Tag Archives: dinner

Impressive dinners

25 Feb

Tonight’s dinner was a great one. I have pretty high expectations for myself and it’s not too often I think that a dinner is spectacular. Tonight was one of those dinners that you wish your stomach was bigger, just so you can keep eating.

The menu was seared pork porterhouse chops over white bean ragu and tamarind BBQ sauce. I know it sounds intimidating, but it really is simple. Start with the most important step, brining.

Make sure you brine your chops before you cook them. The cut that I used, is simply a bone in chop that has the loin and the tenderloin on the same cut. This meal will work just as well with boneless or even the tenderloin.

White Bean Ragu

1 can Great Northern Beans
1 cup red pepper, bruniose
1/4 cup white onion, bruniose
1/4 cup fennel, bruniose
1/2 cup carrot, bruniose
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme

combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the ragu has thickened. Season and serve.

Tamarind BBQ sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 large clove garlic, minced

Wisk all ingredients together, adjust the cayenne to make the sauce to your heat levels.

Ragu in general gets better as it sits, so the leftovers (if there are any) will be better the next day.

Always thinking of the next meal



Marvelous Mushrooms

19 Feb

Mushrooms are amazing. They are so versatile. They are endless is variety and fantastic of flavor. The tastes can range from mild and meaty to intense and luxurious. Some mushrooms, like the truffle, are prized culinary ingredients. But mushroom can really add interesting complexity to any dish. I like to let mushrooms shine and but them in the fore front of a dish.

My standard mushroom of choice is the cremini or baby bella. These are great mushrooms to cook with or to eat raw. The hold up well to any cooking technique and and lots of flavor to soups and sauces. Although sometimes considered a base mushroom to support bigger flavors from more expensive mushrooms like porcini or morels, cremini mushrooms can also stand on their own. They are great to stuff and to marinate. While button mushrooms tend to be a little less expensive than creminis, their flavor is pretty non-existent.

One of my favorite dishes is chicken marsala. While it doesn’t give it away in the name, this is a very mushroom forward dish. The mushrooms are complemented well by the sweet, fortified wine and the richness of the butter. Actually you can make this dish with chicken, pork, beef or even tofu. You can even take the sauce and combine it with ricotta cheese and stuff ravioli with it. It’s a simple recipe, but it is so rich and satisfying.

Chicken Marsala
serves 2

2 6 oz portions of chicken
2 cups cremini mushrooms sliced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup marsala wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

Heat a sauté pan and add in oil. Season chicken and sear in the pan. Let cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add mushrooms to the pan and let cook. Don’t move the pan. Seriously, let the mushrooms brown and without moving the pan. After a minute or so stir the mushrooms and then let cook without moving the pan for another minute. When the mushrooms are brown, add in the marsala wine and garlic. Let the wine reduce by half and add the chicken back to the pan. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat and plate the chicken leaving the mushrooms in the pan. Add in the butter and swirl until the butter is incorporated into the wine sauce. If you want to add the cream, do it now. Pour over the chicken and serve.

This whole meal will take about 15 -20 minutes. Delightful! Pairs with red and white wine, but I prefer a merlot or carmenere.

Always thinking of the next meal