Costolette di Maiale con Salvia


that’s Pork Chops with Sage for those of us who don’t speak Italiano… (its cool I don’t speak it either)  

Image

Pork chops are a pretty regular occurrence in Italy. They can be cooked in many, many ways.  This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s wonderful cookbook Jamie’s Italy. In the book he writes ‘I first saw this dish being made in a trattoria in Florence on my first-ever trip to Italy, the young lady who was making it inserted a small paring knife into the side of the chops and moved it from side to side to create a little pocket inside the meat. It was clever, as you couldn’t tell from the outside that this “flavor pocket” was there.’

I made a few significant changes to his recipe.   Some of these changes I had no control over as I wasn’t the one who purchased the ingredients.   Ground sage instead of fresh; new potatoes instead of russet.   I also chose to remove two ingredients from the dish.  In my untrained head, it didn’t make sense adding prosciutto to the “butter” or pancetta with the potatoes.  

A few changes that I will make to this recipe going forward, is first and foremost making sure that the proper ingredients are purchased.   Secondly,  the flavor pocket was great, but I think it should run the whole length of the pork chop; as close to the edge as possible, so there is a flavor in every bite.  

The “butter”  consisted of sage, garlic, butter, and dried apricots.   Sounds a bit odd, but the apricots added some depth to the flavor.   One ingredient that I may add in the future is lemon zest.  

“Chop”

Lavender, Black Garlic and Rosemary, and Scrambled Eggs


This morning I attempted to repeat what Chef does in this video …

Not sure what I did wrong, but after two failed attempts of his method, I resorted to the way I was taught.  I did however still add the chives to the mixture, and salt and pepper at the end, and honestly it does make a Je ne sais quoi, or as Chef states in his video, sexy eggs.

Thanks to Savory Spice in OKC (www.savoryspiceshop.com).  I think I have fixed the issue to my Lavender Cookies,  Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar.   The smell of the cookies is more pleasing, and the flavor is exquisite and light.   The only other change is to the temperature, going to do 375 for 8-10 mins.  Still wasnt long enough.  went for a total 12 mins.

Tonight’s menu consists of steak with a black garlic and rosemary rub, oven roasted new potatoes and fresh corn on the cobb and the hors d’oeuvres is a black garlic dip . The only thing that needs to be altered from this dish is the rub…  the 1/2 tsp of black pepper (per steak)  had a bit of a kick… almost too much heat.   The meat was pan seared, but should have been served medium.   The Orkney Skull Splitter I had with dinner was described as ’satiny smooth in the mouth, deceptively light and dangerously drinkable.’  It reminded me of a weaker form of Guiness.    

The aroma of  the black garlic is rather pungent, but has a very manageable taste.   Having never cooked with it,  I found it a very enjoyable spice to work with, but a bit sticky.   All of the herbs and spices I used today were found at Savory Spice.    The staff there is amazing, and a great help.  I look forward to cultivating a working relationship with them over the next few years.  

Chop

Lavender and Chocolate


Today I decided to cook banana bread, lavender cookies, and some chocolate cheesecake cupcakes.  

I changed the banana bread recipe today by incorporating some nutmeg (1/8 tsp).  Just to try out the flavor.   The last loaf I was told that it wasnt moist enough, and was asked if there was a way to make it more moist.   The first significant change between this receipe and the last one was the “aged” bananas.  I let the bananas ripen for about a week, once I got them to the house.   The other change was no baking powder, as I was unaware that we needed more.  When I hear critiques of the bread, I will be sure to let everyone know what people thought. 

The Lavender Cookies……    I knew lavender was strong, but wasnt aware it was “extreme.”  I found the recipe from a chef in Provence, France.  Having to do a bit of math to understand what I was getting myself into,  I doubled all ingredients except the lavender.  The recipe called for 30g (1 oz) of lavendar.  My next attempt will be to maybe even use 1/4th (7g).   I dont know much about temperatures but the original recipe said 60C (320 F) for 15 mins.   Having followed the recipe to the letter,  the cookies were under cooked.   I added an additional 5 mins… still the same.  Research mode kicked in, and saw that most recipes suggested 375 F for 8-10 mins.   I bumped up the temp to 375, and cooked them for an addition 3 mins.   They now appeared “golden” as the recipe suggested.  The recipe also called for it to chill in the fridge for an hr.  Not sure if that was necessary to be honest.  The other thing I learned from this recipe, if you remember I doubled it,  half the cookie dough was placed on a greased baking sheet, the other on a lined sheet.   Well,  dont cook these cookies on a greased pan.   They turned to mush.   For my first attempt, I think that I did a good job, and will try and perfect this recipe over the course of my culinary education.

The Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes recipe was rated as “intermediate”  by the culinary world.  I can see why.  I decided to approach this dish in stages, to make it a bit more manageable.  The first stage, I made the base for the chocolate cupcake.   Second stage was the cheesecake filling. The third and final stage will be the Ganache Frosting.   This entire recipe was from scratch, and required me to think on my feet.   I learned that a spoon is my best friend when making these cupcakes. I wonder how a pastry bag would have helped in putting it all together.   Tasting the completed product, though the hard work paid off.   These cupcakes  (even without the Ganache) are moist and delicious.

Chop

Standards….


Soggy Quesadillas.  Old nasty lettuce.  Salt with a side of chips.

Why is it okay if the standard of care at restaurants like Chilli’s or Buffalo Wild Wing’s is subpar?  Does anyone in the “popular” food world not care about the quality of food they are serving?  I would rather eat the Beef Stew MRE cold, then suffer through some of the food that has been placed before me in the last week.