Italian Pork Loin with Polenta

This great Italian recipe comes to us from a famous New York restauranteer, “Mother Leone.” imageThe introduction to Luisa Leone came through a well-worn copy of her son Gene’s  1967 cookbook, perched high on a bookshelf in a dusty antique store in northern Wisconsin.  The teal cover, missing its dust jacket, protected old, authentic recipes, the kind that pass from one generation to the next.

Leone’s was a New York institution, now gone, but still very much missed.

Luisa Leone entered the restaurant business in 1905, her son Gene writes in the introduction. Just a year earlier, she was only dreaming about running a restaurant. That changed the night Leone’s husband Geralomo invited fifty members of the Metropolitan Opera to their home for Luisa’s birthday, including the great opera tenor Enrico Caruso. Caruso, himself, encouraged her to make the restaurant a reality and convinced Geralomo to agree.

Luisa’s resaurant began in her converted living room, then grew to twenty seats, and then to a larger space, then an even larger space in the heart of New York’s theatrical district on West 48th Street, and to eventually to fill two buildings and seat 1,500 guests, serve more than 6,000 dinners on busy evenings. Leone’s had become a multi-million dollar affair that catered to the famous, including W.C.. Fields, George M. Cohan, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower (who wrote a forward for the book). After Luisa died in 1944, her sons continued the business. Later, one son, Gene took over with his wife.  The place became a New York staple, serving Luisa’s cooking far into the early 1990s. Sadly the restaurant closed, but the recipes, of course, live on.

Here’s Leone’s Pork Chops with Spaghetti, except substituted inch-thick sliced pork loin for Luisa’s pork chops and served her sauce and pork over her wonderful polenta instead of pasra.

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Italian Pork Loin with Polenta
3 tbsp.. olive oil
1 1/2 c. butter, melted
2 lg. garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
4 lean slices of pork loin 1″ thick (Leone called for pork chops)
1 tsp. crumbled, dried rosmary
1/2 tsp. salt
4 med. ripe tomatoes or 2 c. canned peeled plum tomatoes, chopped
10 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped
1/4 c. fresh, shredded Parmesan cheese
Polenta, recipe follows (Leone called fo 3/4 lb. spaghetti cooked in salted water 10 min.)

Combine oil and half the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and heat garlic black and red pepper 2 min. Sprinkle pork with rosemary and brown in the pan, 5 min. per side. Lower heat to medium, add tomatoes, salt and parsley. Cover and simmer 20 min. Uncover and simmer 20 min. more, until pork is done and tender. Taste for salt.

While cooking prepare spaghetti as in the original recipe, or try the polenta below.

Loeone’s Polenta
1 1/2 c. corn meal
1 1/2 c. water
4 c. boiling water
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
Grated parmesan cheese

Soak the cornmeal in the cold water. Stir it into the boiling water, add salt and butter. Stir constantly and simmer 20 min. to a creamy consistancy. Taste, add salt if needed. Once polenta is cooked, spread it on a warm plate, sprinkle with a little cheese and arrange the cooked pork and sauce on the polenta, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Inspired Linguine with Italian Ham

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I have the 1963 The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which is great for proper ways to slice meats and entertain. But on page 3, it warns the reader, “No recipe, even Good Housekeeping’s, can rate raves if you fail to follow it with meticulous care.” Problem is, hmm… I first read that sentence this morning, 12 hours after heavily reworking, changing and failing to “meticulously” follow the recipe for Baked Italian Ham and Spaghetti. I am grateful for the inspiration, though, because it turned out amazing! Here’s the revision.

Inspired Linguine with Italian Ham
Ingredients
¼ tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, cut in thin rings
4 small stalks celery, cut in long slivers to mimic linguine
4 cloves garlic, divided
2-3 tsp. thyme
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Simply Sensational Truffles, by Kraft’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Originally saved this truffle candy recipe from the inside of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese box, but it is now readily available at Kraft’s site: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/simply-sensational-truffles-107529.aspx#.  But, since recipes like this come and go, it is repeated here, just in time for St. Valentine’s Day.

Simply Sensational Truffles, by Kraft’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese
5 pkg. (4 oz. each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
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Pecan & Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bonbons, circa 1983

Fancy peanut butter cups, with pecans! A recipe from the early 1980s, and a classic, perfect for St. Valentine’s Day.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.49.33 PMPecan & Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bonbons

2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c. pecans, chopped
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. peanut butter
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Raspberry Creams, The White House Cookbook, by Ziemann, Gillette

Victorian era candy for St. Valentine’s Day.  And these come from America!  They appear in the first cookbook to reveal how The White House entertained; The White House Cookbook.

Published back in 1887, it is still a stand-out cookbook, as it features Chef Hugo Ziemann.  As noted by the cookbook, Ziemann was caterer for Prince Napoleon (the Napoleon who died fighting Zulus in Africa), steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris, “conducted” the celebrated Brunswick Café in New York, and the Hotel Richelieu in Chicago.

Mrs. F.L. Gillette co-authored the cookbook, adapting recipes “to the practical wants of average American homes.” Here is the recipe as printed, except Trumpeterhill separated ingredients, added explanations and suggested substitutions, in italics.

The 1887 White House Cookbook Raspberry Creams
Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. raspberry jam
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Grey Goose L’Orange Cosmopolitan

A lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This recipe first appeared in a magazine ad for Grey Goose L’Orange.  It has been very slightly revised to add a squeeze of a fresh orange alongside the lime juice, and it is garnished with an orange peel instead of a lime peel.  That slightly revised cocktail can be found at http://www.greygoose.com/en/us/cocktail-recipes/cosmopolitan

Since we’ve enjoyed the original, and find it apt for a lovers’ holiday, we post it here:

Grey Goose L’Orange Cosmopolitan
3 oz. Grey Goose L’Orange
1/2 oz. Cointreau, or Grand Marnier (sweeter than Cointreau)
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Endive Cups Filled With Cheese, Mango & Toasted Pecans

This appetizer comes from Fast Appetizers by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison, published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1999.

Endive Cups Filled With Cheese, Mango And Toasted Pecans
1/2 c. pecans
1 sm. ripe mango or 1/2 c. mango chutney
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tsp. Asian chile sauce, or hot sauce
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Smoked Salmon Rolls

An appetizer from The Book of Finger Foods by Hilaire Walden and published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1999.

Note: Serve in rolls, or, you could also deconstruct these rolls for a different, new appearance, just spread the cream cheese mixture on a thin slice of cucumber, or rye toast (or both!) and top with smoked salmon and decorate with fresh dill.

Smoked Salmon Rolls
9 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1 c. cream cheese
2½ – 3 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
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Chocolate Whiskey “Truffles”

This Jack Daniel’s and gingersnap infused truffle recipe literally came in the mail in the 1990’s. It came with a subscription card to Bon Appetit Magazine, saying, “Our Christmas Gift for You; Makes an extra-sweet holiday gift from your Kitchen.”

trufflesBon Appetit advertised, “Gingersnap cookies add an unusual and delicious twist to these chocolate treats. So elegant. So easy! For gift giving, place truffles in small paper candy cups, then arrange in decorattive boxes.”

Chocolate Whiskey “Truffles”
Makes about 2 dozen
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 c. finely crushed gingersnap cookies
3 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
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Winning White Chili with Wild Rice and Pork

A recipe from upscale grocer, Jerry’s, located in Sanibel Island, Florida and Edina, Minnesota.  Make ahead, the flavor improves and it’s easy to reheat.

Winning White Chili
Ingredients
2 med. onions sliced
2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut in ½” cubes
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Beer Chili

This was a simple recipe we hijacked in college and turned into “Beer Chili,” using long-neck bottles of Red, White and Blue Beer.  Hey! Don’t laugh, we went to school in Milwaukee and there was a sale on long-necks! No doubt, there was a lot more beer poured into this chili then, than what the recipe prescribed.

Beer ChilI
1 lb. lean hamburger
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 can dark red kidney beans
1½ tbsp. chili powder, add more to taste
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International Chili Society Prize Winning Chili

This prize-winning International Chili Society recipe won the competition in the late 1970s. The ingredients here are roughly the same, ~but the amounts differ, as the 1977 winning recipe for “Jay’s Chili” found here: http://www.chilicookoff.com/Winner/wc_1977.asp. It’s well worth the time to pursue that link , for the site is non-stop chili and salsa!

International Chili Society Prize Winning Chili
Ingredients
2 med. onions, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
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White Chili with Chicken

This chili even lasso’ed my son, ~he claims not to like chicken, but uttered a loud “mmmmm” when he tasted it!

White Chili 

2½ c. water
1 tsp. lemon pepper
4 (1½ lbs.) chicken breast halves, skinless (or use cooked turkey and add ½ tsp. lemon pepper)
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