Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good for Everything Pork Roast

Good for Everything Pork Roast

It has been 15 months, yes MONTHS, since my last post ... honestly I'm still in shock. I miss my food blog, and so, hopefully, I'm back - well, at least for this one post! I'd try and write about where I've been, but honestly SO much has happened in the last 15 months that it would just take too long, and I'm hungry, so let's move to the food! [Give me another 15 months and I'll write a post on what's up, but in the meantime check out what's been taking up all my time on my family blog].

Obviously I'm busy, and so I find it appropriate to come back with a very easy crock pot (aka slow cooker) recipe. In my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying then having dinner "done" before lunch. There was a brief period of time on the boat when we owned a solar cooker and I was always so proud of myself when I could announce, "dinner is done" at 10am (yeah, so technically it wasn't done-done, but you get the drift).

Not only is this pork roast recipe easy and delicious, but the potential dishes that can be made with the leftovers are endless ...


3-lb boneless pork roast
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups vinegar (any variety; white, red-wine, apple)
1 cup fresh cilantro*
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
s&p to taste
1 Tb cooking oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 capsicum (bell pepper) any color, thinly sliced, optional
1/2 cup lime choice
tortillas, buns, or kaiser rolls (heated or toasted)

Trim the fat from the meat. Make small slits on all sides of the meat and insert half of the sliced garlic into the slits. Place the meat into a slow cooker.

In a blender or food processor combine the vinegar, cilantro, onion wedges, water, oregano, cumin, remaining garlic, and salt and pepper until smooth. Pour over the meat.

Cover and cook on low-heat for 10-12 hours or on high-heat for 5-6 hours**.

Just before serving, heat the oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Cook the red onions (and peppers if using) until tender, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat and carefully add the lime juice, cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until the lime juice has evaporated.

Removed the meat from the slow cooker and shred by pulling two forks through it in opposite directions; discard any fat. Transfer shredded meat to a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker, toss to coat.

Serve shredded meat on toasted bun/roll or tortillas, topped with red onions/pepper mixture.


*If you don't have fresh cilantro on hand, use dried, or better yet stock up with frozen cilantro cubes (as found in the freezer section at Trader Joe's)

**You can use a roast straight from the freezer: Cook on low for 1-2 hours, then move to high for another 4-5 hours. Or cook on high for an extra 1-2 hours.

Leftovers: Unless you are feeding a family of 8-10, then you'll probably have some meat leftover. Consider freezing portions of the leftover meat and using later in Mexican Tortilla Soup, on tostadas, in a salad, or with BBQ sauce as BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches.

Continue reading "Good for Everything Pork Roast" and recipe ...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Holiday Leftover Treats

First things first ... my apologies to the few readers who have been visiting over the last month and probably wondering "where the heck did she go". No, Chris and I didn't sail off the edge of the world nor did we sink our boat. We did, however, fly back to the States on Decemeber 1st and, as you can imagine, things got a bit hectic. Guess that's what happens when you haven't seen family and friends for over three years! It is fantastic to be home, but my waistline is paying the price ... first there are all the yummy foods we've been "deprived" of over the years, add that to the special treats being served in the holiday season and the skinny jeans are doomed!

Speaking of special treats - what to do with all those leftover candies from the holidays? Maybe Santa left chocolate kisses in your stocking, or you decorate your tree with candy canes. Yes, you can just snack on these delicious sweets, but why not enjoy one last holiday huraah in the kitchen (or galley)? These would also make great snacks for all those Bowl Games.

Holiday Leftover Treats

You might be tempted to pass these up - after all it's the new year and with that comes resolutions, usually beginning with "lose the holiday fat" ... but come on, you wait months for the holiday season so why end it so soon?

Here are two tasty treats that I think you'll enjoy. I love the pretzels with Hershey kisses - there is something about the salty-sweet mix that just satisfies all my taste buds. The peppermint bark is a refreshing treat that cures my sweet tooth and leaves my mouth minty-fresh. Neither of these recipes require strict amounts, so they are quite flexible and a great way to use up any leftover candies lying around. They are also both kid friendly, so if you have some young bakers in the house be sure to get them involved.

Hershey Pretzels

White or Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses/Hugs

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

Lay out pretzels (use only whole pretzels) and set one kiss on each pretzel.
Note that the white chocolate (Hugs) will melt faster than the dark chocolate so I suggest you do the same type of Hershey's per single cookie sheet.

Bake at 170 F for 4-6 minutes (4 minutes for the Hershey Hugs and 5-6 for the Hershey Kisses). The chocolate should be soft to the touch but not melted.

Remove from oven and immediately press one M&M into each Hershey Kiss/Hug.

You can let cool on the counter, or place the tray in the refrigerator until cooled competely and chocolate has reset (takes about 10 minutes in the refrigerator).

M&M Fun: Use only your team's colors (in the M&Ms) and serve these treats during the big game. Or use all red for Valentine's Day.

Peppermint Bark

1 (12oz) bag of chocolate (you can use white or dark chocolate and wafers or chips).
Candy Canes or any other type of hard peppermint candies. (Amount is to taste - roughly 5 large candy canes or the equivalent is a good ratio to 12oz of chocolate).

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

Break up the peppermint candies into little pieces.

Melt the chocolate (follow manufacture's instructions - usually a double broiler or microwave). Once melted stir in the peppermint candy pieces.

Spread the chocolate mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes (until hardened).

Break into pieces and enjoy! Peppermint bark also makes a great holiday gift - get some cute boxes, line with wax paper and pass them out.

Continue reading "Holiday Leftover Treats" and recipe ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mexican Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

It's cold outside today. Rain, no make that hail, is pounding down. If it wasn't such a hassle to get the heater going (always is the first time) then we'd probably have that baby cranking, but instead we're sitting around in fleece and sweats and I've got a blanket over my shoulders. Definitely a soup day!

This is a hearty soup with the perfect amount of spice. It's easy to make, the ingredients are simple, and it reheats well (so make extra). I tend to make a big 'ol pot and freeze half. I love the fried tortilla strips with it - they really make the soup.


1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 bell pepper (capsicum), red or green, chopped
2 jalapeno chili peppers, diced
2 chicken breasts, skinless
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsps cumin
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup corn, canned (drained) or frozen
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper

To Serve:
8 corn [or flour] tortillas, cut into 1/8" thick strips
canola oil, for pan-frying
2 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced (optional)
1 cup Jack cheese (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

In a large pot saute the onion, garlic, chili peppers, and bell pepper with olive olive until soft.

Add the chicken breasts, tomatoes, cumin, and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. When the chicken breasts are cooked through (about 15 minutes) remove from the pot and shred (use two forks to pull apart meat).

Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the corn and tomato paste and simmer 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

Salt & Pepper to taste. Serve topped with tortilla strips, avocado, and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 4-6

If you don't want to fry your own tortillas you can substitute corn chips.

If freezing, let the soup cool and store in an airtight freezable tupperware or ziplock. You can fry the tortilla strips ahead of time and store them in an airtight bag in a dry, cool place for about one week. If they get soft just bake them for a few minutes until crisp again. To reheat the soup, let it thaw completely and then gentle heat until warmed through.

Feel free to throw in extra chilis if you like things spicy!

Continue reading "Mexican Tortilla Soup" and recipe ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin and Ginger Muffins

Crystallized Ginger & Pumpkin Muffins
'Tis the season of the pumpkin. As a vegetable by itself I'm not a huge fan. But add some ginger and spice and everything nice and voila you are in for a treat! These muffins came about the other day when I was making pumpkin risotto (another delicious pumpkin dish - stay tuned for the recipe) and had some leftover pumpkin. I was thinking to make some pumpkin bread or muffins when I remembered that I still have about a KG of candied ginger to use up. To help me along with some ideas of how these two ingredients might come together I scoured the internet for similar recipes and came across a tasty one that included Molasses and a Molasses Glaze. This recipe originally came from Bon Apetit and was posted by The Amateur Gourmet.

As usual I didn't follow the recipe as written: first I didn't use molasses (I didn't have any light molasses and figured the dark would be too overpowering, so instead I used honey), I added cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and finally I doubled the amount of candied (or crystallized) ginger.

Crystallized Ginger & Pumpkin Muffins (no glaze)These muffins were a big hit and are tasty both with or without the glaze. The recipe says it makes 6 jumbo or 18 regular muffins, however after filling my 6 jumbo tins I still had enough mix leftover to make 4 regular muffins.

2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey (or light molasses)
1/2 cup buttermilk (see substituion tip if you don't have any)
1 cup candied ginger, chopped small

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp honey (or light molasses)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 6-8 giant muffin cups or 18 standard cups with nonstick spray.

Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl beat together the sugar and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat or stir (beating might be too splashy) in the pumpkin, honey, and buttermilk. Stir in the candied ginger.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just blended.

Divide batter among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the the center comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes depending on muffin cup size).

Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

For the glaze whisk together the sugar, honey and 2 Tablespoons of water. Continue to whisk in a little bit of water at a time until a thick glaze forms. Dip the muffins (top only) into the glaze then transfer to the rack; allowing the glaze to drop down the sides. If desired you can sprinkle the tops with additional candied ginger. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Crystallized Ginger & Pumpkin Muffins (insides)
Buttermilk Substitution
If you don't have buttermilk, or buttermilk powder try this: mix about 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice, white vinegar, or cider vinegar plus enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Let it stand 5-10 minutes before using.

Continue reading "Pumpkin and Ginger Muffins" and recipe ...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Italian Baked Eggplant

Baked Eggplant with Tomato & Mozzarella

When I moved aboard Billabong (the yacht), one of the hardest things I had to do was choose between my many, many cookbooks. Trying to pare down from 50+ cookbooks to ten or so is not an easy task, and many of my beloved cookbooks were left behind. As I was unpacking my chosen few I remember telling Chris that it would be a great idea if I randomly picked a recipe a week from the cookbooks - thinking that by the time we returned home I would've tried out hundreds of recipes and perhaps in the process discovered some fantastic new dishes. Well, that cruising dream, along with becoming fluent in Spanish and learning to draw never came to be!

Then, a week ago, I was browsing through some food blogs and came across Thursday Night Smackdown. TNS hosts a monthly cooking "roundup" where foodies dust off their cookbooks in order to follow some of those long undiscovered recipes. This, I thought, was my opportunity to finally start making those recipes I'd been promising to all these years.

The theme for November is An ingredient you don't think you like. My immediate problem was finding a recipe where I could get all the ingredients. One thing I've discovered cruising around the world is that I can almost NEVER find a full recipe's worth of ingredients ... most of the time if I have 3 out of 10 ingredients I'm doing good! One thing that has helped (and feeds my cookbook addiction) is that along the way I've bought region-specific cookbooks. So, out came my Tastes of the Mediterranean. [Note: see bottom of the post for a quick review of this cookbook]

The dish I picked for the roundup was Parmigiana di Melanzane or Italian baked eggplant with tomato and mozzarella. The ingredient I don't like? Eggplants. It's not that I hate eggplants - if they are covered up with other tastes I'm okay with them being in a dish, but I didn't think I'd like a dish centered around eggplants (such as this one). And the results? Quite good actually! I found the texture nice and there were enough spices and other flavors that there was no bitter eggplant taste. Chris and I both liked it, and I'll definitely make it again. The only thing I'm not sure of is if you're supposed to eat the eggplant skins that the dish is cooked in. I tried a few bites and found that it was much better when not eating the skin/shell ... both Chris and I ended up tossing our eggplant shells.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 6

6 large slender eggplants (aubergines) (~700 g / 1lb 7 oz)
800ml (1/3cup) olive oil
1 Tbsp olive oil, extra
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g (14oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp sugar
125 g (4 1/2 oz) mozzarella, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Baked Eggplant - Score the eggplantCut the eggplants in half lengthways, keeping the stems attached. Score the flesh by cutting a criss-cross pattern with a harp knife, being careful not to cut through the skin. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan, add half the eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes each side, or until the flesh is soft. Remove and repeat with the remaining oil and eggplant. Cool slightly and then scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/8 inch border. Finely chop the flesh and reserve the shells.

In the same pan, heat the extra oil and cook the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomato, tomato paste, herbs, sugar, and eggplant flesh, and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and pulpy. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Arrange the eggplant shells in a lightly greased baking dish and spoon in the tomato filling. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Leftover Tip
We had a few left over, so the next day I scooped out the filling (tossing the shells) and heated it with some leftover, plain pasta I had. Topped with a touch of Parmesan cheese - and it was delicious.

Join the fun - read more about the TNS roundup.

Baked Eggplant with Tomato & Mozzarella (2)

Tastes of the Mediterranean Review
Overall this is a good cookbook. It is simple, with easy to follow steps and lots of photographs showing the finished dish as well as various preparation steps. All the recipes I have made from this cookbook have been very tasty.

However, if I lived on land (and therefore had a larger bookshelf) I would probably go for a larger book. The Mediterranean is a huge area with a variety of regional foods and I would like a book that covered more ground and included more recipes. This is a good option if you are just want to dabble in Med cooking, don't want to spend a lot of money, or prefer smaller cookbooks.

Continue reading "Italian Baked Eggplant" and recipe ...
Welcome to My Galley, where you'll find an array of recipes and food bits. Having traveled to 23 countries in the last five years I lean towards Intl cuisines, but you'll find a few home-town favorites as well.
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