Cocoa & Spice Dusted Port Tenderloin Medallions over Chocolate Risotto with Dried Cranberries & Soubise Sauce

porkMichael Chiarello has written several outstanding cookbooks and has several successful cooking shows over the past decade.  I love his newest cookbook “Fire” which discusses all of the various methods to cook something outdoors.

This dish was inspired from his spice blend called “Cocoa Spice Rub” which he talks about in “Fire”.  Although I have made a few modifications to his original recipe because I love spices like cumin and garlic, his recipe is equally outstanding.

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Maple Bacon “Pops”


Is there anything on earth better than one bite of bacon deliciousness?  For the life of me, if you put me on a desert island and told me I could only have one thing to eat I would want BACON! Sweet, salt, and fat! Yum, Yum, Yum!

The bacon I cure and smoke (usually on applewood) has a texture similar to canadian bacon.  It is meaty, with a small layer of fat, and has a nice outer smoke layer.

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Poultry & Pork Brine


Brining is my favorite way to make sure that both Poultry and Pork dishes stay moist and juicy.  I do this step whether I am roasting, pan frying, or smoking the meat.  The other thing that I pay close attention to is the internal temperature of the meat.

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Calabacita con Carne de Puerco

My friend, Mel, made Calabacita for me not long ago.  I had never heard of this dish and was wondering what on earth it could be!  It is a delicious Mexican soup with complex layers of flavor! Calabacita means “little squash” in Spanish and usually refers to the summer squashes like yellow crooknecks and zucchini’s, or fall squashes like delicata’s and butternut. I used the delicata’s in this recipe.


You can make Calabacita spicey or mild depending on which chilies you add to the dish. And the dish can be made with meat like ground hamburger, pork or just vegetables.  Today this version of Calabacita con Carne de Puerco (or Mexican Squash with Pork) has the addition of some leftover shredded smoked pork that I needed to use before it spoiled.


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The Summer of 2’s

This is the summer of 2’s.  Two eye surgeries scheduled next month, two hand surgeries and 2 kids with 2 wedding scheduled 60 days apart.

I have to tell you I am whipped and need to go on a vacation!

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Green Chili Polenta Pizza with Pulled Pork & Tomatoes

I am cooking lunches all week for a wine class at our school, the International Wine & Spirits Guild.  The recipe in this posts in one of my go-to recipes that falls into the “comfort” food category that my students always rave about.

I have done tons of variations of polenta pizzas over the years.  This version has mexican flavors.  I have done polenta pizzas as a “build your own pizza bar” with a variety of toppings to choose from like italian sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, pesto, grilled onions, grilled eggplant and grilled peppers for Italian Night and Movies at home. Continue reading

Pork with Peppers and Bean Salad

This dish has a variety of flavors that marry beautifully together.  Inspired by Mexican cuisine, I went on an experiment with an array of spices starting with cumin, Spanish paprika, and Mexican Mole.  Of course, red Chile peppers and Chipotle are staples of Mexican cuisine.  The European contribution in this dish is the pork.  The Spanish also introduced the technique of frying in pork fat.  So, after adding many different ingredients from many different regions, this dish was born. Continue reading

Souvlaki with Salad

As a chef of course I test recipes and cook a lot.  Also I like to use local and seasonal produce, and the only way I can do that is by belonging to the CSA.  They allow the city residence to get access to high quality fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers.  So I subscribed to CSA (community sustained agriculture), and every Saturday I drive to the farmer’s market  and get a big basket of fruit and vegetables.  If you cook a lot this is a great way to get plenty of produce at a great price.  I had plenty of eggplants and other vegetables to use, and that inspired my version of this Souvlaki dish. Continue reading

Stir Fried Curried Thai Pork over Cauliflower Rice

This dish is going to become a family favorite.  It is fragrant and the flavors are exotic and complex.  This dish is versatile as well. You could use the meat mixture to make lettuce wraps for a fast lunch or a Thai-inspired sloppy joe! All of the wet ingredients could be added to ground pork to make a meat-loaf or added to ground pork to make an awesome grilled pork burger. Continue reading

Juniper Brined Pork Chops with Creamed Wild Mushroom Demi-Glace


This brine works well for most pork cuts from tenderloins to ribs and chops.  Brining helps retain the juiciness of the meat and seasons the meat through the entire meat cut.  I brined the pork chops for this recipe for four hours and they were moist and delicious!

The sauce for these pork chops is super scrumptious and will be come a family favorite. It is rich, flavorful and a bit decadent.  Your friends and family will think you spent hours making this dish because it tastes so darn good! Continue reading