Saturday, April 19, 2014

Seafood Pasta

Here's a quick Saturday night pasta.  I was down the street putting my neighbor's chickens away, then decided to stop in and visit another neighbor.  After a while, a call came in asking if I was at my neighbor's house.  I think my family was beginning to worry their dinner was not being prepared.  It was 6:00 and nothing was on the stove, nothing on the counter, no preparations to speak of.  Panic in the house? No worries, this is how quickly the pasta can be made.

1 lb Manila Clams
2 Small lobster tails
8 Large white shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Cup Fresh Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ Cup chopped fresh tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes cut into quarters)
2 oz Vocka
1 Cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the clams in cold water and salt for about 30 minutes before cooking. Then drain.
In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once it's mostly melted, add the clams and garlic.  Turn heat to medium high.

Toss to coat and cover the pan for a couple of minutes.  Once the clams start to open, add the lobster and shrimp and sauté for a couple more minutes until they just start to cook. 
Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams, lobster and shrimp to a bowl.  Set aside.

In the same pan, add the shiitake mushrooms and sauté for a minute or so until softened.  Then add the tomatoes stir to incorporate.
Then add the vodka and whipping cream.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  
I used egg tagliatelle which took 4 minute to al denté.
Once the pasta is almost finished, return the clams, lobster and shrimp to the pan and add the fresh basil.  Adjust the sauce for seasoning.

Serve the pasta with the sauce over top and freshly grated asiago cheese.
So good!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Habanero Pork

Somehow, somewhere along the line, one of us Emertons, who shall remain unnamed, decided she does not like Mexican food.  I have tried on many occasions to serve it in some variation or another, never claiming a meal to be Mexican and really, not confident I am actually making proper Mexican cuisine.  But even in our house, where I pride myself on the smorgasbord of meals I offer, one of us must have had a bad experience with Mexican food to turn her away.  Versions of this particular dish has made an appearance over the years and since the last time I made it, when our sweet dissident was away, I've been asked to prepare it again on several occasions.  Well, tonights the lucky night, as our non-Mexican gal is once again out.  One of these days, she'll realize how wrong she was, but until then, we are feasting on some habanero pork without her.

Serves 4-6

2 ⅓ - 2 ½ Pork butt, cut into 1 ½ - 2 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Habanero chili, seeds removed, finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
4 Large Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
½ Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ⅓ Cups chicken stock
2 oz Tequila
1 small packet of Sazón Goya
⅓ Cup sour cream
Place the pork butt on a large baking pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  
Broil until golden grown, around 2-4 minutes per side.  I've taken to broiling most every meat I braise.  It's the fasted, easiest and cleanest way to go if you line your baking pan with aluminum foil.
Once pork is browned, set aside.
In a small stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  
Add the onions, garlic and habanero.  Sauté until the onion is browned and caramelized.  
Do this by allowing the onion to cook for several minutes before turning or stirring them.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil for several minutes.
Then add the cilantro, chicken stock and tequila and Sazón Goya.  Stir to combine.  
Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Turn heat up to medium high.  Add the sour cream and bring back to boil.  
Then add the browned pork and all of the juices from the pan.  Bring to a boil.
Cover the pot again and turn heat to low.
Let pork cook for about an hour, or until pork is fork tender.  
Uncover and bring to a rapid boil to reduce the sauce slightly.
I served the pork with corn and flour tortillas, cheesy rice, southwestern salad, home made guacamole, salsa, fresh cilantro and sour cream.  Another great addition is something Whole Foods starting carrying several months back; Better Bean's various "Rethought Bean" products.  Tonight, I went with Cuban black beans with sautéed onion and poblano peppers.  There's enough to worry about with this meal, so give yourself a break and go with some beans from Better Beans.
This is really, really good.  

Cheesy Rice

Here's a recipe Chris has been asking me to add to the blog since the first time he had it.  Some time ago, I was perusing the King Arthur Flour website and came across this fabulous product:  Vermont Cheese Powder.  I was thinking Whirly Pop cheese popcorn at the time, but once it arrived, I decided to add it to rice one night as a side dish.  Success.  This recipe is made for an electric rice cooker, and more specifically the rice cooker I own.  If you eat a fair amount of rice, go and get one, or order one on Amazon.  I'd say mine is the best counter top appliance I own.  It is so easy and failsafe, I wouldn't want to go without it.

Serves 6 as a side:
1 ½ Cups short grain rice
½ Medium onion, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Cups chicken stock
⅓ Cup King Arthur Flour Vermont Cheese Powder
Sauté the onions in the butter over medium heat until onions are translucent and softened.  Add the rice and continue to sauté for another few minutes.  Add the rice and the chicken stock to the bowl of the rice cooker.  
The two combined should go up to just above the number 2 line on the inside of the bowl.  Stir in the cheese powder, making sure it is fulling dissolved.  Turn the rice cooker on and wait for the magic to happen.  This takes about an hour or less depending on your cooker.  Not too long to wait for magic.