Saturday, March 31, 2012

Orange-Cardamom Pork Chops and Fried Potatoes

We've been buying a lot of pork recently, because we are making bone art for Wasteland Weekend, leaving me scrambling for different ways to prepare the meat. We use pork shoulder bones because they resemble skulls. We posted a few photos of two of the skulls in progress on Facebook. Once they are finished, we will post an article and photos on Tempe Frugal Life.

Once I removed the shoulder bone from the two roasts I bought at Ranch Market last week for 98 cents a pound, I sliced 15 pounds of the shoulder meat into chops. The other 5 pounds got chopped to make pulled pork in the slow cooker. Today I thawed 2 pounds of chops. While they thawed, I grated the zest from one whole navel orange, then squeezed the juice over the chops. I added the orange zest and 3 cloves of finely-minced fresh garlic, about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom and about a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. I rubbed the spices all over the meat, turning it repeatedly in the orange juice to ensure complete coverage. I let the meat marinate in the refrigerator in a 4-quart plastic storage container while I scrubbed three fist-sized potatoes. I trimmed away some bad-looking spots and pierced each potato, then microwaved them together for 6 minutes on high. I turned each potato over and microwaved them for another two minutes, quartered them and sliced them into 1/2-inch thicknesses.

I heated 1/2 cup of canola oil in a 12-inch diameter saute pan on medium-high for three minutes, then used the lid as a shield while I slid each chop into the pan to avoid splashing the hot oil. I pan-fried the chops for three minutes per side, turning them twice on each side, for a total of 6 minutes per side. I pulled the chops from the oil, holding them over the saute pan until the oil stopped dripping before transferring them to a serving platter.

I used the lid as a shield again when I slid the sliced potatoes off the cutting board and into the oil. I pan-fried the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until they were just past golden-brown, then removed them from the pan using a slotted spoon. I pulled the double-layered paper towels over them and patted the excess oil away before sliding the potatoes onto the serving platter with the pork chops.

I boiled the marinade and added it to the shrimp-infused gravy I had made to go with the river-raised catfish we cooked two nights ago. I'll post that recipe another day.

Ingredients and Equipment:

2 pounds sliced pork shoulder roast
4-quart plastic storage container
Juice and zest from 1 navel orange
3 large cloves garlic
Chef's knife
Cutting board
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3 fist-sized potatoes
1/2 cup canola oil
12-inch saute pan with lid
Serving platter
Slotted spoon
Small glass casserole dish
1 pint shrimp-infused gravy (recipe to come tomorrow)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

I check my audience profile about once a week. I've been fascinated by the fact that people all over the world are reading my recipes. I love it when I see that people from places like Moldova (I had to look that one up) Latvia, Poland, South Africa and the Philippines apparently enjoy this blog.

I would love to hear from each of you. Tell me where you are located, what you enjoy about this blog and the recipes I have posted, and what you would like to see in the future. Post a photo of an ingredient you would like me to include in my next recipe.

Let me know whether you use a desktop or laptop computer, mobile phone or other device to access this page, and let me know what would make this blog more personally useful to you.

o zi bună! (Have a good day, moldoveni!)

ir laba nedēļa! (Have a good week, latvieši!)

mieć dobry tydzień! (Have a good week, Polacy!)

het 'n goeie week! (Have a good week, Suid-Afrikaners!)

Mayroon ang isang magandang linggo (Have a good week, Pilipinas!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Roast Chicken with Apple Stuffing and Ginger-Saffron Rice

Fry's grocery store had whole frying chickens on sale for 77 cents a pound this week, so I bought two of them. I had a few apples, an orange and some celery that needed to be used before they went bad. Since I still had nearly 4 1/2 pounds of rice left from our last trip to Pro's Ranch Market, I decided to go Asian with this chicken. We've been making masala chai every day, so I had ginger, allspice and coriander on hand. I found a jar of saffron strands that I had forgotten in our pantry cabinet. I don't usually use an expensive spice like saffron, but the gentle, slightly floral flavor was perfect when combined with the apple slices and orange juice.

Ingredients and Equipment:
5 1/2-pound whole frying chicken
9 tbsp cooking oil
Dried basil
Roasting pan
3 to 4 stalks celery
Chef's knife
Cutting board
2 Red Delicious apples
1 seedless navel orange
12-inch diameter saute pan with tight-fitting lid
Wok spatula
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 to 8 saffron strands or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric powder
Serving platter
1 cup uncooked rice
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried ginger powder
1 teaspoon allspice powder
Chicken giblets (gizzard, heart, liver, neck)

Thaw the chicken overnight in the refrigerator or in a pot of cold water. Rub the entire chicken with oil, working it into all the folds and cavities of the wings and thighs.

Sprinkle the entire chicken with salt, including the neck and main body cavities. Repeat with dried basil. Place the chicken in the roasting pan and allow it to rest while you prepare the apples, rice and giblets.

Chop 1 cup of celery very fine. Quarter, core and thin-slice two Red Delicious apples and cut the orange in half.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch diameter saute pan on medium high. Add 1 teaspoon each of coriander seed and red pepper flakes, plus 6 to 8 saffron strands, or you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder for the saffron.

Stir-fry the spices for 1 minute to release all the flavors. Add the celery to the pan and stir-fry it for 3 minutes. Toss the sliced apples into the pan and stir-fry everything for another 3 minutes. Remove the apples and place them on a serving plate.

Add 1 cup of uncooked rice to the saute pan. Stir-fry the rice constantly until it turns golden-brown. Pour 6 cups of water or chicken stock and stir to ensure that none of the rice grains stick to the bottom of the pan.

Squeeze the juice from the orange halves into the pan. Tear the orange peel into four pieces and float it on top of the rice water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger and 1 teaspoon of allspice powder and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.

Simmer the rice on medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes.

Slice the gizzard and heart into 1/8-inch thicknesses. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a separate skillet for 1 minute. Carefully slide the sliced giblets into the oil to avoid spatter. Pan-fry them for 3 minutes, until they are browned on all sides.

Add the apple slices and stir-fry everything for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the giblets to a separate plate. Stuff half the stir-fried apple slices into the chicken, followed by the pieces of orange peel.

Stuff the remaining half of the apple slices into the chicken. Spoon the rice around the chicken and over the body cavities. Press the wing tips against the chicken's body and cover them with rice.

Bake covered at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. Turn the roasting pan around in the oven to ensure even cooking. Remove the cover and bake the chicken for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for 7 minutes to crisp the skin.

Allow the chicken to rest in the oven for 15 minutes before serving