Pork, Apples, Onions and Stuffing

For us, this dish is a fall and early winter favorite. Usually we make it after going to our favorite apple orchards or picking our own apples.  It is super easy to make, basically slicing, chopping and baking.  It is also a good way to use up some of your damaged “ugly” apples.

We use a 5 qt “everyday pan” or 6 quart deep skillet for this.  You want a covered pan that is a bit on the deep side to contain the stuffing on top of the pork. The stuffing will shrink down by half while it bakes.  It would also be interesting to try in a dutch oven over a camp fire.

Pork

2 lbs pork roast. We use the smaller rib end toasts which have a bit more fat and break down better than a pork loin roast. You can substitute  pork loin roast or boneless pork chops or pork tenderloin (cut cooking temp and time). Exterior fat is trimmed off and the meat is sliced about 3/4″ thick. This should yield about 8 slices. Each slice is one serving for us.

Dredge in flour – about 3/4 c with a good grind of pepper, 1/2 tsp granulated garlic and a bit of salt (1/4 tsp).

Brown well on one side in bacon grease and lightly on the second side. leave the lightly browned side down when adding the stuffing. This dish is one of the reasons we save our bacon grease.

Stuffing

3-4 apples chopped into 1/4 ” slices

2-3 medium onions sliced to match the apples

1 fist full of fresh thyme and  10-12 leaves of fresh sage chopped (if dried about 1 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp of sage) but this dish is one of the reasons to grow your own.

3/4 bag of stuffing / stale bread cubes to fill the pan

Baking

Pour the stuffing mix over the pork

Add 1/2 bottle of apple, pear or your other favorite sweet white wine

Add 1 can chicken broth

Bake covered 90 min at 350F. At 60 min pull it out and turn over the stuffing so the top does not dry out. Pull the cover off for the last 10-15 minutes to let it brown a bit.  Teal has reminded me that the pan needs to go on a jelly sheet pan or cookie sheet to catch the inevitable dribbles of juice that otherwise makes a mess of the oven.

Serving

Serve with the same wine you used to cook it (unless it has magically disappeared in the meantime).  The pork will be fork tender.  I like about a dozen rinsed capers on my slice. This will serve 8.  A small side salad is nice.   Of course, apple crisp is the favored desert.

For those of you that live in Wisconsin, my favorite orchards are Ski Hi and Brighton Woods with Aepple Treow winery as well as my back yard.

Teal’s Orange Chicken

Background

Teal loves Orange Chicken and Lemon Chicken. However, the breading and frying is a pain as well as adding un-needed calories.  So here is a way to get the delicious flavors with much less fat and calories.

Grill the Chicken

Take 2 packs boneless/skinless chicken thighs (8 thighs). Throw these directly on the grill. These are cooked on medium high heat to give some caramelization and melt off the fat. Pull from the grill when still somewhat pink in the center. You don’t need to have them cooked completely through as that comes in the next steps. This is so much better than trying to trim the fat and cube the raw chicken.

Now cut into bite size pieces.

Mix the sauce

1/2 can orange juice concentrate

3/4 c honey

1/2 c soy sauce

1/2 c ketchup

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic

3 Tbsp corn starch – This is a lot more than most recipes call for but there is no breading

1/4 c sesame seeds

Mix the above ingredients

Mix the corn starch into about 1/2 c of the mixture from above and then add into the rest. If you try mixing into the big batch directly you will get lumps.  The small amount lets you whisk out the lumps.

At this point, it will look like you have too much sauce and it seems to be too runny. Don’t worry, it will cook down and thicken.

Bake

In a 13×9″ glass pan place the chicken and then pour the sauce over the top.

Bake for 2 hours at 325 F .  Stir every 30 min for the first hour and then every 15 min thereafter. When you stir be sure to scraped the caramelized crust from the edges. If you leave this browning goodness it will burn and make clean up more difficult rather than adding to the flavor.

Serve

Serve over rice with a side salad.   I add some blood orange hot sauce and tamari sauce for mine.

This makes great leftovers. So don’t hesitate to double the amounts.

3D Printing Nylon

One of my goals when building the printer was to be able to print nylon and other high temp materials.

For the trike, I wanted to print some parts for the chain idlers in nylon. So I ordered some Taulman Bridge nylon filament in Black.  This is supposed to be one of the easier nylon variants to print.  Going into this I knew that getting the nylon to stick to the build plate can be tricky and it absorbs moisture from the air which will cause printing problems.

The filament arrived, but it  was repackaged, not on the original Taulman spool and keeper as shown on the Taulman website or on Amazon. It was vac bagged with no silica gel which was suspicious. I started printing at 255C with 60c bed temp on hairspray. Lots of popping noises (like Rice Krispies) and peeled up like a potato chip on the 3rd layer.

Next, I tried Elmer’s wood worker’s glue. I had some left from past woodworking projects and it was getting thick. So I thought it was worth a try after seeing the PVA recommendation on the Taulman website. This sticks incredibly well!!! Actually hard to remove if you put the glue on too thick. Still lots of popping, puffs of steam and rough textured surface. increasing the temp to 265C helped only slightly. After the first night’s attempt I had placed it in a cat litter bucket with silica gel to try to dry t out. I had a few glossy areas (must have been down by the silica gel. So I had a clue I was on the right track despite a poor overall print.

You only need a very thin coat of glue. If it is too thick, it peels off with the part. I was easily doing 6 parts per coating.  Probably could do more if the location was not exactly the same each time.

The next day, I baked the spool at 220F on convect for 5 hours . This made a huge difference. Now printing nicely with a glossy finish and no popping. The spool look a bit potato chippish however. It warped due to the heat.
I am using a Hbot with Micron cobra extruder (all metal) and high flow 0.5mm nozzle. Printing @60mm/sec. I have not tried faster with the dry filament yet. Basically I am able to print at the same speed as PLA or ASA.

The parts are side plates for chain idlers for my recumbent racing trike project. They are 80mm in diameter. On the left is the “wet” version, right was made after drying the filament in the oven .

Drying the filament made a huge improvement in the print quality. Without the drying I would have rated this filament a failure.

During testing of the idler concept the strength and durability of the nylon became evident. The chain was not restrained and kept bouncing off the idler gear, deforming the nylon flanges. The same tests with PLA shattered.

Next for the printer will be new bearings for the print head carriage. A spool of iglidur180 has arrived. I will be moving from the bearing wheels to low friction fixed sliders

I also need to leave a note on the printer as to which filament was left in the head at the end of a session.  I have taken to cutting the filament off at the the top of the print head and letting it cool. This avoids the jams I had been having by pulling the filament out and leaving globs of filament in the feed tube. However the range of temps I am printing with is now quite large (nylon @ 255C down to PLA at 170C). So tonight I was tring to feed in the PLA for some frame tube end caps and had to remember to crank up the temp to clean out the nylon and purge, lowering the temp as the nylon was all fed out.

Candied Jalapenos – Cowboy Candy

Background

Last year, was our first try making these treats. They were an instant hit. However, with only 12 half pints we had to conserve the supply for family gatherings and parties. Even people that are not pepper aficionados will go for these (except for my wife Teal).  The original recipe from Foodiewithfamily.com was modified somewhat.  Our favorite way to enjoy them is with cream cheese or mild cheddar and crackers. Some of you may think this similar to the pepper jelly cream cheese and crackers that was popular in the 70’s.

So this year we set out to make a lot more. I planted a good supply of peppers of various types (Jalapenos, Big Jims, corno di toro, and caribbean reds)  and then let them ripen.  However with a dozen plants this was not enough. So yesterday, I went to the Waukesha farmer’s market early and bought out a couple of the vendors.   Each batch requires 3 pounds stemmed and seeded, approximately 3.5 to 4 lbs whole.  We overbought – next time I will bring a scale.  Ideally you will have 1/3 – 1/2 ripe red peppers and the balance being green jalapenos (or serranos if you like more heat) . This photo shows about 10 lbs.

You can double the batches without problem if you have large enough kettles.  Each batch will have left over liquid which you keep using, just add to it to replenish. Every 3rd batch or so, we skip adding more liquid.  Use pH test paper to make sure it is still in the sub 4.5 range, if not using pH paper , keep adding half as much vinegar on the “skip” batches to make sure it stays safely acidic.  Wear gloves, otherwise after handling several batches of peppers, you won’t be able to touch any sensitive areas for better than a day.

Prep the peppers

To prep the peppers there are 2 methods that we use. You can use a corer (like the Big Green Egg Jalapeno corer) or modify one of the cheap ones from the grocery store. This allows you to and pull the seeds and membranes out if they are large and then slice. However this really only works well with very large peppers. A better way is to start slicing from the pointy end and then pause when you hit seeds. 1/8 to 1/4″ wide slices. Now slice off the stem end. Stand the pepper on one of the cut ends and now start slicing vertically shaving off strips the same width around the seeds.   The second method is not only faster, you end up with a lot less seeds mixed in with your peppers.   I am not a fan of the bitterness of the seeds and membranes.  I think this is one of the keys to having great tasting results. We did a comparison to some commercially made candied peppers that were merely sliced with the seeds left in and ours won the flavor comparison hands down.

Ingredients

3 lbs seeded and sliced peppers (1/8-1/4″ thick slices or strips). We include 2 habaneros per batch for bit more heat and flavor. Weigh it out!

2 cups apple cider vinegar

6 cups white sugar  (yes a lot they are Candied peppers)

1/2 tsp ground Tumeric

1/2 tsp celery seed

1 Tbsp granulated garlic

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

In a large pot, mix all of the ingredients except the peppers. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully as it starts to boil as it will boil over easily (like jelly, and make just as much of a mess).  Add the peppers and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, boil for another 4 minutes.

Each batch makes 3 pints or 6 1/2 pints.   Boil your jars, lids, and utensils (slotted spoon, ladle, funnel). Using a slotted spoon and a canning funnel,  fill and pack the jars with the peppers. You will need to pack down the peppers a bit.

Boil the liquid to reduce for 6 minutes.  Ladle into the jars . Use a poker to work out any air bubbles. Add more liquid leaving 1/4″ headspace (maybe more like 3/8″).  Put on the lids and bands.

Process in boiling  for 10 minutes for 1/2 pints and 15 minutes for the pints after it returns to a boil.

Remove from the water, re-tighten the bands and set aside to cool.

These should sit for a month before using.  Today we made 36 half pints and 8 full pints (one lid blew off in the water bath otherwise we would have 9). This took about 6-7 hours.

All times start after hitting a full rolling boil. This recipe is not a complete guide to home canning. For more info look up info from various University extensions such as: https://fyi.uwex.edu/safepreserving/recipes/  or get the Ball Blue Book of canning.