Monday, April 21, 2014

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

The last time I made this dish was a couple Thanksgivings ago. When my family drove six hours to spend Thanksgiving at my little apartment, I decided to do something different. We generally don't eat a lot so we always have so many leftovers when we cook a turkey that we don't even finish later in the week. I thought I could find just a breast but everybody likes the dark meat anyway. I went for pork. I know we are not even close to Thanksgiving right now so why am I sharing this dish? I wanted to eat pork this week and was looking for recipes when I rediscovered this one so I made it again for dinner.

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

This is a super easy dish that you don't have to save for a special occasion. You can make it on a weekday. It yields a juicy, not-at-all dry piece of pork and yummy apples to go with it. I guess I'm a fan of pork with fruit if you recall the Pork Chops with Whiskied Pears and Thyme that I cooked for Christmas one year.

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

The recipe says that you can also puree the apples and onions for a gravy-type sauce, but I've always just left them as I like eating the chunks. The Fuji apples I used for this recipe were cooked to a perfect level of sweetness. And since I got a Dutch oven this past Christmas, I had the perfect pot that the pork loin could fit into. It was a small but long piece so it disappeared quick. (As you can tell, I piled up my dish quite a bit.) It's an easy dish for a potluck - give it a try!

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

Roast Pork Loin with Apples
From Jul's Kitchen

Boneless pork loin, with some trace of fat, about 600 to 700 g
Sea ​​salt
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic
3 apples
1 white onion
1/ 2 cup of white wine

Tie the pork loin with a twine (I skipped this step as my pork loin was one big piece and did not need to be held together). Rub the meat with sea salt and ground black pepper to flavour the pork.

Put a few tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter on the bottom of a cast iron skillet (I used a Dutch oven) and let melt the butter over high heat. Add two cloves of crushed garlic.

Place the pork loin into the hot olive oil and let it brown on each side, turning the meat with two wooden spoons as soon as it gets golden brown. You are going to use wooden spoons or spatulas not to prick your beautiful piece of pork: you want the meat to be completely sealed by the heath of the olive oil on the outside and all the juices to be kept inside, to have a tasty and juicy roast! It will take about 10 minutes.

Pour in half a glass of white wine over the pork loin and let almost all the wine evaporate. Now reduce the heat and add the peeled apples and onions, all cut into wedges. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the apples and the onion with the olive oil and cover the pot with a lid, then cook the meat over medium heat for about 25 up to 30 minutes, checking it occasionally.

Remove the meat from the cast iron pot, wrap it with aluminum foil and let it rest.

In the meantime, turn up the heat under the pan with the apples and cook for 5 minutes over high heat to reduce the sauce: you can serve the meat, cut into thin slices, with the apples and the onions just as they are out of the pot, caramelized and soft, or you can purée them to dress the meat with a creamy and sweet gravy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Red Curry Chicken

On a weeknight, something easy is the way to go for me. I rely on curries a lot because they're super easy to make and, served alongside rice, they're super filling! I can't make my own curry sauces so I like to buy the Golden Curry cubes and Thai Kitchen's red curry sauce. I grew up on Golden Curry cubes, but red curry is new to me and I love it. Coconut milk is so delicious in this curry -- I really could eat this all the time.

Red Curry Chicken

I used different vegetables than what the original recipe used, so you can put in whatever you like. Instead of bok choy, snow peas, and sweet potatoes, I used regular potatoes, sweet onions, and carrots. Brown rice might be better for you, but white rice is a must for me when it comes to a dish with a wonderful sauce.

Once it's a good time to get fresh mussels, I will have to post a recipe for Red Curry Steamed Mussels. It is amazing and the leftover sauce is good to just eat with rice once all the mussels are in your belly.

Always keep this red curry paste in stock. You'll find yourself making this often.

Red Curry Chicken
From Eat, Live, Run 

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp coconut oil [I used vegetable oil]
3 cups coconut milk, light or regular [Definitely go regular!]
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp red curry paste
2 baby bok choy, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1″ knob ginger, grated
1 cup chopped snow peas
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. When hot, add the ginger and saute until fragrant — 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and sear until not quite cooked through. Then, add the curry paste. Mix the ginger, chicken and curry paste together and continue to saute over high heat for another two minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk and water, then add in the vegetables. Bring curry to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Stir in the fish sauce, salt, lime juice and sugar. Continue simmering over medium/low heat until veggies are soft. This will take about 10 minutes.

Serve curry over rice or quinoa!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Cream cheese in cookies is totally normal. Cheddar cheese in the crust of apple pies is not unheard of. Any more cheeses we can add to sweet things?

Yes! Ricotta Cookies are actually pretty common, but I had not heard of them. I associate ricotta only with pasta dishes so it took me a while simply to get used to the idea of ricotta in the cookies. I'm so glad I finally decided to make them. First off, I can't resist anything lemon so I knew I would like these somewhat. Since it is not an overwhelming cheese anyway, the cookies have only a very slight taste of ricotta. Second, the texture is the best part. The ricotta makes them oh-so cake-y and, boy, are they hard to resist. Third, did I mention the lemon?

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

The cookies themselves are not sweet, so I would not skip out on the glaze. Next time, I might double the lemon zest added to the cookie batter as it wasn't enough for me. The only problem I had is storage. They are great the day of and taste great days after as well, but a day after storing them in an airtight container, they were very moist. Anyone who have made these cookies before have a solution? Just wondering, but really, at least the taste is not affected.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
From Picky Cook

For the cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 large lemons, zested

For the glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 large lemons, zested

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle the glaze onto the cookies. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Brownie Truffles

I share a recipe today that is great for this weekend's special holiday, Valentine's Day. This weekend was great because I got Thursday and Friday off school thanks to the snowstorm, but I'm sure many people are not happy with the snow. Did the snow put a delay on your flower deliveries? Did the snow stop you from leaving the house, therefore ruining your dinner plans? Use this weekend to make it up to your lady friend and surprise her with these. She'll love you for it (even though her hips might not).

Brownie Truffles

These are really easy to make so it's okay if these truffles disappear in 2 seconds since you didn't slave over them all day (okay -- maybe okay not for your waistlines). They are really addictive and easy to grab three or four pieces before realizing how many you've downed! But they just melt in your mouth no matter what temperature you leave them in. I've tried them warm and the truffle melts the second you close your mouth. I've tried them cold and after a few bites, they too have melted. Mine did not cut very cleanly but my stomach surely doesn't care about that... ;)

Brownie Truffles
From Gourmet Persuasion

3.5 oz Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% Cacao bar, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
3 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp (10g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat up milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and bring to a slow boil. Turn off the heat.

Dissolve dark chocolate in the saucepan by stirring constantly. Stir in butter until melted. Add egg, sea salt, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture and stir. Add flour and stir until all the flour is gone and the final mixture is visually smooth and even.

Pour the mixture into a 5″ x 9″ buttered baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

When done baking, let the brownie truffle cool down and refrigerate it overnight.

Cut the truffle into small squares (0.5″ x 0.5″) and coat them with cocoa powder. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

Back in December, when I got really obsessed with sewing, I decided to make oven mitts for my carpool buddies. But just an oven mitt seemed meh to me, so I thought a jar of cookie mix would be a good addition. A use for the new oven mitt!

Homemade Oven Mitt

I didn't get a chance to make the cookies before gifting them as I ran out of weekends so I finally gave it a try two weekends ago. But they ended up like this:

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

They may not look bad but I was disappointed with the way they turned out. They tasted alright, but they didn't stay together very well. I even tried chilling the dough and it didn't help much. I also thought there was too much white chocolate (not a fan anyway) and not enough blueberries or oatmeal. So this past weekend, I made them again but the right way -- creaming the butter and the sugar first, then adding the eggs, then the dry ingredients. Since everything was mixed together in the jar, those important steps could not have been followed the right way leading to not so great cookies. I wish I had made these before gifting and realized the fault in this cookie mix in a jar but at least they still tasted okay. With the changes though, they are fantastic or "bangin'" as one of my students exclaimed. It's basically a twist on an old classic, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Doesn't this batch look much better??

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

I know they sell dried fruit of every kind but I just never thought of anything outside of raisins or cranberries. So when I saw that my WalMart had dried blueberries, I knew I had to try them. They may be delicious little morsels, but unfortunately, they are actually a little pricey. With two packages in one batch, I probably won't be making these cookies that often but maybe as a special treat once in a while.

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies
Forgot to bookmark the source -- will when found again!

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add in eggs one at a time, combining well after each. Add vanilla extract and combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix! Fold in the oatmeal, white chocolate chips, and dried blueberries until just combined.

On a lined baking sheet, drop dough by tablespoons 2 inches apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet until set, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!