Showing posts with label white wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white wine. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Last September, I published a pork chops dish for #SundaySupper that was not satisfying from the standpoint of it's plate presentation, so I decided to replicate it again.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I remember reading in Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri that Chef Colicchio doesn't change the proteins on his restaurant menus very often, but he will change the vegetable accompaniments depending on what's in season and what is at it's peak. Using this theory, I consulted The Flavor Bible to re-pair pork chops for spring produce. Spring onions are obviously in season around now and onions were strongly suggested as a pairing with pork. I knew caramelized onions were sweet and thought it would be a good substitute to apples that are in season in the autumn.

Dish Details

I prepared my pork chops using a tried and true method from Chef Tyler Florence. In addition, I utilized the guide to making rice pilaf and my love for caramelized onions can be traced back to this recipe on epicurious which I found about six years ago. I'd imagine this dish would be at home on any casual chain restaurant, however I'm unsure if one would go through the trouble of brining their chops.


1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt plus more as needed
Thyme sprigs
4 pork rib chops with the bone frenched
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thin
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
Italian parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)


1. Prepare the pork chops. Brine the chops by combining the water one cup kosher salt and brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the thyme sprigs and the pork chops, then cover and refrigerate covered for two hours.

Once the two hours have elapsed, drain the brine and discard the brine. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, sear the pork chops in the skillet, approximately three to four minutes per side, then remove and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm while the onions and rice are prepared.

2. Caramelize the onions. In the same skillet used to prepare the pork chops, melt two tablespoons butter in an additional two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir, coating them in the fat. Continue to cook the onions until they reduce, soften and turn a golden brown, stirring occasionally, approximately twenty to thirty minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. While the onions are caramelizing, prepare the rice. In a medium saucepan, melt one tablespoon unsalted butter in one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot to sweat, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, approximately two minutes. Perfume the shallots by adding the cinnamon, then the rice. Stir the mixture until the rice is toasted and coated in the oils, approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let it steam until the rice has absorbed, approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. Once the rice is finished, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. To plate, spoon a portion of the rice off center on a warmed plate, then rest the pork chop on the rice so that the frenched bone is raised. Drizzle some caramelized onions over the pork, then garnish with parsley leaves.

Final Thoughts

If you look closely, you'll find that I seared the pork chops in a stainless steel skillet in the picture above yet I instructed to sear them in a non-stick one. I made this change because I thought the onions might be able to pick up some of the pork fond but I found the sear on the pork a little too dark and I didn't want my onions to have a charred taste when they were supposed to be sweet so I switched pans. Additionally, Chef Florence instructs to finish the chops off in the oven and I did in this case but I omitted it from the instructions because I found them to be a little dry, despite the fact that they were brined. If the pork chops are one-inch thick or more, roast them in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit until their internal temperature reaches 140° Fahrenheit, approximately thirty minutes. In the end, I found the onions a very good substitute for apples and am surprised it isn't more common.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Green and Yellow Artichoke Tortellini with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Spring Peas with White Wine Reduction for an Italian Fest #SundaySupper

Green and Yellow Artichoke Tortellini with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Spring Peas with White Wine Reduction for an Italian Fest #SundaySupper

My long time readers know that one of my passions I've explored on this website is Italian cuisine, so I couldn't let this week's #SundaySupper theme of Italian Fest go without participating. It's hosted by Manu of Manu's Menu. Thank you, Manu!

As this passion has developed over the years, I've tried to learn as much as I can on the topic. What fascinates me is the differences between authentic Italian food and America's version of Italian food which is the reason why I'm so appreciative of an article my friend Caroline of La Cucina Della Prima Donna wrote a few years ago that explains how Italians can still eat healthy despite calorie-laden dishes such as pasta, pizza and gelato.

As I noted in a dish I published this past fall, Italian pasta dishes tend to be simple, so I've struggled to balance genuineness with my desire to continue to prepare foods that challenge me, either in flavor profile and/or preparation. However, I think I found a compromise with an article I discovered several years ago on that reviewed recipes for flavored pastas and have been using it as a source of inspiration ever since. Such is the case with this dish.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

The idea of this dish was born from episode 16 of season six's MasterChef, where the elimination challenge charged the contestants with preparing three fresh pasta dishes. One of the assigned dishes is a squid ink striped farfalle. At the time, I hadn't even considered the concept of striped pasta so I was intrigued and wanted to explore the notion. In addition, my long time readers will remember I prepared a Paglia e Fieno dish two years ago which is the second source of inspiration for this updated version.

Dish Details

When I conceptualized this dish, I imagined it to be served at a modern Italian fine dining restaurant. The dish the contestants on the show I referenced above made pasta with only stripes on one side, so I did a little digging and found a method to ensure the stripes appear on both sides. I also wanted to use seasonal ingredients so, after consulting The Flavor Bible, I decided to use artichokes for my filling in addition to mushrooms, spinach and peas. Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri played a role in two components of the dish. The reduction was comprised from the basic sauce making technique described on page 75 and the artichoke filling on pages 129 through 130 and 134. Pasta dough was adapted from the article I linked above. I also added the pancetta because The Flavor Bible noted it worked well with artichokes and I've also found I enjoy the pairing of cured pork with mushrooms.


For the artichoke filling:
3 lemons
3 artichokes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 leek, tops trimmed and green outer leaves discarded
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
7 to 8 baby carrots, sliced thin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs lemon thyme
1 3/4 cups white wine

For pasta dough:
8 ounces raw spinach
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided plus more as needed
Kosher salt
8 eggs, divided

For the vegetables and reduction:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 ounces pancetta, diced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon thyme sprigs, for garnish


1. Complete the artichoke mise en place. Combine the juice from 2 1/2 lemons and 2 quarts water in a large bowl. Trim the stem (leaving only 1-inch), then remove the outer leaves and cut off the inner leaves. Next, peel away the outer layers that encircle the heart with a pairing knife, similar to peeling an apple. Scrape out the fuzzy choke and immature leaves using a spoon, then trim the top of the choke, rubbing it with the remaining half lemon frequently to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown. When finished place the artichoke into the lemon water and repeat the process with the other two artichokes. Cut the yellow onion in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. Repeat the process for the leek.

2. Braise the artichokes. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a high sided pot over medium heat until the pot begins to smoke. Add the onions, leek, carrots and celery (i.e. mirepoix) to the pot to sweat, reducing the heat to medium low, seasoning with kosher salt and stirring occasionally, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove the artichokes from the lemon water and add to the pot. Drizzle the chokes with approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon thyme sprigs. Add the wine to the pot and enough water to cover the artichokes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pot and let them simmer until the chokes can easily be pierced with a knife, approximately 30 minutes.

Once finished remove from the heat and allow the artichokes to cool in the braising fluid. Purée the artichokes with the mirepoix adding just enough braising fluid so the mixture has the consistency similar to toothpaste. Cover and set aside until the pasta dough has been prepared.

3. Prepare the spinach. Coarsely chop the spinach, then rinse it under cold water. Place the wet spinach leaves in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add a pinch of kosher salt until the spinach wilts, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the spinach from the pan and let it cool. Once the spinach has cooled enough to handle, place them in a double layer of paper towels and squeeze out as much water from them as possible. Purée the spinach in the blender.

4. Make and roll the pasta dough. Make two mounds of flour, each using 3 cups. Dig a hole in each mound to form a well big enough to hold the eggs, then add a pinch of salt to each mound. Whisk 4 eggs together, then pour them into one well. Whisk the remaining 4 eggs together with the puréed spinach and pour it into the second well. Make, knead and roll each dough separately by following the instructions of Steps 4 and 5 in this prior agnolotti dish, however stop rolling the dough one setting thicker than desired. (For example, my Atlas machine has 6 settings but wanted my pasta as thin as setting 5 so I stopped rolling the dough at setting 4.) Many pasta dough recipes direct the cook to use a clean flat surface but I recommend using a sheet pan because the sides will contain the eggs in the event that the well should break. Dust both sides of each pasta dough with flour and then roll each dough up as if you were rolling a cigarette, then cut it lengthwise in half similar to this picture, cutting along the blue rubber band. Unroll each half and wet the edge of the cut side of each green pasta sheet with water, then lay a yellow pasta sheet next to the green so the yellow sheet overlaps the green sheet by a 1/4-inch. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets. Pass the combined dough through the pasta roller at the final setting.

5. Form the tortellini. Using a ring mold, cut circles in the pasta sheets in a manner that half of the circle is green and the other half is yellow. Using the reserved artichoke filling and the pasta cirecles, fold the tortellini in the manner demonstrated in this YouTube video, ensuring that each tortellino is folded in a manner so the half circle has a different color on each side. If you're not preparing the dish immediately, place each tortellino on a sheet pan dusted with flour and place in the freezer.

6. Prepare the sauce and finish the dish. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the tortellini to the pot and boil until they float to the top, approximately 2 minutes. Remove the tortellini from the pot and set aside to reserve. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the pancetta to render the fat, approximately 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pancetta to sweat and reduce, stirring occasionally. Add the peas to the skillet and cook until heated through.

Remove the pancetta, mushrooms and peas from the pan and reserve. If the pan is dry, add the remaining tablespoon to the skillet, then the shallot to sweat for approximately 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and scrape the bottom to release any fond and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain out any solids in the sauce and return it to the skillet over low heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To plate, spoon some of the reduction into a bowl, top the reduction with the mushrooms, pancetta and peas, then place tortellini onto the vegetables. Garnish with lemon thyme sprigs.

Final Thoughts

I was discussing this dish with my friend, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke before I published it today. I explained that this dish is as far as I can escalate the complexity of fresh pasta. As I stated above, I intended this dish to be an example of food that could be served at a modern Italian fine dining establishment. Overall, I was pleased with the taste of the dish, as it was well balanced with strong flavors, however I was not happy with it's presentation. If you perform a google image search for tortellini fine dining, you'll get a general idea of what I had in mind. I think the issue is the size of the pasta circles I cut. I used a 3-inch ring cutter so when I went to wrap them around my finger, I found that they didn't reach all the way around. so I ended up folding both corners over to seal with water. When I make tortellini again, I'd use my 5-inch ring mold. I hoped to document the process of forming the tortellini in a little more detail with pictures, however I so focused with making the tortellini I forgot about my camera.

I've reviewed the process of making fresh pasta several times in the past and I've hoped to dedicate a post focused solely on this one aspect, however my hands get rather messy with flour and eggs when I knead the dough so it's difficult to take pictures. Probably the best demonstration I've found is this one by Chef Tomm Johnson I found on YouTube. He initially combines the wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl instead of using the well method I describe above, however.

Be sure to check out the other great Italian dishes before you go!

And Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Filet Mignon with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette, Sautéed Mushrooms and Toasted Baguette

Filet Mignon with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette, Sautéed Mushrooms and Toasted Baguette

When my birthday occurred a couple of months ago, Mrs. Stuntman took me out to dinner the day prior because she had to work on the evening of my actual birthday. On my actual birthday, I posted a picture of the dish I ate for dinner on instagram. Call this an update but this could easily be served this weekend for Valentine's Day if you don't want to go out to eat.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I was surfing the net recently and came across a dish that won a Top Chef challenge in a prior season. It paired halibut with a vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are ubiquitous in dressing salads, but are more uncommonly used by home cooks as a sauce to complement a protein and I wanted to explore the idea. In addition, the supermarket I normally patronize had USDA Choice New York steaks on sale, however they were a little too large of a portion for my family so I purchased filets instead. A quick review of The Flavor Bible revealed that beef steaks pair well with shallots, mushrooms and Dijon mustard.

Dish Details

I would like to think that this dish would be served at any fine dining steakhouse. I adapted a vinaigrette from Food & Wine but the remaining components of this dish are original.


2 shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 8-ounce beef tenderloin steaks, approximately 1-inch thick
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 baguette, cut into 1/2" slices on a bias
Basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (for garnish)


1. Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the shallots and 1/2 cup olive oil in a saucepan over medium low heat and sweat, stirring frequently until softened, approximately 10 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and let it cool slightly. Add the vinegar and mustard into the blender and purée until smooth. Add in the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste, then keep warm over low heat.

2. Sear the steaks. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat until the oil starts to smoke. While the oil is heating, season the filets with salt and pepper then add them to the skillet to sear, approximately 4 minutes. Flip the steaks to sear on the opposite side but reduce the heat to medium, until desired doneness is reached, approximately 6 minutes for medium rare.

3. Sauté mushrooms and finish the dish. If the skillet is dry once the steaks are removed, add the remaining teaspoon olive oil then the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they shrink, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until fragrant, approximately one minute, then deglaze with the white wine, scraping any fond from the pan. Season with salt and pepper and continue to simmer until the wine has evaporated.

While the wine is reducing, put the baguette slices on a aluminum foil lined sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler, checking every 30 seconds until the desired color is reached.

To plate, follow the classic design of starch at 10 o'clock, protein at 2 o'clock with sauce under the protein and vegetables at 6 o'clock by spooning a tablespoon of vinaigrette onto a plate right of center, then placing the filet onto the vinaigrette at the center of the plate. Using a slotted spoon, drizzle some mushrooms off to the side of the filet then lean a baguette slice against the filet on the opposite side of the vinaigrette and garnish the dish with the chiffonade basil.

Final Thoughts

This dish is about as spontaneous as I'll get because I did not plan to publish it here when I went shopping for the ingredients in the morning I prepared it. In fact, I composed it while I was there in the supermarket based upon the ingredients I knew I had in my pantry. Still, it was well balanced with the baguette offering a texture contrast. In addition, the acidity of the vinaigrette balanced out the sweet flavors in the basil and the savory steak from the standpoint of the flavor profile. From an execution standpoint, I altered my method slightly in preparing a filet because I found that, by following my prior method, the center was too rare for my taste and, in many cases, blue in the center.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crème Fra?che and Fried Sage Leaves for a #SundaySupper Where We Use Veggies As A Main

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For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful holiday this past Thursday. As I stated in my preview, I find this week's #SundaySupper theme of Veggies As A Main refreshing because it could have easily contributed to the noise of Thanksgiving leftover ideas.

I last made a point of addressing the topic of vegetarian dishes earlier this year when I had the opportunity to work with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg to promote their most recent book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. In it, Ms. Page makes a strong case for those that have chosen to eat a plant-based diet be it environmental, medical or ethical reasons and I highly recommend it even for meat eaters because it is helpful in dish composition.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

As I looked over my previous posts, I have found many vegetarian dishes here. Many are salads but I would estimate more are Italian primi dishes, which is the case here. I actually find it difficult to incorporate meat into pasta dishes unless we're discussing fillings. Costs aside, flavor is considered first when choosing the ingredients to use in a dish, then whether or not the dish is in season before science (i.e. yeast to make bread, deglazing with fluid, etc.). Since butternut squash is in season, I decided to use it in a risotto dish. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible listed butternut squash as pairing well with risottos, sage and nutmeg which is how I composed this dish.

Dish Details

I adapted Ree's recipe to the fried sage leaves found on epicurious.


Vegetable oil for frying
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 to 7 cups chicken stock, brought to a low simmer in a saucepan
1/4 cup crème fra?che
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons nutmeg


1. Fry the sage. In a small saucepan or small skillet, add enough vegetable oil to achieve a depth of 1/2-inch and place over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the sage in batches, 3 to 4 leaves at a time for 5 seconds each, removing them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate, then season with kosher salt. Set aside to cool. This can be done a day ahead. Once cool, store the leaves in an airtight container.

2. Prepare the squash. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in the squash cubes, then season with salt and pepper. Sweat the squash until lightly browned and tender but not falling apart. Remove the squash from the skillet to a bowl, set aside and reserve.

3. Apply the risotto method in the same skillet where the butternut squash was prepared by following the method in step two of a risotto I published previously.

4. Finish the dish. Once the rice is al dente, stir in the reserved butternut squash, crème fra?che, parmesan and nutmeg using more or less crème fra?che until the desired consistency has been achieved. Adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with the sage leaves.

Final Thoughts

With the holiday this week, I didn't get the opportunity to perfect the dish because the night I prepared it, I added too much crème fra?che. Mrs. Stuntman also thought the dish was too sweet so I'll need to play around with spices to balance out the flavors.

Meanwhile, please view these other dishes offered for this week's #SundaySupper:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Farro "Risotto" with Cannellini Beans and Kale plus a Giveaway #VegFlavorBible

Farro "Risotto" with Cannellini Beans and Kale #VegFlavorBible

Meet Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, creators of the critically acclaimed book The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, which has been cited as one of the five best cookbooks of 2014 based on 300+ reviews in media including Bloomberg, The Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

They are not only the two-time James Beard Award Winning authors of The Flavor Bible and Becoming a Chef, but also coauthored What to Drink with What You Eat, which was named the IACP Cookbook of the Year and the Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year, while also winning a Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

It goes without saying that Karen’s credentials are exemplary. In addition to holding degrees from Northwestern and Harvard, she earned a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell, so it is little wonder that critics are praising her invaluable knowledge and contribution to a healthier and more flavorful approach to food and nutrition!

Karen and Andrew are teaming up with 9 food bloggers to be able to reach out further and share their knowledge and talents with an even greater audience. They have offered to partner in a giveaway in order to educate and make accessible not only their latest creation, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, but also copies of The Flavor Bible and What to Drink with What You Eat! ALL of these resources are treasures that would grace the presence of any home cook’s library, but already hold places of reverence within the commercial kitchens of many chefs.

If you've been reading this website for any length of time, the opening phrase "meet Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg" is a little ridiculous. I have been using my copy of The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg before Crazy Foodie Stunts ever existed, so you can imagine my excitement when I was presented with the opportunity to work with them. You could even call me a fan.

Last autumn, Karen and Andrew published a follow-up to The Flavor Bible titled The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Ms. Page uses the same format to the earlier version, but the similarities end there. Before reading it, I must admit that I did not realize the topic of vegetarianism was so expansive. In the first 90 or so pages, Karen discusses the reasons behind consuming solely a plant-based diet and puts them in a historical context, demonstrates how to fulfill your body's protein needs with a vegetarian diet, reviews the concept of flavor (which was discussed in the first book), provides plant substitutes for animal-based foods, and examines sample vegetarian tasting menus from well known restaurants as Eleven Madison Park and The Inn at Little Washington. In addition, the reference section of the book contains more detail than the original and now includes a color code that indicates the nutrient content, a description, health benefits, vitamin and/or mineral content, gluten specificity, protein content botanical relatives and possible substitutes in many of the ingredients.

So what exactly is occurring here? Well, I am one of nine bloggers that have teamed with Karen and Andrew to promote The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by hosting a giveaway for one copy of it in addition to The Flavor Bible and What to Drink with What You Eat. In the interest of full disclosure, this giveaway is sponsored by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg in addition to their publisher, Little, Brown & Company and I was compensated by product, however all opinions are my own. Each participant was to prepare a dish inspired by one of the flavor pairing suggestions listed with everyone choosing a different ingredient. Details of the giveaway below.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

You might remember a dessert I published shortly after Valentine's Day last year where I noted that Mrs. Stuntman and I marked the occasion with a dinner at Frances in San Francisco. One dish Mrs. Stuntman ordered that evening was the Tuscan Kale & Butter Bean Soup with Farro, Crostini, Roasted Chicken and Garlic Broth. Truthfully? I wasn't all that excited by it but my opinion went 180 degrees in the other direction once it was served. It looked like nothing, yet it was the most flavorful broth I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. I remembered this dish when I chose farro because I knew it was a common substitute for rice in a risotto and wanted to see for myself. This flavor affinity I enjoyed at Frances was further reinforced on page 248 by noting that farro, kale and garlic pair well with each other in addition to the tip on page 247 that notes to add the cooking water from cannellini beans to the farro risotto a creamier and starchier texture.

Dish Details

I took some hints from the "farroto" recipe on the package of farro I purchased in addition to Chef Anne Burrell's version on pages 138 to 139 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer, however this dish is a Crazy Foodie Stunts original. I could imagine it to be on any fine Italian menu, although its presentation would need to be elevated a little.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro, soaked in water overnight then drained
1 cup dry white wine
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, warmed over low heat
3 cups baby kale, chopped
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt
Freshly ground lack pepper


1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the oil and sweat until softened, approximately 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant (approximately one to two minutes), add the farro to the onions and garlic to toast, an additional 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine, continually stirring until the wine has evaporated, then add chicken stock, 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously until each addition has absorbed before adding the next one. Start tasting the farro after the third or fourth addition and stop adding stock once the it is al dente.

2. Once the farro is al dente, stir in the kale until wilted, then the beans until warmed through. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter and Parmesan until melted. Season the risotto with salt and pepper, then spoon into warmed bowls and garnish with more parmesan.

Final Thoughts

Before I proceed with the details of the giveaway, I must note Karen and Andrew's website, in addition to their instagram, twitter, facebook and pinterest pages. I also wanted to introduce you to the eight other participating bloggers. Please visit all of these ladies in addition to adding them to your social media platforms.

This giveaway is open to addresses in the USA only, including APO addresses. For a complete set of giveaway rules, see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spaghetti with Sausage and Peppers plus Updates

Spaghetti with Sausage and Peppers

Hello? Are you still there? I haven't published a dish in almost a month but I have still been busy working. My anniversary was a couple of weeks ago but Mrs. Stuntman and I decided to forgo a dinner at a nice restaurant in exchange for the opportunity to upgrade our cell phones. While Mrs. Stuntman got a newer version of an iPhone, I made the leap from a $12 flip phone to a Samsung Galaxy S5. This is relevant here because, in addition to opening an instagram account for this website, the pictures of this dish were taken with it primarily because it has a 16-megapixel camera which is better than the 12-megapixel quality of my point-and-shoot camera I had been using.

I also attended a photography seminar which was held through my local parks and recreation department which was moderated by Duke Conrad who's an award-winning nature photographer. I encourage you to check out his portfolios at and flickr.

The third update is that I have re-written my About Me page. In it, I summarize a new direction here from execution-focused challenges to flavor profile-focused challenges. As such, I will be announcing some format changes. I'll start with the inspiration behind the dish, then the dish details (which will include the recipe) and finish with some final thoughts. This dish will be my first under the new format.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

A contributing factor in why I went so long without publishing a here is because of Mrs. Stuntman's contributions to the dinner table as of late. She has been purchasing a lot of prepared food. Most of it is the type of food that is already fully-cooked and the only thing needed is to reheat and serve. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with these items but it's just not appropriate to publish here at face value. So, while I was rummaging around the refrigerator on a recent evening, it occurred to me that the smoked mozzarella with artichoke and garlic chicken sausages could be used in a classic Italian pairing of sausage and peppers.

Dish Details

I adapted this epicurious recipe to accomodate a few ingredient substitutions in addition to the sausages noted above. First, I substituted spaghetti for the bucatini simply because I didn't want to pay the additional dollar for the bucatini. Bucatini is the same shape as spaghetti with the exception of a hole running through the pasta so it resembles a straw or a hose. Second, I puréed my tomatoes instead of crushing them by hand. I also substituted fresh oregano leaves for the dried and used regular parmesan instead of the Grana Padano. This dish would easily fit onto any casual Italian menu.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces smoked mozzarella with artichoke and garlic chicken sausages (approximately 3 links), casings removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan


1. In a large pot, bring to a boil at least 4 quarts of salted water to a boil over high heat. Separately in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the sausage and break it up into bite size pieces until well browned, approximately 4 minutes. To the sausage, add the onion and peppers to sweat and adjusting the heat as needed, approximately 8 minutes.

2. Add in the garlic and stir until it becomes redolent, one or two minutes. Deglaze with the white wine, scraping up any brown bits and reducing for minute or two. Add in the tomato purée, 2 cups of the pasta water, then season with salt, red pepper and oregano. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes flavorful. Approximately 10 minutes in, drop the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook for two or three minutes less than the box instructions direct. Once the pasta is al dente, reserve 1 cup of the water, then drain and add to the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the parsley. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with Parmesan.

Final Thoughts

While not my most creative effort, it still was well balanced and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Risotto with Mascarpone and Prosciutto

Risotto with Mascarpone and Prosciutto

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my facebook friends' favorite risotto flavors. Parmesan was a popular flavor. Mushrooms was also fairly common. I was a little surprised by the answers given primarily because they're ubiquitous. Furthermore, I examined several Italian restaurant menus but I didn't find much more creativity with their risottos.

I don't know about you, but I get bored with common flavors. It's the reason why I've profiled one with Japanese ingredients, one where I substituted red wine for white and not one but two versions where I replaced the Arborio rice with another starch.

You might be curious to note that I used rather pedestrian flavors but I didn't prepare this risotto to demonstrate interesting ingredient pairings for the sake of taste. The reason I'm presenting this dish to you is due to it's viscosity. A risotto is normally finished off with butter and parmesan but in this case, gruyere and mascarpone is substituted for the parmesan which resulted in a creamier consistency. In addition, the prosciutto also added a contrast in texture because it is crispy, when prepared in the manner the recipe suggests. Other than tasting it for seasoning after the herbs and cheese have been added, I didn't alter this dish from so I kindly request you go there for it.


I'm happy to report that this risotto has replaced the one with peas and bacon as Mrs. Stuntman's new favorite. In fact, I have a funny feeling this dish will be making a encore appearance on my dinner table sometime soon. I can only conclude that there is something to these vanilla flavors after all. Whew knew?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rigatoni with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

Rigatoni with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

I would estimate that pasta dinners occur, on average, weekly in my home. without fail, each time I serve said pasta dish to Mrs. Stuntman she asks, did you put hot dogs in it? to which I'll reply, no. This must be a Filipino thing. I can think of no authentic Italian pasta dishes that utilize hot dogs so call this a compromise to appease her.

The Challenge

Satisfy Mrs. Stuntman's desire for proteins in pasta.

The Source

I adapted this dish from Food & Wine.


Kosher salt
1 pound dried rigatoni
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage meat, removed from casings if applicable
1 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 bunch fresh basil, cut into chiffonade (1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
1 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni and boil two to three minutes less than the instructions on the box dictate, stirring occasionally. Once al dente, drain and set aside if necessary.

2. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the sausage and brown, approximately five minutes. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up the fond from the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until reduced by half, approximately five minutes. Add the cream, mustard and red pepper and simmer for an additional two minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from heat and toss the sauce with the rigatoni and basil. Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with additional basil and parmesan.


This dish would make a great weeknight dinner because it can be prepared from prep to plate in under thirty minutes. The dish yielded very intense flavor and Mrs. Stuntman was also happy with it.