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Welcome to the PUFFIN.

I successfully married Pork and Stove Top Stuffing into a cute little … muffin.

I know, right?

Pork – meaty, savory, porky, protein rich.
Muffin – bready, sweet, moist, and good with strong coffee.

Separate, they are wonderful. Together? Initially, a conceptually difficult union to wrap your sweet pretty head around. OK.. I’ll speak for myself. It took me a bit to wrap MY sweet head around it. I mean, come on’ – What do you call it?

A Pork Muffin?

A Porkfin?

A Puffin?

Regardless of what one might call it, – it’s strange. But hey, how can you go wrong? Pork, and stuffing. Who doesn’t like that combination, and besides, we ALLL know what strange means to me.

It mean’s I gotta try it.

Plus, they said it was easy, and I like easy.

So… without further adieu, I give you………. a porffin?

Whatever.

Here’s what you need to make this wildly creative, culinary masterpiece:

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That’s right. A muffin tin, two eggs (three, actually. I’ll explain later), ground pork, and a box of good ole’ Stove Top Stuffin’. Try and match the flavors people, k? I mean, if you get ground pork.. use Stove Top Stuffing for pork. If you get ground turkey, (which is perfectly acceptable protein choice in this situation for all you skinny-minnies), use the Stove Top for turkey.

Yessssssssssssssssss, you don’t have to point out the obvious fact that I combined ground pork and turkey Stove Top Stuffing – but ground pork was what my freezer had, and turkey Stove Top was what the store had. No big deal. I’m comfortable flying that kind of flag out there for everyone to see.

You know, the REBEL flag.

So, because I can’t just be normal and go along with direction, I like to “doctor” things up. That would the Stove Top Stuffing that I’m talking about. If you have extra “aromatics” in your fridge folks, doctor that crap up. I started sauteing celery (and lots of it because celery and I have had an intense love / love relationship for many years), and onion with a touch of garlic.

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That particular day, I decided to live on the edge and add some hot chili flakes to the party. I added about a tablespoon and half.

It turns out I’m not as edgy as I thought.

Dial down the chili flakes folks.

Learn by my mistakes. Especially if you’re not too adventurous on the whole spicy thing. Start with half a teaspoon.. you can always add more (One of Mom’s favorite expressions)

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So at this point, when the aromatics are soft, make the Stove Top Stuffing according to the box instructions. Easy Peasy right? Once that’s finished, and slightly cooled, add your pound of ground pork (or chicken, or turkey) and THREE eggs. I realize I had previously said two, and I actually did only use two, but I found the finished product SLIGHTLY crumbly, so an extra egg would hug up all those ingredients and make them stick together much better.

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When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, spoon it into your greased muffin pans. My muffin pan has muffin cups for giants so I got six from the whole lot. However, if you are of the regular human race, I can say that normal muffin pans are acceptable, if not desired over the bigger ones.

Spoon them into the tins at the fullness that you want, as they don’t puff up, obviously, like a cake muffin would.

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Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. (All depending on what size of muffin tin you used. I used a longer cook time because of the muffins for Giants that I was making.) Use your logic okay? We are dealing with ground pork (or any ground meat), so it’s imperative that it’s thoroughly cooked. If in doubt, use a thermometer and cook them till you have an internal temperature of 160 degrees for pork and 165 for turkey or chicken.

FYI – At the very end of cooking time, turn on your blast broiler for a  minute or two. It creates this mildly crunchy top that is FANFRICKENSTASTIC!

I highly suggest you try that.

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These bubba’s are awesome with a side salad for a lunch, or even for a quick breakfast heated up in the microwave. Ok, listen, you can have them for ANY meal because they’re just that good. The batch I made are at the TOP of my spice tolerance so next time, I’ll go a bit kinder on the chilies. Lastly, these freeze like champions!!

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Give them a try and tell me what you think! What changes did you make to “doctor” them up?

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Anthony and His Snazzy Potatoes….

I decided to randomly open Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook and cook the recipe on the page it opened at.

Gratin Dauphinois,
page 240 (recipe to follow)

Potatoes, cream, cheese, other stuff.

A.K.A. Scalloped Potatoes

Kinda.

And if not scalloped, DEFINITELY, Snazzy Potatoes.
(Thanks Jamel for “snazzy“. Gotta love that word, SO appropriate for this)

One of the best comfort foods to put in a bowl. You can be all homey and slide on furry slippers, cuddle under a blankie, and fill your face with these  while still eating a SNAZZY upscale potato dish with a french name. You’ll be cool.

Oh, and eat it with a wooden spoon, there’s something just SO much more ‘yummier’ about food when you do that. Seriously, try it. Trust me.

Ok.. so here we go.

Ingredients : Potatoes, cream, cheese, shitloads of garlic, nutmeg, herbs and a bit o’ buttah.

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Peel and slice to a quarter-inch, 7 Yukon gold potatoes.

Um yeah,..  I just used regular white ones and a mandolin.

Why use a knife when you can tempt fate and digit health when you have a mandolin??? Thrills and spills man,.. thrills and spills. That’s my M.O.

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Smash up the garlic, but leave it sort of whole so you can fish it out later. Like this:

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Throw the potatoes with the garlic into the pot and add the cream, herbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

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Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350.

After ten minutes, put potatoes into a buttered dish, fish out the herbs and garlic from the cream, and pour the cream over the potatoes.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the dish and throw it in oven.

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Cook for 45 minutes.

Ok, so that’s what the recipe says to do.. but by the time I took the potatoes from the pot and put then in the dish, they were pretty soft, so to cook them for an additional 45 minutes is just crazy talk unless you want a mass of mushy brown/burnt potatoes stuck to your pan. Use your judgement though, you aren’t stupid, my pretties. You can figure out this timing thing. I cooked mine for 25 minutes. They weren’t all golden brown and gorgeous like a brazilian model, so I cheated and used the culinary self tanner.

THE BROILER.

3 minutes did the trick.

Check it  out:

snazzypot5Okokokok.. they could be a bit more “golden” on the scale of brown,

but hey, what if I burned the stuff….. THEN what?? What sort of photos would I have to impress all you beautiful people with???

Cuz…….you ARE impressed, right?……… RIGHT??

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Review:

Bland with a capital BORING.

They were rich and creamy, no doubt. The cheese added more richness, but wow man…B.L.A.N.D.

Even with all that garlic flavor infused into the cream, I actually added extra salt to liven it up a tad and that helped. The cheese on the top was yummy and flavorful, but I could have slumped over and started snoring with the spoon hanging out of my mouth when I tasted the inside.

However, that being said, if you like food on the more tempered side, and love the richness of sultry whipping cream with melted cheese and soft potatoes, then you’ll love this dish. It will wrap it’s starchy little arms around you and rub your back while you lay your head on it’s breast as it lulls you in Carb Land. It’s good for that, and it won’t mind that you have garlic breath from hell.

FROM HELL.

I give Anthony Bourdains Gratin Dauphinois a

6/10

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RECIPE:

8 servings

– 7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 1-½ cups whole milk

– 5 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled, divided

– ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

– 1 sprig rosemary, about 4 inches long

– 2 sprigs Italian parsley

– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

– ¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into quarters; cut crosswise into slices about ¼-inch thick. Place in a 6-quart pot with cream, milk, 4 crushed cloves garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently 6 minutes. (Stir often to prevent potatoes from sticking to bottom of pot.) Remove pot from heat and discard garlic and herb sprigs.

2. Use remaining clove garlic to run around the inside of a 2-½-quart gratin or baking dish. Butter the inside of the dish well so that it’s evenly coated. Transfer potatoes and cream to the dish and sprinkle top with Gruyere cheese. Bake about 45 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

From “Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook”