Monthly Archives: August 2012

25 Amazing Pork Recipes for Labor Day Parties!

If you're like most of us, you'll be doing lots of eating and little laboring on Labor Day. You'll also be manning the grill (or getting someone else to do it while you stay comfortably cool in the pool). Either way, you need some seriously good, seriously porky Labor Day recipes. Look no further. Here are 25 amazing pork recipes from bloggers that will make Labor Day taste like the summer's last hurrah it is!  From juicy pork burgers and sticky grilled ribs to tangy pork studded baked beans, and bacon brownies, we've got 'em all right here. Happy Labor Day!

Cuban Burger Flip Burger Boutique Recipe

Cuban Pork Burgers with Guacamole and Bacon

Cuban Pork Burgers from Pork, Knife & Spoon (pictured above)

Asian Barbecue Pork Burgers with Slaw from Just a Taste

Grilled Brats from Pork, Knife & Spoon

Hawaiian Pork Burgers from Simply Recipes

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Grilled Ribs with Balsamic Peach BBQ Sauce

Ribs with Balsamic Peach BBQ Sauce from Savor the Thyme (pictured above, courtesy of Jennifer)

Last Hurrah Ribs! from Food and Fire

World's Easiest BBQ Ribs from Jersey Bites

Slow Cooker Ribs from Never Enough Thyme

grilled salami, mozzarella and arugula pizza

Grilled Salami, Mozzarella, and Arugula Pizza

Grilled Salami, Mozzarella, and Arugula Pizza from Pork, Knife & Spoon (pictured above)

Smoked Sausage and Corn Pasta from Savvy Julie

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork from The Pioneer Woman

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos with Cherry-Peach Salsa from Iowa Girl Eats

Peach BBQ Slow Cooker Pork with Cilantro-Citrus Slaw from The Novice Chef

Too Easy Slow Cooker Pork Tacos from Real Mom Kitchen

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Classic Cobb Salad with Ham and Bacon

Classic Cobb Salad from Recipe Girl (pictured above, courtesy of Lori)

Grilled Romaine with Buttermilk-Bacon Dressing from Pork, Knife & Spoon

Homemade BBQ Baked Beans (with pork) from Chez Us

cheesy-bacon-biscuits-3Cheesy Bacon Pull-Apart Biscuits

Easy Cheesy Bacon Pull-Apart Biscuits from Picky Palate (pictured above, courtesy of Jenny)

Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon from Always Order Dessert First

Pig Candy from Pork, Knife & Spoon

bacon-browniesBacon Brownies

Bacon Brownies from La Jolla Mom (pictured above, courtesy of Katie)

Bacon Peanut Brittle from Eat the Love

Pecan, Bourbon and Bacon Brownies from Bluebonnets and Brownies

Bacon Ice Cream from Pork, Knife & Spoon

Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars from Savory Sweet Life

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Pork Chops with Chipotle-Citrus Sauce and Corn Relish

Pork Chops with Chipotle-Citrus Sauce and Corn Relish

Jalapeño chili.

Garlic.

Chipotle peppers.

Orange juice.

Lime zest.

Fresh cilantro.

Because pork chops should never be boring.

Pork Chops with Chipotle-Citrus Sauce and Corn Relish

Serves 4

Sauce:

1 jalapeno chili, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced (less if you want less heat)

The zest and juice of 2 medium oranges

The zest and juice of 2 limes

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Corn Relish and Chops:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 2 cups frozen or canned corn)

4 green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

4 (1-inch thick bone-in pork chops), lightly sprinkled on both sides with salt and pepper

1. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.

2. To make the corn relish, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add corn and green onions and saute 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook for 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl. Wipe out skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the seasoned chops. Cook without touching for 10 minutes. Flip and cook 8 minutes. Add the sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook  about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. The chops should be nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside. If you’re using a meat thermometer, it should register 145 degrees F. Transfer the corn relish to a serving platter and top with chops. Pour remaining sauce and juices on top. Serve.

Back-To-School Time: The Humble Ham Sandwich

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The Croque-Monsieur, or Mister Crisp

A ham sandwich. Plain and simple goodness. That’s what it is. And millions of kids across America will be happily toting them in their lunch boxes over the next week. We have Elizabeth Leslie (1787- 1858) to thank for introducing it to America when she offered a recipe for a ham sandwich in her 1837 book Directions for Cookery. It reads:

“Cut some thin slices of bread very neatly, having slightly buttered them; and, if you choose, spread on a very little mustard. Have ready some very thin slices of col boiled ham, and lay one between two slices of bread. You may either roll them up, or lay them flat on the plates. They are used at supper or at luncheon.”

Of course, the ham sandwich has experienced many reincarnations since Leslie’s time. The best-loved ones include:

The American ham and cheese, most commonly made with plain boiled ham and American or Swiss cheese or white bread.

The American grilled cheese, most commonly made with American, Swiss, or sliced Cheddar cheese, and grilled to buttery perfection.

The Croque-Monsieur, or French-style hot ham and cheese, pictured above.

The Monte Cristo, a fancier version of the humble ham and cheese that’s dipped in egg and cooked like French toast, until all brown and buttery, then dusted with confectioners sugar’.

But when you think about it, lots of ingredients go well on a ham sandwich— crunchy potato chips and Fritos, salty bacon and pickles, sweet strawberry jam, nutty peanut butter. What else? Tell me!  What’s your favorite way to enjoy a ham sandwich? What kind of ham do you like? Bread? Condiments? Fillings? I want to know. Really, I do!

Photo credit: Courtesy of Matt Armendariz, from the book The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo.

Celebrate National Bratwurst Day with 8 Great Brat Recipes from Bloggers

Cheese head!

Although I live in perpetually warm and sunny San Diego, there are times I wished I lived in Wisconsin. Well, actually only two times a year: 1) On August 16, National Bratwurst Day. 2) On the Green Bay Packers’ opening day. I really, really want to wear a cheesehead.

Bratwurst is a German pork sausage that is usually grilled, placed inside a buttered and toasted hard roll, and smothered with any number of condiments, especially spicy brown mustard, pickles, onions, and sauerkraut. They’re more affectionately known as “brats” (pronounced “brots”). We have the Germans to thank for this muscular addition to the American culinary scene — the meat has been a part of their diet since the Middle Ages. In the US, it’s not surprising that brats are most beloved in Midwestern states, including Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

No matter where you live, you should celebrate National Bratwurst Day. You can buy brats just about anywhere meat is sold: at the butcher’s, the supermarket, and big box stores. Avoid the “pre-cooked” brats which aren’t as tasty as the uncooked originals. If you’re hard-core, then you can make your brats from scratch. Call me if you need some help. I’ll bring the beer.

Now, here are 8 great bratwurst recipes from food bloggers for you to make at home!

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Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst

Penne with Bratwurst and Broccoli from Sarah’s Cucina Bella

Gumbo with a Wisconsin Twist — Bratwurst from Edible Antics

Cider Braised Brats, Onions, and Peppers from Food Renegade

Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst from Two Peas and Their Pod (pictured above)

bratwurstBratwurst from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

Bratwurst from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches (pictured above)

Homemade Bratwurst and Beer Mustard from TasteFood

Beer and Bratwurst Mac and Cheese from Iron Stef

Making Homemade Bratwurst from Macheesmo

Craving more bratwurst? Check out my post from last year titled, “Grilling Brats for Tailgating,” where you’ll also find the recipe for the bratwurst sandwich pictured above.

Photo credits: FCC, Andrea_44; Maria, Two Peas and Their Pod; Matt Armendariz, The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

Grilled Salami, Mozzarella, and Arugula Pizza

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I don’t know why I resist making grilled pizzas. I somehow always think making grilled pizza is going to take longer than it does and be messier than it is. And though I’ve made several successful grilled pizzas, I still harbor an unnatural fear of the dough losing its grip on the grill gates and slipping slowly to its fiery death. It never happens.

So, while it’s still summertime, make grilled pizza, preferably with pork on it.

Grilled Salami, Mozzarella, and Arugula Pizza

Makes 8 slices

1 pound store-bought dough, brought to room temperature

Olive oil

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 pound sliced salami

1 pound soft fresh mozzarella, sliced

3 to 4 ounces arugula

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough so it’s evenly flat (no rolled crust— it won’t cook through). Transfer it to a lightly floured pizza board or rimless baking sheet. Once the grill is hot, brush the grates with some olive oil. Slide the dough onto the oiled grates. Close the grill for 3 minutes. Open it. Using long grill tongs, check the underside of the dough to see if it’s browning nicely. If it’s too white, turn the dough, close the cover and cook an0ther 1 to 2 minutes. Open the cover. The dough will likely have big air bubbles in it, which is OK. Flip the dough over and quickly add your toppings — the tomato sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, salami, then mozzarella. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dough is nicely browned around the edges. Using long grill tongs, pull the pizza onto a pizza board or large cutting board. Add arugula to the pizza, gently pressing it into the melty cheese. Let rest for 1 to 2 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

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Wicked Good Barbecue Cookbook Review and Give-Away!

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When I think of the Yankee foods of my childhood, I think of warm apple pie, crispy fried clam sandwiches, and of endless bowls of decadent, creamy clam chowdah. I most definitely do not think of barbecue. I’m not alone. Say “barbecue” to most New Englanders, and they’ll assume you mean grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. So, how exactly did two Yankees from Boston become world champions of BBQ, beating out pit masters from the BBQ belt of America — North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas City? With 12 years of hard work, a can-do Yankee attitude, and a little help from friends.

In their new cookbook, Wicked Good Barbecue, co-authors, Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, winners of the revered Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue (the Oscars of BBQ competitions), share their secrets to making wicked good bbq. Are you ready?

It’s time and effort. Lots of each.

As they explain in their introduction, “We don’t want to scare anybody off, but most of these recipes are not the kind that can be whipped up an hour or so before they are to be served….” Instead, they wrote the book for people who want to be “challenged” — “the barbecue enthusiasts, food geeks, tailgaters, and anybody else who wants to impress the he** out of their family and friends and is willing to put in a little effort to do it.”

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The ribs that won the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue

Actually, the recipes in this book require a lot of effort. But Husbands and Hart, along with writer, Andrea Pyenson, write in a charming avuncular style, and patiently walk you through the steps needed to make award-winning bbq. They give you tips on which cooking devices are right for you ranging from vertical smokers to gas grills to terra cotta flowerpots. They explain the different styles of barbecue, tell you how much money to spend on a marinade injector (so you’d better get over your fear of needles) and specify which types of wood chips infuse meat with the most flavor (apple, cherry and oak are among their favorites.)

Chapters 1 & 2 “The Basics of Barbecue” and “Taking Home the Prize” include some of the lengthiest, most hard-core recipes in the book such as “Wicked Pulled Pork,” a delicious labor of love requiring marinade injections for the pork (so you’d better get over your fear of needles) as well as homemade Spicy Lexington Red Slaw, North Carolina Creamy Vinegar Dressing and Bacon Bit Buns.

Speaking of that divine, salty slab meat, bacon lovers will become giddy over the Six-Day Bacon of the Gods recipe and whoot over the Fire-Cooked Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Honey Butter.

pulled-pork-fw4995_073Wicked Pulled Pork. Yes, that’s bacon on the bun.

Pork aficionados craving a culinary challenge can tackle John Delpha’s intense, step-by-step recipe for Whole Hog, Porchetta Style, which starts with the purchase of a 30-pound dressed suckling pig, or make the boys’ D.I.Y. Corndogs with Spicy Mustard — you actually make your own hot dogs.

Cookbook Give-Away Time!

Now that I know you’re salivating for some wicked good bbq, it’s time o give away copies of the cookbook to three lucky Pork, Knife & Spoon readers.

To enter for a chance to win, share a grilling tip, technique, recipe, or favorite story in the comment section below. Deadline: Thursday, August 16.

If you tweet about it and mention @porkandknife, I’ll include that as another entry. Good luck!

Photos: Courtesy of Ken Goodman Photography.

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Summertime Grilled Pork Chops and Plums with a Merlot-Balsamic Reduction

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Summertime dinner parties should be simply delicious and deliciously simple. That’s why today I’m sharing my recipe for Summertime Grilled Pork Chops and Plums with a Merlot-Balsamic Reduction. Sounds labor-intensive, right? It’s not. Sounds sophisticated, right? It is. And simple.

Summertime Grilled Pork Chops and Plums with a Merlot-Balsamic Reduction

Serves 4

Pork Chops and Plums:

4 (1/2-inch thick) boneless pork chops

2 large or 3 medium firm but ripe red or black plums

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Merlot-Balsamic Reduction:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot diced

1/2 cup Merlot wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high.

2. Brush pork chops with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper on both sides. Slice plums in half and brush with a little olive oil.

3. Once grill is hot, place chops over the flames. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes without touching. Flip once and cook another  4 to 5 minutes or until nicely charred. If you’d like to use a meat thermometer, remove pork when it registers 140 to 145 degrees F. Grill plums flesh-side down over direct heat for 3 minutes. Flip and grill 1 minute more. Slice plums into quarters.

4. For the reduction: Saute shallots in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Add wine, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and becomes syrupy.

Note: Thicker chops will take longer to cook. On average, a 3/4 -inch-thick pork chop will take 6 to 8 minutes on high heat. A 1-inch-thick pork chop will take 8 to 10 minutes.  A 1¼ to 1½ inch-thick pork chop will take 6 to 8 minutes on high heat, then 6 to 8 minutes on medium heat.

Manly Salad: Grilled Romaine with Buttermilk-Bacon Dressing

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Think your guy won’t eat just a salad? I’ve got three words for him: Buttermilk-Bacon Dressing.

This salad is a stud. Hearty romaine lettuce is grilled until lightly charred then smothered with creamy, smoky, salty buttermilk-bacon dressing. You can eat it on its own, but I’d suggest pairing it with grilled pork tenderloin and a robust red wine like a Pinot Noir or Cabernet-Sauvignon.

Grilled Romaine with Buttermilk-Bacon Dressing

Serves 6 to 8

6 slices bacon

3 heads of romaine lettuce, split in half

Olive oil, for drizzling

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon or spicy mustard

1. Place bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping once, until nicely browned and crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. When cooled, chop into small pieces.

2. Preheat your grill to medium-high. Brush the lettuce with some olive oil. Place lettuce halves face down so they’re flat on the grates. Grill for 3 minutes or until grill marks appear and the edges begin to blacken. Transfer to a platter.

3. For the dressing, whisk mayo, buttermilk, vinegar and mustard until smooth. Add half the chopped bacon and stir. Drizzle over the grilled lettuce and sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Enjoy.