Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 20, 2014 - Pork Belly Tacos

Good Morning, everyone!  The sun is shining off the frigid ice, the air is a balmy 28 degrees - I love winter.  (That is absolute and total sarcasm.)  Anyways... I made it over to Jenn's house Monday night for a pork belly dinner.  Why pork belly?  Why  not?  Actually, I had fried pork belly tacos at a restaurant at Mohegan Sun last year and they were mouth watering, finger licking, to-do-for and I wanted to replicate.  Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out the way we wanted.  However, my new obsession with baby tacos is ramping up, so expect to see some mini taco ideas on the other blog!  (Yes, I plan on throwing up some dishes on there, too.  We cook pretty much every day, so may as well start taking some pictures, right?)

Cocktail - Melon Margarita

So when I made the salsa for the tacos, I bought a container of pre-cut watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.  So I kept some of the mixed melons, threw it in the juicer, and then added it to tequila, triple seq, and a splash of lime.  That simple!  (And very delicious!)

Entree - Fried Pork Belly Tacos

Okay, so conceptually, this is awesome!  However, I think I didn't really use my head in the prep work.  First off, I dusted the pork belly with the rub and then put it in the crock pot with the glaze.  Then I realized that my "tequila" was actually pre-mixed margarita mix, so I just used that instead of adding the OJ and the agave.  We left in crock pot for about 5 hours, cooled, diced and then tossed in a pan of oil and quickly fried until crispy.  The unfortunate part was that there was NO flavor!  So this is what I took away from it - rub GENEROUSLY!  Like, dump it on, rub it in, and make it a serious crust.  Secondly, follow the glaze exactly.  Third, I think it needs the smoker for the additional flavor.  However, while the pork had no flavor, by adding the toppings, it was still a delicious meal!

Topping - Melon Salsa

Okay, so I chopped up the watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.  Then I added diced red onion, a little bit of minced jalapeno and some chopped cilantro.  Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and delicious!

Topping - Tequila Slaw

Okay, we cheated a little.  We bought the bagged broccoli slaw, added some cilantro, a little white wine vinegar, and some tequila.  Boom!

Topping - Roasted Corn

We simply threw a can of corn in a skillet with some butter and then dusted with spices like cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper.  It was crispy and delicious!

Final Plate


We used a house Rioja that was laying around.  Yum!

Dessert - Chocolate Churros

Followed the recipe to a T, dusted with cinnamon sugar, drizzled with some melted chocolate, and gorged ourselves.  Delicious!  (And lots of possibilities with sweet and/or savory combinations!)

So while not our best meal, definitely not a bad one and it has a lot of potential!  We should be doing another blog dinner soon, but in the meantime, I know we'll be taking some pictures of our recipes for you, so please check back to this blog or our sister blog for some new food ideas!

Monday, January 20, 2014

December 15, 2013 - Starfruit and Brandied Cherries

Good afternoon, CS followers.  Two posts today AND we are getting together tonight to cook a dinner!  Woohoo!  So my birthday was late December, and it was my turn to pick some ingredients for the meal.  So I picked the random fruit I always see in the grocery store by itself in a little wicker basket and of course my favorite brandied cherries!

Cocktail - Starfruit Lemonade Sangria

I was very pleasantly surprised.  I assumed it would be a repeat of a brandied cherry Manhattan or old fashioned but Jenn proved me wrong with a fantastic sangria!  FYI - if you are curious what a starfruit tastes like, its kind of tart.

Appetizer - Lobster Salad with Starfruit Vinaigrette

A nice crisp salad with plenty of fresh starfruit and mandarin oranges topped with fresh lobster meat and a tangy starfruit vinaigrette!  How can you go wrong?!?!

Appetizer Wine - Pazo Barrantes Albarino

Entree - Roast Cornish Hens with Brandied Cherries

Little baby chickens!  With brandied cherries!  And sweet potato fries!  And shaved brussels sprout hash!  YUM!!!

Entree Wine - Chateau L'Isle Fort

Dessert - Starfruit Mousse Napoleons with Brandied Cherry Balls

Such creativity!  Made a light chocolate mousse with some starfruit in it.  Then wedged between two lovely slices of melted chocolate wafers, topped with dried starfruit chips!  Then lovely brandied cherry truffles on the side... decadence at is best!

Overall, a fantastic meal and a great birthday!

Next Post - Crispy Pork Belly Tacos

December 1, 2013 - Wild Game Round 2

Okay, remember how we made wild game for John's birthday dinner?  Well... you can't really buy that stuff in individual portions - it has to be bought in bulk with other wild game... so we opened up the freezer and created our second meal around wild game for your reading pleasure!

Cocktail - Apple Cinnamon Martini

Vodka, freshly juiced apples, cinnamon schnapps, and a little bit of brandy... ok, it was a clean out the liquor cabinet type of drink - but it was fabulous!

Appetizer - Apple, Walnut, Endive Salad with Summer Sausage

A good friend had hooked us up with some venison sausage, so we thought this was a perfect starter!  Believe it or not, tastes just like most Italian salamis!

Entree - Tenderloin of Wild Boar with Maple Porter Reduction

Yup... wild boar!  The taste was so surprising because it was actually quite like a beef tenderloin, so we're glad we chose a recipe that wasn't too overpowering.  Definitely a great wild game option!

Side Dish - Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

See picture above.  Bacon and potatoes - where can you go wrong?

Side Dish - Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

See picture above.  Okay, a bit of a bacon theme here, but who cares?!?!  Maybe we should theme this post "bacon"?

Dessert - Maple Pots de Creme

How can I explain how delicious this was?  We made this a month and a half ago, and I can still taste it on my tongue.  Insanely good.  I didn't know maple syrup could taste like this is anything!  You will NOT be disappointed.

Wines - House Wines

I honestly don't remember what we had that night, but we chose from the stockpile.  Definitely it was a robust red to tame the wild boar.  And I'm pretty sure we had a sweeter white or prosecco for the appetizer.

Anyways, a fantastic wild game inspired meal!

Next Post - Christie's Birthday 2.0

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

November 17, 2013 - Leg of Lamb

We couldn't make up our mind on what to make so we decided to see what we had in our freezer and there we saw a leg of lamb. After looking through our recipes this is the delightful dinner we can up with

Cocktail - Brandy Cassis

1 oz. Lemon Juice

dash(es) Creme de Cassis

1 1/2 oz. Brandy

Appetizer – Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

This is a salad that I'll make for dinner. The mint gave it such a nice added flavor

EntrĂ©e – Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Balsamic Fig Basil Sauce 

Dried fruit, almonds, mint and basil just some of the wonderful things in this delicious lamb. We felt our 4+ lb leg of lamb was to large so we made 2 and they both came out perfectly medium rare

This wine is a blend of  Grenache, Syrah, and  Counoise, The taste of fresh red fruit in the mouth with a hint of citrus was a nice match with the lamb

Dessert – Puff Pastry Cups w/ whip cream and macerated raspberry

We cheated a bit on this desert and made one of our quick stand by's. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream till stiff, add 1/4 cup macerated raspberry's with 1 tsp sugar. Fold the berries into the whip cream and spoon into a cooled puff pastry cup. So easy and yummy! Your guests will think you spent much more time on it. And a nice glass of Prosecco and Cassis made a perfect ending to another delicious meal.