Monthly Archives: May 2016

Cider Glazed Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts

I realize that a couple of the ingredients in the title might scare a few people off in not only reading this blog but making it is completely out of the question. I can only say that if you have never tried pork belly you need to put it on your short list. I have some in my freezer pretty much all the time now. It does take a bit of planning and cook time for the belly to use it but you won’t be disappointed.


Speaking of disappointment; I found a recipe that I thought looked and sounded interesting enough that I bought a couple of the ingredients I didn’t have so to make it the following week. I will take part of the blame and I will heed you into reading not only the list of ingredients but run through the instructions of the recipe. This one recipe that I had planned for a Sunday dinner we ended up eating it on a Tuesday night after work. Long story short, there was an overnight soaking, a 1 to 1¼ hour of cooking, a 3-4 hour of cooking and a rest of an hour on the counter and  another 2 hours in the oven. This was probably one of the most stressful recipes I actually was determined to make. My family was very patient with me, well honestly they were excited to eat it but couldn’t understand why it took 3 days to get it on the table.


Because I like all of you who continued reading even after the title, I will NOT share the 3 day recipe that stressed me out and was very good but will not be repeated in my kitchen; not by me anyway. I will share with you and give you the heads up that this one can be a Sunday meal that you can start earlier in the day OR make the pork belly a day or two ahead of time and then finish it when you want. You will need braise the pork for 2-3 hours and while that is cooking you can make the glaze. Once those two are done, the rest is easy peasy.



For the Belly
2 lb boneless, skinless pork belly
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium head of fennel, coarsely chopped
1 12-oz. Bottle of hard cider
2 cups chicken broth

For the Glaze
2 cup apple cider
1 12-oz bottle of hard cider

For the Brussels sprouts
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick (about 4 cups)
1 medium shallot, minced
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 head frisee, cut into bite-size pieces
1 red apple, unpeeled, cut into ½ inch dice
3 Tbsp coarsely chopped Marcona almonds
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola

Braising the Pork Belly

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350’F. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a ¾ inch crosshatch pattern through the fat but not through the meat. Season with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 7 to 8 quart pot, over medium heat. Put the pork belly, fat side down, in the pot. If you need to cut it to fit that is fine. Cook until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes flip the belly, add the carrots, celery, onion, fennel, hard cider, and broth. Cover, transfer to the oven and braise until the pork is fork tender, 2-3 hours. Remove and cool. Cut into 12 pieces, about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long. Discard the braising mixture. Again you can store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Make sure to bring to room temperature before continuing on.




Making of the Glaze
Put the apple cider and hard cider in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about an hour or so.



Make the Brussels sprouts and serve
Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly and cook, fat side down, until the meat is warm and the fat softens, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

IMG_4130Add the Brussels sprouts and cook undisturbed until browned on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Add ¼ cup water, stir and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook stirring until fragrant, about another minute or so. Add the vinegar and toss. Add the frisee, apple, nuts, and the remaining 3 Tbsp oil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brush the pork belly with the glaze, then drizzle the remaining glaze evenly over the Brussels sprout mixture. Top the Brussels sprout mixture with the pork belly pieces. Sprinkle with the Gorgonzola and serve.


Pasta with Shrimp, Shallots, and Cherry Tomatoes in Madeira sauce

Perusing through one of my favorite magazines; Fine Cooking; which is also one of the only magazines I will not rip out any of the recipes, I keep the whole magazine. I do however use little post it tabs and mark out everything that looks and sounds like something we would enjoy. If I have a few of the ingredients on hand, I will add the balance of what the recipe asks for to my next grocery shopping list. There has been a few; OK a little more than a few occasions that after work I would run up town to the store and grab a couple of things needed to make one of the recipes for dinner that very night.

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A couple of weeks ago I came across this recipe, I had everything except the Madeira wine part; which I can only guess since it is in the title; was pretty a pretty important part of the recipe. I will also admit; I have heard of Madeira wine but it was not something I have used before. Straight from Wikipedia -”Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands See I didn’t know that, I wonder if my friend SF; who I know reads my blog knew this? I’m sure he did…Now that I have a whole bottle of it, I will be looking for some recipes to use it up with. I hate wasting any and ingredients; especially wine.


5 medium shallots, 2 sliced crosswise into rings; 3 sliced lengthwise into strips
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
7 Tbsp olive oil; more as needed
Kosher salt
1½ pound jumbo shrimp (16-20 per lb) shelled and deveined, shells reserved.
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
½ cup Madeira – they asked for rainwater, my liquor store didn’t have it
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
¾ cup heavy cream
10 oz. campanelle pasta or similar
2 Tbsp capers, drained but not rinsed
2 Tbsp thinly sliced chives

In a small bowl, toss the shallot rings in the flour until coated. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 3 Tbsp od the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the shallot rings until golden brown, adding more oil if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt



In a 2 quart saucepan, boil the shrimp shells in 2 cups of well-salted water until the water is reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 5-8 minutes. Strain and set aside the broth.

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Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a 12 inch or larger skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil and butter over medium heat. Add half of the shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

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Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil, the garlic, and the shallot strips to the skillet and cook, stirring, until golden brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Madeira and cook until almost fully evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until most have burst and their liquid is reduced by half.  Add the cream and ½ cup of the shrimp broth; cook until the sauce thickens. 4-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Cook pasta according to the packages directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and add the pasta and capers to the sauce and toss. Adding shrimp broth if needed to loosen the sauce. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with chives and the fried shallots.

Applelicious Sheet Cake

I started blogging thinking it would be pretty cool to share food and some recipes that we all enjoyed eating. I wasn’t sure anyone would ever read my words, make the food I was writing about or even enjoy my weekly blog. I am ever so surprised when someone I know mentions they like my blog, or made what I shared. It totally surprises me when not only friends and family but total strangers “like” a blog I’ve written. I truly appreciate all the support and encouragement.



My daughter is the one who got me started and not only keeps me honest; I forget things and she reminds me; she also helps me when I don’t understand how social media works. She encourages me to read other blogs, if someone likes or follows my blog she wants me to go and look at theirs etc. I will admit I just recently started doing this and am so glad I finally took some time to do so. There are so many interesting people out there with great recipes and pretty neat stories to share. I hope to be able to spend more time supporting and encouraging others. I wish there more time in the day, I also would love to peruse Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and all the other interesting social media sites; maybe someday I will figure them all out.



So today’s recipe was one of many recipes I ripped out of a magazine or catalog, I have GOT to find a better way to store all of these. So many recipes so little time.

Applelicious Sheet Cake

2 apples – I used honeycrisps but Gala would also work well
⅓ cup butter, melted
1 ⅔ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup apple butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped dried apples
1 recipe Maple icing

Maple Icing

In a small bowl stir together ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1 Tbsp. milk and ½ tsp vanilla till smooth.  

Preheat oven to 350’ F – Grease a 13x9x2 pan; set aside.

Peel, core and coarsely shred one of the apples using a box grater. The other apple thinly slice.  cover and set aside.


In a large bowl whisk together butter, brown sugar, apple butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour, baking powder & soda and the salt; whisk to combine. Fold in the dried apples and the fresh shredded apples reserving the slices for the top of the batter.

Spread batter in prepared dish and arrange the remaining apple slices on the top of the batter.


Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack. Pour maple icing over the hot cake; spread evenly. Cool completely. Dust with cinnamon.

Recipe found on Better Home and Gardens

Pork Spring Rolls – Baked not Fried

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mom’s out there who have baked brownies or cupcakes at the last minute for a class bake sale their kids forgot to tell the about. For all the mom’s who make dinners that their kids won’t eat for one reason or another. For all the mom’s who spend many hours in the kitchen and around the table sharing food and stories. I raise a glass to you all! Mom is a tough job but I am proud to do it!



Even though my kids are young adults now, if they are home we all sit down at the table for dinner together. One of the many proud Mom traditions I started when they were born. Our meals have definitely evolved over the years and have become not only a meal to fill the void, it has become a journey of food and ingredient discovery.

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My daughter just came back from a weeks long trip to Iceland. She brought back native hot dogs and mustard for us to try; she said she never had a better hot dog. After making one of her favorites last week, it seems that there is more to a hot dog than ketchup, mustard and relish. This one had potato salad, fried onions, Icelandic mustard; which is kind of a sweet mustard, and some BBQ sauce layered in a hoagie bun. It truly was delicious and piqued my interest in hot dogs, which I didn’t think was possible.

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I have also been intrigued by egg rolls, spring rolls and dumplings. A few weeks ago I made egg rolls that I shared with you; last week I pulled some spring roll wrappers out of the freezer and while I love the fried version, I found a baked recipe I thought looked promising and a little better for us. See still being a Mom and wanting better for my family.

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Bake Pork Spring Rolls

1 pound ground pork
½ head finely shredded cabbage
½ cup finely shredded carrot
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3 teaspoons fresh grated ginger root
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon chile sauce

2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon water
12 – 7 inch square spring roll wrappers
4 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425’ F

In a medium saucepan over medium heat brown the pork, remove from heat and drain.

In a medium bowl, mix together pork, cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro, sesame oil, oyster sauce, ginger, garlic and chile sauce.  Make sure to taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if needed.

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Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl

Place a large tablespoon of the pork mixture in the center of the spring roll. Roll wrappers around the mixture, folding edges inward to close. Moisten fingers in the cornstarch water mixture, and brush wrapper seams to seal.

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Arrange spring rolls in a single layer on a medium baking sheet. Brush with vegetable oil. Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, until hot and lightly browned. For crispier spring rolls, turn 10 minutes.

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Recipe adapted from by Rayna

Chocolate-Buttermilk snack cakes

I know spring and summer are on the way; at least I hope they are. And the layers of clothing are coming off and hopefully some of the winter weight we think we need for winter in this neck of the woods will also come off. This has been a pretty funky winter and spring even for New England. My husband has been watching the weather pretty frequently and on nice days he has been removing the straw from the garlic and strawberries; he felt they needed the extra sun. I personally think he is a little coo-coo for doing it; but you need to choose your battles and this one doesn’t bother me, especially since he hasn’t asked me to do it.




What I meant by the whole summer coming comment is we try; albeit not very hard I will admit; to eat a little healthier/less so to fit in our summer clothes. Well even with great intentions you; OK more me; will see something that looks so yummy and all thoughts of fitting into anything go out the window and I HAVE to make them which also means I also eat them.


Luckily for me I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge I needed to use or lose. See how I think, it was meant to be. I had and wanted and so I did – words to live by or at least that’s how it sometimes works out. Just this morning I had some fruit on the island that had not been eaten over the week so use or lose went through my head and I immediately go to Ahh Sangria Sunday! I think I will be taking a long walk today.



1 cup buttermilk

1 cup brewed coffee, cooled

1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbs. baking soda

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup canola oil

1 large egg



¾ cup mascarpone cheese

¾ heavy cream

½ cup confectioners sugar

¾ tsp. Pure vanilla extract

½ tsp. Instant espresso powder

Pinch of kosher salt

OK I made these a couple of months ago but in typing this up today I think; no I know; I am going to make them again today. I have heavy cream and mascarpone cheese to use or lose. I don’t have any buttermilk on hand but my daughter taught me how to make my own. 1 cup of milk and 1 Tbs. lemon juice let it sit 10-15 minutes  It’s a vicious cycle here in my kitchen.


Preheat oven to 350’F

Generously coat the cups of three 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the coffee and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl or your mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the oil at medium-high speed until blended. Beat in the egg. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture in 3 alternating batches. Once combined spoon about 2 tablespoons into each muffin cup.

Bake the cakes for about 12 minutes, until risen and you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 3-5 minutes. Carefully invert eh caked onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (this will help them flatten slightly) let cool completely.


In a large bowl add all Frosting ingredients on medium speed until smooth and thick

Spread the mascarpone filling onto the flat sides of half of the cakes. Top with the remaining 18 cakes. Pressing down to spread the filing.


If there isn’t enough chocolate you can melt 12 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, let it cool slightly. Dip one half of the cake in the melted chocolate and you can even coat that with a little chocolate sprinkle.
Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Serve cakes cold


recipe – Mindy Segal foodandwine