Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing

Today, March 21, our family celebrates the birth date of my father. Although he left this earth many years ago, I have so many memories of the wonderful childhood I enjoyed due to the parents I had. As my life unfolds, I realize more each day the impact having had a strong role model has made on my life. The word ‘thank you’ is so inadequate.

In the early 1950’s, my father was able to purchase another piece of land about 4 miles from our home place. Between the two farms it became the equivalent of a ‘section’. Before this time, the cattle had to be moved to a community pasture in the foothills where they would have enough grass to graze on over the summer. At that time to transport them, you had no choice but to herd them down the road allowance for approximately 20-30 miles on foot. To say the least it was a long grueling event for both the cattle and family members.

The ‘other farm’, as we referred to it, had originally been a slaughter house for the town meat market. It consisted of one large building, corals and a few other buildings. There was a slough on the land which dad had converted to a ‘dug out’ where the cattle could go and drink freely. The land was used for grain crops where in turn the cattle could be pastured on.

One of my fondest memories about the other farm was our picnic lunches. In the summer when dad would be working on the land, instead of my mother just packing a lunch for him that he could take in the morning, she would fix a wonderful ‘picnic lunch’. At about 11:30 in the morning, mom would pack up the lunch she had prepared, complete with plates, silverware, a tablecloth, etc., and we would drive to the ‘other farm’. There was just the right amount of space between two grain buildings to set up a make-shift table and stools. We would put the table cloth down and spread out our little picnic ‘feast’. Dad would be so surprised and we would all enjoy our lunch immensely. Mom always knew how to make the most simple things fun for us.

Lunch was always different from the usual lunch box meal and my mother never seemed to be short on tasty ideas. Today’s stuffed French bread meal is definitely a more elevated version of a picnic meal but it did bring me back to those wonderful cherished memories from childhood.

This meal seems so fitting to have today in honor of my father’s birthday. He loved bread, pork & seafood so I’ve got it covered.

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Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing
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Instructions
Shrimp Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, cook rice & barley in vegetable broth until tender. Drain (you can use this broth elsewhere) & transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté celery, onion & mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter until tender-crisp. Combine sautéed vegetables with rice/barley mixture. Stir in shrimp & seasonings & cook for a few more minutes until shrimp is just cooked. Remove from saucepan & set aside.
Boursin Cheese Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the spices. Add the milk & adjust heat to steaming -- do not simmer or boil. Add Boursin to the milk mixture, break it up into pieces with the side of a large spoon & stir until Boursin has melted into the mixture. Remove from heat & cool.
Tenderloin
  1. Remove silver skin & butterfly tenderloin. Using a meat mallet, pound out the tenderloin to about 3/4-inch thickness. Heat a griddle & sear meat on both sides. Set aside.
Assembly /Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut the French bread in half lengthwise & scoop out the soft insides. Remove only just enough to be able to fit the tenderloin in the cavity. Spread the hollowed out cavity with the Boursin cheese sauce (save some for inside the butterflied tenderloin). Cover bottom & sides completely.
  3. Spread remaining cheese sauce over inside of butterflied tenderloin. Close the tenderloin so you can fit it inside the bread cavity. Once you have it in there, open it as much as possible & fill it with the shrimp stuffing. It will be slightly mounded.
  4. Using a large piece of foil paper, place the bread 'boat' in the center & pull the foil up around it. Lightly cover the top just to keep the stuffing from drying out until the rest is cooked.
  5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours in a baking pan with a wire rack in the bottom to prevent the bottom of the bread from burning.
  6. Remove from oven & allow to sit for about 5 minutes then remove foil & place on cutting board & slice.

Seafood Bread

French bread doesn’t get enough recognition for its worth. Fresh, soft crusty bread can be so much more than a simple side to a big family meal. You can base an entire meal around a loaf of French Bread!

Stuffed with salmon, scallops, shrimp, and mushrooms, this seafood bread can be served as an appetizer or sliced into larger pieces as an entree with a salad. The recipe itself is quite versatile. This stuffed French bread reminds me of the edible bread bowls of the past, but all stuffed inside a wonderful loaf of French bread. 

Edible bread bowls were a huge hit in the 80’s and 90’s, but the idea fizzled at the start of the 21st century. Bread has always been a main stay of any meal, from toast at breakfast to sandwiches at lunch and rolls for supper. Many restaurants used the bread bowl idea as a way to justify charging more for soup. They are an extremely versatile way to hold thick, creamy soups, spicy chili or stews as well as dips and warm melted cheese.

Bread bowls will always hold a special memory for Brion and I. Over the years we have made many trips to the California coast. We always stayed in the Carmel/Monterey area and walked the coastline with our destination being Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a special treat having clam chowder in a sourdough bowl at a wharf restaurant.

This seafood bread combines many ingredients that enhance its delicious and creamy flavor, perfect for a late summer meal.

It has a soft and velvety textured inside with the French bread giving texture to the combination with its crustiness. Lots of seafood, cheesy, and super savory, this stuffed French bread is your fast track to home-cooked comfort. So good!!

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Seafood Bread
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword seafood bread
Servings
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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, sauté mushrooms & 2 green onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add shrimp, scallops & salmon with a bit of the seasonings & sauté for another 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid & set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk mushroom soup, eggs, mustard & remaining seasoning together. Don’t overmix, keep the mixture a little lumpy.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Slice into the bread, but not all the way through. You need to cut deep enough into the bread to open out the loaf and fill between the “slices, while leaving the loaf connected at the base. You can either cut bread into thick slices or slice from both directions. Place the bread on a sheet of parchment paper.
  5. Into each slot in the bread, place a slice of potato, followed by some of the seafood/mushroom mixture.
  6. Spoon some of the soup/egg mixture into each slot, so that the bread absorbs as much as possible.
  7. Finally insert the slices of cheese. Enclose the loaf fully in the baking paper and then wrap it in foil to make a tight parcel.
  8. Put the wrapped bread into the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes, then remove the tray and open the foil and parchment paper. Return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top of the bread and its filling is golden brown. Remove, garnish with green onion, & serve!
Recipe Notes
  • Any combination of seafood you prefer will work.

Shrimp, Bacon & Pineapple ‘Pizza’

When you think of an English muffin, breakfast usually comes to mind. An egg and bacon sandwich, melty peanut butter with jelly, or something as elegant as eggs benedict. While English muffins are great for breakfast, they also make a toasty lunch or snack!

Everyone’s tried English muffin pizzas at one point in their life. They offer all the flavors of traditional pizza without the hassle of dough.

Pizza took off across North America during the 1950s. There were numerous contributing factors to the rise in the sudden popularity, but one that profoundly shaped every day cooking was the desire for more convenient foods.

Takeout pizza from restaurants offered a great way to save on time but could be costly. Domestic brands knew one way to appeal to the 1950s ‘housewife’, was combining the convenience of opening a can or jar with the thriftiness of eating at home.

In 1954, Hunt’s brand tomato sauce started advertising the ‘English Muffin Pizza’ with the hope of selling more canned tomato sauce.

The ad called it a 10-minute pizza and included a prominent photo of a can of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce.

Back then, Mozzarella was not too familiar to the average home cooks, so the ad refers to it as ‘pizza cheese.’ Helpfully, the marketing suggests brick, Swiss, or other good melting cheeses.

Although these shrimp, bacon & pineapple pizzas take a bit of time to make, they are well worth it. Don’t be put off by the odd sounding combination of ingredients, they pair well!

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Shrimp, Bacon & Pineapple 'Pizza'
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Instructions
  1. Crush panko crumbs slightly. In a plastic bag, place the Tbsp of flour. Add shrimp & shake to dust with flour. Add beaten egg to bag & shake to moisten shrimp. Add panko crumbs & OLD BAY seasoning. Shake to coat shrimp well. Set aside in refrigerator.
  2. Shred cheese & chop pineapple. Slice English muffins & very lightly butter.
  3. Grill bacon until cooked but not crisp. Set aside on paper towel. Sauté onions & mushrooms in bacon drippings, remove from griddle. Wipe griddle, then spray with cooking spray & cook shrimp 3-5 minutes. Push to one side & warm pineapple for a couple of minutes. Toast muffins.
  4. Place muffin halves on a baking sheet; cover each half with some of the cheese, mushrooms, onions, more cheese & pineapple.
  5. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with bacon & shrimp. Serve with guacamole & diced tomatoes on the side.

Baked Salmon Balls w/ Orange Pineapple Glaze

Salmon croquettes are basically a version of a salmon cake, salmon balls or patties and can be fried or baked. They were originally made of beef, probably leftovers that needed to be used up. Croquettes originated in France in about 1898 by the founder of classical French cuisine, Escoffier. As Escoffier’s chefs started to travel throughout the world, they took the recipe with them to other cultures where it was transformed based on local cuisines. From the original beef croquette, it branched out into salmon croquettes, chicken, vegetarian, and many other versions.

There are many variations of ‘croquettes‘ on the market, and just about every culture has developed their own recipe. Constantly, new recipes are formulated and something new is invented and created. With the input of different cultures, the original recipe has taken itself into many directions, different applications and ingredients. Very often salmon croquettes (cakes, balls or patties) are made with canned salmon though there are quite a few newer recipes that use fresh salmon that has been either chopped finely or ground to mold into the various shapes.

I think, using a zesty orange-pineapple glaze is the perfect compliment to these baked salmon balls.

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Baked Salmon Balls w/ Orange Pineapple Glaze
Instructions
Salmon Balls
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If using canned salmon, drain & flake well. If using fresh salmon, brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill for about 6 minutes or bake wrapped in foil at 350 F. for approximately 10 minutes. When cool, flake salmon. Add carrot, green onion, potatoes, tartar sauce, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, cilantro paste, Old Bay Seasoning, salt & pepper. Combine well.
  3. Using a small scoop (about 1/2 oz size), measure salmon mixture out into palm of your hand & gently roll into balls. Mixture should make about 32 balls.
  4. Roll salmon balls in Panko crumbs & place on a well buttered or sprayed baking sheet. Lightly spray tops with spray as well.
  5. Bake about 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from oven.
Glaze
  1. Place all glaze ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently & simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid begins to thicken slightly & reduces by half.
  2. Drizzle over salmon balls or serve on the side. These salmon balls are nice served with rice & a steamed veggie.

Pork Rolls w/ Seafood Stuffing

Stuffed pork tenderloin is an amazing way to amp up a simple cut of meat. Pork tenderloin is incredibly tender since it is essentially the ‘filet’. Because there is very little fat in a tenderloin, its perfect to stuff with all sorts of tasty things to bring in both moisture and flavor.

The ‘old-fashioned’ idea of surf & turf seems to still retain an odd appeal. Having seafood and meat on the same plate lets you alternate bites and flavors from two realms, but there is a better way of mixing ‘sea & land’. Actually, combining seafood and pork so they cook together produces something quite amazing. Pork with its mild but rich taste complements the clean, delicate flavor of seafood.

This seafood stuffing uses a blend of rice and barley along with crab, shrimp and some veggies. The seasoning brings it all together into a real special meal.

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Pork Rolls w/ Seafood Stuffing
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Ingredients
Seafood Stuffing
Servings
Ingredients
Seafood Stuffing
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Instructions
Seafood Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, cook rice & barley in vegetable broth until tender; transfer to a large bowl. Sauté onion, celery & mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter until tender-crisp.
  2. Combine sautéed vegetables with rice/barley mixture in large bowl. Stir in shrimp & crab meat; sprinkle with seasonings & toss to combine.
Pork Rolls
  1. Using a meat mallet, pound out the tenderloin strips very thinly, then divide stuffing between them. Roll tightly, encasing the filling inside. If necessary tie with kitchen twine.
  2. Roll the pork rolls in seasoned flour to coat lightly. Heat the butter & oil in a large skillet & brown the rolls well on each side. Remove rolls to a plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Add veg (or seafood) broth to skillet, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer making sure to stir in all browning bits from pork rolls; cook for 5 minutes. Season the broth with salt & pepper to taste, then pour into a casserole & place stuffed rolls on top.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes. Serve.

Shrimp Pot Pie

There are many kinds of comfort food. The humble pot pie seems to be one that fits into that category quite well. In 1951, the first frozen pot pie was created by the C. A. Swanson Company and was made of chicken.

If you do a search for a seafood pot pie on the internet, very often what you find is basically a copy of chicken pot pie with seafood subbed in. The sauce or gravy is a ‘cream of whatever’ can of soup. Nothing wrong with that, but I find if you use a combo of clam juice, half & half cream and some seafood spices, you can come up with a more defined flavor.

The nice thing about a pot pie is that it can be made to feed a crowd or as an individual meal. Whether it has a bottom crust or not is up to you. Toppings can vary from mashed potatoes to cornbread or biscuits etc., etc. Above all else, you can make some extras to freeze for another day. As the saying goes … its all good!

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Shrimp Pot Pie
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword shrimp pot pie,
Servings
SERVINGS
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Instructions
  1. Thaw frozen puff pastry in refrigerator. Keep chilled until you are ready for it. The pastry will be used for a top crust ONLY. Butter the bottom & sides of your casserole dish; set aside.
  2. In a large pot, pour the clam nectar; bring to a simmer over medium heat & add the shrimp. Poach shrimp JUST until they are opaque & cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Pour the broth & shrimp into a bowl & set aside.
  3. Return the pot back to the stove; over medium heat & melt the butter. Stir in onion, celery & mushrooms; saute until vegetables are translucent, 5-6 minutes then stir in the garlic, flour & seasoning. Cook, stirring for 1 minute then add the shrimp & broth. Cook for several minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Add 1/3 cup half & half & simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. In a small saucepan, place potatoes & peas. Add enough lightly salted water to barely cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat & cook at a low boil until the potatoes are just tender, 7-8 minutes. Drain. Taste the shrimp sauce; add salt & pepper to taste. Add potatoes, peas & tomatoes (if using). Pour mixture into buttered casserole dish.
  6. Place the chilled pastry over the filling, tucking it down between the filling & the dish or drape it over the sides. Poke a steam vent in the top with a paring knife. Place the casserole on a baking sheet. Beat the egg with remaining Tbsp of half & half. Lightly brush the pastry with egg wash.
  7. Bake casserole until filling is bubbly & top is golden brown about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack & allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffed Baked Jumbo Shrimp

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The word ‘new’ brings thoughts of hope and an opportunity to focus on new goals and challenges. Throughout the world, New Year’s Day is filled with traditions and symbolic ritual with many of the traditions revolving around food. Certain foods symbolize wealth, prosperity, health and good luck for the coming year. Fish are believed to be a lucky new year’s eve food because their scales resemble coins and they swim in schools which evokes the idea of abundance.

If you want to have seafood other than fish … shrimp, clams, mussels, squid and oysters are all thought to be good choices as new year’s ‘lucky foods’. It seems the start of a new year has a tendency to turn even non-believers a bit superstitious.

This shrimp dish can be used either as an appetizer or a main course. Brion & I love shrimp so we made it a full meal deal!

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Stuffed Baked Jumbo Shrimp
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine stuffing mix, mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, egg & water. Stir to combine & set aside to thicken slightly.
  2. Butterfly shrimp by making light incisions in the inner part of the shrimp starting from the tail down; remove veins trying not to slice too deep. Season shrimp lightly with sea salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a baking dish. Divide filling between shrimp. Place stuffed shrimp into prepared baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter & bake for 20-25 minutes.

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.


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Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing

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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Cuban

Servings

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Rating: 5
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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.