Friday, September 28, 2012

Pork Chile Verde Burritos

I love Mexican food! As my last class in Culinary Arts we ran a Restaurant called Greg's,on the weekends in the McKay Events Center at UVU.  During the week we learned about a certain cuisine, got our assignments for the restaurant and started prepping for the weekend. During Mexican week I was on line 2 and had to prepare 2 of the 4 appetizers and 2 of the 4 Entree's. One of which was Pork Chile Verde Burritos, along with all the sides. Lots of work! On Thursday, just before dinner service, I finish up adding the chile's and put the lid on for it to simmer. I started going over my recipe to make sure everything was right and I realized, I put the WRONG chilies in. The recipe called for Pablano Chile's and I added Serrano. I was going to die...I didn't know what to do. Pablano chile's are pretty mild and Serrano's are some of the hottest chile's there are. I was so nervous but it was too late to remake everything! I let it finish cooking while finishing the other sides. 5 min before dinner service Chef Troy came around to taste everything. I held my breath, still deciding if I should say something, when he said "good job, it tastes great!"  Few, I felt like a ton of bricks was lifted off my shoulders. Half way through dinner service,  Chef Greg, who started the Culinary Arts program and the Restaurant, got up from his table, came into the kitchen and yelled "Who made the Chile Verde Burritos?" uh, oh..I just new I was in trouble. I sheepishly raised my hand, not knowing what to say and he then said "This is the best chile verde I have ever tasted, Great Job!" and then walked out. Best night ever... in Culinary school! A couple nights ago My mom had a ton of tomatillos from her garden that she didn't know what to do with so I decided to recreate my success.  My school book is in storage right now since we are in the process of moving and so I found this recipe from Food Network and gave it my own little twist. Hope you enjoy! 

Pork Chile Verde

Source: Adapted from Food Network


  • 4 pounds pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper, Roasted 
  • 3 Serrano chilies, finely chopped
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeds removed, and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves or 3 T of already minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock


Season the pork meat generously with salt and pepper, lightly flour. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well in small batches, on all sides. Spoon pork out of pan and place in a wide soup pot. Turn oven on to broil. 
Roast the green pepper over the burner until black. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge to sweat. 

Place the Tomatillos,1 chopped onion, 2T garlic, 1 Serrano pepper and 2 jalapenos in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for about 10 min. Remove the charred skins from the tomatillos and peppers. (including the green pepper) and blend in a food processor with all the juices from the pan. Set aside 

Place the remaining onions and pepper in the same skillet that the pork was browned in and sweat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the chilies and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, then add the rest of the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
Add the Sauteed vegetables, chopped roasted tomatillo mixture, dried herbs and cilantro to the meat, cover with the chicken stock and bring up to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender. Fill tortillas with the Chile Verde, Best Spanish Rice, and Rustic refried beans and roll up. Top with more sauce and cheese,  then melt under the broiler or in microwave. It's like being at a restaurant but better! 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

For my internship I worked at a Reception center called White Willow, located in Provo, UT! It is a great place and I loved it there. This Parmesan crusted chicken was one of my favorite things that we made there. At White Willow we made it with roasted potatoes but I think it's wonderful with any side, especially pasta! I made this as one of the Entrees that I served at the Graduation party with Anniversary Bow-tie Pasta and my Easy Garlic Breadsticks.

Parmesan crusted chicken

1-2 bags of garlic croutons crushed in a food processor or blender
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Caesar dressing
Creamy Italian dressing

Instructions:Mix equal parts of the dressings together.
Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together.

Dredge chicken in dressings and then in crumb mixture.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 min

Anniversary Bow-tie Pasta

Anniversary Bow-tie pasta

Adapted from Favorite family Recipes


1pkg. Bow tie pasta
1/2c. Butter
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4c grated Parmesan cheese
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pint heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2lb bacon, crumbled
Toasted pine nuts to taste
Instructions:Boil pasta until al dante. Don't overcook. In a wok or heavy skillet melt butter. Sauté garlic for a min. or so and add Parmesan cheese and bouillon cubes. When bouillon cube is dissolved, slowly stir in cream and S&P. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce and toss until covered. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon,pine-nuts and Parmesan cheese. Toss together and serve.

Serve with Parmesan Crusted Chicken, and  Roasted Asparagus or Green beans.

Easy Garlic Breadsticks

These are so fantastic and easy if you don't want to make your own dough. My family always had Rhodes rolls so this was a easy way to have something different than just your basic roll!

Easy Garlic Bread sticks


Rhodes rolls
melted or room temp.butter
garlic powder
Italian spices
Parmesan cheese

  • Let rolls defrost/rise for 1-1 1/2hrs. stretch them out and then holding the ends of both sides twist in opposite directions 

  • Mix butter,garlic,Italian spices, and Parmesan cheese to taste. Brush over the top of dough. Spray one side of Plastic wrap with Pam and cover dough and let rise until double in size.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min or until desired brownness. 
I grew up in a family of ranch fanatics so we like to dip them in Ranch but they are delicious with any kind of Italian dipping sauce.

Island Pork Tenderloin

Congratulations!  When my husband, Porter, graduated from Notre Dame we had a Graduation Dinner with a big group of friends, who were all graduating. Each couple paid $20 and I went all out! I made this with Basic Rice Pilaf, Cooked apples and pears, green beans, Roasted Red pepper coulis, and Candied orange zest as a garnish. I don't always cook this way, with the full 5 components of an entree, but when I'm cooking for an event I usually get a little over excited!  The other Entree I did for this party was Parmesan crusted chicken and Anniversary Bow-tie pasta, with a Pesto Sauce on the side. Appetizers:Tomato Basil Brochetta, Bacon wrapped water chestnuts, and Shrimp Cocktail.  Desserts: White Chocolate Brownie Trifle, and Creme Brulee.  We had such a great time!

Island Pork Tenderloin

Adapted from P90X cookbook
2lb Pork tenderloin 
1T oil 
1 t Salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t Chile powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1T fresh Garlic, finely chopped
1T Ta patio hot sauce (any hot sauce will do)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Clean Pork and coat with spice rub (by clean I mean..cut off fat and silver skin. The silver skin is the dark silver layer. When cutting it off you don't want to dig into the pork,it's just a thin layer. Insert the knife underneath the layer of silver skin and carefully slice to one edge, then with one had hold the loose piece up and take the knife back in the other direction. )
3. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat and brown pork on all sides
4. Place in roasting pan. Stir together glaze and spread on top of tenderloin. Bake in oven for 20-30min.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Candied Orange Zest

Candied Orange Zest

  • 2 oranges
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • additional sugar for dredging zest strips
  • Wash oranges thoroughly.  Carefully trim zest (orange outer layer of peel) in wide strips using a small knife or vegetable peeler.  If zest strips have any pith (the bitter white layer of the peel) on them, carefully cut or scrape the pith off with a small knife. Cut zest strips lengthwise into thin julienne (long) strips.
  • Place zest strips in a small sauce pan and cover with cold water. Cook over medium heat until water comes to a simmer.  Simmer for 6 minutes.
  • Drain strips and then return to the sauce pan and add 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over low heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until strips turn translucent and the sugar and water begin to thicken.
  • Remove from the heat, and using a fork, take the strips from the sauce pan and place on a sheet of wax paper.  Separate and spread out the strips on the wax paper and allow to cool slightly. Then roll the strips in sugar until well coated and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
 I remembered doing this in School but couldn't remember exactly how to do it. Luckily I found this recipe! I like to use this as a garnish on the Island Pork Tenderloin or just eat it as candy!

Cooked Apples & Pears

When I was planning the menu for our Graduation Party I was trying to think of different flavors that would play off each other. The sweetness of these apples and pears is so good for any topping but paired with the spicy, savory flavor of the Island Pork Tenderloin it is fantastic.

Cooked Apples & Pears   

2 apples (cored, pealed, and diced)
2 pears (cored, pealed, and diced)
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Add all the ingredients to the pan and let cook to your liking. The apples and pears will produce their own juices but if you would like it more syrupy then add a little water.