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Experiment: Pasta with Pork and Peppers

Pasta with Pork and Peppers 1

Last week, I posted the recipe for a batch of Marinated Peppers I made and I mentioned that I planned to use some the result for a Roast Pork Sandwich project I was working on. Well, I did, in fact, do up a pork roast and I played around with my sandwich Idea using the peppers as well. The result, however, though delicious, was not especially photogenic so I haven’t reproduced a picture here…

Anyway, I used some of the leftover pork and more of the peppers to make the pasta dish you see above. I fried some strips of pork just to brown them and then I set them aside and added a healthy one-third of a cup of the marinating oil from the peppers into the pan. I quickly sautéed about a half-dozen chopped cherry tomatoes in the oil (for a little acidity) and then tossed in some of the peppers and little chunks of garlic that were also in the marinating oil. After sautéeing for just a couple of minutes, I added in a batch of freshly cooked pasta, tossed it well, and then served with grated Parmesan Cheese.

The result was a very pleasant meal. Other than a little salt, the dish needed no other seasoning as the marinated peppers and the oil already pack a flavor punch alone. I have decided that keeping a batch of these on hand at all times is a great idea, not merely for a snack or appetizer emergencies, but also to add a flavor fillip to all sorts of dishes…

 

From the Arctic to the Farm…

Kitty in NS 001

Regular readers of this blog will recall that my wife recently bought a farm in Nova Scotia and that she was to make the move first (with me following at the end of the year or thereabouts). I am now pleased to announce that she has arrived successfully along with our four cats. The process of settling in has begun.

Our oldest cat is the only one to have moved north with us 15 odd years ago. The other three are all Arctic born kitties and have never seen a tree. Squeakers, seen above is enjoying the view of his very first one from the living room. The cats have been kept inside thus far as my wife wants to acclimatize them to their new surroundings. I am looking forward to hearing about their first visit to the outdoors in due course…

 

Marinated Peppers

Marinated Peppers 1

I love making home-made Roasted Peppers, especially for use as an Antipasto dish. Unfortunately, the process can be a bit time-consuming, especially peeling off the skins afterwards as this can be really fiddly.  I wanted to try doing something along the same basic lines, but without doing all the peeling and so forth, and so I decided that flash-frying strips of different sorts of bell peppers would achieve the same sort of smoky-sweet result. After marinating the strips, they could, even with the skins on, make a very nice appetizer selection (perhaps with some crusty bread and cheese), but my actual goal in preparing this batch is to use in a special  roast pork sandwich I am planning to try…  Read more

Baked Celery Chicken

Baked Celery Chicken 1

Way back last summer, I found myself the only guest at the Tujormovik Hotel in Igloolik and, on the weekend, I ended up cooking for myself. I had some chicken pieces but, lacking a wire rack to bake them on, I improvised using celery stalks I found in the fridge. I only meant to use the celery to keep the pieces from sticking to the pan but, as it happened, the result of the stalks baking in the chicken juices was delicious and I made a note to experiment with the idea in the future.

Yesterday, I finally got around to playing around with the basic theme again, this time using chicken drumettes, which are the end part of the wing that looks like a little leg. Instead of using whole celery stalks, I cut the celery into short batons and spread them over the bottom of a baking dish. I was aiming for a vaguely Asian end result here and to keep the celery moist an add a little flavor, I sprinkled these with a tablespoon or two of dry sherry (having no rice wine at the time). Next, I tossed the drumettes with a little salt, garlic puree and Hoisin Sauce, and arranged them in a circle on top of the celery and sprinkled everything with just a little finely diced red pepper. This last step was more for appearance than anything else but you could easily substitute fresh red chili for an additional flavor boost.

Anyway, I baked the dish in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes and the result was delicious. I ate every piece of chicken and every bit of celery all by myself with just a little bread to mop up the juice. Once again, the celery baked in chicken juices really turned out nicely. I think a little more could be done to make the final dish a little more visually appealing, maybe, but the idea is worth working with and you could easily adapt the general idea with a whole host of other flavorings…

The Move is on…

Moving 1

Not long ago in my post entitled ‘Our New Island Home’, I announced that we would be moving to a farm in Nova Scotia, with Darlene making the transition first. Well, yesterday, I waved goodbye to Darlene and our four cats for what will be a pretty lengthy separation (even for us)…

Little Bear, pictured above, was quite disturbed and unsettled by the activity, but his brother, Squeakers, found it very exciting and had the time of his life. As for the wife and I, the usual stress of packing was compounded by the fact that we have been having serious construction being done at this house for nearly two months and we have both agreed that the experience has been one of the worst for both of us. Thankfully, the hardest part is over, even though I still have a lot to do before this place officially goes on the market.

Anyway, I am now living with a seriously diminished kitchen and my blogging is going to be a little haphazard and infrequent for the next little while. Have patience….

Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef

Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef 1

Dry-frying, in Chinese cookery, can mean both that a dish is fast-fried with little or no sauce, and also that the main ingredient is fried, often in more than one step, to yield a dry, chewy result. Here, both ends are achieved with beef that is first deep-fried and then stir-fried along with celery and carrot. That vegetable combination is quite common in dry-fried beef preparations but here I have expanded on the usual theme by lightly pickling the veggies first and then spiced the whole affair up with lots of garlic, cumin and dried chili for a definitely Western Chinese flavor…  Read more

Shrimp and Peas with Egg

Shrimp and Peas with Egg 1

I have previously posted a recipe for Chines-style Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp but in today’s dish the focus is on the shrimp (along with peas), and the eggs are more of a secondary ingredient. This is a very simple preparation and could easily be served as light repast itself, or as one of several dishes in a Chinese or South-East Asian meal… Read more

Foodstuff- Canton™ Brand Fondue Broths

Canton Broths 1

I don’t do a lot of hot-pot or fondue meals and when I use stocks or broths in cookery I mostly make it myself from scratch. That being said, though, I do like to keep a bit of commercially made stock on hand for emergencies and, generally, Campbell’s Chicken Broth is my ‘go-to’ product of choice as it is good tasting without a lot of herbal of other flavorings that might limit its use.

Recently, I came across the three products you see pictured above. They are manufactured by Canton, a Canadian company, and although I did not immediately recognize the name I saw, from their website, that they also do a line of prepared fondue and dipping sauces. I haven’t actually tried any of these but I have at least seen them in grocery stores.

In any event, the broth products are manufactured primarily for making fondues and hot-pots and, while I was not interested in buying them for this purpose, I thought I might give them a try to see how they might fare as an ‘emergency’ broth to have on hand…  Read more

Chicken and Grapefruit Salad

Chicken and Grapefruit Salad 1

I came across the idea for this dish in a Chinese cookery book featuring home-style meals. That version used plain steamed chicken and contained nothing else beyond the grapefruit other than some sliced green pepper, all of which dressed in grapefruit juice with a little sugar added. I have jazzed up the basic idea by using grilled chicken, replacing the bell pepper with celery, and adding some of the Chinese Black Fungus commonly known as ‘Tree-Ear or ‘Cloud-Ear’, for color and texture.

By the way, I am using some ready prepared sections of pink grape-fruit I bought at my supermarket. This saves having to peel the fruit and remove the membranes from each piece. The variety I bought also had some sugar added to the juice. You can use fresh grapefruit if you like but make sure to save at least 3 or 4 tablespoons of the juice as you section it. You will likely want to add a little sugar to taste, as well…  Read more

Foodstuff: Calbee™ Brand Snapea Crisps

Snapea Crisps 1

Regular readers will know that I love trying new foods and my interest certainly includes some of the less revolting-sounding snack concoctions that appear from time to time. Today’s product is manufactured by the Calbee Corporation which is headquartered in Japan but has a North American division as well.

The Snapea Crisps are simply snap-pea pods that have been lightly salted and baked. The ingredients list on the package includes rice and I rather think that this might be manifested in the whitish coating on the individual pieces. The package and the company website hints at a certain healthiness to the product, specifically mentioning high fiber and vitamin benefits but, as usual, I will avoid commenting on this as I always view such claims with a jaundiced eye. I will say, however, that the ‘low salt’ claim didn’t really spark much enthusiasm in me as I tend to like peanuts, chips, etc., to be liberally salted and I found the salt a little lacking in this case.

Overall, I can’t say that the crisps tasted of anything in particular, and certainly didn’t suggest snap pea pods. The closest comparison I can make is with a certain brand of potato chip formed into French-fry shape that bear a close resemblance in flavor and texture. In all honestly, I probably would munch on these in that mindless way typical of snack foods if a bowl was set down in front of me alongside, say, beer, but, really, there was nothing to ‘wow’ me about these and I doubt I would buy them over the usual snack stand-bys …

 

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