Souvlaki and Rice

Every time I go to the grocery store, I check the mark-down meat bin. Whenever there isPork Souvlaki - done cubed pork on sale, I buy it because I can make either Pork Green Chili (I’ll have that recipe for you soon) or Pork Souvlaki. That’s the beauty of pork – it’s flavorful but also basic enough that it can adapt to different types of ethnic cuisine such as Mexican and Greek in this case.

One of my best tips is to buy a large pork loin (not the smaller tenderloin) from your “big box” store. I divide it into thirds and keep 1/3 for a pork roast, 1/3 gets sliced into pork chops that are very lean and 1/3 gets cubed – 3 meals from one bug hunk of meat!

Here’s how I make my family’s favorite pork souvlaki with rice.

Pork SouvlakiPork Souvlaki - cooking

Ingredients: 
1 pound cubed pork (you can also cube your own from thick-cut pork chops or pork loin)
3 cloves of garlic roughly sliced (not diced)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice (bottled is okay but fresh is always better)
1 TBS dried oregano, divided
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:
1. Put all of the ingredients including 1 tsp of the oregano in a zipper bag. Seal it and squeeze out the air. Smoosh things around making sure all of the ingredients get distributed well.

2. Put the bag ‘o pork in the fridge for six to eight hours. (You could prepare the bag before you go to work and then cook it for dinner). Don’t leave it much longer than 10 hours or the lemon causes the pork’s texture to get a little weird.
3. Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and heat it up until the oil starts to shimmer. Carefully pour the contents of the plastic bag into the skillet. Distribute it evenly over the bottom of the pan.
4. Let the meat cook, turning it over with a large spatula, as it browns. If your pan was hot enough and you waited long enough before turning, the meat will turn over easily, will be nicely browned and you won’t leave a layer of nice meat crust behind.
5. As you are cooking the meat, sprinkle some more oregano over the meat, crumbling it between your fingers as you do to release more flavor.
6. If there isn’t any marinade liquid left in the pan, add a little more olive oil and lemon juice to make some liquid.
7. Finish off by adding a little more crumbled oregano. I do this often with herbs and spices because they change as they cook. I want multiple layers of flavor from herbs! Serve the souvlaki over the rice, being sure to drizzle the liquid over the combination. 

To accompany the meal, make a nice Greek Salad with greens, tomatoes, cucumber and an olive oil/lemon juice dressing. The crisp coolness adds a nice counterpoint to the meat and rice.

Rosamarina Rice

Coconut Curry Chicken

Every time I make rice, I make it this way, with rosamarina because it just tastes so darned good!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup rosamarina, also called orzo, found in the pasta section of the store
2 cups rice
4-1/4 to 4-1/2 cups water (or chicken stock)* 
3-4 bouillon cubes (if using water instead of stock)

Method:
Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot. Add the rosamarina and stir almost constantly until it starts to brown. At this point, it will burn quickly so before that can happen, pour the rice over it and stir to prevent the rosamarina from continuing to sit on the bottom of the pan. The butter that’s still in the pan will lightly coat the rice/rosamarina, adding some flavor.

Add the water/bouillon and stir. Let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as it does, cover the pot, turn the heat to low and let it sit to start absorbing the liquid. This usually takes about 20 minutes so I try to time the coordination of making rice with making the entree so they are done around the same time. Resist the urge to lift up the lid or stir the rice because it will affect how the rice turns out.

* Normally, you would use twice as much liquid as rice. But because the 1/4 cup of rosamarina is over and above the rice amount, I increase the liquid. Start with 4-1/4 cups of liquid but then check the rice as it starts to absorb all of its liquid. If it isn’t done, add that other 1/2 cup of liquid. Rosamarina and rice cook at slightly different rates, which accounts for the variations in liquid at the end. 

Drizzle a little olive oil over the rice – it’s so good that way!

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National Men Make Dinner Day

National Men Make Dinner Day – All Year

National Men Make Dinner Day

Peter Reynolds, host of “Father Knows Food” and two of his children, Colt and Dabny.

November 5, 2015 was National Men Make Dinner Day, an attempt to get men who never cook to tie on an apron and get   in that kitchen! Here at the E.A.T. (Everyone Around the Table) blog, we think many days of the year should be Men Make Dinner Day. We also think asking a man who doesn’t ordinarily cook to do so on a weeknight doesn’t make much sense. So we’re going to encourage all men to extend the holiday and do some cooking this weekend (and then, hopefully, many other nights after that.)

Cooking is a very manly thing when you think about it. In the anthropological sense, it’s about being a hunter at its modern finest (and we wanted an excuse to say “anthropological”). You hunt for the ingredients and the pots, pans and cooking utensils you need, aka, your weapons. You bravely take on the task of preparation and, applying fire (or hot electricity), cook up that tasty mastodon for dinner! See? So. Manly.

Man shouldn’t have to brave the frontiers of the kitchen alone so we consulted with one of our favorite men in the kitchen, Peter Reynolds of Father Knows Food, a Colorado dad with his own cooking show on PBS. Peter, a very manly man and a wonderful cook (we’ve tried several of his recipes), suggested we show you two of his YouTube videos. In the first, you’ll see his recipe for grilled lamb chops. In the second, there’s a Strawberry Mess dessert that can be made all year ’round thanks to frozen strawberries. But also check out his website and other videos for loads of great recipes (we’re partial to his shrimp and grits recipe which is fool-proof!). Man, oh man, will you be cooking up a storm, any night of the week and any day of the year!

What’s On Your Pork Bucket List?

Pork Bucket List

See the recipe below for making great pork meatballs for a sandwich or for pasta. It’s all part of the #PorkBucketList promotion from the National Pork Board.

Like many of you (if not every single one of you), I’m always looking for meal ideas that will please everyone in the family. I’m also always looking for ways to expand my children’s culinary horizons. Recently, I found a great source of help with that effort. The National Pork Board has created a beautiful and useful website and associated program called the Pork Bucket List. The idea is to encourage all pork lovers out there to tell the world the items they’d cross off their #PorkBucketList to inspire people to buy and eat pork. Examples include giving someone a bacon rose, eating pig ears from a street vendor in Vietnam, or, like me, learning how to prepare pork belly from a chef.

Get this – if you share your bucket list item on social media, using a specific set of tags and hashtags (below), a few lucky pork-lovers will be selected throughout the year to help them cross an item off their list!

To Enter: Visit PorkBucketList.com and share your own idea online via Twitter, Facebook,  Pinterest  or Instagram, including the following information in your post, otherwise your submission won’t be counted: @allaboutpork #PorkBucketList and #promo. The program ends September 30, 2014.

So give the website a look-over for inspiration. Notice the really clever and delicious-sounding recipes, broken down by ethnicity. Since I love to eat, and try to cook cuisines from around the world, I really love that part. I’ll be looking to it again and again. Meanwhile, here’s a recipe I’m going to make soon.

ITALIAN STUFFED MEATBALL SANDWICH

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Servings: 4 to 5 (about 12 to 15 meatballs)

For roasts, chops and tenderloins, cook to 145°F followed by a three-minute rest.
Read Details

Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork, lean
2 eggs, whisked
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, about 12 to 15 of small size
1 28-ounce jar tomato sauce
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Submarine-style buns

Cooking Directions:

In a large bowl combine the whisked eggs, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Add the ground pork and breadcrumbs and mix together until evenly combined.
Form the ground pork mixture into small meatballs, each the size of a golf ball.
Insert a mozzarella ball in the center of each meatball, taking care to re-form the meatball around the cheese once it’s been added. (The cheese should not be visible.)
Place the tomato sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker and add the meatballs on top.
Turn the slow cooker on and cook over high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8 hours. Carefully rotate the meatballs after half the cooking time to make sure they cook evenly.

To serve, place three meatballs plus sauce in a submarine bun.

Serving Suggestions:

Try substituting regular breadcrumbs with equal amounts of panko bread crumbs, or any kind of pasta or red sauce available. Serve with sweet potato fries.

 

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Email: ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com

Cooking-Rut Relief with Sea Cuisine

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. Despite my many, many (too many my husband says) cookbooks, countless cooking shows on TV and years of tried and true meal ideas to fall back on, I’m just in a rut. But lately, I’ve been thinking one of the easiest ways to get out of this rut is to start cooking with something I don’t use much – fish. It’s healthy, it can be tasty if prepared right and it broadens my family’s food repertoire.

Sea Cuisine

Top Chef winner, Chef Hosea Rosenberg fixes his Spicy Baja Tilapia Tacos.

Just in time, I was invited to meet one of Colorado’s celebrity chef’s, Top Chef winner, Hosea Rosenberg. He was selected to be Colorado’s chef consultant by Sea Cuisine, manufacturers of numerous frozen fish products. We’re not talking fish sticks, but instead, more upscale and way more tasty filets of cod, salmon, tilapia and more.

Recently, Sea Cuisine took to the road with a really impressive, grand food truck, hitting several cities, giving away free fish tacos. In each city, a chef was selected to come up with recipes and to lend a little local star power to the fish-awareness cause.

When I met with Chef Hosea (he prepared his recipe for fish tacos for me – see the recipe below), we talked about encouraging kids to eat more fish, getting them to move beyond just fish sticks (or to try fish for the first time).  He suggested starting off with the Potato Crusted Cod in a cheesy potato crust because it’s mild but flavorful. He said kids with more adventurous palettes should try the Tortilla Crusted Tilapia fillets (which he used to make my tacos). They have some oomph but not too much heat. Plus they have a nice crunch and great flavor. But there are a lot of other varieties too, making it easy to test out some different flavors on the kids.

At the grocery store, the packages come with two large fillets ($6.99) and can be cut into strips or bite-size pieces for use in fish tacos or on their own with other sides. Chef Hosea suggested setting up a do-it-yourself fish taco bar, with various fillings. That would be a lot of fun for kids and would give them some say in their own creation, making them more likely to eat it.

If you’re falling into a cooking rut like I am or just want to incorporate fish into your diet, the Sea Cuisine products are a very easy way to do it. They are flash frozen on the boat, immediately after being caught then deglazed at the factory just enough to add the seasonings before being refrozen and sent out to stores. In Colorado, the products are available at Safeway, King Soopers, Super Target and Sams Club.

For more recipes and information about Sea Cuisine products, visit SeaCusine.com.

Sea Cuisine

In just a few minutes, I was eating a delicious fish taco and was on my out of my cooking rut.

Spicy Baja Tilapia Tacos

 By Hosea Rosenberg

(Serves two)

  • 2 Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Filets
  • 4 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/2 Mango, diced
  • 1/2 Avocado, diced
  • 1/4 Habanero, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 C finely chopped lettuce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook tilapia according to instructions
  2. Cut into 4 pieces each
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine mango, avocado, habanero, cilantro and lime.
  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Warm tortillas
  6. Divide lettuce between each, top each with two pieces of fish then top with a dollop of salsa