Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sticky Honey & Tamari Pork Chops

I am about to turn 30 and I don't feel any different, often people seem to dread this birthday but to me it feels just like all the other ones.  I can't imagine that my mind or body are going to dramatically change...although there are a couple things in my life that could use a little change.  In other news this week my boyfriend and I are taking a long weekend and heading up to the White Salmon Inn for a romantic getaway to celebrate my 30th birthday.  This includes a 4 hour wine tour where they provide lunch and drive us to each location, I'm excited to say the least.  We are also going to check out the quaint town of White Salmon and visit these places: Feast Market & Delicatessen, Everybody's Brewing, and possibly Henni's Kitchen & Bar.  I haven't ever actually spent time in White Salmon because I have family that lives across the Columbia River in Hood River, which is an awesome little town.  I'm sure it will be an eventful and lovely weekend, definitely a good way to bring on my 30's.  I adapted this recipe last week, mine didn't turn out as sticky but it was still delightful.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 thick pork chops
¾ cup tamari
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chili, finely chopped (seeds removed if needed)
juice of 1 lemon
The Process
1.  To make the pork chops, combine the tamari, honey, ginger, garlic, chili & lemon juice in a bowl and mix well.
2.  Place the pork chops in a ziploc bag and pour over the sauce. Close the bag and allow to marinade for 20 minutes up to 2 hours.
3.  When you are ready to cook the chops, heat a pan over high heat and fry the chops, basting with the sauce until cooked through and sticky.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mongolian Beef

We spent this last weekend in Manzanita, Oregon...a wonderful coastal town that still has the small town charm.  Every year I go and my mom's side of the family gathers for a long weekend of catching up and preserving memories, and this one was extra special because my 91 year old Grandpa was able to make it once again.  It was one of those events that was happy and sad because you never know when will be the last gathering that we can all make it to.  Other than that I stuffed my face with a fair amount of non-paleo food including yummy bread, cheese, and pasta!  I have come to a point in the paleo diet that I am strictly paleo during the week but on the weekends I give myself some wiggle room.  I have done this because it is definitely a challenge to eat out while following the paleo diet, not to mention sometimes you just want that cheese plate.  I have just decided to start this so we will see how successful it is.  I adapted this yummy paleo recipe last week, it is an easy weeknight meal and full of flavor.  As you can see I ate it with salad but I would definitely recommend putting it over something like cauliflower rice because the sauce is strong and needs to be diluted by something.  Enjoy!

Serves 3

The Ingredients
2 lb. flank steak
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. + 1/2 cup lard/bacon fat or tallow
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried ginger
Dash red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup tamari
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1/3 cup honey
Half a yellow onion, thinly sliced in rings

The Process
1. Cut the flank steak against the grain into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Add the arrowroot powder to a medium sized bowl and mix together with the pepper and sea salt. Dip each piece of steak into the arrowroot powder and shake off any excess coating. Lay coated steak on a drying rack and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. This allows the powder to adhere to the steak better.

3. While your steak is hanging out, you can make the sauce. Heat the 1 Tbsp. of lard/bacon fat or tallow in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and dash of red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute.

4. Add the sesame oil, tamari and broth to the pan and stir the ingredients together. Add the honey and allow it to melt into the sauce, stirring frequently.

5. Turn the heat up to high and continue to stir until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Turn off the sauce and allow it to sit in the pan while you cook the steak.

6. Add your 1/2 cup of favorite fat to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until hot. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes.

7.  Gently drop the beef into the oil using your tongs. Cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Remove the beef with the tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate.

8. Pour out the oil from the pan and add the beef back in. Cook for about 1 minute and then add the sauce. Cook together for about 2 minutes.

9. Remove the beef from the pan and pour any excess sauce into a bowl for anyone who might like some extra at the table. Serve!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Chicken Pizza Spirals

Another fantastic weekend is over and we are back to the Mondays that never end.  This weekend I didn't relax much at all, between my boyfriend's parents being in town and watching the dragon boat races we were constantly on the go.  Too much fun to be had and not enough time.  Last Thursday evening I came across this fun recipe and my lovely boyfriend said he would make it for us.  As much as I love to cook it can be really nice when someone else does the cooking.  This weekend I also got my first official sunburn of the season...you think I would know better being mostly Irish and freckled...

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. marinara sauce (plus more for serving)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Dash crushed red pepper (optional)

The Process
1.)  Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and place a piece of parchment paper over them. Pound the chicken breasts until they are all an even thickness (about 1/4" thick).
2.)  Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and spread the mixture over the chicken breasts.
3.)  Roll each chicken breasts tightly, starting at the narrow end, and then cut into thick slices. I usually get about four spirals out of one chicken breast.

4.)  Skewer the slices, making sure to skewer right through the end of each spiral so it will hold its shape. Note: You may want to brush the spirals lightly with olive oil if your grill has a tendency to get meat stuck to it.
5. Grill the skewers for about 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with extra marinara sauce.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy National Cheese Day

That's right today is the official day to celebrate your true love for cheese.  What are some of your favorite cheeses?  I personally love Mimolette, Port Salut, Spo Ovalie Cendree Herve Mons, and Florette Goat Brie.  The French really really know how to do cheese.  If you are lactose intolerant or following a strict diet here are some awesome "cheese" recipes: Vegan Mac and Cheese, Almond cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and Cheese sauce.

In other news today also happens to be National Hug Your Cat Day, if you need some hugging instructions check out this link from the Huffington Post. Needless to say if I had a cat I would definitely be squeezing it tight.

For more cheese recipes check out some of my past blog posts:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Bacon and Fried Tomatillo Pimento Grilled Cheese

Mushroom and Fennel Pie                         

Spinach and Bacon Strata

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pimento Cheese Spread

Mushroom Goat Cheese Crostinis

Eggplant Cannelloni

Beef Wellington with Bleu Cheese and Mushrooms

New York Steaks with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Greek Mac and Cheese

Panko Parmesan Chicken

Stuffed Mushrooms

Breakfast Casserole with Turkey Bacon

Stuffed Pork Chops

White Bean and Chicken Enchiladas

Parmesan Yogurt Chicken

Prosciutto Goat Cheese Sandwich

Semi-Homemade Pizza


Photo of Mimolette from http://rhcl.com.au/online-shopping/cheese/mimolette