Sautéed Pork with Apple Brandy Sauce and Roasted Carrots

This was a meal I wanted to cook because my wife, per her doctor’s orders, has to try to eat gluten-free for the next few weeks and she really didn’t like anything she had found so far. I also wanted to do it for her just to cheer her up! So let’s go.

Mashed potatoes – potatoes boiled until soft, drained, then put back on the stove where you add a lot of butter and cream, some salt & pepper and beat them until smooth.

Roasted carrots – medium carrots peeled, sliced in half, tossed in some olive oil, seasoned with some salt & pepper, tossed on a pan and put into a 400F oven until the edges start to turn golden brown.

While the carrots are roasting, dice up an apple, put it in a bowl with 4oz brandy, 4 tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of cinnamon and let it hang out until after you cook the pork cutlet.

Pork cutlet, last part, salt & pepper both sides cook in a medium hot pan with butter for a few minutes, turn and finish cooking until you have 145F internal temperature. Take it out of the pan and set it on a plate with the mashed potatoes and the carrots while you make the sauce.

Lastly the sauce, carefully pour the cup with the apple, brandy and seasonings into the hot pan, it might flame up a bit, stir all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan left from cooking the pork. Let the apples cook for about 2 minutes while the pan sauce reduces. Turn off the heat and stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter and let them melt into the liquid in the pan. This should thicken the sauce a little. Check for seasoning and if all is good pour over the pork and enjoy a very delicious gluten-free meal!

Pan Seared Pork

~Enjoy~

Smoked Pork

Take a 7 pound pork shoulder or also known as Boston butt, score the top fat in a checkerboard fashion and rub some of your favorite rub, or the one below, all over the meat.  Wrap up very well with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator for 24 hours. This will allow the rub to penetrate deeply into the meat to give it good flavor when it comes time to cook it.

The rub for this meat: 1 cup of each white and brown sugar; 3/4 cup of paprika; 1/2 cup of each chili powder, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, 1/4 cup of ground cumin, granulated onion. Mix together and store in an air tight container.

seasoned pork

Set the smoker up for 225F and as a rule of thumb, it ends up being 2 hours per pound for this temp. If you need it done faster turn up smoker to 275F for about 1.5 hours per pound.

I also recommend having a digital meat thermometer with probe and cable, place it in the meat before starting to smoke it so you can track the internal temperature of the meat.

I started mine morning at 6 am with a mixture of apple wood and cherry wood chips that I soaked overnight. Went about my day cleaned the pool, went out shopping, needed potatoes to make potato salad to go with dinner, had lunch, hung out with my lovely wife, cut the grass, tended to the garden and then cooled off in the pool later that afternoon with a beer.

About 7:30 pm the meat thermometer started to ring. I set it to 195F. I open the door and what a beautiful sight and smells came racing out of the smoker! To make sure that it was truly cooked and soft I use the famous Stick a fork in it Method. Stab the meat with a fork and spin it around, if it spins freely then you really done because all meat has different thickness and densities. If the fork didn’t spin freely, it would go back in maybe for another half an hour or so until it would.

cooking pork

Now take the meat inside and cover it with aluminum foil for 1/2 hour to let the meat rest and the juices to absorb back into the meat.

cooked pork

After it rests take the bone out and with two forks shred the meat apart, but be careful it will be very hot!

pork pulled

Toast up some buns on the grill, get the potato salad out of the fridge along with your favorite BBQ sauce sit back and enjoy what you have smelt all day along with a beautiful sun set by the pool.

finished pulled pork plate

Enjoy

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

A few days ago it was my good friend Jay’s 50th Birthday, knowing him and his love of shrimp I wanted to do something special for his surprise party. So I made bacon wrapped shrimp and he loved it.

First take 10 inch wooden skewers and soak them in cold water for about an hour.

You will need 16 – 20 peeled and deveined shrimp from your favorite fish monger. The term 16-20 means that there are 16 to 20 shrimp per pound. The lower the number means the bigger the shrimp. So 5 pounds of those shrimp would yield close to 100 pieces.

Take your favorite bacon out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you do the following step.

Carefully remove the tails from all the shrimp and skewer 2 of them onto one stick leaving about ½ inch of the point exposed above the shrimp. Once they are all on the sticks lightly sprinkle some black pepper over the shrimp.

shrimp before wrapped with bacon

Take a piece of bacon, poke it with the sharp tip to make a tiny hole and then slip it on the handle side of the skewer and pull up to the bottom of the shrimp. Then methodically wrap the bacon up the skewer around the shrimp making sure to cover as much of the shrimp as you go. Now the reason you left the tip of the skewer exposed is to take that last bit of bacon you are holding on to and stretch it over the tip to hold it in place.

4 wrapped

full tray

Turn on the oven to 500F and place a few on a sheet pan so they are all on a single layer and cook 7-9 minutes on the first side then flip over for about 4-5 more on the other side. The bacon will be brown and a little crispy and the shrimp will be deliciously moist and juicy.

Serve right away warning your guests that the skewers will be hot.

To take it one step further, for the people who like spicy food, make a quick sauce consisting of equal parts Sriracha Sauce and Maple Syrup to dip the skewers into. The syrup compliments the bacon and pepper and the Sriracha adds spice to the sweet shrimp.

bacon with sriracha

My goodness they are good ~ Enjoy!

 

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

For a nice weekend brunch or even a light weeknight dinner a quiche always works. You can change the fillings and spices to have something different every time. My wife makes the dough as she enjoys baking.

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter cold – cut into small chunks
  • 4 tbsp shortening cold – broken up into small chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together. Add in, alternating, the butter and shortening into the flour. Using a dough blender or a fork, combine until the dough is coarse pebbles. Add in 4 tbsp of milk and bring the dough together in a ball, if it is still dry, add more cold milk. Take the dough and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

Roll out the dough and place in a nine in pie plate.

peppered pie doughFor the filling:

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan cook the bacon until crispy, place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Do not discard the bacon grease left in the pan. Chop the bacon into chunks.

In the saucepan add in the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Remove from pan.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in salt, pepper, onions and garlic.

eggs, onions, galic, milk

Place the egg mixture in the rolled out dough in the pie plate. Place the chopped bacon, cheese and spinach carefully in the egg mixture.

Cook at 375 F for about 35-45 minutes until eggs are set.

quiche in oven

Enjoy!

cooked quiche

plated quiche

Rotisserie Pork Loin

Using the pork we loin we cut up last time, we will leave this whole and rub it with my home-made rub. Then place it on the rotisserie.

rubbed pork loin

rotisserie pork loin

So while the pork is cooking I had a pineapple to use up, so I made a pineapple relish so here is how to do this: 1 pineapple cut into fine dice, one red pepper fine diced, 2 jalapeno deseeded and diced super fine, ½ cup of good olive oil, 3 limes juiced, and a large bunch of cilantro cut from the garden and some salt & pepper to taste. Mix all together and let sit for at least an hour in the fridge to let the flavors mix.

pineapple relish

Cook the meat until it reaches at least 155 F – 165 F and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

unsliced pork loinsliced pork loin 1 sliced pork loin 2 sliced pork loin 3

I also had some left over quinoa I reheated with some butter and served the meal with some fresh corn from the farmers market.

finished plate of porkEnjoy!

Bacon and Asparagus

There was an evening that my In-laws came over to look at what my beautiful wife had done to improve the garden. It got late so I offered to make them dinner. I threw some chicken on the grill (to make my mother in-law happy) but to make my father in-law happy (most important) I presented him with my favorite way to have asparagus (which he doesn’t like that much!) So as the girls were in the kitchen putting together a salad, the men were outside tending to the fire and I showed him this . . . Bacon wrapped Asparagus – everything is better with bacon so here is how it goes.

  • Trim the asparagus bottoms to get rid of the woody parts.
  • Put the asparagus pieces in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully wrap bunches of 3 or 5 asparagus spears with a piece of bacon.
  • Dust the wrapped bundles with black pepper and place into a 450 degree oven.
  • Cook to your preferred doneness on the bacon. For me and my wife, not too crispy.

Put the platter of bacon wrapped goodness in the middle of the table as a side dish.

bacon wrapped asparagus

All in all dinner was a success!