Almond-Crusted Trout with Grits and Swiss Chard

IMG_0340

I cooked this for our dinner last night. The recipe was adapted from the March 2015 Bon Appetit. It was amazing. My boys loved it and there were no leftovers. I bought the trout from Bobs Seafood here in St. Louis.

Actually, there were leftover grits, since my boys would not eat them. So I will be having them for breakfast this morning. Happy cooking and eating.

Pork Chops with Cornbread Pecan Dressing and Apple Cider Glaze

photo 1 (4)

We ushered in the fall season on Sunday afternoon with this amazing lunch. I baked homemade cornbread on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I crumbled the bread and toasted it at 350 for 18 minutes. Then I sweated a chopped onion in butter, added celery and bell pepper, and added the cornbread, chopped sage, fresh flat-leaf parsley and homemade chicken stock. I toasted chopped pecans, added it to the simmering mixture and then transferred everything to a casserole.

In the same skillet, I heated olive oil, seasoned thick-cut pork chops with salt and pepper, and seared over medium-high heat for about seven minutes per side. I then placed the chops over the dressing and baked the entire dish at 375 for 15 minutes. While the casserole was in the oven, I wiped the oil out of the skillet and heated it over moderately high heat. I then added a cup of apple cider and deglazed the pan, scraping up all of the “yum-yums”.

Once the cider was reduced by half, I added another cup of stock and a cornstarch slurry. I simmered until reduced and thickened to a glaze. Once the chops and dressing were finished, I topped with the glaze.

This dish was amazing. If this is a precursor to the cold-weather season, we have a wonderful Autumn to look forward to.

Walnut Cake with Apricot Preserves

photo (1)

I made this cake last year sometime in September. This is my nostalgia recipe for the month. It is from the September 2013 issue of Food & Wine magazine. It calls for flour just to dust the pan before baking, but if the flour is omitted or a gluten-free flour is used, then the cake will be gluten-free. 

I topped the cake with the leftover apples and plums I used in the tarts I baked a few days ago, along with fresh peaches. I also made some homemade whipped cream to eat with it. The only drawback to this cake is the recipe calls for 10 ounces of walnuts, which can be quite expensive. I paid $10 just for the walnuts! 

Good thing the cake tasted so good. 

Apple and Plum Tarts

photo 1 (9)

A perfect Labor Day dessert or breakfast. I actually ate mine for breakfast this morning. It was delicious. Early fall Granny Smith apples meet late summer red and black plums. 

This recipe was adapted from the September ’14 issue of Food & Wine magazine. It called for all-purpose as well as rye flour and corn meal. I could not find any rye flour, so I substituted whole wheat flour. It still made a very tasty, nutty and quite attractive crust. If anyone can advise me on where to get rye flour, I would appreciate it. 

Happy baking! 

Grill-Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary

photo (7)

I cooked this a few Saturdays ago. I bought two whole chickens, removed the backbones and rubbed them down with fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice, kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper. I let them rest in the fridge for four hours.

Then I lit my gas grill (yes, I know I am going against my purist view by using gas instead of charcoal, but you try fitting two whole split birds on my tiny charcoal grill/smoker), and over medium-high heat, placed oiled whole, split garlic and rosemary sprigs. I reduced the heat to medium, and placed the prepared chicken on top of the aromatics.

I cooked the birds over the slow-burning garlic and rosemary for about 40 minutes, until the thighs “temped” at 160. The carryover cooking took it beyond 165, so don’t worry about under-cooking. I then charred green onions, and once the chicken had rested at least 10 minutes, I carved and we devoured.

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon Salad

photo 1 (4)

This recipe was adapted from the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/vietnamese-pork-chops-with-pickled-watermelon

This was the first time I have pickled watermelon. I can’t say I was a big fan. The flavors were a little overwhelming. Too much vinegar, I think. Anyway, the pork was delicious. I went against the traditional “purist” way and used my gas grill. I think the Grill Gods were forgive me, because I got a near-perfect char on the pork and the overnight marinade gave it great flavor. The flash-fried shallot on top may have been the best part!

Happy cooking and eating! 

Pancit Behon

photo (1)

My wife made this traditional Filipino dish last evening. It was delicious as usual. She gets the Behon noodles from Seafood City in University City, Missouri. She first boils pork and then stir-fries it with bell peppers, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage and soy sauce. She seasons it with fresh-ground black pepper before serving. She eats hers over steamed jasmine rice, just like most Filipinos do. I like mine as is. 

Sweet Potato Fries with Banana Ketchup

photo (1)

 

I made these fries earlier this summer as a snack for my boys. I liked them as much as they did. The sweet potatoes came from the Hahn Farm stand at the Ferguson Farmer’s Market. There was a mix of orange and white-fleshed tubers. The flavor of each was very similar. 

I fried the potatoes in the (classic?) French style: starting from raw, cooking in canola oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes, then increasing the heat to medium-high and cooking until crispy. I have found this technique makes the best fry. It is also quite easy because it involves only one pot. There is no need to blanch and shock the potatoes prior to frying.

The ketchup was made from commercial ketchup mixed with mashed, ripe bananas and plenty of brown sugar. I also added some chili sauce to add some heat to the sweet. 

Awesome! Try it out!