I am sure you guys don’t want to hear why I haven’t posted to the blog recently. But I have an excellent reason!
On January 24, 2014 I became father to a beautiful healthy little girl named Veronica. Don’t think for a second that has hampered my cooking at all, in fact I think it’s enhanced it. I’ve had to be more efficient with my time, but still produce great high quality meals for my nursing wife, my saint of a mother in law, and parents who have been helping us raise this little peanut.
For instance, a week after Veronica was born, after a week of hard work and reduced sleep (Thankfully Veronica has been a very good infant sleeper even when we first brought her home), I made grilled veal chops and a lovely apple crostata with dulce de leche.
Grilled Veal Chops
2-3 Large veal rib chops (I’m talking Flintstone sized, should be almost 2 lbs of meat)
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
5-6 sprigs of thyme
2-3 glugs of good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (Optional)
Method: Pre heat grill to high heat (I use a weber kettle with natural charcoal, I can’t handle the smell of the petroleum in briquettes anymore). While grill is heating up, combine the above listed ingredients in a glass baking dish. Coat chops. When grill is ready, sear chops on hot side (watch for flare ups from oil) on both sides, then move to cold side of grill. Cover grill and roast chops for about 10 minutes (depending on heat of grill and size of chops).
I served the chops with boiled green plantains, grilled okra and grilled leeks. For the Okra, all you need to do is get them on a skewer and brush with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and flash them on the hot side of the grill for about 1 minute or two on each side. The only better way to eat Okra is fried next to a giant piece of catfish in Oklahoma.
As for the crostada, I’m most proud of this idea. We are part of Annie’s Organic Buying Club, which is a great organic produce share in Florida. While I love our produce share, it seems like we get a bag of apples ever share, and we never eat very many. I had a bunch of apples so I decided to make a pie, but I wanted to do something different, so I thought about making a crostada.
With the baby, papa don’t have no time to be making a pie crust from scratch. I bought a store-bought pie crust and added a twist. Dulce de leche. Absolutely made the dish.
Dulce de Leche Apple Crostada
6-8 apples (use what you like, the crostada doesn’t bake for very long), peeled sliced and cored
3/4 cup of sugar
2-3 tbs of cinnamon
2-3 tbs of cornstarch or flour
3-4 tbs butter, cubed
1 cup of prepared dulce de leche (you can make it yourself by boiling a jar of sweetened condensed milk, but since I didn’t want to be horrifically injured by an exploding can of sweetened condensed milk, I used the prepared stuff)
1 store-bought refrigerated pie crust sheet
Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix apples, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Wait until Apples start to release a little bit of juice and the mixture surrounding the apples turns into a slurry. It should be fairly thick, if it’s too loose add more cornstarch. Add butter and transfer directly to rolled out pie crust sheet. The sheet of pie crust should be directly on a baking sheet. Place the apples in the center of pie crust. Spoon the dulce de leche even over top of apples and fold up edges of pie crust toward center to basically have a giant hole of exposed apples and dulce de leche in the center (it should look like a doughnut). Sprinkle edges of exposed crust with a little of sugar (you can eggwash the outside if you want then add sugar) and bake until golden brown and crust about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.