Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jer: Pork with Calvados and Apples

I had some of my and Peter's family over for a big family dinner the other night and thought it would be fun to try this dish. Since I was cooking for 15, I decided to roast an entire pork loin (as opposed to pan roasting individual chops). I always pre-salt any meat that I roast Zuni Cafe style (2/3 tsp per pound of meat 1-2 days before roasting) and the pork turned out so juicy and delicious. This salting step by the way has never failed me and makes for the most amazing roast chicken.

And since I was roasting so many apple slices I did that in the oven as well in a big roasting pan. I didn't have Calvados on hand so I used some dry white wine and a splash of port. And I made fresh apple juice/cider from this incredible new juicer that I bought about a month ago and that I love using.

Sliced some fresh black seedless grapes and scattered on top before serving. I liked how the tart/sweet grapes popped in my mouth with the creamy apple sauce. I also liked the color it provided to the dish.

Really liked this recipe and will make it again. Was very easy to serve to a large crowd. Also served some rice pilaf and braised cabbage and fennel which went very nicely with the pork. And the leftovers of the pork were delicious!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Fried Thanksgiving

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! After frying our 18 lb turkey for our thanksgiving feast, what were we to do with the 5 gallons of oil sitting in the fryer on our patio? We decided to put the fryer to work...Japan-style: tonkatsu, creamed corn and bacon croquettes, harumi's chicken, baby octopus, fried ice cream. We had to try frying up some leftover halloween candy as well: baby ruth, heath bars, almond joys, butterfingers. Eri, my brother's wife conducted this fried meal . She made this delicious salad to attempt at cutting the grease from our palettes: julienned daikon, fresh octopus, thinly sliced and mitsuba (more fragrant japanese version of flat leaf parsley with a dressing of rice wine vinegar, mirin, sesame seeds, soy sauce all crushed up with a mortar and pestal. I could eat this salad every day!
I also made the best banana cake/loaf recipe this holiday that I must share with you all from david lebovitz's blog:
1½ cups (210 g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (55 g) melted butter (salted or unsalted)
1 large egg white
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) banana puree, made from about 2 very ripe medium-sized bananas
½ cup (125 ml) sour cream, regular or low-fat (or fromage blanc)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (60 g) chocolate chips or 3 tablespoons (30 g) cocoa nibs
*I made a loaf without choc chips too. I prefer no chocolate but some chocolate lovers might disagree.

Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) square pan and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C).

1. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in the sugar.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, egg white, egg, banana puree, sour cream, vanilla and espresso, if using.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the wet ingredients with a spatula until almost mixed. Add in the chocolate chips or cocoa nibs and stir until just combined, but don't overstir: stop when any traces of flour disappear.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center feels lightly-springy and just done.
5. Cool on a baking rack.
Storage: This cake will keep well for 3-4 days, or can be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, for a few months.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Recipe 18: Pork with Calvados and Apples

As I ease back into cooking post baby, I thought I would make one of my fall "staples". It's easy enough to work as a weeknight meal, but dress it up with a few sides and it's perfect for entertaining. I'm a big fan of the sauce (must be he southerner in me). I served it with mashed sweet potatoes. A nice spinach, walnut, gorgonzola salad would pair nicely as well.

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
5 tablespoons butter
4 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds); peeled, cored, sliced 1/3 inch thick
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup Calvados or other apple brandy (I used sherry since I didn't have apple brandy and it was fine)
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup apple cider

Place pork slices between plastic wrap. Using mallet, pound pork slices to 1/4-inch thickness. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sugar to skillet and sauté until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in another heavy large skillet over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet and sauté until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; keep warm.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme and sauté 2 minutes. Add Calvados and boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in cream and cider; boil until mixture thickens to sauce consistency, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Reheat apples, if necessary. Arrange a few pork slices on each plate. Spoon sauce over. Top generously with sautéed apple slices and serve.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My New Favorite Cookie - Meltaways

Well, I thought I was a "baker", therefore knowing nearly every cookie type out there. Last month when I went home to attend my sister's baby shower I was introduced to "Meltaways". Have you gals ever made these little morsels? My sister's sister-in-law ran her own bakery for awhile and she shared the recipe. These may be something to add to the Holiday cookie list.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 drop red food coloring

In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Separate dough into 4 equal parts and roll each into a smooth log. Wrap each log in flour-dusted wax paper. Chill dough for at least 6 hours. After six hours, allow dough to sit out for 15 minutes to soften.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets.
Slice dough into 1/4-inch slices and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Cool cookies on wire racks.
In a medium bowl, combine all frosting ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Pipe or dollop a small amount on top of cooled cookies.

Yields 8 dozen.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chicken and Garlic Galore!

I've always felt that jarred garlic just isn't the same as peeling the cloves fresh of the head. But for this recipe, I bit the bullet and bought a jar of peeled garlic and I'd do it again.
As Mike walked into the kitchen, he was so surprised to smell stock simmering on the stove and the sizzling of chicken browning in my dusty topped Le Creuset. I've been completely slacking in the domestic goddess -"not so goddess" duties. But tonight, I'm back! I was inspired by this Mistral's Chicken with Garlic recipe from this NY Times article. Its basically a Chicken with 40 garlic cloves. So juicy and delicious. The kids devoured it and Mike couldn't stop raving about his meal. I roasted some olive oil coated wedged potatoes at 500 degrees for 15 min. then flipped for another 15 min. I would love to make this my once a week meal because it was just too easy and satisfying for everyone not to start making it party of my repertoire. I know I say that alot. I wish I actually had a repertoire but I can't seem to get myself to have a meal that is the same every week. Anyway, enjoy! Here's the recipe:
Adapted from “Bistro Cooking” by Patricia Wells
45 minutes
3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter - didn't use butter due to someone's lactose intolerance and it's not me ; )
About 40 large garlic cloves (bought a jar of the peeled garlic in the produce section)
1/2 cup dry white wine (used 3/4 c. wine and 3/4 c. broth cuz we love our sauce)
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth.

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place a deep, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven over high heat, and add oil and butter. When fats are hot but not smoking, add chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin turns an even, golden brown, about 5 minutes. Work in batches, if necessary, and carefully regulate heat to avoid scorching skin. Turn pieces and brown them on other side for an additional 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Bury garlic cloves under chicken to make sure they settle in one layer at bottom of skillet. Sauté, shaking or stirring pan frequently, until garlic is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stock, scraping bottom of pan.

3. Cover and continue cooking until juices run clear when a thigh is pricked, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve chicken with garlic and pan juices and, if desired, rice or sautéed potatoes.

Yield: 4 servings.