Monday, August 3, 2015

Pork with Mushrooms & Mashed Potatoes

By: The Food Hunter

There's something comforting about this one pot meal of pork and mushrooms served with mashed potatoes. And though it is probably more of a winter dish I can't resist making it all year long.

It's one of those easy weeknight dinners that goes from stove-top to table in about 30 minutes, takes minimal effort to put together and tastes amazing.

Pork with Mushrooms
(printable recipe)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup flour
2 to 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup white wine
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed & sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
Mashed Potatoes

In a medium bowl, whisk together water, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Set aside. Working in batches, lay pork tenderloin slices on a large cutting board or work surface with a bit of space between them. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over them. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the pork tenderloin slices to 1/4-inch thick.

Mix the flour with salt and pepper and lightly flour the pork.

In a large deep skillet or pot set over medium to medium-high heat, melt together olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, cook pork slices for a couple of minutes on the first side, or until they start to brown. Flip meat and cook until the other side begins to turn brown as well. If necessary, add a bit more olive oil and butter to pot as you brown the meat. Remove cooked pork to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic, cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the white wine until almost evaporated.

Add mushrooms and the liquid mixture to the pan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until reduced by half. Add pork back in for two more minutes.

Serve hot over mashed potatoes.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Irish Burger

By: The Food Hunter

This is my first Kerrygold monthly challenge post; but it won't be my last. I have always been a huge fan of Kerrygold Irish style butter, and though I knew they also sold cheese, I had never had an occasion to cook with it. That is all about to change with the monthly challenges. Each month I will be sent different products to work with and a theme. My job is to create an amazing recipe from whatever I am sent.

This month we are celebrating summer with an outdoor BBQ and the challenge is to create a drool worthy burger featuring Kerrygold cheese. I put my thinking cap on and decided I would take the classic Irish dish, Corned Beef & Cabbage and turn it into an Irish themed burger. Crazy you say? This burger is delicious and darn-near foolproof.

After discussing with a local chef I decided to use a mixture of brisket and a fatty piece of chuck as my base, guaranteeing a juicy & flavorful burger. I buy my meat from a local butcher and grind it myself so I know exactly what I'm getting. I topped the burgers with a a thick slab of Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, a homemade tangy vinegar coleslaw, and a slightly spicy mustard. Aged for 12 months, the Dubliner cheese has the elements of a mature cheddar, and the piquant bite of aged Parmesan. It melts well and completely rounded out the burger.

The Irish Burger
(printable recipe)
For the Burger
Equal parts chuck & brisket
Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, cut into pieces
vinegar coleslaw
sesame burger buns
spicy Irish mustard

Form meat into 1/3 lb patties and generously season with salt and pepper.

For the Coleslaw
1.5 cups white cabbage, sliced thin
1.5 cups purple cabbage, sliced thin
2 medium sized carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp celery leaves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Irish mustard (or whole grain mustard)
1-2 tsp honey, melted
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
salt to taste

In a bowl, mix the cabbage, carrots, apple, parsley and celery leaves. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, cider vinegar, mustard, black pepper, and honey.

Pour the vinaigrette over the dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

Putting it all together
Grill burger patties until desired doneness. I like my bugers medium rare. Add cheese during the last 2 minutes of grilling and allow to melt.

Remove from grill and let burger rest slightly. Spread one side of bun with spicy mustard. Add burger and top with a heaping portion of coleslaw.

I received products for recipe development purposes but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chef Rocco Whalen's Slow Cooked Ohio Bacon with Blood Orange Agrodolce and Ciabatta Crumble

By: The Food Hunter

This past January, on the eve of Superbowl Sunday, I was invited to cover the Taste of The NFL, Party with a Purpose held at Westworld of Scottsdale. This event is a unique way to experience exceptional cuisine, meet NFL players and coaches, and support the fight against hunger. (you can read more about my experience here)

It was during that event that I met Chef Rocco Whalen, of Fahrenheit Restaurant in Cleveland. A Cleveland native Chef Whalen started cooking at the early age of 19. After graduating from Pennsylvania Culinary he headed west where he worked for five years in the kitchens of restaurants owned by Wolfgang Puck. In 2001 he returned to Cleveland and worked as exec chef at Blue Point Grille and from there opened Fahrenheit in 2002.

It was the smell of bacon that led me to Chef Whalen's station at the Taste of The NFL, Party with a Purpuse. He was serving bite size pieces of slow braised slab bacon with a sweet and sour blood orange sauce, topped with micro basil and homemade ciabatta bread crumbs. It was out of this world and I was happy to learn he would share the recipe with me.

Over the past several months this recipe has resided on my desktop, teasing me every time I turned on my computer. Finally this past weekend, with no other prior commitments on my plate, I had time to cook this dish.

Combining blood orange juice with ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar makes a delicious sweet and sour glaze which complimented the fork tender slab bacon. We served it along side a mix of sauteed cabbage and carrots. The result was a perfectly flavored meal.

Slow Cooked Ohio Bacon with Blood Orange Agrodolce and Ciabatta Crumble

(recipe courtesy of Chef Rocco Whalen)

For the Bacon:
1 lb Ohio Slab Bacon (unsliced)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
8 Thyme Sprigs
1 cup Water

Using a paring knife, score the slab of bacon in a cross-hatch fashion letting the knife run about 1/4 “ deep into the slab. Rub the brown sugar all over the bacon on both the top and bottom. Place a roasting rack in the bottom of a baking dish and fill just to the surface of the rack with water. Place the pork on the rack so that the bottom of the pork is just touching the water. Place thyme sprigs evenly over the top surface of the slab. Cover tightly with Foil or a lid and place in a 300 degree oven. Let bake for 4-6 hours or until the slab is fork tender.

For the Glaze:
3 oz Blood Orange Juice
1 oz Soy Sauce
2 oz Brown Sugar
.25 tsp Garlic, minced
.5 tsp Ginger, minced

In a sauce pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer while stirring. Remove from heat.

For the Crumble:
4 ea Slices Ciabatta
2 T Olive Oil
½ tsp Kosher Salt

Rub the Ciabatta slices with the olive oil and season with salt. Place in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and crisp. Once cool, transfer the bread to a food processor and pulse until they become crumbs. Reserve.

For the Garnish:

2 T Micro Basil (Substitute: 2 T of roughly chopped Basil)

Sauteed Carrots & Cabbage
(adapted from

1⁄2 head purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 head white cabbage, shredded
3 carrot, shredded
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1⁄2 medium onion, finely chopped
pinch ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Add ginger and garlic, cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add carrots, cabbage, salt and black pepper; Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add the vinegar and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Serve warm.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tomato Basil Hummus Dip

By: The Food Hunter

I've been invited to join this month's Progressive Eats dinner. What is Progressive Eats? Well it's a virtual version of a progressive dinner where people travel from house to house to share in different courses of a meal. For the virtual version a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes on their site and you go from blog to blog to check them out.

This month's theme is herbs and it couldn't be more perfect for me. My garden herbs are growing wild and I love adding them to recipes when they are so fresh. Fresh herbs can dramatically change the taste of a dish, which makes experimenting with different ones fun. Just remember there are no rules when it comes to using herbs. Whatever you like is what works.

We grow a variety of different kind: lemon balm, oregano, sage, basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, mint and rosemary. My favorite and the one I find myself using most often is basil. I love the fresh taste it gives to vegetables, specially tomatoes.

When I saw this recipe online I knew I had to try it. A dip that features tomatoes and basil sounds like a dream come true to me. I switched it up a little to meet my tastes and it was absolutely perfect.


2 plum tomatoes, quartered
olive oil
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar. (this is a technique I learned from Mario Batali) Roast until softened and starting to blister, about 30 minutes. Cool.

In a food processor, purée the chickpeas, tomato, basil, oil, cumin, until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2-3 tablespoons water as necessary to make creamier.

Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Cooking with Herbs

Monday, July 27, 2015

Target Made To Matter Products To Include StonyField

By: The Food Hunter

People talk about wanting to being green all the time, yet say it is too hard. What they don't understand is how simple it actually is. There are a lot of things you can do to be more green especially in the kitchen. For example: switch from plastic containers to glass, use eco-friendly dish soap and chemical free cleaning products and grow your own or buy local whenever you can. 

I do my best to be green, so you can imagine how happy I was to learn about the Made-To-Matter program at Target. The program makes it even easier to go green by offering effortless access to high quality better for the earth products. Items like Seventh Generation dish soap, Method dishwasher detergent and Justin's All Natural Nut Butters to name a few. I like the idea of being able to shop in one store to find all the green products I need for my kitchen. Let's face's up to us to make a difference and what we purchase for our kitchen is a great place to start.

Even more exciting is that starting in August one of my favorite yogurt brands, Stonyfield, will be part of the program (you can read more about that here). Stonyfield co-founders have been on a mission since the early 1980's to help family farms survive, keep food and food production healthy and help protect the environment. The details of their exclusive-to-Target line of organic yogurt is still under wraps, (think coconut & maple) but you can expect to see 6 new certified organic, gluten free and completely delicious flavors on the Target shelves soon.

What do you do in your kitchen to be a little greener?

I have an ongoing relationship with Stonyfield as a member of the Clean Plate Club. I receive product, coupons and compensation for posts featuring their products. As always, all opinions are 100% my own