Pork Loin with Cranberry Apple Stuffing

We enjoy this dish so much, it ended up replacing turkey as the traditional holiday main course. Find a good pork loin (whole pork loin, not just a tenderloin) to use. The two key things to know about this dish –

  1. Don’t worry about butterflying the loin, if you’ve never done it before. This video shows how to do it; it’s not as hard as you might think.
  2. Use the meat thermometer as the guide for cooking time. A 3 pound roast might be about an hour-ish to get to temperature, but you might end up with one that’s a little bigger or smaller, so keep an eye on the thermometer when an hour has gone by. You don’t want to overdo it.

  • 1 3-pound pork loin
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup peeled & chopped green apples
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • sea salt & ground pepper to taste

  • Butterfly the pork loin.
  • Cover with two layers of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet to flatten it to less than a half-inch thick all around. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Rinse the pork and pat dry. Make slits on the surface of the meat with a knife.
  • Place croutons and chicken stock in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Mash the softened croutons with a fork. Stir in apples, walnuts, cranberries, shallots, maple syrup, and rosemary.
  • Spread mixture over surface of the pork. Starting with the smallest side of meat, roll up tightly and secure with kitchen string. If making this ahead of time, at this point you can wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with cooking spray or a little olive oil. Place the pork in the pan and cook at 325 degrees farenheit for about 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the inside of the pork reaches 140-145 degrees. Start checking the roast’ temperature about an hour.
  • Let the roast rest for about 10-15 minutes. Remove kitchen string and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Yield

6-8 servings

Prep time

20 minutes

Cooking time

1 hour to 1 hour & 15 minutes

Difficulty

Medium

Published
Categorized as Food

Alma’s Cheese Log

My mom learned this recipe from her mother, Alma, who made it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a must-have while the family was together; you couldn’t imagine seeing the card table, Scrabble, marbles, or any other games played after dinner without this snack there, on the table. It just wouldn’t happen.

It’s always been called a cheese log, but a popular alternative was to make two balls, instead of one log. That way, we’d have a couple of variations, such as making one without the nuts (my favorite!).

This will be the first Christmas without Alma (Mima if you’re my age or younger), and it’s going to be hard. Mom left us a few years back, so with both of them gone, while it might sound strange, but we have to make this dish. The things that spark a memory of a loved one – you can’t ever predict. When one of those things sparks memories of so much fun and laughter, well, it just might be a cheese log.

  • 3 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese
  • 2 5-ounce jars Kraft Old English Sharp Cheese Spread
  • 1 5-ounce jar Kraft Roca Blue Cheese Spread
  • 2 tablespoons grated or finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • Start with the cheese at room temperature
  • Mix cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours
  • Mix parsley and pecans and sprinkle on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Form the cheese mixture into a log on the foil. You can use the foil to help shape it, rolling it into shape. You should have a wrapped cheese log when completed.
  • Refrigerate the wrapped log until you are ready to serve.
  • *Note – can be formed into two cheese balls if so desired. If done this way, the cheese can be rolled over the parsley and nuts instead of forming with foil.
  • A variation of this is to use Blue Cheese Dressing instead of Roca Blue Cheese Spread. If done this way, you will have a softer dish.

Yield

1 log or 2 balls

Prep time

5 minutes

o

0 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Published
Categorized as Family, Food

Cooking a Ribeye

When I travel to California for work, it’s becoming a habit for my friend Karim Marucchi & I to have steaks at least once. I enjoy cooking them, so we’ve begun doing dinners at his house with friends and ribeyes have become the steak of choice. How can you go wrong with that? This recipe is simplicity at its best.

This steak goes great with chimichurri sauce and pairs really well with a bold red wine.

  • 1 ribeye steak
  • 2 pats real butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt & ground pepper to taste

  • If the steak has been refrigeratorated, place on a counter to warm.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high flame.
  • When the skillet is warm, add olive oil and 1 pat of butter to the pan to melt and spread.
  • Add steak to skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Season exposed side with salt. IF steak is thicker than an inch, you may want to cook for 7 minutes per side.
  • Turn steak over. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Season exposed side with salt & pepper. Top with remaining pat of butter.
  • Remove steak from skillet and let rest undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Serve & enjoy. Steak should be medium rare, cooked all the way through but pink and juicy in the middle.

Yield
1 serving

Prep time

5 minutes

Cooking time

10 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Published
Categorized as Food Tagged

“Sweet Heat” pulled-pork tacos

After making barbacoa tacos, I wanted to try the same thing but with pork, instead of beef. Pulled pork has a completely different flavor space, from beef, so there’s a lot to play with. I didn’t want traditional pulled pork; my goal was tacos, so I wanted more spiciness, less barbecue.

  • 1 3 & 1/2-pound pork roast (boneless)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey

  • Cut the pork roast into manageable pieces, roughly the same size.
  • Sear the pieces of the roast in some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Turn and sear every side.
  • Turn on the slow cooker to high, to warm it for later.
  • While the roast is searing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, creating a thick liquid.
  • Move the seared pieces of roast to the slow cooker. Pour the liquid over the pieces of roast, as evenly as you can. Use a spatula to get as much of it from the bowl as you can.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for around 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, remove the roast pieces to a large plate. Shred the roast using pullers or two forks.
  • Heat up a dry skillet over medium, medium-high heat. Add pulled pork to it, stirring occasionally to sear it. Do not over-cook. You’re looking to “crisp” it up some.
  • Move all finished pulled pork to a container, ready to serve.
  • For tacos – place a scoop of pork into warmed tortillas. Add shredded cabbage and drizzle with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Yield

easily a dozen tacos

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

8 hours

Difficulty

Easy

Published
Categorized as Food Tagged

Barbacoa Breakfast Tacos

If you start with this recipe for barbacoa, from Tasty, you can’t really go wrong. The key to a barbacoa taco is the meat and this recipe will give you some succulent, flavorful, shredded beef. When it comes to the tacos, use the directions below as a guide. You’ll probably have your own twist on them: salsa, no salsa, type of cheese, proportion of beef to eggs, etc. Go nuts!

SLow Cooker Barbacoa

  • 1 3 & 1/2-pound chuck roast
  • 4 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • approx. 5 cloves of garlic (really, can there be too much garlic?)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Breakfast tacos

  • 3 to 4 cups of cooked barbacoa beef
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 pats real butter
  • sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 & 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • warm corn tortillas

Preparing the Barbacoa

  • Cut the roast into manageable pieces, roughly the same size.
  • Sear the pieces of the roast in some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Turn and sear every side
  • Turn on the slow cooker to high, to warm it for later.
  • While the roast is searing, whisk all the ingredients, except the bay leaves, in a bowl, creating a thick liquid.
  • Move the seared pieces of roast to the slow cooker. Pour the liquid over the pieces of roast, as evenly as you can. Use a spatula to get as much of it from the bowl as you can.
    Add the bay leaves, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 8 to 10 hours.
  • When done, remove the roast pieces to a large plate. Shred the roast using pullers or two forks.
  • Move the shredded beef to a container, add in some of the juice from the slow cooker. Don’t drown the meat, but there needs to be some in there. You want that yummy liquid to remain, keeping the beef moist.

Preparing the eggs

  • Scramble the eggs in a bowl, add milk, salt & pepper
  • Add butter to warm 10 or 12-inch pan over medium heat
  • When the butter has melted and spread to cover surface of pan, pour in the eggs
  • After pouring the eggs into the pan, resist the urge to start scrambling them. Let them cook, undisturbed till you see the middle of the eggs start to thicken and solidify.
  • Using a spatula, begin to gently pull the eggs from the edge of the pan toward the center. Go all the way around the pan.
  • As more of the eggs solidify, begin flipping and turning the eggs, doing more of a scramble. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Continue to scramble.
  • Once the eggs appear mostly cooked, but while there is just a bit of liquid remaining, turn off the heat. Continue to scramble until you have the desired consistency.
  • Remove from pan, into a bowl.

Taco time!

  • Take 2 warm tortillas. Add a scoop of beef, a scoop of eggs.
  • Add some pico de gallo and shredded cheese.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Yield

5-6 tacos with beef left over

Prep time

30 minutes

Cooking time

8 to 10 hours for beef, 15 minutes for eggs

Difficulty

Medium

Published
Categorized as Food Tagged