Friday, April 5, 2019

Grandpa's Got The Blues (or Vincent ManGO) - Crockpot Pork Chops

Grandpa's Got The Blues is one of the newest sauces from my small gourmet food company.  It is a blueberry balsamic maple sauce.  

We've found that it is good on just about everything.  It's amazing used simply in cottage cheese or poured over vanilla ice cream. Great on ribs. A wonderful dipping sauce.  But what about cooking with it?

I decided to find out.  I'm certain there will be other recipes in the future with this sauce, but I've made this twice now and my wife and I both love it.  I'm hoping you will too.

NOTE:  Since this was initially posted we have tried this same recipe with other sauces.  We have found that if you follow all of the steps exactly the same but simply substitute the sauce at the end, you end up with a very different but fantastic flavor.  We frequently make this with both the blueberry (Grandpa's Got The Blues) and the curry mango (Vincent ManGO).  While we serve the blueberry version over mashed potatoes, we serve the curry mango version over jasmine rice.  The flavor is very similar to what you'd get with Indian food.  Again, follow the same recipe as below, simply substitute the sauce at the end.  We have also found that you can substitute chicken for the pork and it works just fine.


With this recipe, I decided to try something a little different this time around.  My wife's been bugging me for ages to do a video instead of just pictures.  Those of you that have been married for very long know that simply ignoring those kinds of comments doesn't go over very well; so here we are, with a video.

Since this is my first try, I'm quite happy to hear any of your feedback.  The recipe is below so you can take a look at that as well.

I THINK it's fairly easy to follow, but since I came up with it and filmed it, that's to be expected.  I'm more concerned that you think it's easy to follow.  Feel free to stop, start, replay, etc., and let me know what you think.

Here's the recipe to go along with the video.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.



  1. Brine the pork chops.  This is very simple.  Put two tbsp of brine mix in two cups of water or liquid of your choice and mix well (if you are doing more or less than four chops, change the amounts of brine mix and water but keep the same ratio).
  2. Put the pork chops in the brine mixture.  Be certain that the chops are covered with the brine mixture and refrigerate.  If they are very thin you can get away with a couple of hours in the refrigerator.  I try to brine them for a minimum of four hours, preferably overnight when possible to give them the best flavor.
  3. When ready, remove from the refrigerator and rinse the pork chops and pat them dry.
  4. Dredge the pork chops in the flour.  If you'd like, you can season the pork chops with a bit of salt and pepper at this point though with the flavor from the brine it's not really necessary.
  5. Put one ounce of oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  6. Brown the pork chops on both sides.  This should take about 3-4 minutes per side. 
  7. Remove the pork chops from the skillet and place in the crockpot.  We use a liner in the crockpot simply to reduce cleanup time.  It's certainly not necessary, it just makes things a bit easier.
  8. Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet.  You may or may not need the additional oil.  I find that the mushrooms tend to "suck up" the oil and I need to use the additional ounce.  If so, add it at this point.  
  9. Sauté the mushrooms and onions just until they are soft and the mushrooms start to give up their liquid.
  10. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, just until they are getting fragrant.
  11. Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to get off any bits that are stuck there.
  12. Reduce the wine by half.
  13. Add the two cups of chicken stock and stir.
  14. Add one bottle of Grandpa's Got The Blues or Vincent ManGO, stir well and bring to a boil.
  15. Spoon the mixture over the top of the pork chops.
  16. Cover the crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  17. Remove the lid and take out the pork chops.  They will be VERY tender and may even fall apart as you take them out.
  18. The cooking liquid will be fairly thin.  You can serve it as is or thicken it a bit.  I like to thicken it to more of a gravy consistency with a mixture of cornstarch and water. 
  19. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles (if I'm making this using Vincent ManGO, we serve over jasmine or basmati rice).
  20. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Black Garlic and Truffle Oil Mashed Potatoes

Okay, let's get this part out in the open.

These are ugly mashed potatoes.  There, I said it.

They also happen to be some of the best tasting mashed potatoes I've ever had.  Don't just take my word for it, though.  My wife and I own a small gourmet foods company, and we have sampled these potatoes with literally hundreds of people.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that the overwhelming majority of people who try them absolutely love them.

Black Garlic
We have been asked for this recipe repeatedly and this is the first time I've had the chance to write it up.  We hope that you'll enjoy it!

If you have any questions about black garlic, this blog post does a good job of explaining it.  And if you need any black garlic, you can always get it here.


  • 3 pounds potatoes (preferably russets - though you can use any that you like)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream (you can use milk instead if you prefer)
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) truffle oil (either white or black truffle oil will work)
  • 6-8 peeled cloves black garlic (number depends on size of cloves and taste preferences)
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Peel and cut potatoes.  You can cut them into any size you'd like, as long as they are uniform in size.  I prefer about one inch square simply because they cook a little quicker.  
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in cold water and bring to a boil.

    Black garlic with potatoes in water.  The water is cloudy from the starch in the potatoes.

  3. Cook until fork tender (15-20 minutes).
  4. Drain well*.
  5. Place potatoes and black garlic back in pot and put on very low heat, tossing until potatoes cook off most of the remaining water.

  6. Turn off heat and roughly mash the potatoes and black garlic together.

  7. Heat cream (or milk) on the stove top or in the microwave just until warm.
  8. Add butter to the potatoes to let melt (alternatively, you can melt this in the microwave as well but I don't find any real advantage to this). 
  9. Add the truffle oil to the potatoes.
  10. Pour in cream or milk a little at a time while using a potato masher to reach desired consistency.

  11. Season with salt and pepper. 
  12. Serve hot and enjoy!

    *If you save the water from the potatoes it will be FULL of flavor.  If you'll be making soup any time soon, use this instead of plain water.  You can thank me later.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Black Garlic and Mushroom Risotto

My wife and I own a small gourmet food company. One of our products is black garlic.  Probably the most frequent question we get is, "What is black garlic?", closely followed by, "How do you use it?".

I'll answer the first question, and this recipe will give you at least one answer to the second one. There are MANY ways to use it and a few of them will be coming to this blog soon.

So, to answer the question about what black garlic is, I'll start by saying what it is NOT.  It is not a type of garlic that you can grow in the garden or pick up fresh at the farmer's market.  You may find it there, but it's not freshly picked in the same way as "normal" garlic is.

Black garlic has to be MADE.  It is not, as some websites may tell you, fermented.  I can say this with some authority since I have made literally hundreds of bulbs of it this year alone.  It is created by a very long, very slow roasting process.  It involves a special machine and a lot of time.  The traditional roasting process takes 44 days to complete.  There is NOTHING added to it - no spices, no liquids, it is nothing but garlic.

Now, here's something a bit harder to describe.  How does it taste?  Let me start by asking a question.  Have you ever had caramelized onions?  If so, you know that the end product is much sweeter and much more mild than a raw onion.  The same thing is true of black garlic.  Because it has been roasted for such a long time, it turns pitch black, has a very soft jelly-like consistency, and is very sweet and mild.  We spend a lot of time with the public, having them taste our products, black garlic being one of the most popular.  We have heard many different descriptions of the taste, but some of the most common are that it tastes like balsamic, fig, or Worcestershire sauce.  It is full of umami (a Japanese term to describe our fifth sense of taste, along with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness) and adds an amazing flavor to just about everything.

So much for the introduction to black garlic.

On to the recipe.

Because we love the taste of black garlic, I wanted different ways to use it.  On the back of the bags of black garlic we sell, we tell you how to make a black garlic dipping oil. It's amazing, but very simple. It had to be in order to fit the recipe on the bag.

As much as I love simple, I also love to cook.  I love complex flavors and the feeling of being in the kitchen for awhile and creating something incredible and unique from simple ingredients.  It takes me back to the days of being in my mother's or grandfather's kitchen when I was very young.  It seemed like a form of magic to me when they would take the most simple and basic of ingredients and an hour later there would be an amazing meal on the table with smells and flavors that stick with me to this day.  This recipe duplicates that feeling for me.  Yes, it has some ingredients that are not quite so common; however that feeling of magic that hits me when you are able to create something out of simple things still makes me feel like a little kid again.

That's really just a complicated way of saying we wanted more ways to use black garlic.  This has become one of our favorite ways of using it.  I have another risotto recipe here on my blog and I love it, but I love this one more.  I also have a recipe here for risotto cakes.  You can use the risotto from this recipe to make the cakes and, as my wife says, they are orgasmic.  If the look on her face as she eats them is any indication, she's right.  ;o)

So, without any further preamble, here's the recipe.  Please feel free to leave us any comments letting us know how you liked it!


  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, minced
  • 6-8 finely chopped cloves black garlic (The number of cloves varies because of the size of the cloves and according to personal taste.  Also, because black garlic is very soft and sticky, it is sometimes easier to smash the cloves with a fork than it is to chop.)
  • 2 cups dry arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 8 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms, sliced*
  • 1 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder* (though this is optional, it really enhances the flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered rosemary* (though this is optional, it really enhances the flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
*optional (Yes, I called this recipe black garlic and mushroom risotto.  If you don't  like mushrooms, just leave the mushrooms out and call it black garlic risotto!)


  1. Pour the stock into a pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer.


  2. In a small skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  
  3. Add the powdered rosemary and porcini powder.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Cook on medium low until the mushrooms are tender (about four minutes).  Set pan aside.

  6. In an additional pan (a large, heavy skillet, NOT the one with the mushroom mixture) melt 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  7. Add the onion and cook until translucent.

  8. Stir in the black garlic.

  9. Stir in the rice.

  10. Add the wine. Stirring constantly, reduce until all the liquid is evaporated and rice grains have a glassy translucency.

    Notice that the ends of the rice are starting to become translucent.  This is
    when the wine should be evaporated and it's time to start adding the stock.

  11. Pour a cup of simmering stock into the rice. Cook and stir constantly until the stock is evaporated, then add another cup of stock.

  12. Continue cooking and stirring and adding stock until the rice is soft but firm.
  13. Add the mushroom mixture to the rice. Stir in the parmesan, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and the mascarpone.

  14. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  15. Enjoy!