food amongst family and friends

Fast and easy tagliatelle with Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and arugula May 21, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Sausage,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:07 pm
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I love pasta. I love especially love that it is fast and easy and everyone in my house eats it up. This recipe, from (surprise, surprise) Fine Cooking, is a nice departure from my usual go-to carbonara while still being super fast and easy. I think next time I will make it with half arugula and half spinach to satisfy my children (the arugula was a little bitter for them), but if you are into bitter greens, then don’t hold back because this is fantastic. Make it soon.

Image2 links (about 1/2 lb) hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, casings removed

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream (I think coffee cream would be sufficient if you are trying to lighten things up)

10 oz dried tagliatelle or fettucine

4 cups baby arugula (or spinach/arugula mixture)

1/2 cup freshly grated Grada Padano

1 big handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced

Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and fill a large pot with salted water, setting it on to boil. Add sausage to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up with a spoon into small pieces as you go. Make sure you have about a Tbsp of fat in the pan (you can top up with olive oil if needed), then add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add the peppers and cream and allow it to simmer over low heat for about 8 minutes. I added a little chicken broth here as well to stretch the sauce further, but its up to you.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, put back in pot and toss with sauce, arugula, basil and cheese until the arugula is slightly wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.





Smoky and delicious Brined Pork Steaks (or Chops) May 13, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pork,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 3:09 pm
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IMG_8085 I have to admit that I am a lazy BBQer (and clearly speller/wordsmith). The thing I love the most about BBQing is the ease and speed involved in putting a super tasty/healthy dinner on the table and I imagine I’m not alone on this one. So a recipe that involves brining your pork chops ahead of time doesn’t exactly sound like it fits the bill, but this was actually super simple and the results were the best BBQ’d pork steaks I’ve had in ages. I’ve been trying for years to recreate the pork steaks we used to get from a local butcher shop in my home town and keep failing, but I think I finally discovered their secret; it’s all in the brine. Plus, the brine takes about 2 minutes to throw together, then you go about your day until it’s time for the spice rub. I found that the 30 minutes the spice rub sits on the meat was the perfect amount of time to start the corn on the cob cooking and to throw together a salad, which meant that dinner took about 37 minutes to make, including the time it took to put the brine and the spice rub together. Not bad for a meal that my 4 year old was begging to have again two bites in.This recipe was read over the phone to me from my sister’s Fine Cooking Grilling magazine, so the instructions may not be exactly what they have, but the ingredients are the same and this is what I did, so it should work for you. Happy BBQ Season!

3-4 lbs pork chops or steaks (I used shoulder steaks)


1/4 cup each Kosher salt and dark brown sugar (if you don’t have kosher salt I would use about 2/3 of the amount indicated)

1 Tbsp molasses

1 cup ice

3 1/2 cups water

Stir together all brine ingredients except ice in a large bowl, mixing until dissolved, then add pork and ice. Put a plate on top to sink the pork into the brine and leave covered for 2-3 hours (no more than 3 for thick cut chops and no more than 2 for thin cut).

Transfer pork to paper towels to dry and mix up your spice rub.

Spice Rub

1/4 cup smoked paprika

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub generously all over pork and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat grill to high. Scrape off excess spice rub then sear meat on grill. Turn to medium high and grill 3-5 minutes per side until just barely pink in the centre. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.





Venezuelan Pork Tenderloin with Passionfruit and Pink Peppercorns April 26, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pork — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:49 am
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Pink Pork TenderloinThis was the only evidence left of this meal to photograph.  I can’t get enough of pork tenderloin – easy and quick to cook and always delicious, I am eager to add new pork tenderloin recipes to my regular rotation. This is now one of them!

The recipe comes directly from Gran Cocina Latina. The author was inspired by a Venezuelan chef who picks the pink peppercorns that grow wild around Caracas and mixes them with passion fruit juice to make a rich and buttery marinade for pork. I served the pork and juices over Israeli couscous with a salad on the side, which I would certainly do again. Rice or roasted baby potatoes (sweet potatoes, even) would also make a nice side – you just need something to soak up the extra juices.


serves 6-8 (I used a 1 1/2 pound tenderloin and cut all the ingredients in half, which gave us 4 servings)

3 1/2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin
2 T pink peppercorns, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup passion fruit juice
3 T dark brown sugar (or panela, if you have it)
1/4 cup dark rum
3 T soy sauce
3 T honey
3 T worcestershire
5 allspice berries, freshly ground in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
1 T dried rosemary
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
optional: rosemary sprigs for garnish

Pat the meat dry and place in a roasting pan. In a food processor, combine the peppercorns with everything but the butter and rosemary sprigs – process to a puree. You will have about 1 1/4 cups. Rub 1/2 cup of the mixture on the pork, reserving the rest. Let the meat sit for at least 4 hours at room temperature (or in the fridge, if you’re nervous).

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roast the pork on the centre rack for 2 1/2 hours (far less if you’re doing a smaller tenderloin – maybe 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a 1.5lb tenderloin), or until a thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 160F. Transfer the meat to a cutting board.

Place the pan over 2 burners on low heat and deglaze with the reserved peppercorn mixture. Bring to a bare simmer, then add the butter and swirl it into the sauce.

Slice the tenderloin into 1/4 inch thick rounds and serve garnished with pink peppercorns, rosemary sprigs and the sauce either on the side for pouring or drizzled over top.


Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange April 14, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:45 am
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Pasta is the ultimate treat-night meal to me. I gravitate to pastas that use simple ingredients and are light on the sauce, but big on flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I like a big bowl of saucy spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but I most often seek out recipes that come together quickly and rely on one or two key ingredients to make the meal sing.

I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a couple years ago, bookmarked it, and finally made it last night. It sounds a bit unusual – the two key flavours are orange and prosciutto – but fear not, the result is a salty and ever-so-sweet pasta that tastes interesting rather than unusual.

My tips are this: (1) Go to your nearest Italian market and buy a great quality, egg based tagliatelle. It doesn’t need to be expensive – mine was $2. (2) Find a super ripe, fragrant orange. (3) You want to serve this as soon as it’s ready. Once you get to the last step, call your husband/wife/kids/guests to plant around the table and fill their plates the minute the pasta is done.

Did I mention this is really easy? There’s hardly any chopping, the sauce only cooks for about 5 minutes and all the ingredients are easily sourced. You can have dinner on the table in the time it takes to boil your pasta. Hope you love it!


serves 4

12 oz egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (fresh or dry will work, just get a great quality pasta)
2 T butter
2 oz prosciutto OR 3 stips of bacon, sliced/torn into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, add pasta and cook until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto/bacon; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
To the saute pan, add half the reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest and cream; bring to a boil. (Now it’s time to get everyone gathered around the table.) Add pasta and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the pasta and the pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, stir in cheese and taste – add more salt and pepper as desired. You can add more pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Divide among warm bowls and sprinkle with remaining orange zest.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Orange

close up


Chicken chorizo pork burgers with grilled Pink Lady apples April 2, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Quick and easy,Sandwiches — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:22 am
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I decided to try my hand at this after a lovely girls night out at Blue Star Diner, where I was, of course, the only person to go for the giant, fatty pork chorizo burger and homemade shoestring fries. But it was totally worth it, especially when I came home and realized that I had some chicken chorizo (from the amazing Missing Link at the farmer’s market) and lean ground pork sitting in my freezer, which meant I could replicate this using healthier ingredients and smaller portions, thus enabling me to re-enjoy this meal without all the guilt. Here’s what I did:

1 lb lean ground pork

1 lb chicken chorizo sausage (raw), casings removed

Combine pork and sausage in a bowl, mixing with your fingers, but being careful not to squeeze too much (makes the burger tougher).

Form into 8, 1/4 lb patties, set aside.


Pink Lady apple slices – brushed lightly with butter and grilled on the top rack while the burgers were cooking. This is a must, the sweetness is amazing with the spiciness of the chorizo

Cheddar slices (gouda or gruyere would be lovely here as well)



Buns – I used Sour Cream rolls which were soft and perfect, but any old burger buns will do

Once your have everything prepped, preheat your grill to medium high, then cook the burgers for about 6 mins a side, adding the cheese for the last minute if you like it melted. Flip the apple slices when you flip the burgers and they should come out just right. Serve immediately.




Italian Sausage and Chickpea Soup March 6, 2012

AKA March snowstorm and head cold soup. This is one of my all time favourite soup recipes, and I am stunned that it has not been posted yet. The inspiration is from Jamie Oliver , but I have attempted to health it up a little. It doesn’t look like much, but the spicy sausage (and it’s worth getting some good stuff here) brings excellent flavour and heat, good tomatoes provide some sweetness and depth and the fresh spinach really grounds the flavours. Not to mention that the tomatoes, spinach and chickpeas are all excellent immune system boosters, so this really is good for a head cold, plus I find the spiciness clears me up in no time. Also, this is a nice fast soup to make, about an hour start to finish and it freezes beautifully. Just try it already.

2 raw spicy Italian sausages, casings, removed

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

4 sticks celery, with leaves, finely chopped

500g fresh spinach, washed and chopped (I used 2 bags of washed baby spinach and only chop it if my girls are in a picky mood)

8 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (fresh tomatoes really are better here, but only if they are in season and flavourful, otherwise, good quality tinned tomatoes are fine)

1 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1.3 litres chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil as needed

1. In a large soup pot, heat a tsp or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, cooking through, making sure to break it up as you go. Add in onion, garlic and celery, lower the heat to low and cover with lid. Leave it for 10-15 minutes to let the vegetables sweat.

2. Remove the lid, increase the heat, and let everything brown a little. Add in remaining ingredients and let simmer for 40-50 minutes.

3. Either use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup, or for those of you gadget challenged like me, just use your blender to puree in batches until it’s thickened to your liking. Bring back to temperature and serve.




Pork Carnitas January 25, 2012

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:19 pm
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Give this recipe a try. You braise a big hunk of pork in milk and orange juice all day until it falls apart, then throw it into a hot, hot oven to brown and sweeten. Pile it on a tortilla and top with avocado, cilantro and lime. I made this in my slow cooker and was able to throw it all together before work. Love.

Adapted from City Palate, serves 4

1.5-2lbs pork roast (loin, shoulder, whatever) ($4.50)
2 oranges ($1)
1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk ($.50)
1-2 T honey ($0.55)
1 tsp dried orange zest ($.05)
1 tsp chipotle powder ($.05)
1-2 tsp coriander powder ($.03)
1-2 tsp cumin powder ($.03)
1 tsp smoked paprika ($.05)
salt and pepper

1. Get an oven proof dish or dutch oven hot on the stove over medium-high heat. If you’re using a slow cooker and you can put your slow cooker dish on the stove top, use  it now! Drizzle a bit of oil into the dish, cut the pork into 3 or 4 chunks and add it to the pot. Brown on all sides and remove from the heat.

2. Quarter 1 orange – squeeze the juice over the pork and throw the rinds right into the baking dish. Add some fresh zest from your other orange, the milk, honey and all the spices. Then add enough water to nearly cover the meat.

3. It’s time to cook. For the slow cooker: cover and cook on high for 7 1/2 hours. For the oven: cover and bake at 300F for 3 hours.

4. Once the pork is cooked, pull the meat apart. I was able to bust it up with a wooden spoon. If you were using the slow cooker, you’ll have to move to the oven now. Heat the oven to 400F and roast the meat uncovered until most of the liquid is gone and the meat starts to brown and crisp on the edges (it will take 20-40 minutes, depending on your meat to liquid ratio).

5. Serve on corn tortillas with avocado, cilantro, onion and salsa.

Hope you love it!


*The total cost of this recipe was $6.76, a per plate cost of $1.69.