Isreal Couscous with Peppers

I like serving couscous in the summer, you don’t really have to cook it, you can make it a day ahead and you can serve at room temperature. So here is how I did it this time.

I took a red onion, red, green and yellow pepper and diced them pretty small and sautéed them in some good olive oil with some salt & pepper and chopped fresh garlic. Put that in a mixing bowl to cool while I cooked the couscous.

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I like the Israeli couscous because it is bigger than the regular one. I used two boxes this time, cooked with chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor. Cook per the instructions on the box, just be careful not to over-cook it because it will turn to mush and you really don’t want that.

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Take the freshly cooked couscous and combine it with the onion and pepper mixture. Here you might have to add a little olive oil and check your salt & pepper seasoning.

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Let it cool and then cover it and store it in the fridge.

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

Chicken Pot Pie

There was a “cold front“ that came through Florida last week and as a tribute to my wife’s New England upbringing I thought I would make my version of chicken pot pie. So I started poking around the fridge and here is what I came up with.

1 large onion, 3 medium carrots, 3 celery sticks all chopped into medium pieces and set aside.

cut veges

Cut 4-6 red potatoes into small pieces, boiled them for about ten minutes then tossed them into some ice-cold water to stop the cooking because we are going to cook them again with everything else.

potatoes

Start with four 6 oz chicken breasts and cut them into uniform chunks like in the picture.

whole chicken breast

chopped chicken brast

Dust them in some seasoned flour and sear them off in the pot you will be making the stew in then remove and set aside on a plate.

floured chicken

seared chicken

Now take the vegetables you already cut and sauté them with some garlic, when soft add the potatoes and the chicken cook for a few minutes. Add a quart of chicken stock or broth and a cup of heavy cream.

Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for about an hour uncovered, stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. It will thicken as it cooks and makes the house smell really good.

Before serving, taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

chicken pot pie in a bowl

As a side note, by using the potatoes instead of puff pastry you are saving some calories so you can have another bowl or two.

Enjoy

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!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Sometimes my wife and I just want something quick, different and in this case spicy! After poking around the spice cabinet I found some seasonings to make tikka masala.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts, 4 – 5 oz cut into 1 inch squares
  • Garam masala, 6 tsp
  • Garlic powder, 2 tsp
  • Cayenne powder, 1 tsp
  • Adobo with black pepper seasoning, 2 tsp
  • Garlic, 5 tsp minced
  • Red onion, 1 medium sliced
  • Ginger, 3 tsp fresh diced
  • Tomatoes, 3 medium chopped
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper, 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil, 3 Tbsp
  • Heavy cream, 3/4 cup
  • Flour, 1/4 cup

Steps:

  • Place the chicken in a bowl.
  • Mix together the garam masala, garlic powder, cayenne powder, adobo seasoning with black pepper, 3 tsp of the minced garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
    • Put the marinade over the chicken cubes and set aside.

chicken prep

  • Mix the red onion sliced, 2 tsp garlic and ginger.
    • Add to a large pan over medium high heat and sauté with a little oil until soft.
    • Remove from the pan and set aside.

onions tikka

  • In the same pan add a little oil.
  • Take the marinated chicken and coat with the flour.
  • Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until almost cooked through.
  • Add the onion, garlic and ginger mixture back into the pan.
  • Add the heavy cream and cook on low to reduce for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh tomatoes.
  • Cook until the tomatoes are warmed through.

tikka tomatosServed over basmati rice and with steamed broccoli completed the meal.

chicken tiki masalaEnjoy!

Labor Day Meal

Well Labor Day is this coming weekend and here is a meal that is made with Red, White and Blue.

  • For the Red – a nice London Broil cooked to medium rare, just seasoned with salt & pepper. A common cut of meat we cook around my house.
  • For the White – a few large sweet onions cut into rounds, brushed with olive oil, and salt & pepper.
    • After charring on the grill they were placed in a bowl with 3 Tbsp of butter and  1 Tbsp of dried thyme then covered with some plastic wrap for 10 minutes so they would steam a little and become soft.p

Grilled onions

  • For the Blue  – Par boil the Blue potatoes and them shock them in cold water. Next out to the garden to get some rosemary and garlic and a baby onion chop the garlic and onion place in a bowl drizzle with some good olive oil add some salt & pepper. I have an iron grille plate that I heated medium hot on the grill place the potatoes on it cut side down for about 7 minutes then flip over for a few more. You can see that I was cooking the potatoes at the same time as the onions.

Red, Purple and White Potatoes

Cut Potatoes

Cut Potatoes

rosemary and garlic

 

 

rosemary, garlic

mixed potatoes

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  • Cut the steak, unwrap the onions, and put the potatoes on the plate and enjoy.

Done Plates1

Done Plates2

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!

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.