blisteringlydrunk

food amongst family and friends

Smoky and delicious Brined Pork Steaks (or Chops) May 13, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pork,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 3:09 pm
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IMG_8085 I have to admit that I am a lazy BBQer (and clearly speller/wordsmith). The thing I love the most about BBQing is the ease and speed involved in putting a super tasty/healthy dinner on the table and I imagine I’m not alone on this one. So a recipe that involves brining your pork chops ahead of time doesn’t exactly sound like it fits the bill, but this was actually super simple and the results were the best BBQ’d pork steaks I’ve had in ages. I’ve been trying for years to recreate the pork steaks we used to get from a local butcher shop in my home town and keep failing, but I think I finally discovered their secret; it’s all in the brine. Plus, the brine takes about 2 minutes to throw together, then you go about your day until it’s time for the spice rub. I found that the 30 minutes the spice rub sits on the meat was the perfect amount of time to start the corn on the cob cooking and to throw together a salad, which meant that dinner took about 37 minutes to make, including the time it took to put the brine and the spice rub together. Not bad for a meal that my 4 year old was begging to have again two bites in.This recipe was read over the phone to me from my sister’s Fine Cooking Grilling magazine, so the instructions may not be exactly what they have, but the ingredients are the same and this is what I did, so it should work for you. Happy BBQ Season!

3-4 lbs pork chops or steaks (I used shoulder steaks)

Brine

1/4 cup each Kosher salt and dark brown sugar (if you don’t have kosher salt I would use about 2/3 of the amount indicated)

1 Tbsp molasses

1 cup ice

3 1/2 cups water

Stir together all brine ingredients except ice in a large bowl, mixing until dissolved, then add pork and ice. Put a plate on top to sink the pork into the brine and leave covered for 2-3 hours (no more than 3 for thick cut chops and no more than 2 for thin cut).

Transfer pork to paper towels to dry and mix up your spice rub.

Spice Rub

1/4 cup smoked paprika

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub generously all over pork and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat grill to high. Scrape off excess spice rub then sear meat on grill. Turn to medium high and grill 3-5 minutes per side until just barely pink in the centre. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

Ky

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Venezuelan Pork Tenderloin with Passionfruit and Pink Peppercorns April 26, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pork — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:49 am
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Pink Pork TenderloinThis was the only evidence left of this meal to photograph.  I can’t get enough of pork tenderloin – easy and quick to cook and always delicious, I am eager to add new pork tenderloin recipes to my regular rotation. This is now one of them!

The recipe comes directly from Gran Cocina Latina. The author was inspired by a Venezuelan chef who picks the pink peppercorns that grow wild around Caracas and mixes them with passion fruit juice to make a rich and buttery marinade for pork. I served the pork and juices over Israeli couscous with a salad on the side, which I would certainly do again. Rice or roasted baby potatoes (sweet potatoes, even) would also make a nice side – you just need something to soak up the extra juices.

Enjoy!
Katie

serves 6-8 (I used a 1 1/2 pound tenderloin and cut all the ingredients in half, which gave us 4 servings)

3 1/2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin
2 T pink peppercorns, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup passion fruit juice
3 T dark brown sugar (or panela, if you have it)
1/4 cup dark rum
3 T soy sauce
3 T honey
3 T worcestershire
5 allspice berries, freshly ground in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
1 T dried rosemary
salt
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
optional: rosemary sprigs for garnish

Pat the meat dry and place in a roasting pan. In a food processor, combine the peppercorns with everything but the butter and rosemary sprigs – process to a puree. You will have about 1 1/4 cups. Rub 1/2 cup of the mixture on the pork, reserving the rest. Let the meat sit for at least 4 hours at room temperature (or in the fridge, if you’re nervous).

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roast the pork on the centre rack for 2 1/2 hours (far less if you’re doing a smaller tenderloin – maybe 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a 1.5lb tenderloin), or until a thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 160F. Transfer the meat to a cutting board.

Place the pan over 2 burners on low heat and deglaze with the reserved peppercorn mixture. Bring to a bare simmer, then add the butter and swirl it into the sauce.

Slice the tenderloin into 1/4 inch thick rounds and serve garnished with pink peppercorns, rosemary sprigs and the sauce either on the side for pouring or drizzled over top.

 

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange April 14, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:45 am
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Pasta is the ultimate treat-night meal to me. I gravitate to pastas that use simple ingredients and are light on the sauce, but big on flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I like a big bowl of saucy spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but I most often seek out recipes that come together quickly and rely on one or two key ingredients to make the meal sing.

I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a couple years ago, bookmarked it, and finally made it last night. It sounds a bit unusual – the two key flavours are orange and prosciutto – but fear not, the result is a salty and ever-so-sweet pasta that tastes interesting rather than unusual.

My tips are this: (1) Go to your nearest Italian market and buy a great quality, egg based tagliatelle. It doesn’t need to be expensive – mine was $2. (2) Find a super ripe, fragrant orange. (3) You want to serve this as soon as it’s ready. Once you get to the last step, call your husband/wife/kids/guests to plant around the table and fill their plates the minute the pasta is done.

Did I mention this is really easy? There’s hardly any chopping, the sauce only cooks for about 5 minutes and all the ingredients are easily sourced. You can have dinner on the table in the time it takes to boil your pasta. Hope you love it!

Katie

serves 4

12 oz egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (fresh or dry will work, just get a great quality pasta)
2 T butter
2 oz prosciutto OR 3 stips of bacon, sliced/torn into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, add pasta and cook until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto/bacon; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
To the saute pan, add half the reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest and cream; bring to a boil. (Now it’s time to get everyone gathered around the table.) Add pasta and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the pasta and the pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, stir in cheese and taste – add more salt and pepper as desired. You can add more pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Divide among warm bowls and sprinkle with remaining orange zest.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Orange

close up

 

Dark Chocolate and Brandy Pots de Creme April 7, 2013

pot de creme This is your fast track to a rich, silky dessert tonight. It took me all of about 5 minutes to whip these up.

Pots de creme are a custard of sorts, traditionally composed of eggs and cream, then baked in a water bath.  This recipe ditches the cream and opts for hot coffee, which you blend with the chocolate and eggs. The heat from the coffee thickens the eggs, giving you the same result you would get whisking the eggs and cream over heat. Did that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that this is even less work than a traditional pot de creme and the result is still silky smooth deliciousness.

I grabbed the recipe from Pioneer Woman, where you can find step by step photos of the process. I adapted the recipe to suit my preferences – more booze, brandy instead of Grand Marnier, a little more salt and a smaller batch (because it’s dangerous for me to have 12 of these sitting in the fridge). I hope you love them!

Katie

makes 6 reasonable sized servings or 4 indulgent ones

6 oz good dark chocolate (I used Lindt), chopped
2 whole eggs
1 T Brandy (or Grand Marnier or whatever you feel like), possibly more to taste
generous pinch salt
1/2 cup HOT strong coffee
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
optional: candied orange peel or thinly sliced fresh orange peel, for serving

Place the chocolate in your blender. Crack in the eggs, then pour in the Brandy and salt. Blend for a few seconds until the chocolate is busted up and everything is thoroughly mixed.

With the blender running, slowly pour your super hot coffee in a thin stream through the blender lid until it’s all added. Blend another few seconds until smooth. Taste and add more Brandy or salt if desired.

Pour mixture into small cups or jars. Throw them in the fridge until set – it will take about 2 hours. You can easily make these ahead and keep them in the fridge for a day or two.

Top with a big dollop of whipped cream and garnish with sliced orange peel. Dig in!

Tip: I like making these in jars so that I can easily screw on a lid and store them for a few days. Even the whipping cream will stay fresh stored like this for 2 days.

20130402_08510420130402_085043

 

Smoky Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwich April 4, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Sandwiches,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:37 pm
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Eggplant SandwichI have so many new recipes to post! I will try to get them all on here, but today you’re getting a sandwich. It’s simple, it’s vegetarian, it’s packed with fresh herbs, it’s healthy, it’s satisfying….and it’s a fantastic way to use up your pickled beets before the next crop is ready to be pickled! I used golden beets and brioche burger buns – any variety of pickled beet will work and you just need to find a bun or sandwich bread that is soft (a chewy crust would not be ideal here). Potato buns, focaccia, brioche and soft dinner rolls would work well. I also used a tahini sauce in place of the garlic mayo….it worked, but I think the mayo would be better. If you’re mayo adverse, a tapenade with extra garlic would be really nice.

Enjoy!
Katie

makes 4 hearty sandwiches, barely adapted from Bon Appetit

Eggplant and Mayo:

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1-2 T  olive oil
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 t Sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then spread 1 T oil right onto the foil covered pan. Place eggplant slices on the pan in a single layed and rub the top side of each slice with a little extra oil (or spray with Pam). Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Do ahead: the eggplant and mayo can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.

Beet Salad and Assembly:

6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), chopped
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
1/4 cup chopped olives
2 T capers, drained
1/2 T olive oil
4 buns or 8 slices bread
6 ounces feta, thinly sliced

Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
Spread cut sides of bread with garlic mayo (or tapenade). Top one slice of bread with eggplant, feta, beet salad and a second slice of bread.

 

Mulligatawny: The All Season Soup April 2, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:03 am
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MulligatawnyThis has quickly become one of my favourite soups to make. It comes together quickly, it easily adapts to make use of ingredients you have on hand and it makes for a thoroughly satisfying meal every time you make it. I don’t think I have made this the same way twice – I adjust the recipe to accommodate my cravings and my pantry. I have used chicken-apple sausage in place of the rotisserie chicken, potatoes in place of the chickpeas, light coconut milk in place of regular…this time around I was craving a big bowl of veggies, so I packed it full of carrots and kale along with a small handful of leftover tandoori chicken pieces. As usual, the flavour was rich, tart, spicy, nutty and exactly what I was craving.

The recipe comes from Spilling the Beans, but I pulled it from Dinner with Julie. The recipe below is the original, but I have noted possible substitutions. I think the key elements to keep intact are the chicken broth, coconut milk, tart apples and peanuts. You can easily use different cuts of chicken, add extra vegetables and substituted beans for the meat. I don’t know how well this would work as a vegetarian soup – it works well to leave out the chicken, but I don’t know if a vegetable broth would hold up well to the richness of the coconut milk and the spices. It’s worth a shot, but the recipe is definitely meant to be chicken-centric.

I hope you love it as much as I do.
Katie

serves 6

1 small roasted or rotisserie chicken (sub: chicken sausage removed from casing OR nearly any type of chicken (cooked or raw) + 4-6 cups chicken broth)
1 onion
coconut or olive oil, for cooking
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T curry paste (I use Patak’s Madras paste)
1 t cumin (I like to use whole cumin, but ground will work)
1-2 cups cooked chickpeas (up to a full can, rinsed and drained) (sub: 1 potato, chopped)
1 t salt
1 14 oz can coconut milk (light or regular will both work)
1 tart apple (such as granny Smith or pink lady), finely chopped

steamed rice, for serving
chopped cilantro and chopped salted peanuts, for garnish

1. Pull the meat off the roasted chicken and put the carcass and bones into a saucepan. Set the meat aside and just barely cover the carcass with water. Peel the onion and add the outer layers of skin to the pan (at this point, you can throw in any veggie scraps you need to use up. Carrot ends, celery trimmings and fresh herbs all work well). Bring to a simmer and cook for at least half an hour. Strain into a bowl or pot and set aside. You should have 4-6 cups of stock.

2. Put your rice on, cook and let sit covered until the soup is done.

3. Meanwhile, chop the onion and sauté it in a drizzle of oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the curry paste, cumin and chickpeas and cook for another minute or two. If you are using raw chicken, add it now and saute until nearly cooked through. For chicken sausage, you should break it up as it cooks. For raw chicken pieces, you should have them cut into bite sized chunks before adding them.

4. Add the chicken stock, salt and cooked chicken (if you are using cooked pieces rather than raw); bring to a simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, then add the coconut milk and apple and heat through.

To serve, put a scoop of rice into each bowl and ladle the soup overtop. Sprinkle with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

 

Fresh Spring Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce March 7, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers,Mains,Quick and easy,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:34 pm
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My weeknight meal requirement checklist looks something like this: healthy, delicious, packed with veggies, quick to throw together, cheap enough to make often. I give bonous points to recipes that are vegetarian or feel super treaty. For me, this meal checks off all the requirements while getting bonous points for being both meat-free AND treaty.

I have made these spring rolls in the past, but I’ve always treated them as a side dish and I was never crazy about the idea of packing them full of noodles. This time, I left out the noodles, loaded them with my favourite carrots and cukes from the farmer’s market and served them with what is now my go-to peanut sauce. (Seriously, the sauce is incredible. At first bite, I thought it was okay. As I continued to eat, I fell more and more in love with it. The red curry paste gives it a nice warmth while the toasted peanuts and caramelized sugar make it rich and complex. I want to eat some right now…) The result is a light and crunchy spring roll with a rich, filling, addictive dip.

Four to five rolls make a large and satisfying meal, or you could serve these as an appetizer with this tasty treat and trick your family into thinking you ordered take out. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Spring Rolls Close UpFresh Spring RollsPeanut Sauce, adapted from Fine Cooking:
yeilds 1.5 cups, or roughly 6 servings

1 T peanut oil
1 T Thai red curry paste (this is where all the heat comes from, so be aware of how spicy your paste is)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, finely ground in a food processor
2 T packed light brown sugar (palm sugar could be used here, but go with the granulated variety, not the solid variety)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T hoisin sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, minced

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the peanuts and stir until they’re just a shade darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to stir and cook until melted and lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, hoisin and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1-1/2 cups. This will take roughly 45 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and cool to room temperature.

Fresh Spring Rolls:
yeilds 10 medium spring rolls

4-5 small cucumbers, julienne
4-5 medium carrots, julienne
1/2 an avodaco, sliced
handful fresh basil
10 rice paper wrappers
green or red leaf lettuce (optional)
bean sprouts (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
shredded chicken or pork (optional)

Get a wide, shallow bowl filled halfway with warm water. Setup a work space with a cutting board,   all your prepped ingredients, the bowl of water, a plate to hold the spring rolls and a damp paper towel to cover the finished spring rolls.

Dip one rice paper in the water for 15-30 seconds until soft and pliable, then place it on your cutting board. On the top 1/3 of the wrapper, place carrots and cucumber (about 1/4 cup total), then add a slice of avocado, a big basil leaf and any other ingredients you are using. Tuck the top of the wrapper tightly over the filling, then roll away, folding in the sides about halfway. (For more thorough instructions, look here.) Place the finished spring roll on your plate and cover with the damp paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers.

Serve 5 rolls with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Dip and enjoy!
Katie