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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tricia's Week 4 Recipe - Pomegranate Sorbet

"What?!", you exclaim, "You're cheating!  You said no desserts!"  You would be right, though I did leave myself an opening in the rules.  Because one of my New Year's resolutions is to "make and eat more ice cream" (which I'm including sherbert and sorbet in), I'm calling an audible and making a sorbet for my week 4 recipe.

Pomegranate Sorbet From: Aliza Green's Starting with Ingredients
I've made ice cream in the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker I received from my parents for my birthday (Thanks thanks thanks!) but I've never tried a sorbet...(nor have I tried a 'cooked' with egg ice cream, but that is a recipe for another week).  This is my first shot. 

2 cups orange juice - freshly squeezed (I used Simply Orange)
4 cups pomegranate seeds or 3 cups juice (I used 3 cups POM juice, because I don't have any cheese cloth to strain out the seeds if I used them)
2 cups granulated sugar

Mix together.  Freeze.  Temper 30 minutes in fridge before serving.
(If using seeds, you are to blend w/ juice in blender, then pour juice through something like cheese cloth to keep all crunchy seedy bits out of iced cream)

Seriously!  That is what the directions essentially say.  Now, I mixed the sugar and orange juice first, and added the pomegranate juice one cup at a time.  This is because I tend to make a mess in the kitchen if it involves red things.  Then I put together my ice cream maker and, turning it on, added the mixture.   I mixed for the 20 minutes I had mixed the cream/milk/sugar/flavor ice cream I've made....still not very frozen.  I added ten minutes.  Still not very frozen, but there ARE 2 cups sugar in there...After that I decided to pour into freezeable containers and freeze.  The results that I licked up were very good...still have to 'eat' my sorbet per my resolution...and after that I'll know if I'll reduce the sugar for next time.

Would I make again...well, the resolution is for all kinds of ice cream, so I want to try many kinds, but yes I think I will make this again, eventually :P  I may even try to make with seeds if I ever get to a cooking store to buy cheese cloths.

Bonus recipes, using Week Three Sauce

For week 3 I made pizza sauce.  Since my Cub Foods didn't have a small can of tomato puree, I dove in and made a Large Batch.  We then had company and made two large pizzas and some garlic cheese bread, with sauce for dipping.  However, I still have over a cup and a half of sauce left!  Whatever do I do?!  Why, make things you can use the sauce with, of course:

Bonus 1:  Pepperoni Bread
Do you bake bread?  Yes - Great!  No - That's OK too.  This recipe will work with a frozen 1 lb loaf of bread, or if you bake bread like me but decide last minute you have too much sauce left and don't want two plain loaves of bread, you can take 1/2 your bread dough and roll it for this:

1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed OR 1/2 white bread dough - fresh
Pepperoni (as much or as little as you want, I likely used 1/8 lb)
Mozzerella cheese
Parmessan cheese
Pizza Seasoning and Pasta Sprinkle from Penzey's
1 egg, beaten

Roll out bread to about 9 inches by 14 inches, coat dough w/ beaten egg, cover surface w/ pepperoni.  Sprinkle mozerella cheese (likely about a cup, I was not measuring) on top, shake on Parmessan gratings (likely <1/4 cup, again, no measuring was completed).  Sprinkle liberally with seasonings
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until brown on the top. 

If you happen to have used 1/2 of your bread dough made from scratch, you can bake this while your other loaf is rising, then bake that - it's brilliant!

I will definately be making this again, YUM!

Bonus 2:  Individual Pizzas
Still, sauce remains!  Trevor has a brilliant idea, let's make Pizza Bread!  Off to the store he goes to restock of mozerella supply, and returns w/ Texas Toasts.  We toast the toasts according to box directions until lightly browned, add sauce, pepperoni, and cheese, and return to oven for 5 minutes.  Out come hot, individual pizzas that taste a lot like pudgy pie pizzas!  Wonderful!

If I were to do this again (which I will), I would bake according to box directions until lightly brown, then turn on broiler whilst adding toppings, and broil toppings done. The bread was a bit crisp by the time the toppings were done by baking.

Chris's Week Five Recipe: Sour Cream Biscuits

We all have our own personal culinary nemesis, a Moriarty of ingredients who haunts our baking moments. Mine is leftover sour cream.

I suppose most people who found themselves with a 1/2 cup of leftover sour cream would just shrug their shoulders, pop a couple of bakers in the oven, and call it a day, but I just don't get that excited about baked potatoes with sour cream. Nor do I particularly care to make dip out of it, although I will in a pinch. So when my mother was kind enough to give me a leftover container of sour cream, I thanked her politely and came home to brood.

Seeing that I hadn't yet baked anything for this blog, I decided to make some sour cream biscuits and found this recipe at I had to retrofit for that 1/2 cup sour cream, so here is the revised recipe:

Sour Cream Biscuits

1-1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
1/3 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 c sour cream
5 T (or so) milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Add sour cream and milk one tablespoon at a time until a soft dough is achieved. Flour hands well and roll into round biscuits. Bake 8-10 min at 450F.

Would I make this recipe again? Alas, no. They baked up well on my pizza stone, but the end product was bland and unexciting. The Professor... er, sour cream maintains its position as the Napoleon of Cooking!

Jennifer's Week Four Recipe - Quiche Lorraine

This recipe comes from France: The Beautiful Cookbook - Authentic Recipes from the Regions of France. I've had this book for nearly 11 years and have made only desserts out of it before this. The recipe has you make shortcrust pastry for the crust (another recipe in the book) but I made it with some left over refrigerated pie crust. I also did not have a tart pan, so I used a pie pan instead.

Quiche Lorraine (Egg and Bacon Quiche)

8oz (250g) shortcrust pastry
8oz (250g) thinly sliced bacon
2oz (50g) butter
3 eggs
1 cup (8oz/250ml) heavy (double) cream or creme fraiche
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 pinches of freshly ground nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F (215C). Lightly butter a deep 9 to 10 inch tart pan. Roll out the pastry and line the tin, crimping the edge. Refrigerate until needed. Remove rind from the bacon and cut the bacon into small pieces. Drop these into a small saucepan of boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold running water and pat dry. Melt half the butter in a nonstick 8-in (20 cm) skillet and lightly fry the bacon, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels.

2. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork until blended, adding the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

3. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Scatter bacon over the bottom of the pastry. Pour egg mixture and dot with the remaining butter. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the quiche is lightly browned. Serve hot.

Would I make this again? Yes. It went over well, even if the only thing Erik was interested in eating was "plain bacon not in a pie".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tricia's Week 3 Recipe, a bit late!

I am a bad blogger! I admit it.  I am, however enjoying this challenge, three weeks in.  My last two recipes featured pork.  This time, I'm moving to one of my favorite!  Trev and I make our own pizza crust and pizzas quite a bit, but I haven't delved into the world of homemade sauce.  After searching the internet a bunch, I found common ground on sauce recipes, and made this one up major source was HERE:

Tricia's Pizza Sauce
Ingredients ( will do this in "sauce can I found at store, many pizzas and / small sauce can, one -two pizzas)
  • 29 oz tomato puree / 10 oz tomato puree
  • 2/3 c water / 1/4 cup water note, you may need to use less depending on how thick you like your sauce
  • 2.5 teaspoons olive oil / 1 teaspoon olive oil I used chili olive oil for an extra kick
  • 2.5  teaspoons sugar  / 1 teaspoon sugar my 0.5 was generous
  • 2/3 teaspoon lemon juice / 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt / 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons (generous) teaspoon Pasta Sprinkle from Penzey's Spices / 1/2 to 2/3 generous teaspoon Pasta Sprinkle
  • 1/3 (light) teaspoon garlic powder / 1/8 (light) teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small handfull (2-3 sprigs) fresh parsley, chopped / about the same, parsley is yummy!
Place all ingredients in sauce pan, stir, bring to a boil, and then simmer 15-20 minutes.  Cool.

What did I think?  Very yummy.  I think I will see what I can do to can this!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guest Recipe from Judy: Japanese Chicken

You can never tell which of your friends has hidden passions. Judy, who is as fabulous a co-worker as you would ever want, is also a secret foodie! One of her goals in life is to travel to Italy with her family and take cooking classes. In the meantime, she's sent in this recipe:

Japanese Chicken

4 Chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (or reasonably sized pieces!)
coat chicken in egg/flour and brown in skillet with melted butter

Sauce: 2:1 ratio of sugar:apple cider vinegar (I usually use 1.5 c sugar to 1 c vinegar because I don't like it so sweet) + 1/3 c soy sauce

Place browned chicken and sauce in 350 oven for 30 minutes - glaze sauce over chicken every 10 minutes.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice. (I fry my rice with sauteed onions, garlic and ginger - mmmmmm)

Chris's Week Four Recipe: Simple Fruit Salad

I like fruit salad, but I'm not a big fan of creamy fruit salad, which seems to be all the rage in Minnesota. So for lunch with my parents today, I whipped up a simple fruit salad which could be made in almost endless variation. The trick is to use either citrus, syrup, or both to keep fruit like apples and bananas from turning brown.

Simple Fruit Salad

1/2 c chopped walnuts
1-15 oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup
2 medium bananas, sliced
1 honeycrisp apple, chopped
1 T lemon juice.

Shredded coconut (optional)

Toss all the ingredients together, making sure the syrup and lemon juice coat everything well. Before serving, drain out the liquid. Top with shredded coconut if you like.

Would I make this recipe again? You betcha! There was some discussion at the table about the quantity of walnuts. Mom would have used 1/4 cup, but Dad and I agree there can never be too many nuts. That just about sums up Dad and me.

A Tale of Two Pie Crusts

I had Mom & Dad over today for quiche and, wouldn't you know it, I forgot to get the Pillsbury pie crust out of the freezer last night. I tried to thaw one, but just didn't have enough time.

So I had to make a pie crust. From scratch.

Oh, but it's been a long time since I've made pie crust and an even a longer time since I've made shortening crust. I bet I was still living with my parents. What other way is there to make pie crusts? You can make an oil crust, but that has to sit in the freezer to think about itself before you roll it out, and I didn't have the time.

I also didn't have enough vegetable shortening. Fortunately, there's always butter. Other than the usual problem of having trouble getting the darn thing up off the counter when I rolled it out (am I just not using enough flour?), the crust turned out very, very well.

Gentle readers, how do you keep your pie crusts from sticking to the counter?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chris's Week Three Recipe: Welsh Rarebit

I got to thinking about Welsh rarebit today (I really don't know why) and I realized that I had never made it myself. So, I picked up a loaf of cracked pepper bread at Great Harvest and started preparing, hoping that the stout that's been living in the back of my fridge for some time now had survived.

Alas, it had not.

But Welsh rarebit can also be made with milk or so said the old copy of Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book that I had picked up years ago in the UK. (How old? I'm not sure as there's no copyright date. A little quick Internet research leads me to believe it might have been published as long ago as 1911.) I've enjoyed looking through this book from time to time, but I had never made a recipe from it. Since one of the secondary goals of this year's blogging project is to weed through all the cookbooks I've accumulated, this was a good opportunity. Following is the recipe as written.

Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit

Ingredients - 4 oz. of Cheshire or Cheddar cheese, 1/2 oz of butter, 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls of milk or ale, mustard, pepper, buttered toast.

Method - Cut the cheese into small pieces, place these in a saucepan with the butter, milk, or ale, 1/2 a mustardspoonful of mustard, and pepper to taste, and stir the mixture by the side of the fire until it resembles a thick cream Have ready some squares of hot, well-buttered toast, pour on the cheese preparation, and serve as quickly as possible.

NB - I halved the recipe, used 2 T milk, and 1/2 t of dried mustard. The result was very thick.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, but I'd be more careful about heating up, because the sauce broke a bit at the end. Upon consideration, I don't much care for the cracked pepper bread.

Jennifer's Week Three Recipe - Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker

I declare this week to be Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Week... although Tricia's recipe was for week 2, not 3. Hmm. Well, I guess it isn't Slow Cooker/Crock Pot week.

Anyway, this week's recipe came from Link to it is ... here.

Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker

6 boneless pork chops (Mine had bones because that's what I had on hand. Honestly, I think they have a better flavor, but that could be in my head.)

1/4 cups brown sugar (I used between 1/3 and 1/2 cup, explanation below)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used 1/3 because, frankly, that's what was left in the bottle.)

1/4 cup ketchup (I used a bit more than 1/3, again explanation below)

2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used the equivalent in garlic powder since I did not have fresh garlic on hand and was not going to run to the store for a head of garlic.)

salt and pepper to taste

1. Place pork chops in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops.

2. Cook on Low setting for 6 hours, until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Would I make this again? Considering that NOTHING was left after my guys got to it, yes. I simply served it with rice and it was a hit. Next time I may throw a vegetable for a side to go with it. I was on a tight schedule this evening and had to eat before Chad got home and dash out the door as he walked in. I felt a meal in the Crock Pot was better than the guys having a frozen pizza or fast food for dinner, even if we did not get to eat together.

Explanation concerning the sauce: I used the above recipe as more of a guideline than anything. In fact, I think that if you made the sauce as written and compared it to what I made, they could be considered completely different recipes. It started with me being short on soy sauce, which was actually OK because a 1/2 cup seemed like an awful lot to me and would provide a very salty flavor. I also did not add any additional salt. I added more ketchup than the recipe calls for because Erik loves ketchup. Really. That is exactly why I did it. I probably put in more than a teaspoon for ground ginger - I didn't measure and I like ginger. Same with the garlic. I put in the called for amount of brown sugar and then tasted the sauce. It was far too salty for my tastes. More sugar went in. Then, taking the advice of some of the reviewers, I added some honey (not sure how much, just squirted it in until it felt like the right amount). Then I got even more creative and added some Worcestershire and Sweet Baby Ray's (again with the not measuring). Chad and Erik both loved the sauce and I think my Crock Pot is going to see a lot of pork chops like this.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tricia's Week Two Recipe: Crock Pot BBQ ribs

I have a confession:  I don't make nearly enough use out of my Crock Pot!  I am always on the go during the week, too; you would think the Crock Pot would be my best friend, the staunchest of my allies.  It has not been, even though I own three (different sizes, mind).  That is about to change!  Though I have quite often made pot roast and chili in the Pot, and even ventured to make stuffing this past Thanksgiving, this was the first attempt at something other than the above.

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

  • 2 lbs Baby Back ribs (or in my case, because Cub had them on sale, 3.68 lbs boneless ribs)
  • 2.5 cups BBQ sauce (not mesquite)
  • 8 oz. Cherry preserves or jam
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • black pepper

  • Cut extra fat from ribs no matter what type you use.  
  • Rub black pepper on ribs (the recipe says 1 teaspoon, I just used my cracked-pepper mill until I was satisfied.  
  • Place ribs in Crock Pot (make sure crock pot is big enough, I tried using Middle sized, but it was too small.  My bigger one was Just Right!).  
  • Mix together BBQ sauce, cherry preserves and dijon mustard in medium bowl, then pour over ribs.
  • Cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 6-8 hours
Measure out your BBQ sauce in a liquid measuring cup, rather than using oz. on side of container.  I ended up using up my honey chipotle Sweet Baby Rays (1/4 cup), a whole small bottle of Sweet baby Rays original (1.5ish cups), and the rest Jack Daniels Bourbon BBQ sauce.  Eclectic, but that is what I had.  I used cherry Preserves.

I will most definitely be making this again!  Yum!  I also have a lot of BBQ sauce left after I'm done eating my leftover ribs, so I think I'm going to go tonight and by a pork roast and make BBQ pulled pork to freeze w/ the leftover sauce.  I'd like to try it w/ bone-in ribs sometime, but I think the amount of sauce would go farther than just 2lbs of bone in ribs...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chris's Week Two Recipe: Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce

Cathy of Alex, otherwise known as The Recovering Dissident Catholic, joined me for lunch today and bravely volunteered to help test a new recipe. I've made rice pudding before, both on the stovetop and in the oven, but never based on a recipe like this one from Lundberg Family Farms that didn't use eggs as a binder.

Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce

1-3/4 c whole milk
1/3 c arborio rice
2 T turbinado sugar
dash salt

3/4 c dried cherries
1 cup boiling water

In a saucepan, pour the boiling water over the dried cherries and let soak until soft (an hour or more).

Combine milk, rice, sugar & salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 30 min in my case). You'll have to stir frequently!

While the rice is simmering, bring the cherries to a boil and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve the cherry sauce over the warm rice pudding.

Would I make this recipe again? Count on it! Even Cathy, who can do some serious cooking in her own right, pronounced this a success.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jennifer's BONUS Week Two Recipe: Chinese Chicken with Cashew Nuts

When I was planning this week's menu, I picked my original new recipe (see below) and kept perusing my Best of Chicken cookbook for future ideas. This recipe just screamed "Chad will love this!" that I had to try it right away.

Chinese Chicken with Cashew Nuts (is "cashew nuts" redundant or is that just me? I hear "cashew" and I expect a nut. )

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless and sliced into thin strips

3 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup dried egg noodles

3 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil

1 tablespoons sesame oil

1 cup roasted cashews (See? They don't say cashew nuts here.)

6 scallions (green onions), cut into 2-inch pieces and halved lengthwise. (Do the lengthwise halving first to save some time)

scallion curls and a little chopped red chili, to garnish (optional)

1. Put the chicken strips, garlic, soy sauce and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for about 30 minutes.

2. Bring a pan of water to a boil and add the noodles. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well and reserve. (I prepared my noodles according to the package they came in. 5 minutes of sitting in hot water just doesn't seem long enough for egg noodles.)

3. Heat oils in a large frying pan and add the chicken and marinade. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.

4. Add the cashews and scallions to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with scallion curls and chopped red chili.

Would I make this again? Yes. Chad's first words upon tasting this dish were "Mmm. I like." A little later he said "I love cooked nuts." and I think I will just leave it at that. With the chicken and the cashews, it is a filling dish. I also think I may doctor the marinade next time. The soy sauce flavor did get a bit overwhelming after a while. Over all, it was a good first experience.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jennifer's Week Two Recipe: Chicken Roule

I have an entire cookbook dedicated to chicken; it is called Best-Ever Chicken: Exciting Recipes for Every Occasion. Except desserts. So the title is kind of misleading.

Chicken Roule

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 oz each)

1 cup (half-pound) ground beef

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

8 ounces garlic cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons honey

salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts, side by side, between two pieces of plastic wrap. Beat with a meat mallet until 1/2 inch thick and joined together.

2. Place the ground beef in a medium pan. Fry for 3 minutes, add the chives and seasoning. Cool.

3. Place the chicken on a board and spread with the cream cheese. (It helps if the cream cheese has been allowed to sit out for a bit so it softens and is then easier to spread.)

4. Top with beef mixture, spreading it over evenly.

5. Roll up the chicken tightly to form a sausage shape. (I wrapped mine like they wrap burritos at Chipotle. I think next time I may also wrap some kitchen twine around it to make it more secure.)

6. Brush with honey and place in a roasting pan. Cook for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Remove from pan and slice thinly. Serve with freshly cooked vegetables. (If the top of your chicken browns quickly, like mine did, simply cover it with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.)

Would I make this again? Yeah, it seemed to go over well with my carnivores. I may substitute ground turkey for the beef next time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guest Recipe from Linda: Pumpkin Pie Trifle

I'm so excited - we have our first guest recipe! Linda is an excellent cook; not only can she make just about anything, she can taste a dish and then make it without a recipe. I want to grow up and cook just like Linda.

Pumpkin Pie Trifle

  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin + ingredients from label (or use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe)
  • Ginger Snap cookies - about 2 cups, broken into small pieces (I used Archway)
  • small container of prepared whipped topping

Preheat oven while you prepare the pumpkin custard. Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan. Bake the pumpkin custard (NO CRUST) following the baking directions on the pumpkin can (or your favorite recipe). Allow to cool completely.

Cut the pumpkin custard into squares and layer with the whipped topping and ginger snaps in a clear bowl (or individually in dessert glasses). Make two layers starting with the cream, then pumpkin, then cookies. Finish with several dollops of cream on top and sprinkle the fine crumbs from the cookie crunching process over the top.

Refrigerate until served. The longer it sets, the softer the cookies get.
Approximately six servings.
I brought this to a friend's home and she happened to have a can of spray whipped topping. It was used liberally by the men and children present. I thought there was plenty of whipped topping in the original dish.

Normally, I would have used REAL whipping cream, but I was running late and had to take a little shortcut. I believe this would have been vastly improved by using lightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored with a little vanilla extract and freshly grated nutmeg.

And the Answer to my Question is...

... salt.

Yep. I left the salt out of the risotto. Having realized this, I spinkled on a little kosher salt, added some fresh-ground pepper, and after the dish was out of the microwave, put on some shaved parmesjan.

All the difference in the world!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why Do Some Recipes Work, But Not Others?

One of the realities of cooking for yourself is leftovers: both of the finished product and of constituent ingredients. I had vegetable broth and minced onion left over from the past week's recipe, so tonight I tried a variation of my Sage & Onion Risotto. I halved the recipe, used olive oil instead of butter, added 1/2 cup each frozen peas and chopped carrots, and used rosemary for seasoning.

It was not a resounding success.

Oh, the texture was good and the dish was colorful enough, but the flavor was completely uninspired. I'll finish what I have left after this evening, but only with plenty of cheese and pepper to disguise the taste. Why do some recipes work, but not others?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tricia's Week 1 Recipe: Spiced Pork Loin w/ Peaches

I have a confession:  I saw this recipe (on an index card which I snagged of a table at the State Fair but the bottom says and immediately went, "Ooh!  This would be delicious but I need to...".  Yup.  I was changing it even as I read it!  The original recipe calls for pork chops - fried, fresh peaches (or a can of peaches, drained) and prepared mustard for on the peaches.  My recipe includes pork loin - baked, and a can of peach pie filling that has been taking up space in  my cupboard for over a year.  What?!  Me, use a new recipe to help trim the cupboards?!  No....

Spiced Pork Loin with Peach Sauce

  • 1 pork loin (1-2 lbs)
  • 1 can peach pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + a dash
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove + a dash
Preheat oven to 425F.  Mix together spices in a bowl (minus dashes).  Place pork loin (thawed) into a shallow baking dish.  Coat pork loin w/ spices mixture until completely covered - yes this means picking up the pork loin and turning it.  Be careful to turn pork loin with one hand and use other hand to dust spices, or you end up w/ spices stuck to your fingers and have to wash hands before continuing...  (I used all the spice, even though it seemed excessive as I was doing it.)  Place pork in oven for at least 25 minutes...depending on your loin size, it could take much more time - make sure meat is not overly pink and juices run clear.

Meanwhile, place can of peach pie filling in a saucepan.  Add dashes cinnamon and clove.  Turn heat on to medium low about 10 minutes or so before loin is done to heat through, stirring to mix in spices. 

Take out loin, cut, pour peaches on top, and serve! 

If you want to do this as pork chops, the recipe suggests adding a teaspoon flour to the spices and seasoning 4, 1/2 in pork chops then frying in melted butter (1 tablespoon) for 7-8 minutes on each side. The recipe also suggests taking your peaches drained and stirring the 1 teaspooon prepared mustard in with them, and then adding them to the skillet until heated through.  Personally, I like my version better...

Would I make this again?  Most Certainly!!  It was a hit, I took a chance and served my new recipe to guests without test making it first, and it was loved by all (whew!).  I think I may even try the pork chop option sometime....but I'll stick w/ my version of the peach sauce! I would have had a picture, but we devoured it before I was reminded I wanted those...oops!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Perhaps I Shall Try This One Next Week

Or not.

Salted Water for Boiling

The reviews are quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jennifer's Week One Recipe: Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

From Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners - the best $10 bargain book I have ever purchased, it is going on 6 years of faithful service to our family.


8 oz beef top round steak, trimmed of all separable fat
1/2 half cup beef broth

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I used ground ginger since I did not have fresh on hand and did not feel like shelling out $5 for the amount needed.)

Nonstick cooking spray

12 oz asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups sliced, fresh mushrooms

1 cup small broccoli florets

4 green onions, bias-sliced into 1-inch lengths (1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

2 cups hot, cooked rice

*Assemble and prepare all of the ingredients before you start top stir-fry. If you like, you can even do this up to 24 hours ahead and chill each ingredient separately.

1. If desired, partially freeze meat. Thinly slice meat across the grain into bite-size strips. Set aside. For the sauce, in a small bowl stir together beef broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger. Set aside.

2. Spray an unheated wok or large skillet with nonstick coating. Preheat over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, and green onions. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from wok.

3. Add oil to hot wok. Add the meat; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Push meat from center of wok. Stir sauce and add to the center of wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

4. Return vegetables to the wok. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce; heat through. Serve immediately with hot, cooked rice.

Makes 4 servings

Would I make this recipe again? Yes. I made a bit more than the recipe above calls for; my attempt made around 6 servings. Since the steak I purchased was close to the full pound, I used all of it and more vegetables, made a bit more sauce, etc. Remember, with cooking you do not need to be precise with measurements (baking is a different animal). Like more vegetables? Add more. Want more meat? Add more.

Chris's Week One Recipe: Sage & Onion Risotto

Needs must as the saying goes. I was planning to make muffins this week, but a nasty fall on the ice has left me with a bad hand (and elbow and shoulder) so I decided to make something a bit easier with ingredients available: a mushroom risotto using vegetable broth instead of water.

But, alas! The best laid schemes o' mice and cooks gang aft agley. The mushrooms were past their prime....

Still looking forward to making (my first-ever!) risotto, I created a simple recipe based on Mother's turkey stuffing. This recipe could easily be made vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter and omitting the cheese or using a vegan cheese substitute.

Sage & Onion Risotto

2 T butter
1/2 c minced onion
3 c vegetable broth
2 c arborio rice
1 t rubbed sage
1/2 t poultry seasoning
1/2 t salt [optional]
1/4 t pepper

Grated parmesan [optional]

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and saute the minced onions for a minute or so. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until mixed. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and let simmer until the liquid is absorbed (10 min in this case). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 min before serving. Sprinkle with grated parmesan to taste.

NB: the proportion of liquid to rice was based on the instructions for the rice I used - Lundberg white arborio. You may have to change the ratio if using another rice.

Would I make this recipe again? Most certainly! It would taste even more like stuffing if I had used chicken or turkey broth.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Newish Recipe to Share (not my official entry for the week)

Since Tricia and Chris have both posted, I felt as if I should post something as well. This is a recipe I have made only once before (and am making again today per Chad's request). This is not my official entry for the week - that I am making for dinner tomorrow night. This is one of those recipes I feel that needs to be shared, as if it is some moral imperative. (Yes, in my opinion, it is that good.)

Irish Beef Stew (from

* 1/4 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin, or EVOO for you Rachael Ray fans)
* 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
* 6 large garlic cloves, minced
* 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth (I use beef stock)
* 1 cup of Guinness beer
* 1 cup fine red wine (I use a Shiraz I enjoy. Rule of thumb: if you'll drink it, use it.)
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon dried thyme
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter - the real stuff, none of this vegetable oil spread- either salted or unsalted, I use what I have on hand
*3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
*1 large onion, chopped
* 2 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used baby carrots since we have those on hand and you don't have to peel them)
* salt and pepper to taste **
* 2 tablespoons parsley either dried or fresh, whatever you have on hand

1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.

3 Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Serves 4 to 6.

** "to taste" means just that - taste the stew before adding salt and pepper. Only add if you think it needs it. If adding salt and pepper, taste again (with a different utensil!) after adding. Remember, others can always add more salt and pepper to suit their tastes when the stew is in their own bowl. Also, try to encourage the practice of tasting the meal before dumping pepper and salt all over it. (Sorry, pet peeve.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Day - New Pizza Recipe

Already I'm confused.  52 new recipes, 52 weeks.  Do we go calendar weeks, date weeks, do we start the first official week in January or the first week w/ a January date!?  I think we'll officially start the week of January 3th, because wow, it's the 3rd already, but as a bonus, I did try something new New Year's Day!

Chicken Pizza
*This is a 'new recipe' because it doesn't consist of pizza sauce and toppings like I've made many a time - you make a new type of sauce and mix it w/ chicken then top w/ toppings.  I found this recipe in the Hidden Valley Ranch Family Favorites Recipe Book:

Ingredients...what it called for and then (what I actually did):
  • 1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (you should make it from the packet, but if you cheat like me you will use what is in your fridge)
  • 1 3oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (I used a can of chicken but only added 1 cup of it, again I was up late and feeling lazy)
  • 1 ready-to-eat 12-in. pizza crust (I didn't cheat here, I made my crust from scratch)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, rinsed and drained (you can buy these from a can, but I had frozen red peppers, so I used that)
  • 1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (I had a can of whole black olives - and the recipe doesn't say what kind, but the picture shows black, so I just opened my can of olives and sliced enough to make me happy
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (I didn't have any, and am not huge on onions, so I omitted)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I didn't measure, but didn't go heavy on the cheese when covering the pizza, either)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine dressing w/ cream cheese and tomato paste.  Stir in chicken. Spread mixture on pizza crust.  Arrange peppers, olives, and onions on pizza.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I always put my oven to 500 when I cook pizza from scratch, just do.  Mostly because Trev used to work in the pizza biz and told me how hot their ovens were.  That said, the pizza never burns, it just cooks faster (though I recommend following package instructions on frozen pizza). 

The pizza looked great.  It tasted good, too.  A few notes.  Trev isn't fond of xxx-salad texture (like tuna salad or chicken salad)  so he wasn't the hugest fan of the texture of this pizza.  That could be because I cheated and used canned chicken, which isn't cubed nicely like if I would have cooked some chicken breasts first.  Also, the sauce mix was good, but not unique.  Overall, it tasted good but didn't WOW the way some of our other homemade pizza concoctions have. 

End result
Will I make it again, probably not, but if you like chicken on your pizza it is worth trying once.

Taking up the Gauntlet / Chris's New Year's Recipe: Lemon-Pesto Goat Cheese Dip

Chris here! After some thought, I accepted Tricia's challenge, but with the caveat that I could tweak the ground rules a bit. I'm cooking for myself and don't have a convenient man or child about the house to eat all those leftovers!

After reading Tricia's guidelines, I've decided that the main difference is going to be that desserts are allowed in my corner of the culinary world. It's easier to fob off desserts than casseroles on one's unsuspecting co-workers.

Without further ado, here's my New Year's Day recipe:

Lemon-Pesto Goat Cheese Dip

This recipe is based on the following from Epicurious: Crudites with Lemon-Pesto Goat Cheese Dip and was tailored to fit ingredients at hand.

4 oz goat cheese crumbles
1/4 c sour cream
3 T pesto*
1 T fresh lemon juice
3/4 t lemon zest

Whir everything in the food processor** until well-blended and creamy. Like most dips, this tastes better the second day.

* Thanks to Linda who helps me make pesto from my basil.
** Thanks again to Linda who decided I needed my own food processor to make pesto.

Would I make this recipe again? Definitely! I think I might try whole plain yogurt instead of the sour cream next time.

The Challenge: 52 New Recipes

My challenge to myself, and then to Chris and Jenni, was one new recipe a week; 52 new recipes cooked by each of us this year.  This means different things for each of us.  For me, it means 52 new meal type recipes - not desserts.  I consider new desserts bonus items, and I'm sure I'll have more than a few.  My main motivations were twofold:  1. cook more because I love cooking (and baking, too), which I mentioned in my first brief post, and 2.  eat out less.  So for me, I'm trying to make 52 new meal type foods. Some might be breakfast foods or baked goods - baked goods like cinnamon rolls, which I've never made from scratch count - and some might be lunch or dinner type foods.  Some might be an interesting new side dish to go with a staple like roast or pork chops, and some might be brand new concoctions for a main course.  I'm also trying to limit variations on something I make regularily, unless that variation is something major. Example, I bake a lot of bread, but I have never tried to make dinner rolls.  Dinner rolls may be one of my 52.  So, Tricia's 52 Recipe Groundrules (others' may vary):
  1. Can not be strictly a dessert - these are bonus recipes for me and all who read about them :) though perhaps I'll give myself say...3 bonus recipes (3 of 52 can be dessert if I really want to use them!)
  2. Can not be just a small variation on a theme - eg using honey in the bread instead of sugar
  3. Can't be something I've made before, even if it bombed the first time.
  4. Can be a side dish or a main dish or any other part of a meal (like salad)
  5. Can be something I've made up because it sounds interesting
  6. Can come from the internet, one of my many cookbooks, or as an idea from a friend - though I'm going to try not to use Jenni or Chris's past ideas becuase it would be really awesome to have over 150 total recipes when we're done.

So, there you have it - what I'm going to try to hold myself to this year. Like I said, the other ladies may have completely different ground rules than I have, and that is just fine!  I have a feeling this could get tricky!  (I also have a feeling we may run into themes - this week brought to you by the color (Fruit) orange, or the letter J....but why not!)

Happy New Year!

With the beginning of the new year, comes the inevitable new year's resolutions.  This year, I resolved to make 52 new recipes, at least one per week.  I did this for many reasons, but chief amongst them were my love of cooking and my inability of late to find time to do so!  Then I thought, if I'm going to do it, let's collect some friends to do so as well, and blog about it.  This is our collection of recipes and the adventures we have in creating them throughout 2010.