Monday, January 2, 2012

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Minimal effort... maximum reward

Easy?  Yes.
Delicious?  Absolutely.


Brining is a basic technique that imparts a phenomenal flavor to any cut of meat.  Here, it makes a skin-on pork shoulder shine...

Spanish Flavor Brined Pork Shoulder
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp brown sugar
5 garlic cloves - crushed

Combine salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, paprika, sugar, and garlic with 2 qts of water in a large pot.  Heat over medium heat until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Let cool completely.  Add the pork shoulder and cover with additional water to make sure the pork is completely submerged.  Refridgerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Put the onions, garlig, herbs, and the wine into a roasting pan, placing the drained and dried pork shoulder on top - it's ok if some of the peppercorns stick to the pork.  Bake partially uncovered for at least 4.5 hours or until the pork comes away from the bone and the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.  Baste occasionally with the juices in the roasting pan.  If the liquid evaporates, add more wine or water to keep onions from burning.  When pork is done, the mixture in the pan can be pureed and strained for a sauce, adding a bit more wine if necessary.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with toasted bread, manchego cheese, roasted peppers, etc.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Northern California Escape - Part 2 - San Francisco's Nopa Restaurant

Pre-dinner cocktail, spiced chickpeas, and an amuse bouche
Grass-fed hamburger

Dinner Wine

 Dessert #1 - Cognac pound cake, meyer lemon cream, gewurtztraminer sorbet, rosemary infused kumquats
Dessert #2 - Warm chocolate mousse, smoked chocolate mousse, and lavender-vanilla cream

Nopa
560 Divisadero
San Francisco, CA

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Northern California Escape - Part 1

A quick day trip to San Francisco

Far West Funghi mushrooms, Ferry Building Market Place
Acme Bread Co, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, freshly shucked oysters
Chris Cosentino's Boccalone Salumeria
Bleu cheese wrapped in fig leaves from Cow girl Creamery
Sampling of cheeses and jams at Cow Girl Creamery

Picnic and play at Crissy Field
Golden Gate Park

Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco California 94111


Friday, April 22, 2011

The recipe that took first place, and a whole lot of cookware

A few months ago a friend told me about a Share and Tell Recipe Contest that was sponsored by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp which supplies Angus beef to Spartan Stores, along with many other great products.  As it happens, my local stores carry Spartan brand products, and I decided to enter my Beef Braised in Rioja into the contest, which was a part of a small dinner party menu.  A few weeks ago, I found out that I won the GRAND PRIZE.  I want to take a chance to thank all of you who have visited my blog and provided such nice feedback and comments, I am still very much surprised and very humbled by this.  So thank you, everyone, for your support.   

You can find the article here and the chef-tested recipe here

As the article says, the blog will be expanding to provide recipes and much much more.  Look for the official announcement here when http://www.annabellavita.com/ goes live.

Thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart.

~Ann[abella]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vegetable Tian... a preview

Something a bit new for you, dear readers - a preview of what is to come - in eMenus and eRecipes


Monday, March 14, 2011

Grown-up s'mores

We've all been there, most likely in a group setting - afraid to order something on the menu, knowing that we would make an absolute mess.  Settling for a salad, when all we really want is a coney, chicken wings, or that bruschetta that you have to pick up instead of attempting to cut it with a knife.  Like a poorly-assembled club sandwich on a first date - mayo acting like the perfect lubricant between lettuce and tomato, causing your first bite to result in the epic fall of the rest of the items to your plate.  It's slow-motion... 

"Yes!" (you bite into the sandwich, tasting the thick-cut-just-crispy-enough bacon)

"Noooooooo!" (a split second later as you feel the contents of your sandwich slip out of the bread)

... you look at the plate, disappointed, dropping your shoulders in defeat, still chewing that first bite.  And most of all, you know.... everyone... saw that.  But you know that it was worth it.  And most of all, that by being wreckless in a white button-down-begging-for-a-tomato-stain you have made everyone else jealous that you were not safe with your food.  You got what you wanted.  You got your way.  And although you may have needed a clean-up crew to come and contain your mess, you took the responsibility for your decision - making do just fine with the masterpiece that came out of the kitchen, applying more mayo (because you were smart enough to get some on the side) on the remnants.  In a match, delicious will always trump prim and proper.  And a satisfying dessert should be no different than the best of the finger foods.  So feel free to eat - simply to enjoy. 

Cheers to feeling like a grown-up... child.
 
Nutella S'Mores ... delicious mess guaranteed
Chocolate Grahm Crackers (Keebler strongly prefferred)
Nutella
mini marshmallows
broiler

Assemble. 
Broil on high until toasted (when in the middle of the oven) - watch closely, takes a minute.  Repeat.

P.S. You must squeeze the chocolate grahms together to ensure that nutella and toasted marshmallows get all over your hands - it's ok, no one is looking.