Off To The Races: Kentucky Derby Party Plans

Off To The Races: Kentucky Derby Party Plans

Kentucky Derby Menu Ideas Party

The Kentucky Derby is this weekend and it’s time to prepare your party provisions!  Share these on Saturday in a small backyard soiree or savor them television side with the hubby.

We all know and love the term, “Spring is in the air,” but imagine, too, the divine way it smells, beckoning us to our backyards with the promise of barbeque with the fixin’s….And with Kentucky Derby right around the corner, we can really pull out the Southern stops for a safe and delicious outdoor gathering.

Whether you’re setting an elegant table or wearing a Kentucky Derby hat as you graze an outdoor buffet, consider these your go-to Kentucky Derby party plans:

Southern Style Charcuterie with This Cocktail Pairing…
Mint Julep Recipe Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@gustavocastilho?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Gustavo de Camargo</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/mint-julep?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

The Kentucky Derby doesn’t have to be a marathon if you play host this weekend. A simple charcuterie board elevated with Southern-style taste and ingredients will come to the rescue! This board’s arranged with deviled eggs, spiced crackers, pimento spread, pickled okra, millionaire’s bacon, my special cilantro shrimp recipe, and an assortment of turkey and ham roll-ups. Serve with Kentucky Derby’s infamous Mint Juleps and you’ll have yourself a party:

The Savoy Cocktail Book, Harry Craddock, 1930

4 sprigs fresh mint

½ tbls powdered sugar

1 glass bourbon, rye, or Canadian whisky

 

Use a long tumbler and crush mint leaves and dissolved sugar lightly together. Add spirits and fill glass with cracked ice. Stir gently until glass is frosted. Decorate on top with 3 sprigs of mint.

Read On

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

From family to family, here in the South, there is debate about how to make a traditional hand pie. But one thing is for sure: This recipe makes for a delicious peach pie!  This recipe yields a pie that looks like a puffy, jelly doughnut and is over-the-top delicious. Top with confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon and serve with vanilla ice cream for a delicious Southern treat.

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Collard Greens With Slow Roasted Pork Belly

This Southern recipe was made from my Farmer’s Market opening day bounty and pulls together a few of my favorite farmer’s market finds: Tender collard greens, paired with rich pork belly. This dish is perfect if you’ve just had a stash of your greens in your drawer that you’ve been looking to work into a dish or perhaps bought a bushel too much from your local farmer’s market trip. This dish makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish.

 

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Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

My chilled soup adds farm-fresh sweet strawberries for a cool and refreshing treat.This recipe features both ways of making a gazpacho – you have the option to seed the tomatoes or you don’t. Either way, you’ll still have a great batch of gazpacho!

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Fried Pickles and Comeback Sauce: Your How to Guide

Like pickles? You’ll love this recipe, and you’ll be delighted to discover that there are so many ways to create a delicious batter for your fried pickles. I personally like the combination of seasoned flour and buttermilk for a tangy topping. You can fry them whole or sliced, fried in vegetable or peanut oil – Whatever floats your boat! The comeback sauce featured in this recipe is definitely to die for.

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My Recipe for Hushpuppies is Too Good for Your Dog!

I’ve always considered that my recipe for hush puppies is TOO GOOD…Try it and you be the judge. This recipe is my own version of that South Carolina fisherman’s special recipe. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to follow it precisely to get a tasty result. If you’re looking for a recipe that you can get creative with, this is it! Pick and choose your add-ins and sauces.

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A Tale of Two Schnitzels: How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

A Tale of Two Schnitzels: How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

Bulk cooking equals budget meals without sacrificing good taste! Learn how to freeze food and make the most of your dinner. Click to skip to the recipe

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

 

For years and years, I have poo-pooed the notion that it is difficult to cook for two.

My solution has always been to cook more and people will come and eat it.

This was my mantra and it came true because I had friends and kids and kid’s friends and friends of friends that would drop by.  I had food prepared and ready to go.

Then the world changed. My drop-by visitors have dried up! The leftovers are piling up and although I love leftovers for lunch the next day, hubby does not agree!

Try as I might, he won’t give up that liverwurst sandwich for a previously baked lemon chicken thigh.

All of a sudden, I got it! Couple this with our new normal trend of “take-out dining” and I began to ponder a new truth. 

While I support local restaurants (I take-out) but I must admit, it’s not like the real thing. That French fry or crisply fried chicken skin grows limp as it steams in the bag waiting for the drive home. Rare fish goes to well done if it is left to sit longer than normal. Veggies get soggy, salads warm to room temperature.

This is not the restaurant’s fault. Painstakingly plated chef-prepared food is not designed to be served 20 to 30 minutes after it has been cooked.

 

How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

In order to have food that is prepared and served as it is intended to be eaten, you have to take a look at your freezer. I wondered why frozen food that is heated in the oven or microwave tastes better than take-home food from the restaurant.

Something about the process of preparing the food, freezing it, and then finishing in the oven is better than delivery and reheating.

So, I thought I would experiment and ya know what? It worked!!

Pork loin usually comes two to a package. A smart menu planner would open the package and freeze the loins separately when cooking for two. That’s unfortunately not in my (cook-more-than-you-need) wheelhouse. So, when I defrosted my package of pork loins a few days ago, the opportunity to flash freeze presented itself. 

I thought about schnitzel, which are breaded cutlets sometimes served with mashed potatoes and white gravy. I took the schnitzel idea and made two recipes.

The recipes follow, but here’s the experiment in a nutshell:

I cut each loin into 3-inch medallions. I placed each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. I used my trusty meat mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. These I breaded. I froze half of the breaded cutlets for later use and used those that were left to create Pork Parmesan. Delish!

The best part was that when I defrosted the remaining cutlets to make Pork Milanese it worked like a dream! Perfection and a second delish! 

Now, I’m not saying refrain from taking out food from your favorite spot, because it is our duty to support our local restaurants. But what I am saying is that on those evenings when you choose to cook, prepare more than you might need.

 

Waste Less Food = Make More Meals

Pre-freeze instead of post-freeze and you will have a jump start on another meal that will taste right-out-of-the-oven perfect!

 

Pork Schnitzel Parmesan

Serves:

Time:

4

45-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

A tad more sturdy than eggplant parm, this dish comes together quickly and only requires a side of spaghetti tossed in olive oil and a green salad.

For sauce:

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon dry oregano

For tenderloin:

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs 

For parmesan:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. 

Pour the tomatoes into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce while you prepare the cutlets.

Slice the tenderloin into 3-inch medallions. Place each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Place the egg into a separate dish and mix with 2 tablespoons water. Place the breadcrumbs into a third dish. Take each cutlet and dip it first into the flour (shaking off the excess), then into the egg wash, and finally into the panko breadcrumbs. Place each cutlet onto a rack.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cutlets into the skillet. (You can do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet.) Cook until the cutlet is golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the cutlet over and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the cutlets. Top with both cheeses. Bake until the cheese melts and the cutlets are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

Serves:

Time:

4

45-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

A riff on veal or chicken Milanese, this dish comes together quickly if you’ve managed to previously prepare the cutlets and then just thaw them. For the salad, I used Romaine, red leaf, and arugula lettuces with a chiffon of basil and a bit of dill in the mix. Anything you have in your vegetable drawer will work well here. The secret is to slice the salad ingredients very thinly, so they fit nicely on the cutlet.

For tenderloin:

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs 

For salad:

6 cups finely sliced mix greens and herbs

Juice of lemon, about 2 tablespoons

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Handful (love this amount!) cherry tomatoes, halved

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

Slice the tenderloin into 3-inch medallions. Place each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Place the egg into a separate dish and mix with 2 tablespoons water. Place the breadcrumbs into a third dish. Take each cutlet and dip it first into the flour (shaking off the excess), then into the egg wash and finally into the panko breadcrumbs. Place each cutlet onto a rack.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cutlets into the skillet. (You can do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet.) Cook until the cutlet is golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the cutlet over and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish.

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th.  Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.

Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!

After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.

Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…

Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly

serves 6 or more

30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly

3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.

Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly.  Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.

End of the Year Fresh Market Surprises!

End of the Year Fresh Market Surprises!

We purchase our holiday turkey from New Town Farms in Waxhaw, North Carolina every year. This year, I was surprised to learn that Sammy, New Town’s Father Farmer also raises a small heard of Ossabaw Island Hogs. These are descendants of the famous Spanish Iberico hogs that are renowned for the most prize cured hams in the world – Jamón Ibérico. You may remember me writing about those hams after our trip to Spain a while back. The butchers in the fresh markets have contests to see who can cut the finest slices from the cured meat. It’s an art!

I also learned that these hogs have an interesting history. They were brought from Spain to a small island off the coast of Georgia in the 1500’s. They remained there for years, developing new characteristics for survival which make the meat delicious and extremely high in Omega 3’s. Sammy is one of a handful of farmers who raise these hogs, and he butchers just a few every year. Luckily, we will be the beneficiaries of this long history when we taste the pork that I purchased from Sammy on New Year’s Day.

And, if this is not delicious enough, my trip to the Mathews farmer’s market, where I picked up the pork, landed me right in front of the happiest farmer I ever met, Jim Mundorf of Nuthill Farms (pictured above). These are some of his yummy offerings!

 

He got me to taste his Henpecked mustard greens, which were delicate and tender and had an after-blast of mustard that ups the flavor profile in any salad…and especially on that left-over ham sammie.

He also sold me some Tokyo Cross turnips that you can slice raw into salads, but he suggested that I cook the tops with some vinegar and then roast the turnips to go with. Yes, Jim, I will! Click here to see New Town’s store!

Pork is a New Year’s tradition in our house. This was my Dad’s favorite thing to eat! My favorite way to enjoy the dish is to slow cook the meat (any cut works: chops, ribs, butt and shoulder) in the slow cooker with sauerkraut.

Here’s how ya do it!

Place the sauerkraut into the bottom of your slow cooker. I add sliced onions and slices of cabbage to the kraut. Season the meat and place it on top of the sauerkraut. Pour in about a cup of chicken broth. Cook the pork on low heat for a long time. I serve the dish with mashed potatoes and sautéed greens. This year, we’ll add some mustard greens to the mix!

 

Wishing You’re the Happiest and Healthiest of New Years!!

 

 

The Dandiness of my New Group, Scrumptious Possibilities

The Dandiness of my New Group, Scrumptious Possibilities

With a recipe for dandelion greens.

I’m working on recipes for a new book, CANVAS & CUISINE. A hybrid of recipes and oil paintings celebrate the fresh fruits and vegetables of world farmers markets, with an eye for global cuisine and flavors that range from the very exotic to the simply delicious. My dear painter friend has created masterpieces that depict wandering tourists, as they breathe in outdoor markets. As the chef in this partnership, I take regional dishes and give them a “can-do” spirit.

One of the things that’s been on my fork and (I’m sure!) splashed across the canvas are dandelion greens. To paraphrase Dr. Suess, “you can’t paint them here nor there; you can paint them anywhere!” This time, the dandelion greens on my plate came from an American grocery store rather than a stroll through International markets. I did, however, rely on travels to the Deep South to create this dish. It’s a recipe for fried pork chops with a creamy mustard gravy and sautéed dandelion greens. I chose these greens, because they are traditionally Southern.

These greens need a bit of TLC because they are naturally bitter. Many recipes instruct the cook to find tender, young dandelion greens to reduce their bitterness, but in my experience no matter how young and how tender the greens are, they need to be boiled in a bath of salty water to make them palatable. Adding sautéed onion, shallot, leek or fennel will also add to the subtle sweetness of the dish.

Give this one a try when you’re in the mood for a dish that’s hearty, soulful and delicious all at the same time! And if you’re sitting down somewhere comfortable and need a cuppa while you read or write, I can whole-heartedly recommend dandelion tea, which tastes almost as rich and nutty as coffee. Did I neglect to mention that CANVAS & CUISINE is a coffee table book? There’s a lot to look forward to, my friends…

Fried Pork Chops w/Sautéed Greens

& Mustard Cream Gravy

Serves 4

45 Minute Cuisine

For Greens:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 whole leak, cut in half, thoroughly rinsed, thinly sliced, tough dark green leaves, discarded, about 1 cup

1 pound rainbow Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves rolled and thinly sliced, about 6 cups

¼ cup dry sherry

½ cup homemade chicken stock, or prepared low sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

For Pork Chops:

4 (4 to 6-ounce) 1-inch thick, bone-in pork chops

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cups bread crumbs from about 6 slices day old bread

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ½ cup

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

For Gravy:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 ½ cups half and half

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and cook until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the sherry and cook until the liquid disappears. Pour in the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the greens are very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Brush both sides of the pork chops with mustard and season with salt and pepper. Stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, thyme, garlic and onion powders in a shallow bowl. Melt ¼ cup olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the pork chops in the crumb mixture pressing down to thoroughly coat both sides. Place the chops into the hot oil and fry until golden on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and fry on the second side until golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork chops to a platter, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with flour and whisk to create a roux. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine. Stir in the mustard. Pour in half and half and stir until the gravy thickens. Stir in nutmeg. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Lay the pork chops over the greens and serve the gravy on the side.

 

When You Just Gotta Have Some ‘Cue

When You Just Gotta Have Some ‘Cue

The absolute best thing about living in the South is the barbecue. Slow-roasted, smoked, seasoned, sauced it’s all just delicious! Just riding down the road you spy place after place after place, touting their version of the best barbecue in town. You can’t possibly eat at every mom and pop, checkered table-clothed, pass-the-pickles restaurant that there is, but if you are like me, you just might try!

Sometimes, you have a barbecue craving that just can’t wait. It’s a desperation kinda thing! You long for the twang of the sauce, whether it be molasses-thick, or vinegary tart. The meat has to be sliced thin enough, or perhaps just thick enough with crispy brown edges that snap in your mouth. The bun is soft, the cole slaw piled on top and yes…. you might just have a side or two of hush puppies to go along with your cue.

Want to know how to get that slow-roasted, barbecue flavor at home, in just under an hour? I have a secret. Please don’t give me away to any of the locals, because this just ain’t a bit authentic, and we know how important traditions are in these parts. But, it will work just fine – especially if you are in another part of the country, and just can’t go on down the road to satisfy your hankerin’ for Southern-style barbecue.

Slow Roasted Pork Tenderloin

A video of making this magic is coming to Youtube soon! A video of making this magic is coming to Youtube soon!

Serves 6 to 8

60 Minute Cuisine

3 tablespoons bacon fat (substitute with a combination of butter and olive oil)

2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins

1 tablespoon prepared steak seasoning (substitute with a combination of garlic salt and onion salt)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup barbecue sauce

For Sammies:

6 to 8 soft hamburger buns

Cole slaw

Pickles

More sauce!

Preheat the oven to 300°. Heat the bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season the tenderloins with steak seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the tenderloins into the hot fat (it will spit back at you so be careful). Brown the pork on all sides, about 5 minutes. Use a pot holder to place the skillet into the oven. Roast the pork for 45 minutes. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Pour 1 cup (or more) barbecue sauce over the pork. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for 15 minutes more.

Remove the skillet from the oven. DO NOT forget to use your pot holder! Cover the meat with aluminum foil and rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to your work surface and slice. Pile sliced pork onto the buns. Top the meat with extra sauce, cole-slaw and pickles. Yee haw!!