Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Apple Slaw

This post is another one from my other blog's archive that I thought needed to find its way on this blog just so that I can start keeping all my food stuff together. The recipe is from Food Network's website, which I visited in order to find some inspiration on what to do with the food I had at hand. I found this great recipe for pork chops by Ellie Krieger, so I went with it. My husband said that he enjoyed the vegetables just as much as he enjoyed the pork. I accompanied it with a bit of garlic infused jasmine rice. The following are some progress shots I took while preparing the food as well as a final result shot. I can sincerely say it was delicious and not complicated at all.

The pork chops after a little searing

The sauteed apple, sage and onion mixture

The mixture after the cabbage, vinegar and carrots were added

The Final Result
Tomorrow I am trying out a cupcake recipe I found on one of my favorite blogs Bake, Robot! so that I can get myself going again.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Roast Chicken with Couscous

Today has been a wet dreary day which made me think that a nice roast chicken stuffed with something nice and aromatic might just be the thing to make for diner. What else could be better to compliment the roast chicken, than couscous infused with the juices left over form the roast chicken. Here is the recipe:

1 Whole Chicken (cleaned)
2TBSP Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Mild Yellow Curry

Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and curry in a wide deep bowl and whisk together. Place your chicken in the bowl and coat it in this mixture. Set aside.

For the cooking base:

1 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 Red Pepper (finely chopped)
2 Shallots - medium (thinly sliced)

In a dutch oven heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the red pepper and shallots and saute until the shallots start caramelizing. 

For the aromatic stuffing:

2 Green onions (sliced lengthwise)
3 Sprigs of Cilantro
4 cloves of garlic (smashed)

Stuff your chicken with these and place it in the dutch oven with the caramelized shallots and red pepper. 

Add to this 3 cups of water and one large carrot (cut in thick slices about 1/4 inch thick). Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for about 1hr, checking in about every 20 minutes or so to baste. 

Remove dutch oven from oven and check to make sure chicken is cooked through. Uncover and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the skin to brown.

Remove the chicken from the dutch oven and place on a baking dish to allow to rest. 

For the couscous:

At this point there should be about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of rendered juices left in your dutch oven (if it is less than this add some more water and heat up a bit, checking to make sure that the flavor of the juices is right for your palate). 

On the stove top heat the rendered juices to a boiling point and then turn off the burner.

If this is your first time making couscous all you have to know is that the ratio of liquid to couscous is 1 to 1. Add the amount of couscous corresponding to the amount of liquid you have in your dutch oven. Cover the dutch oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb all the tasty fluids.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve along with your favorite chicken parts. Enjoy :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Carrot & Ginger Scones

Yeah I have been on a scone kick lately. This is a bit of a variation on my cranberry date scones, posted about three days ago. This recipe uses a little more flour to offset the moistness added by the carrots. Anywhoo here is the recipe:

Carrot & Ginger Scones  (Yields about 12-14)

For the chunky ginger simple syrup:

1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of water
2 TBSP Ginger (diced into little tiny pieces)

Put the water in a small sauce pan and heat it to a boil. Take off burner and add the sugar to make simple syrup. Add the ginger and put your sauce pan back on the burner this time at a low heat for about 20 minutes, allowing the ginger to infuse the simple syrup. Stir frequently. Raise the heat slightly so that the syrup bubbles a bit stirring frequently so that the sugar will not caramelize, until the syrup reduces by about 1/4. The goal is to make a thick clear ginger syrup with ginger bits to add to the scone mix. 

For the scones:

12 TBSP Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 1/2 Cups of flour

1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
Chunky ginger simple syrup
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Milk
1/2 Grated Carrots

Preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and set aside. Put your butter in a mixer and beat until softened and creamy. Start adding in half of the flour mixture a little at a time to allow the flour to incorporate into the butter. Add the ginger simple syrup. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture adding little by little alternating with the milk and the eggs. Add the grated carrots. 

Scoop the dough into baking cups either closely clustered together on a baking dish (if you want to give them a rustic look) or in a cupcake pan (if you like your baked goods to look perfect). Fill the baking cups half way to allow room for the scone to rise. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the outside of the scones is a golden brown checking with a toothpick to make sure the inside is cooked through.

Serve drizzled with honey or with your favorite jams, butter or whipped cream and a nice cup of coffee or tea. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did making and eating them. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Easy Cilantro Infused Chicken

Here is a nice easy recipe for those days when you just want to have as little fuss as possible. It is not just easy it is also very tasty. Anyway here you go:

4 Large chicken legs (Either whole or with thighs separate from drumsticks)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
3 Large Garlic Cloves (minced)
3 TBSP Cilantro leaves (chopped)
2 tsp Mild Yellow Curry
3/4 C Water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the olive oil, garlic and cilantro in an oven dish and mix together. Add the chicken and coat in the mixture. Place the chicken pieces with  the skin side facing up. Sprinkle the chicken with the curry, salt and pepper. Add the water, cover and put in the oven.

Cook Chicken for about 25-30 minutes (until well cooked through) allowing the chicken to simmer in the cilantro mixture.

Uncover and baste the chicken with the liquid in the baking dish, and cover again for another 10 minutes.

Change your oven form baking to broiler setting. Take out the oven dish and uncover, basting the chicken again and place back in the oven for an additional 5- 10 minutes to allow the skin to brown and crisp to desired point.

Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Amateurs' Pork Fried Rice

I did not cook today because there were just too many great leftovers in the fridge. However I would like to share with you the recipe for my very amateurish but still delicious home made Pork Fried Rice. This recipe will give you 4 to 5 heaping servings.

2 Cups uncooked white/jasmine rice (prepare separately before hand)
2 large boneless Pork Chops - chopped into 1/2" cubes
4 cloves of garlic - crushed
4 green onions - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
1 large carrot - shredded
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
3 Tbsp of butter
3-4 Tbsp Soy sauce

Prepare the rice separately and start preparing other ingredients while it is cooking. In a wok or deep pan heat the olive oil at medium high heat and add the garlic, green onions and red pepper. Saute the ingredients for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the carrot and saute for 1 more minute. Add the pork chop cubes and saute until they are cooked through. Lower heat to a medium low.
Slightly beat the 3 eggs. In a frying pan heat 1 TBSP of the butter until it is melted and add the eggs. once they are cooked through to a firm point, take off the heat and put on a cutting board chopping into small chunks. Add them to the pan with the pork and vegetables and mix them in making sure to break up any large lumps. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Add the soy sauce and mix well.
Viola! you have made home made fried rice.
Enjoy :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fluffy Cranberry & Date Scones

Today I had the great pleasure of having gone of my very good friends over for a long overdue visit. She is a wonderful British lady with a fantastic sense of humor and a great outlook in life. She also knows how to perfectly pair alcoholic libations with pretty much anything, which is one of the many reasons I thinks she is the bees knees. Seeing that she was coming by for the afternoon I decided to make another batch of my date tortellini (see post from two days ago), but I had also promised her we would have some other sweet treat. I was a little stomped until I had a sort of moment of clarity and though "hey maybe you should make some scones too". So without further delay here is the recipe I concocted today:

Cranberry Date Scones (Yields about 12-14)

12 TBSP Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 Cups of flour
3 TBSP Sugar
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Milk
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Diced Dates

Preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and set aside. Put your butter in a mixer and beat until softened and creamy. Start adding in half of the flour mixture a little at a time to allow the flour to incorporate into the butter. Add the eggs and the remaining half of the flour mixture adding little by little alternating with the milk. Add the cranberries and the dates. 

This dough will be a little looser than your typical scone dough but the end result will be a nice fluffy scone. In order to bake these babies properly I suggest putting them in baking cups either closely clustered together on a baking dish (if you want to give them a rustic look) or in a cupcake pan (if you like your baked goods to look perfect). Fill the baking cups half way to allow room for the scone to rise. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the outside of the scones is a golden brown checking with a toothpick to make sure the inside is cooked through. 

Allow to cool slightly and serve with your favorite jams and butter or clotted cream if available. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where's the beef?

Why in my stew, of course. Have I mentioned how much I love my dutch oven? This has been my best stew to date. Not to toot my own horn, but hey why be modest TOOOOT TOOOT!!!! Here is the recipe (serves 4):

1 1/2 Pounds lean beef round (cut in bite size cubes)
4 Cloves of Garlic (minced/crushed)
4 Shallots (thinly sliced)
1 large celery stalk (thinly sliced)
3 Cups of water
4 Medium sized carrots (sliced)
5-6 Yellow fleshed Petite Idaho potatoes (cut into quarters)
2 tsp mild yellow curry
3 Medium to large bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste.

In either a medium sized dutch oven or stew pot, heat 1-2 TBSP of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic, shallots and celery and saute until fragrant. Add the beef cubes, allowing the meat to brown. Add the water followed by the carrots, potatoes, curry, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and allow the ingredients to simmer for about 2 hours stirring every 20 minutes or so. Uncover for about 10 minutes at the end of cooking time to allow the juices to reduce and thicken a bit. Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Date, Ricotta and Parmesan Stuffed Pasta

 Pasta dough disks

Date, Ricotta & Parmesan Filling

Filling the pasta disks

Shaping the filled pasta disks

Pasta ready to go into its jacuzzi

The end result

 This is a recipe that I concocted to try to match a dish that my husband and I loved from MORE in Dubai. Their dish is called the celebration pasta, which I mentioned in my other blog. The dish consists of tri-colori tortellini filled with a date ricotta filling. Since I only knew the two main ingredients involved in the filling I winged it a bit. I also have never attempted making tortellini before so I apologize for the amateurish looking ones I made. Here is my adapted filling recipe as well as the link to the recipe I used to make the pasta for the tortellini:


1 Container of whole milk ricotta cheese - 15 oz (425g) 
15 to 20 large, plump dates
2 TBSP fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


If you have a food processor (I am jealous) put your ricotta in and add the dates pulsing to ensure the dates are integrating evenly into the cheese. Then add the remaining ingredients until they are well integrated. 

If you (like me) do not have a food processor, start by dicing your dates as small as possible. Place your ricotta in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the  diced dates and integrate them into the cheese as evenly as possible. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients into this mixture as evenly as possible.

Set filling aside and get your pasta ready.


After you make your dough separate a third of the dough, set the remainder aside and take the necessary precautions to ensure the rest  remains moist. Roll out your dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch thin or thinner if possible (the thinner the less time it will take for the pasta to cook through).

Once the dough is well rolled use a circular cookie cutter (about 3" diameter max recommended) to cut out as many dough disks as possible. Set disks aside ensuring that they remain moist by placing them in a container with a moist towel on top. 

Repeat the steps above with the dough set aside earlier.

Now it is time to fill your pasta. 

Place a small ball (about 1/3 the diameter of your pasta disk) in the center of the disk. Wet the edge of the pasta disk. Fold the disk pressing the edges of the disk firmly together starting at the top center and then doing one side at a time so that you will not trap air in the pocket where the filling was placed. 

Shape the pasta into the tortellini shape by pinching and folding the sides. 

Place the tortellinis on flat dishes or baking sheets in rows with some room between each piece so that they will not stick together.

The yield on the tortellini will probably be about 4 1/2 dozen

At this point you can either make your pasta or you can store it in your freezer in an air tight container for up to two weeks. 

When you do decide to use it I recommend a nice garlic butter sauce, and top it off with fresh grated Parmesan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More Comfort Food, Because I Am Worth It

Today I was really craving something that would lift my spirits. Nothing can lift spirits up like food that reminds you of childhood, and nothing reminds me of childhood more than red beans. I used to love when my mom made these for me. I get the feeling my daughter feels the same way when I make them for her. Perhaps this is becoming a tradition. Here is my recipe:

1 Bag Red Kidney Beans (aprox 1 lbs, cleaned and rinsed) (I highly recommend Goya)
4 Cups of water
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Large Cloves of Garlic (crushed or minced)
2 Green Onions (sliced thin)
1 large celery stalk (sliced thin) 
1 Plum/Roma tomato (De-seeded and diced)
1/2 Red Pepper (diced)

1 Large Carrot (grated)
2 Bone in Pork Chops
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put the red beans and 4 cups of water in a deep pot. Turn on burner on high heat and let the water reach a boil. Lower the heat and allow the beans to continue to simmer.

In a medium to large dutch oven add the oil, heat and add the garlic, onions, celery, tomatoes and red peppers and sweat them stirring frequently until the celery becomes translucent. Add the carrots and allow them to sweat and integrate into the other ingredients to form a nice thick base. 

Add the beans, pork chops, and about 1 more cup of water into the dutch oven with the vegetable base. Cook on high until everything is simmering. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium low and allow the ingredients to stew, stirring every 20 minutes or so until the beans are tender and the meat on the pork chops falls off the bone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oh Mother of Sweetness!!!

Crumbs bakery has done it again. Yup, they nearly killed me with an overdose of delicious, delivered via their cupcake of the month Chocolate Pecan Pie. If you are into the traditional southern pecan pie, you will also appreciate this adaptation. A delectable chocolate cupcake, with a rich chocolate ganache center topped off with a caramely, chocolatey, pecan drizzled cream cheese frosting. I almost fell into a sweet induced coma and was only brought back by their great coffee. I totally recommend this cupcake and the ensuing experience to anyone needing a little sweet lovin'.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Comfort Food Day: Lentils

 As the weather gets colder I find myself craving the type of comfort food that used to make me feel warm and fuzzy when I was a child. Of course I have adapted my old favorites, incorporating spices as my mood might dictate. One of those favorites is lentils, which I favor not just because they reek of childhood memories, but also because they are a great, no-fuzz nutritious meal. Here is my recipe:

2 1/2  Cups Green Lentils (cleaned and rinsed)
5 Cups of water
2 Large Boneless Pork Chops (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves (crushed/minced)
3 Green Onions (sliced thin)
1/2 Large Red Pepper (diced)
1 Large Carrot (grated)
2 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes (Cubed)
1 TBSP Mild Yellow Curry
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large pot add the lentils and water and cook on high heat until boiling. 
In the meantime start cooking the pork chop cubes in a large pan on medium high heat, stirring frequently  until they are golden brown on the outside and cooked through. Please (and I cannot emphasize this enough) make sure that your boneless pork chops have a nice fatty edge. This will be important as you cook the meat in order to render the fat to allow the meat to cook in its own fat. 

Remove the pork from the pan, making sure to leave behind whatever fat the meat has released. Add the pork to the pot with the water and lentils.

Add the olive oil onto the pan where the pork was cooked, followed by the garlic, green onions and red pepper. Saute these ingredients for about five minutes to allow them to sweat and release their aromas and flavors into the pan. Add the carrot and allow it to sweat for two minutes. Add this mixture to the pot of lentils, followed by the cubed potatoes, curry and salt and pepper.

Lower the heat to medium low and allow the lentils to cook and the flavors of the meat and vegetables to mingle. Cook until the lentils are soft. Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chicken Thighs in Coconut Curry cream

I know I have been posting a lot of Chicken recipes lately. It is partly due to having a restricted budget. It is mostly because I have also renewed my love for it because it just tastes so darn good and because it is so flexible and can be made with so many different sauces. Today I am sharing a very easy recipe because it is made with a few store bought pastes. Here are the ingredients and recipe:

Half a dozen medium to large chicken thighs (skin on is OK and preferable)
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Two large cloves of Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can of coconut milk
3 tsp Green Curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
4 tsp Roasted Red Chili Paste (Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tsp mild yellow curry powder (get this from your local indian/spice market)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger (sliced thin)
1 Blade of fresh lemongrass (sliced thin)
4 large Basil leaves
1/2 large red pepper (in thin slices)

Heat the olive oil in a large roasting pan or medium dutch oven add the garlic and chicken thighs and cook until the skin is a light brown color. Add the water, salt and pepper and cover the pan. Simmer on high heat for 20-25 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through and render its juices. 

Remove the chicken and the rendered juices from the pan leaving only about 2 Tablespoons of the rendered liquid in the pan. (At this point you can also remove the skin from the chicken if it had any on it) Set the Chicken aside while you make the creamy curry sauce.

Put the coconut milk in the roasting pan with the 2 TBSP of juices that were left in it and allow it to warm up on medium high heat. Slowly incorporate the green curry paste, roasted red chili paste and yellow curry into the coconut milk. Incorporating the ingredients slowly ensures that your sauce will be creamy and smooth by allowing you to break up any lumps that start forming (especially when you add the yellow curry powder). Bring to a simmer and add the ginger, lemon grass and basil and allow the flavors to seep in for 5 minutes.

Put the chicken thighs back in the pan and coat with the curry cream. Cover the pan and allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for about ten minutes. Add the red pepper slices and cover again for an additional five minutes.

Voila! your chicken is ready to serve with whatever accompaniments you feel like having. I usually like serving it over rice so that the rice can absorb any sauce that drips down from the chicken.