Thursday, March 29, 2012

Center Cut Pork, Proscuitto wrapped Shrimp, Risotto and Blue Berry Gastrique

When I cook, I like to follow techniques more so than recipes directly.  The way I look at it, if you understand the ratios then its not as important what the exact ingredients are as it is the function and taste of what each combination is designed to accomplish as a whole.  For example in the gastrique I made, if you wanted to use blackberries or raspberries instead of blueberries or cognac, whisky or rum instead of Triple Sec like I used, then more power to you.  I happened to use Triple Sec because that's all we had and I used blueberries because they are Kaia's favorite and its good to have them at the house. 

I think this philosophy helps me find my own style.  Admittedly, I would get my ass kicked in a professional kitchen but with time and thought I really enjoy some of the combinations and recipes that come out of our household.

Blueberries (1 pint per 3-4 servings)
Chili pepper of choice
Balsamic Vinegar
Triple Sec
Arborio Rice
Chicken Stock
Red Pepper Flake (optional)
Center Cut Pork Chop (preferably bone in)
Olive Oil and Butter

Blueberry Gastrique 3-4 Servings
1. Roughly mince the shallot and chili and sweat them in butter in a pan on medium low heat about 5 minutes.
2.  Add 3 tablespoons Triple Sec, 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, 1.5 table spoons of sugar, a big pinch of salt and 1 pint of blueberries.
3.  Reduce on medium heat until the blueberries are breaking down, about 20 minutes. 
4.  Puree the sauce in a blender, cover or keep warm.  (tip: if it gets cold before serving get it back in a sauce pan, if too thick or gelatinous add a tiny bit of water.  The sauce should be made first and finished before other components)

Risotto w Cream
1.  Heat oil and butter in good pan or dutch oven on medium heat.  Warm up chicken stock.
2.  Add the Arborio rice and toast it for a couple minutes. 
3.  Start adding the stock on ladle full at a time and stirring frequently until the liquid is dissolved and then repeating.  Continue this about 18-30 minutes depending on portion size, cooking temperature and how fast you can cook risotto.  The finished rice should have texture to it but not be crunchy. 
4.  When the rice is ready to be finished add about a cup of cream and quarter to half cup of parm and cook it down.  The risotto should be loose and run when you spoon it onto your plate.

Pork Chop
1.  Marinate the Pork in Olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic.  (Should be done first, can be done anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours before cook time).  Season the pork chop before and after it is marinated. 
2.  When cooking this dish, after you get the sauce about half finished minutes heat the pan to medium high, add the oil and cook the pork.  (You should also gauge this cooking time based on thickness of the cut.  In the picture I took I was about 5-6 minutes per a side and then about 1-2 minutes in the oven plus four minutes resting time for a very moist medium chop)
3.  Set oven to Broil.
4.  When you flip the chop, melt a little butter on top, as it melts into the oil, reduce the heat to medium or low taking care not to burn the butter and then take a spoon and baste the pork chop.
5.  Rest about 4 minutes under tin foil.

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
1.  Remove shells, peel and de-vein if needed
2.  Toss with olive oil, salt, black pepper and red pepper flake.
3.  Wrap in Prosciutto
4.  Broil for about 2 minutes per side and remove from hot oven. 

I made this dish earlier and shared with my daughter Kaia... She loves shrimp... She was saying "Mo Shrimp, Mo Rice" and of course she was munching on blueberries the whole time I was cooking everything.   I think it hits on a lot of points and its a little strange and has something unique from my personality because shrimp and berries are being introduced and I think the gastrique really wakes up your palate but also has enough body that its not "too sweet".  And of course its all about the pork at the end of day, which is my favorite of all the meats and is the main component on this plate.  Twas good.  Enjoy your living and your eating and best of luck to all of you.

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