This is a shortcut Porchetta recipe that yields a beautiful and delicious bacon-wrapped pork roast flavored with garlic, rosemary and fennel. Serve with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta and a mushroom pan gravy made from the roast drippings.



(Adapted from a recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, April 2015)

Serves 8 to 10

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped; plus 2 heads, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
2 Tbsp fennel seeds, coarsely chopped or ground with a mortar and pestle
Kosher salt
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3 to 4 lb pork loin roast
8 slices thick-cut bacon

Toss chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, fennel seeds, salt and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl; season with pepper.

At least 2 hours before roasting and preferably overnight, rub garlic mixture all over pork and wrap the bacon strips around the pork. Refrigerate until about 45 minutes before roasting.

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large roasting pan, place a rack in the center and place a piece of foil in the rack. Place the bacon-wrapped pork roast in the rack with the end-sides of the bacon on the bottom where the foil has been placed. Place the halves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary in the pan and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 145F, about 60 – 75 minutes, total. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

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A Variation on Pasta Carbonara

This variation on Pasta Carbonara uses thick-cut bacon in place of the traditional pancetta and incorporates succulent baked shrimp as an additional protein.


Pasta Carbonara with Shrimp
(Mark Kelly, April 2015)

Serves 4 – 6

4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces
7 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 lb pasta
Kosher salt
1 cup finely grated Parmesan and Romano, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F. Put bacon on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the bacon and bake for 6-8 minutes more, until bacon is crispy. Save the foil-lined baking sheet with bacon fat for cooking shrimp. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined bowl and let cool. Put egg yolks and egg in a bowl; whisk to blend. Add the bacon bits to the egg mixture.

Bake the shrimp for 5 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp to a platter. Season with pepper

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid.

To egg mixture, immediately add the pasta and 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid; toss to coat. Working in 3 batches, gradually add the cheese, stirring and tossing to melt between batches. Toss until the sauce thickens, adding more pasta water by tablespoons, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta and the shrimp among bowls. Garnish with cheese and parsley and serve immediately.

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Garlic Toast

Garlic Toast is the perfect side for any pasta, a big salad, or any dish with a thick sauce or gravy. The garlic confit is the key to the recipe. The garlic cheese topping can be made several days ahead of time and refrigerated for use one demand because toast literally takes less than 5 minutes to cook once assembled.


Garlic Toast
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, 2015)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
Zest of 1 medium lemon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 whole wheat baguette, sliced lengthwise then crosswise into 4 or 6 pieces

Cook the garlic cloves in the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, until golden brown and soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool.

Mask garlic in the cooled butter. Add parmesan, oregano, zest, and pepper flakes. Continue to mash to a paste. Season with salt.

Heat broiler with a rack at least 4 inches from the heating element. Place the baguette pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet and broiler for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the crust. Remove and flip the baguette pieces over. Slather with the garlic-cheese mixture. Return to broiler for 2 more minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve warm.

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Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi

Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi is a new Ample Bites recipe in which grilled burgers made with 50% ground lamb and 50% lean ground turkey are topped with a little crispy bacon and a healthy dollop of Spicy Napa Kimchi. Serve these burgers with a side of Parmesan-Garlic Fries and you have yourself an awesome Sunday dinner.


Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 6 Large Burgers

10 oz. lean ground turkey
10 oz. ground lamb
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked to crisp
6 slices cheddar or colby-jack cheese (optional)
Large hearty burger buns
Spicy Napa Kimchi (see previous post for recipe)
Parmesan-Garlic Fries (see previous post for recipe)

Combine the ground meats, egg yolks and breadcrumbs to form burger patties. Season the patties with salt and pepper. Allow the patties to come to room temperature before grilling.

Heat grill for medium-high direct grilling. Grill the patties for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for another 4 minutes for medium-rare. During the last 4 minutes of grilling toast the buns. During the last 2 minutes of grilling top burgers with cheese.

To serve: place the burgers on buns and top them with two strips of bacon and a large dollop of Spicy Napa Kimchi. Serve with Parmesan-Garlic Fries.

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Mixed Mushroom and Scallion Pizza

Mixed Mushroom and Scallion Pizza combines mushrooms, bacon, fresh green scallions and a rich cheesy Béchamel sauce into a decadent pizza.


Mixed Mushroom and Scallion Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 4 12-inch-diameter pizzas

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 cups 2% milk
1 lb. mixed shredded Italian cheeses, such as romano, parmesan, asiago, fontina, divided
3 scallions, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
3 cups mixed mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
6 strips of crispy bacon cut into 1 1/2″ squares
Cornmeal, for dusting
Pizza Dough (See previous post titled “The Best Pizza Dough”)
Extra-virgin olive oil, to brush
Very good extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Place baking stone or baking steel in the oven and preheat the oven to 475F.

To prepare the béchamel sauce; cook the garlic in 1/2 cup of oil over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic just begins to sizzle. Ladle out the garlic chunks and discard them. Gradually whisk in the flour until lightly golden, another 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until the béchamel is smooth and thickened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in two-thirds of the cheese, reserving the rest to top the pizzas.

On a flour-dusted cutting board, roll out a quarter of the pizza dough and brush the dough to the edges with oil. Ladle and spread a layer of béchamel sauce to evenly over the dough. Place a quarter of the scallion strips, a quarter of the bacon pieces, and a quarter of the mushrooms on the pizza. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pizza and sprinkle the remaining quarter of the shredded cheese on the pizza. Bake for another 3 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Repeat for the remaining 3 quarters of the ingredients.

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First Attempt at Kimchi

Kimchi, fermented cabbage, is a popular Asian condiment that adds depth and flavor to a variety of dishes ranging from a stir-fry to grilled lamb burgers. Kimchi can also be made into a form of pancake that resembles a spicy zucchini cake. Some variations of kimchi can be complex and involve the use of ingredients not readily found in a typical American grocery. Try making this fairly simple recipe as a first attempt like Ample Bites did.

Keep in mind that kimchi takes at least 5 days to make and that it only keeps for about 3 weeks after it is done.

This batch is destined to be a topping on this Sunday evening’s lamb burgers.


Spicy Napa Kimchi
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Smoke & Pickles, Edward Lee, 2013)

Serve with Fatty Meats right off the grill and Bibimbop

Makes 1 Tightly-packed Gallon Jar

1 large Napa cabbage (4 to 5 pounds)
6 quarts water
1 cup Kosher salt

3 cups water
¾ cups sweet rice flour
¼ cup sugar

1 cup chopped onions
2 ½ cups Korean chile flakes
10 ounces daikon radish grated
1 4-ounce piece of ginger, grated with a microplane
6 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 cups chopped scallions

Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut out the core and discard it. Put the cabbage in a large container and add the water and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, drain and rinse.

Coarsely chop the cabbage into approximately 2-inch strips. Transfer to a large bowl.

To make the paste: Combine the water, rice flour, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool while you make the guts.

To make the guts: Combine the onions, chile flakes, daikon, ginger, garlic and fish sauce in a food processor and process until well combined.

Fold the guts into the cooled paste. Add the chopped scallions.

Wearing clean latex gloves, mix the guts mixture thoroughly into the cabbage. Transfer to an airtight plastic container. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate. The kimchi will be ready in 4 to 5 days, and it will keep for another 2 weeks.

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Grilled Chicken Tacos

Grilled Chicken Tacos is a delicious alternative to the Ample Bites favorites Carne Asada and Fish Tacos. To make the chicken extra flavorful and tender pound the chicken breasts flat before marinating. This same tip will work for flank steak, too.

This recipe includes a pico de gallo that is laced with a bit of chipotle peppers and a little adobo sauce and used as a marinade. This marinade gives the chicken a nice smoky-spicy kick that is not over-powering.


Grilled Chicken Tacos

Serves 6

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch-thick strips and then pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 large jalapeno, diced
1 large red onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 limes, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
2 yellow zucchini, halved crosswise, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 large green onion, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Whole wheat tortillas
Chihuahua cheese
Cojita cheese
Sour cream

Prepare a large batch of pico de gallo by combining the jalapeno, onion, garlic, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro. Season generously with salt. Mix thoroughly and divide into two separate portions. Add the chipotle and adobo to one half of the pico de gallo. Reserve and chill the remainder of the mix.

In a large pyrex dish place a single layer of chicken breasts, season with salt and top with a layer of the chipotle-pico de gallo. Add another layer of chicken, season with salt and top with chipotle-pico de gallo. Repeat until all of the chicken is in the dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Place the zucchini and green pepper in a large zip top plastic bag and toss with olive oil.

Shake the pico de gallo from the chicken pieces and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill for medium direct cooking. Place the zucchini and green peppers in a vegetable holder and grill for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. During the last 10 minutes, placed the chicken pieces on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until cooked through and nicely seared. Remove the vegetables and chicken from the grill. Chop the chicken very coarsely.

Serve on tortillas with the cheeses, the refrigerated pico de gallo, sour cream, and a garnish of cilantro sprigs.

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Pickled Egg Salad Crostini with Prosciutto

Pickled Egg Salad Crostini with Prosciutto is an appetizer that incorporates a beautiful pickled egg salad with salty prosciutto and fresh herbs. The egg salad can be kept coarse and chunk or partially blended to make it smoother. Use any leftover egg salad to make an awesome sandwich.


Pickled Egg Salad Crostini with Prosciutto
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, February 2015)

Makes 18 servings

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tsp sugar
3 tsp, kosher salt
Sea salt
9 large eggs, hardboiled and peeled
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
18 1/4″ thick slices of French bread
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Parsley leaves and stems to garnish
18 strips thinly sliced prosciutto

Bring the vinegars, sugar, salt and 1 cup of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let cool.

Place the hardboiled eggs in the pickling liquid and chill for up to 12 hours. Remove the eggs from the pickling liquid. Coarsely chop; mix with mayonnaise, chopped chives and parsley in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add some pickling liquid, if desired.

Preheat oven to 375F. Place the bread slices on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides of each slice with oil. Toast for 7 minutes. Flip the slices over and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt and paprika. Allow to cool.

To assemble, top each toast with pickled egg salad, some parsley and a slice of prosciutto.

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