I’ve been kinda busy lately, and haven’t been posting my cooking images much, so here is a bit of a collection of dishes and events that haven’t made it into the blog.

Some were real winners, others merely passable, and some had great potential. The foods here represent a bevy of events, wherein some were actually planned out, others merely thrown together, and others made for simple week nights with varied success.

Gluttonous Tomatoes

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Friday found me waiting around for the PGE man to check our furnace so I ended up watching Lidia’s Italy on public television. Stuffed tomatoes, in essence. Large beefsteak tommies whose innards were cut out, the juices separated out, and stuffed with dried bread bits, parsley, oregano, grated Italian cheese, and finished with an egg. See the recipe here.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

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Simple and easy, and the recipe was from an earlier show that day, America’s Test Kitchen. I liked the idea, simply take a pork tenderloin, slit it in half and lay out flat between a couple of pieces of parchment paper and roll it out flat. Get some sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and a few anchovies, and combine in a food processor. Spread the mixture on a section of the flattened tenderloin, add some spinach leaves, and roll it up tightly and tie it off with some kitchen twine.

I didn’t have the temperatures and the duration for this, so I had to sorta make it up as I went along. I added some chicken broth to the roasting pan to keep up the moisture level as pork is notorious for quickly drying out, and this apparently worked as the meat came out moist and succulent.
Garlic Shrimp with Vermouth

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I’d originally intended to make another pork tenderloin, but the butcher had erred and given me just some random pork loin, so I pulled some largish shrimp out of the freezer and decided to cook some classic Gambas a la Ajillo for the gang.

Didn’t even bother to skin the shrimp, just drizzled olive oil over them, salted and seasoned them a bit, and put them on the cast iron skillet to cook, with midway addition of sliced garlic and a deglaze of Spanish sweet vermouth. Came out just fine.

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Asian noodle dish, done in a wok. Oil, garlic, ginger, and some pork and veggies, then the noodles and wham. Quick. Adequate, but not amazing.
Caprese Salad

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You can’t really go wrong with this type of salad. Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and sliced basil, julienned fashionably over them both, good olive oil, some salt and pepper. Done. Very important to use the best ingredients you can find.

Cheese Souffle

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Put this together some thirty minutes later, after the salad. Two little cheese soufflés, done in the classic manner. A little roux, some gruyere and Parmesan, a dash of nutmeg, and 20 minutes in the oven.
Duck Confit

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A good friend’s birthday request is a cuisine or dish of his choice. My friend Bruno said Cassoulet. Very familiar with this dish, conceptually, but have never made it. First step is making duck confit, but prior to that, it is marinating the duck legs overnight in shallot, thyme, parsley, and garlic and salt. A freezer bag, as you see here, allows the marinade to do its magic.

Cassoulet also involves a lot more, like pork fat, lamb sausages, fresh beans…and hours of cooking. More on that in another post.

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