Tag Archives: Dinner

Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork Tacos


I love any meal I can throw in one pot in the middle of the day and serve with pride 6 hours later after 15 minutes of prep. Some cooks might dispute this claim, but I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s hard to mess up a pork shoulder, so this is also a dish that takes zero skill to master. If you don’t have a slow cooker, just throw this in a roasting pan in your oven at 250 degrees for the same amount of time. You might want to baste it mid-cook so it doesn’t dry out, though.

On the menu:
Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork Tacos
Serves 2

3 lb pork shoulder, bone out
3 roasted chipotles*
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
6 oz. beer (I used Miller High Life because I had a leftover in the fridge, but a dark beer will work best for this)

6 – 8 corn tortillas
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Add pork shoulder, chipotles, garlic, spices and beer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 – 3 hours or until the meat is easily pulled apart with two forks. (NOTE: If cooking in the oven, baste at 1 and 2 hours).

Heat up tortillas between 2 damp paper towels in the microwave for a minute or two. Top with pulled pork, cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime. Plate alongside another wedge of lime.

*NOTE: I like these to have just a tiny hint of spiciness so I throw the chipotle peppers into the slow cooker whole and just let the flavor seep into the pork, and then fish the whole peppers out before serving. If you like these spicier, you can dice up the peppers and throw them into the slow cooker. That way you can serve them up along with the pork for a real kick in the pants.

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad


This is a salad that I tasted for the first time at one of my favorite restaurants in New York, Otto. My only hang up is that the original calls for olives, which I loathe. When I made this I left the olives out but you could easily chop up and add 16 Kalamata olives during the last step to make it a truly authentic Mediterranean dish.

On the menu:
Roasted cauliflower salad
Serves 4 as a side

1 large head of cauliflower (around 3 lbs)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp capers
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

Clean stem and leaves off of the head of cauliflower. Chop cauliflower into bite sized pieces with flat sides (this just makes roasting and caramelizing easier). Rinse in a colander and shake off as much excess water as possible.

Toss cauliflower in a large bowl with olive oil and black pepper. Spread in one layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip cauliflower with tongs and roast for another 10 – 20 minutes until your pieces are golden brown and softened.

Spread cauliflower on a plate in one layer so that it cools down a bit.

In a large bowl, add capers, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a healthy pinch of salt. Add cauliflower and toss to coat. (This is where you would add your chopped olives if you wanted)

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Pumpkin Ginger Soup

‘Tis the season to cook with pumpkin. You’ve been bombarded by orange at the farmer’s market, inundated with pumpkin recipes from your daily email recipe newsletters, and overwhelmed by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts commercials featuring pumpkin flavored everything. I would say it’s cliche, but really… it’s just delicious. Below is an incredibly easy recipe that yields a flavorful soup that would serve as a lovely first course to any fall meal, or as a hearty lunch with crusty bread on the side. Don’t hold back, friends… give in to the power of pumpkin.

On the menu:
Pumpkin Ginger Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe at Yumm.com

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, finely grated (or use 1 Tbsp ginger powder)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 15-oz. cans of pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Sriracha (or similar hot sauce)

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, pumpkin, stock, cream, and hot sauce. Stir until combined and turn down heat until the soup is simmering. Simmer for 25 minutes, occasionally stirring. Use an immersion blender to blend* in the pot, or pour soup into a standing blender and blend until completely pureed. Replace soup in the pot and heat until hot and ready to serve. Top with crunchy pumpkin seeds if desired.

*Note: you don’t necessarily have to blend this soup, but I found the crunchy onions distracting so I ended up blending the entire pot after I ate one bowl. It was much creamier and much more flavorful after all. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of dirtying your blender, though, it’ll still be delicious without the blending.

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Asian Steak


If I was forced to cook only one cuisine for the rest of my life, it would hands down be French food. It’s rich, it can be deceptively simple, and to me it’s the most comforting. The BF would heartily disagree. Whenever I make anything even remotely Asian-inspired he’s over the moon about it, but it happens to be my least favorite type of food. It’s a CONSTANT source of arguments between us, and the one hurdle we must face in our relationship.

Ha. Ha.

So this one’s for him! On this, our two year anniversary. Thanks for willingly putting up with me for 730 days.

On the menu:
Asian Steak
Serves 2

2 1-lb. steaks, 1 inch thick (any cut that fits those size perameters will do)
2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp olive oil plus 2 Tbsp, divided
3 cloves of garlic, halved

In a large bowl, whisk together the coriander, honey, soy sauce, and 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Rub the steaks all over with the halved garlic and then add the garlic to the bowl with honey mixture. Put steaks in the bowl and cover with honey mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or let sit out at room temperature for around 45 minutes before cooking.

Once marinated, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet. Sear steaks on either side for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and finish cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes on each side.

Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving alongside white rice with a splash of soy sauce if you like.

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Week of the Garbage Plate: Hot Sauce


This is the very last step in the process, and the reason for the whole week’s worth of posts: the sauce. Without the chili hot sauce, it’s just a mess of ingredients on the plate. With the hot sauce, it’s truly a Rochester Garbage Plate.

Rochester Plate Sauce, the product that tops my homemade plate in the picture above, is a strikingly close facsimile to the stuff you’ll get in Rochester on a traditional plate. The sauce comes in a packet that can be heated up by placing the pouch in boiling water for two minutes and then pouring over your finished plate (that’s the mac salad, the homefries, then the burger). The Plate Sauce is a little bit on the spicy side, but it makes the plate a PLATE. Die hard plate fans will notice that it lacks the finely ground beef that traditional plates in Rochester feature but again, it’s probably as close as you’ll get if you’re a Rochester ex-pat living in Nebraska or Texas. Well worth the $10 it’ll cost you for 3 pouches.

The last step to the plate is the chopped onions (standard raw white onion, chopped), yellow mustard, and ketchup. And it is extremely important to note that the ketchup design is unique to each person: some prefer the swirly, some go with the smiley face, I prefer the checkerboard. It’s really up to you. And yes… it makes a difference.

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Week of the Garbage Plate: Burgers

This is a relatively self-explanatory step in the Garbage Plate process but I thought I’d fill you in anyhow. Garbage Plates can be topped with a variety of stuff: red hots, white hots, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fried fish, even fried eggs (that’s a breakfast plate if you’re not from the Roch). But my personal favorite, and I would imagine the most popular choice, is cheeseburgers. And don’t go looking for some fancy-schmancy gourmet beef burger with artisan cheese to top it off. This is a good old fashioned ground beef, 1/2 inch thick hamburg with a slice of plain American cheese.

On the menu:
Cheeseburgers
Serves 2 (makes 2 plates)

1/2 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 slices of American cheese*

Mix ground beef in a bowl with salt and pepper. Pack ground beef down into the bottom of the bowl. Eye ball the diameter of the bowl and using the edge of your hand, make a line down the middle of the circle of ground beef. This ensures you have 2 patties of equal size.

Make a round ball with the beef and then flatten it out as thin as possible with your hands, or by pressing down on a cutting board. Grill the burgers on a grill, or in a skillet over medium/high heat on the stove top for 5 minutes on each side. Top the burger with cheese and close the grill cover or put tin foil tent over the skillet for 2 minutes so the cheese melts. Place burgers on top of mac salad and homefries.

*Confession: I had a bag of shredded cheddar that had to be used up so I topped the burgers with that. Don’t worry, still not gourmet. Just not as ghetto/authentic as American cheese.

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Three Cheese Fettuccine


The weather in New York suddenly turned cool which immediately puts me into comfort food mode. What’s better than a chilly Sunday tucked inside with football on TV and a plate of creamy, cheesy pasta in your lap? As much as I love summer fruit, fall is definitely my favorite season for food. Bring on the winter weight!

*Note: this recipe can be made with any spaghetti/fettuccine/linguine type pasta, but it would be best with tagliatelle. I made this first with tagliatelle and a second time, as pictured, with fettuccine. If you can find tagliatelle, use that but most standard grocery stores don’t carry it.

On the menu:
Three Cheese Fettuccine
Serves 2

4 oz pancetta, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 pound fettuccine
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional garnish)

Set a large pot of water to boil. In another large pot set over medium heat, add the pancetta. Cook,
stirring frequently, until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. While the pancetta is cooking, add pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according the instructions on the box.

Remove the pancetta from the pan once it’s crisped up and add the shallots. Cook until the shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta through a colander, reserving 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water.

Add 2 Tbsp of the butter and black pepper to the shallots and pancetta. Stir constantly and cook for 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the mascarpone and whisk until incorporated. Add the Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add the pasta and heat until the pasta is cooked through, adding more pasta water if necessary. Season with additional pepper and set aside.
Make the eggs: In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Carefully add the eggs and fry until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.

Divide the pasta between two bowls and top each with a fried egg. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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