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Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

68 Days of Gourmet: Day 29

I feel terrible that I’ve been such a bad blogger this week. I started in the hole since I didn’t get to make my weekly menu and grocery shopping trip. It was a major pain to scramble every night to figure out what to have for dinner. Now we’re back in town and settled back into our routine.  I promise that I have lots of fun cooking and baking projects planned for this weekend that I can’t wait to share with everyone!

I was looking for something simple to make last night for dinner. I was browsing through the easy and healthy weeknight meals gallery on Epicurious and sent the link for this Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup recipe to Brandon. I was shocked when he said, “I’d eat that.” I still firmly believe that it’s only because this soup included sausage in the ingredient list! Also, kale is one of my grandmother’s signature dishes so Brandon has discovered that he loves it. I love using kale in recipes – it packs a HUGE nutrient punch. Check out this overview of the nutrients in boiled kale.

So back to my struggle with blogging and dinner this week…I work out pretty much every day after work. I usually don’t get home from my workout until after 7 p.m so if I haven’t planned dinner, it’s very challenging to make it happen. I’m very proud to share that it is extremely rare that we eat out on a weeknight. I always have something planned for dinner. I know I continue to harp on the importance of meal planning in advance but it makes a huge difference. I was stressed all week this week trying to pull together dinners and make time to get to the store.

On Monday Brandon and I went to a Vinyasa Basics yoga class at Y2 Yoga. It’s a newer yoga studio with smaller classes. I thought the class was pretty easy but it’s always nice to get back to the basics. Brandon enjoyed the class and got some great work in on perfecting the basic positions.

I planned on running with Sullie Tuesday after work but got stuck at work until 6:45. I still had to go to the grocery to get stuff for dinner (again, pre-planning people!) so by the time I got home at 7:30 I was hungry and cranky and it was freezing cold and dark. The run didn’t happen.

I set my alarm to get up and run Wednesday morning. Sullie is great motivation to get out of bed because she really needs the exercise and to get out of the apartment. We did an easy 3-miler but it was freezing – about 20 degrees and windy! Wednesday night I went to a power yoga class at Y2.

I planned on running today but got called at the last minute to sub BodyPump. Literally, at the last minute. I had to leave work a few minutes early to go home and grab my music, change and get to the gym. I hit terrible traffic and ended up being 10 minutes late to class. I felt terrible because I know how disappointing it is to have the workout you committed to cut short but hopefully all the push-ups we did made up for it! I ran 3 miles on the treadmill after.

So, hopefully I’ll be updating the blog A LOT more frequently and you won’t have to get a whole run down on my week in fitness in one post! I had this Kale and Potato soup for lunch today and it totally satisfied me for the whole afternoon! And I think the leftovers were even better today!

I made quite a few modifications to the original recipe. The original calls for only adding the kale in the last 5 minutes of cooking. There is no way it would have been done in that amount of time. We like our kale tender so I added it with the potatoes. Honestly, I didn’t  really follow the cooking directions at all for this recipe. I just did what made sense to me. But the soup turned out great and is an easy and nutritious weeknight dinner.

Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2009 – the last issue ever :( )

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound chouriço or linguiça (smoked Portuguese sausages) or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (uh, I used kielbasa)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (2-3)
6 cups water or chicken broth (I used half and half)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves torn into small pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, like Sriracha, for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add sausage and garlic and continue to cook 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then add potatoes, water or chicken broth, kale, paprika and salt to taste to the pot.

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until kale and potatoes are tender. Mash up some of the potatoes with the back of a fork to thicken the soup a bit. Taste and do a final season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of hot sauce.

Yield: 4 main course servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 26

I usually leave the cooking of ribs to Brandon. This is the first time I’ve ever cooked them in the oven and not had him grill them. I’m not the biggest fan of ribs. I’ll eat them if someone else prepares them but I never crave them. I saw that baby back ribs were on sale at the grocery last week and remembered seeing this recipe for Hawaiian ribs in The Gourmet Cookbook. I decided to mix it up a bit and give it a try.

I put off making this for several nights because of the marinating time and just general lack of interest in the recipe. When I finally did get around to making it I was pleasantly surprised. I actually enjoyed these ribs and Brandon loved them. The Hawaiian glaze was super flavorful and had a nice sweetness. I only made a few modifications to the recipe. I subbed brown sugar for white sugar and cooked it at a lower temperature for a longer time.

If you are a rib fan this is definitely a good recipe to try – especially if you’re looking for a winter preparation to avoid the grill.

Hawaiian Ribs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet May 2003)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup medium dry Sherry
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 (1-inch) cube peeled fresh ginger, smashed
3 pounds baby back pork ribs (3 racks; do not cut apart)

Directions:

Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, Sherry and salt in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour marinade into a large pan or baking dish and add garlic, ginger and ribs. Turn ribs to coat and marinate, covered and chilled, turning occasionally. Ribs should marinate at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 300. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and arrange ribs, rounded sides up, on broiler rack. Reserve marinade for basting – discard garlic and ginger. reserving marinade for basting (discard garlic and ginger).

Baste with marinade every 30 minutes (do not baste during last 10 minutes of cooking), until ribs are tender and glaze is well browned, about 2 1/2 hours.  Discard unused marinade.

Let racks stand 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 22

I didn’t plan on making this pork tenderloin recipe. It happened out of desperation. I originally planned on making this Fennel Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel Wedges. I bought all the ingredients for it and everything. Then I found out that my husband hates fennel – how did I never know that? I said “too bad, I’m making it anyway” but then the recipe would not load on Epicurious and it’s not in The Gourmet Cookbook. I looked everywhere online for it with no luck. It was 8:30 and I had to start something for dinner. I was hungry and cranky. I begged Brandon just to take it out and grill it but he refused…it was freezing out. I sulked off to The Gourmet Cookbook and began browsing through the pork tenderloin recipes. I was pleased to find Island Pork Tenderloin. It sounded like something we would love.

I will honestly say that I’m happy our original recipe didn’t happen because this Island Pork Tenderloin was wonderful. The spice rub is a great combination of warm flavors and the glaze is such a nice finish with brown sugar, hot sauce and garlic. Sounds strange but it totally worked. Also, I love recipes where I can start meat in a skillet and finish it in the oven. It frees me up to prepare the side items. I served this with roasted potatoes, salad and rolls.

Island Pork Tenderloin
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)
Printable Recipe: Island Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

FOR PORK
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pork tenderloins (a little over 1 pound)
1 tablespoons olive oil

FOR GLAZE
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce (Tabasco)

Directions:

FOR THE PORK
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I had my oven at 375 because of the potatoes. Just watched the internal temperature closely)

Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon and coat pork with spice rub.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown pork on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat.

FOR THE GLAZE AND TO ROAST THE PORK
While the pork is browning, stir together brown sugar, garlic and hot sauce. Once you remove pork from heat, spread glaze onto top of each tenderloin. Roast in oven until thermometer inserted in center of  tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Tent with foil and let pork stand in skillet at room temperature 10 minutes. (Temperature will rise to about 150-155 while standing.) Slice and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 21

I have to admit that I had a mini-meltdown during menu planning this week. I was all over the place and couldn’t make a decision. Sometimes menu planning is so simple for me – it all just comes together. Other times – not so much.  I was just really over thinking it for some reason. While we were unpacking groceries, I was rambling off the menu selections for the week. Brandon seemed pretty pleased with his options so I guess I pulled it off.

We decided to keep it simple tonight with salad and a baked potato. But not just any salad…Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs. I flagged this one in The Gourmet Cookbook because a) Brandon loves bacon and b) he thinks pretty much any food is even more delicious topped with an egg. One of his recent favorites has been a fried egg on hamburgers. Extra protein?

I actually made several changes to this recipe but it still turned out fabulously. First, we don’t love frisee – we usually pick it out of the salad mix or its left uneaten on the plate. You can’t even buy it on its own at the grocery store  where we shop and I was not going to make  a special trip for it. I had some baby arugula mix in the fridge so decided to go with that. Second, I realized I was out of red wine vinegar so I used a splash of white wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic instead. And last, I opted to use my egg poacher rather than use the written method for poaching eggs.

I will definitely be making this salad again. How can you not love this combination? And the warm bacon dressing is amazing…although I had to put it in the back of my head that it was essentially bacon grease and vinegar. This is a great easy weeknight dinner paired with soup or a baked potato. It would also be an impressive first course for a dinner party.

Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, printed in Gourmet February 1999)
Printable Recipe: Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive)
6 ounces slab bacon or thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Tear frisee into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. If using slab bacon, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Then cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips (these are your lardons).

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat when bacon is golden and beginning to crisp. Set skillet aside.

In another skillet, place 1 inch of warm water and set aside. Fill up a 4-quart saucepan halfway with water and stir in white vinegar. Bring liquid to a simmer. Break each egg into a teacup one at a time and slide into simmering liquid. Immediately push white around yolk with a slotted spoon, working gently. Egg should be oval in shape and yolk should be completely covered by white. Using the same method, add the remaining 3 eggs. Simmer eggs for about 1 1/2 minutes for runny yolks up to about 3 minutes for firmer yolks. Immediately transfer eggs to skillet of warm water.

Reheat bacon in its skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add red wine vinegar and boil 5 seconds. Immediately pour hot dressing over frisée and toss with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad among 4 plates and top with drained poached eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 16

A couple weeks ago I was doing some maintenance on my blog and updating my categories. I was astonished to find that I had no pork chop recipes on the blog. We love pork chops and eat them frequently. Our favorite are the thick cut, bone-in chops. They’re so reasonably priced and a nice alternative to chicken. They’re great pan seared or thrown on the grill.

I found this recipe for Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce in The Gourmet Cookbook and thought it would be a nice fall/winter preparation. The sauteed apples and cider gravy were the perfect topping for the pan seared pork chops. It was a great meal served alongside sweet potatoes and a side salad.

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh sage, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 pork chops (about 3/4-1 inch thick, 2 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 golden delicious, gala or fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Directions:

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apple cider, vinegar and sage and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes.

Add 1 cup stock and return to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, another 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat pork dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops (if cooking 6 you will have to cook in 2 batches) and cook, turning once, until just cooked through. This should take about 6-8 minutes and internal temperature should be 145 degrees. Transfer to a plate to let rest and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Pour fat from skillet and add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add apples and cook over medium heat until golden and just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with brown sugar.

Add remaining 1/4 cup stock to the skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat and scraping  up the brown bits for 1 minute. Stir deglazing liquid into sauce along with any accumulated meat juices and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, top pork with apples and ladle sauce over.

Yield: 6 servings

*Note: I cut the sauce recipe in half and used one apple for 2 pork chops.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 15

I saw this recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook as I was putting together our menu for the week. I knew this would be a huge hit with Brandon and I haven’t made meatballs in forever. This dinner was surprisingly quick and easy to put together given that you make your own tomato sauce. I put the sauce on to simmer, assembled the meatballs and stashed them in the fridge while I was doing some things around the house. I put pasta on to boil and cooked the meatballs once we were ready to eat.

Overall, I would have to say that the meatballs were a definite success but I would use a different sauce recipe next time. I loved the combination of veal, pork and beef in the meatballs and they held together beautifully. No falling apart while cooking – this could have been helped too by the time they spent in the fridge prior to being cooked. I found the sauce to be a little too thin. At first I attributed this to my laziness, the recipe calls for pulsing whole tomatoes a food processor. I just stuck some kitchen shears in my whole tomatoes and cut them up so they were more diced than pureed. Then I read the reviews on the online recipe and saw that others had issues with the thin sauce too. I think this could be helped by adding a little tomato paste and maybe using crushed tomatoes instead of whole. Or just use your favorite marinara recipe (see my favorite recipe here) and skip this one all together. Also, if you’re big on sauce and serving this over pasta you may want to double the sauce.

The meatballs are a definite winner though. I recommend using this meatball recipe next time you make spaghetti and meatballs. I’m so excited to use the leftovers for meatball subs tonight! (They were so good I couldn’t resist snapping a photo to share. Yum!)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2002 and The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (28- to 32-ounce) can whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely diced, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Shot of red wine (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 lb meatloaf/meatball mix (mixed ground beef, pork, and veal)
5 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and add garlic and about 1/4 of your diced onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until onion softens and becomes transparent. In the meantime, if using whole tomatoes, pulse tomatoes with juices in food processor until chopped. Add tomatoes, oregano, Italian seasoning, splash of wine and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to pot. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes (can simmer longer if necessary).

While sauce is simmering, stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes until bread crumbs have absorbed milk. Add meat, rest of onion, 3 tablespoons parsley, red pepper flakes and remaining teaspoon salt. Blend with your hands until just combined (do not over mix). Form 2-tablespoon amounts into meatballs. You should have about 20.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully add meatballs and sauté in 2 batches, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to tomato sauce using a slotted spoon.

Simmer meatballs, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with remaining  2 tablespoons parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 11

One of my favorite things to do is stay in on Friday night and cook a nice dinner. I’m usually pretty tired from a week of working and enjoy hanging out at home, cooking and watching a movie. We save going out for Saturday nights. Brandon commonly requests steak for our Friday night dinners. He used to love filets but since getting into grilling his favorite now is bone-in ribeyes.

Filets were on sale at the grocery Friday so I decided have Brandon grill them and I’d make a nice sauce. We love sautéed mushrooms with grilled steaks so I decided this recipe for Filet Mgnon with Mushroom Sauce from Gourmet sounded perfect.

The combination of the bacon and mushrooms in this sauce was great. The bacon really added an extra element of depth to the sauce and the lemon brightened it up. It was very simple to put together and holds well if your steak isn’t ready yet. The sauce was a nice addition to the grilled filet. I served our steaks with steamed asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes. A perfect dinner for two!

Filet Mignons with Mushroom Sauce
(Recipe source Gourmet, March 1995)

Ingredients:

1 slice bacon
1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 white mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tablespoons Cognac or other brandy
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 filet mignons, about 1 inch thick

Directions:

Cook bacon over medium heat in a heavy 8-inch skillet (cast iron if available) until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and pour off excess fat from the skillet. Crumble bacon and reserve.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and garlic to skillet. Cook until butter is softened and then add mushrooms and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid from mushrooms begins to evaporate. Add brandy and boil until nearly evaporated. Stir in water, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and boil until sauce is thickened slightly. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan and stir in reserved bacon and parsley. Keep sauce warm.

Pat filets dry with paper towels and generously salt and pepper. If you’re cooking steaks in skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium high heat and sauté filets for 4 minutes. Sear sides slightly and turn filets over. Sauté 3 to 3 1/2 minutes more for medium-rare meat. Internal temperature should be 125 degrees. Let steak rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

For the grill, preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Cook steaks for about 4-5 minutes per side, rotating half way through on each side if you want grill marks (a 45 degree turn). Pull steaks when they’ve reached 125 degrees for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

Divide filets between 2 plates and spoon sauce over them.

Yield: 2 servings

And another filet suggestion…Bacon Wrapped Filet
http://bakinandeggs.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/bacon-wrapped-filet/

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