Monthly Archives: January 2020

Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

 

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I will be making this again – Soon!

Last weekend I made up for the lack of spending time in the kitchen. I almost made too many things if that is possible. We had leftovers all week long which for us is not a bad thing. I know so many people that do not like leftovers. I wonder why that is. Do they make things that don’t reheat well? What they ate didn’t taste good the first time around? Do they not know how to reheat things? Is it a childhood “thing” meaning there parents didn’t eat leftovers so they won’t eat them? With that being said there are some things that do not reheat well.

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I improvised with paprika and pimento peppers – use what you have on hand I say!

IMG_4946IMG_4947While I was making this I kept thinking about my friends SF and BF plus their family; the ones they share with us every Labor Day weekend when we become honorary Portuguese family members. SF you are going to want to make this; it is so good and reheats perfectly minus the clams; which we finished split those up before packing up the leftovers.

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I found it easier to put a strainer over a bowl and just pour the pork out of the bag 

IMG_4964 - CopyIMG_4965IMG_4967I will give you a heads up the pork needs to marinate overnight; I know some of you will stop reading and won’t even try this recipe but you can do this I promise; before you put the pork away after buying it slice it up and throw it in the marinade for tomorrow nights dinner. You got this!

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San Marzano whole tomatoes is my go to and I always hand crush them into my pot!

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Now it’s time for a confession. There is an ingredient I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t look it up before I went to the store. SO I made up my own version of what I thought it might be. I thought I might just stumble upon it at the store; I did not. I did look it up when I got home and now it makes sense so I will tell the ones who do not know what it is it might be in the spice section of your grocery store; if not substitute it with a smoked paprika that you can find and like. Not the pickle, olive mustard aisle. Pimenton de la Vera dulce.  I figured it was something to do with Pimento peppers obviously I don’t speak the language. It is actually a Spanish smoked sweet paprika yeah I know not even close!
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They used Cilantro for garnish – I didn’t have any so I chopped celery tops for added color

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Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
A warm and savory soup
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. (I used pork butt)
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 6 garlic cloves divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Pimenton de la Vera dulce smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion diced
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand - recommend San Marzano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth divided
  • 2 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes halved
  • 2 lb Manila clams or cockies scrubbed - I used clams I could find at my store
  • scalions diced for garnish - or they had fresh cilantro on theirs
  • serve with crusty bread for sopping up all the goodness

Instructions
 

  • Season pork all over with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. In a large ziploc bag add the pork. Smash 3 cloves of garlic, add to the bag along with the wine, bay leaves and Pimenton. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350'F
  • Remove pork from marinade saving the marinade, pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaves. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to pork to a plate continue with the rest of the pork.
  • Chop remaining garlic cloves. Add the onions and the remaining oil cook for a minute then add the chopped garlic continue cooking for another minute or two. You want them to be slightly browned but not burned stirring often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper and the reserved marinade.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring often for about 3 minutes. Return cooked pork to the pot. Stir in 1 cup of stock until pork is mostly submerged. Cover and bake in oven until pork is fork-tender. 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Stir in potatoes and remaining 1 cup of stock, Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer Dutch oven to the stovetop over high add the cleaned clams. Cover and cook until clams open. 3 to 5 minutes. (remove and discard any unopened clams) Season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with diced scallions

Notes

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
 

Pasta Sausage Squash and Swiss Chard

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This is the first meal this year that was something we haven’t already had a million times over the years. I guess I just haven’t been interested in cooking yet. We have been very busy but we are always busy so that’s no excuse. It might also have something to do with my stupid cough that is better but not completely gone. I start the day with a list of things I want/need to do then I get home from work and am exhausted and end up doing nothing. It’s getting pretty old.

IMG_4948So I am going to thank you for getting me back in the kitchen. I made a list of things I want to make and last night started two of them. I wanted to make something new to share with you all. According to my family we had a keeper for dinner last night. The first question my husband asks me is if I wrote it down so I can recreate it. How rude of him to think I didn’t; he knows I tend to make things even from a recipe more to our tastes mostly out of necessity. Sometimes I can’t find what the recipe puts in their dishes so I improvise with what I have on hand. I hope you all do that; though through some of my experiences at a few of my cooking classes I hold at my home this is not always the case. In his defense he and my son keep bringing up a Mahi Mahi recipe I didn’t keep track of and have never been able to replicate it again. I don’t even try anymore.
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Last night I gave my fam an option of a couple of meals; my daughter said past and sausage two things we love. So that was it and here it is for you.

Pasta Sausage Squash and Swiss Chard

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
This would be a great weeknight meal, it comes together pretty quickly
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash 1/2 inch pieces mine was larger than this
  • 4 cups lightly packed chopped swiss chard
  • 3 links sweet italian sausage casing removed and broken up diced for a chunk works too
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes optional

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes. Add the squash and cook for 6 minutes. add the chard and cook until the pasta is tender. 1 to 2 minutes longer. Drain and return to the pot.
  • Combine sausage, shallot and butter to a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the thyme and cook another minute. Sprinkle with flour cook stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook whisking occasionally until the sauce starts to thicken. About 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese season with salt and pepper to taste. sprinkle with a little crushed red pepper to your liking. Cook until the cheese melts and the sauce is thick.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the pasta mixing to coat, serve with extra grated cheese.

Notes

You can find butternut squash generally peeled and diced in large supermarkets to make it easier
Adapted from Eating Well
 

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deconstructed BLT

I just finished putting Christmas away, which for me is about 2 weeks later than I normally put things away! This years tree lasted the longest in the house. It is usually down the day after and I will confess we have tossed it outside Christmas day eve a few times over the years just because the needles were driving me nuts.

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we have 9 foot ceilings – a little something for scale

My husband was especially attached to this years tree. It was the largest one we have ever had; we had to trim about 4 feet off of the back to push it up against the windows just so we could walk around it. Even though it is gone and the floors have been vacuumed and washed I am sure we will find a pine needle over the next few months.

I love me a great sandwich period! I literally just made a PBJ about an hour ago for a quick lunch!Image

Even though this an open faced sandwich that I am sharing it is easy to make and just as easy to eat. It is delicious I mean how can you go wrong with bacon?

Deconstructed BLT

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
an easy delicious open faced sandwich

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices of Bacon
  • 4 French baguette slices
  • 1/4 Cup soft goat cheese
  • 4 Cups bibb lettuce I used boston
  • 2 large tomatoes sliced
  • 1/4 Cup white balsamic vinegar I didn' t have white
  • 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook bacon until crisp - set aside
  • toast baguette slices until brown/crispy, spread with goat cheese and set aside
  • divide lettuce and tomatoes among 2 plates.
  • Whisk together vinegar and next 5 ingredients, drizzle over tomatoes and lettuce
  • Top salad with bacon and baguette slices. Sprinkle with additional black pepper is desired.

Notes

Makes 2 servings - I doubled it as there were 4 of us!

Charcuterie board

I hope your 2020 has started out as well as you had hoped! If you are one of those that makes resolutions I hope you are staying on track; if you are not there’s always next year wink wink! I am just hoping for this damn cough/cold to go away! It is getting better but I am SO done with it!

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My daughter assembled this beauty!

I’m writing this Saturday morning because the family is gathering for a wedding later today. My beautiful niece is marrying her best friend tonight surrounded by family and friends. I can’t wait to see everyone and share a tear or two. I’m an old softy when it comes to weddings. Who am I kidding I am just an old softy period!

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my husbands idea of a light dinner!

A few weeks ago we had our annual Christmas party; which is always so much fun and this year did not disappoint. I recreated our song booklets, while the old ones were great, they were pretty impossible to navigate and I won’t miss the binder clips. The new booklets are numbered and bound all neat and orderly plus I added some of the non Christmas songs we usually sing. I think we had the most singers this year, I would like to think it was because of the new books.

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less glamorous but still very tasty!

 

My dining room table is almost 12 feet long; my husband made it for the room which is why it is not a standard size. Anyway for the Christmas party I try to make sure it is covered with all kinds of different pick up and go or grab a plate and chill type items. I have this pretty cool board I found in the garage and I usually just add my fall decorations onto it and place it in the middle of the table. I decided to put it to another use for the party this year. I hope you like it!

Charcuterie board

What is a Charcuterie board? The wikipedia definition is. Charcuterie is a branch of cooking involving prepared meats, such as ham, sausage, bacon, confit, or other pork products. The word originated in France, and it translates to “pork-butcher shop.” … The correct French pronunciation of charcuterie is “shar-coo-tree.”

A typical board has the following on it. The amount depends on the size of the board and the number of people. 

  • Cured meats.
  • Cheese.
  • Olives.
  • Nuts.
  • Dried Fruit.
  • Crackers or baguette bread.
  • Jelly or jam.

 How to assemble a cheese board:

  • Add your cheeses spaced around your board.
  • Add your salami or other meat in a few different places.
  • Place bowls of olives or honey or jam down the middle.
  • Add crackers and vegetables in large open spaces.
  • Place bunches of grapes, nuts, and chocolate in all the cracks.