Monday, July 30, 2007

Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Rub & Raspberry Glaze

I don't really care for pork, so it doesn't make its way onto our table very often. Mike likes pork chops though, so when I find a recipe that I think I might like too, I usually give it a try. Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Rub and Raspberry Glaze is in the August issue of Cooking Light. It's a simple recipe that doesn't have a long list of ingredients, so it's pretty quick to the table. The ancho chile powder, which is made from dried poblano peppers, gives a little heat but is cut by the sweetness of the preserves. I served these with a side of smashed red potatoes. Mike thinks the recipe is a keeper & I agree. Most larger grocery stores now carry ancho chili powder, but if yours doesn't, you can order it online or substitute your regular chili powder.

Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Rub and Raspberry Glaze
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
Cooking spray
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Rub spice mixture evenly over pork. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan, and keep warm.

Add broth to pan, and cook for 30 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to medium-high. Add preserves to pan; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Brush pork with glaze.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Potato Salad

I'm a big fan of Ina Garten, better known as The Barefoot Contessa. I love watching her show & I'm lucky enough to have all of her cookbooks. Mike is not such a fan & hates that she always thinks she needs to remind you to use "good" ingredients. I was surprised when he suggested we try the potato salad recipe she had made on a recent episode. He fixed it for our family's 4th of July celebration & it was a big hit. The potatoes are tender but not at all mushy, & the celery & onion add just the right amount of crunch. We made a batch this evening to take to a family dinner at my mom's house tomorrow. It's a simple recipe & it's even better the 2nd or 3rd day. The addition of a few hard-boiled eggs would be delicious.

I love being in the kitchen with Mike. We have a lot of fun cooking together & I adore the intense look he gets in his eyes while following a recipe. There's a feeling of contentment in the air & it's always nice just being together. We're moving into a new house soon & the kitchen is fantastic. And although I'm very sad to be leaving our current kitchen behind (it's where I cooked my first turkey), I know we'll make wonderful memories in our new one.

Copyright, 2006, Ina Garten

3 pounds small white potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

*We left out the dill.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

Our store had some beautiful raspberries this past weekend. Looking at them, I rememberd a recipe for Lemon-Raspberry Muffins I'd looked over in the latest issue of Eating Well & decided to give it a try for our Sunday breakfast. The only problem I had with the recipe came when it was time to fold the berries in. The batter is very thick, more so than other muffin recipes, & it was pretty near impossible to fold the berries in without crushing more than a few, which causes the batter to turn a purple-ish color. The end result is a moist & tasty muffin that is not overwhelmingly sweet. I sprinkled a little sugar on the tops during the last 5 minutes of baking for a little added crunch.

The next time I get some fresh berries, I'm going to try this recipe from Cucina Bella for raspberry white chocolate muffins.

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins
1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
3. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
4. Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Another Man's Dog Food... another person's dinner. Mike & I went to a beautiful outdoor wedding Friday evening. On our way home, we stopped by the store to pick up a few things. As I was looking over the meat case to see what I wanted to use for the kabobs I was planning for Sunday, an older gentleman held a packge of beef out to me, looked at it in disgust & pronounced it to be "dog food". After he moved on, I picked the package up & noticed it was labeled beef tenderloin. Cut into pieces and just a little under one pound, I snatched it up. At $14.99 per pound, it is an expensive cut of meat, but by using it for kabobs, you don't need as much per person.

Kabobs are a great way to get creative. You can really use just about anything. I did some with peppers & onions & a few with mushrooms & onions. I also did a few of only zuchinni & squash. I served these with roasted red potatoes, but next time will do some type of rice (saffron rice would be great).

3/4 pound beef tenderloin cut into 1" pieces
assorted vegetables cut into 1" chunks
cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water or Red wine
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

Soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together seasoning ingredients; add beef & veggies, tossing to coat. Alternately thread pieces of beef & veggies onto skewers, ending each with a cherry tomato. Place on preheated grill pan. Grill 5-7 minutes on each side or until at desired doneness.

Pizza & CHiPs

When we were kids, every Saturday night we watched Ponch & John keep the California highways safe. And thanks to the first season of CHiPs being available on DVD, much to Mike's delight, we can watch those same episodes again and again. That's what we decided to do Saturday evening & pizza seemed like the perfect meal.

We had planned to fix our pie on grill, but ended up cooking it inside instead. We mixed up a quick dough in the KitchenAid, let it rise & threw on some toppings - tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, peppers, onions & mushrooms. The end result was beautiful & tasty, not to mention cheaper than ordering pizza out. I added a little more salt than the recipe calls for. The next time we're going to try adding some Italian seasonings for a more flavorful crust.

KitchenAid Crusty Pizza Dough
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 c. flour
Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remianing flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. Brush 14 inch pizza pan with oil. Press dough across bottom of pan. Top with desired toppings & bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.