Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet and Sour Pork


I saw this recipe on my buddy, Paula's blog some time ago, and immeditately started bugging my husband to make it for me, he was happy to oblige! Her recipe was way too healthy, and he wanted it fried, so he found the recipe below and adapted it a bit, you actually fry the pork twice which makes it extra crispy.

This is better than anything you will get at a restaurant, I guarantee it!

3/4 pound pork tenderloin
2 - 3 teaspoons soy sauce
Pinch of cornstarch

Sauce:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water or reserved pineapple juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons water

Batter:

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup warm water, as needed

Other:

1 carrot
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
3 cups oil for deep-frying, or as needed

Preparation:
Directions for sweet and sour pork.
Cut the pork into 1-inch cubes. Marinate in the soy sauce and cornstarch for 20 minutes.

To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, ketchup, dark soy sauce, salt, water or juice and vinegar. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.

Peel the carrot and chop on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and cut into cubes.

Heat the oil for deep--frying to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the batter, combine the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the egg white and vegetable oil. Add as much of the warm water as is needed to form a thick batter that is neither too dry or too moist. (The batter should not be runny, but should drop off the back of a spoon).

Dip the marinated pork cubes in the batter. Deep-fry in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry the pork until it is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.(If desired you can deep-fry the pork at second time to make it extra crispy) (Make sure the oil is back up to 375 before you begin deep-frying again).

To prepare the sweet and sour sauce, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, green pepper, and pineapple. Bring to a boil again and thicken with cornstarch mixture, stirring.

Check the sauce one more time and adjust seasonings, adding salt and/or vinegar if desired.

Serve sauce hot over the pork and rice.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Potato, Leek and Chorizo Soup


I am so glad that winter is here, I am a soup making fool! I have made Potato, Leek and Bacon Soup as well as Potato, Leek and Cauliflower Soup previously, and wanted to make something different with one of my favorite ingredients, Leeks!

We shopped for our veggies last weekend at our local Farmers Market, and I purchased two huge and absolutely gorgeous leeks! I had some Chorizo and Potatoes at home, and decided to make soup!

The Chorizo gave the soup a gorgeous color and taste and the final product was quite delicious. I made cornbread, jalapeno, cheese muffins to go along with the soup and I had one satisfied husband!

3 medium or 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, ends removed and sliced thinly
1 12oz tube of Mexican Chorizo
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
10 cups of chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
3 medium russett potatoes, scrubbed and diced into cubes
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream or whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Franks Red Hot

Place your Chorizo in a large soup pot and cook until it essentially disintegrated, it will leak lots of red oil, remove what bits you can and set aside, pour out all but about 2 tbl of the oil

In the meantime, place your leeks into a bowl of cold water and swirl them around to remove the dirt, it will settle at the bottom of the bowl, remove and drain on a paper towel

Add your leeks and onion, and sweat them until they become limp and somewhat translucent

Add your chicken stock, and spices, bring to a boil, then add in your potatoes and cook until they are fork tender

Using a blender or an immersion blender, work the soup until it is smooth and creamy

Add your heavy whipping cream and Franks Red Hot (to taste), bring to a simmer and serve

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boneless Beef Ribs in the Crockpot


I spotted some beautiful looking boneless beef ribs at the grocery store and just had to buy them, I had visions of them cooking low and slow in my crockpot. They were tender, fall apart yummy after 8 hours or so, it was perfect for this rainy and dreary day.

My husband once told me that Pineapple has enzymes that help break down meat, so I had the bright idea to add fresh pineapple chunks to the braising liquid, it added flavor and helped the meat with tenderness factor. The braising liquid in fact was so good, my husband made me save it in the freezer for another time.

One other thing I think is very important for crockpot items or roasts, is to sear the meat on all sides prior to adding to your crockpot.

This a super easy recipe and they are very versatile as well, you could serve them with rice or mashed potatoes. I used some of the leftover braising liquid to make a nice pan gravy.

4-5 large boneless beef ribs
1 pint of beer (use a light Lager, we used Red Stripe)
1/2 to 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup of Fresh Pineapple chunks
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
Salt and Pepper

Bring your ribs to room temperature and blot them dry of any moisture, salt and pepper both sides

Sear the ribs using a very hot pan and a bit of oil, sear on all 4 sides of the rib

In the meantime place your thinly sliced onions on the bottom of your crock pot

Place your seared ribs on top of the onions and add your beer and enough barbecue sauce to cover the ribs

Add your pineapple chunks and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours, the longer the better

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Best Cinnamon Rolls, EVER!


I have been using the same Cinnamon Roll recipe for years and years. Hubby and I were watching an episode of Cooks Country and they made the most soft and gorgeous Cinnamon Rolls I have ever seen, I knew immediately that I would be making them that next weekend.

These are the best Cinnamon Rolls I have ever eaten and every single person who tried one said the same thing. This is now my "go to" recipe, I changed it a bit by adding Pecans.

Like any of the Cooks Country or Cooking Illustrated recipes they are very exacting and I suggest following the basic recipe to the letter for best results.

Mix the following together and set aside

3/4 cup milk at 110 degrees
1 package Instant Rise Yeast
3 eggs - beaten
4 1/4 cup A/P flour
1/2 cup Corn Starch (yes 1/2 a cup)
1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 tbl softened butter

Whisk the DRY ingredients above together and using the dough hook on your Kitchenaide Mixer start on low (or mix them in a bowl)

While it is mixing slowly add your wet ingredients, while the dough hook is working, slowly add in your softened butter one tbl at a time, letting it incorporate

Continue with the dough hook and the mixer on medium speed for 10 minutes, till the dough is soft and yellow

Remove from bowl and knead for a minute and roll into a round ball, place in a greased bowl covered for 1 hour or until doubled in size (this took two hours for me)

Make the filling

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tbl cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecans chopped
4 tbl softened butter (non salted)
Mix dry ingredients together

When dough is finished rising, gently push it down and transfer to a floured board

Using a rolling pin, roll it into a 18 inch square (measure it), the dough is really soft and almost hard to work with, but keep at it, it will work out.

Brush the butter all over the square dough

Sprinkle on the filling to within an inch of the edges, follow with the chopped pecans; press into the dough

Roll the dough up jelly roll style and pinch the seam shut down the entire length of the dough

Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices and place into a 9X12 pan lined with aluminum foil (this helps get them out), I had to use two of the 9X12 pans, have them touch ever so slightly and press down on the tops

Set in a warm place (covered), and let rise again till doubled, approx 1 hour

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, let cool for a bit and using spatula top with the cream cheese topping noted below!

Cream Cheese Topping

8 oz package cream cheese (this is more than in their recipe)
1 tbl milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
4 tbl butter

Mix until well incorporated, adding more milk if needed to make a nice consistency

Friday, January 1, 2010

Salmon En Croute


My husband loves to create new dishes and this one was especially yummy.

He will do about anything to get me to eat Fish. I am not a fan unless it is deep fried and breaded. He put this fairly simple yet very tasty dish together for me last night and served it with fruited coconut rice.

It is gorgeous enough to impress your boss, but comes together fairly quickly for a weeknight meal, and it was DELICIOUS!

I will let him tell ya bout it.

Skinless boneless salmon fillets -- make sure there's no dark patches on the skin side, trim if necessary

Phyllo dough

~ 2tablespoons major gray chutney thinned down with a teaspoon or two of water, heat slightly in the microwave just before plating

Mango sliced thinly
basil chifonnade (use your judgement for the amount)
spicy yellow curry powder
1/2 stick butter melted
about 2cups fresh spinach

Dry the salmon filets

Dust a bit of curry powder on the top of the salmon fillets

Place a layer of phylo dough on your counter, brush liberally with butter, repeat till you have 2 layers of phylo

place your mango slice down (towards the bottom)

place your fillet on top of the mango and a little bit of basil chiffonade

roll up the two layers and then prepare two more phylo layers (one sheet, butter then next sheet)

place the first salmon packet you made on the phylo, again mango side down, brush and roll, brush and roll

fold up bottom of phylo, bring in the sides and wrap up similar to a burrito and brushing dry sides with butter as you roll. Top and bottom should be thoroughly buttered

bake at 350 for 30 minutes until crispy brown

Meanwhile saute the spinach in butter with a dash of orange juice just until wilted. Plate the spinach and place fish on top of spinach and drizzle lightly with the Major Grey/water mix -- should be a nice drizzly syrup
Serve with fruited rice (white rice, fresh coconut, coconut milk, dates, orange pieces)

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