Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peach Pie the Dunkin Way

We had purchased a bunch of gorgeous Peaches from the local farmers market and they were ripening fast, so I decided to make a Peach Pie, one of my husbands favorite pies! He, however does not like any cinnamon, nutmeg or anything to distract from the taste of the Peaches.

I only had one crust and have no idea how to make a decent crust (one of the last items on my list of things I have yet to master). I decided to use crust on the bottom and more of a streusel type topping, it worked out very well and I don't think I will make a 2 crusted fruit pie again! I also added some chopped cashews to the topping for a bit of extra decadence.

The crust, the perfectly ripe and juicy peaches with the crunch of the topping, was a winner!

1 deep dish pie crust
4 large peaches, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of sugar (you could use brown sugar)
1/2 tsp corn starch

Pre-bake your pie crust at 350 for 10 minutes

In the meantime mix your peaches, vanilla, lemon juice, sugar and corn starch and set aside

To make the crust:

1.5 cups of rolled oats
2 tbl chilled butter
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cashews (optional)

Mix well with your fingers until crumbly and well incorporated

Pour your peach mixture into the pre-baked pie crust and top with the oat mixture, spread it over the entire pie

Bake for 30 minutes at 365 degrees, check to see if it is browning too quickly, if so add a pie ring or use aluminum foil to cover the pie

Bake an additional 20 minutes and check for doneness. Let cool for 30 minutes or so and serve, I had some leftover Peach Ice Cream which made for a super WOW Peach factor!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Peanut Butter, Butterscotch Cookies!

I have been wanting to make Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip cookies for quite some time, (I have been waiting for my Holiday exhaustion to pass), and I decided today was the day!

I checked my pantry and I only had Butterscotch Chips, I thought that might be a better match anyway, and it was. These are truly delicious and would make a great addition to your Christmas tray. I think I am going to make up a batch for my Paper Guy, Yard Guy, and my dog poo picker up Guy too! I think they would appreciate it!

1/2 cup (1 stick of butter softened)
11/2 cup Peanut Butter (either chunky or smooth)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Butterscotch chips (I prefer the Guittard brand)

1 tsp Vanilla

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugars, beating to blend. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture and butterscotch morsels.

Preheat oven to 375°F; line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Use hands to form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Place balls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake cookies until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Risotto Milanese

My husband and I love this version of Risotto, we have been making it for years. I found it in the Classic Home Cooking Cookbook long ago. I am generally reluctant to buy the really good Parmesan Cheese (i.e. 20 bucks a pound), but in this case, it is worth it!

The Saffron lends it a beautiful golden color, and the Shallot and Parmesan give it the WOW factor! It goes great with Lamb, and in fact that is what I served it with when I made it. It is worth the time and effort, trust me!

6 tbl butter
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 shallot minced (this is not part of the original recipe)
2 cups Arborio Rice (this is a must)
5-6 cups hot chicken stock (as always homemade is best)
two pinches of Saffron Threads
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan shavings for the presentation

Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large saucepan, add the chopped onion, and shallot and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, until softened but not browned

Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains in butter, and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladleful of hot chicken stock to the pan, and cook gently, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.

Add the Saffron, and salt and pepper to taste, continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, until the risotto is thick and creamy and the rice tender. This will take 25-30 minutes

Stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese and season to taste. Top with Parmesan Shavings and serve immediately.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Gravy

I love the homey feel of a roast in the oven on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and knowing my effort will pay off with an excellent dinner and lovely leftovers. I am trying to stay away from red meat as much as I can (which is hard for me), so I thought a nice pork roast would be a good substitute.

One thing I have learned so far is that you are far better off brining any kind of pork, it helps to flavor and also keep the meat moist. With pork being so lean, it really helps.

I served it with Crash Hot Potatoes, the recipe I borrowed from here. My potatoes sure did not turn out as beautifully as Pam's.

Brine pork in a large container or Ziploc bag
1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, handful of peppercorns

Pour your salt, sugar and peppercorns into your container, fill up half way with really hot water, and mix until the salt and sugar is melted, then add several cups of ice cubes, continue to stir until they are melted and the brine is cold

Add your pork roast and put in the fridge for an hour up to 8 hours. When ready to cook remove pork from brine and pat dry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-3 pound) boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed and tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, such as Cortland or Rome peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. It may be slightly pink inside.

Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside (the only thing worth eating was the carrots). Remove and discard the herb sprigs.

Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the strings from the roast and slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

How to spatchcock a chicken or turkey!

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