Monthly Archives: May 2011

Bacondoodles

Full disclosure:  I am a bit of a cookie monster.

It might be genetic, since my dad has also never met a cookie he didn’t like.  One of my favorites is the traditional Snickerdoodle.  You really can’t go wrong with this classic cinnamon and sugar cookie.  However, as most of you know, (you are reading a Pork blog…) bacon makes everything better.  The question is, can bacon even make cookies better?  Do you mess with perfection or can you elevate it to the next level?

I set out to do just that.  Get ready for – BACONDOODLES!

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Bacondoodles

1 package (17.5 ounces) Sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon maple extract

1/2 cup crumbled bacon

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F (350 degrees F. for dark or nonstick cookie sheet). Combine cookie mix, butter egg and maple extract in a medium bowl until soft dough forms. Stir in crumbled bacon.

Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet. Cool completely; store in airtight container.

Kristina’s Step-by-Step Instructions, Tips and Tricks:

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This recipe is super easy with the use of a sugar cookie mix.

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Hint:  When using a mix, jazz it up with some good vanilla and it will taste homemade!  Shhhh…it’s our secret.

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Bacon!  You can cook up your favorite and then crumble it or take another short cut and dive into a package of real bacon bits.

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Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

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Bake for 7-9 minutes and it’s doodle time!

Italian Pasta Salad

Is everyone getting ready for Memorial Day weekend?  I am excited to kick off Summer with a BBQ!  This recipe is one of my favorite dishes to serve alongside all the delicious grilled fare.  It is an Italian-style macaroni salad featuring pimiento-stuffed olives, Gorgonzola cheese, and, of course, ham.  While you are grilling up your chops or pork tenderloin this weekend, why not serve this pork-centric pasta salad as well!

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ITALIAN MACARONI SALAD

1 package (7 ounces) elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente and drained
1-1/2 cups diced ham
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 pound gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Romaine lettuce leaves
Additional stuffed olives, for garnish (optional)

1.  Combine macaroni, ham, celery, carrot, olives, onion, and pepper in a large bowl.
2.  Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, gorgonzola, and lemon juice; pour over macaroni mixture and toss gently to combine.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours. Taste for salt and pepper.
3.  Serve over lettuce leaves and garnish with additional olives, if desired.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Breaking News! (Plus a “Twitter Party!”)

Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!

This week, there was some huge breaking news in the pork world.  It’s amazing the difference 15 degrees makes.  Check it out!

Fifteen Degrees Video

The USDA just lowered the recommended cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees.  This means that pork is now held to the same temperature standards as beef, veal and lamb.  To cooks like us this means no more “hockey puck” pork chops!

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The new temperature recommendation also includes a 3 minute rest period after the pork comes out of the oven or off of the grill.  During this time not only will your meat have a chance to be nice and juicy when you slice and serve, it will also allow the internal temperature to remain constant or rise, killing any pathogens.

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Now you are thinking?  How will I know if the internal temperature of my pork is 145 degrees?  Well, you are in luck!  Next Tuesday, May 31st at 7 PM Eastern Time I will be hosting “The Temperature News” Twitter Party.  For one hour we will be disussing the new guidelines and how it affects you and your cooking.  We will also be giving away 145 digital thermometers! That’s right 145 of you will win one of these fancy and useful gadgets!  In addition, one Grand Prize Winner will receive a “Juicy Grilling with Pork” package filled with outdoor grilling and Summer fun prizes.  Check out the official rules here!

If you are excited to join the party, be sure to follow @AllAboutPork and @BetterRecipes and use the hashtag #Pork145 throughout the hour.  We are excited to “tweet” you!

PORKupine Meatballs

Porcupine meatballs are a classic mealtime favorite.  This was one of my favorite family dinners growing up!  That’s when I got to thinking…why can’t Porcupine Meatballs become PORKupine Meatballs?  So I gave it a try!

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PORKupine Meatballs

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 3.8 oz can sliced ripe olives, drained

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground pork

1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the egg and milk. Stir in rice, olives, bread crumbs, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper, then stir to combine. Crumble pork into rice mixture. Stir or use hands to combine ingredients and mix well. Form pork mixture into 8 large equal meatballs and place in a 2 quart baking dish, then set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, stir together the tomatoes, water, cornstarch, bouillon cubes and thyme. Bring to a boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and pour over meatballs in pan. Cover baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Number of Servings: 4-6

Kristina’s Step-by-Step Instructions, Tips and Tricks:

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This recipe calls for fresh bread crumbs.  You know that day old bread on sale at the grocery store?  This is the perfect use  Toss it in the food processor and you have homemade bread crumbs!

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Whisk together the egg and milk and then add uncooked rice.  Everyone always asks, “Really?  You don’t cook the rice?”  That’s what makes this meal so easy!  The rice cooks along with everything else in the oven.

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Next add the olives, bread crumbs, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper, then stir to combine.  My secret weapon smoked paprika.  Once you try it you will never look back.  Invest in a jar today!

p1130072Form eight large meatballs and arrange in your baking dish.

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In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, stir together the tomatoes, water, cornstarch, bouillon cubes and thyme. Bring to a boil and stir for one minute.

p1130074Remove from heat and pour over meatballs in pan. Cover baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

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Dinner is done!  One simple dish includes the protein, starch and vegetables of a well-rounded meal.  If your family already loves Porcupine Meatballs, then PORKupine Meatballs will soon be their new favorite!

Phenomenal Pork Prize Package!

Get ready for anther giveaway!  This one is packed with pork prizes…check it out!

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-Calphalon Grill Pan – A great way to grill indoors year-round.

-Spinner Spice Rack – Adorned with an ‘inspiring’ logo.

-Instant Read Thermometer – Check those internal temps!

-Pork, Be Inspired Cutting Board – Look at that cute shape :)

-Top Chef Cookbook

-Pork Recipe Booklet

-Coupon for FREE PORK!

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As an added bonus, your Top Chef Cookbook is autographed by a fellow pork pal, Richard Blais!

From now through Wednesday, May 25th leave a comment here telling us how you plan to use pork in your Spring and Summer meals!  One lucky winner will be randomly selected at 5 PM central time on the 25th.  Best of luck to everyone!  Go Pork!

Pig Puzzler Game – Answers

Pig Puzzler – Answers

1.  M

2.  E

3.  H

4.  P

5.  B

6.  K

7.  O

8.  G

9.  J

10.  C

11.  N

12.  L

13.  I

14.  D

15.  A

16.  F

17.  R

18.  Q

How well did you do?  Share your results on our Twitter page!  @PorkandKnife

18-13: “Hog Heaven”  Congratulations, you know your pork!  Share your love with friends and family.

12-7: “You did swine”  Obviously, you love pork but there is always room for improvement.  Add bacon to your next meal.

7 and under: “Little Squeal”  You might need to study up.  Your assignment, cook up some pork for dinner!

Pig Puzzler Game

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How well do you know your pork?  Test your knowledge of pig-related phrases and idioms.  The answers will be published tomorrow.  Good luck!

Match the following with their meaning:

1.  Pig wife                                                   A.  runt of the litter

2.  Pig in a poke                                          B.  cocky, self-assured, confident

3.  Like a hog in harvest                            C.  beer

4.  Hog shearing                                         D.  to be ruined

5.  Hog on ice                                               E.  a blind bargain

6.  St. Bartholomew Pig                             F.  shilling, sixpense

7.  To bring home the bacon                     G.  to snore loudly

8.  To drive a hog to market                      H.  in one ear, out the other

9.  Pigtail                                                        I.  to live in martial bliss

10.  Pig’s ear                                                  J.  a type of tobacco

11.  To baste bacon                                       K.  a very large person

12.  A still sow                                               L.  a selfish person

13.  To eat Dunmow Bacon                         M.  a crockery vendor

14.  To go to pigs and whistles                    N.  to thrash

15.  St. Anthony’s Pig                                    O.  to catch a greased pig

16.  Hog                                                           P.  much ado about nothing

17.  Pig puzzle                                                 Q.  fairy, elf

18.  Piggywhidden                                         R.  a gate made to swing both ways

*Quiz from “Hog Wild!” by K.C. McKewon

Tous C’est Bon Dans Le Cochon

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Cochon 555 is an event for anyone who considers themselves a pork super-fan.  “Cochon,”  French for pig, and “555″ for the 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 wines represented at the event.  These celebrations of swine are held all across the US and I recently had the pleasure of attending the Los Angeles fete.

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COCHON 555 is a tribute to heritage and heirloom breeds, chefs and winemakers, but it is also a friendly competition.  The chefs prepare a 175 pound heritage breed hog from head to toe for the contest. Guests and local judges then determine a winner based on presentation, utilization and overall best flavor.  The winner joins other top chefs throughout the country for the Grand Cochon at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival in June.

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FIVE CHEFS
Octavio Becerra – Palate Food & Wine
Chad Colby – Mozza
Tim Goodell – Public Kitchen & Bar
Ben Ford – Ford’s Filling Station
Joshua Whigham – The Bazaar

My vote went to Chef Octavio Becerra from Palate Food and Wine (pictured above with his pork corn dogs on a stick.)

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FIVE PIGS
Berkshire – ReRide Ranch
Hampshire – Hopkins Hog Farm via Tender Belly
Spotted Poland – Hopkins Hog Farm via Tender Belly
Hereford – Hopkins Hog Farm via Tender Belly
Red Wattle – Walnut Keep Farm & Vineyard

Top prize went to Chad Colby from Mozza.  He turned his Hampshire into an array of quick charcuterie that wowed the judges and the crowd.

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FIVE WINES
The Scholium Project
Alysian
Arnot-Roberts
Copain Wines
Red Car Wine

There wasn’t a competition for the winemakers present, but I found the  Pinot Noir from Alysian to be a standout.  Really, when samples are free flowing, we all win.

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There was even a butcher competition on the main floor of the venue.  Here Tim Havidic of – Lindy and Grundy shows off his superior skills for the crowd.  

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Appropriately shaped sweet treats rounded out the meal.  (Made with lard, of course!)  There are several more upcoming events in  New Orleans on 5/28,  and San Francisco  on 6/5.  Then the Grand Cochon on 6/19, and finally the All-Star Cochon on  7/24. There is still time for all you pork aficionados out there to attend!

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After an evening of extraordinary pork preparations, fantastic wine pairings, and outstanding Los Angeles chefs, it certainly was “all good in the pig.

Puerco y Chocolate

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

As we enjoy some chips and guacamole and toast our salt rimmed margaritas, I wanted to celebrate one of the greatest culinary gifts from Mexico – chocolate.  The ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures of Mexico and Central America were the first people known to have made chocolate, and boy am I glad that they did!

I recently visited the mecca of chocolate here in the United States – Hershey, Pennsylvania.  This small town not only boasts sweet treats and fun for children, it also is home to innovative restaurants and gourmet meals.  I had the pleasure to meet with the executive chef at The Hotel Hershey, Kenneth Gladysz.  We discussed the versatility of chocolate in both sweet and savory dishes and I asked him for a recommendation for a recipe that would work well with pork.  He provided the following recipe for a homemade chocolate-chili barbecue sauce.  I paired it with my favorite recipe for pork baby back ribs and it is simply a match made in heaven.  The flavor is reminsicient of a fantastic mole and I promise you will find yourself licking your fingers after enjoying these ribs to get every last taste.

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CHOCOLATE-CHILI BARBEQUE SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon softened butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2  Spanish onion, small dice

2 Roma tomatoes, stem removed, small dice

1 1/2 ounce dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons ancho chili powder

4 ounces apple cider vinegar

8 ounces barbeque sauce

14 ounces vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 ounces Scharffen Berger 82% dark chocolate

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Method:

Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion, sauté 5 minutes until golden brown.  Add tomatoes, stir, and sauté an additional 5 minutes.  Add sugar and chili powder, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add vinegar, reduce for 5 minutes, mixture should have a paste consistency.  Add sauce, stock, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer for 30 minutes.  Add Scharffen Berger chocolate and cilantro; allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove sauce from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  Puree sauce, transfer to clean container and cool.  For best results refrigerate for 12 hours before using.

Chocolate-Chili Barbeque Sauce recipe from Executive Chef Kenneth Gladysz at The Hotel Hershey.

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CINCO DE MAYO CHOCOLATE BABY BACK RIBS

2 slabs baby back ribs, about 3-4 pounds total

Chocolate-Chili Barbecue Sauce

1.  Wrap each slab in double thickness of aluminum foil and place on a large pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.  Unwrap and drain drippings.

2.  Return ribs to pan.  Pour prepared barbecue sauce over ribs, coating each one well.  Marinate at room temperature for 1-2 hours; or cool, cover, and marinate overnight in refrigerator.

3.  When ready to grill, lay ribs above medium-hot coals.  Grill for 30 minutes, turning and basting with sauce about every 10 minutes.  Serves 6.