pork loinLean, flavorful, pork loin is a wonderfully versatile protein to find lurking in your fridge.

Slice it super thin and layer with cheese, pickled peppers or onion jam on your favorite artisan bread,

Cube up a thicker slice and toss with roasted pears and pecans in a wilted baby kale salad dressed with warm bourbon and maple vinaigrette.

Maybe a quick taco appeals?  Julienne the pork and heat with caramelized onion and chipotle pepper.  Spoon into warm corn tortillas with layers of finely shredded napa cabbage and a quick shave of cotija.

How to Prepare Your Pork Loin

Being lean, you need to take extra measures to protect this lovely piece of meat.  Brining is ideal.  Use 1/4 cup of salt to 3 cups of water.  I like to add some honey, a bay leaf, peppercorn and acid in the form of a splash of organic cider vinegar or half of a lemon.  Cook to dissolve salt and honey.  Cool fully, then immerse the roast into the liquid and refrigerate.  Even a couple hours will make a huge difference.  For a larger roast, over night is ideal.  Remove from the brine at that time, or it will affect the overall texture of the meat.

To roast, merely make a rub of your favorite herbs and spices then smear them all over the roast.  If you did have time to brine, you will not need as much salt when roasting. Pop the meat into a 350 degree oven and roast until the thermometer reads 145 degrees.  It cooks fairly fast, so keep an eye on it.  Once out of the oven, please set it aside to rest.  The rest period allows the temperature to permeate consistently through out the meat.  The juices settle, so when you cut it, they don’t run out, resulting in a dry piece of pork.

Have fun creating your own recipes with this low cost ingredient!

Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

LambCCOrangeGremToo pretty?  Never!!  Grab me a fork!

Rack of Lamb with Orange Gremolata

Lamb Rack, frenched, typically eight bones
Rosemary, minced
Garlic, minced
Cara Cara Orange, zested and supremed into separate dishes
Salt and pepper
Italian flay leaf parsley, chopped
Shallot, minced
Pine nuts, toasted

Chef’s Secret:  The key to cooking lamb is patience.  To achieve the beautiful color in the picture, you need to allow it to rest.  If you don’t, when you cut it, all those lovely juices run free.

Cut the rack into portions, allowing three to four ribs per person when using small imported lamb.  If you are using American lamb, it is usually from larger animals, so you won’t need as many ribs per person.

Salt and pepper all surfaces.  Set it aside and allow to come to room temperature.  This creates more even cooking through out.

Mix the orange zest, rosemary and garlic.  Set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet with a small amount of olive oil.  Place the lamb in it, meat side down.  Brown this.  When that is achieved, turn it over.  While the back side is cooking, rub the orange zest mixture all over the meat side of the rack.  Now, put the pan, with the lamb into a 400 degree oven. Cooking time will be determined by the size of the portions.  When the meat is no longer smushy, but beginning to be firm to the touch, pull the pan from the oven.  Transfer the racks, uncut, to a plate and set aside.

While they are resting for 10-15 minutes you can complete any side dishes and make the orange salad garnish.  To make this, combine the orange supremes with the parsley, shallot and pine nuts.

Once the lamb is fully rested, carefully cut between the rib bones to make chops.  They should be beautifully pink, warm all the way through and not losing their juices.  Plate them and top with the supreme salad.

Enjoy!!   Chef Celinda


I bought some beautiful, super fresh, white True Cod at Central Market Saturday.  Looking for a bright, bold flavored dish, I created:

Lemon Butter Braised True Cod

The pieces you bring home from the Market, will be dense at the tail end, tapering to thin wider pieces over the area previously containing the fish’s rib bones.  You will need to cook the thicker pieces longer.  Be aware that the thin ones will be a bit tricky to handle, when cooked, being fairly delicate.  A ‘fish spatula’ is a most useful tool!

True Cod, cut into portion sized pieces
Gluten free flour.  I like to use Red Mill’s 1 to 1 baking blend.
Unsalted butter
Olive oil
Button mushrooms.  note: other mushrooms, if desired
Fresh lemon
Fresh rosemary, minced
Vegetable stock
Turmeric, ground
Salt and pepper

Prep shallot and garlic, set aside.  Season the fish portions with coriander, salt and pepper.  note:  I used Rosemary Sea Salt instead of regular salt, but either will work. Dredge in a small amount of the flour.

Melt butter in a good quality, thick bottom saute pan.  Add olive oil, as well.  This will make the butter much easier to work with.  Brown the fish, remove and set in a baking dish.  Place in a 250 degree oven to keep warm, and allow to finish cooking all the way through.  If you make the sauce quickly, the timing will be perfect.  If you work slowly, keep on eye on the fish, so it doesn’t over cook.

Scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge any morsels of remaining fish.  Remove them.  Place the mushrooms in the pan and cook until they start softening.  You will probably need to add additional olive oil.  Now, add shallot. When shallots are about half done, add the garlic and rosemary.  When shallot is lightly browned, add vegetable stock, juice of fresh lemon, saffron and turmeric.  Reduce, season as needed, then mount with additional butter.  Pour over the fish and serve immediately.

Dreary weather take heed!  We culinary soldiers will win this battle!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

porkcandyhashSunday, especially gloomy Winter Sundays are synonymous with BRUNCH.  And a memorable brunch needs to include PORK BELLY!

Pork Candy Hash

This delightful dish was a Parco creation.  You need to plan this ahead, but it’s easy to put together when it’s time to feed all the little Piggies at your table!

For braise:

Pork Belly, uncured

Maple Syrup, REAL, preferably grade B (dark)


For hash:

Partially cooked red potatoes, diced (peel, if desired)

Apple, cored, sliced with peel still on.  I like to use Pink Lady apples.  Great flavor and color!

Onion, chopped or julienne, as desired

Baby Kale, I always enjoy using Earth Bound Farms Organic Baby Kale blend

Rosemary, minced

Apple cider vinegar, Try Bragg’s!!

Salt and pepper

Eggs, preferably Organic, Cage-free hen eggs or your choice of other varieties

You need to braise the pork belly first.  It’s super easy.  You will need a pan that will hold the belly, laid out and deep enough for the liquid.  Salt the belly on both sides and lay in the pan.  Add cold water to reach half way up the side.  You want it sloshy but not fully submerged.  Now drizzle on the syrup.  If you are in a pinch to make, but don’t have the syrup, try molasses or brown sugar.

To braise, first cover the meat with parchment paper, then seal the top tightly with heavy foil.  Carefully place into the oven.  325 degrees for standard or 300 for convection.  Personally, I prefer to do my braises in a convection oven.  The texture is more consistent.  You will cook this for three hours.  When it’s done, remove the foil and paper then fully chill.

When cooled, carefully remove the fat layer from the top of the liquid and discard.  Notice the beautiful gelatinous brown ‘jelly’ around the pork belly?  You want to save this, it’s BELLY JELLY and makes a wonderful ingredient to enhance other dishes.

Place the cooked belly on a cutting board and cut into portions.  For the hash recipe, you will want to cut each portion into bite size pieces.  Place these in a good cast iron skillet with just enough olive oil to keep them from sticking.  Bring the morsels to temperature.  Be careful, they have a lot of moisture and will pop and snap.  Ow!!!  Once warm, pull from the heat and drizzle with more maple syrup.  No subs at this point!!  Place in a 350 degree oven until they caramelize.

While the belly is lolling about in the oven, place the potatoes, apple slices, onion and rosemary in a size-able cast iron pan.  Note:  if you don’t have any, when you look into purchasing, look at Lodge brand pans.  Excellent quality and will last forever!  Cook potatoes until nicely browned.  The belly should be finished.  Carefully remove the morsels and mix into the potatoes.  You do not want the remaining fat in the caramelizing pan.  Watch that you don’t get burned on the HOT maple caramel!

To finish the dish, add the baby kale and a dash of cider vinegar.  Adjust the seasoning and cook until the kale is just wilted.  Plate and top with a pair of eggs, sunny side up or basted.

This meal epitomized FOOD FUN!!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda


Football, a word that means you are going to have a handful, or maybe a house-full, of “12th Wo/Men” hanging out to watch the game Saturday!  Can you face another dinner of pizza and wings?  If not, here’s a great dish, that the hordes will love!

Chef Celinda’s Game Day Chicken

Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless,                                                  seasoned with s&p on both sides

Olive oil

Onion, minced

Celery, minced

Carrot, minced

Garlic, minced

Balsamic vinegar

Castelvetrano olives, chopped

Yellow skinned potatoes, peeled and diced

Tomato sauce, preferably made from Italian, San Marzano’s

Oregano and Marjoram



Salt and pepper

Make mire poix with the onion, celery and carrot.  Place this, with the chicken thighs, in braising pan with heated olive oil. When the chicken is nearly done browning, add the garlic.  When soft, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, then add stock.  I was lucky and had a ham bone simmering nearby.  I kyped a couple scoops of that for my stock!  What a lovely addition.  Chicken or vegetable stock will work fine.  Mine’s just gonna be better… teehee

Add the chopped olives, tomato sauce, oregano and marjoram.  Check the salt levels.  Adjust as needed.  Remember, to keep in mind you will be reducing the liquid, which increases salt percentages, but also adding potatoes, which will absorb it.

Add the diced potatoes.  Stir them around, so they are submerged in the liquid.  Add more stock, if needed.

Cover and allow to simmer until the chicken and potatoes are done.  Add your chopped frisee and cook until it wilts nicely.  Serve with a strong flavors cheese garnish, either shaved are shredded.  Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano will do nicely.  I happened to have a pretty piece of Grand Ewe Vintage Best Uniekaas that was an amazing addition.



You bought this great looking piece of beef and haven’t a clue what you are going to actually make with it…

Top round is super lean, so you need to prepare a dish that involves either a very quick cooking method, using super thin slices of the beef; like a stir fry or a combination of both dry and wet cooking methods.  Some standard ideas would be Beef Stroganoff, Bourguignon, Braciole, Goulash or Stew. I’m feeling like something decadent tonight!

Truffled Beef and Mushrooms with Blue Cheese

Begin by cutting the top round into thin pieces, against the grain, to shorten the fibers that can make it chewy.  Finish cutting these slices into bite size morsels.  Season with salt and pepper, then dredge with Red Mill’s 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour, or your favorite brand that works well in this application.  Brown the prepared beef in a small amount of olive oil.  Remove it from the pan and set aside.  Immediately, add minced shallot and Cremini, or your favorite mushrooms.  If necessary, add a touch more olive oil.  When they are getting close, add minced garlic and cook until soft.  Deglaze with balsamic vinegar, then add stock, the browned beef, a bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for an hour, or until the beef is tender.  You may need to add more stock, if it gets too thick.  Take the pan off the heat and finish with minced flat leaf parsley, a round of black truffle oil and unsalted butter, stirring to melt the butter to create a glossy sauce.  Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.  Just before serving, fold in crumbled blue cheese and spoon over your favorite prepared gluten free pasta.


Beautiful, sweet Cara Cara oranges are in season right now!  Read more about this treat on Sunkist’s page.  I thought I’d include them to create a “side trip” to somewhere sunny on our “Arm Chair Vacation Tour”!

The sweet, yet tangy flavor of these oranges lend themselves beautifully to a warm radicchio salad.  Such beautiful colors!  Your guests will be excited to try this dish.  It is excellent as a side, with many different proteins, or it makes a memorable lunch entree with the addition of crumbled chevre and roasted pine nuts.

1 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced across the grain

1/2 cup julienne red onion

Olive oil


1 Cara Cara orange

Italian flat leaf parsley

Salt and Pepper

Sherry Vinegar

Start the red onion and olive oil on a moderate temp.  While that’s cooking, you will want to use a micro-plane and zest about half of the orange.  Reserve this.  Now, using a very sharp pairing knife, cut away the rind and pith; then cut out the segments, between the membranes.  Keep a bowl below you, to catch the juices.  Place the pretty supremes in the juice.  When finished, wring any remaining juice from the membranes, then discard them.  Set your juice and supremes aside.

As the onion is nearly finishing, add the cardamom directly to the pan.  You want the heat to awaken the wonderful flavors of the spice.  Toss that around a bit.  Now add your radicchio.  Don’t worry that you have too much, it is going to wilt quite a lot.  Add salt, pepper and the orange zest.  Cook until the radicchio is soft, but still retaining it’s color. Now add the orange segments and parsley.  Cook just until the orange is warmed thru.  Cara Cara’s are less acidic, and your dish needs a touch to bring it to it’s full potential, so add about a half teaspoon of good quality sherry vinegar and toss thru.

If you are serving as a lunch entree, add the crumbled chevre and roasted pine nuts at the very end, as well.

Enjoy your trip!  Remember to take pictures!



Balsamico e Burro!  Park me in a chair, tighten my seat belt and hand me a fork! An ‘armchair’ vacation made in culinary heaven!

This fresh Coho Salmon, wrapped with Speck prosciutto, in Balsamic, garlic and butter sauce will induce severe ‘Vacation’ brain.  It’s pretty easy to create, too!

Salmon, boned and cut into 6 oz portions

Speck prosciutto, have thinly sliced when you purchase

Fresh rosemary, finely minced

Shallot, julienne

Garlic, thinly sliced

Cold unsalted butter, cut into large cubes

Salt and pepper

Fresh Italian parsley, minced

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper the salmon fillets.  Massage a small amount of the minced rosemary into each.  Wrap with a slice of Speck Prosciutto. Heat a small amount of oil in a thick bottom saute pan.  When it’s hot, add the salmon, top side down first.  Make sure the Speck stays in place.  When the first side is done, carefully turn the fish over in the pan.  As it’s cooking, add the julienne shallot and garlic.  Watch that you don’t over cook the garlic!  When the fish is done, transfer to a plate to rest and finish cooking.  When the shallot and garlic are sweated and lightly browning, add balsamic vinegar.  Reduce 75% of the liquid.  Take the pan off the heat and add a small amount of the butter.  Whisk until dissolved.  Add more butter.  When you have a beautiful glossy sauce, quickly add the parsley and you’re done!  Quickly plate the salmon and top with the Balsamico e burro.

The dish above featured low carb and gluten free steamed spaghetti squash that has been tossed with a lovely Marinara sauce and Pecorino Romano.  The fresh beans were cooked with more of the lovely Speck.

The best kind of vacation!  Travel anywhere you want for the price of a meal and no suitcase to unpack later!


Short ribs are always a favorite!  I don’t often repeat a recipe or concept, but I do love these braised with a rich dark beer.  Unfortunately, beer typically has a gluten base.  To reproduce the flavors, I started by breaking down the flavors the beer would impart.  Coffee, chocolate, bitter…  Okay!  That’s not hard at all.

To begin, I used some ground Midnight Blend, Classic Italian Roast from The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie.  I picked up a bag on Sunday, while doing a bit of a day trip to the island.

Next, I added some of my favorite Mayan Cocoa from World Spice, some ground urfa peppers for a hint of heat, then cinnamon, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  What a wonderful smelling rub!  Don’t be stingy!

After searing, I added yellow onion, orange peel and bay leaf, deglazing with spiced rum.  Than, stock, to bring up the liquid and a healthy drizzle of real maple syrup to balance all those beautiful bitter flavors from the coffee, orange peel and unsweetened cocoa.  Into the oven!  Yeah, I do realize how much my neighbors hate me; smelling so many lovely dishes…

I served my bitter bones with polenta; dotted with minced seeded jalapeno and finished with creamy chevre and a squeeze of fresh lime to wake everything up.




Take a stroll down a different path.  Skip traditional dull Winter recipes…

Spice up tonight with Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Pork.  One of the pretty blends I bought on my recent foray to Savory Spice Shop at Alderwood, is an enticing Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry.  Joy in a jar!!

Turmeric, lemongrass, cumin, black pepper, paprika, coriander, garlic, cardamom, sugar, salt and a myriad of this and that inspired this dish.  I got the meal started by, using the blend as a rub on pork tenderloin.  Once browned in pure sesame oil, the little piggy popped happily into the oven to finish.  Meanwhile, I sauteed yellow pepper, seeded jalapeno, onion, fresh ginger and garlic in natural coconut oil.

When the tenderloins were close, they were moved to a plate and the cast iron pan returned to the stove top where I added a round of silver rum to deglaze.  With that bubbling merrily, it was time for some stock and juice from half of a large fresh lime.  A good shake more of the Lemon Curry added layers of additional flavors.  Just as the sauce was finished reducing I added a handful of sweet flake coconut.

Serve over a bed of steamed rice.  The pic above features Basmati, since I seem to have an abundance currently.  Jasmine or another of your favorites are excellent ideas.

Happy Holidays to all!!