Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Patrick’s ‘Chocolate’ Citrus Pork


Our favorite aspect of any show we do is the opportunity to meet up with you all, our longtime fans. We can always tell 'a fan' – you make a bee-line to our booth, big smile on your faces. We often hear, “Oh good, you guys ARE here again this year!” It is so nice to hear your kind words and appreciation for our products - we have said this before; you all make this a fun job.

This past weekend, our friend Patrick came by our booth in Napa. He told us about how he uses our Dark Chocolate Balsamic with pork chops – and they sounded fantastic. We asked if he could take a moment and send some notes on it, and he did. Here is what he told us:

“For the record, I am not a chef by any means. This was just me playing around in the kitchen. I like your products and its fun trying to find interesting ways to use them. But I'm a novice by every definition. I should have made a note that the chops were standard cut, boneless, not thin cut. I've done it on thin cut and it works fine, but cooks in less time.”

He describes the pork as “smelling like a chocolate cake cooking, has a light chocolate/citrus flavor. The flavor is light but not overwhelming”
 
Here is a picture of Patrick’s prep:


Nan herself was eager to try this in the test kitchen. Here is the recipe (mostly from Patrick, some minor additions by us)


ingredients

  • 1 pork loin (we used the loin, see Patrick’s note about using chops)
  • ¼ cup of Pastamoré Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • juice of ½ medium orange (Patrick uses clementine’s, substitute juice from one whole)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the pork loin in glass casserole dish. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and orange juice on the pork. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top of pork along with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for six to eight hours flipping the loin every couple of hours.
 

Nancy grilled the loin, but this can be baked as well. Patrick baked the standard cut chops at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (155 to 160F internal temperature).
 

Here are Nancy’s notes: “The flavor was very good; none of the ingredients overpowered each other. Actually you weren’t sure what you were tasting it just had a nice flavor.”

Nancy sliced the pork loin and served it with grilled asparagus (with a drizzle of our Pastamoré Meyer Lemon Oil). Patrick recommends a veggie, polenta, a mushroom rice or orzo side.


~ With huge thanks to Patrick Burns! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sweet Citrus Salad Dressing





 ingredients
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Nan says we don't even need a picture for this one!  (We added one anyway...)  Just a simple salad dressing that is yummy!

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Balsamic Bacon Deviled Eggs

There are only a handful of recipes that I consider timeless.  These would be food items I loved as a child, and still love the concept today.  Deviled eggs fall into that category, and in fact go as far back as ancient Rome.  An idea as simple as an egg cut in two, yolk removed and whipped with something new, and then replaced.  It is no wonder these are the ideal party and holiday food.

You know, of course, we have to have our own take on them.  The Nan's Gourmet mantra says it never hurts to have balsamic vinegar added, and why not some bacon?  As long as the food is easy to make yet elegant & healthy, we are all over it...


ingredients
  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pastamoré Traditional Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • a few sprigs of Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Place eggs in a large pot in a single layer. Fill the pot with water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Cover and bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and let eggs sit (covered) in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain. Cool the eggs under cool running water in the sink.

Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise. Place the cooked yolk in a medium bowl and place the white halves on a serving platter cut-side up.

Mash yolks with a fork. Add bacon, mayonnaise, onion, sugar, vinegar, celery salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined; taste and adjust/add seasonings as needed. 

Spoon the mixture into the egg white halves or use a piping bag with a large opening tip. Garnish with parsley. Refrigerate, lightly covered, until ready to serve.

Makes 24 deviled eggs.
 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hatch Chile Fettuccine with Cilantro Pesto



Pesto is a sauce originating in northern Italy and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, and Parmigiano Reggiano.  Most Americans tend to think only inside this four (five including garlic) component box:  basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan.  If you haven’t done a variation on pesto, I really recommend you do so – there are some amazing combinations which will make you look back only for the occasional traditional fix.  My caveat: the only ingredient I always use in any pesto is garlic…


Here is my quick and easy Pesto Variation List:

  1. Green Stuff:  This is usually basil, but try cilantro, Italian parsley, spinach, kale, mint, arugula, or even tarragon or thyme instead.  The result is dramatic and an amazing difference.  If you are really adventurous you can go ‘un-green’ and use corn, carrots, or beets!  The Green Stuff can be a mix & match of more than one.
  2. Nuts:  Instead of traditional pine nuts, try almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans or hazelnuts.  I recommend you toast your nut choice first, a simple act which enhances the rich nut flavor.
  3. Olive Oil:  extra virgin olive oil will give you richness, but you can also add or use instead a lemon olive oil (like our Meyer Lemon Olive Oil), sesame oil, lemon, lime or orange juice, champagne vinegar, even honey.  Try kicking it up a notch with red pepper flakes, or something spicy.
  4. Cheese:  of course, Parmigaino Reggiano is the classic choice, but there are other ‘hard’ cheeses which can be used or added to give new flavor profiles.  Try Grana Padano, pecorino romano, or Cortija.  Think of in terms of nice ‘hard’ grating cheeses.

For this pesto we are going more Mexican/New Mexican, hence the use of cilantro and the classic Mexican cheese; cortija.


We paired this with our unique Hatch Green Chile Fettuccine.  Unless you are from the southwestern part of the U.S., you probably don’t know this chili.  It is celebrated in New Mexico and its primary flavor is fire roasting goodness but not overly spicy.  I give it about a 3 on a heat scale of 10, similar to a Poblano Chile.  There are, however, other choices from our pasta selection in which this will work well:



ingredients

  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 heaping cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons cotija cheese (or Parmesan), crumbled
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • one package Pastamoré Hatch Green Chile Fettuccine

In a small skillet add the almonds and toast until golden and fragrant over medium heat.  Allow to cool.

In the bowl of your food processor add the garlic and the cooled almonds, pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add the tops of the two bunches of cilantro, the cotija cheese, salt and the lime juice.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

Remove and refrigerate until ready to use.  This makes about one cup, which is more than you will need to coat the pasta (depending on your personal sauce to pasta ratio).

Prepare the Pastamoré pasta using the instructions on the side of the package.  Remember to use a large pot and a lot of water – the key in making great, evenly cooked pasta.  Add a tablespoon or two of salt to the water before adding the dried pasta.  Cook to al dente.

Strain cooked pasta and return to hot pot.  Add a large dollop or two of the pesto (to taste) and toss.  Serve immediately in pre-warmed individual serving bowls.  If you have some extra cortija, grate on top.

Serves 4.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Asian Style Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks



These Asian inspired drumsticks would also be great using chicken thighs or wings.  We suggest serving with steamed vegetables to make a complete low fat meal.  You can drizzle the remaining glaze over the vegetables, or over rice.


ingredients:

  • 8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 cup water
  • I tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup Pastamoré Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoon chives or scallions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and Sriracha and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.  Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes thick, turning chicken occasionally.


Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it starts becoming thick.  Transfer chicken to a platter and ladle sauce on top. Sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds.


Serves 4.