Friday, February 20, 2009


The other night was my anniversary and I wanted to make my husband a wonderful steak dinner, then I had this idea to make a few shrimp on the side. Ok now I like shrimp, I don't love shrimp but I like them but after having to peel and de-vein them the other day I just don't know how people do it all the time.. it is too much work and quite frankly gross!

They start out kind of cute little guys but then....

you have to take their shells off, this part isn't so bad but then...

you have to take this out.... do you know what this is?? This is what they call de-veining but people, this is a poop line! I know that all the animals we eat poop but I really don't want to be reminded while prepping my food you know!

But I ended up tossing them in some marinade (not even sure if you are suppose to marinade shrimp) and sauteing them and they did taste good in the end.. just hard to get over the whole poop line thing. Thanks to my girlfriend for teaching me to take it out!

Roast Chicken

I developed a love of food at a very young age. I grew up in a beautiful little town in Sicily and I was surrounded by so many flavors and smells, you couldn't walk outside without smelling bread baking or tomato sauce simmering and smell of fresh parm could always be found! On Sundays we would go up Motta hill to a little shop to get "Girrosto" it was a wonderful rotisserie chicken flavored with lots of rosemary and stuffed with steak style fries... my sisters and I would always fight over the fries, they were so good. This is my oven version of that chicken, of those flavors. I have tried and tried to make the exact thing even bought a rotisserie (that I haven't used in over 3 years!) My version is not anywhere near as good as the little shop on the hill, I am still trying to perfect this recipe but for now this is what I have.

Julie's Girrosto

Whole Chicken
small potatoes cut into quarters
white wine
olive oil *(see my rant at the end of this recipe)
rosemary (fresh is best but dried will work)
1 onion peeled and quartered
4-5 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Ladies and Gentlemen introducing the star of tonight's performance... all the way from the back yard... Rosemary!!!
Quarter potatoes (I used red here for the color) about a tablespoon or so on olive oil good pinch of salt...ok I must rant here... "pinch of salt" When I taught myself to cook I couldn't afford a salt shaker so that is what I did. It is how I "learned' to cook... I know exactly how much to"pinch" for just about everything I cook. That being said I couldn't use a salt shaker to save my life I have no idea how many shakes it takes to get my food where I want it so I pinch. But Please let us not humor ourselves here not a one of us are on the food shows, we are not chefs and we do not have to be pretentious! If you know how to shake then shake it baby. Aint a damn thing wrong with shaking your salt! Ok rant over... so we got it?? oil, salt, pepper and rosemary leaves on the potatoes
I did this for the longest time in a disposable pan so if that is all you have it works fine... I heard that if I roasted it on a rack the skin underneath would be crisp... yeah, not so much but I can cook more potatoes on this roasting pan! OK so, potatoes on the bottom and the chicken on the rack or the potatoes around the chicken if you don't have a pan with rack.
so oil up the skin of the chicken salt and pepper the cavity well and the outside of the chicken, stuff the cavity with onions, garlic, and rosemary I just shove the branches in, it is for the flavor. Add about a 1/2 cup or so of white wine to the pan cover and cook at 350 for about an hour then uncover raise the temp to 400 and let cook until skin is browned and thisThese are your potatoes.... do you see why you need to have more than you think you will eat?? All that color is flavor flavor flavor!!!! ***** Olive oil rant***** About this extra virgin olive oil kick Americans are on, let me explain olive oil to you, I am not an expert but while living in Spain I actually pressed my own oil and I had this explained to me. You start with fresh olives and the first press is the most flavorful (the extra virgin) you use this for dipping bread, on salads, or to finish a dish with a little drizzle you DO NOT PAY TWICE AS MUCH FOR EXTRA VIRGIN TO COOK WITH IT!!! Sorry that had to be in caps.. it is like the salt thing we think because they say it on TV we are suppose to. The TV folks make more money than I do and if they want to use the good stuff and then hide the flavor with the food they can but unless you are made of money just don't do that. Olive oil is a heart healthy oil, it is also an expensive oil. I love it so I use it, but cooking with a canola oil is just as heart healthy and canola is a very mild tasting oil. So just about anything that calls for extra virgin if they have you cook the oil you are waisting your money. If it calls for cooking with olive oil you can use canola.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Smothered Pork Chops

Chops (how ever many your family will eat, we made 8 this day)
2-3 onions
1 large apple
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups white wine (optional)
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Salt, Pepper and brown your chops in a skillet with a little olive oil and set aside (don't be afraid to get them browned that is where your flavor is)

Carmalize onions in olive oil.

When your onions are soft and carmelized add the apples

Let the onions and apples cook until the apples are soft then add apple juice and chicken stock parsley and sage

Top chops with the onion apple mixture... ok here you can finish this in the crock pot on low for a few hours or in a 350 oven for about 30 min (remember you didn't "cook" your chops you just got some color on them so they need more cooking time)

Finishing touch... the wine...and you can skip this if you are totally against using wine but the flavor is really great. Today I used a cheap $3 bottle of walmart. Oak Leaf Pinot Grigio. I think a $20 bottle would have tasted better but I was cooking this on a budget. And this wine worked fine just fine for me.

Reduce it until you can run a spoon and it leaves a mark like this one here. Then pour this reduction over the chops and dig in...

YUM!! Tonight we had buttered egg noodles for our side, these chops are so juicy and tender!