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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Coppell Farmers Market Farm to Table Dinner, June 11, 2016

We've been weekly shoppers at the Coppell Farmers Market for, I don't know, three years? four years now?  It's the nearest farmers market that has a good mix of local and organic purveyors.  It's important to us to buy local and organic, and personally knowing the fine folks who grow/raise our food, well, that's just a big ole bonus!

The market hosts a farm to table dinner and has for six years now.  We're a little late to this party.  The stars finally aligned and we scored tickets this year!  If you're interested in this event, be aware that it has been selling out within 30 minutes, so plan to arrive early on ticket sale day.

This is me finally scoring tickets to this dinner by getting in line at 7:30 for tickets that go on sale at 8:00, in the a.m..  And yes, for you who know me, I truly was somewhere at 7:30 when I wasn't being paid to be there!!!


We go to a lot of "foodie" events, and this may be my new favorite.  This dinner really showcased the farmers/ranchers who are providing our food.  Not only were we served a dinner with ingredients sourced  from our favorite vendors, many of our favorite vendors were present at the dinner.  While enjoying the dishes, I was so excited to recognize ingredients in the dishes, ingredients that I routinely purchase at the market, such as Latte Da Dairy's manchego and Cardo's sprouts.

And the fantastic pork tenderloin and breakfast sausage we purchase at the market, how cool is it to see the young lady who raises those pigs from whence come all those fine products we purchase all dressed up and enjoying dinner instead of working?!  We see Ruth Hutchins and her sister Katherine almost every Saturday morning at the market as they work their Rehoboth Ranch booth.  It was lovely to see Ruth Hutchins, the prettiest pig raiser in Texas, at the dinner, and also to meet her dad, Robert Hutchins.


The evening began at 6:00 with hors d'ouevres and sparkling wine.  The sparkling wine was 2 Muscateers from Blue Ostrich Winery.  The hors d'ouevres were crostini with smoked trout, roasted tomatoes, and aioli by Chef Knifong; chix & waffle skewer with jalapeno cream gravy, hot sauce & rosemary honey by Chef Eager; and open faced reubens by Chef Knifong.  They were all very good.  That jalapeno gravy was scrumptious!

We so often are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and this dinner was no exception.  I met Julie and Patrick Whitehead of Blue Ostrich Winery as they were arriving, and then was lucky enough to be seated next to Julie for the dinner.  Blue Ostrich Winery provided the wine pairings for the dinner and I was privy to a bit of insider info about the wines by virtue of being seated next to Julie.  Julie and her husband and parents are such lovely people and I can't wait to visit and tour their winery.

We were also fortunate enough to be seated across the table from John and Sandy Stewart, from whom we purchase our olive oil and sometimes herbs at the market.  They also have wonderful vinegars and homemade dog biscuits at their market booth.  And we have a new Facebook friend from the dinner, Don Morris.

The tablescapes were beautiful and creative.  There were pretty vases of wildflowers.  And then there were these canning jars filled with water with chile peppers inside and lit candles floating atop.  

On the table were also canning jars of spiced cashews provided by Good Spice at the market.  The bread was provided by Village Baking.


Well, on to the menu.

Amuse Bouche, Bretonne paired with Blue Ostrich Viognier.  Very tasty with purple hull peas and microgreens.  I buy those same microgreens from Cardo at the market.  Very cool to eat a dish and recognize who grew the ingredients!

Smoked pork, cheese, pickled spring vegetables, paired with golden beet citrus ale.  The pork cheeks were sourced from Rehoboth Ranch.  The salty pork paired beautifully with the Latte Da Dairy manchego cheese and the pickled vegetables.  Besides buying meat from Rehoboth Ranch and goat cheese from Latte Da Dairy, we've also toured Latte Da Dairy.  Again, it's really fun to eat a dish and recognize that, "Hey, I know what this cheese is and who made it."  Chefs Robby and Victoria Hooker created a beautiful dish.  Their home brewed golden beet citrus ale was outstanding.  Who would think of adding roasted golden beets to beer?  Brilliant chefs, that's who!


Cucumbers and Onions, market spring greens, cucumber ribbons.  Paired with Blue Ostrich Pinot Grigio.  A fresh, crisp, bright salad.  I loved the diced cucumbers and cucumber ribbons in the same dish.  The dressing was a great, flavorful take on ranch.  Rumor has it that the pickled onions were pickled with cucumber vinegar available at the market.  You know that vinegar will be coming home with me next Saturday!  [Edited to add that it's taken me a while to complete this post and said yummy vinegar has indeed come home with me.]


Sopes with Chicken Tinga, paired with Table One from Blue Ostrich Winery.  We would have liked for this dish to have been warmer, but the flavors were fabulous.


Palate cleanser.  John's Special Sorbet on a Stick from Pop Star Popsicle.  These are mine and Gordon's.  Mine was lemon/buttermilk and I think Gordon's was cantaloupe.  Neither of us typically eat sweets, but these were too good to skip!


Tender Pork, Sage Potatoes, Spring Vegetable, paired with Cabernet Sauvignon from Blue Ostrich Winery.  Again, the tender pork for this dish was sourced from Rehoboth Ranch.  It was delicious.  The squash in this dish also was sourced from the market, but I'm not sure of the purveyor.  The jus was delish!


Lemon Meringue...That's It, paired with Talon from Blue Ostrich Winery.  Just yum!  Again had to make an exception to the "we don't eat sweets" rule!


 I didn't get a pic of the truffles that were available in the lobby as we left this fantastic event, but trust me, they were fab!

It was a tremendous event and I'll be in line at 7:30 a.m. again next spring for tickets.  Getting to know our wonderful vendors better, eating their ingredients incorporated into fine chef-prepared dishes, and seeing them receive the appreciation they deserve for their hard work to provide us with quality food made for a perfect evening.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roasted Pork Shoulder) Updated Cooking Techniques



I'm updating this recipe for Puerto Rican Pernil to include a few things we've incorporated after making it for several years.  Plus we tried two different ways of "roasting" it this year that worked really well.

We previously cooked the perniles covered with foil at 325 for 30 minutes per pound, then removed the foil and increased the temperature to 375 to crisp the skin.  Here's that method.  It's really, really good.

After some research, we decided to try cooking one pernil lower and slower and finish it off in a very hot oven to crisp the skin.  The results were really good, more tender than the higher heat method.  If you have the time, I highly recommend this technique.  It's pretty foolproof.

We also experimented cooking a pernil with my favorite kitchen gadget, the Sansaire sous vide immersion circulator.  If you have a sous vide machine, this is a really easy way to cook the pernil, then you transfer it to a very hot oven to crisp the skin.  It requires some planning as the cooking time is very long, but there's not much hands-on time.  Once the pork is in the water bath, you don't do anything more than checking the water level and adding water as necessary.


Recipe For Pernil (Roasted Pork Shoulder) Low and Slow Method

8-10 lb. bone-in skin-on pork picnic shoulder

For the marinade:
15 black peppercorns
18 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for each pound of meat
Optional:  Some juice from naranjas agrias (sour oranges) is a nice addition if it's available.

Crush and mix the marinade ingredients in a pilon (mortar and pestle) or in a blender.  Allow the flavors to marry while you prepare the pork.

Lightly score the surface of the pork skin in a criss-cross pattern, as you would an Easter ham.  This will help  make it easier to break up the cuerito, the crispy pork skin, after it's roasted.  If you forget this step (like I did this year) you can chop the cuerito into chunks with a sharp knife after roasting.


Using a very sharp knife, carefully separate the skin from the top of the pork shoulder, starting at the large end, peeling it back toward the small bony end of the shoulder, stopping before you completely separate the skin from the bony end.


Use your sharp knife to jab deep holes into the meat all over, top, bottom, sides, everywhere, turning the knife to make the holes larger.

Reserve a bit of marinade for the surface of the skin.  Rub the remainder of the marinade all over the pork, using your fingers to work it deep into the knife holes.  Carefully re-position the skin back into place and use butcher's twine to tie it securely.  Rub reserved marinade into the skin.

Place in a ziptop bag.  Either double-bag or put a tray underneath in case of drips.  Refrigerate at least 24 hours.  We've increased the marinating time over the years and now marinate 3 full days before roasting.


Perniles resting in the fridge, marinating.

One hour before cooking, remove the pork from the refrigerator, remove it from the bags and place it on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.  While pork is coming to room temperature, preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place pork shoulder in oven and bake for about 8 hours.  Yes, 8 hours.  You'll see that the meat has pulled away from the bone, exposing the end of the bone, and a fork inserted in the side should have little resistance when twisted.

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Remove the foil and carefully cut and remove the butcher's twine.  Roast until the skin is brown and crispy.  When done, the skin will literally sound crunchy if you tap it.  It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, so keep a very close eye on it at this stage to avoid burning the skin.

Remove the pernil from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes, tented with foil.  Separate the skin from the meat.  Carve and shred the meat.  Cut/break the crunchy skin into bite-sized pieces.  Serve the meat on a platter with the crunchy skin on the side.


Recipe For Pernil (Roasted Pork Shoulder) Sous Vide Method

8-10 lb. bone-in skin-on pork picnic shoulder

For the marinade:
15 black peppercorns
18 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for each pound of meat
Optional:  Some juice from naranjas agrias (sour oranges) is a nice addition if it's available.

Crush and mix the marinade ingredients in a pilon (mortar and pestle) or in a blender.  Allow the flavors to marry while you prepare the pork.

Lightly score the surface of the pork skin in a criss-cross pattern, as you would an Easter ham.  This will help make it easier to break up the cuerito, the crispy pork skin, after it's roasted.  If you forget this step (like I did this year) you can chop the cuerito into chunks with a sharp knife after roasting.


Using a very sharp knife, carefully separate the skin from the top of the pork shoulder, starting at the large end, peeling it back toward the small bony end of the shoulder, stopping before you completely separate the skin from the bony end.


Use your sharp knife to jab deep holes into the meat all over, top, bottom, sides, everywhere, turning the knife to make the holes larger.

Reserve a bit of marinade for the surface of the skin.  Rub the remainder of the marinade all over the pork, using your fingers to work it deep into the knife holes.  Carefully re-position the skin back into place and use butcher's twine to tie it securely.  Tying securely with butcher's twine is essential for this preparation because the meat will be so tender after sous vide cooking that it won't hold its shape for roasting to crisp the skin otherwise.  Rub reserved marinade into the skin.

Vacuum seal the pernil in a sous vide bag.  We refrigerated the marinated pernil for 24 hours before sous vide cooking it; however, the marinating time may be unnecessary as the vacuum sealing and sous viding forces the marinade deep into the meat.

When ready to sous vide, set up your sous vide circulator and set the temperature to 150 degrees.  When the water comes to temperature, add the vac-packed pernil.  Loosely cover the top with aluminum foil to reduce evaporation.  Cook the pork sous vide for 36 hours, checking the water level a couple of times per day and adding more as necessary.

Remove the cooked pernil from the sous vide bath.  Remove it from the bag and put it on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.  Be careful.  There will be lots of hot liquid in that bag.  It helps to have a partner to do this.

Cook the pernil uncovered in a 250 degree oven for an hour or two to start drying out the skin.  Then increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Carefully cut and remove the butcher's twine.  Roast until the skin is brown and crispy.  When done, the skin will literally sound crunchy if you tap it.  It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, so keep a very close eye on it at this stage to avoid burning the skin.

Remove the pernil from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes, tented with foil.  Separate the skin from the meat.  Carve and shred the meat.  Cut/break the crunchy skin into bite-sized pieces.  Serve the meat on a platter with the crunchy skin on the side.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Red Enchilada Sauce


My stepdaughter Morgan made this enchilada sauce this afternoon.  She'll be using it to make a chicken enchilada casserole.  This sauce has a beautiful deep red color, is full of flavor, and is easy to make.  It has a nice, smooth consistency, both when warm and when cooled.  It's just perfect for enchiladas and enchilada casseroles.

Morgan used regular old chili powder, Sprout's organic version, which is very mild.  I can envision experimenting with flavor options using specific varieties or blends of chile powders to taste.

You can make this with chicken broth or make a vegan version with veggie broth.  Morgan used Pacific brand low sodium organic chicken broth.  Obviously homemade chicken or veggie broth would add more flavor, but we don't have any homemade on hand at the moment.  No one will ever mistake me for Martha Stewart!

Here's the recipe, slightly adapted from a recipe on gimmesomeoven.com:

Red Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
2 T flour
4 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t oregano
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 oz. tomato paste

Directions:

Heat oil in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and whisk together over the heat until the mixture turns golden brown, at least one minute.  Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).  Gradually add in the broth, whisking constantly to remove lumps.  Add the tomato paste and whisk to blend.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Use immediately or refrigerate.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chilean Sea Bass With Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes And Hatch Chile Peppers


This dish has so many things I embrace wholeheartedly:  fish caught using sustainable methods, locally grown cherry tomatoes, and seasonal Hatch chile peppers.  This is Chilean Sea Bass from trusted local supplier TJ's Fresh Seafood Market, which sources its seafood responsibly; cherry tomatoes from one of the local, organic farmers at the Coppell Farmers Market; and roasted seasonal Hatch chile peppers from Central Market.

This isn't really a recipe, more of a suggestion.  The fish, three portions approximately 6 oz. each, was sprinkled on all sides with Penzey's Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave Chicken and Fish Seasoning, a blend of salt, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel, and onion.  Any subtle seasoning like that would work well.  The fish is so nice it doesn't need to be overpowered by spices.  I  rinsed a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  I removed the blackened skin, stems, and seeds from a couple of mild Hatch chile peppers and diced them.

I heated a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for a long time to make sure that it was evenly heated, coated it with good olive oil (in this case a basil-infused Texas olive oil), then added the Chilean Sea Bass filets.  (Interestingly enough, Chilean Sea Bass is neither bass nor Chilean.  Check out this Wikipedia article if you're interested in knowing more:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patagonian_toothfish.)

The filets were really thick, maybe 2", so I cooked them skin-side-down for almost 10 minutes, then flipped them and cooked about 5 more minutes.  It's a relatively fatty fish, so it's pretty forgiving if you "overcook" it.  I removed the cooked filets from the skillet, put them on a plate, and tented it with aluminum foil.

I put the pretty yellow cherry tomatoes and diced Hatch chiles in the skillet and cooked them, giving everything a good stir now and again, until most of the tomatoes burst, then poured in the juices that had accumulated on the plate the fish was resting on and stirred that in.  Then I just plated and served.

This is a quick, easy, healthy, and responsible dinner that anyone can make in no time.  There's little prep and few ingredients.  High quality, sustainable fish isn't cheap; however, its flavor is so good you only need a small portion.  Plus when you eat well you're making an investment in your future health and the health of our planet.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders



This one is kid and adult approved.  It's a great, more healthy alternative to flour-laden, carb-dense recipes.  Yummy!

Recipe For Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
3 eggs
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup of almonds, chopped in a food processor to a coarse meal texture
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
big pinch of kosher salt
couple of grinds of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Set up a breading station:

  • Whisk eggs and then whisk in lemon juice and put in a shallow bowl. 
  • Mix the almonds, parmesan, paprika, garlic or onion powder, salt, and pepper and put in a shallow bowl.

Working a couple at a time, coat chicken tenders with egg mixture, then with almond mixture, and shake off excess.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet; no crowding.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche



This is a breakfast/brunch dish for those of us who have childhood issues with runny eggs and need them to be thoroughly cooked and disguised with plenty of cheese.  Our picky kids seem to like this one too since it has the flavors of broccoli cheese soup.  You can bake this recipe in individual ramekins, which I think makes it kinda fun for kids, but you can also bake it in a pie dish.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche Recipe

10 ounces fresh broccoli
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
big pinch of salt
couple grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning:  nutmeg, toasted onion powder, garlic powder, etc.
3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
butter for greasing ramekins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter four 8-ounce ramekins or a 9-inch pie dish.

Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli.  Return to the boil and cook 1 minute.  Drain well. Transfer broccoli to a cutting board and blot dry with paper towels.  Chop broccoli coarsely.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, a big pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning.  Stir in broccoli and cheese.

Place ramekins or pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet.  Ladle the broccoli/egg/cheese mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly, or ladle it into a pie dish.  Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out pretty clean, about 35 to 40 minutes for individual ramekins, 10 to 15 minutes more for a pie dish.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Baked Shrimp Scampi


Maybe not the healthiest shrimp recipe, but seriously delicious!  This is better than any shrimp scampi you can get at a restaurant!  This recipe is slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Baked Shrimp Scampi Recipe.

Recipe For Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish.

Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter-crumb mixture evenly over the shrimp.
 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.