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Great Tips For Artisanal Bread, Corn On The Cob, And Everything Strawberry

Artisinal Bread Basket

These are a few of my Great Tips For Artisanal Bread, Corn On The Cob, And Everything Strawberry.

Everyone that knows me, knows there are a couple of things I love. Artisanal loaves of bread and strawberries. Not only do I love to eat them, but they are also in full display in my home.

On any given day I’ll buy artisan bread and I know it wouldn’t take me long to use them in different recipes, so I could easily devour them. Truth is, I can really get carried away, and I need to cut back.

I had this idea where if I could immortalize them, maybe, just maybe, that would make it easier for me not to rush out and buy a loaf all the time.

I ended up drying them out in the oven, turning them into giant croutons. I baked them off on a really low temperature (175 degrees F) for about 3 to 4 hours. I let them cool overnight, then varnished each one of the loaves along with a couple of croissants.

Now, I can just admire them any time I want, and not have to worry about the weight gain that would certainly be inevitable. Turns out, it became a lifelike breadbasket that makes a beautiful centerpiece for any table.

How about this one? You know what a pain it is when you want to remove the corn kernels from the cob. Here’s a great tip.

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I love adding grilled corn to different dishes. It’s the task of removing the corn kernels that really disturbs me. They fly all over the place. They’re all over the cutting board, on the counter, and on the floor. It’s a battle keeping more than you seem to lose.

Take a Bundt pan or an Angel food cake pan, both shown in the pictures above, set the base of cob into the hole. Hold the top of the cob with one hand, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the kernels. I promise those kernels will all fall right into the cake pan. VOILA!

I do have one more short story. When I first moved out on my own, my grandmother gave me a strawberry canister set for my kitchen. Well, just like most girls, I thought I’d keep that theme going and stick with all things strawberry

I was 19 years old then, now I’m in my 50’s, and I think my strawberry themed kitchen now looks more like the store you see in every Cracker Barrel.

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Hutch

You know what? There’s a story and a memory behind everything in your home.

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Pestos and Tapenades

Pestos And Tapanades

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It’s a meat-free day today at my house. Anything you can spread over grilled and/or toasted bread is delicious.

Pesto doesn’t have to be made with just basil anymore. You can substitute arugula or spinach, you can add walnuts or pistachios. The possibilities are endless. Today I’m going to tap into my Hanging Organic Herb Garden to add a lot of freshness to my Pestos And Tapenades.

The difference between a Pesto and a Tapenade is generally Tapenades are olive-based… yes there are olives in certain Pestos.

In the pictures above I’ve made a Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto, a Pea With Fresh Mint Pesto, and Artichoke Pesto, and a Kalamata Olive With Cannellini Bean Tapenade.

I love to shake things up by using different kinds of ingredients. For example; roasted red peppers, artichokes, peas, Cannellini beans, Kalamata olives, or Ricotta cheese, mix in nuts and fresh herbs.

Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, fresh lemon juice, and a great Extra Virgin Olive Oil are key in making a great pesto or Tapenade. Let’s not forget about the nuts. Traditionally pine nuts are what’s used, not today, it’s pistachios. I even used a variety of herbs like basil, chives, mint, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. I say let your imagination go wild!  Then spread it on grilled bread.

In the next section, is my recipe for the Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto. Recipes may vary from one pesto to another, some tend to be thicker than others. A secret I use to thicken certain Pesto recipes is by adding a small amount of Cannellini Beans. They add creaminess and give great texture to the Pesto or Tapenade.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Pestos And Tapenades

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Ciabatta

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

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Pestos And Tapenades

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 1 (10-cup) food Processor, rimmed baking sheet pan, chef’s knife, small and large mixing bowls, indoor grill-pan

Ingredients For Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto:
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, drained (substitute roasted red peppers)
1/4 cup of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of Pistachios
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 small clove of peeled garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 loaf of Ciabatta (substitute baguette)

Directions For Oven Bakes Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Directions For Grilling Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat indoor grill-pan over medium-high heat. Brush the both sides of the Ciabatta with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Arrange the slices of bread on the grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Start processing the nuts ( Pistachios) garlic and the herb of choice first. You can see this in the pictures above. Once this has been processed, add in the main ingredients. In this case, the drained and rinsed roasted Piquillo peppers, Cannellini beans, fresh lemon juice, Kosher salt, and pepper.

Next, through the feed tube, at the top, drizzle in the *E.V.O.O. slowly. This will allow you to control the consistency of the pesto as it’s being processed, and you can adjust the amount accordingly.

Finally, add the grated cheese. The reason I do it this way, is so the cheese doesn’t get too hot from that blade doing all this processing and change the integrity of the cheese. I only pulse the cheese through the mix just until it’s mixed through.

This is the method I use when making any type of pesto. I also want to mention, using Cannellini beans gives extra body to the pesto without changing the flavor.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

My Hanging Organic Herb Garden And Summertime Flowers

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Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin

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This dish comes to me from a recipe I saw on a cooking show, Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin. I do love pork of any kind, but this particular cut is perfect to stuff with a variety of ingredients any of which is up to you. Two reasons I say this, one, is because of the finished dish, and two, and even better is, it can be made ahead of time.

I’m making a few changes of my own and I’ll tell you about those in a minute. Let me start with the filling that’s going to go into the center of my pork loin.

Onions

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If there is extra filling and you’re not sure how to prepare the fennel and onion mixture that’s leftover. Place the extra filling in a small oven-safe baking dish. Top with a little more of the Panko and grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and bake at 375-degrees F. for 20 minutes. Place the leftover filling in the oven during the final 20 minutes of cooking time for the stuffed pork loin.

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Red Onion

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Now when I went to my grocery store and found this beautiful cut of pork loin, I spoke to the butcher at my local grocery store and had him/her butterfly this one for me. Of course, you can do this yourself but why? If the butcher will do it for you, I say go right ahead! 

I also made some cheesy, buttery French bread to go alongside. Everyone loves bread!

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Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yields 4 servings:
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans aluminum foil, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (3-quart) sauce pot, mixing bowl, mini food processor, 1 instant-read thermometer

Ingredients For Filling:
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Pernod (substitute white wine)

Ingredients:
1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, butterflied
1 red onion, quartered
4 large red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, unsalted
butcher’s twine
3 tablespoons of Kosher salt (2 for the pork, 1 for potatoes)
3 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper (2 for the pork, 1 for potatoes)
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For Gravy:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
2 dashes of  Kitchen Bouquet browning seasoning sauce
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients For Bread:
1 loaf of French baguette bread
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted and room temperature
3 tablespoons of good mayonnaise
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions For Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.

For the filling heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a large sautépan. Add the onions and fennel with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions and fennel are tender and lightly browned add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Add the Pernod to deglaze the pan, by using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the fennel and onion mixture has cooled add the breadcrumbs, stir to combine.  Lay the pork on a board fat side down, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly on the pork and roll up lengthwise, ending with the fat on top of the roll. Tie the pork loin up using 5 pieces of kitchen twine, rub with olive oil and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper all over the outside of the pork loin.

Now at this point, you can put the stuffed pork loin into the frig wrapped really well in plastic wrap the night before or even 2 days before. You don’t want season the outside of the pork loin until it’s ready to go into the oven. The onions and potatoes are only to be prepped right before they’re ready for the oven.

On a rimmed baking sheet, lay out the quartered potatoes and onions in one even layer. Add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspooon of fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat. Pour 1 1/2 cups chicken stock into the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent the potatoes from burning or sticking. This liquid will eventually evaporate during the cooking process.

Place the rolled pork loin on top of the potatoes. Roast for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350-degrees F. roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 137-degrees F. Note: If the thermometer hits the stuffing it will read at a higher temperature, test the meat in a few different places. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with foil.

Turn the oven up to 450 degrees F. Once preheated, return the potatoes to the oven for another 20 minutes while the pork is resting. The onions will be sweet and tender, and potatoes will be golden brown on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Allow the pork loin to rest for 20 minutes.

I like to serve this dish family style with the Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin and my roasted potatoes on a large platter then drizzled with light brown gravy.

Directions For Bread:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a mixing bowl add the butter, mayonnaise, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Kosher salt, and black pepper, mix to combine. Slice the French bread in half then again lengthwise. Slather the butter mixture on both halves of the bread. Place the tops on, wrap tightly in foil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and slice. Serve hot.

Direction For Gravy:
In a saucepot over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until the raw flour is cooked, paste-like, and golden blonde in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, Kitchen Bouquet, dried thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Switch to a wooden spoon, adjust the heat to medium-high, bring up to a boil stirring continuously, until gravy thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes.

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