Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cena Italiana Per Due

Pork Loin Chop with Pear and Porcini Brandy Creme with a Ratatouille Coin Purse
This is a very nice tasting pork loin chop entree!
Pears and porcini mushrooms naturally go well together in a cream sauce. The ratatouille phyllo purse adds to the appeal of the plate.

Rustique Ratatouille Recipe

This recipe makes 2 portions!
The secret to making a good ratatouille is knowing when the vegetables are cooked tender, without being over cooked! The herbs will be at their aromatic peak at that time.
A few pinches of Traditional Classic French Herbs de Provence can be substituted for the long list of herbs in this recipe, if you wish. Keep in mind that the traditional French Herbs de Provence contains no lavender flowers! Both the American version and the modern French version of Herbs de Provence do contain lavender flowers.

Heat a large saucepot over medium heat.
Add 1 splash of olive oil. (About 1 ounce to 1 ½ ounces)
Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
Saute the garlic, till it becomes a golden color.
Add 1 small handful of coarsely chopped celery.
Add 1 small handful of coarsely chopped onion.
Add 1 small handful of coarsely chopped leek.
Add 2 chopped green onions.
Saute and stir, till the onions turn clear and translucent.
Add 1 zucchini that is sliced in half lengthwise and cut into large bite size pieces.
Add 1 yellow squash that is sliced in half lengthwise and cut into large bite size pieces.
Add 1 long Chinese purple eggplant that is sliced in half lengthwise and cut into large bite size pieces.
Add 2 coarsley chopped plum tomatoes.
Add ½ of a red bell pepper that is cut into large bite size pieces.
Add ½ of a yellow bell pepper that is cut into large bite size pieces.
Saute and stir the vegetables, till they just start to become tender.
Add 3 pinches of thyme.
Add 1 bay leaf.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
Add 2 pinches of tarragon leaf.
Add 6 chopped fresh basil leaves.
Add 2 pinches of minced chervil.
Add 1 pinch of rubbed sage.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 1 pinch of paprika.
Add 3 pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Stir the stew.
Add enough vegetable broth to almost cover the vegetables. The stock should be about 1/2" less the level of vegetables.
Add 2 tbsp. of tomato puree.
Bring the stew to a gentle boil.
Immediately reduce the temperature to a medium low/low heat.
Gentle stir the stew occasionally. (Never cover a ratatouille pot with a lid, or the vegetables will become colorless and mushy!)
The ratatouille should be ready after simmering for a short period of time.

Note: I hesitate to state an exact simmering time range, because the cooking time of vegetables can vary with the season and the amount of rainfall. About 20 to 30 minutes of simmering is about the par. It is important to keep an eye on the stew and stir it occasionally, so the vegetables do not overcook! The vegetables should be cooked tender, but not mushy. The slight loss of color should not be of first importance in a rustic style ratatouille. It is the flavor and texture of a rustic ratatouille that counts!
A 3 to 4 ounce portion of ratatouille will have to be chilled for making the phyllo purse.

Ratatouille Coin Purse Recipe

Cut a total of 8 (6 x 6 inch) square sheets of phyllo.
Brush each phyllo sheet with melted unsalted butter, one at a time and stack the phyllo sheets on top of each other.

Note: Do not line the corners and sides of the phyllo sheets up with each other! You want as many corners exposed as possible, so the phyllo looks like fabric on a purse.

Place about 3 to 4 ounces of chilled ratatouille on the center of the stack of phyllo sheets.
Pick the sides of the phyllo sheets up around the ratatouille to form a purse.
Butter a 3 x 6 inch sheet of phyllo dough and roll it up to form a cord shape.
Wrap the phyllo cord around the neck of the purse and tie a simple knot.
Loosen the exposed "fabric" shaped phyllo on the top of the purse.
Set the purse on a buttered baking pan.
Bake the purse in a 300 oven, till it becomes golden brown.
Keep the phyllo ratatouille purse warm on a stove top.

Pork Loin Chop with Pear and Porcini Brandy Creme Recipe:

If you use dried porcini, soak the dried porcini till they become tender and save the porcini soaking water for later in the recipe.

Season 6 ounce boneless pork loin chop with sea salt and white pepper.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add the seasoned pork loin chop.
Saute the pork chop, till it becomes lightly browned and till the pork chop is about halfway cooked.
Drain off the excess grease from the pan.
Add 5 or 6 small porcini mushroom slices.
Saute the porcini for 20 seconds.
Add ½ cup of brandy.
Add 1 pinch of thyme.
Simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
Add ½ cup of the porcini soaking water.
Simmer reduce the sauce by half.
Add ½ of a seeded, peeled, diced fresh pear.
Add 2/3 cup of cream.
Add 1 ½ tablespoons of sour cream.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium cream sauce consistency.

Set the ratatouille coin purse on the plate. Place the boneless pork loin chop on the plate. Cascade the sauce over and around the pork chop. The flavor of this sauce was made to be rich. A heavy sauce consistency seems to work well with the ingredients of the sauce.
Remind your guests that there is "hot merchandise" in the purse! The ratatouille will come out of the purse steaming hot once the purse is cut open. Yum! ...

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