This meal has all the hallmarks of great go-to weekday meal: quick, simple, healthy, uses 1 baking dish and one pot, and is knock-your-socks-off delicious. You can stop at the grocery store on the way home, and an hour later, be eating dinner. This recipe was inspired by my friend Zach, who many years ago in college told me about his favorite way to make salmon. It was ridiculously simple (3 ingredients: salmon, soy sauce and brown sugar) and it was phenomenal. Since then I have built on his recipe, done it on the grill, in pans, and in the oven, and have arrived at what I think is my favorite iteration of the dish. The majority of the ingredients are “pantry items”, so usually all I have to buy is fish and fresh veggies:
Apricot, Prune and Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Wrapped in Prosciutto, with a Mushroom Sherry Sauce
Quite possibly the longest recipe title to date, today’s post was born from the combination of a simple stuffed pork loin married with one of my favorite appetizers, the “Devil on Horseback”. While there are variations on the theme, the dish as I know it is a fig, stuffed with gorgonzola, wrapped with bacon, and cooked until caramelized. This pork loin dish combines fruit (prunes and apricots) with cheese (gorgonzola) and cured pork (prosciutto) finished with a mushroom sherry sauce. How can you possibly go wrong?
A new discovery of mine is that the “centric” channel on my cable network runs The Cosby Show for 10 hours a day on the weekends, along with additional reruns on weekdays, right around the time when I am cooking. If you used to watch The Cosby Show, and haven’t in a while…you should really check it out again. It’s fantastic, and even better as an “adult” instead of a “child”. Lots of good lessons and references I certainly didn’t appreciate when I was 8.
A recent episode featured Dr. Huxtable hiding in his office with a special pizza that he was attempting to keep to himself, given that his family upstairs would have eaten the entire thing if they had found it before him. All the man wants to do is read his paper and eat his pizza in peace. He’s a doctor, and the provider for the family…is that too much to ask?
The pizza is as follows: black olives, sausage, anchovies. As soon as I heard that, I wanted to try the pizza. So, tonight, after trivia at Tigin Pub, we decided to have Colony Pizza of Stamford make us a Cosby Pizza.
It was as delicious as it sounds. Anchovies aren’t for everyone, but don’t knock them until you try them!
I will be having the “Cosby Pizza” again. My goal is to get Colony to learn the ingredients to the “Cosby Pizza” so that eventually I won’t have to tell them what to put on it.
The only addition, which is required on all pizzas, is crushed red pepper.
Yesterday I stumbled across fresh green coconuts in the organic section of Fairway. As a follow up to my post about rum with coconut water, this is the type of coconut that you should use to make the drink properly:
At the Fatty Crab they open these with a really big knife, but I happen to keep a hatchet around for these types of applications, so I used that. However you open it, drain out the coconut water, and mix dark rum (preferably Kraken) in a 50/50 ratio with the coconut water. Pour the drink back into the coconut (you will have extra coconut water…these were full to the brim) and enjoy! Serve with a spoon to scoop out the coconut as you go. Fresh coconuts like this have very soft inner flesh, with an almost custard-like consistency. Enjoy, and pretend you are on the beach!
Ok, so I have to admit that this post is unavoidably related to my recent Valentine’s Day post on caviar. I had leftover blini, and I picked up a whole smoked trout from Fairway, and as such I couldn’t resist making a quick appetizer using the other ingredients that I had on hand for the caviar appetizer. So you, my dear readers, get to hear about a slightly different, and just as delicious, appetizer using those ingredients.
First off, I have to say that one of my favorite smoked fish products is smoked trout. It may actually trump smoked salmon in my “smoked fish hierarchy”. Smoked oysters might be in third place, but it depends upon the mood. If any of you have had a “Low Tide” martini, garnished with a smoked baby clam, perhaps you will understand my love for all things salty, briny, seafoody, and smoked.
Trout, being a freshwater fish, lacks the oily, fishy flavors that sometimes characterize a larger, saltwater fish. It takes to smoking very nicely, and has an amazingly clean, smoky flavor.
Everyone has foods that, after one bite, transport them back to the days of their childhood. Whether it’s your Mom’s meatloaf, your Grandmother’s meatballs, or simply a Jell-o snack pack, food has a way of reminding us through taste, touch, sight and smell of the past. For me, the things that I remember the most from childhood are the desserts. Yes, I definitely had a sweet tooth, and still do. My Mom’s banana cake and pumpkin bread, my Grandmother on my Father’s side’s custard with bananas, and a fluffy chocolate cake with marshmallow icing stick out poignantly in my memory. Along with those was one of my favorite desserts: apricot bars with meringue. My Mom used to make these quite often, and if no one was around to stop me I could polish off half a tray without skipping a beat. I recently had my Mom send me the recipe, which was originally my Grandmother’s, and I tried my hand at making them. They were delicious, just as I remember.
The final course of the Valentine’s Day dinner is a dish I stole from Le Bernardin. During a 12-course tasting menu there, one of the first courses was a single oyster served with a black truffle cream on top. It was incredible. Since then I have recreated the dish twice, and it’s always been a big hit.
Course number three in this Valentine’s Day feast was foie gras with black truffles on a toasted baguette with a honey, balsamic and port reduction. This dish is simply decadent, and would elevate any dinner party from the mundane to something extraordinary. If you serve this to your guests, you will look like a pro.
In keeping with the theme of exotic foods for Valentine’s day, the second course was escargots with garlic butter. Cooking escargot is very easy, but you will have to buy snail shells and canned snails in order to do it properly. My grocery store carries Roland brand escargot, but unfortunately didn’t carry the empty shells you need to complete the presentation. Instead they carried frozen escargots, in the shell, already stuffed with the butter sauce, so I had to “shell out” (pun intended) for pre-made escargots in order to get the shells to stuff with escargot going forward. Once you have the shells you can keep them and reuse them in the future, making escargot an easy appetizer that you don’t need to save for a special occasion. If you can’t find the shells in your local grocery store, you can buy them online here.
Last night, for Valentine’s Day, I put together a 4-course tasting menu of delicacies to enjoy with some champagne. Course number one was simple: Two types of caviar with blinis, creme fraiche, and chives.