Cooking 101: Boneless Pork chops

 

Cooking 101

Boneless pork chops with apple, almond, brown sugar stuffing and sauce

I absolutely LOVE to cook. Though it can be a bit exhausting, it is one of my favorite pastime on the weekend. Trust me, I am certainly not trained and I never took any cooking classes. However, a basic understanding of flavor combinations and food pairings help me feel a little more adventurous when its time to head in the kitchen.

Recently I tried the above mentioned meal and it was pretty easy. I was nervous about the flavour of the pork as I know that a lot of the taste is derived from the bone. Since I chose the boneless pieces, I wanted to make sure that I had some way to keep it flavorful and moist.

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I seasoned my meat lightly with Italian spices, salt and pepper and also cut small pockets in the side in order to have the opening where I was going to stuff it later. I was super nervous about baking it as I know often times this can cause the meat to become very dry, very quickly. Therefore, I fried it briefly on both sides until the meat started to brown slightly. I used butter flavoured Wesson Oil Spray in hopes of obtaining some additional flavor. After removing the meat from the heat, I left them to cool off on a napkin while I worked on my sauce.

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The sauce was very simple. I cut up one small red apple and threw it in the blender with a handful of honey roasted almonds and a little brown sugar. I added a little water just to create a smoother consistency. Since I was very nervous about the mixture being too sweet, I checked the taste to make sure I wasn’t adding too much brown sugar.

After the meat cooled, I was able to reopen the pockets to spoon in my stuffing. There was quite a bit of stuffing left over afterwards, which is where the sauce idea came from. Since the pork was already cooked partially, I only had to put it in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. I turned on the broiler towards the end so I could get a slight crisp to the meat.

Word of advice: Be super careful when involving a broiler. Even when the settings are placed on low, there is a potential of burning your food within a matter of minutes. So try to stay close by to keep an eye on everything.

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I decided to pair my pork with some simple roasted white potatoes that I seasoned with garlic salt, Italian seasoning and black pepper. Simple enough, right guys?

Please don’t be intimidated by my long instructions, you guys should give it a try to let me know how it turns out.

 

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Conch salad

This beautiful sea snail is a local Bahamian delicacy. Though there are a few different species, the Queen Conch is the one that is most commonly found in our waters. It’s safe to eat raw or cooked… once its been de-shelled and cleaned of course.

I had an opportunity to attend a conch salad making demonstration and it was equally informative and yummy 😋.

 

 

 

Food: Luciano’s of Chicago

Totally yummy lunch spent with my family for my Mom’s birthday.

 

From the bottom right moving counter clockwise:

Romaine salad with walnuts, grilled conch and blue cheese;

Grilled boneless chicken breast, Lamb stuffed with Swiss chard and cheese, Grilled tomatoes, carrots and zucchini, Potatoes in Alfredo sauce;

Guava pudding in caramel rum sauce, cherry cobbler and one scoop of vanilla ice-cream

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The best part of going out to eat on a Sunday is not having to cook which makes for a great lazy day. The worst part of going out to eat on a Sunday is when reality sets in that there are no leftovers to take for lunch the next day so you still have to cook at some point lol 😞😞😞  #foodieproblems.

 

 

 

Conch Fritters & Wings

 

PicsArt_1430877804290Chicken wings!!!!! Need I say more? It’s the ultimate go-to appetizer. Breaded, un-breaded, honey BBQ or lemon pepper. There are so many different varieties its hard for anyone to not want to explore them all until you find your fav. Trying a new restaurant for the first time and not sure what the food will be like? No problem, try out their wings and it should be easier to take on the rest of the menu from there. Headed to happy hour after a long day at work? Cool, your co-workers can order a set of wings for the table while you try to find good parking. You guys can argue about sauces when you get inside. Hosting a small shindig for an upcoming sporting event? Sigh, don’t even get me started 😞😞😐. The point is, wings are simple and easy and go with pretty much anything. You can buy them at any restaurant or you can be like me and prefer to cook them yourself. That way you can experiment with your own special mix of rubs and sauces.

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Then there is the Bahamian equivalency of chicken wings, fritters. Conch fritters are a local Bahamian appetizer that are always a crowd pleaser. Like any other type of fritter, it is made mostly from flour, seasonings, herbs and obviously conch. Though there are lots of persons who don’t care for conch (such as myself) for whatever reason, there is no need to worry. Nowadays people have gotten creative with this local favourite by substituting the conch with lobster or shrimp. Got a seafood allergy? It must suck to be you 😝. However, more and more restaurants are offering completely meat-free fritters with nothing but deep fried flavour and that awesome dipping sauce 😋. Let’s be real, once most people hear the words ‘deep fried’, the cooks could stuff the dough with sand and people will still attempt to at least taste the crispy exterior lol. However, with this appetizer, the deep fried yumminess only accounts for part of its greatness. Just like with wings, these are quick to prepare and very easy to eat.

Now what to drink?

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For both of the above options I would suggest getting a bucket of your favourite beers and just have a good time. I am certainly not a big beer drinker. However, when it comes to these particular finger foods, who wants to be bothered with complicated mixed drinks or getting honey sriracha finger prints all over your wine glass. A cold beer with lower alcohol content can help douse the fire in your mouth when eating your favourite buffalo wing sauce. The point being that the lower alcohol content won’t accentuate the heat from the flavours your tongue is battling.

Additionally, the dough from the fritters can serve as a filler to help cut back the impending bloated feeling that can occur after a few beers. Both of the mentioned food options may be higher in calorie content (due to the breading and sauces) but that issue can easily be balanced with a light beer that can still give you a feel-good buzz with less than 200 calories.

Let me know below what you think about the above mentioned combinations and stay tuned for my next post.

Sushi, sushi & more sushi !

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Plantain Roll (with shrimp), Futomaki

My sushi obsession…. my greatest downfall. Below you’ll see the basics such as salmon, shrimp and crab. There’s also two of my local favourites including the Sandyport Crunch Roll (in the foil) and a Plantain Roll.

 

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Bon appetit! 😋😋😋😋😋😋

Food

Fried crab cake with mango sauce

Fried crab cake with mango sauce.

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Baked crab cake

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Greek homemade pizza

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My first attempt at bread baking. It was even better fresh out of the oven

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Wish I could remember exactly what this was but it was a yummy chicken dish at my new fav Asian restaurant.

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Turkey tacos and wine anyone?

Though it was not all prepared by my hands, I loved it just the same.