Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pork Osso Buco

Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata
2 pork shanks (about 1 pound per shank), trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
1 tablespoon canola oil (plus extra, if needed)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (plus extra, if needed)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets, minced)
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs Italian parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)
2 small bay leaves (or 1 large)

For the gremolata:
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
Kitchen twine, for tying the pork shanks or ask the butcher to do it

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Pat the pork shanks dry with paper towels. Truss each shank with kitchen twine around the outside (a single strand will do). Season each shank with salt and freshly ground pepper and dredge them in flour, shaking off excess.

Heat a Dutch oven or lidded ovenproof skillet large enough to hold shanks in a single layer over a medium-high flame. Add 1 tablespoon each of canola oil and butter to the pan, swirling to combine. Brown Brown Brown shanks on both sides, about 5 minutes for the first side and 3 to 4 for the second. Transfer browned shanks to plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrot and celery to pan, also adding a little more oil and butter, if necessary. Sauté vegetables until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Return shanks to pan, along with any accumulated juices. Add 2 cups of chicken stock; liquid should come about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the shanks (add a little more if needed). Tuck parsley and thyme sprigs around the shanks, along with the bay leaves.

Cover pan and place in oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 30 minutes or so to see if you need to add more broth.

Meanwhile make the gremolata. Combine ingredient in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Carefully transfer the cooked shanks to a serving platter. Cut off the kitchen twine and discard. Discard the parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Spoon juices from the pot over and around shanks. Garnish with gremolata. Serve.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes, peeled)
3 tablespoons grated carrots
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 bay leaf
2 roasted red peppers, diced. Rinsed and patted dry if jarred
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Roma tomatoes
1 zucchini
1 Chinese eggplant
1 yellow squash
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper

First you make a base sauce. In a skittle or cast iron pan add olive
oil, garlic and shallots over low-medium heat. Cook until soft, 7-9
minutes. Add tomatoes, carrots, marjoram, bay leaf. Simmer for 10
minutes. Lower heat and add peppers Cook just long enough to combine
the flavors. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. In either the
skillet you cooked the sauce in, or a round/oval casserole dish (8-10
inches), evenly spread the sauce.

Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice tomatoes, squash, zucchini
and eggplant as thinly as possible. Less than 1/8 an inch if possible.

In you prepared sauce dish lay down a strip of overlapping or your
vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes then spring squash. Leaving
a bit of each layer exposed. This strip should start and end about an
inch from either end of the pan. Continue to layer in a spiral
formation around the center strip, slightly overlapping towards the
center. Keep going until either you have used all the vegetables, or
the pan is filled.

Cover with either the lid of the skillet, or a couple layers of foil
and bake at 300 for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove lid and return to
oven for another 10 minutes. This dish can be made a day ahead, so
either cover and store or broil for 10-15 minutes until it just starts
to brown. Serve from dish hot or cold.

Mediterranean Chicken

For the Marinade

3 Cloves of garlic - mixed with a little salt and smoothed to a paste.
1 Tsp. of cumin seeds - roughly ground
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
1 Teaspoon of sweet paprika - Pimenton.
1 Teaspoon of tomato puré.
1 Teaspoon of honey.
1 Lime - juice and grated zest.
1 Lemon - juice of.
Parsley to sprinkle.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Grilled Chicken

Combine all the Marinade ingredients and Mix well.
Turn the Chicken Breasts over two or three times in the marinade and leave to Marinate for at least Two Hours, Preferably overnight.
When you're ready to Cook - set your grill or bbq to high and put the Chicken breasts on - skin side down.
Cook for about ten minutes - until the skin is crisping up.
Turn them over and cook for a further ten minutes.
Turn down to low.
Place chicken on a shallow sided oven tray.
Pour on any remaining marinade over and return to the bbq or grill with the lid down for 10 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chicken Empanadas


1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 piece medium-sized onion, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup potato, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup green peas
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 piece chicken cube
2 tbsp cooking oil

3 cups flour
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp water, cold
1 piece raw egg
1 cup butter, cold
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook the Filing
1.1 In a heated pan, pour the cooking oil and allow to heat-up
1.2 Saute the garlic and onions
1.3 Add the chicken breast then cook until color turns light brown (about 5 minutes)
1.4 Add water and chicken cube then simmer for 10 minutes
1.5 Put-in carrots and potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes
1.6 Add the green peas, raisins, and sugar then simmer for another 5 minutes
1.7 Sprinkle salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, drain the excess liquid, and set aside.

2. Make the dough

2.1 In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients starting from the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt then mix well.
2.2 Cut the butter into small thin pieces place in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.(the butter should be cold and solid before doing this)
2.3 Add water gradually and mix all the ingredients thoroughly until a dough is formed. You may use a pastry blender to easen the process.
2.4 Divide the dough into individual pieces by grabbing a piece from the whole mixture and rolling it in your hand until a spherical shape is formed. Do this until all the dough is consumed. Set aside in a cool place for at least 20 minutes
2.5 Flatten the spherical dough py pressing it with your palm against a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten it fully while creating a round shape.

3. Place some filling at the middle of the flattened dough. Fold the dough so that opposite ends meet (you should have formed a half moon shaped dough)then press the edges and seal. (refer to the video for the technique)

4. After all the fillings are consumed, crack the egg and separate the white from the yolk. Beat the egg white lightly and mix a little water.Glaze the crust by brushing the egg wash.

5. Put a wax paper on top of a baking tray or grease the baking tray then arranged the sealed doughs.

6. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Bake the sealed doughs for 25 minutes at the same temperature.

7. Remove from the oven.

8. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Prosciutto and Spinach Pinwheels

1 large red bell pepper
2 sheets puff pastry dough (often sold in 17 or 18-ounce packages containing 2 (9 or 10-inch) square sheets puff pastry)
8 slices prosciutto ham
12 leaves fresh spinach
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar
1/8 cup Parmesan
2 eggs, beaten for egg wash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pepper in a roasting pan and roast in the oven, checking every 15 minutes, and turning with tongs until the skin is fully wrinkled and charred black. When the peppers is done, use tongs to put it into a ziptop bag which (for safety reasons) you have resting on a plate - (Remember, it is volcanically hot!). Carefully zip the bag shut, and allow the pepper to sweat for 5 minutes. Use oven mitts to prevent getting burned while you handle the bag in the next step of sliding the pepper from the bag into a bowl filled with a couple of inches of ice water. You can then use your fingers to work quickly to slip off and discard the skin of the pepper while it is in the water. You will be left with a beautifully cooked red pepper with a wonderful color. Cut open the pepper and remove seeds. Slice it into strips and set aside.

Roll out each puff pastry sheet and on the surface of each of the 2 sheets evenly arrange 4 slices of prosciutto ham, 6 spinach leaves, half of the red pepper strips, 1/8-cup Cheddar, and 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Roll up the dough "jelly roll" style into a log (so the cross-section of the roll will be a spiral design, the "pinwheel"). Place the logs in the freezer for 50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove "pinwheel" logs and from freezer and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes.

Dried Cherries, Pecans & Rosemary Brie

1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup dried cherries, softened*
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves OR teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1 (13.2 ounces) brie cheese round
1 package (26 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Entertaining Quartet Distinctive Crackers

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Stir the cherries, pecans, honey and rosemary in a small bowl. Spread the cherry mixture into the center of the pastry square. Top with the cheese round. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides of the pastry over the cheese. Trim the remaining two sides of the pastry square to 2-inches from the edge of the cheese. Fold the sides up onto the cheese and press the edges to seal. Place the pastry-wrapped cheese seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture

Decorate the top with pastry scraps or additional rosemary, if desired. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is deep golden brown. Let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with the crackers.

*To soften cherries, mix the cherries and 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl. Let stand for 1 minute. Drain and pat the cherries dry.

Three Cheese Crostini

1 1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, loosely measured
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, loosely measured
16 slices French or artisan type baguette, cut 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal
2 to 3 grinds black peppercorns (using handheld grinder)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup finely shredded fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, loosely measured


Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Preheat the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

In a small bowl gently toss the tomatoes, shallots, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar together. Spread out the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on a rack under the broiler element. Broil until the tomatoes begin to show a few black spots, about 4 minutes with oven door closed. Turn the mixture, using a spatula, and broil 3 minutes longer with the oven door closed. Remove from the oven and transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; set the bowl aside until needed. Retain the broiler heat on high.

While the tomatoes are broiling, combine the ricotta, blue cheese, pesto, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice and lemon peel in a medium bowl.

Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the baking sheet on the rack under the broiler element and broil until golden, about 1 minute or so per side, watching carefully. Remove from oven.

To assemble, season the tomato mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and peppercorns, then stir in the basil. Spread some of the ricotta mixture over each crostini. Top with the tomato/onion mixture, then sprinkle with shredded cheese, dividing all the ingredients equally among the slices. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.