stuffed pork roll with sage

DSC05417.jpgCostolette di Maiale con Salvia (food.com)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless porkchops
2 tablespoons dried sage
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slices prosciutto (I used thin ham slices)
4 tablespoons butter, finely diced
4 dried apricots
extra virgin olive oil
6 strips pancetta, each 1/2 inch thick (I used ham)

Preheat the oven to 425˚F/200˚C

Put the potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Give potatoes 3 minutes then drain them and allow them to steam dry.

Put a tablespoon sage, 4 cloves garlic, prosciutto/ham, butter, apricots, salt and pepper to taste in the workbowl of a food processor. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped and pasty. Set aside.

Place a tablespoon of the sage mixture in the center of the boneless pork chop. Roll up and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Repeat. Roll each pork chop roll in the remaining tablespoon of sage. Set aside.

Slice pancetta or ham into thin pencil-size strips. Put them in a large roasting pan with potatoes and the remaining cloves of garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and put the pan in the oven.

Ten minutes later, put a frying pan on the burner and let it get very hot. Add a teaspoon olive oil and put in the seasoned pork chop rolls. Try for 10 minutes or until golden on all sides. Remove the pan of potatoes from the oven and nest the pork chop rolls on top. Return the pan to the oven for 10-15 minutes more. The internal temperature of the pork chops should reach 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. If not, heat some more. Remove pan from oven and serve.

the silver wedding anniversary chocolate tier cake

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The Chocolate Tier Cake

When I saw Ina Garten make a chocolate tier cake for her wedding anniversary, I thought, How easy is that?  After careful planning to make sure I had the right size pans, I melded together Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Domingo Cake recipe (two recipes) and Ina’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (one recipe). I had one cake layer leftover and about three cups of icing. If you’re going to make this icing recipe, halve it or freeze the left overs.

So I made this cake for my sister-in-law’s 25th wedding anniversary. For this cake, I wanted a simple home-made effect so I swirled the frosting and tossed large pinches of silver dragées on top. This is the first time I’ve ever tried a tiered cake. I admit it made me nervous but now that I’ve done it, I think I can do it again. I’m up for the next challenge. How easy is that?

Chocolate Domingo Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

Have at room temperature:
42g unsweetened cocoa
160g cup sour cream (I used plain low-fat yogurt)
2 large eggs (3 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
156g sifted cake flour
200g superfine or caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened (7 oz.)

1 recipe (or half the recipe) Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Silver dragées

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease inch springform pan, bottom lined with a waxed paper circle, greased again and then floured.

Cake Baker’s Note: I also made another recipe of this cake and divided the layers between two 7-inch springform pans. One I used to make the top tier, the other I reserved for another use (i.e. snacking!).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream or yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and 1/2 the cocoa mixture all at once. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.

Cake Baker’s Note: It’s so easy to overmix this cake.  Stop frequently to scrape down the sides. Don’t count the scraping time in the beating time.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about half full. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean, and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan as it cools. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula just to be sure the cake is not sticking to the pan sides. The top of the cake will be rounded but will become flat on cooling. Invert onto a greased wire rack and remove the paper liner. Re-invert so that the top is up and cool completely before frosting. The finished height will be 1 1/2 inches.

Frost each cake separately. Place the smaller cake on a cardboard round and carefully place it in the middle of the larger cake. I used a pancake turner to do this. I eye-balled where I wanted to place the cake but you can, to be more precise, use the smaller cake pan to mark the top of the frosting on the larger cake just where you want to place the smaller tier.

To reuse frozen frosting, let it come to room temperature first then whip it. I had this frosting in the freezer since December 22nd and it still tastes good. :-)

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pork tenderloin with cherry-thyme pan sauce and cauliflower rice

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I got this recipe from Epicurious and adapted it here using dried cherries instead of frozen, and seasoning the meat with more than just coriander. I like coriander but the taste can be bland. The only thing I’d change next time is to add a half cup of stock to make more sauce because after the wine was reduced, there was hardly any liquid left. Lest you worry that the meat is undercooked, it continues cooking during the “resting period” and the temperature rises from 145 degrees another 20 degrees when you take the tenderloins off the heat.  You do not want to overcook this. The meat turned out tender and moist (fully cooked) with the sweet taste of cherries and the caress of thyme. I served this with cauliflower rice.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Rest: 10 minutes

2 pork tenderloins (2 lb total)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
10 sprigs thyme
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

In a small bowl, mix the coriander, onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper. Rub into the pork tenderloins.

Heat oil in a large 12” skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Fry the tenderloins 5 minutes on each side for 20-25 minutes or until each tenderloin registers 145˚F on an instant read thermometer. Using a pair of tongs, transfer pork to a cutting board, and let stand 10 minutes. Do not discard the browned bits in the pan.

To the skillet, add onions and thyme and cook until softened and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits and stirring frequently until liquid is reduced, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cherries, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Add the butter and swirl skillet to combine. Pull out thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice pork into 1/2 inch thick slices and transfer to a large platter. Spoon sauce over the top and serve. Or serve the sauce on the side, if desired.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks scallion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Lime wedges, for serving

Pull off the outer leaves and core the cauliflower. Wash and let it drain or pat dry with paper towels. In a food processor, pulse half the cauliflower until it is the size of short grain rice or cous-cous.Remove to a bowl and process the remainder.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch deep skillet or wok. Reduce heat to medium and stir fry the scallion and garlic until it is soft, about 2-4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cover. Uncover and turn the cauliflower occasionally, browning it.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

fish fillets in lemon-ginger sauce

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1 pound white fish fillets
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 lemon
1 large lime
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
5 ounces spinach, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup water
Basmati rice, optional

Rinse then dry the fillets on paper towels. Cut each fillet in half.Cut half the lemon and half the lime into thin rounds. Juice the lemon and lime. Grate the ginger.

In a small bowl put the juice, lemon and lime rounds, ginger and sugar. Combine and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Sauté the fillets until they are just cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. It’s cooked when the fish turns opaque. Add the lemon-lime mixture and gently combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

In a large dish, place the spinach and water. Microwave on high heat for about 2 minutes or until the spinach is just wilted. Place the fish and sauce on top of the spinach. Serve with basmati rice, if desired.

banana tea bread

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This classic recipe has been in my collection since the 1970s when I got Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook  from The Book of the Month Club.  Is it possible there was a time before amazon.com became ubiquitous?! Now the cookbook is called “Essential” but it is the same recipe. I’m glad some things have continuity.

219g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
126g  white superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease two 7-inch loaf pans and set aside. You can also use one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

Baker’s Note: My oven is fast so I reduce the heat to 325/170 as soon as the pan goes in the oven.

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

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening with the sugar, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at a time until just combined.Scrape down the sides.

Add the flour mixture alternating with the bananas, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides, and be sure to give the bottom of the bowl a sweep as well. Pour into the two pans, evenly dividing the batter between the two. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Both pans will be half full. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then turn out to cool thoroughly on the wire rack.

Variation

  • Use sifted and packed brown sugar instead of white sugar.
  • Add 1 cup dried cranberries to the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top of the batter with demerara sugar and sliced almonds then bake as usual.

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spicy whole roasted cauliflower

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Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower (adapted from purewow.com)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Roasting time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable  oil
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 small lime zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ginger powder (can use garlic powder)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Cover a small baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. Set aside.

Cook’s Note: My oven is fast. The original recipe said 400˚F/200˚C

Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lime zest, juice, chile powder,paprika, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

Dunk cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. Store excess marinade in fridge up to 3 days.

Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet. Roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30-35 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.

Let cauliflower cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving with a green salad.

breakfast egg muffins

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1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
3/4 cup ham, 1” dice
5-7 eggs with milk topped up to 1 3/4 cup mark
3 stalks scallion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Sriracha Sauce for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C

Mash potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Whisk eggs and milk; add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray the cups generously with cooking spray.

Drop 1-2 tablespoons potatoes in a muffin cup. Spread it around and flatten it. Fill all other muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes or until potatoes turn golden at the edges. Cool slightly. Don’t turn off the oven.

Put 3-4 diced ham on top of potatoes in each muffin cup. Fill to the top with the egg-milk mixture. Sprinkle scallions and thyme on top.
Bake 15 minutes. The eggs will dome in the oven but deflate once you take them out. A pity!

To serve, loosen the edges of each cup with a sharp thin blade and scoop out the contents. Eat with Sriracha sauce, if desired.

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angel eggs

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Angel Eggs (adapted from Schedule Me Skinny, p. 187)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Wait: 10 minutes
Assembly: 10 minutes

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon Greek Style yogurt
1 tablespoon hummus, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Sriracha sauce to taste
smoked paprika to taste

Equipment needed:

  • saucepan with lid
  • knife with a thin blade
  • small bowl
  • fork
  • teaspoon
  • small plate

DSC053631.Put eggs in a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water until it covers the eggs by 1 inch. Put pan on the stove over medium high heat to bring to a boil, about 10 minutes. When it boils (you’ll see big bubbles in the pot), turn off the heat and cover the eggs with the lid. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain the eggs and put them under running cold water until they are cooled.  Crack and peel the eggs.

 

Cook’s Note: to make sure the shell comes off, tap the eggs on the counter to crack them then return them to the water to cool thoroughly, about 30 minutes depending on how cold your tap water is.

DSC053642.  Put the shelled eggs on a small plate. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise from pole to pole. Scoop out the yolks and put them in a small bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggs in the bowl until it is smooth. Add the yogurt and hummus, if using. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a few drops of Sriracha sauce. Mix well and taste. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

3. Using a teaspoon, scoop a spoonful of the egg yolk mixture back into the egg white. Sprinkle a little paprika on top. Repeat until all the egg whites are filled with the yolk mixture. Eat!

one-bowl chocolate cake with nutella and icing sugar

DSC_0499.jpgIf you are in a hurry and you must make a dessert, this recipe is very easy. Not only are all the ingredients conveniently  in one bowl, if you have no time to make a frosting, some Nutella from the pantry and some icing sugar will do. This recipe is from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook and it is my go-to recipe whenever a chocolate cake is called for. There were some good recipes in that old book, including Banana Tea Bread, a quick bread recipe that I have tinkered with over the years. That cookbook is a classic; it is over 40 years old!

Out of curiosity, I checked the index of The Essential New York Times Cookbook the latest iteration of the Times cookbook, and I could not find the one-bowl chocolate cake–unless it’s been re-named. The Banana Tea Bread made an encore appearance, however.

This one-bowl recipe makes exactly two cake layers, each about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. To make it dramatic I would bake 2 more layers but I wouldn’t recommend doubling the recipe to do it. I’m a little hesitant to tinker with this chocolate cake recipe because it’s a cake not a quick bread, and so less forgiving. To make a 4 layer cake I’d just make 2 batches. I’ve updated the recipe, most importantly by converting the measurements to grams so it is more precise. I had to be careful converting the cocoa powder because that 1/2 cup is volume,  not weight.  The end result is this cake has a moist and tender crumb, and it is not cloyingly sweet at all.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (Adapted from: The New York Times Cookbook)

Have at room temperature:
219g (1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour (2 cups cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
271g (1 1/2 cups) superfine sugar
113g (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare to bake. Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you have a fast oven, reduce heat to 325˚F/170 degrees Celsius. This will allow the sides and the center of the cake layers to cook more evenly. Bake layers 25-30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Prepare the pan(s). Grease and flour two 9×1 1/2 inch layer cake pans. Line bottoms with baking parchment paper or waxed paper cut 1/8 inch smaller than the bottom of the pan. Grease and flour the top of the parchment/waxed paper. If desired, dust pans with cocoa powder.

Cake Baker’s Note: Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon flour. Brush the inside of the pan(s) with this mixture.

Put all ingredients into a LARGE bowl. Sift together all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend on low speed until all ingredients are just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Mix on medium speed until just combined.

Bake the cake. Pour batter into pan(s). Fill the pans half way, dividing the batter evenly. Shift pans back and forth on countertop to release air bubbles. Bake 25-30 minutes (20 minutes in convection oven). Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from the pan(s) and cool completely.

Frost/decorate. Place the rounded side down on a serving plate. For the bottom layer, I choose the less attractive one. Frost bottom layer with nutella. Place top layer right side up on top of the nutella and press down lightly. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top layer.

 

grilled apple, brie, and christmas ham with turkey giblet dressing

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After Christmas we always enjoy the leftovers, and I try to find creative and delicious ways to use them up. I boiled the turkey carcass to extract a broth which I made into Jamaican Black Bean Soup. So I adapted this panini sandwich recipe from Better Homes and Gardens to use up some turkey dinner leftovers: ham and spicy giblet dressing. This sandwich was salty, sweet, tangy, and spicy. All my favorite combinations!

Grilled Apple, Brie, and Christmas Ham with Turkey Giblet Dressing
Makes 3 sandwiches

2 slices ham cut into 1″x 3″pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced into wedges then sliced thinly
Half small round of Brie
6 slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup turkey giblet dressing
Butter

On three slices of bread, spoon the dressing evenly. Top with ham pieces, about 5 per sandwich. Add the brie slices about 2-3 per sandwich, then about 4 of the apple slices. Cover with the remaining 3 slices of bread.

Cook’s Note: In the original recipe cranberry sauce was used instead of the giblet dressing.

Butter the outside of each sandwich and place on a hot griddle or panini press. Grill until golden brown on the outside, the cheese is melted, and the dressing is hot. Slice in half and serve at once.

Serving Suggestion: serve with a hearty soup such as a lentil soup or the Jamaican black bean soup.