Tuesday, November 30, 2010


You can see the steam swirling off the bowl.

It worked. My instincts were spot on. The stew came out bursting with flavor and texture. I changed some stuff up, but I got the idea to make this from Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cook Book. The recipe is for Quick Posole, although what I made is not that since it didn't have hominy in it.

This is what I put in my stew:

Three pork loin chops, center cut bone out, about a 1/2 inch thick

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

3/4 tbsp Cayenne powder

1/4 tbsp Mrs. Dash

Large head of kale chopped, stems removed

two radishes and the leaves of five stems of cilantro

1 can of creamed corn

1 heaping cup of cooked beans with broth

Step 1. Brown the pork chops and season with salt and pepper in pan.

Step 2. Remove chops and drop in garlic and onion, saute until soft, then add Ms. Dash and cayenne.

Step 3. Add the corn, beans, Kale and all broth you have. With combo of broth and water, be sure to add two cups of liquid to pot. Leave it alone for a minute.

Step 4. Add the chops and cook until boiling.

Step 5. Remove the chops, cut up return to pot.

Step 6. Serve with chopped radishes and cilantro, tortillas if you wish.

Check out that texture.

I hope that you'll take the time to try this out. I think this is a great thing to make if you have some left over beans in the freezer. You don't need to though, and I know a lot of people don't have beans in their freezer. You could easily throw this together with a can of beans and chicken broth, yum! You could even make posole, if you find that elusive dry corn.

For dessert I made little chocolate cakes, which I have stored for the next dinner party I attend. The cup cakes I made are for Laura's place already, so invite me over! You'll get an awesome treat!!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Usurper of Hominy

Picture source: Wikipedia

I am making a hominy pork stew tonight. The only problem is that I could not find hominy in the supermarket yesterday. Instead I am going to use two parts creamed corn and one part cannellini beans I had previously frozen from a sausage and white bean stew I did last month. I am hoping that the young creamy corn will provide the flavor and the earthy, starchy beans will contribute texture. They should also contribute flavor. I believe the beans will be like a supporting player, working also as a stock. Both the corn and beans combined should mimmick what the hominy, a dry corn, would have brought to the stew. What I am really making, then is a savory corn and bean porridge with pork. I'll let you know how it goes and keep searching for the hominy. If anyone knows were I can get it do tell.

Clickable: Spicy Chick Sandwich Idea

Hey all,

Are you sick of eating turkey yet? Turn to the chick then! Chickpea I mean. This sandwich is easy on the wallet and packed with a ton of flavor and texture. You can make it fast by getting all your stuff at the supermarket or take it to the next level and make your own bread and hummus, for a real treat.

It is a wonderful surprise as an appetizer or a nice change of pace from grilled chicken lunches, so take in the inspiration and run with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Crusty Pie

I have made pie at least a handful of times. When I lived in Memphis, I used the food processor as shown in the video below from the NYT. I now, however, use a pastry cutter because I no longer have a food processor and it works just fine.

I don't make pies often and every time I do, I do feel a bit of panic and a need to do research on how to make an optimal crust. This time around I mixed some new knowledge with some old. I had known to roll out the pastry with plastic wrap. Like the video, I had read about flouring the surface I would roll it out on. I picked up the trick of rotating the pastry dough 1/8 each roll. That is a systematic way to ensure your dough doesn't stick. You'll see Melissa advises another way to do that below.

I found that starting with the plastic covering most of the pastry dough was good, and when the dough was pretty large, opening it up so that the plastic wrap is only on one side of it works really well. Basically when the disk is very small, it is in the center of the plastic wrap with two sides folded over, like a book jacket. As the disk flattens out, you open up the plastic wrap entirely. The plastic wrap makes it very easy to transfer the crust onto the pie pan.

By far the best thing I picked up from my research this time around is to keep everything cold. I mean litterally, put your fat in the freezer for a bit. Chill your tools and bowl, even the flour. It was a great tip that I got from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. Thanks ATK! They also said to grate the fat, which helped and you can do that very easily when your fat is frozen.

I think that the best tip in this video, is to let the chunks get bigger than pea-sized. I had a bit of a tricky situation gathering it all into a ball b/c the flour and fat were initially not incorporated enough. Lastly, YES! I affirm that the best crust is a pork fat/butter combo, so just do it.

Thanksgiving, Almost Here. Yay!

I have been slowly doing preperations for the big day since early last week. Can you tell I am excited? I will dish all about it after the big day. I saw this great SNL skit with Anne Hathaway at Vulture. I present it in honor of the impending gastronomic feats you'll all perform this Thursday. Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Cook, I Eat, I Write, I Listen

Hello out there my loyal readers,

I hope your palates are dancing and your bellies are full on this fine Friday morning. How are you all doing? How is life treating you, and most importantly, what do you want to see more of on Petunia Eats? I aim to please, so let me know. Do you like the Clickable posts, do you want more local reviews, more recipes? Are you keen on Randomness Attacks posts or do you want the focus on food?

Thank you for following Petunia Eats! And now, in celebration of all you weekend warriors ready to get your eat and drink on soon, I dedicate this Morning Bender's song to you. I saw them last night in concert and they are great live. It was fun and the tickets were free. Go to The Alternate Side for your chance to win free tickets. You don't have to join, and there is a good chance you will win. I have won many times.

Clickable: Stir-fry Idea

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Souffle Fever

Hey everyone! I'm not sure if you're up to speed on my current affection and love for the ever impressive souffle. Two weekends ago, at Joey's request, I made a chocolate one and it came out perfect and delicious. I'm not saying this to brag, at least not entirely. I'm saying it to let you know that souffles have a very good work/reward ratio. The work is not too intensive, you don't need a lot of differnt ingredients (just a good number of eggs) and with a little patience and attention you come out with something impressive, beautiful and delicious. Hostesses of the world this is your secret weapon!

My one tip for you is that you butter the ramnekins with reckless abandon, it will really help your masterpiece rise. Oh, actually, one more tip I got from a cooking show, run your thumb around the rim after you pour the souffle in before baking. Both of these things, along with dusting your buttered ramnekins with something the eggs can grip on to, will help with rising.

If you would like to use the recipe I used, go to Food Network. Please note that you can bake this in a large dish, as I did, but your baking time will increase. I baked it for 40 minutes in an electric oven. I would recommend giving it about 30 minutes and then checking it. Souffles are not as fragile as you would think. I checked on mine twice while baking and it did not deflate. Also, you want the very center to not be completely set. Okay, go forth, bake with love!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Month's Pork Ragu al Maialino!

Affirmative. I was roasting porky at this hour.

Doesn't the rosemary look like seaweed?

You like the look of that pork? I know I do.

This is Joey's plate. I think he liked it!

I got the fabulous idea to make a pork ragu from the New York Times. I did not follow the recipe to the letter, as cooking times varied for me. I had to roast the pork about an extra hour to get the meat to really fall off the bone. I used a small grained Himalayan salt; I believe when you salt the pork, it would be better to use a large grained salt, such as kosher or sea salt. My pork was a bit on the salty side, which in part was due to the salt I used to brine it, but also because I was too zealous when I seasoned the stock. I tend to favor salty foods, so it was still tasty to me, but I will dial back on the salt in the future. Next time I would like to make the pasta too. That would be bad ass!