Thursday, September 29, 2011

Smoky Pork Chili with Black-Eyed Peas

If you don't have a favorite chili recipe or need a new recipe, then you have come to the right place.

This chili recipe requires a sofrito, a blend of aromatic vegetables and herbs.  The vegetables are slow roasted until they collapse and become very soft, then pureed. This becomes the flavor base of the chili.

The sofrito base along with the toasted chili peppers allow for this chili to explode with flavor.  The addition of  black-eyed peas helps to bring out the smokiness of this chili.

The chili is smoky and spicy. The heat of the chili does not overwhelm you, and allows the flavors to really be experienced with each bowl.

Smoky Pork Chili with Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 6
Recipe from Fine Cooking


For the Sofrito

6 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 large or 3 medium jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. dried oregano
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 dried ancho chiles
2 dried New Mexico chiles
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

For the Chili

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2-1/2lbs. ground pork
1 Tbs. ground cumin
 1 tsp. chili powder
Kosher salt
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen black-eyed peas (or three 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
Sour cream, for serving
Thinly sliced scallions for serving


Make the Sofrito

Position rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Put the tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, oil, oregano, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a 9x13-inch roasting pan and stir to combine.  Roast, stirring every 15 minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan, until collapsed and very soft, about 45 minutes.

While the vegetables roast,  heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to3 minutes.  Put the ancho and New Mexico chiles in the pan and toast on both sides until blistered, 2 to 3 minutes.  Put the chiles in a medium bowl, cover with 2 cups warm water (if they rise to the top, weigh them down with a bowl), and soak until soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain in a fine sieve set over a bowl; reserve the soaking water.

Stem, seed and coarsely chop, the chiles.  Put them in a food processor with the chiptole chiles and roasted vegetables and puree until the mixture is completely smooth.  Set aside.

Make the Chili

heat the vegetable oil in a 5-6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat.  Add the pork, cumin, chili powder, and 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. salt; cook, stirring , until the meat is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add sofrito and stir until throughly combined.  Add the reserved chile water, chicken broth and fresh black-eyed peas.  Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 45 minutes ( if you are using canned or frozen black-eyed peas, simmer the meat and broth for 30 minutes, add the peas, and continue to cook for 10 minutes longer).  Season to taste with salt.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and scallions sprinkled over the top.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Beverly Frankeny 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cocktail Thursday-Basil Lemon Drop

Something that is well done is always better than something well said.

Basil Lemon Drop
Makes 1 cocktail
Recipe from Cafe Firenze
1-1/2 oz Citrus Vodka
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Sweet and Sour
Fresh squeeze of lemon juice
4 Basil leaves

Take the basil leaves and cut them by hand, then place them in the mixing glass with 1/2 oz of Sweet and Sour.  Start muddling until the Sweet and Sour goes from yellow to bright green.  Then start pouring the ingredients following the recipe.  Shake vigorously, and serve in chilled orange-sugar rimmed glass.

Note: To prepare orange sugar mix sugar with a couple of drops of red and yellow food coloring.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Annie Haven

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Double Chocolate Tart With Black Pepper Ice Cream

A deep rich milk chocolate tart topped with a velvety ice cream that has a hint of cracked black pepper, and garnished with candied hazelnuts.

My friends this is what makes for a dramatically delicious dessert.

Double Chocolate Tart with Black Pepper Ice Cream
Serves 8
Recipe from Bon Appetit


Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Candied Hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup skinned hazelnuts

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
6-1/2 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer; about 28 cookies), coarsely broken.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
15 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Valrhona, Scharffen, berger, or Lindt), chopped
1-1/4 cups heavy cream

Special Equipment: a 9" diameter tart pan with removable bottom; ice cream maker


Ice Cream
Bring cream, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove from heat.  Whisk eggs yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl to blend; gradually whisk in hot milk mixture and return to saucepan.  Stir over low heat until custard thickens and your finger leaves a path on the back of a spoon when drawn across, about 6 minutes.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl of ice water; stir until cold.

Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze.

Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead.

Candied Hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk sugar, egg white, and salt in a medium bowl just until bubbles form.  Stir in hazelnuts.  Spread out on prepared sheet.  Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until nuts are golden brown and caramelized, about 50 minutes.

Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store in airtight at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat tart pan with nonstick spray.  Finely grind cookies in a food processor.  Drizzle butter over; pulse until blended.  Press evenly onto bottom and up sides of pan.  Bake until firm, about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour over chocolate; stir until melted.  Pour filling over cooled crust.  Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Remove the tart pan side.  Cut tart into wedges, working quickly as tart will become gooey as it sits; place 1 piece on each plate.  Serve with a scoop of black pepper ice cream and garnish with candied hazelnuts.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Christo Gonzalez a/k/a Chez What? 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemon Vegetable Soup with Cheese Ravioletti

Many of us have been experiencing the forces of Mother Nature.  An Earthquake on the East Coast, Hurricane Irene, followed by Tropical Storm Lee, and the most destructive has been the raging wildfires in Texas.

When it feels like it is all going to pot, soup is best.  A good bowl of soup has a way of putting the world back into perspective for at least a little while.

This recipe belongs to the Cooking Photographer  This is a simple and soulful soup.

Lemon Vegetable Soup with Cheese Ravioletti
Serves 4-5
Recipe from Cooking Photographer

1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 (14 ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth
5 cups water
1 tablespoon dried dill
9-ounce package three cheese ravioletti (found with the refrigerated pasta)
1-1/2 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
More olive oil and grated parmesan for serving

Take the lemon and shave the peel into one-inch strips with a knife or vegetable peeler, then squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice and seta side.

In a 5 quart or larger saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat until shiny.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery.  Add the wine and cook stirring occasionally until sweated and tender crisp.  About 5 minutes.

Add the broth, water, and lemon peel.  Heat until boiling over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  let simmer for 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add the ravioletti and cook for 4 minutes, then add the peas and cook another minute.

Take off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Spoon into bowls and top with parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Note: Don't eat the lemon zest pieces.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Siddy at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chicken Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

This is one BIG bad ass breakfast.

Homemade biscuits 

With fried chicken and smothered with sausage gravy.

Chicken Biscuits with Sausage Gravy
Serves 10
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Recipe for Biscuits

6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
4 cups all-purpose flour plus more
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place butter and shortening in freezer for 10 minutes.

Blend 4 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a food processor.  Add butter and shortening.  Pulse mixture until it resembles coarse meal, 20-25 pulses.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Gradually add buttermilk while tossing mixture with a fork (mixture will not be completely incorporated).  Knead in bowl with lightly floured hands just until dough forms, about 3 turns.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.  Pat out dough until 1" thick.   Lift 1 side and fold it over.  Gently repeat 5 more times.  Roll dough to 3/4"-thick round.  Using a 3" biscuit cutter, cut biscuits from dough.  Gather scraps and repeat patting out and cutting biscuits for a total of 10 biscuits.

Place biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spaced 1"-2" apart.  Bake until golden brown and tester inserted horizontally comes out clean, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer biscuits to a wire rack; let cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Can be made 8 hours ahead.  Let cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

Recipe for Fried Chicken

1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
3-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1-3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided.
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
10 small boneless, skin on chicken thighs
Vegetable oil (for fying)
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
10 slices cheddar (optional)

Whisk buttermilk, dill. 1-1/2 tsp. salt. 1 tsp. pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl.  Add chicken: turn to coat.  Cover; chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Pour vegetable oil in a large pot to a depth of 2".  Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of pot.  Heat oil over medium heat until 350 degrees F.

Whisk 1-1/4 cups water with remaining 2 tsp. salt, remaining 3/4 tsp. pepper, flour, and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Drain chicken well: pat dry with paper towels.  Working in batches, dip chicken into batter.  Fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is crispy and golden brown and chicken is just cooked through, 9-12 minutes per batch.  Drain chicken on paper towels.

Recipe for Sausage Gravy

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat, breaking up into small pieces with the back of a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes; Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour; stir until pale yellow, about 2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat to medium; continue to whisk until thick, about 10 minutes.  Stir in drained sausage and red pepper flakes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: Can be made ahead 1 day ahead.  Let cool completely, cover, and chill.  Rewarm before serving.

Split biscuits in half; place 1 bottom half on each plate.  Top each with a cheese slice, if desired, then a chicken thigh.  Spoon Sausage Gravy over chicken.  Place biscuit top over.