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Pork Chops with Balsamic Roasted Veggies and Gorgonzola

3 Apr

It’s the first installment of Seasonal Eats: Spring Edition!  I thought I would start with something seriously simple: mushrooms and onions.  Mostly, I was just craving them and they happen to be on the list.  STILL COUNTS.  I’m still working on perfecting a few other recipes that I can’t wait to share!


Pork Chops with Balsamic Roasted Veggies and Gorgonzola

Porkchops Balsalmic Veggies Gorgonzola


  • 4 pork chops
  • 1/2 t. salt, divided
  • 3/4 t. pepper, divided
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, divided
  • 12 oz. small red potatoes, halved
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t. tomato paste
  • 1 t. dried thyme (or 1 T. fresh thyme)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 8 oz. baby bellas, halved
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 c. crumbled Gorgonzola

Preheat oven to 425*F with a large casserole dish inside (yes, we want to preheat the casserole dish, too!).

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add 2 T. of oil to the preheated pan and sprinkle porkchops with 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper on both sides.  Brown on each side for about 3 minuets, then remove from the heat and let rest.

porkchops

 

Reduce heat to medium high, then add the halved potatoes to the oil – cut side down.  Cook for 2-5 minutes (depending on the size of the potato), until the potatoes are browned.

redpotatoes

Remove the pan from heat and prepare the mushroom mixture.  Whisk 1/2 t. pepper, 2 T. olive oil, balsamic, and tomato paste in a small bowl.  Combine 2 T. of this balsamic mixture with the mushrooms, onions, and thyme – toss to coat.  Add the mushroom mixture and potatoes to preheated casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir the mixture, then cook for another 15 minutes.

roasted veggies

Place the pork chops on top of the veggies, return the dish to the oven and bake for another 10-20 minutes or until the pork chops are done.  Remove the pork from the pan and let it rest, then mix in the 1/4 c. Gorgonzola and parsley into the veggies.

roasted veggies with garnish

Before serving, drizzle the remaining balsamic mixture over the pork chops and garnish with more parsley.

PorkChopsBalsamic2


Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: The Porch At Schenley

21 Jan

On Saturday, we ventured out to a new-to-us spot for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2014, a week-long event which occurs 4 times throughout the year.  During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (PRW), restaurants around the city offer special fixed-price menus to entice foodies and non-foodies into their establishments.  This season, PRW ran from January 13th-19th so unfortunately by the time you read this it will be too late to take advantage.  But spring is right around the corner, I promise! 🙂

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley

We chose The Porch at Schenley, located in the heart of Oakland right on Schenley Plaza.  I remember when this restaurant was built and every time we would drive by (which is often!), I would make a mental note that I wanted to try it out.  On Saturday, things kind of fell into place because The Porch is close to home, we didn’t need a reservation even though it was a Saturday night, and they support Buy Fresh Buy Local which is near and dear to my heart.  Why would I spend money at a restaurant which isn’t invested in our region?  Why do you?!

The ambiance was…different.  Sort of an industrial/dairy vibe at times, but they also had these awesome bay doors overlooking the Plaza that open during nicer weather.  The crowd was very collegiate (obviously, Schenley Plaza is nestled between Carnegie Mellon and Pitt with Carlow, Chatham, and Duquesne just beyond), bustling with college students.  Fun fact:  You can use your university meal plan flex funds there.  Basically, we were surrounded by college students ordering delicious looking pizzas and profesh types sitting in larger groups towards the middle of the restaurant.

Since we rarely get a chance to go out anymore, we decided to take advantage of some appetizers! Perhaps my favorite part of the dinner was this sweet potato gnocchi:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Just wow.  I basically wanted to lick the plate clean.  I mean, the brown butter cream sauce was just heavenly; the whole combo just worked!

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley-Cornbread

We also ordered this cornbread.  I cut us 2 pieces, but Christina spit hers into her napkin (this somehow doesn’t effect me at all anymore since she is such a picky eater) after the first bite.  Cornbread fail! It was not very good at all!  The server was beyond great about it and took it off of our bill without us even asking.  I don’t really know what was going on with it, but the taste and texture just weren’t for us.

So, onto the PRW-menu with this roasted butternut squash soup:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

You guys, I wasn’t a huge fan of this either but it was edible.  It felt a bit heavy on the nutmeg maybe?  I felt like there was flavor, but not much depth of flavor if that makes sense.  Is it wrong that I was comparing it to the one at Panera Bread?  Do I lose foodie street cred for that? Whatever, that’s ma favorite squash soup.  The caramelized apple settled to the bottom of the bowl, so I tried to get at least one with each bite because they were awesome!  At this point, I was a bit nervous about the main course because the soup was ‘meh’ and the cornbread was ‘blah.’

But, redemption!

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

The mustard greens were mysteriously absent, but no complaints here!  Everything was sooooooooo tasty, the smoked Berkshire  paired so well with the sauce and the dates and the veggies.  Berkshire is a breed of pig, not a style of cooking, if you were wondering.  🙂  The above picture doesn’t even do it justice because it was a HUGE chunk of meat on a HUGE bone!  We totally could’ve shared one.

I wasn’t sharing this at all:

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

I don’t really get the mint because it was just a little leaf and obviously I wasn’t going to chew on it, but this was yummy!  The figs were outrageously good!!  Yay figs!!

All-in-all, we found The Porch At Schenley to be nice but next time we will probably hit it up for lunch and order one of those pizzas that everyone was ordering.  That many people couldn’t be wrong!

Past Pittsburgh Restaurant Week posts:

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Fall 2013:  Habitat

Bacon Wrapped Roast with Brown Sugar Glaze

26 Nov

BOOOOOM!!!

manonpig

What a week, it feels like I’m being shot out of a cannon I tell ya.  I am truly trying to procrastinate a trip to the grocery store like nobody’s business so let’s talk more about food from the dinner party, k?  I don’t want to think about present or future meals until later tonight when Thanksgiving prep starts.  Also, I’m not sure what I advocate for more – riding pigs for leisure or eating them in 2 separate ways at the same time!

Bookmark, print, or pin this recipe for next week – when you can’t shove another bite of turkey in your face and you are dying for something different!  Alternatively, this would be an awesome Thanksgiving centerpiece if you are skipping the tryptophan coma.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast with Brown Sugar Glaze:

BSBPorkRoast

Pork:

  • 3 lb. pork roast
  • 5-6 pieces bacon, uncooked
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

First, you make a rub out of all the spices and use your hands to rub the blend into the whole rinse and towel-dried roast.  Then, you bard aka wrap the roast with the uncooked bacon slices.  Pop it in the oven at 375F for 1 hour.

About 15 minutes before the roast is due to come out, assemble the glaze in a small pot.

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t. mustard powder

Simmer the above ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Pour the glaze over the roast evenly and cook it 30 minutes longer, or until your meat thermometer reads 160F.

I let the roast rest while we drank wine and had appetizers, so when we were ready to eat it was waiting for us!

Our First Dinner Party!

24 Nov

We had our first dinner party y’all!

Since we moved back to our house after finishing school, we have been in major renovation mode.  But, now that our house is completely done being remodeled and it looks amazing, we didn’t waste any time having some friends over!

On Thursday, we had 8 people over for a 3-course meal.  I was so excited, it was all I could think about since we made the plans on Sunday.  I poured over all of my best recipes to decide what I should make – appetizer, entree, and dessert – and decided on 3 things that I knew would go well together and would easily feed that many people.

DinnerPartyPrep

AppetizerPear, Pecan, Gorgonzola & Honey Crostinis

PearCrostinis

photo from Deb

These turned out soooo scrumptious!  We all agreed that this isn’t something we would’ve ordered off of a menu, but the flavors were amazing when combined together.

EntreeBrown Sugar & Bacon Wrapped Boneless Pork Roast with Roasted Red Potatoes & Asparagus

BSBPorkRoast

I actually didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the side dish, but here is a glimpse of it over breakfast the next morning:

SideDishDP

DessertVanilla Poached Baked Pears with Vanilla Creme Sauce

photo by Melissa

photo by Melissa

I was really proud of how everything turned out and my time management was awesome!  I was able to talk and enjoy the party with everyone the entire time.  I was worried that I would be scrambling around fussing over things and not socializing, but it was so much fun.  Also, the recipes I picked were shockingly easy to pull together.

My only 2 regrets are:  paper plates (which I hate – but we only have 6 plates to our names) and lack of silverware (apparently I own 6 forks as well).  Luckily, the only person bothered by paper plates was me and we all got a good laugh out of eating with spoons.  Next time, I will make sure I’m better prepared!

And yes, I am going to make you keep checking back for the recipes over the next few days.  MWAHAHAHA!

Pork Belly & Beets

31 Aug

Last night, the “when the cat’s away” theme continued.  K came over for dinner and brought some melt in your mouth Tamworth pork belly with him.

This is my favorite kind of food: SOLE.  This pig was from a family-owned farm in Clarion and then went to K’s to get butchered and then came straight to my kitchen!  Its got a honey-soy glaze with honey from Churchview Farm.  And since we basically cook by candle light in my demo-ed kitchen, I’d like to think we saved some electricity.  Ta-da! SOLE in my mouth.

Fun fact, the Tamworth is a rare breed of pig, considered “threatened” in the United States.  Wiki says there are less than 300 breeding females registered today!  They are ideal “bacon pigs” because they are able to achieve high body mass without an abundance of fat. 

What a delicious little heirloom piggle ♥ with:

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Greens:

3 large beets, with greens
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper
olive oil
1/4 c. chopped onion
 

Place beets (skins on) in a shallow baking dish and brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly.  Bake at 400°F until fork tender, about 1 hour.  When you pull them out of the oven, sprinkle the vinegar of your choice over them.  (I usually use apple cider vinegar, but its not gluten free.  Last night I used red wine vinegar and it was just as good.)

About 15 minutes before you pull the beets out, sautee the garlic and onion in 1 T. olive oil.  When the garlic is golden brown and the onions are looking clear, add the beet greens. Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the greens are wilted and become soft.

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