crab stock, I added a little anchovy paste for flavor. Both additions worked beautifully. Honestly, if you wanted to, you could omit the cream completely, as the beans do a fine job of thickening without all those calories.

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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Recipes in this PostBiscuits and Sausage Gravy

When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to another girl, Biba Hughes, who would become my best friend. I dated her brother, I got the father/daughter talk from her father because my father had died, and I was privileged to be in the kitchen with her mother, who made the absolutely best food. One of our favorites was Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Her mother made the best, and still does. Mine is good, but Jeanne Hughes has some mother thing going that just makes hers the best.

With that in mind, and a package of raw bulk sausage in hand, I decided to make sausage gravy for dinner. I will happily admit that I am biscuit challenged, so I just got a package of refrigerated biscuits. No recipe for those here, yet.

Jeanne Hughes usually uses Italian sausage, but I had regular bulk sausage. I still wanted to make my gravy like hers, so I added the missing ingredients, garlic and fennel seed. She also has a secret ingredient that I am about to share with you…

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Poached in Beer AKA Gussied Up Beer Can Chicken

Recipes in this PostChicken Condon Bleu Poached in Beer AKA Gussied Up Beer Can Chicken with Risoto Fungi

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my favorite dishes. Usually, it is flattened chicken breast rolled around ham with cheese, breaded, and fried. An American dish, it has its roots in the Schnitzel from Switzerland and Chicken Kiev from Russia. Cordon Bleu means Blue Ribbon, not to be confused with the famous cooking school of the same name.

Beer Can Chicken has wonderful flavor, but does not lend itself to small pieces of chicken.

I try to not deep fry things too often, and I don’t like breading that much. I had chicken tenders, black forest ham, Swiss cheese, and a can of beer. I thought I could combine them and make Gussied Up Beer Can Chicken. Perfect!

My small 4 quart Nesco Roaster oven was the best appliance to use for this, just simply fill the well with some of the beer, and let it cook. Beer Can Chicken all gussied up.

This is a really simple dish to make. If you don’t have a Nesco, then you can use a baking dish, a cake rack, some foil and your oven. It might not turn out quite the same, but it will still be good.

This recipe calls for Lavender mustard – if you can get it, wonderful, if not, use Dijon.

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Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

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Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

I think all of us have been tempted to buy the pesto sauce in the refrigerated sauce section at the supermarket. The one at the supermarket has things in it you will never find in fresh pesto, whey, milk, canola oil, water and 2% or less of garlic puree. Some brands do have pine nuts, others use walnuts. But, there is nothing like the real thing.

Pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make, and can be used on a variety of foods. Heck, it’s good just on a spoon!

When you make pesto, it’s important to have fresh ingredients. If you can find pine nuts in the refrigerated section, those are best. If not, look for nuts that are of a uniform pale cream color, with no spots. Pine nuts are the edible seeds of, yes, pine trees. Please use good Parmesan cheese as well, you don’t have to get Parmigiano-Reggiano, but at least get the cheese in the refrigerated section.

If you’re angry at someone and want to take your aggression out on something, you can use a mortar and pestle, and grind away for a very long time. Or, if you don’t have any aggression, then please use a food processor.

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