Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spelt Pasta with peas & proscuitto

Ok...there are olives there too, but it wasn't as catchy in the title.

I am on a healhier kick these days, and T's input on this is for me to use proscuitto instead of bacon. I don't disagree with his choices, I am simply pretty certain they're not healthier options.

This meal was simple and delicious. We kept it super basic, so if you'd like to kick some heat in there I would simply add chili flakes or some hot sauce before adding the cheese.

We have been trying to eat healthier, hence the spelt pasta (or Farro in Italian shops). It was delicious and quite lighter on the stomach than regular white pasta.

What you'll need:

1 package of spelt pasta (for this recipe we only cooked half of the package and had leftovers)
1/4 pound of cubed proscuitto
1 can of sweet peas (I used an organic brand, you can obviously use fresh peas- about 1 and a half cups)
1/4 cup of black olives
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Boil salted water
Add the pasta
While it cooks place the procuitto in a pan and start frying it on medium heat
Once it's a little brown on the edges add the olives
As they cook up, drain the peas and add them to the pan
(save the juice! If you've blanched fresh peas, save the juice!)
As everything cooks up nicely in the pan, check in on the pasta
Once it's cooked to your liking, strain in and dump it back in the pot
Add the mixture from the pan
Deglaze the pan with about a half a ladle full of the pea juice
Add it to the pasta
Add almost all of the cheese (you'll want to have some for each plate)
Pepper to taste (you will not need salt given the ingredients mixed in)
Stir & Serve

See? Simple, delicious and (sort of) healthy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shrimp & Rice

In a fit of stubborness, I have tried to get the butcher to go meatless for two nights for every week of Lent. Now, this may sound mean, but it's only a night, not the day. He works at a butcher shop! He can eat meat all day and then come home to salad, no? Sadly, that's easier said than done.

We have at our avail one of the best fresh produce markets in Montreal, Jean Talon market, a 2 minute walk from our place. As with all markets, you will find amazing produce that was freshly picked that day, and grown by local farmers in the region. Not only is it delicious, but it's so nice to know you're supporting local farmers while you shop!

In any case, one successful attempt was my shrimp and rice dish.
Super simple, delicious and...meatless!

What you'll need:

1 package of frozen shrimp (or you can buy them fresh in the quantity you require)
11/2 cups of rice
1 cup frozen spinach
2 tomatoes
1/2 red onion
Olive Oil
White wine vinegar

Thaw the shrimp
Place a pot on the stove to boil the water for the rice (I am not going to tell you how to cook rice, I am sure you can do that on your own)

Coat a frying pan with olive oil
Once smoking, add the onion
When you see it's getting translucent, add the spinach
Add salt & pepper to taste (if you want a little more bite, you can add garlic, or paprika)
As the spinach wilts and shrinks, add the shrimp
Once they're pink and they have a bit of "bounce" to the touch, they're ready
Turn off the heat and add in the diced tomatoes
Spoon onto the rice, or, like we do- put the rice in a large bowl and toss in the shrimps so that all the sauce from the pan gets in there and coats the rice...


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Alright, so we've been cooking up a storm! But, between getting a new job (yay!) that means I get up way earlier (boo) and travel farther (boo) I have been WIPED when I get home. And, my blogging has suffered! But, have no fear my friends, I have been snapping pics at every meal and have lots to share.

This recipe is by far my favorite thing I have made in a long time...it is de.li.ci.OUS. T and I have been going to this little hole in the wall called Depanneur Le Pick-Up about two blocks from our place. And they have the most amazing cheeseburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, breakfasts, you name it- it's yummy!

We have been having a bit of an obsessive time with the pulled pork though, so we finally decided that between his immediate contact with killer cuts of meat and my ability to google any recipe I want, we should make our own. So, last Saturday night we started preparing the feast that we shared on Sunday afternoon.

You guys, I am not kidding, this recipe is incredible. I have adapted from this recipe, provided by Dave Liebeman originally.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

2 tablespoons salt
About 40 grinds black pepper
4 tablespoons chili powder
4 tablespoons garlic powder
4 tablespoons paprika

We used two Nomu rubs the peri peri and cajun ones.

But, you can really improvise here, go with stuff that you like. If you like less spice, add dried rosemary, oregano, any dried spices really...but I say go for heat, it dissipates with all the cooking.

18 ounces (one and a half bottles) of good beer - we used St Ambroise (and drank the remaining half)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 5-pound pork butt

Now, you can make your own BBQ suace, there are tons of great recipes. What I did what simmer down the juices left from the braising, I added 3/4 a cup of brown sugar and about a cup of this BBQ sauce (Chicken & Rib). I know, I know, the whole thing isn't from scratch, but this sauce is goooooood and can be used later!

Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub all over pork butt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight. We went for overnight and man, was it worth it!

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Unwrap pork and place in a roasting pan with sides about 2 inches high. Cook 45 minutes until dark browned and even blackening in places. Remove from oven. Lower oven to 325 degrees F. Pour beer over the top and add chopped garlic around the pork. Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or twice with regular foil. Poke about 10 holes all over the top of the foil. Cook pork butt 2 1/2 hours longer until so tender that it comes away very easily from center bone.

This is the meat after the 45 minutes:

And, after the 21/2 hours:

Place the meat on a plate and pour the pan juice (there will be plenty) into a saucepan. From there, you can make your own BBQ sauce concoction, or do as I did:

Add 3/4 cup of brown sugar
Add 1 cup of this BBQ sauce

Let it simmer until it thinkens...about 15 minutes.

While the sauce is boiling down, pull apart the pork with 2 forks. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork and work through until fully absorbed. Do everything you can to let it set a little...but, I am telling you now, that won't be easy!

Now, once the meat is setting, prepare the rest. We took large Portugese buns and cut them in half, from there I made this simple mayo/bbq sauce (2 tbsps mayo, 2 tbsp BBQ sauce and 1 tsp of Chipotle). I sliced pickles. And we added some fresh, pre-made coleslaw.

We heated up the meat a little in a pan (no oil) before making the sandwich. So worth it, since from there I "deglazed" the pan with the pickle juice and drizzled it on the meat once it was on the bun. Top it with coleslaw, pickles, and DEVOUR.

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