Saturday, January 23, 2010

pork n' pork n' grits

Quick post/recipe here. Played around with a new dish tonight that I think will need to be revisited and tweaked -- definitely a good start.

Start with a pork tenderloin -- should be about 2-3 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with ginger, a bit of cinnamon and cumin, some sugar and kosher salt, then the zest of one orange.
Because the tenderloin is relatively lean, and because bacon is delicious, wrap the tenderloin in bacon. Sprinkle on a bit more kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then pop in a 400F oven until cooked to your liking.

In the meantime, cook up some grits. I usually figure on about half a cup of grits per person, which is a generous portion. First off, don't use instant grits! Instant grits taste like, well, nothing. Find yourself some good, quality grits. Cook them in milk, and be sure to add some butter -- not Paula Dean quantities of butter, but a generous amount. I like using unsalted butter so that I can adjust the salt levels separately. Keep adding milk as they cook to keep the consistency creamy.
Once the pork is done, be sure to let it rest for a while before slicing it.

Pile of grits on the plate... a couple of slice of the pork on top... a dusting of parsley and paprika to finish it. Quite tasty!
I'm open to some suggestions for vegetables to add to this dish. Any ideas? Anyone?

Monday, January 4, 2010

epic cooking: beef bourguignon

Finally, back to food blogging. It's been far too long, so I thought I'd start back with something special -- Beef Bourguignon. Here's the recipe from Fine Cooking, which contains a daunting list of ingredients and a lengthy list of instructions for assembly. (Can I call it epic?)

The cooking took place on top of a mountain in Saluda, NC, with Jeff and I taking care of the work for our ladies. Cooking began the evening of January 1st, reducing 2 bottles of red wine for marinating 6 lbs of gloriously marbled beef. After about 90 minutes, the beef was soaking happily amongst reduced wine and the aromatics.
Cooking resumed the next morning at around 10 in the morning: searing the beef, sauteing the vegetables and further reducing the marinade. Everything went back into my new cast iron dutch oven (thanks mother-in-law!) for a long cook at 325F.

Meanwhile, the 'garnishes' were prepared: pearl onions, bacon and mushrooms, all sauteed in butter to absolute deliciousness.A few more steps later and the garnishes joined the beef and thickened sauce for a final simmer on the stovetop. Bread was fried in olive oil (wow!) and it was all served up family style in a great ceramic platter available to us in the cabin. A tasty salad, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of Westmalle Trippel completed the meal.
Extremely tender beef. A rich and complex sauce. This recipe certainly is a lot of work, but if you have the time and motivation, it is absolutely worth it. Hours of cooking over two days, eaten with the best of friends, and overlooking an incredible mountain view -- a memorable meal, indeed.