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    Bourbon/Cherry Duck Breast

    With my audition only a few weeks away I needed to test what I consider one of my better creations. I initially created the sauce using Port Wine to be used with venison but wanted to try a different element for the new show. As with other duck recipes you will find here I butcher my own bird. This gives me several meals and tons of duck fat to use in the future. As is the case once I separated the duck, I made stock, confit de canard and liver paté. I reserved the breasts, one for the test and one for the audition.

    You will need:

    Duck Breast — One/serving
    Shallott — Approximately 1 TBSP/serving
    Bourbon — Two or Three TBSP/serving — not to worry the alcohol will burn off and you will get a great background taste.
    Cherry Preserves — Use a good quality tart cherry, approximately two TBSP/serving
    Unsalted Butter — One or Two TBSP/serving, make sure it’s cold.
    Sea Salt/Pepper — to taste.

    Using a sauté pan large enough to hold the breast(s) heat until almost smoking (don’t use a non-stick pan here) turn heat down to medium high and place breast(s) skin side down, if the pan is hot enough you should hear a pop which will be the skin seizing up at contact. Sear breast until you get a nice crisp skin. Place sauté pan in a pre-heated 350°F oven and cook until the inside temperature reads 120°. NB: Do not cook beyond this temperature as the breast will dry out very quickly, it should be served at medium rare. Remove the breast from the sauté pan, place uncovered on a dish.

    Pour off any excess fat from the pan and add the diced shallots. Cook a few seconds and remove pan from heat, pour in Bourbon and swirl to pick up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Return to heat and add the cherry preserves whisking to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Put the butter into the pan and swirl to emulsify.

    Slice the breast(s) into approximately ¼” thick and serve. I served this with Cranberry/Pistachio Rissotto.

    Cherry/Mustard Pork Tenderloin

    If you’ve been following my posts you will know that I like to mess around with different sauces. I had purchased a nice pork tenderloin the other day and, as usual, began to think of new ways to prepare it as soon as it was wrapped and handed to me by my favorite butcher. My brain went into hyper drive, sending messages bouncing back and forth. I wanted something unique using items already in my cooler.

    I like the taste of sweet/tart with many proteins. I have a bottle of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves, you might remember I used them in my Duck Breast w/Cherry/Port Sauce recipe. You could use other brands however I find the taste here to be excellent, not too sweet, not to tart. So what to add to give this recipe a little punch? For some unknown reason mustard popped into my head. I have many different types of mustard and decided to use a Dijon style to see how it would fare. The outcome here was very pleasing I think you’ll like to try this one soon.

    You will need:

    Pork Tenderloin – Depending on how hungry you and your guest are one loin should feed two people.
    Cherry Preserves – approximately 1/3 cup per/serving.
    Dijon Mustard – approximately two TBSP/serving.
    Flour – enough for dusting the pork.
    Butter – approximately one TBSP/serving.
    Olive Oil – approximately 1 TBSP/serving.
    Apple Juice – approximately 1/4 cup/serving.
    Roux or cornstarch slurry – just enough to thicken final sauce.
    Sea Salt/Ground Pepper – to taste.

    You will need to remove any silver skin from the loin, it’s not hard but a tad time consuming if you haven’t done it before. Once the loin is cleaned of skin and excess fat but it into approximately 1 1/2 to 2″ pieces. Place the loin pieces cut side up between two pieces of cling film and press them down with your hand to about 1/2″ thick. Dust liberally with flour and pat off excess, let them rest until you notice that some of the flour has been absorbed, then repeat the dusting step. This will give you a nice crust when you sear the loins. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the pork without crowding sear on both sides until you develop a rich dark color. Remove from pan and hold. Remove any excess fat fro the pan and deglaze with the apple juice, I used apple juice because I had some extra but you can use water, it shouldn’t affect the taste too much.

    Once the apple juice has reduced by half add the cherry preserves whisking to incorporate. Add the mustard and continue whisking until completely incorporated. Add the butter and swirl the pan to emulsify the butter. Return the loin pieces to the sauce, cover reducing the heat to medium low and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Remove loin pieces from sauce and hold, covered, if the sauce does not leave a clear trail on the back of a spoon you will need to thicken it. Using the slurry or roux add small amounts and test to see that the sauce thickens to your liking. Return the loin pieces to the sauce, turning once or twice to coat.

    Serve immediately. A nice side would be a Cherry/Rice Pilaf, the recipe will be added here soon.

    Duck Breast with Cherry/Port Sauce

    Duck has always been a favorite of mine although I don’t prepare it often when I do I try to use a different sauce to accompany the dish. I love the taste of a good Port in a sauce and lately have had cherries on my mind. So with that I decided to try combining the two too go with the breast.

    You will need:

    Whole Duck Breast – one/serving
    Port Wine – approx. 1 TBSP/serving – I used Porto Fino
    Cherry Preserves – approx. 1/8 cup/serving – I used Bonne Maman from France although you can use your own favorite dark cherry preserve.
    Butter – unsalted – approx. 1 TBSP/serving.

    Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold breast(s) to medium – carefully place breast(s) skin side down to the pan and cook until fat is rendered and skin is crisp the amount of time needed will depend on the size of the meat. Turn the duck over to the meat side and place in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven to finish. NB: Duck should be served pink. Remove the pan from the oven and place duck on a plate, cover with foil and prepare sauce.

    Pour off any excess fat carefully add the Port Wine scrapping up the fond at the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine to about half and add the cherry preserves then cook until it melts and add the butter one TBSP at a time swirling it until it is completely emulsified. Slice duck breast(s) to your desired thickness for presentation (alternatively serve whole). Plate the breast(s) and pour cherry sauce over them and enjoy!

    Meyer Lemon Vinagrette

    Meyer Lemons have a distinct flavor of lemon and mandarin orange which makes for an interesting sensation. I used the juice left from my [panna cotta recipe] to create this easy yet delicious salad dressing which can also be used as a marinade for fish or chicken.

    You will need:

    Meyer Lemon Juice – approx. 1 cup
    Red Wine Vinegar – approx 1 TBSP.
    Olive Oil – approx. 2 cups
    Dijon Mustard – approx 2 tsps.
    Sea Salt/Pepper – to taste.

    Combine all ingredients in a jar large enough to hold all and shake well. Alternatively put ingredients into a bowl large enough to hold all and whisk until combined.

    Pork Medallions with Dijon/Maple Sauce

    Photobucket

    I came upon a variation of this unique blend of tastes while working an event. The Chef had made a pork roast and used Dijon mustard and Maple syrup to make a gravy for the roast. The resulting flavor of the roast was something out of this world. What I have done here is take the basics for his recipe and with some minor adjustments came up with a pan sauce that is easy and very rewarding. The recipe below will serve one person.

    You will need:
    One Pork Tenderloin – approx. 3/4 pounds in weight.
    Olive Oil – enough to coat bottom of skillet
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste.
    Dijon Mustard – 2 TBSP – I used Grey Poupin
    Pure Maple Syrup – 2 TBSP – NB: Pure Maple Syrup only.
    White Wine – approx 1/4 cup
    Unsalted butter – two TBSP

    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove all silver skin from tenderloin then cut loin into approx. 2 inch medallions. Turn medallions onto the cut edge and compress to about 1 and 1/2 inch thick. Heat skillet to medium high, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Place medallions in skillet but do not crowd, sear on both sides. Remove pork from skillet and place in an ovenproof vessel while preparing sauce.

    Pour off any excess oil from skillet, add wine to deglaze the fond form the pan, immediately add mustard and maple syrup whisking vigorously. Remove from heat and hold until pork tenderloin is finished (internal temp reads 140 Degrees F). When pork is finished remove from oven, cover with foil, finish sauce. Return skillet with sauce to medium heat, as soon as bubbles start to appear at edges add butter one tablespoon at a time remove pan from heat and swirl butter, do not whisk or stir as the chances of the sauce breaking are increased, until it is melted into the sauce.

    Serve with mashed potato and oven roasted sweet corn nobs.

    Filetto di maiale Vino Cotto con Polenta

    We were given an opportunity to try a new product from Montillo Italian Foods. Vino Cotto di Montillo is a a semi-sweet reduction of premium wine grapes that has been used in Calabrian cooking for generations. We combined the Vino Cotto with raisens and pine nuts creating a sauce that is not only unique but very satisfying. Even your most demanding gourmand will appreciate this rather simple presentation. As with our other recipes we try to develop new ideas with the home cook in mind. We strive to create a meal that takes 30 minutes or less in cooking time. This pork tenderloin recipe turned out great. The earthy richness of the polenta is a perfect compliment to the fragrant sauce.

    You will need:
    Pork Tenderloin – approx. 4 oz/serving
    Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
    Olive Oil
    Unsalted butter
    Pine nuts – approx. 1 oz/serving toasted
    Raisens – approx. 1 oz/serving (soak raisens in Vino Cotto – use enough to cover)
    Vino Cotto di Montillo – approx. 5 TBSP/serving
    Salt free chicken stock – approx. 2 TBSP/serving
    Polenta – approx. 1/4 cup dry/serving.

    Prepare the pork:
    Remove any excess fat and silver skin from tenderloin. Cut into tournedos at least one inch thick, season with sea salt and pepper. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the tournedos without crowding brown until a nice rich crust is formed (about 6 minutes/per side). Don’t walk away from this step as to negate the possibility of burning. If your pan is not large enough you can brown the pork in batches. Remove pork from pan and place in oven preheated to 350° F and cook until internal temperature reaches 140° F. Remove from oven and keep warm. Remember that the pork will continue to cook while it rests and will come to 145 – 150° F for serving.

    For the sauce:
    Pour off any excess fat from the sauté pan. Heat the pan on high for about a minute then off heat add the chicken stock, return to heat and deglaze. Reduce the stock by about 1/2 then add Vino Cotto and soaked raisens. Bring to a rapid simmer then add 1TBSP cold butter and swirl into sauce. Return pork tenderloins to sauce to warm through. Add pine nuts just before serving. Cook polenta according to package recipe. Spoon polenta onto serving plate, top with Pork Tenderloin tournedos and spoon sauce over all.

    You will get rave reviews with this one. Enjoy!

    To purchase an 8.5 oz. bottle of Vino Cotto di Montillo for the low price of $15.95/bottle just send us a note.

    Sunday Gravy

    Sure, everyone has their family recipe for Sunday gravy, well that is if you were of Italian heritage, others would refer to this as Spaghetti Sauce. Well I’ve made many a Sunday Gravy, had some failures and some great successes, this recipe has always proved to be one of my best.

    This recipe will make approximately 20 cups of gravy.

    For the gravy you will need:
    Four 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
    One small can tomato paste
    Two cups beef stock
    One medium size sweet onion
    Carrots – enough to equal the volume of the onion
    Four or five sprigs fresh oregano
    Four or five garlic cloves
    Fresh ground pepper
    Kosher salt

    Two pounds country ribs
    Two pounds Italian Sausage (your choice of sweet or hot)

    For the meatballs

    Two pounds ground chuck
    One pound ground pork
    One pound ground veal or turkey
    Enough stale bread (I used leftover Italian bread) to equal the volume of the ground meats
    Two cups milk (or more if necessary)
    Two cups shredded Parmesan cheese
    Two large eggs
    Olive oil
    Vegetable oil

    In a heavy bottom stock pot heat four tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Place carrots, onion and garlic in a food processor and run until the vegetables are of a paste consistency. Thoroughly brown the country ribs (in batches if necessary) until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid from the stockpot, add four tablespoons olive oil, reheat until shimmering then brown the Italian sausage until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid, add two tablespoons olive oil, and reheat until shimmering. Place vegetable past along with tomato paste to the stockpot and cook until the mix is somewhat dry. De-glaze pot with the beef stock scraping up all the fond at the bottom of the pot. Add the four cans of crushed tomatoes, the sprigs of oregano and the ribs and sausage to the stockpot. Reduce heat to very low, place lid over pot and simmer for 5 or 6 hours. To reduce the possibility of the gravy burning I take one of the unused burner grates, place it on top of the burner you are using, make sure that it is firmly in place, put the stockpot on that tiered burner. Stir the gravy every occasionally to insure a good mixture.

    While the gravy is simmering make the meatballs. Break up the stale bread into medium to small chunks, but into a bowl large enough to hold the bread and both meats. Pour one-cup milk into the bowl, as the bread starts to absorb the milk using a fork start to mash the bread. If there is not enough milk continue adding more until you can mash the bread into a paste. Add the parmesan cheese, the eggs, the meats, salt and pepper (to taste) and using very clean hands or hand covered with rubber gloves and work the mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into equal balls (I like mine large). In a sauté pan large enough to hold the meatballs, heat approximately one-quarter cup of vegetable oil until shimmering. Carefully lower meatballs into oil, do not crowd, work in batches if necessary, and cook until a nice brown crust forms rotate balls until all sides have that same rich brown crust. Set aside meatballs until cooled enough then place in the refrigerator. During the last one to one and a half hours of cooking the gravy, add the meatballs submerging them to cover. During the last half hour taste the gravy for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Once the time used in this recipe is completed, cool to room temperature.

    Remove the meatballs, sausage and ribs from the gravy and portion two cups of the liquid into quart freezer bags for future use. Similarly portion out the meatballs, ribs and sausage into quart freezer bags for future use.

    Pork with Pomegranate Glacé

    Over the holidays I had an excess of pomegranate, and not wanting to waste them, I separated the seeds and froze them in a zip log bag. I knew that I would be looking for something different and just recently came up with this quick dish. Additionally, I had purchased a large quantity of pork loin cut into steaks, it was a deal, price wise, so I just couldn’t pass them up. You can substitute pork chops very easily.

    You will need:
    Pork Loin Steak – approx. 6 oz./serving
    Olive oil
    Fresh ground pepper
    Kosher or Sea Salt
    Pomegranate Seeds – approx. 1 TBSP/serving
    Pomegranate juice – approx. 2 TBSP/serving (I used POM brand)
    Beef stock – approx. 2 TBSP/serving
    Unsalted butter – approx. 1/4 TBSP/serving

    Prepare the pork – heat a sauté pan (oven-proof, not non-stick) over medium high heat, brush both sides of pork with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (it is OK to be generous here). Sear pork to get a nice rich color on both sides, put into a pre-heated 350 degree F oven to finish (cook until temperature is 140 degrees)

    For Glacé – when pork is finished remove from sauté pan, keep warm by covering it with aluminum foil. Deglaze the pan with pomegranate juice scrapping up the fond. When juice starts to thicken add beef stock, pomegranate seeds and butter. Heat through until butter is emulsified into the sauce, pour over pork and serve. If you don’t have the pomegranate seeds diced dried cherries will work. Enjoy!

    Roasted tomato/garlic starter sauce.

    This simple sauce is made from a variety of very ripe tomatoes from the garden. I call this a starter sauce as it could be used, with some additional ingredients, in many regional/ethnic recipes. Here I have outlined the sauce and thereafter showed some variable.

    For the starter sauce:
    Garden ripened tomatoes – any assortment you might have
    Garlic bulbs – use any ratio depending on your personal taste
    Good quality olive oil
    Sea Salt
    Cracked pepper

    Heat oven to 350° F. While oven is heating core out the stem side of the tomato, just enough to remove the stem attachement, cut a small “X” into the other side. Place the tomatoes, cored side down on a baking sheet, cover liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Separate garlic bulb into cloves and add to the baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes and garlic until skins are blistered and cracked [NB: Time needed will depend on the size of the largest tomato]. Once the tomatoes and garlic are roasted remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.

    Place a strainer/sieve over a non-reactive bowl and squeeze the tomatoes to remove seeds and inner membrane. Press any solid through the strainer/sieve leaving only the seeds behind. Crush the tomatoes into the bowl holding the juices. Cut off the stem end of the garlic gloves and squeeze the pulp into the tomato liquid. Place tomato/garlic mixture into a sauce pot, season with additional salt if needed and cook over low heat until the tomatoes break down to your desired texture.

    For an Italian style sauce: Add torn fresh basil, oregano and olive oil just before serving.
    For a Mediterranean style sauce: Add finely sliced red bell pepper, finely sliced sweet onion, pitted and sliced black olives and fresh oregano [NB: Simmer the added vegetables in the sauce until they wilt then add the oregano just before serving]
    For a Spanish style sauce: Add any of the following in any combination [NB: this will need some trial and error here for although they each compliment the other quantities will need to be adjusted to personal taste} ground clove, paprika, cinnamon, parsley, mint, rosemary and thyme

    Oven-Roasted Tomatoes on Foodista

    Herb/Olive Spread

    This is my rendition of the ever-popular Olive salad used by many when preparing a Muffuletta Sandwich. I think you will like this spread and use it for any sandwich you decide to build. The recipe below will give you enough to cover a 9″ Focaccia round or one 6 x 12″ Ciabatta loaf.

    You will Need:
    Pimento Stuffed Olives – 3/4 cup
    Pitted Black Olives – 1/4 cup
    Capers – approximately 2 TBSP
    Fresh Garlic – 1 or 2 cloves
    Fresh Basil – 1 ounce
    Fresh Mint – 1 ounce
    Orange Zest – approximately 1/2 TBSP
    Lemon Zest – approximately 1/2 TBSP
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use the good stuff here – approximately 3 TBSP
    Balsamic Vinegar – 1 tsp

    In a food processor place basil and mint in a food processor and chop to a fine past. Add both zests, garlic and half the olive oil, vinegar and process until garlic gloves are incorporated. Add both olives and capers and pulse until the olives are approximately 1/8″ dice. You might need to add some of the balance of the olive oil if the product gets too dry. This is a visual step depending on how much liquid is exuded from the olives and capers. You can make this ahead and store in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before use.

    Kalamata Olive on Foodista

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