Saturday, January 17, 2009

Moo-Shoe Pork

Not being a big fan of Chinese food, I think this guy looks great in his cow slippers as opposed to a wok! I don't know who's work this is, but I love it. Wish I could give credit to the person who deserves it. It arrived via email, no name attached. I love it!
Now, on to more important stuff.
I am sort of between a rock and a hard place when it comes to PORK.
A very dear friend, George, is definitely a pork expert. I buy his pork, Farmland and Smithfield. On the other hand, I have a daughter, Cindy, who is, as George refers to her, a "tree-hugger", believes in organic, wants her pork to come from little pigs who have romped around the farm, no antibiotics, just big smiles on their cute little faces. I am sure both sides have their positives and negatives. So, I try to keep it fair....Farmland Bacon, Smithfield Ham for George, pork loin and chops from Whole Foods for Cindy.
When it comes to Sausage, there is only one type and brand for me........
Jasper's Italian Sausage! I pop into Marco Polo's Deli on 103rd Street and stock up. So good, so handy, so reasonably priced!
For several years now, I have had what my family refers to as "Monday Night at Mimi's".
I'm Mimi, at least to my grandchildren. Almost every Monday night I cook BIG and anywhere from 12 to 24 people show up to eat BIG. They range anywhere from 4 years old all the way up to 90 when my Mom comes.
Occasionally we will have competitions, such as the best grilled cheese; a build your own pizza night with Jasper's Italian Sausage; Wild Boar night; Kobe Beef night; Spaghetti night, once again with Jasper's Italian Sausage, just to mention a few. I do stress locally grown foods whenever possible. I love the farmer's markets around town for fresh vegetables and fruits in the summertime. In the winter months, vegetables and fruits from Whole Foods take over. Michelle, my daughter-in-law is a vegetarian, so I try to put as many vegetables as I can on the table. Here is a very versatile vegetable dish:
Oven Roasted Winter Vegetables
serves 6
3 medium onions, cut into large wedges
6 Youkon Gold potatoes, halved
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
12 Brussel sprouts, halved
2 medium carrots, cut into 2" pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
10 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, halved

About an hour before cooking, in a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients up to, but not including, the second quantiy of olive oil. Thirty minutes before roasting, preheat oven to 450 degrees and slip in a heavy, large, very shallow baking pan (a half sheet pan is ideal) to heat up. Pour the second quantity of oil onto the hot pan, and then immediately spread the marinated vegetables on the pan, taking care not to crowd them. Roast about an hour, turning several times during cooking for even browning. Add garlic to pan halfway through cooking. Once browned and easily pierced with a knife, vegetables are done. Serve hot.
A good fresh fruit salad that is not too sweet:
Apple, Pear and Pecan Salad
serves 6
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 apples, preferably use 2 to 3 different kinds
(I prefer to use both red and green apples)
2 pears, preferably red and green
2/3 cup whole pecans, toasted and then coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse Ground Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl whisk together vinegar, orange juice, zest, and raisins. Core and cube apples and pears. Add fruit and pecans to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Need a good pork loin recipe?
Maple-Mustard Glazed Pork Roast
serves 6
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over pork roast and place in shallow pan. Roast pork in a 350ºF. oven until internal temperature, measured with a meat thermometer, reaches 160ºF, about 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
or if you'd rather do chicken.......
Butterflied Cornish Game Hens
with Sage Butter

serves 6
6 Cornish game hens (20 oz each) butterflied
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 large lemon, zested
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for sauteing
6 strips bacon, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place hens on a sheet tray fitted with a cooling rack in the refrigerator to dry skin out for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, melt butter with sage, zest, salt and pepper. Remove hens from refrigerator. Preheat 2 large saute pans over medium heat, lightly coat with oil. Season hens with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, in the pans. Sear until skin caramelizes and turns golden brown and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip birds over, and baste with sage butter. Sprinkle tops with chopped bacon and place in preheated oven to finish cooking, 25 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Check out these links for some great pork ideas:

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker