Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So Good: I Try It So You Don't Have To: SweetBreads

This week I combined my So Good article with some recipe testing for a cookbook (more on that at another time)
Good times with sweetbreads.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sage and Maple Brined Pork Chops with a Maple Sage Brown Butter Sauce.

Are you brining your meat? (why does that sound dirty?) If you aren't you should be. If I am cooking pork or poultry I always try to brine if I can.
Brine doesn't need to be anything other that water and salt but it's always best to get some other flavors in there. Bringing typically takes 6-8 hours for small cuts and up to 12 for larger items like whole turkeys or pork loins

For 4,  1/2 inch thick pork chops you will need

3 cups water
8 ice cubes
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons dried sage

I like bone in pork chops, if you use boneless chops you may need to add some more butter as I find they have less fat. You need the fat.

Heat two cups of water, the salt, maple syrup and sage to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring to be sure salt gets completely dissolved.

Add in the other cup of water and the ice cubes to cool the brine. Once the brine is cooled pour over the pork chops and stash them in the fridge.

When it's time to cook discard the brine, rinse and dry the pork chops. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375

For cooking and the sauce you will need

4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons dried sage
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Add the butter and sage to an oven safe pan an cook over medium, stirring frequently until it has just started to turn brown. For more on brown butter check here. Once the butter has started to brown add the pork chops, cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip to the other side for 1-2 minutes to coat. transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 6-8 minutes. If you want you can finish under the broiler for 2 minutes per side for a darker color. I would reduce the cooking time to 6 minutes at most if you are going to do so.

After cooking/broiling remove the chops from the pan, and return the pan to a burner over medium high heat.  there should be a good layer of liquid in the pan from the pork, if you don't think there will be enough sauce you can add some chicken stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to low, add the maple and balsamic stir for a minute or two to incorporate everything, ladle it over your pork chops and serve. The maple should almost caramelize in the pan..

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My So Good Updates

For you loyal readers (all 5 of you or so) that may not know, I post once a week about not so delicious foods on SoGoodblog.com. This week I wrote about my continued adventures eating Century Eggs.
Check it out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Wing Cheesecake

Yes, you read that right. Andy, one of my fellow writers over at So Good mentioned this as an object of disgust on Twitter just before the big game. The inspiration for his disgust was this recipe at FoodBeast.
After reading through it I could see why his initial reaction was revulsion. There is absolutely no reason to include sugar or vanilla in a savory cheesecake. If my experience with lobster cheesecake has taught me anything it is that dessert cheesecake and savory cheesecake are completely different animals.

I knew I could do better. So I decided to adapt the lobster cheesecake recipe and transform it into buffalo chicken wing cheesecake. Please note my measurements on blue cheese and hot sauce are approximate  I used less of each on the first try and it was not enough to really bring the chicken wing flavor I wanted so I increased them here.


For the Crust
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup crushed Fritos (about 3 cups of chips)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

For the Chunky Bits
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound (about 2 cups) chicken, roughly chopped
3-4 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce (feel free to make your own, though the bottled sauce was perfect because it doesn't separate and get greasy)

For the Cheesy Bits
1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup crumbly blue cheese
3-4 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add in a 9 x 13 baking dish of water to the lower rack.

In a mixing bowl, combine the Parmesan, Fritos, and butter, blend thoroughly. I always cut a disk of parchment paper to line the bottom of my pan, then spray with non stick spray. Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared 9-inch springform pan.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and the celery. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 6-8 minutes, set aside in a bowl.

In the same pan add your chicken and any additional olive oil needed. Cook through and then add the buffalo wing sauce to coat. Remove form heat and set aside to cool. You don't want it piping hot when you add it to the cream cheese mixture.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in the cream, blue cheese, and sauteed vegetables until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the chicken. Pour the filling into the prepared crust then drizzle the buffalo wing sauce on the top and swirl into the filling with a metal or bamboo skewer. Alternately you can just add the hot sauce to the mix before pouring but I wanted a swirl rather than a uniform pink color.
 Bake until almost firm, about 50 minutes. Turn off the heat and crack the oven door, let sit for another 20 minutes. At that stage it should be fully set and pulled away form the edge of the springform pan.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. If you refrigerate the cake before serving, allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Serve with more crumbled blue cheese, wing sauce and finely chopped celery .