Category Archives: Unhealthy goodness

Crown Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes; Recipe

Heaven on a plate!

Heaven on a plate!

Crown Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes; Recipe

The other day I was shopping for groceries when I saw this magnificent Crown Pork Roast at the meat counter of Fresh Market in Cincinnati. I was supposed to cook Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin but when I saw this I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time and I have an abundance of fresh herbs to use from my garden. About 19 years ago while camping in Mercer, Wisconsin My son’s mother (while pregnant with Chris) and I went for dinner at The Club 51 on Highway 51 that runs straight up the middle of the state. I’ve had many epic meals at Club 51 (one of many famed supper clubs in norther Wisconsin) but this one was truly amazing! Crown Pork Roast with Rosemary Crust. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to replicate this.




5-7 pound Crown Pork Roast bones Frenched

2 Large sprigs rosemary

2 Large handfuls fresh sage

6-7 cloves garlic

1/4 stick butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cracked black pepper or more to taste

Preheat Oven to 225 degrees

Let Crown Pork Roast come to room temperature for 1-2 hours on your counter.

Tip: letting your roast come to room temperature allows it to cook more evenly without the center being under cooked.

Cut butter into small chunks and place into a food processor; add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Pulse until well chopped. Add olive oil by drizzling into the top until a loose paste forms. carefully spread the paste over the entire roast. The paste will stick to roast quite well.

Going in the oven.

Going in the oven.

Roast uncovered until internal temperature reaches 150-155 degrees. Insert meat thermometer into the round end of the thickest part of the roast. My roast took about 5 hours but I caution; we are cooking to internal temperature not time. When your roast reaches the desired temperature; place on a cutting board and cover with a large bowl or foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes before carving. I normally start my mashed potatoes when the roast is almost done.

The Gravy & Stock

After the roast went in, I started the stock for the gravy. The butcher gave me the bone trimmings after cutting my roast to order. You can use bouillon but I prefer homemade and I had five hours to let my gravy stock come together.


2 pounds pork trimmings with bones

2-3 carrots with skin cut up

1 large onion cut up

2-3 ribs celery cut in half

5-7 cloves smashed garlic

handful black peppercorns

handful fresh sage

1 large sprig rosemary

1 cup white wine (not too sweet)

Corn starch slurry with water. Follow directions on corn starch package for amounts based on how much liquid the stock yields.

Place all ingredients except wine and corn starch in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for the entire time the roast cooks. Add more hot water as needed to cover. When the roast is resting; drain the stock add wine salt and pepper as needed. Bring to a boil. Thicken with corn starch water mixture whisking as you add slowly. Make sure to keep mixing the corn starch and water so it doesn’t settle.

Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is based on my friend Jon Stiles’s recipe from his cookbook Cooking for Friends Vol. 2. I loved Jon’s recipe and tried it a little different. The ingredients are pretty much the same but the technique is a little different. I add more salt, garlic and pepper to mine but I add them to the cooking water and adjust for flavor after the potatoes are mashed. Jon uses fresh garlic and I used powdered. Jon told me once “don’t get too attached to fresh ingredients, powdered and dried spices are perfectly fine and have their place in the kitchen”.


5 pounds pealed Yukon Gold Potatoes. Do not substitute! Cut into chunks about 1/4 inch thick

Handful kosher salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

3/4 -1 cup whole milk

2 sticks salted butter brought to room temperature and cut up

1 tbsp powdered garlic

Cover potatoes with cold water and add salt, pepper and powdered garlic. bring to a boil. Cook until tender but not mushy. Drain water and transfer to a mixing bowl. add butter and half of the milk. Mix on low speed until ingredients are incorporated then speed up. Taste; add more milk, salt, pepper and garlic as needed.

Carve roast one rib at a time. Plate and side with mashed potatoes and gravy.

I really wish Jon could have tasted this one… It was magnificent!


Arros con Pollo; Recipe



I was very lucky to grow up with Cuban and Puerto Rican friends in Chicago. Arros con Pollo and Arros con Gandules (Pigeon Peas) were two of my favorite dishes of all time. I would like to recognize a few people that shared some great Arroz with me over the years. Jenni Keas, Nellie Paddilla and mi Suegra (Gloria Rico). My all time favorite was when I visited my friend George Lamond in Queens NY. We walked over to George’s mom’s house and she had some Arros con Gandules for us. “Hands Down” my favorite and I’m still waiting for her recipe from George. Arros is by far the most difficult for me to master… I think you have to be Boricua to truly get it right. I could eat Puerto Rican food for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy! 

Well, I think I finally got it right due to some advice from a random Puerto Rican woman that visited The Party Source… “Let the water completely absorb into the rice before stirring and covering!!!!”


Whole Chicken cut up



1/2 Cup Canola or Olive oil

2 Cups Medium Grain Rice (Goya Brand)

4 Cups Boiling water

1 Can Gandules (Pigeon Peas)

8 Oz can tomato sauce

8 Oz jar Goya Sofrito

1/4 Cup Spanish Olives

1 Tbsp Alcaparras (small capers)

1 Tsp Garlic powder

The Tools

1 Tsp Black pepper

2 Packets Sazon Goya

Handful chopped cilantro

Stock Pot

Caldero (Imusa Brand)



Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer and have it ready to boil when adding it to the caldero.

Heat your caldero over medium high heat and add oil. Brown chicken pieces in batches for 5 minutes on each side and remove to dish.



Add all ingredients except rice and water to your hot caldero. Stir continuously for 5 minutes. Add chicken and rice to the pot and stir only once. Add boiling water to just cover the rice. You may not need all 4 cups of water; just enough to cover. Boil uncovered over medium high heat until water is absorbed. When the water is absorbed gently stir the pot a few times and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes covered or until the rice is tender. There should be a bottom layer of crispy rice “Pegao” at the bottom of the pan… This is delicious!

Cooking Tip: Do not over stir the rice. Resist the urge or your rice will become sticky  or “Amogollao”

Cooking the rice over too high heat will burn the rice.

Arros con Pollo









Chitown Sliders. A tribute to all night grills; Recipe

Chitown Sliders. A tribute to all night grills; Recipe

Sliders with Duck Fat Fried Potatoes

Sliders with Duck Fat Fried Potatoes

This recipe is dedicated to Julian “Jumpin” Perez, Tim “Spinnin” Schommer, Juan “The Electric E”, Edwin “Bear” Rios and Bo. I will never forget our late night adventures. Love you brothers!

As a young man growing up in Chicago there were two little neighborhood grills that made the best grill top food in the city. Don’s Grill at the corner of Cicero and Belmont and Gossage Grill at Harlem and North Ave. Simply the best greasy cheeseburgers to be had at 4AM or any other part of the day!


1 pound ground beef

8 slider buns

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Onion powder to taste

2 onions sliced thin

1 stick butter

8 slices American cheese cut in half

sliced pickles



Combine Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and onion powder with ground beef. Form mixture into eight 2 Oz patties and place on foil or baking sheet.

In a saute pan melt a quarter stick of butter and brown the inner sides of the slider buns. That’s both the top and bottoms of the bun but not both sides. I hope that makes sense! Remove buns to a platter or dish.

Using the same saute pan melt half stick of butter and add onions salt and pepper. Cook until soft about 7 minutes. Remove onions to a bowl.

Melt remaining butter and add beef Sliders. Cook for about 3 minutes until browned over medium high heat. Flip sliders and top with a generous amount of onions. By the time you have put onions on all the patties you will need to carefully flip the patties over with onions now being under the sliders. Top with American cheese crossing the halves over the patties as if making an X. Remover sliders using a spatula sliding under the onions and sliders to the buns. Top with a pickle and a small amount of ketchup and mustard. Serve immediately!

Find a comfortable place to pass out because you will be transported to a wonderful happy place. These sliders are one of the tastiest things I’ve ever cooked!


Scalloped Potato Pie; Recipe


Scalloped Potato Pie; Recipe

Okay folks, last night I tried something new and fabulous. A few weeks back a friend of mine made a dish called “Potato Flan”; it was very good and I couldn’t wait to try it. Sorry for no pictures but I was in full cooking mode yesterday and did not have time. In any event, this is a must try recipe and can be done in many different ways using different cheeses and accompanying ingredients. I look forward to trying this with Smoked Bacon and Cheddar.



3 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes sliced very thin (Yukon Gold is must)

3 Tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 Cups heavy cream

1/4 lb Gruyere cheese shedded

1/4 Lb Fontina Cheese shredded

1/4 Lb Gouda Cheese shredded

3 XL eggs

1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 Tsp Cracked black pepper

1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt

Pam or non-stick cooking spray

Special Equipment

8″ x 8″ baking pan or similar.

Mandolin slicer.

Parchment paper or foil.


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray the baking dish with cooking spray. Lay the potatoes in overlapping rows to cover the pan. Sprinkle with cheese and garlic. Repeat layering until you reach the top of the pan utilizing all of the cheese and garlic. If your pan is not quite the right size, it’s not that big a deal! Improvise!!!

In a large bowl whisk heavy cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg together very well. Pour mixture over potatoes slowly and at the sides until all liquid is used. Lightly press down on potatoes to distribute the mixture.

Tip: Let your cream and eggs come to room temperature before whisking together.

Lightly cover the dish with parchment or foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours or longer depending on the depth of your baking dish. Remove cover for the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to brown the top.

Allow the dish to rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting or serving onto a plate. The resting will allow the dish to set and become somewhat firm.

I was amazed how easy and rewarding this dish was. Try substituting Cheddar for the cheese and add cooked smoked bacon while omitting the nutmeg. I have not tried this yet but I’m sure it will work quite well.


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Hot Potato Salad AKA Heart Attack Potatoes AKA Elvis Potato Salad; Recipe

This is simply; delicious, extremely unhealthy, bacony goodness!


8 medium potatoes (I always use Idaho potatoes), cooked, cooled, peeled & diced (I peel and dice the potatoes and then cook them to save time)

1 cup  real mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)

1/2 cup chopped onion (white}

1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed

1 lb bacon, fried & crumbled

1/4 cup chopped olives

1/2 tsp salt


Combine potatoes, cheese, onion, mayo & salt in baking dish.  Sprinkle bacon & olives over top & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Fried Potatoes in Bacon Grease; Recipe

Fried Potatoes in Bacon Grease

This is one of my mother’s many recipes that I have changed a little to make my own. This dish is not healthy at all and you probably shouldn’t try it! However, you haven’t lived until you’ve had Fried Potatoes in Bacon Grease!


1 Very large or 2 medium Idaho potatoes002

1 Onion sliced

3-4 Slices bacon fried

1-2 Serrano or 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)

Ground black pepper to taste.

Salt or Goya Adobo if needed

Heat a cast iron or other large skillet to medium heat. Fry bacon until fat is rendered. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Eat the bacon now or save for meal. As you can see from the picture; I couldn’t wait!

Add potatoes to pan and sprinkle with black pepper. Fry covered for 5 minutes without stirring.

Flip potatoes and cover for another five minutes. Flip again after five minutes and add onions and peppers.

Fry uncovered flipping every several minutes until potatoes are dark and the onions are caramelized.

Serve with eggs of your choice or a side to to dinners.

Fried Potatoes and Eggs: “Sunday Morning Skillet”

Make sure the eggs go over the potatoes!

Fried Potatoes and Eggs


1-3 “Free Range” eggs

Slice potatoes thin.

1-2 large Idaho or several medium red potatoes halved & sliced thin.

3-4 patties breakfast sausage

1/2 medium onion

1 jalapeno seeded or 1 serrano seeded or 1/2 New Mexico/Anaheim seeded.

1-tbsp canola or olive oil

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Cook breakfast sausage patties in a skillet to about halfway done turning once. Break up with spatula and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove sausage to a bowl. You could use this skillet for the potatoes or start a new one.

Heat a skillet, cast iron if possible, to medium heat. Add the oil to coat, you may not need all the oil. Place potatoes into skillet sprinkle with black pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and stir with a spatula and cook for another 5 minutes sprinkling with black pepper again. Add onion, cooked breakfast sausage and jalapeno. Stir and cover for 3-5 minutes. Make sure not to have the heat too high or your potatoes will burn. If your potatoes stick, scrape with a spatula. I actually like my potatoes and onions a little burned; but that’s me! Be warned, the peppers will give off some pretty potent smells and can irritate your nose and throat.

When the potatoes are just about done; heat a small nonstick frying pan or omelette skillet to just under medium. I use cooking spray instead of oil when cooking my eggs; the eggs never stick and flip very easy. If you’re flipping your eggs; spray the top of the yolk just before flipping.

Have a plate ready with the potatoes in the middle; top with as many eggs as you want. When you break through the yolk with your fork, the yolk falls onto all the potatoes beneath. If you like scrambled eggs and don’t like all of that yolkie (made up word) goodness on your potatoes; well, I guess you could substitute them.

Alternate Recipe; “The Heart Attack”

Follow recipe above excluding the breakfast sausage. Fry bacon in a large skillet; remove bacon and break into pieces. Fry everything, including eggs, in bacon grease. Add bacon as you would the sausage above.


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