Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing

Combining pork with seafood has been going on for centuries in Europe and Asian countries. For example, take the Spanish with their paella — a mix of chorizo, prawns and mussels and the Chinese with pork and prawn dumplings.

During January, Brion & I spent a few weeks at the Los Cactus resort in Varadero, Cuba. Varadero is a 1.2 km wide peninsula situated along Cuba’s northern coast with 20 km of white sandy beaches. This vicinity has a variety of natural attractions as well as cultural and historical. Varadero is primarily visited by European and Canadian tourists.

Cuba is one big classic car museum. These 1950’s cars are everywhere, in every color and in many shapes, makes and models. While in the USA & Canada these cars would be collector’s items, in Cuba, they are used as everyday vehicles as well as taxis, often providing a good income for their owners.

Being so close to Havana we took the opportunity to take a guided day tour of the capital city. One thing we found really amazing in Cuba, was their bus system. The buses were relatively clean and comfortable with professional drivers. Our day trip to Havana was about 10 1/2 hours long, round trip, with an English speaking guide. Brion & I found the day very interesting. It consisted of a walking tour of Old Havana, lunch and then a panoramic tour of modern Havana to Revolution Square, the famous ‘Malecon’ seawall promenade, Christopher Columbus Necropolis and the Vedado Residential area.

This city is a mixture of opulence and decay, old world and new, socialism and capitalism, Europe, Africa and America. In Old Havana, effort has gone into rebuilding for tourist purposes, and a number of the streets and squares have been rehabilitated. The fact is that Old Havana is a large city, and the restoration efforts concentrate in all on less than 10% of its area. It seems whatever your interests, Havana offers an interesting mix of rhythms, rum, revolution and history.

During the tour, our guide took us to the top floor of the Gomez Vila. You climb up to the tower, about eight flights of stairs where there is a rooftop veranda. Here you can get a 360 degree view of the city. Located here as well, is the ‘Camera Obscura’. This optical device of lenses and mirrors projects an aerial image of the city into a giant concave screen taking you on a bird’s eye tour of Havana in real time. The projections are so clear that you can even pick out individuals walking on the cobble stone streets. It is one of the 74 cameras like it worldwide. Amazing!

In Revolution Square, we viewed some iconic images on the buildings of two Revolutionary heroes, Che Guevara and Camillo Cienfeugos. It was very interesting listening to our tour guide in regards to the Cuban Revolution, giving us this history from a Cuban perspective. There is a complex system of three fortifications that protected Havana, it’s port and it’s dockyard. From the seawall we got some photos of Morro Castle at the entrance with its emblematic light house that was built four centuries ago.

Cuban cuisine is a blend of several cultures — Taino, Spanish, African and Caribbean, with each adding their own methods of cooking and choice of spices. The most common spices used are garlic, cumin, oregano and bay or laurel leaves. Black beans and rice are Cuban staples.

The popularity of pork in Cuban cuisine has long historical roots. Spanish explorers brought pigs to the Caribbean islands back in 1492. From what I understand, one of the secrets of moist and flavorful Cuban pork is that the pigs feed on palmiche, the fruit of a palm tree.  The ‘Royal Palm’ is the national tree of Cuba. It is native to the island and is such a characteristic symbol of its scenery. Notice the big clusters of palm nuts at the top of the Royal palm tree in one of the blog pics.

I wanted to share a recipe today that seemed very in keeping with our Cuban travels. These pork loin chops are stuffed with crabmeat filling and drizzled with a raspberry pepper jelly sauce. 

Brion has added a few of his great pics from Cuba for you to enjoy.

Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Instructions
Pork Chops
  1. Trim all excess fat from loin chops. Place meat on a sheet of plastic wrap & cover with a second sheet. Using a meat tenderizer, pound meat flat until double in diameter. Set aside.
Crab meat Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, saute onions & garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until onions are tender. Remove from heat. Add remaining stuffing ingredients, including the 2 Tbsp of reserved crab liquid. Mix just until incorporated.
Assembly/ Cooking
  1. Lay TWO chops on lightly oiled griddle or skillet. Divide filling between them; place remaining TWO chops on top. Brown the stuffed pork chops on both sides, turning carefully.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place stuffed chops in an ungreased casserole. Cover & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for 15 minutes longer or until meat thermometer reads 160 F. when inserted into the meat & juices run clear.
Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth, red pepper jelly & raspberry preserves. Divide sauce between 2 serving plates & top each with a stuffed pork chop.
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Swedish Meatballs

With New Years Eve gatherings fast approaching, these little gems come to mind in the form of  hors ‘d’ oeuvres. Of course, they are always great for a main dish as well.

The Swedish word for meatball, ‘Kottbullar’, first appeared in print around 1754. They are traditional Swedish ‘old-world’ fare at Smorgasbords and other festive occasions. Initially Swedish meatballs were only enjoyed by upper class Swedes but the increased availability of wood stoves and meat grinders in the 1850’s made meatballs accessible to the middle class as well. In northern Scandinavian countries beef was considered a luxury item, which meant meatballs were highly prized.

The meat content can vary based on geography. In southern Sweden, they are most often a 50/50 mix of beef and pork whereas further north in Sweden 70/30 of beef to pork is typical. Likely other options would be veal, venison, lamb or moose. Size-wise, they are smaller than those of Italy or Germany, typically not larger than a golf ball or smaller than  3/4″(2.5 cm) across.

The cream gravy (sauce) and spices play a big part in the taste of this dish, traditionally served with lingonberry preserves, mashed potatoes and pickled cucumber salad. The ‘pressed cucumber’, as it is called, provides some crunch, saltiness and acidity to the sweet creaminess of the rest of the meal.

In America, Swedish meatballs were very popular in the beginning of the 20th century and again in the 1950’s-1960′.

Brion and I have always enjoyed these tasty little meatballs so we are having them as our main course meal today.

Swedish Meatballs
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Servings
140 meatballs depending on the size you make
Servings
140 meatballs depending on the size you make
Swedish Meatballs
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Servings
140 meatballs depending on the size you make
Servings
140 meatballs depending on the size you make
Ingredients
Cream Sauce
Servings: depending on the size you make
Instructions
Meatballs
  1. Soak breadcrumbs in 2 cups of 1/2 & 1/2 cream. Fry onion in margarine. Combine all meatball ingredients & mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Preheat broiler to a high setting.
  2. Place meatballs in a large baking dish, allowing a bit of space in between each one. Broil about 4" (10 cm) from heat until the tops are browned nicely. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Set oven to bake & reduce temperature to 300 F. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, depending on their size. If it seems they are getting too brown, cover lightly with a piece of foil to finish baking.
Cream Sauce (Gravy)
  1. In a small saucepan, cook margarine & flour until bubbly. Slowly add broth & cream; boil for a FEW minutes, add soy, salt & pepper. Pour over hot meatballs.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe can easily be made in whatever amount you need but I find making the whole thing & freezing them in various amounts works great for quick future meals. Freezing them without any sauce also gives you the option to adapt them to other types of meals.
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Roasted Turkey Breast Roulade Baked in Squash

Whether you celebrate Christmas culturally, religiously or not at all, it seems a good time to evaluate your priorities to make sure you are truly doing what matters to you most. Christmas comes and goes each year during which the ‘Christmas Spirit’ is alive and well. Wouldn’t it be nice if that same spirit was applied to our daily lives all year long.

Today, December 25th, we celebrate my sister Rita’s birthday as well as Christmas Day. Our family’s Christmas eve birthday ‘parties’ hold many fond memories for me. After attending Christmas eve church service, upon returning home, we would be joined by family friends to have birthday cake and some homemade root beer. It was very important to my parents that a special birthday acknowledgement was made to Rita apart from the Christmas festivities.

Christmas is a nostalgic time of year for many of us — recalling simple family traditions. When it comes to holiday decorations, the thing I remember most were the ‘multitudes’ of Christmas cards that our family received in the mail. My mother would fasten string between doorways and windows to hang them all on each time we would receive another one. There was a limited amount of other Christmas decorations. We used the same ones year after year and that was what made them so special. They all had their own special place where they belonged, and once they were out, it truly felt like Christmas.

Probably, the most cherished item was a Christmas Manger set. This cardboard tabletop Nativity was published by Concordia Publishing House in early 1940’s from illustrations first produced by artist George Hinke. A base was provided with special tabs to hold the 17 lithographed figures upright; each tab being carefully labeled making it easy to assemble.

George Hinke was born in 1883 in Berlin, Germany where he studied as a painter. He immigrated to the United States in 1923.

I remember this Nativity scene vividly as the cardboard figures were so beautiful and accurately painted. It was sold in a cardboard box that contained assembly instructions. One of the trips Brion and I made to Italy was just after Christmas one year in early January. Thanks to the European mindset, the outdoor Christmas decor had not been tucked away for the season. The detail in some of the Nativity scenes was incredible. They brought back memories of that little ‘Christmas Manger’ set from many years ago.

For our Christmas dinner this year we are having something a little different from the traditional roast turkey. Turkey roulade lets you have all the traditional flavors of Christmas without having to go through the whole turkey cooking episode. Not only is it mouthwatering and tender, it’s easy to make, cooks quicker, a breeze to carve and looks super elegant. Now, there’s the matter of the stuffing. Equally essential to the holiday table, it’s a far more expressive medium than the turkey itself. You could say, it is the personality with countless options. 

Today’s recipe is a turkey breast that has been flattened and stuffed with herbs, cranberries and hazelnuts. The roulade is wrapped with bacon to keep it moist and tucked into a half of a spaghetti squash. The drippings from the bacon and turkey flavor the squash perfectly as it bakes giving a tasty, earthy, vegetable side dish. Brion and I preferred some cranberry sauce and a traditional gravy with this meal but if you want to kick it up a notch you could serve a thin apple cider gravy instead.

                                         HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RITA!                                                                              ENJOY YOUR DAY AS WE CELEBRATE YOU WITH LOVE

        SEASON’S GREETINGS TO EVERYONE FOLLOWING MY BLOG

Roasted Turkey Breast Roulade Baked in Squash
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Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Roasted Turkey Breast Roulade Baked in Squash
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Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Ingredients
Turkey, Stuffing & Squash
Servings:
Instructions
Stuffing
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 T. butter. Saute onion, garlic & sage leaves, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toasted hazelnuts, cranberries, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper; cook for another minute or so. Remove from heat & cool completely.
Turkey Breasts
  1. Using a sharp knife, 'butterfly' turkey breasts. Cover with plastic wrap, flatten them slightly with a meat tenderizer. Divide stuffing between the two breasts & spread it out evenly. Roll breasts up, place cut side down onto work surface. Wrap each roulade with 6 slices of bacon, tucking the ends under the turkey rolls.
Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice the spaghetti squash in half & scoop out the seeds. Place both haves on a large roasting pan & drizzle with olive oil. Roast 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven & place the bacon wrapped roulades into the cavity of the squash. Return turkey/squash roulade to oven, lower oven temperature to 350 F. & roast until the internal temperature of the turkey roulade is 155 F., ABOUT 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven & allow to stand about 10 minutes. Slice & place on serving platter.
Apple Cider Gravy
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine turkey stock, apple cider & sage leaves; bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until sauce is reduced & thickened slightly. Remove sage leaves & discard. Drop in butter cubes; whisk to incorporate, add pepper & remove from heat. Serve hot over turkey roulade.
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Apricot-Spice Meatball Hors d’ Oeuvres

The humble meatball is one of the most versatile foods. They seem to exist in just about every culture and can be used in any number of ways, not only with pasta and rice but as a tasty little hors d’ oeuvres. 

I find apricots to be a good compliment to meatball hors d’ oeuvres. Using  Mediterranean (also known as Turkish) apricots is a good choice as their flesh is thicker and plumper as well as having great flavor.

Many people prefer to fry meatballs but it seems to me that usually ends up with a charred outside and they are still raw inside. Baking them in the oven will result in a much more even cooking. Personal choice I guess.

This recipe for  APRICOT-SPICE MEATBALLS  is one I’ve used many times over the years.    They work well at Christmas events when hot                      hors d’ oeuvres are in demand. Make the meatballs up, bake and freeze ahead of time — thaw when needed!  At serving time, make the spicy apricot nectar sauce and your ready to go.

Apricot-Spice Meatball Hors d' Oeuvres
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Servings
30 meatballs
Servings
30 meatballs
Apricot-Spice Meatball Hors d' Oeuvres
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Servings
30 meatballs
Servings
30 meatballs
Ingredients
Apricot Meatballs
Spiced Apricot Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs & milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in egg white, onion, apricots, salt, garlic & chili powder. Add ground pork & turkey; mix well. Shape meat mixture into 30 meatballs. Place on prepared baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked. Remove meatballs from pan to paper towels.
Spiced Apricot Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sauce ingredients. Cook & stir over medium heat until thickened & bubbly.
  2. Place meatballs in a slow cooker. Add sauce, stirring gently to coat. Turn heat setting to low. This should keep meatballs warm, while being used by guests for about 2 hours.
Recipe Notes
  • If you find your sauce gets to thick or you prefer it thinner to begin with, just use a little more apricot nectar.
  • This meat combination makes a real flavorful meatball.
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Sweet Potato Boats

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

When I think about Autumn here in Canada, it could be likened to a      van Gogh painting. The landscape transforms into a beautiful tapestry of red, gold and yellow. As the days grow shorter and the mornings darker, your tastes turn from salads and cool drinks to your favorite comfort foods. Smells that bring you back to your childhood……. evoking so much from one moment in time is the sheer essence of Autumn.

The truth being is that fall just gives us a different perspective. The word Thanksgiving  itself makes one pause and ask, what am I thankful for this year? We start to reflect on the year we have had with it’s inevitable highs and lows.

Fall also represents a time of change. As nature bursts with it’s fabulous fall foliage, it gives us a little bit of extra time to make the most of what we have left in this year before the grand finale.

For the last 60 years, Canada has celebrated Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October. It’s one of those holidays that tend to bring families together, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately though, in this highly technological age, it seems as if we have become more connected digitally than emotionally. Thinking about the food aspect of this holiday, sweet potatoes have become synonymous with Thanksgiving (and Fall).

Native to Central and South America, sweet potatoes are some of the oldest vegetables on the planet. Distantly related to commonplace, starchy Russets and Yukon Golds. Western markets have tagged some sweet potatoes with the deceptive name ‘yams’ to differentiate the southern from the northern crops. True yams are rough-skinned tubers, related to lilies.

Enter the ‘Candied Yam Casserole’. It seems to be the most divisive of the side dishes served, a real ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ kind of thing. Definitely not a venerated Thanksgiving tradition but more of a marketing promotion that caught on. It was 1917 when the first instance of sweet potatoes baked with a coat of marshmallows appeared in a recipe booklet commissioned by Angelus Marshmallow Company. The recipes in the booklet showed you how to incorporate marshmallows into everyday dishes so that their product wouldn’t fail and ‘viola’, the classic and capitalistic pairing was born.

I do remember my mother making this casserole for our special Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, being a kid that loved sweets, it tasted real good. At this point in time, I would rather just have them with salt and pepper for most part.

My blog recipe is one I came across in a Pillsbury booklet from 2010          ( pillsbury.com ). We have enjoyed it several times as it fits in perfect with a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Sweet Potato Boats
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Sweet Potato Boats
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork & rub with oil. Place on baking sheet & bake 45-55 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp; remove & drain on paper towel. In bacon drippings, cook onion & celery about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add broth & 2 Tbsp butter; heat to boiling. Stir in stuffing mix, cranberries & 2 Tbsp of the walnuts. Remove from heat, cover & set aside.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out potato flesh, leaving a 1/3-inch thick wall on inside of shell; set aside. Place potato flesh in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp syrup, remaining 2 Tbsp butter & the nutmeg; mash. Spoon about 1/2 cup of stuffing mixture into each potato shell; spoon mashed sweet potato mixture over stuffing, leaving some stuffing exposed around side of shell.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil again & spray with cooking spray. Place potato boats on sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle potatoes with crumbled bacon bits & remaining 2 Tbsp walnuts; drizzle with additional syrup.
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Victoria Day – Canada’s Ode to Summer

Victoria Day is the distinctly Canadian holiday that officially wraps up winter. Even if the date marks the informal start of summer, you could be planning for a backyard barbecue or an impromptu indoor shut-in due to an array of snow, sleet, rain or hail.

Although we are well into the 21st century, in Canada we still celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday over 100 years after her passing. The only other country in the Commonwealth to observe this celebration is Scotland. This is our oldest statuary holiday in Canada and is celebrated annually on the Monday preceding May 25th. In the maritime provinces it is a non-statuary ‘general’ holiday and in Quebec, ‘National Patriots Day’ is observed instead.

While we might hang onto the British queen’s name for old times sake, the tradition of Victoria Day is truly Canadian and has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days, and a lot to do with some great food.

My choice of food for today’s blog should work well with your own ‘barbecue’ meal. It is APPLE-TURKEY SAUSAGE ROLLS  and STUFFED POTATO SKINS.

Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
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Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
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Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Ingredients
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
Servings:
Instructions
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute apple, onion, sage, thyme & allspice in olive oil for 5 minutes. Apples & onions should be soft but not browned. Remove from heat & set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooled apple mixture with ground turkey, salt & pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is evenly combined, making sure not to overwork the mixture.
  4. Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface, cut crosswise to make three long, strips ((about 10 x 3.5" each) Brush a line of mustard down the middle of each strip. Divide filling into 3 equal portions. Roll into sausage shapes & place down the middle of each pastry rectangle. Brush edges firmly to seal.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining beaten egg, & sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with plastic wrap & place in the freezer to firm up, about 15 minutes.
  6. Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll into 8 bite-sized pieces & arrange 1" apart on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown & sausage is cooked through.
Stuffed Potato Skins
  1. Microwave potatoes, uncovered, on high for 14-17 minutes or until tender but firm, turning once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4" shell ( pulp can be used elsewhere).
  2. Combine oil & hot pepper sauce; brush over potato shells. Cut each potato shell in half lengthwise again. Place on baking sheets coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with the tomato, bacon, onion & cheese. Bake at 450 F. for 12-14 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
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Broccoli- Salmon Pasta Shells

When it comes to stuffed pastas, the only limitation is your own imagination. Sometimes it could be inspired by the seasons, maybe what you grew in your garden. Other times, its what you have on hand. Some of the best baked pastas evolve from a little adventure and risk taking.

The filling you choose, gives body and character. The sauce should bring the plate alive and complement the filling, not overpower or mask what is held within the pasta ‘walls’. Generally, there are three types of sauce used when making this entree; either a light tomato sauce, Bechamel or cream sauce or a broth sauce.

I have always favored using ‘Conchiglioni‘ pasta, the name derives from the Italian word meaning ‘seashells’. Their shape, size and consistency are the perfect vessel for bold, rich fillings and flavorful sauces. Baked pastas, or ‘pastas al forno’ as they are called in Italy, date back to the Renaissance when they were being served at the banquets of nobles.

Anyone following my food blogs has long since figured out I have a huge love for ‘stuffing things’. Although this meal may seem a bit ordinary, the recipe is one I developed many years ago and still enjoy using it. You can also find it featured in my eBook  on Amazon,  ‘Living Large on a Lean Food Budget’.

               Today, March 24th, is the birthday of my brother, Tony.

                                                 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TONY!

                      ENJOY YOUR DAY AS WE CELEBRATE YOU WITH LOVE.

 

Broccoli- Salmon Pasta Shells
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Servings
18 shells
Servings
18 shells
Broccoli- Salmon Pasta Shells
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Servings
18 shells
Servings
18 shells
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta shells in boiling, salted water with a small amount of oil added, for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt margarine & remove from heat. Stir in water & sauce mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat & simmer 3 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine salmon, mushrooms, broccoli, onions & half of dill sauce.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fill pasta shells with salmon mixture. All the filling should fit into 18 shells as they are nicely 'overstuffed'. In a small bowl, mix together remaining dill sauce, reserved salmon juice & mushroom soup. Spread some sauce over bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Lay filled shells single file in pan. Pour remaining sauce over all & top with grated cheddar cheese.
  5. Cover with foil & bake about 45-50 minutes.
Recipe Notes
  • This meal is easily portioned and frozen for an easy quick fix for supper later.
  • If you prefer, you could use fresh baked salmon instead of canned.
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Oyster Stuffed Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Most of our vacations over the years have been reasonably structured with a focus on a specific country, it’s people and the geographical treasures within. With the world in such disarray lately, we have been keeping a fairly low profile in our travels. Needing a little ‘sea, sun & sand’ it seemed logical that the Dominican Republic would fit the bill. Of course, you first have to go through all the flying trials and tribulations. To simplify things, Brion had us booked on a direct flight so that helped. Nevertheless, after 6 or 7 hours of flying your always happy to land. A couple of years ago we had spent 12 days in the DR so we new what to expect for most part.

For the next 10 days we settled into holiday mode — eat, sleep and walk on those beautiful pristine white sandy beaches. Being in a resort you have endless choices when it comes to food and drink. Brion and I have a shared love of seafood so we took full advantage of that.

For today’s blog it seems fitting to prepare a meal that would combine seafood and pork– both used extensively in the DR. Oysters accented with bacon, maple and apples give this recipe a very unique character.

Oyster Stuffed Glazed Pork Tenderloin
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Pork tenderloin makes a wonderful option for smaller dinner parties.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Oyster Stuffed Glazed Pork Tenderloin
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Pork tenderloin makes a wonderful option for smaller dinner parties.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Tenderloin
Servings:
Instructions
Oyster Stuffing
  1. In a large non-stick skillet saute bacon, onion, apple, garlic & thyme leaves. Cook, stirring often for 7 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Add chicken broth & oysters; cook for 1 minute or until moisture is evaporated. Add bread & toss to coat with cooked mixture; cool to room temperature.
Tenderloin
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice along the length of each tenderloin almost through to the center, so it opens like a book. Sprinkle evenly with salt & pepper. Spread the stuffing mixture down the length of one tenderloin & top with the remaining tenderloin. Secure the layers with kitchen twine tied at equal intervals. Place the roast on a rack set over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Stir the maple syrup with the mustard until well combined.
  2. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until it registers 165 F. on meat thermometer when inserted into thickest part of meat & stuffing. Baste the meat with the maple mixture twice during roasting. Broil on the center rack for 5 minutes or until glossy. Let roast rest 5 minutes before slicing.
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Tourtiere – Cooking with a French Accent

New Years Eve and Christmas are the traditional occasions to serve tourtiere. This classic French Canadian meat pie originated in the province of Quebec, Canada as early as 1600. While it may seem foreign to some, tourtiere is as Canadian as maple syrup or hockey. It is one of Canada’s better contributions to the culinary world being enjoyed throughout Canada as well as  the upper mid west and eastern United States.

Fundamentally, tourtiere is a pie that contains meat and spices baked in a flaky crust. The meat is generally diced or ground, including any or all of pork, veal, beef or wild game. Other less common varieties include salmon or poultry. No matter what the meats used, or the presence or absence of potato, bold seasoning is the rule for all varieties. The four original spices used in the classic tourtiere are cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Like so many of these recipes that have been ‘handed down’ over generations, each family alters it to suit their taste. 

Something sweet and sour or something with a ‘kick’ pairs well with the spiced meat and flaky crust of tourtiere. Some choices might be cranberry sauce, pickled beets, chili sauce, green tomato relish, olives, spicy fruit chutney or salsa.

Even in today’s increasingly fast-paced world, these time consuming dishes are still being prepared. Just to clarify – Brion and I are not French Canadian but like many Canadians , we enjoy our seasonal ‘fix’ of this classic.

Apart from making tourtiere in the traditional form, try it as tourtiere meatballs, phyllo rolls, burgers, turnovers or chicken tourtiere tartlets. The recipe I’m posting today comes from a tiny little pamphlet I probably have had for 30 years from a meat packing company. It has been one that I have worked with the spices to suit our taste. Spices listed as ‘optional’, lets you do the same. 

                   HAPPY NEW YEARS TO EVERYONE READING MY BLOGS

                                           BEST WISHES FOR 2017 !!

Tourtiere - Cooking with a French Accent
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Servings
5-6 servings
Servings
5-6 servings
Tourtiere - Cooking with a French Accent
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Servings
5-6 servings
Servings
5-6 servings
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into small pieces & fry over moderate heat until cooked but not crisp. Add pork, veal & onion; cook until meat is lightly browned. Add water & spices; reduce heat to simmer; cover pan & cook 45 minutes more. Combine meat with mashed potatoes; cool slightly.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F. Meanwhile, line a 9" pie pan with pastry; fill with meat mixture. Place top crust in position; seal & flute edges, slash several times for air vents. If preferred, cut 'leaves' from pastry & place on top of pie. An egg wash can be brushed over pastry before placing in oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes; reduce heat to 350 F. & continue to bake 30 minutes longer.
Recipe Notes
  • I have a great pastry recipe on my Thanksgiving blog in October 2016 if you choose to make your own.
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White Bean Soup with Pumpkin Pastry

This meal, better known in German ‘circles’ as  Weisse Bohnensuppe & Plachinda.  Kind of an unusual pairing of sorts  —  bean soup with a sweet pumpkin pastry?? It is one of those meals my mother used to make that got pushed into the back of my memory. With pumpkin season approaching and the weather feeling like fall, hearty soups start to come to mind.

Once again I set out to bring back the ‘taste of a memory’. Of course, this usually starts with some discussion about the meal with my sister Loretta. Between the two of us we can usually remember enough so I can attempt to recreate the taste.

It seems most recipes you find on the internet make plachinda as individual turnovers. I think I recall my mother making it in a rectangle casserole dish with the pastry on the bottom and up the sides and the filling showing. I decided to make it as a ‘jelly roll’.

Here’s my ‘spin’ on this much loved meal. Good but as usual never quite as wonderful as my mother’s. 

White Bean Soup with Pumpkin Pastry
Yum
Print Recipe
A full-bodied soup with a rich appetizing flavor served with a German pumpkin pastry.
Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
White Bean Soup with Pumpkin Pastry
Yum
Print Recipe
A full-bodied soup with a rich appetizing flavor served with a German pumpkin pastry.
Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
Ingredients
Pumpkin Plachinda Filling
Plachinda Pastry Dough
Servings:
Instructions
White Bean Soup
  1. Cover beans with water in a large stock pot & soak overnight. Rinse & drain beans well; return to pot with ham bone & 12 cups water. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
  2. Add parsley, onions, garlic, celery with tops, salt & pepper as well as the extra 6 cups of hot water. Simmer, uncovered for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove ham bone, dice the meat & add to soup. Serve with pumpkin plachinda.
Pumpkin Plachinda
  1. In a small bowl, combine filling ingredients; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan (or line with parchment paper).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Whisk together eggs, milk & oil; add dry ingredients, working into a soft, stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 14 x 14-inch square; spread pumpkin filling down the center & half way out to the sides -- about 1/4 -inch thick.
  3. Fold outside third of the dough over filling, repeating with the last third; pinch to seal. Leaving plachinda on paper, transfer to a baking sheet. If preferred, individual turnovers can be made instead. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Slice & serve warm.
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