Monthly Archives: June 2011

Hello Bacon, Farewell Blog

I can’t believe my time here at Pork, Knife and Spoon is up!  It has been so much fun sharing my passion for pork with all of you the past three months.  I figured I would end my time here with a bang.  This video is nothing short of a bacon extravaganza.  I enlisted the help of my friend (and fellow red-head) Ashley to whip up a bacon feast.  From beginning to end, it is all pork, all the time.  Roll it!

BACON BLUE CHEESE APPETIZER KABOBS

6 slices bacon
1 Tablespoon chopped green onions with some tops
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 medium mushrooms, stems removed

1.  Fry bacon until light brown but not crisp.  Cook and stir onions in butter until tender; remove from heat.  Stir in bread crumbs, blue cheese, and salt.
2.  Fill each mushroom cap with about 1 teaspoon blue cheese mixture; press 2 caps together.  Wrap bacon slice around each 2 mushrooms; secure with wooden picks.  Thread mushrooms onto 14 inch skewer.
3.  Place kabobs on grill 4-5 inches from medium-hot coals.  Cook, turning frequently, until bacon is crisp, 5-8 minutes.  Serves 6.

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MAPLE-BACON CINNAMON CUPCAKES

Cinnamon Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Set aside.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.

2.  Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium-high speed until pale, 2 to 3 minutes.  On medium speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix, scraping down sides of bowl.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk.  Stir with a rubber spatula until the batter is evenly blended.

3.  Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each two-thirds full.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean.  15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

4.  Let the cupcakes cool in tins on wire racks 20 minutes.  Invert cupcakes to remove from pans.  Cool completely on racks before frosting.

Maple-Bacon Buttercream Frosting

3 large egg yolks

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

12 bacon slices, crisped and crumbled

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; set aside.  In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil, and cook until it registers 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

With the mixer running, slowly pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow steady stream, until completely incorporated, about 1 minute.  Continue beating until bowl is just slightly warm to the touch, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add butter, one piece at a time, until thoroughly incorporated and the frosting is fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Frost cinnamon cupcakes and top with crumbled bacon.

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So long for now!  I will miss all of you and our pork-centric conversations.  Keep in touch!  You can always find me on Better Recipes at “The Daily Dish” and through Facebook and Twitter.  Cheers!

Bacon and Chive Scones with Bacon Butter

Bacon.  We love it for breakfast.  We love it on burgers.  What about some new ways to enjoy bacon and incorporate it into meals?

I am a huge fan of scones, so I wanted to find a way to make a savory scone with bacon.  Thus these Bacon and Chive Scones were born.  But you can’t just enjoy a scone on its own!  Of course not…this recipe needs a flavored butter to take it to the next level.  That’s when bacon butter comes into play.  That’s right, it is spreadable bacon perfection for your scones.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

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Bacon and Chive Scones with Bacon Butter

4 slices bacon
1/2 medium red bell pepper, minced
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lard, cut into small pieces
5 Tablespoons minced chives, divided
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment.  Fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels.  Finely crumble slices, reserving one slice separately.  Add minced bell pepper to the bacon drippings in pan and stir until softened; drain and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add the lard pieces, and with your fingers or a pastry blender, combine until crumbly. Stir in the three slices of crumbled bacon, bell pepper, and 2 Tablespoons of the chives until well blended.  Add milk and stir just until a sticky dough forms.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, knead about 10 times, then shape into a rectangle, 3/4-inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each lengthwise piece into 5 equal triangles.  Arrange the triangles on parchment-lined baking pan.  In a small bowl, beat together egg and water and brush lightly over tops of scones.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden.

While scones are baking, prepare butter.  In a small bowl, combine the softened butter with remaining 1 slice of crumbled bacon, remaining 3 Tablespoons of minced chives, and coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.  Serve bacon-chive butter with hot scones.  Makes 10 scones and 1/2 cup bacon-chive butter.

The “Flying Pig” Truck

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Food trucks are all the rage across the country, especially here in Los Angeles.  In fact, there is a food truck celebration called “First Friday’s” on the first Friday of each month in Venice.  Art studios, clothing shops and other stores along Abbott Kinney Boulevard are open late and the streets are packed with some of the best mobile grub in town.

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Needless to say, I was instantly drawn to the “Flying Pig” truck.

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This truck features Asian and Pacific Rim flavors with French technique.  The Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs bring their food to the streets with a smile and the slogan, “Live hungry, eat happy!”

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The menu is very pork-centric, just the way I like it.  :)  The Pork Belly Bun instantly grabbed my attention.

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It is amazing the magic that can be created in such tight quarters on these food trucks!

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I built a plate filled with their finest pork offerings.  Right there at the top is the “First Friday Special.”  A Pork Belly Burrito with queso oaxaca, siracha, rice, escabeche, cilantro cream and “death sauce”.  A fiery concoction that finds it’s way into many of their menu options.  Next inside a steamed bao bun is braised pork belly with red onion escabeche, pickled sesame cucumber and, once again, their signature “death sauce.”  Finally I ordered the spicy pork taco filled with marinated pork shoulder, green papaya, black sesame seeds, cilantro cream and, you guessed it, “death sauce.”

I sure would love to find out what is in their fabulous ‘death sauce!”  You might even say I am dying to know… I am sure they are more than willing to give out the recipe.  Right, when pigs fly!

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Apple Smoked Pork Chops

I have a feeling this Summer is going to be smokin’….

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I have always wanted to dive into the world of smoking, but my patio is just too small for an outdoor smoker.  When I discovered this Indoor Stovetop Smoker from Nordic Ware, instantly my problems were solved.  Now not only can I use it inside, I can smoke year-round!

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It is incredibly easy to use, and your kitchen will smell heavenly while you cook!  Start by spreading a few tablespoons of smoking chips into the bottom of the pan.

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I used apple for this recipe.

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Then place the drip pan inside and add a bit of white wine.  This is a “wet” smoking method that will keep the pork most as well as infuse some of the wine flavor into the meat.

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The grill pan goes on top.

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Pork chops are simply seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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Top with a few apple slices and you are ready to rock!

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Crank up the heat and get smoking!

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In minutes the smoked chops were perfectly cooked and smelled heavenly!

Apple Smoked Pork Chops

2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

4 1-inch thick pork chops

salt, pepper and garlic powder

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup water

Rub seasonings into pork chops.  Place apple slices on each of the pork chops.  Place on smoker, and smoke using apple smoking chips and moist steam method (using white wine and water) for 40-60 minutes or until done.

Sausage Stuffed Pork Chops

Earlier this week I showed you how to make homemade breakfast sausage.  It was so much fun, I decided to give the recipe double duty.  In additions to the sausage links, I saved a bit of the bulk sausage for this recipe.  It just sounded too good not to try.  Yep, it’s pork stuffed pork.  Drooling yet?

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You have to check out this recipe for “Pork Chops Stuffed with Kentucky Sausage with a Bourbon-Mustard Glaze.”  I read the title and thought, how many of my favorite words can be packed into one sentence?  Pork – check.  Mustard – check.  Bourbon – CHECK!

The result is succulent and juicy, and the glaze is lick-your-fingers good.  With all you pork fans out there, something is telling me that this just might be on your dinner table sometime very soon.  Tonight maybe?  Here is the recipe – enjoy!

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Pork Chops Stuffed with Kentucky Sausage with a Bourbon-Mustard Glaze

Pork Chops:

6 pork chops, cut 1-1/2 inches thick (3-4 pounds total)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Bourbon Mustard Glaze:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Dijon or Creole mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sausage Stuffing:

1 Tablespoon butter
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
3/4 pound Kentucky-Style Pork Sausage (or other bulk pork sausage)
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
1 egg, beaten

Cut a large pocket into each chop and season the meat with salt and pepper.  Set aside while making glaze and stuffing.
To make the glaze:  Combine the brown sugar, molasses, bourbon, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk until smooth; set aside.
To make the stuffing:  Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet.  Add the celery and onion and cook, covered, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the onion and celery to a bowl, cool slightly, and mix in the bread crumbs, sausage, wine, and egg.  Knead and squeeze the stuffing until all ingredients are blended.  Divide it into 6 equal amounts and stuff into each chop, molding the dressing with your hands against the side.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat the 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until the oil is very hot.  Brown the stuffed chops, 3 at a time, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch pan and brush with the prepared glaze.  Bake the chops, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.  Baste the chops generously every 10 minutes with more glaze.  Serve at once.   Note:  the glaze is also good on baked ham!

Recipe from “Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Cookbook” by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

Homemade Sausage

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Take a look at this plate…is that a way to start of your day or what?!  Possibly the only thing better than breakfast sausage is homemade breakfast sausage.  I have always wanted to try making my own links, and what better time then during my stint here at Pork, Knife & Spoon!

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I started with my all-time favorite appliance, the Kitchen Aid.  We know it is great for making cakes and cookies, but did you know it can also make sausage?  Take a look…

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Begin with the grinder attachment.  This will grind the perfect blend of pork and fat for your sausage links.

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Cubes of pork shoulder go in the top…

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…and perfectly ground pork comes out the other end!

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Then comes the blend of herbs and spices that make each sausage unique.  Since I am making a breakfast sausage, I used some sage, coriander and nutmeg.

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Then comes the sausage making attachment to the meat grinder.  Simply slide the casings on to the attachment and tie off the end to begin filling.  The key is fill it nice and plump, but not too tight so you can still twist the individual links.  Once you get the hang of it, the process is not only easy, but really fun!  I can’t wait to start making my own brats, chorizo or even andouille.  The possibilities are endless!

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Kentucky-Style Pork Sausage

2 pounds pork butt
1 pound pork back fat
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water
Medium hog casings (optional)

Grind the pork and fat through a 1/4-inch plate.  In a large bowl, mix the meat, fat, salt, black pepper, sage, cayenne, coriander, nutmeg, and water, kneading and squeezing until all the ingredients are well blended.  If  you are making sausage for patties, shape the meat into one large roll, 2 inches in diameter, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.  To cook patties, slice the sausage into patties and fry in a skillet until browned.  For links, stuff the sausage into medium hog casings using a sausage attachment, and tie at 5-inch intervals.  Like most fresh sausage, if wrapped tightly, this will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.

Recipe from “Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Cookbook” by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

Guy Fieri Road Show

“Love, Peace and Bacon Grease!”

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago (ok…Hammond, Indiana) stop of the Guy Fieri Road Show.  Let me tell you right now, it was officially Off the HOOK! Since the tour is sponsored by the National Pork Board, I was able to get the inside scoop for all of you here at Pork, Knife & Spoon.  Check out that All-Access Pass!

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From the VIP Pre-Show Reception, to an exclusive interview with Guy backstage before the show, this video gives you a peek behind the curtain into the wild world of Guy Fieri and his Krew.  Check it out!

One of the highlights of the show comes near the end when the lights turn down, but the stage heats up – literally!  Guy shows off his recipe for “Pork En Fuego” and ignites the stage in a huge ball of tequila induced fire.  This show is spectacle,  storytelling and sauce.  If you have a chance to catch one of the remaining shows, I highly recommend it.  Otherwise, be sure to be first in line when the next tour is announced.  You won’t regret it!

Pork En Fuego

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch thick pieces
3 strips bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 8 cloves)
1/3 cup your favorite tequila
3/4 cup canned reduced sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup jarred hot cherry peppers, chopped
1/4 cup En Fuego Spice Blend (see recipe, below)
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
4 ciabatta rolls, split
1-1/2 Tablespoons julienned fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 Tablespoons canola oil (optional, if pan sauteing)

En Fuego Spice Blend:
1 Tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons granulated or powdered garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1-1/2 dried oregano leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

1.  First make En Fuego Spice Blend:  Combine all spice blend ingredients in a shallow dish or pie plate; set aside.
2.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon just until crisp.  Transfer bacon to a pie plate with paper towels and discard bacon drippings in skillet.
3.  In same skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tablespoon butter.  Add onion.  Cook for 4-6 minutes or until onion is tender and begins to brown, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
4.  Remove skillet from heat.  Slowly pour in tequila.  Return to heat; cook and stir over low heat for about 30 seconds to remove bits from bottom of skillet.  Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, and hot cherry peppers.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until most, but not all, of the liquid has evaporated.
5.  Meanwhile, coat pork pieces with prepared spice blend, pressing to adhere.  Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat for direct grilling or your saute pan to medium-high heat and add 2 Tablespoons canola oil.
6.  Grill pork pieces, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F., turning pork over halfway during grilling.  Transfer pork to clean cutting board; set aside.
7.  Split rolls and grill, uncovered, about 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Turn off one burner on grill.  Remove roll tops from grill.  Turn roll bottoms over and move to area over unlit burner.  Top the cut sides of the roll with cheese.  Close lid and grill for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted; remove from grill.
8.  Cut pork pieces into strips.  When sauce is reduced, add pork strips, crumbled bacon, basil, and cilantro.  Cover and simmer about 3 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter.
9.  To serve, spoon pork mixture evenly on roll bottoms; top with green onions.  Cover with roll tops to form a sandwich.