Sep 22, 2017

Pork Tenderloin Chipotle

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, soy sauce, and garlic in a small 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle peppers with the sauce, and squeeze peppers to combine.

Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag a couple of times.

Light grill and bring to medium-high heat, about 450˚F. Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140˚F.

Remove the tenderloin from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, Italian parsley leaves, or minced green onion tops.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Note: If you don't want to grill the pork tenderloin, you can cook it in the oven by searing it in a oven-safe skillet first (like the cast iron skillet in the photo above) over medium-high heat, then finish off in a 425˚F oven for about 15 minutes.

Sep 15, 2017

Tender & Delicious Pot Roast

I like to give myself a little challenge in the kitchen, like taking a tough and affordable piece of meat, like a chuck roast or chuck steak, and braise it until it is meltingly tender and full of rich, beef flavor. 
A chuck steak is the same as a chuck roast except it is cut into 1- to 3-inch slices. Here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, we seem to see chuck steak more often than chuck roast, so that's what we are using in this recipe.
"Today's Special"... Chuck Steak!
Click on photo to view larger

The trick is to cook either the roast or steak low and slow with lots of flavors all around it. After 3 hours of cooking, add vegetables under the meat and keep cooking in the oven with the lid on until they're tender (about 40 minutes).

The other thing we do here during the summer months is to try not to heat up the house with a 3 1/2 hour oven on, unless we have trade winds to cool us off.

The Pot Roast Challenge
2 or 3 tablespoons Canola oil
3 pound chuck steak
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups of beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup good red wine, like Burgundy
2 dried bay leaves, left whole
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Cornstarch to thicken the sauce

Heat oven to 325˚F and arrange a rack in the lower third.

In a Dutch oven or large, high sided skillet with a lid, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pot, and brown on all sides for about 15 minutes.

Remove the roast from the pot and set it aside while you sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining oil. Then add the beef or chicken broth, wine, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, return the meat to the pot and cover; put the pot in the oven, and roast for 3 hours, flipping the roast every hour, until the beef is fork tender, about 3 hours total. Lift up the roast and add the cut carrots and potatoes to the sauce, and lay the meat on top of the vegetables. Continue cooking in the oven with the lid on until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Carefully transfer the roast to a cutting board, and the carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Slice the roast, and serve with the vegetables. At this point I like to quickly thicken the pan juices.

To thicken the sauce, for each cup of sauce in the pot... in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens. Naturally you should always taste everything before serving. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with your favorite crusty bread or Classic Biscuits.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sep 14, 2017

The First Step Before Roasting Chicken

I love roast chicken, but I have learned that you need to brine your chicken first. If you do, the bird will be juicy and flavorful, not dry. A brine is a solution that basically consists of water, salt, and sugar. 

Salt in the brine not only seasons the meat, but also promotes a change in its protein structure, reducing its overall toughness and creating gaps that fill up with water and keep the meat juicy and flavorful. It's worth the time to go through this easy step before cooking the bird.

1 whole rotisserie chicken, about 4 pounds (see "Note" below)

Ingredients for the brining solution:
4 cups cold water or more if needed to cover the chicken
1/4 cup regular table salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar

Mix brine together.

Chicken brining in a Ziploc bag
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I like to use a heavy duty, gallon size Ziploc bag to brine each chicken, but if you don’t have one, you can use any bowl or pot big enough to hold the chicken and brine. Place a plate on top of the chicken so it is submerged in the solution for 2 hours or up to overnight. Cover and store in the refrigerator. 

When ready, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse chicken well. You are now ready to roast the chicken.

To roast a whole chicken, preheat oven to 400˚F. 

Dry chicken with paper towels. Rub it with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a roasting pan with a rack. Roast chicken until the internal temperature reaches 170˚F which will take about 1 1/2 hours. You need to check on the chicken after about an hour of cooking to make sure that the skin is not turning too dark. If it is, place a sheet of foil loosely over the chicken. Check again every 15 minutes until its internal temperature reaches 170˚F. Let rest for 15 minutes, covered with foil, before carving. 

Makes 6 servings.

Note: Please read the story I wrote in 2014 about "Slimy Chickens" which explains why we need to buy free-range chickens processed without chemicals.