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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Pork category.

Almost like my Granny

I’ve been craving me some biscuits and gravy! Mmm there’s nothing like a plate of gravy to fill your soul with warmth…or remind you that times are low. Poor man’s food at it’s finest without breaking out the Ramen. Actually, gravy reminds me of my Granny. She made gravy and biscuits, gravy and toast- whatever was on hand- all the time growing up. I remember standing by the stove as a little girl as she showed me to make the stuff. Melt the butter. Add the flour. Stir the roux. Finally add the milk and season to taste. Since she’s a vegetarian she always made a simple white gravy and that’s how I’ve always preferred mine. But today I’m feeling a little adventurous. Sausage, anyone?

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Aside from fond memories with my Granny (I really should go up for a visit!), biscuits and gravy is a cheap meal. I fed three people dinner and had some leftover for breakfast the next morning all for $4.65. Can’t beat that!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • Butter/oil if needed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste

The first thing you need to do is brown your sausage. I personally prefer to do this in a pot, but you can use a deep skillet or I know lots of people that prefer to use a cast iron skillet. To each their own

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Make sure to break it up!

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Once your sausage is all browned up, you may need to add some extra fat. This sausage was pretty lean so I added about a tablespoon of oil. I prefer to use butter, but oil works just as well. Now that you have the needed fat, stir in the flour

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If you like, you can remove the meat and make a roux, but I’m lazy and find adding the flour directly to the sausage to be more convenient. Make sure to stir the flour in really well.

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Let it cook for a minute. This will make a nice thick gravy!

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Add the milk. I only like to use 3 cups, but if you prefer a thinner gravy you can add more. Bring to a little boil, stirring constantly. If you don’t stir, it’ll stick to the bottom, the milk will scorch, and all that bad stuff. So keep stirring. Once you get that boil going, turn the heat down to low.

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Season with salt and pepper. Go light on the salt because the sausage is usually pretty salty. If your tastes are anything like mine, go heavy on the pepper. I like my gravy nice and peppery. You can add some seasoned salt too (aka Red Robin Seasoning)

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Taste as you go!

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Allow to simmer until the gravy reaches your desired thickness, maybe 10 minutes. It’s usually done by the time the biscuits are ready. Don’t forget to put them in the oven!

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Oh yes, this is what I’m talking about! Plate up and serve!

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Not quite like Granny, but still pretty darn good!

 

 


Nothing like it

I never liked sausage all that much. I didn’t care for hot dogs. I didn’t eat kielbasi. I hated brats. In fact, I remember the first time someone offered me a brat. I was at a barbecue and brats were the only thing on the grill. I remember they looked good. They smelled good. So I plopped one onto a bun, squeezed on some spicy mustard, took a bite…and tried my hardest not to spit it back out. It was terrible. I don’t know if it was the grill master or the brat itself, but I swore them off for a couple years, categorizing them with all the other sausage products I didn’t eat.

Of course, my tastes have expanded now. Kielbasi? Yes please! Italian sausages? I’ll have seconds! Brats, you say? Bring them to mama! Since that terrible brat moment, I’ve since learned that brats are my friend. Especially the beer brats. Mmm mmm mmm! Seriously, I could eat a whole pack by myself. There’s no such thing as leftovers. So I only make them when I know I’ll be sharing. Otherwise I’d surely go into a brat coma and never recover…

My preferred method of cooking brats? Well, as you all know I am a devoted advocate of the broiler. It’s December. I am not standing outside by the grill (though recently you would think it was May rather than December the weather’s been so nice). Besides, broiling is a pretty quick cooking method and now that I’m working that 9-6 schedule, quick dinners are something to be desired. And for brats, all you need is a pan and the meat and your good to go!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package beer brats (or any brat of your choosing. Or kielbasi. Or Italian sausage- the possibilities are endless)

This is so easy, I’m inclined to write it down in steps. A little change in pace if you will

Step 1– Preheat broiler. Mine is 500 degrees. Make sure your oven rack is about 7 inches below the broiler

Step 2– Pull out your broiler pan and line it with your sausages. If you want those pretty grill marks, lay them horizontally so you can tell everyone they’re hot from the grill

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Step 3– Place pan in oven. Cook for about 8 minutes. Throw some pierogies in the oven while you’re at it

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Step 4– When your timer goes off, flip those brats! See? Grill marks! Mission accomplished

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Step 5– Cook for another 8 minutes or so and Voila! All done. So go get your grub on. Wasn’t that easy? Dinner ready in under 20

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I don’t know about you guys, but I would totally cook these up for a quick breakfast, too. It’s sausage, right? Enjoy!

Tijuana


Heat of the moment

So. Much. Cranberry sauce! I honestly don’t know what to do with it all. But…it was a hit at the luncheon. I’m so happy. I was really nervous there for a second. I kept thinking they aren’t going to like it. It’s too tart and is going to end up back in my kitchen again. Thankfully, that was not the case. Someone even took some of the leftovers home with them. Hallelujah! That certainly made my day. But I still have more sauce left in my fridge than I would care to have in there. So I was thinking. Why not cook it up with some pork. It’s holiday season and I always see magazines at all the sores with lovely photos of pork loin served with cranberry sauce. I could totally do that! Of course, I didn’t have a pork loin on hand, but I’ve always been one for improvisation and a couple thick cut boneless pork chops will serve the same purpose. It’s like a pork loin cut in half… right guys?

Anyway, my dinner tonight was inspired by The Pioneer Woman. I like how that woman handles here meat! She provided her own recipe for cranberry sauce, but for obvious reasons I just used the one I already had handy. But by all means, use her method. Looks pretty good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick cut pork chops, boneless
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cranberry sauce

First, wash your meat! Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Lots of pepper. In a castiron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, we are going to sear our pork chops. Mmm mmm mmm. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera was back in business until this moment. Oops

 

Once it’s nice and brown on both sides (the color here does not do it justice), pop the whole thing, pan included, into a 425 degree oven

 

Meanwhile, reheat the cranberry sauce in a small pan

 

On a whim, I added some honey

 

After ten minutes, check your chops with a meat thermometer if you’re a little on the paranoid side like me sometimes

 

I seriously think my meter is broken. Either way, your meat should read 155-160ish.  Just look at that color!

 

Yum yum yum. Serve with a good glob of cranberry sauce on top. Perfect. just perfect!

 

It tastes especially good sliced and piled up on a dinner roll. Enjoy!

Tijuana


Direct heat

I have an announcement to make! Today I entered to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer…along with some 60,000+ other people. My odds are slim, but they’re better than not entering at all. My fingers are tightly crossed.

But that wasn’t my real announcement. What I really wanted to say is that the broiler and I are becoming fast friends. I have grown to love my broiler. She is teaching me wonders about cooking tender, juicy meat. First the steak and now the lovely pork chops I made for dinner tonight. I will never cook on the stove top again! Okay, that’s probably not true but I’m certainly feeling that way at the moment. And it’s so fast. Tonight my dinner was done under ten minutes (not including the time it took to marinate the chops). Aaaa-maaaaaazing! Let’s not forget that the cleanup is pretty easy, too. Oh, yeah!

It seems to me that recently I’ve been borrowing a lot of recipes, some of them tweaked, some of them not. Today was no exception. I knew I wanted to make some pork chops, but had no idea how to do them up. Pan fried, smothered, baked, grilled, Asian style, Italian style (which almost happened), Southwest style. The possibilities were endless and yet I could not settle on a single idea. SO I turned to the web. Smitten Kitchen to be precise. I stumbled upon a lovely haiku she had written about her pork chops and was inspired to write my own:

Tender, soft, juicy

Pork chop how I enjoy thee

Melt in your mouth glory

I can’t take all the credit. The boyfriend helped with those lines! He can be cute when he wants to be. Anyway, so the recipe I used belongs to Deb Perelman with slight changes. I jumped the gun and ended up throwing all my spices in with the oil at once, but it turned out superb. I was a little iffy about using cumin because it just isn’t one of my favorite spices, but the more bites I took, the more I loved it. Mmm hmm!

Recipe courtesy Deb Perelman

Ingredients:

  • 3 in-bone pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet with garlic on medium-low heat

In a small bowl, mix together your spices. Once you can smell the garlic (it only takes a couple minutes), mix the spices into the skillet with the oil

Stir together for about another minute

Make sure you cleaned your shops. Habit, what can I say. Then pour the sauce over them in a large bowl

Now get your hands dirty!

Allow your little chops to marinate for about 30 minutes. I think I shaved off a few minutes. A girl’s gotta eat! Preheat your broiler. Spray a broiler pan with (none other than) PAM. Arrange your pork chops onto the pan as best as you can

Alright, stick those babies under the broiler for about four minutes. Oh, and don’t forget to move your rack to the upper part of your oven. I put mine one above the middle slot. I feel like the top slop is just too close. Maybe one day. After your four minutes is up, flip

Stick them back under the broiler for another 4 minutes. Easy as pie, I tell ya! Be sure to let your beauties rest for a few minutes, enough time to whip up a side salad. Pick your favorite chop and dig in. Serve with your salad and some mashed potatoes

I’d say this is another meal to add to the I-want-to-impress-someone pile. So tender and juicy! Didn’t even need a knife. Slrrp! Finish it off with a slice of Farm Fresh tiramisu that you just know you could make better. Time to pull out the notebook

Tijuana


Whitetail

Well, dear friends, it seems my computer has taken a dive off the deep end. The poor guy has been struggling to keep chugging for over a year now, but I’m pretty sure hope is finally lost. He met the black screen sometime last night while I was at work. Seeing as computers are his specialty, the boyfriend tried to doctor him up to no avail. I’d like to say this is a sad, sad day, but honestly I hated that little bugger. Always giving me problems, never functioning properly- and I hadn’t even had it that long when it started rebelling against me (though that cause could have something to do with a litter of kittens I possessed at the time, which is another story unto itself) Anyway,updating my kitchen adventures has suddenly become exceedingly difficult. I’ve resorted to using Facebook as a kind of photo medium between my phone and my blog. Fortunately, a new hard drive is being shipped as we type and will have to suffice until I can afford a new computer in my post-grad state (ahem dirt poor).


But last night I did make some pulled pork! Not THE PULLED PORK (as seen above) , but what I did come up with wasn’t too shabby. You see, I’ve been cooking with a lot of Mojo recently, a citric marinade found in your Hispanic food aisle at the grocery. It was first introduced to me a few years ago by a Cuban friend. She made mepapas rellenas. It was fabulous. She used Mojo. Now I use Mojo. Anyway, I’ve mostly only used it as a marinade for chicken. This week I so happened to have a boneless pork butt in my freezer, so I defrosted it and put it in some Tupperware filled with Mojo and let it chill out for several hours while I was at work. When I came home, feet weary from standing for so long, I took a shower, made some dinner, and finally got the pork into the crock-pot around 1 am. Nothing like a crock-pot doing all the work for you overnight. By 8 am this morning, I had nice juicy, succulent pork. I’d say it was falling off the bone, except there was no bone. Still, you get my drift!

Of course, the pork stood alone on it’s own just fine, but being the southern belle that I am, pulled pork just is not the same without a good ol’ barbecue sauce. And I’m talking real barbecue sauce. For those of you unfamiliar with real, authentic bbq sauce, that would mean a true vinegar based sauce. None of that ketchup based shenanigans. Now, I could tell you some stories about vinegar. It’s practically revered in my family. Remember the Portokalos family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gus’ feelings toward Windex? That’s my family toward vinegar. It’s a cure-for-all-ailments, and besides that a great addition to many meals. I love vinegar. There’s just something about that tanginess that gets my mouth watering every time. Slrrp

(Yes, it’s this serious. Bulk, baby!)

Anyway, let’s move on to the sauce. Usually, I double my batch and let the pork slow cook with half of my yield. I also generally use a dry rub on my pork and let it sit overnight. But I eliminated those steps since we used the Mojo. After all, this is not THE PULLED PORK. No, today we made a sauce strictly for dipping- or dousing- for the already cooked pulled pork. This will let individuals choose their own sauciness. Boy, do I like being saucy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

This barbecue sauce is super easy! After today, you will hence forth make your own and always impress your guests. They’ll question if you’re indeed from the South. I like mine to have a little kick to it (mmm sweet, tangy, and spicy!), but you can always adjust to your own tastes. So…mix all the dry ingredients together!

Whisk your mixed up dry ingredients into the cider vinegar. Put sauce into jar/bottle/bowl and cover. Stick it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but take note- the longer it sits, the tastier it becomes. You could always make it the night before use to get those flavors flavorful!

All done! Yay! Now go get your grub on!

Hope you like it! Remember to feel free to experiment. Next time I make pork, I’ll share my traditional recipe 😉

Tijuana