Braised Cabbage

My friend, Tom, hates cabbage. Apparently he has some unique college roommate experience that has turned him off it for life. Well, I bet you think I will tell you, "Oh my God, he made this cabbage and he can't get enough!" Well, no, this is more of a challenge to him.

This really is the best cabbage I have ever had. The vinegar must really make a difference. Also, don't cook it too long. I was never a cabbage fan, either, but after this I have changed my mind. (By the way, this goes with the Ultimate Pork Roast. Thanks, Tyler!!!!)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, such as cider, white wine or even sherry
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage, quartered, cored, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions

Bring a big pot of water to a boil over high heat adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of salt to make the water taste like the sea. Add the vinegar, and then the cabbage and boil over high heat until the cabbage is wilted (don't overcook it - it should still have tooth), 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then toss in a bowl with the butter, oil, the parsley, chives, and salt and pepper, to taste.



Roast Loin of Pork with Baked Apples and Cider Gravy

This is the first Tyler's Ultimate meal I ever made. OMG, it really was the ultimate. I have made it twice once with no bones and once with bones. I have to say I prefer it with no bones. I know they say bones make the meat more tender, but as you know, Joey and I eat our leftovers at lunch and to me the bones are a pain in the bootie. I didn't think it was much more tender, either. On top of that, we paid a lot more to have our butcher custom cut the bone-in cuts for us. Just get a Pork loin and follow the directions. I ensure you this will but one ultimate meal for you! On the apple front, one thing I have noticed is that a lot of Food Network people tell you to get your corn muffins at the store. Okay, what store? I have yet to see a corn muffin on sale anywhere in San Francisco! I bought me some Jiffy and made the bread on my own.

Make sure you really hollow out the apples and, I will say, you are going to need an entire tin. You want to make sure you really hollow out the apples to make them uber-delicious!

Ingredients


Pork:

  • 2 (5 pound) pork loin roasts, rib bones attached, back bone (chine) removed
  • Small bunch sage, leaves chopped
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, juiced optional

Apples:

  • 8 Gala or Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 or 2 large corn muffins crumbled (1/2 cup), reserve some for sprinkling on apples
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup hard cider
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the pork roast in a roasting pan with the ribs facing up, braced against each other. Add sage and thyme to olive oil. Brush the pork roasts with oil mixture and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast the pork loin for 2 1/2 hours, until the skin is crackled. (Put the apples in the oven along with the pork roast in the last half hour of cooking.)

Remove the pork roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Pour out some of the excess fat from the roasting pan and put it on the stove over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour into the hot pan juices, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook and stir the roux until its light brown. Add the cider and continue to stir to incorporate. Pour in the chicken broth; boil and stir for 5 minutes until the sauce is thick. Check for seasoning - add lemon juice if necessary. Serve the cider gravy with the pork roast and baked apples.

To make the buttered apples: Core the apples with an apple corer, making a good size cavity to hold the stuffing. Douse the cut sides of the apples with some of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning while you make the stuffing. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, muffin crumbs, raisins, sage, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities of the cored apples; stand them up, side by side, in a baking dish and sprinkle the tops with the reserved muffin crumbs. Pour the cider around the apples and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F, until soft when pierced with a knife. Place the warm apples in the center of a round serving dish. Spoon the cider sauce around the apples and serve with the pork loin.

This goes with Braised Cabbage. The best cabbage EVER!

Serves 8

Busy Gal Meals

I am one busy boy these days. It seems that no sooner am I done with my crochet homework then a new package arrives for me. If your day is jam packed with activity, you might want to try these meals as well. I mean, Nutri-dation? Who could complain about that? All they'll know is it tastes great!

This is from one of my favorite movies Girls Will Be Girls. It's fun, campy and anything with Varla Jean Merman is sure to be entertaining. (Now you know where our lovebird got her name!)

Three Bean and Pork Slow Cooker Chili

I got a new crockpot!!!! I love it! Karolyn got it for me for my birthday. I will write a review on it next week. This is my first meal using it.

This Weight Watchers recipe is quick, easy and simply delicious. When you need a no-fuss, throw-it-in-the-pot meal, this is the one to go to. It makes a ton, by the way, but freezes well.

I make this just as directed, except I really have to thicken it before I serve it. My thickening agent of choice is cornstarch. I actually had to use a lot last time. About 4 Tablespoons mixed with about 1/2 cup of cold water. When using corn starch makes sure to always mix it with cold water before you add it. Make sure the chili (or whatever you are adding the cornstarch to) is bubbling to activate the corn starch.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion(s), chopped
  • 2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
  • 1 cup carrot(s), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder, medium-hot
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper(s), seeded, chopped or 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped (do not touch seeds with bare hands)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 pound lean pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • 29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with green pepper, celery and onion, undrained
  • 6 oz canned tomato paste
Instructions

Combine onion, garlic, carrots, chili powder, oregano, chilies, salt and pepper in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir. Add remaining ingredients. Stir again.

Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 6 to 8 hours. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Note: Start the chili at a HIGH setting so the ingredients quickly reach a safe temperature. You can reduce the heat to LOW after 3 to 4 hours, if you prefer.

Serves 10

Points Value: 5

Music To Cook By - Janita

Cooking is more than just ingredients, preparation and kitchen gadgets. It's an experience. I love my kitchen. The light, the plants, the decor; and, the speakers and iPod base I have there. There is nothing more relaxing to me than having the time to prepare a wonderful meal with a glass of wine (or two - okay, three) while listening to some great music. Janita has recently been a big part of that experience. I love that artist!

I discovered Janita one day while preparing some meal or another. I was listening to internet radio not really paying much mind to what was playing. Suddenly, this amazing song caught my attention. I quickly turned down the heat and ran to the computer to see who it was. It was Janita's I Miss You from her Seasons of Life. Right then and there I stopped everything and looked her up. Thank goodness she was on iTunes because I wanted, no needed, that CD and needed it NOW! It had been a long time since I had found music that really touched me. I am so thankful for that night. Seasons of Life has become a staple, not only while I cook but on my way to work, when I am cruising the net - all the time. I had found a new gem that I know will last me a lifetime.

Janita is unlike any other artist. Her vocals, arrangements; and, most of all, lyrics are amazing. Karolyn called it "Sean music" but it's much more than that. I am not at all adept at reviewing music, but let's just say that Janita touches a part of my soul that few artists do. It's upbeat, yet profound. It makes me think of special people, places and times in my life in a way that makes me feel good.

It's hard to find one or two songs that are my favorites on this CD. I love them all. I think you really need to buy it and let the music take you to your own special places. This is truly one amazing artist.

I looked on MySpace and was thrilled to find Janita. I was even more thrilled when she responded to my email. What an great person. I spent a good deal of time looking for a legal way to share her music with you and I think the video below is acceptable. (If not I hope Janita will let me know.) Check it out then buy the CD or download it from iTunes. I am sure you will fall in love with the music as much as I have.

Wash & Wrap Your Herbs

Okay, I overly staged this picture. It looks like I am selling cocaine rather than teaching you to save your herbs! he he he

Actually, this is a tip that I got from my favorite TV personality Rachel Ray. If you don't like her, then I can tell you right now, "PISS OFF!" She has given me more cooking tips than any book, chef or TV program PERIOD!

One of the things she always tells us is to wash our herbs when we get home and store them for future use. Now I thought she was just doing that because she had to make those 30-Minute Meals and needed to save time. Well, maybe that's true. (Honestly, Rachel, no human can chop all that food during a commercial break.) However, this is actually a very good tip.

How many times have you found herbs all wilted and icky in your refrigerator? If you are like me - many times. So, I was for some reason compelled to try Rachel's method of washing my herbs beforehond. (I was probably drunk. :-) Well, to tell the truth, this actually preserves the herbs for future use! When you wash them, wrap them in a paper towel, then place them in a ziploc bag, they do stay fresher longer. I get the ziploc bags that you can write on and date them. (This works great for all sorts of food storage.)

Try this! I promise you will not only be singing my praises, but Rachel's as well!

Cold Sesame Noodles

This is the complete meal. I know you might not like salmon, but I still encourage you to try the Pan-Roasted Soy-Lacquered Salmon with these noodles. However, Kitten told me that although she hated fish, she would love to try these noodles with some sort of beef dish. Okay, honey, you go to town!

These really are the yummiest noodles. I will say, though, if you make these in the blender, put the liquids in beforehand and gradually add the peanut butter. My blender just couldn't cut it otherwise. If you have a food processor make it in that! Thanks to Tyler for the yummo side dish. If you are reheating, you can have these either hot or cold. I like them cold, Joey likes them hot.

I made the sauce the night before to save time. Tyler never makes a 30-Minute Meal, so cutting any corner is welcome!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Directions

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl.

In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and water.

Process until the mixture is smooth. Put the blender jar into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 1/2 hour. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and toss until well coated. Serve garnished with the scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers

What an amazing accompaniment to the Soy-Lacquered Salmon! There is really nothing else these delicious cucumbers would go with. This reminds me of the tsukemono I used have in Japan, but this is a bit spicier. Okay, I actually over did the spicy part a bit the last time I made this. I couldn't find Thai Chiles so I got Serrano Chiles instead. Not totally bad, but if you don't like SPICY, not a good replacement. If you can't find the Thai Chiles I would go with a Jalapeño or one of those colored chilies they have at the market. My version was so spicy that even Joey could tell. (We will follow up soon with details regarding Joey's inability to taste or smell at the moment.)

This can totally be made the night before and actually it's better that way.

As always, thanks to Tyler Florence for a great dish. Love that man. Love his food!

Ingredients

  • 4 kirby cucumbers or 2 regular cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let sit for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Pan-Roasted Soy-Lacquered Salmon

I am so sorry that I haven't posted for awhile! I had a birthday, then came tax time - BUSY!!!!! Not to worry we are back and back with a bang!

Joey and I love salmon. Not only is it delicious, but it's so good for you. Tyler Florence is one of our favorite chef's of all time. This is from his show Food 911. This recipe goes along with Cold Sesame Noodles and Spicy Pickled Cucumber which will follow tomorrow and Monday.

I make this recipe just as stated. Make sure you have the time to marinate the meat. I usually do so for 2 hours. Also, you are going to need a skillet that can go into the oven. I have my handy cast-iron skillet for just this kind of thing. This is truly one of our favorite salmon recipes, so enjoy!!!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, halved, and smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
Directions

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the salmon, mix the sake, soy sauce, mirin, and miso until the miso has dissolved. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and salmon fillets. Cover and marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2
hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon skin side down. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked medium-rare, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

Serves 4 - 6


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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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