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

Galvez Seahorse

While at the Hotel Galvez this year, we enjoyed many of these cocktails at their pool. This cocktail is sweet enough to be tasty, but light & refreshing enough that you can enjoy a few of them without that “heavy” feeling. The exact recipe is not printed anywhere that I could find, but I think this is a pretty accurate recreation of the drink.

  • 1 part peach schnapps
  • 1 part blue curaçao
  • 1/2 part orange vodka
  • 3 parts pineapple juice
  • 1 part Topo Chico

  • Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Serve. Garnish with orange wedge and maraschino cherry.
Published
Categorized as Drink

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