Brine Recipe

Brined Pork Chops

Do you know what I really hate?  Dry pork.  And dry chicken.  I always find it so disappointing when I slice into a beautifully golden piece of meat to find an abrasive assault of coarse saw dust.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  So the question is, what’s a fool-proof way to prepare tender pork or chicken?  The answer… this brine :)  A brine is essentially a solution made of salt and water.  Meat is soaked in the brine for several hours allowing salt to penetrate throughout.  Brining both seasons the meat and causes it to absorb water, ensuring that the final result is both flavorful and juicy.

Made with kosher salt, onion, garlic, thyme, bay, lemon and black pepper, this Brine Recipe infuses some major flavor and moisture into any cut of pork, chicken or turkey.  Also, the process really couldn’t be easier.  Prepare the brine in under 15 minutes, let the meat soak for 2 to 3 hours, dry, rest, then cook any way you like (roast, fry, grill, saute).  Seriously give this a try.  It’s life changing.  Continue reading for the recipe.  Also, I’ve announced the winners of the Bella Sun Luci Sun-Dried Tomato prize packs giveaway.

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Bolognese Sauce

Pappardelle in Bolognese Sauce

Up until this year, my method for making Bolognese Sauce called for adding cooked, seasoned beef to my Homemade Tomato Sauce, simmering for a bit, then finishing with fresh herbs.  It wasn’t until I saw this video that I realized I wasn’t really making Bolognese Sauce at all!  After experimenting a bit with Mario’s recipe, I found a method that I really love.  This slow cooked Bolognese Sauce pairs a number of classic aromatics with ground beef, pork and bacon.  The mixture is then simmered in tomato paste, whole milk and wine.  Thick, rich and luscious, the finished sauce has the most amazing depth of flavor.  The recipe below definitely takes some time to make.  But I urge you to give it a try.  You won’t be sorry.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza

Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza

I find the few minutes between bringing a hot, fresh pizza from the oven and the moment when the pizza is cool enough to eat absolutely excruciating.  The sizzling toppings taunt me as I eagerly await that first taste of melty mozzarella and crunchy, golden crust.  It takes every shred of willpower I have to keep me from diving in right away.  It’s a challenge I face almost every week when making homemade pizza.  Aside from that first glorious bite of a freshly baked pie, I just love creating toppings.  Sometimes I enjoy meat pizzas (hot salami, Italian sausage, roasted chicken).  Other weeks I go the seasonal veggie route (shiitake mushrooms, red bell pepper, Tuscan kale).  Really, olive oil, salt and dough (that I purchase at a local pizzeria) are the only constants from week to week.  I recently decided to experiment with the classic combination of asparagus and bacon.  A coiled nest of long, green asparagus tendrils are piled high onto a bed of freshly grated mozzarella and Parmesan.  Finished with a sprinkling of sliced scallion and crumbled bacon, this Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza is well-balanced and packed with mouth-watering flavor.  The freshness of the asparagus balances the smoky richness of the bacon, creating quite the harmonious bite.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Red Pozole

Red Pozole

Red Pozole is a flavorful Mexican stew made of pork, ancho chiles and hominy (corn).  Pozole recipes can vary greatly throughout Mexico.  This version is similar to the ones found in central Mexico.  The base of this stew is a slow simmered broth made of pork shanks, trotters and shoulder.  The broth is then added to simmering nixtamal corn with a bold blend of pureed ancho chiles.  The finished stew is hearty, aromatic and so flavorful.  My favorite part?  The toppings.  Served with Red Pozole are these traditional accoutrements: sliced cabbage, chopped onions, crisp radishes, bright lime, fiery red chile flake, dried Mexican oregano and crunchy tostadas.  I just looove the smell of crumbled oregano as it hits the surface of the hot stew.  This recipe may not be quick and easy; however, it is a fun weekend project with amazingly satisfying results.  The recipe below will make a very large quantity of Red Pozole.  Feed an entire party of people or freeze the leftovers for later consumption.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Maple Bacon S’mores

Maple Bacon S'mores

So, I’m not really one to get wrapped up in the whole March Madness thing.  I put together a bracket once in college, but haven’t attempted one since.  I guess I’m just not that excited about basketball.  Marsh Madness is an entirely different story.  When Quirk Books asked me if I wanted to compete against 15 other bloggers in a marshmallow making contest, I was like, “Uhhhh… … … Yeah!”  Making homemade marshmallows has been on my foodie to-do list for a while now, so I jumped at the chance to participate in the competition.  I was tasked to prepare some sort of marshmallow creation based upon the original vanilla recipe found in Shauna Sever’s Marshmallow Madness.  Continue reading to see what I came up with.  Also, I’m giving away 3 copies of Marshmallow Madness.  Details below.

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Yucatan-Style Slow-Roasted Pork [Video]

Yucatan-Style Slow-Roasted Pork

With autumn each year, cravings for slow-cooked pork and beef always seem to work their way into my thoughts, creating an almost insatiable hunger for tender, spiced meat.  I find that nothing banishes the dreariness of a cold, dark evening quite like a warm plate of succulent, slow-cooked meat.  This Yucatan-Style Slow-Roasted Pork, a newer addition to my repertoire, is the perfect cure to my cool weather cravings.  The pork rub is made of a tantalizing array of spices including annatto, cumin, allspice, red pepper flake, smoked paprika and ground ancho chile.  Slathered and sealed, the 3 pound hunk of Boston butt slowly cooks for 4 to 5 hours nestled in an aluminum foil package.  The finished meat is boldly spiced and fall-apart tender.  So, so delicious.

Be sure to check out the video below for step-by-step instruction on how to make Yucatan-Style Slow-Roasted Pork.  This video is a fairly good representation of how long it would take to prepare this recipe (i.e. minimal editing and advanced prep work).  You really can prepare this dish in about 15 – 20 minutes (not including 4 – 5 hours of inactive wait time).  Continue reading for the recipe!

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Bacon Jam Hand Pies

Bacon Jam Hand Pies Bacon Jam Hand Pies.  Oh yes.

I recently sat in on an online food photography workshop taught by Penny De Los Santos.  One of the assignments included photographing a food truck experience.  While Penny was making photographs of Skillet (the food truck), the owner mentioned one his products, bacon jam.  Since first seeing that bacon jam, I’ve been dying to make a version of my own.

This recipe for Bacon Jam Hand Pies features rich, savory bacon jam encased in light, flaky pastry.  Topped with smoked sea salt, these hand pies are to. die. for.  Please note that the recipe below is quite in depth, so plan your time appropriately.  But do give this a try, you won’t be sorry.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Spiced Mixed Nuts with Sugared Bacon

Spiced Mixed Nuts with Sugared Bacon

Here is another recipe from my recent live demonstration at west elm.  Mixed nuts are sprinkled with sugar, garam masala, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, clove and cayenne pepper then roasted till golden and fragrant.  Tossed with drool-inducing sugared bacon, these spiced mixed nuts are an utterly addicting sweet-savory snack.  This is one recipe you just have to make.

Before we get to the recipe, I want to share some behind-the-scenes details of the event.  The hours leading up to the demonstration seemed much like an adrenaline pumping Top Chef Challenge.  At the start of the day, I actually envisioned Padma saying “4 courses, 60 diners, $x00, 8 hours… GO!”  Minor prep was done the evening before; however, most of the food was prepared the day of to ensure maximum tastiness.  Between bouts of stirring, roasting and sautéing, I managed to send out a flurry of behind-the-scenes tweets (@brandiego) and even spend some time with my videographer.  With all of the multitasking going on, it was a miracle that nothing got burned!  I just hope that I don’t look like hell on the video, as I did my interviews after cooking for 7 hours (hair and makeup professionals not in the budget).  With the help of my sous chefs (aka my amazing friends) and some serious planning (lists galore), I was able to successfully complete this challenge on time and achieve results that well exceeded my expectations.  I am going to stop there, but please check back over the next week for more stories from the event.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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December 2010: Popular Posts

Bacon and Peppers Throughout the month of December, we featured a number of smash hit recipes on Kitchen Konfidence including a fiery vodka infusion (currently the all time most popular post on KK), a simple yet delicious seasonal side dish (as seen on Gourmet Live) and a mouthwatering brunch cocktail.  Continue reading for a brief roundup of Decembers’s top three posts.  What was your favorite Kitchen Konfidence post in December?

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Bacon and Habanero Infused Vodka

Bacon and Habanero Infused Vodka I recently had a delicious brunch at Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar.  Dining alone and al fresco, I enjoyed a substantial breakfast quesadilla partnered with a killer brunch cocktail – a bloody mary with bacon and ghost chili infused vodka.  Since I have a great love for fiery alcoholic beverages, upon tasting this bloody mary, I immediately knew I was going to have to recreate this at home.  An intense mix of savory and spicy, this Bacon and Habanero infused vodka makes the perfect base to a mouthwateringly complex bloody mary (cocktail recipe to be featured next week).  Continue reading for the recipe.

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