Cedar Planked Pork Chops and Vegetables

This recipe was a bit of an experiment, as we had the cedar planks left from an earlier cooking adventure, and it felt like the right time to break them out.  Most directions recommend soaking them for at least an hour, but we only soaked them 30 minutes and lived to tell the tale.

You’ll need:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 2 cedar planks
  • roughly 1 cup chopped of each:
    • mushrooms
    • red onion
    • broccoli
  • tbsp olive oil/coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp Koops Horseradish Mustard
While the planks soaked in the sink, we placed the pork chops in a bag with the mustard to marinate.  We probably used 2-3 tablespoons, but feel free to add/subtract to your liking of mustard.  We cooked the chops at 350ºF, so if you’d also like to preheat your oven now, that’s not a bad thing.
If you don’t already have an egg slicer, do get one.  I’m pretty sure I got mine at the dollar store.  They’re great for the obvious slicing of eggs for salads and the like, but also amazing for mushrooms, as you can see.  More uniform cuts, less fuss, less muss.  Ok.  Informercial done.

Once your oven is ready to go, place the planks in a baking dish (or create a pseudo-baking dish with foil on a cookie sheet), and add on the chops and assorted vegetables.  We then drizzled the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt.  

And into the oven they went for 30 minutes.

Afterwards they looked great.

And tasted greater.

On an unrelated note, we will be doing our FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY next week, so keep your eyes here (or on twitter and facebook) to get more details.  Sorry for the ambiguity and build up, but I can’t help it!

Eggs with Saute of Baby Portobellos, Roasted Bell Pepper and Red Onion

This morning for breakfast, I threw together a few items found in our fridge and it turned out great! Sadly, I was in such a rush, I didn’t take any photos during the process. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about posting this recipe at all! But, a request for details came in via Twitter, after I posted a picture of the final product; how could I deny their curiosity?

So, here it is…!

Eggs with Saute of Baby Portobellos, Roasted Bell Pepper and Red Onion

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil, separated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, sliced* 
  • 2 slices, quartered, from one large red onion
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • seasonings to taste: freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt, and fresh thyme
*I used a roasted red bell pepper from a jar (see below for a photo with the brand name); but you could certainly roast your own bell pepper, any color, prior to whipping this up. In fact, it would be best to roast your own because then you know exactly what’s in it–simply a bell pepper. If you buy, like I did, just be mindful (as you probably already are) of the ingredients. It’s amazing what companies sneak into what otherwise ought to be very simple jars of food!

Yield: 2 servings

Method:

1. With 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, sauté the onion pieces and mushroom slices for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.
2. Toss in the sliced roasted red bell pepper and sprinkle with black pepper, sea salt and thyme.
3. Continue sautéing for 1 to 2 minutes, until bell pepper is heated through and the onion is just about translucent.
4. Plate, cover with tin foil to keep warm (optional), and set aside.
5. Next, cook the eggs. To make them over-hard: Pour the last teaspoon of olive oil into the same skillet in which you sautéed the veggies. Crack the eggs into the skillet. (Optional: sprinkle seasons over the eggs.) Turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes, flip the eggs, and let them cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until yolk is firm.
6. Plate over your veggies and enjoy!

This jar is as free from sugars, additives and other nasties as we have found. Ingredients include Red Peppers, water, citric acid and salt. We buy it at Costco for a good price and once opened it’ll last at least a month (we’ve pushed it to two before) in the fridge.

Broccoli-Mushroom Sauté

Yesterday we completed our first Spartan race: The Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan 2012. It was 8 miles with over 75 obstacles (that’s a world record!), and we loved it. We’re both a bit sore and we have some scraps and bruises, but we feel great. We finished in under three hours and next year, we’re determined to do it in less than two. 😉

Anyways, to celebrate, we got nice New York Strip steaks for dinner tonight. We enjoyed these delicious cuts of meat from Whole Foods with a side dish that Brent dreamed up while we were wandering through the Costco.

While he grilled the steaks, I created this simple, sweet and savory sauté per his suggestion. (Woo, check out that little bit of alliteration! …sorry, word nerd alert, haha.) We hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli-Mushroom Sauté
Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion (about two slices from a large red onion, quartered)
  • Sprinkle of homemade rosemary-salt (essentially, equal parts dried rosemary and sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Method

1. Melt oil over medium heat.

2. Sauté broccoli for one minute.

3. Add mushrooms, onion, and a sprinkle of rosemary salt.

4. Sauté for 4 minutes.


5. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for about 2 minutes.

6. Serve next to your favorite steak and dig in!

Grill-Roasted Liver-Stuffed Peppers and Mushrooms

Last week, we made Paleo Comfort Food‘s Dirty Cauliflower “Rice”. (It was delicious! You should buy the book and make it.) Now, in making the recipe, we used all chicken livers instead of chicken giblets because we couldn’t find giblets at any store that weekend. The recipe only calls for 1/2 a pound, though, and we could only buy the livers in a 1 pound container. What were we going to do with the leftover livers? At first, we had no idea.

Then yesterday, with Brent’s parents visiting, we had some fun with our food (and finally found a use for those leftover livers). We grilled a whole chicken and veggies and peaches, too. But this particular recipe, which we whipped up as an appetizer, has me feeling very gourmet!

We started by making a chicken liver pâté. Then, we stuffed it into mini peppers and baby portobello mushrooms. Finally, we grill roasted them on a veggie grill plate. They were AMAZING! Check it out…


Grill-Roasted, Liver-Stuffed Peppers and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon (we use the sugar- and nitrate-free kind from USWellness Meats)
  • 1/2 chicken livers
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • small peppers and baby Portobello mushrooms (Brent’s parents brought 7 little peppers and lots of baby portobello mushrooms, of which we used all the peppers and 3 of the mushrooms)
  • 1/4 tsp of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp of dill
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon zest
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • parsley for garnish
Method
1. Dice the bacon slices. 
2. Coarsely chop the chicken liver.
3. Finely chop the onion. (I actually used our little Ninja!)
4. Pan fry the bacon pieces in a deep skillet until soft (about 1 to 2 minutes).
5. Add the onion to the skillet.
6. Immediately press three of the four garlic cloves into the bacon and onion sauté. 
7. Sauté until the onion is soft (about 2 minutes).
8. Add the chicken liver pieces and sprinkle the sea salt and black pepper over everything in the skillet. 

9. Sauté the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until the livers are nearly cooked through.

10. Remove from heat and scoop into your food processor or blender. (Here, again, I used my nifty Ninja. I love this thing. But there’s an important note to make: my Ninja still had some pieces of onion from it’s fine work dicing. This, I anticipated, would allow a very small amount of slight sharpness to carry through into the pâté.)
11. Add the fourth clove of garlic to the mixture in the food processor or blender. (Again, looking for a little extra zing in the flavor here–the combination of sautéed garlic and raw garlic should create a good depth of flavor.)
12. Blend until thick and smooth.

13. Cool the mixture. (I scooped it into a bowl, placed it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.)

14. Meanwhile, chop the dill and thyme.

15. Also, clean and prepare the mushrooms and peppers for stuffing.

16. Fold in the thyme, dill and lemon zest.
17. Stuff the mushrooms and peppers with the pâté and place on a plate. (At this point, I actually put a couple pieces of parsley as garnish on top of the mushrooms, but you don’t have to do that.)
18. Drizzle the stuffed mushrooms and peppers with olive oil.
19. Grill on a veggie grill pan: the peppers needed about 2 to 2 and 1/2 minutes per side (5 minutes total) and the mushrooms took about 10 minutes.
20. Plate, garnish with a few sprigs of parsley, and serve!
Personally, I never enjoyed a single recipe with chicken livers as a kid. No offense to my parents, but the livers with onions they made were gross–leathery, muddy, chewy, chalky, that bloody iron taste. Oh, and did I mention that I didn’t care for onions much as a kid either? Yea.
However, as we all know, tastes change and time can play some pretty crazy tricks on you. I was hesitant to put only chicken livers (instead of chicken giblets, which do include livers, I know) in the Paleo Comfort Food’s Dirty Cauliflower “Rice”. What other option did I have? None. So, I toughed it out and to my surprise it was delicious. Sure, I could taste that iron flavor, but it was subtle and certainly the liver was not like leather in our dirty “rice”. I’ll say it again–it was delicious!
So, although I can’t remember a single time when I’ve been willing to try pâté, here I was making a pâté in my own kitchen today. I was nervous but eager. The anticipation was thrilling; the bacon, onion, garlic and liver sauté had me drooling from the start. But would I really enjoy the taste? Or was I just excited about the bacon? Only a taste test would tell… 
AND I LOVED IT! 
The pâté itself was so savory and rich, but then coupled with the sweet little peppers and earthy mushrooms… O.M.G. Sure, the taste of iron was kind of there; it was subtle, not off-putting. Meanwhile the smooth texture, the salty bacon, savory onion and garlic, and the little hint of smokey sweet from the peppers… it just popped! 
I must say, though, I especially loved the combination of the pâté with the baby portobello mushrooms. Sure there was more juxtaposition of flavor in the pepper-pâté combo; but there was something homey and warm and comforting about the savory pâté with the earthy mushrooms. It just makes me want to settle down into a big leather arm chair in front of a glowing fire and read a Jane Austen novel. 🙂
OK. Are you seriously still reading my ramblings? That’s awesome, but I’m sure you’re getting tired of them :p so I will stop here, haha. I hope you enjoy these tasty appetizers as much as we did. They take a little time and effort, but they are so worth it.

Enjoy!!!