Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Light and Shadows - a Day at the Denver Botanic Gardens + Lettuce Wraps, Pork Chops with Wine & Garlic, Crock Pot Meatball Sliders with Peach Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Grilled Pizza and Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls Recipes

This past weekend was really lovely. We had a special family dinner to celebrate Ethan's birthday. I worked on the large paper ship I am making, I hung out with the family and I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens. That was probably the most fun thing we did.

We kicked off the weekend with a casual, fun family dinner in honor of Ethan's birthday. My mom joined in the fun. She bought presents for Ethan and Kohlton. She gave Kohlton a bag of assorted toys which were immediately put into loud and silly use. We closed up the evening with time around the fire. We have been able to do that nearly every night for a while. I love it.

I spent time putting the sails and rigging on the boat. I will share that later.

On Monday Larr, Ethan and myself went to the Denver Botanic Gardens. I wanted Ethan to see the new succulent and cacti greenhouses. I also wanted to practice photography. Sunlight through leaves and shadows caught my attention and became the thread that united many of my photographs.

The Gardens added some new greenhouses filled with succulents, cacti, etc. that I wanted Ethan to see. I had hoped that we could go inside, but that was not an option. He enjoyed looking in through the glass just the same. It made him especially happy when he saw plants in their greenhouse that he has at home.
The more traditional gardens were fun and the vegetable gardens were inspiring. They made me wish that I had planted a veggie garden this summer.

It was so much fun to go to the Gardens with Ethan again. We used to go often when the kids were little. It had been long enough that Ethan was seeing it with new eyes. It was really fun and interesting to see how he still is drawn to and loves the same parts of the garden as those that attracted him when he was little. I loved seeing his enthusiasm.
Larr, always talented and with good timing, managed to get a photograph of a humming bird who did not seem to notice that we were just a few feet away.


Lettuce Wraps
via: Pioneer Woman

1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Grated Ginger
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
3 cloves Garlic, Grated
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Strips
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
8 whole Butter Lettuce Leaves
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1 cup Thinly Sliced Red Cabbage
1 cup Julienne Carrots
1 cup Cucumber Slices
2 Tablespoons Chopped Peanuts
1 cup Cooked Thin Rice Noodles
Sweet Chili Sauce, For Serving

For the chicken and marinade: Mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, Sriracha, rice wine vinegar and grated garlic in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken strips and marinate, refrigerated, for 2 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken strips from the marinade and grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro.

For the lettuce and fillings: Set out the lettuce, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and rice noodles on the serving platter.

To assemble, use the butter lettuce leaves to contain the chicken and fillings. Add some chili and hoisin sauce, then roll them up and eat!


Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic
via: Pioneer Woman

6 whole Pork Chops (medium-to-thin)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
Salt And Pepper
1-1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup Beef Broth (more If Needed)
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
18 whole Peeled Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Butter (additional)

Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and sear them on both sides until they're nice and golden, about 2 minutes per side. (No need to completely cook the chops at this point.) Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high, then throw in the whole garlic cloves. Stir them around and cook them for several minutes, or until they get nice and golden brown.

Pour in the red wine, then add the bay leaf. Stir around and let it reduce, raising the heat if necessary. Cook the sauce for several minutes, or until it's nice and reduced and thick.

Stir in the beef broth (you can add more if it needs the liquid) and add the chops back into the cooking liquid, arranging them so that they're swimming in the sauce. Allow the chops to cook in the liquid for a few minutes, then pour in the balsamic. Shake the pan to get it to distribute, then cook for a couple more minutes, or until the pork chops are done.

Remove the chops from the pan once more, then let the sauce reduce a little more if needed until it's very thick and rich and the garlic is soft. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle in a little salt and pepper.

Arrange pork chops on a platter, then pour the whole skillet of sauce (including garlic) over the top.

Serve with a green salad.

*You may substitute white wine for a slightly lighter sauce.


via: King's Hawaiian

1 pound Package ground turkey
1 pound Ground pork
1 Large eggs
3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Chili powder
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Beer or chicken broth
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Onion
3 Garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup Peppers and sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, minced
2/3 cup Ketchup
1/4-1/2 cup Beer or chicken stock
1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Molasses
1/2 cup Peach Preserves
Pinch of salt

Step 1
For the meatballs: In a large bowl, add the first 10 ingredients and mix with your hands. Once the ingredients are combined, shape into meatballs. You can use a medium sized cookie scooper or 2 tablespoons would work. Add olive oil to a large skillet at medium heat. Brown meatballs on all sides, do not over cook. You just want to give the meatball a nice sear. Cook meatballs in batches - don't over crowd the skillet. Add cooked meatballs to a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Once all of the meatballs are in the slow cooker, pour in beer or broth. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

Step 2
For the sauce: In a sauce pan set at medium heat, add oil & onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir. Cook until fragrant. Add chipotle peppers and sauce. Stir until combined with onion & garlic. Stir in the ketchup, vinegar, water, mustard, molasses, and peach preserves. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

Step 3
Once the meatballs are cooked, remove from slow cooker. Drain out the liquid. Return meatballs to slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Turn slow cooker setting to warm and cover with lid. Let the meatballs sit in the slow cooker for at least 10 minutes. Serve BBQ meatballs on slider rolls.


The Best Pizza Dough for Grilling
via: The Kitchn

Makes 8 small pizzas
1 2/3 cups water
1 to 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

If you want to use the pizza dough that same day, use 2 teaspoons yeast. If you are going to let the dough rise overnight, use 1 teaspoon yeast.

Mix the water and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir the oil into the yeast mixture, then add the flour and salt. Mix with a spatula until a shaggy, floury dough is formed.

Knead the dough on low speed with a dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes, or knead by hand on the counter for 6 to 8 minutes. When kneaded, the dough should form a smooth ball, feel smooth to the touch, and spring slowly back when poked.

Use a pastry scraper or knife to cut the dough into 8 lumps. Grease a baking pan lightly with olive oil or baking spray. Place the dough lumps in the pan and turn them over so they are coated with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.

To Make Pizza the Same Day
Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.

At this point the dough can be used immediately, or refrigerated or frozen for later use.

→ How long the dough lasts in the fridge: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. After that it should be cooked or frozen.

To Make Pizza the Next Day (or Later)
If you don't need the dough until the next day, place the covered pan immediately in the refrigerator and let it rise slowly overnight or up to 24 hours.

Before making the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

You can also of course remove just one or two balls of dough and return the remaining dough to the fridge. If removing just part of the dough, prepare a baking sheet or countertop surface by greasing lightly with oil or baking spray. Place the dough balls on top, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel while they rise.

To Grill the Pizza
Preheat your gas grill with all the burners on high 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to cook. (Alternatively, start a charcoal grill.) Once heated, turn off or lower half the burners, creating an area of direct heat and an area of indirect heat. (Alternatively, bank a charcoal grill to create areas of direct and indirect heat.) Set up a workspace near the grill with space for shaping the pizza and bowls with sauce and toppings.

Working with one piece at a time, pull and stretch a dough ball in your hands into a round. Once it becomes large, drape it over your fists to continue stretching it into a large, thin round. If it feels more comfortable, you can also do this on a greased work surface.

Flip the shaped pizza onto the grill over direct heat. Close the grill. Let the pizza grill until the bottom is just barely cooked and shows char marks, 1 to 3 minutes. Every grill is different, and depending on yours and how long you preheated it, this time could vary.

Use tongs to flip the pizza over and move it to the indirect heat. Quickly spread it with sauce and spread a thin layer of toppings over top. (Don't over-top the pizza as this will interfere with it cooking quickly and completely.) Close the grill and cook until the toppings are warmed through and the cheese is melted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Again, time on your grill may vary. Use your sense of smell; if the pizza smells like it's scorching, open the grill and rotate the pizza into a cooler spot.

Use tongs or a large spatula to slide the finished pizza onto a cutting board. Cut the pizza into slices and serve. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough; as you get into a rhythm, you can start a second pizza over direct heat while the first pizza is finishing over direct heat.

Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Rolls
via: White on Rice

Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls

Yield: Serves 3-4Total Time: 45 min
In his cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking, Charles Phan has a great story behind these spring rolls and how his Mother has a very unique twist by adding a smear of homemade mayonnaise to moisten the wrapper. We suggest you get the book to understand how she does all this, as well as how he makes his full version of the rolls with his peanut dip. The recipe we're sharing today is our own recipe that we serve with our hoisin peanut dip.

For the pork and shrimp spring rolls:
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
about 1/2 pound (8 oz) boneless pork loin or shoulder
1 (8-10 oz) package dried rice vermicelli noodles or "rice sticks", cooked to package instructions.
1 small head of lettuce
1 medium cucumber, cut into thin strips
fresh herbs: mint, asian basil. Vietnamese coriander, Vietnamese perilla or cilantro
about 12 (8-inch) rice paper wrappers or rice paper spring roll wrappers

For Hoisin Peanut dip:
1/4 cup hoisin ( If hoisin dip is too thick, add water to thin out the dip)
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter.
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

To make the dipping sauce: Combine combine all dip ingredients together and blend well. Add a small bit of warm water and blend again, if the sauce is too thick.

Cook the noodles as directed on the package.

For the rolls, start by preparing the pork. Cut the pork into thin strips and saute in a pan with a bit of butter.

If the shrimp is not precooked, cook or grill it.

Lay out your ingredients and fill an 8" x 8" pan with warm water. This will be used to soften the rice paper wrapper. I have included a video below to help you, should you need it.
Add warm water to a large bowl. Quickly dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for a few seconds and lay on rolling surface such as a cutting board or plate (they will still be slightly stiff).

Lay your lettuce first on the soft spring roll wrapper, then add the strips lettuce, herbs, cucumber, noodles and pork.
Roll spring roll till you have about 1/3 of rice paper left, then lay about 2-3 pieces of shrimp, cut side up in a row and finish rolling. The shrimp will lay on the outside of the spring roll when you are finished rolling.
Serve with the hoisin peanut dip.

Read more at http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/pork-shrimp-spring-rolls/#3od6ptYq2itk7H6Q.99

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