Cider Brined Pork Loin Stuffed with Curried Fennel, Squash & Pistachios, Green Bean Casserole

For Thanksgiving, I decided to attempt a recipe that I’ve been wanting to try: Cider Brined Pork Loin Stuffed with Curried Fennel, Squash and Pistachio. Instead of using Calvados, I rode my bike over to Clear Creek Distillery and picked up a 50 ml bottle of their Eau de Vie de Pomme, Barrel Aged 8 years. My sister-in-law brought the Green Bean Casserole and rolls from little t. For dessert, my wife made Pecan Pie Cheesecake.

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To go with the meal, I busted out all of the cider that we had picked up on our trip to the Olympic Peninsula – Boot Brawl and Rhubarb Cider from Eaglemont Wine & Cider, Calypso (aged in Rum barrels with blackberries) and Spark! Semi-Sweet from Alpenfire Cider, and Fire Barrel (aged in Bourbon barrels) from Finnriver Farm & Cidery – as well as some recent finds – 1763 from Cider Riot!, Beermongers Birthday (Lorrie’s Gold aged in a Elijah Craig 12-year Bourbon barrel) from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Bourbon Barrel from Traditions Ciderworks and Cidermaker’s Reserve from Tieton Cider Works.

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Grilled Whole Trout with Sun Dried Tomato and Crazy Water, Brussels Sprouts with Green Charmoula

This was an attempt to recreate a dish from The Woodsman Tavern. I did a bit a research and figured this was the best way to go about it. But it did not turn out at all like what I was shooting for… The fish fell apart when I took it out of the grilling basket. You can’t see it in the photo above because I put all of the parsley and sun dried tomatoes on top in the serving dish.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut in halves
2 tbsp Calabrian chiles
¼ cup of green onions, chopped
1 cup chicken stock + 1 cup water
1 whole trout with skin scaled, head on and bones removed
Olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 lemon, sliced
⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Special Equipment: Fish Grill Basket

Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant. Add wine, sun-dried tomato pieces, Calabrian chiles and green onions and stir in chicken stock and water. Keep at a low simmer until you are ready to add the fish.

Preheat your grill to full heat. Slash the trout with a knife, about ten times on each side. Each slash should be about ¼” deep. Rub the trout with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon slices. Place the fish in the grill basket, and cook for around 5 minutes on each side until crispy and golden. Remove lemon slices from cavity and place fish into the pan with sauce. Cook for one to two minutes, then serve immediately and garnish with parsley.

Brussels Sprouts with Green Charmoula

The Brussels sprouts recipe is by Wesley Johnson of Café Castagna and was recently printed in the The Portland Outsider.

Ingredients:

¼ tsp cumin
6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls capers, rinsed and minced
½ tsp preserved lemon rind, rinsed and minced
¼ tsp black pepper, ground
½ tsp lemon juice
½ cup parsley, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 tbsp butter
Lemon juice
1 tbsp Aleppo pepper
1½ tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

For Green Charmoula: Toast cumin in a pan until aromatic. Let cool, then grind seeds. Mix with anchovy, garlic, capers, preserved lemon, black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil in bowl and season to taste. Best made the day before.

For Brussels Sprouts: Preheat oven to 350°. Trim the stem end of the Brussels sprout, reserving any nice outer leaves. Split Brussels in half lengthwise, reserving any loose leaves so you have nice tight half heads. Set oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add enough butter to liberally coat the bottom. Wait until butter foams to add the Brussels sprouts. Once Brussels sprouts are in, turn all cut side down. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook on stovetop until golden-brown on the bottom, then finish in 350° oven until desired doneness has been reached. To finish toss Brussels sprouts in hot pan with reserved Brussels sprout leaves and a generous amount of green charmoula. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Transfer Brussels sprouts to serving dish and garnish with Aleppo pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

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To drink, we went with a bottle of the Fleur de Blanc from The Commons Brewery and a bottle of the Hose from De Garde Brewing.

Beef Cheeks Bourguignon and a Salad

I’d been sitting on a bottle of Block 15‘s The Demon’s Farm for a while now and had been trying to come up with something to cook to go with it. Then one day when I was at Chop, I saw that they carried beef cheeks. I had only recently received a copy of the cookbook from Le Pigeon, and realized that they would be a perfect match. I did tweak the recipe a hair by using rainbow carrots and cipollini onions. Since the dish is a tad bit labor intensive (a three page recipe that takes over 12 hours to prepare) and very rich, I decided to serve it with a simple salad of mixed greens.

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Unlike like last week, I knew exactly what beer to have with this dish: A 2012 bottle of Block 15‘s The Demon’s Farm – a dark ale aged 40% in bourbon barrels and 60% pinot noir barrels with cherries.

Pollo Cordón Azul with Romesco and Grilled Asparagus with Parsley-Tarragon Chimichurri

I’ve been hankering both of these dishes, so I decided to do them together. The Pollo Cordón Azul with Romesco recipe, you can find here. The Grilled Asparagus with Parsley-Tarragon Chimichurri recipe I did not too long ago is from Fine Cooking.

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After much consternation, I decided to go with a bottle of the recently released Flora Rustica from Upright Brewing.

Día de Muertos Smörgåsbord

The usual suspects: Cheeses from The Cheese Bar and Pastaworks (plus their mixed olives), Bourbon chicken liver mousse from Chop, a baguette from little t – as well as my own home made pickled rainbow carrots and golden beets plus some French breakfast radishes with sea salt. For dessert: Some sea salt and caramel macrons from Pix Patisserie for dessert and some goat cheese with caramel sauce from Portland Creamery.

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This evening was more about the beer than the food… I busted out a bottle of De Garde Brewing recent Herbes Houblon release (a farmhouse ale aged in oak gin and vermouth barrels), a 2013 bottle of The Ale Apothecary‘s El Cuatro (aged for a year in brandy barrels), a 2014 bottle of Anchorage Brewing‘s Love Buzz (a Saison aged Pinot Noir barrels) and a 2013 bottle of Boulevard Brewing‘s Bourbon Barrel Quad.