Classic Hummus

I like to mix things up a little, so for an appetizer, I thought I might like to make something healthy. My wife’s brother and his wife love hummus. I thought like to show them that you can make the same stuff for a lot cheaper than you can buy it, pre-packed in some plastic container at the supermarket. Also since you make it fresh at home, you know what is inside it. This also allows you to flavor it with anything you can imagine. So here goes classic hummus made in a minute when they were here.

The main ingredient is chick peas. Regular old out of the 16oz can, rinsed and drained chick peas. To that I added 6 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of salt + 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 4oz of tahini paste, which is ground sesame seeds found in the super market, 2 lemons cut in half and the juice squeezed into the processor. Process on high for a few moments making sure to scrape down the sides so everything is thoroughly incorporated. You might have to add a little water if it is too thick. Adjust it to your liking. After that you should end up with something that looks like this.

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To serve, I placed some in another container had some fresh Nan bread, pita chips and some fresh vegetables arranged on a platter. Everybody was impressed by how simple and tasty it was.

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~Enjoy~

Beef Eye Round

Once again we were having a few people over and this time they mentioned that they have never tried an eye round cut of beef. So I said bring some red wine over and I’ll show you what to do and we will put it on the rotisserie and enjoy the sun set! So we headed to the kitchen and here is what we did.

First, take the meat out of the plastic it’s wrapped in, I like to rinse off the blood, plus it makes it less slippery when you are handling it.

Trim off the silver skin but try to leave the fat strip intact. While cooking, the fat will melt and baste the meat as it spins around.

Fire up the rotisserie burner, close the lid and preheat the grill for twenty minutes.

This is where I cheat a little; I already have marked the rod so I know where the meat should be and I season the meat on the grill because it keeps the mess out of the kitchen and whatever doesn’t stick just falls into the grill anyway.

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So I rub some oil on the meat, slather on some finely chopped garlic and some Montreal Steak seasoning outside, then check that it spins freely.

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Forget about it for about an hour. After an hour take a meat thermometer and insert it in the middle of the meat ½ way between the outside and the rod in the center. You are looking for about 110F degrees if you like rare meat. If you test out at 110F turn off the burner but let the meat keep spinning for about 20 minutes. This allows the juices to be reabsorbed back into the meat so when you slice it the juices don’t leak out onto the cutting board.

Honestly I think I served the meat with some basmati rice, some grilled vegetables and some fresh homemade horseradish sauce. Good friends, good conversation and good wine led me to forget to take a finished picture after all. Trust me it was delicious!

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Enjoy ~

 

Herb Crusted Scallops

Rinse under cold water and pick the muscles off the scallops, season with salt and pepper

Take bread crumbs and add to them some Italian seasoning, fresh chopped basil, marjoram, parsley. Dip the scallops into the mixture covering just the tops and bottoms and set aside.

seasoning for scallops

seasoned scallops

In a large sauté pan heated to medium high add some good oil and cook a few of the scallops a few at a time for maybe a minute or two then carefully flip them over. You are looking for a nice sear and good color; however you don’t want to cook them all the way through.

scallops cooking

When done transfer to a plate and slide them into the fridge for about ten minutes, to stop the cooking process, while you make the sauce.

As for the sauce, wipe out the pan, add a tablespoon of oil and add 1/4 of a diced sweet onion. Sauté for about 7-8 minutes. While the pan is on medium-high heat deglaze with about 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine, let it reduce for another minute or two. Add the juice of a fresh lemon. Finish the sauce by adding 1/4 cup of heavy cream, bring to a boil then lower the heat to low.

Take the scallops out of the fridge and place into the hot sauce just until they heat through; be careful not to cook them too much, you don’t want to overcook them, they will get hard and rubbery.

scallops in sauce cooking

To be fancy, plate some rice down the center of a plate, place the scallops on top and then spoon some sauce over the rice. Serve right away and enjoy.

scallops on rice

fancy pic finished plat

Enjoy

Tomato Paste Trick

We all have faced this dilemma, need two teaspoons of tomato paste now what do you with the rest of the can? Here is what I do to save the rest and have it portioned for the next time.

canned tomato paste

Spread out some plastic wrap over the counter, as you can see in the picture I cut the regular sheet of plastic wrap in half, and then portion out the remaining amount of tomato paste in one teaspoon “drops” on the wrap.  As you can see in the picture, space them apart by about two inches.

portioned tomato paste

Fold the plastic wrap around the tomato paste and press the air out between each drop.  Then roll them up as in the video below:

Here is a side shot of the roll.

folded tomato paste

Place in the freezer until frozen solid.

frozen tomato paste

Now here is what to do with those one tablespoon portions:

  • Keep them in the freezer up to a year.
  • Just cut off how much you need and use in the recipe you are making.

Now that they are so handy, come up with more uses for tomato paste in your own creations.

Hope this helps you in the future.  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

how to cut a pork loin?

So here is a cheap way to get more bang for your buck when it comes to Pork Loins! Buying the whole loin and cutting your own sections will save you money.

whole pork loin

You need to know your way around a pork loin so here in the picture I have cut it into 3 pieces.

cut pork loin

Top left would be considered the boneless Rib Roast. Top right would be considered boneless Sirloin Roast, some dark meat included. The middle one would/could be cut into Loin Chops about 28 – ½ inch chops that could be pounded or stuffed, in this case we will leave this whole and rub it with my home-made rub, as you can see from the length of the knife the middle section of the pork loin is about 14 inches, that fits on the rotisserie spit in the kitchen.

Here is a quick picture of the meat packed up for the freezer and one piece for dinner.

packaged pork loin

Grilled Corvina

Here is an easy meal to put together that is good for you too!

Ingredients:

  • Seafood
    • Corvina filet
    • Olive oil
    • 4 Basil leaves, finely chopped
    • 2 Lemons zested
  • Vegetables
    • 2 cloves of Garlic, diced
    • 2 lbs mini Zucchini, sliced in half the long way
    • 1 large Onion, chopped
    • 2 lbs Patty Pans, whole
    • Cherry tomatoes
  • Compound Butter
    • 2 sticks Butter, unsalted and softened
    • 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp Garlic, diced
    • 2 Tbsp Basil, finely chopped
    • 2 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 1/8 tsp Pepper, ground
  • Rice
    • 1 cup Brown rice
    • 2.5 cups water
    • 1 tsp Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  • Compound Butter. Ahead of time make the compound butter.
    • Mix together the butter, lemon juice, garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
    • Place mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log.
    • Place in a freezer for an hour to set.  After move the butter to the refrigerator.
  • Rice
    • Place the rice, water, olive oil in the rice cooker. (A rice cooker is handy so that you can easily multitask and the rice always comes out the way it should.)
    • Add a pinch of salt and pepper for flavor.
    • Cook.
  • Fish.
    • Rub a little oil on Corvina.
    • Sprinkle the fish with the basil, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
    • Let the fish rest for about 30 minutes.
    • Preheat the grill to high heat, place a skillet on the grill.
    • Place the fish on a skillet to sear.
    • Cook on the first side for about 11 minutes.
    • Then flip the fish over and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes.

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You know a white fish is cooked when the flesh flakes easily.

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  • Vegetables
    • In a large sauté pan, add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.
    • Add the zucchini, onions and patty pans.
    • Cook the vegetables on medium high until they are about 3/4 of the way done.
    • Add in the garlic and tomatoes into the pan.
    • Finish cooking until the vegetables they are tender.

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Put some of the brown rice on the plate, some of the vegetables, and garnish the fish with a slice of the compound butter. The cold butter melts over the hot fish making its own sauce.

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Enjoy!

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Appetizer

Here is an easy and great tasting appetizer that uses only fresh ingredients. Great for a summer time snack.

These cherry tomatoes and basil leaves are from our garden. The cheese is mini mozzarella balls. They are from a little Italian market down the street from us.

Simply put a tomato on a tooth pick, followed by a basal leaf, and then the mozzarella ball. After you make more than you think you will need, because they are so good, drizzle them with a good olive oil and a few drops of good quality balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

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Eat the appetizer in one bite so all the flavors explode in your mouth, just be careful not to poke the back of your throat with the tooth pick.

Enjoy!

 

How To Dice An Onion

My wife had trouble on how to dice an onion when we first met, and here is a trick I taught her to make it easier for her to work with onions.

The trick is to leave the root connected.

To dice an onion:

  • First cut the onion in half, do not cut off the root.
  • Peel off the outer skin.

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  • Lay the onion on the flat side.
  • Cut sections perpendicular to the root.
    • Be sure to NOT cut through the root.

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  • Now cut perpendicular to your previous cuts.

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You now have diced onions.