Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tiny Spicy Chicken

One of my friends posted this on her Facebook page, so I thought I'd try it out. Tony and I both liked it alot!

Tiny Spicy Chicken
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
garlic salt
2 beaten eggs
3/4 to 1 box of cornstarch

1 to 1 1/2 tsp. Sambal Fresh chili paste, depending on how hot you want the chicken (chili paste can be found in the oriental food section of the grocery store)
2 cups sugar
1 cup ketchup
4 tsp. soy sauce
dash of salt
1 cup chicken broth
8 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic salt; let sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator. After an hour, dip the chicken into the eggs first, then into cornstarch. Brown the chicken in oil until golden brown. Put the chicken into a greased 9x13 pan. Mix sauce ingredients in saucepan and cook until sugars dissolve. Pour over chicken and bake at 325 F for a total of 1 hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes.
Note: When you pour the sauce over the chicken, it will be very liquidy. The sauce will thicken as it cooks, forming a nice coating.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes

I recently found this simple recipe for using up some of those fresh, summer, from the garden or farmer's market tomatoes that start showing up at this time of year. It suggests using cherry, currant or grape tomatoes; we used sunsweet cherry tomatoes and it was absolutely fabulous. I personally think you could use any kind of tomato that tastes really great, cooking it in the pan will only intensify the flavor. Maybe even cut up a regular tomato into smaller pieces and use that, but probably for less cooking time.

The recipe doesn't make a lot of sauce, and you may be left wondering how in the world this is ever even going to taste good or coat the pieces of spaghetti, but trust me, it does. Somehow the flavor coats each strand of spaghetti, the flavor is just perfect, plus you have pieces of cooked tomatoes and basil mixed in, and you have perfection!

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes-serves 4

Olive oil, enough to swirl and cover the bottom of a large skillet
2 pints of cherry, currant, and/or grape tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (we used garlic powder, not actual garlic--works just as well)
1 pound of spaghetti (we used thin spaghetti)
1/3 C thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (we used 3/4 to 1 C because Derk isn't a huge fan of this kind of cheese, just enough to add some cheesiness and flavor to it, but not overpower it)
Coarsely ground black pepper

-Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tomatoes start to blister and collapse, 3-5 minutes. Add remaining tomatoes and cook, tossing once, for 2-3 minutes more.
-With a wooden spoon, push tomatoes to one side of pan to make room for garlic. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 3-4 minutes, then stir gently to mix garlic and tomatoes together. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and gently pressing tomatoes to release juices, until all tomatoes have collapsed and sauce is juicy and thick, about 4 minutes more. Remove from heat.
-Cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, gently reheat sauce. Drain pasta and immediately toss with sauce and basil. Add half of cheese and toss; add remaining cheese and toss again. Season with pepper and serve at once.

Note: I just discovered this trick when cooking pasta. Probably not exactly healthy, but it tastes really great. When directions for cooking pasta say to cook it in salted, boiling water, really give it a good amount of salt, so it's salty water, not just a pinch. You want to taste it! Then when the pasta is cooked, taste a strand of pasta before you mix it with the sauce and you'll see what I mean. It makes a big difference.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Curried Quinoa Salad with Mango

A few weeks ago my brother Mike made our family a really delicious curry and served it over quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is something I've heard of, but never tried and fell in love with it. I'm not sure exactly what quinoa is, but I think it's a grain of some kind. It's sort of like cooking with couscous, only much healthier. The flavor is kind of nutty, with a mostly soft texture but still has a little crunch to it. Anyway, Derk and I looked up some recipes, and found this one. We tamed it down a little, especially the first time, because we don't like lots of garlic and didn't know how strong we wanted the curry flavor. So I'll put the amounts we used in parentheses.

Curried Quinoa Salad with Mango

1 1/2 C chicken stock
3/4 C quinoa
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (1)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (1/8)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
3 green onions, chopped

And we also added a stalk of celery, chopped, and some sliced almonds.

-Bring chicken stock, quinoa, celery (if using), curry powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 15-20 minutes (the water will pretty much be absorbed, like couscous). Once done, scrape the quinoa into a shallow dish and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the mango, almonds (if using), and green onions. Serve either at room temperature or cold.

My notes: I think that adding the amount of curry powder in the recipe would be good, the 1 tsp was really tame, but I liked using less garlic. (My philosophy is that garlic should be a flavor enhancer, not the flavor.) Also, we were hungry and didn't wait for it to cool off before eating, and it tasted great. Also good cold. Would be a good side dish, but also fun to eat as a quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Oh, yes, and this is so quick and easy to make! One person who commented on this recipe said that they didn't have enough mango and added dried blueberries to it. I think this could be a pretty versatile recipe to play around with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Florentine Roll-Ups

OK, so here's a solution for everyone who received WAY too much spinach from the parents over the weekend-use some of it in this yummy recipe!

Florentine Roll-Ups
16 oz. lasagna, uncooked
4 cups (2 lb.) ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
½ cup sliced green onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups (26 oz. jar) spaghetti sauce, divided
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Lay flat on foil to cool. In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, Cheddar cheese, spinach, green onion, egg, pepper and salt. Spread about 1/3 cup cheese mixture on each piece of pasta to within 1-inch of end; roll up. In 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, spread 2/3 cup spaghetti sauce; place roll-ups, seam side down, in dish. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired; cover. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 9 servings (2 roll-ups each).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

This is a recipe I found on one of the many food blogs I often read, and I have to tell you that I'm generally a meatball hater.  I know, we shouldn't be haters, but I usually hate meatballs.  Probably because most of the time to me they just taste like, well, a hamburger or maybe meatloaf. Bleh.  But for some reason this recipe caught my eye and I knew I had to try it, possibly because I knew Derk would probably like it.  So, after a few changes to the recipe I found, we came up with this:


1/2 an onion, grated
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
2 oz. (1/2 cup) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 C bread crumbs (we used panko)
1 1/2 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T ketchup
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. ground sirloin (all we could find was hamburger)
8oz. ground turkey
2 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 18 cubes

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack set in the lower 1/3 of the oven.
-In a large bowl, stir together onion, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, ketchup, egg, salt, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and pepper.  Add in beef and turkey-combine ingredients just until combined, be careful not to overmix.
-Shape the mixture into 18 meatballs (though we wound up with 16) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make an indent in the center of each meatball and set a cube of mozzarella inside.  Reform the meatball around the mozzarella so it is completely hidden.  Place into the oven and bake until cooked through.  Ours took about 20 to 25 minutes.


1 T olive oil
4 oz. diced pancetta
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
14.5 oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
fresh ground black pepper
2 oz. (1/2 Cup) of fresh grated smoked mozzarella cheese (original recipe said Pecorino Romano, but we didn't want to buy more cheese and already had a bunch of the mozzarella)
16 oz. dry bucatini pasta, or other fun, short pasta shape

-In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium.  Add pancetta-cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and transfer to paper-lined plate.  Stir in the onion, cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and reserved pancetta, season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Simmer over medium-low, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

-While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  Add sauce and meatballs, tossing gently to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Just before serving, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.

--My notes:  OK, I know this recipe seems a little daunting, long and time consuming.  But it didn't take all that much time.  It's not a quick and easy one, true, but the final result and effort will be totally worth it.  Because Derk and I loved this recipe!  And we also liked using the smoked mozzarella in the sauce (instead of Pecorino, which is probably good, too, we just didn't want to spring for more cheese), we felt that it sort of tied everything together and added a really nice flavor.  The original recipe said that it should serve about 6 people, but we found that for us it was probably a little closer to 4 servings, particularly for the sauce, even considering the fact that it's not really a saucy kind of dish.  The meatballs freeze well.  If you like things a bit spicier, you could try adding in a little more red pepper flakes and garlic.  The amounts in this post were decreased by about half from the recipe I found.  Try this one out, it's really quite delicious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sugar Donut Muffins

I knew I had to make these muffins when Derk told me about how sugar coated donuts were his favorite. The recipe claimed that they tasted like fluffy donuts with sugar stuck all over them. So I gave them a try. And we both liked them. They did sort of seem like a donut, not too sweet, even with the sugar coating, and really easy to make. The original recipe said to brush the tops only of the muffins with melted butter before rolling in sugar, which I did, but then they sort of got gooey, squishy on top. So next time I'm leaving the butter out, because as you can see, the sugar sticks just fine without the butter.

Sugar Donut Muffins, makes 10

3/4 C sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (but I'm tempted to try cinnamon next time)
1/4 C vegetable oil
3/4 C milk (low fat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine (will be lumpy and dry). Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract, and stir again. Don't worry, it will smooth out after a little bit of stirring. Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

When muffins are done, carefully remove from the pan and roll in sugar. Cool on wire rack.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cream Soda - Toffee Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda (not diet)
3/4 cup toffee pieces
1 recipe Brown Butter Frosting

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 2 1/2 inch muffin cups with paper baking cups; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugars; beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at at time, on low until combined. Beat in molasses and vanilla.
- Alternately add flour mixture, buttermilk, and cream soda to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the toffee bits. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on racks for 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool. Frost; top with remaining toffee bits. MAKES 18 (but recipe doubles well)

Brown Butter Frosting:

For brown butter, in saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter over medium-low heat until lightly browned, about 8 minutes; cool. In bowl beat 1/4 cup softened butter with mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add cooled brown butter; beat until combined. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, and dash salt. Beat in 1 to 2 Tbsp buttermilk until spreadable. Use immediately. If frosting begins to set up, stir in a small amount of boiling water.

I made these for a Relief Society Birthday Party thing this week, mainly choosing the recipe based on the fact that I don't like toffee very much, and therefore, wouldn't be tempted to eat them. Wrong! They are FANTASTIC! I'm sure they are awful for you, but I think once in while we all deserve a little treat. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Salmon with Capers

4 6 oz. salmon fillets
2 T olive oil
2 T capers
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 slices of lemon

-Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
-Place salmon in skillet, increase heat to high. Cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with capers, and salt and pepper. Turn salmon over and cook 5 minutes until browned. Salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
-Transfer salmon to plates and garnish with lemon.

--My note: OK, this has got to be one of the fastest dinners of all time. And can I also add easiest? We really enjoyed this dish, but cut it down to just 2 pieces of salmon since there were only 2 of us. It was light, felt healthy, and tasted really quite good. Simple, but good. Sometimes, the simple dishes really shine, and we liked it a lot. We also cooked up some couscous and vegetables to go with it, and were quite happy with the results.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This was a new recipe I tried this past Christmas. I've seen Palmiers in bakeries, and tasted them, and when I saw this recipe, I figured I could actually do this!


Sugar for rolling and sprinkling

Puff Pastry (I used frozen & thawed)

Dust a work surface liberally with sugar, and then roll out the pastry into a rectangle 9 by 14 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Trim the edges so the rectangle measures about 8 by 13 inches. Sprinkle the rectangle with sugar. Fold over 1 inch along a 13 inch side of the rectangle. Repeat on the opposite side. Sprinkle the folds with sugar and again fold over the sides 1 inch, sprinkle with sugar, and repeat until each side meets in the center of the rectangle. Pressing gently on the rolling pin, roll over the entire surface of the rectangle. This will help it hold its shape and will also lengthen it by about 1 inch. Fold the two sides of the rectangle together, folding the long sides in to meet in the center. Press gently along the sides of the rectangle to even them out, and roll over the now long, thin rectangle with the rolling pin. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the rectangle crosswise into 1/4 inch wide slices. Coat the slices with sugar and arrange the slices on the prepared pan, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip each cookie over and bake for about 5 minutes longer, or until brown on both sides. Let cool on the pan. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

--My note: These really are pretty easy to make, but they burn pretty fast. So I advise checking on them starting 5 minutes before they're done. The original recipe said to bake for 25 minutes, but that was WAY too long--they were quite burnt. One recipe I saw for these said to just bake on one side, but I didn't try that version. Maybe next time. These cookies are crispy, but flaky and sugary. Really quite tasty. And a simple cookie that looks pretty impressive. I also read somewhere that someone make cinnamon sugar and coated the cookies in that. Maybe something else I'll try next time.

Update: Cinnamon sugar used in place of regular sugar was really, really good. And I noticed the second time I made these that I don't roll the pastry out to be 1/4 of an inch thick. It's probably thinner than that. I just roll out the frozen stuff so it's about 9 x 14 inches and go from there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shrek Soup

My friend Rachel in my ward gave me the recipe and said her kids love it because she calls it shrek soup. It is the easiest soup recipe ever and I have made it so many times. Every time I make it Billy and I both wonder why it is so tasty. I actually made this last night with a big yummy salad (with the dressing recipe that follows) and some really good rosemary olive oil bread. Soup and salad is one of my favorite dinners. There are not that many ingredients and it's not fancy, but man this soup is so good and so healthy.

Shrek Soup

saute 1/4 c onion in 1 T butter
add 1 clove garlic and saute until soft
Add 1 48 box of chicken broth, 1/2 c frog eye pasta (acini di pepe), 1/4 t nutmeg and some salt and pepper and simmer for 5-7 minutes
Add 1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach (I actually use fresh spinach)
Simmer soup for 5 minutes and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and serve (it's so good with fresh parmesan so don't forget this)

Poppy Seed Dressing

This is my new favorite salad dressing. My aunt Erin makes the most incredible salads I have ever tasted. I know, it's salad, but they are one of my favorite foods. This is kind of a twist on poppy seed dressing. It makes a lot, but it keeps in the fridge for a while. After having homemade dressings for so long, I can no longer eat store bought salad dressings. Homemade dressings are just too easy and so much better.

1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
2/3 c sugar
1/2 pureed purple onion
1-2 T Dijon mustard
1 t salt
1/2 t paprika
11/2 T poppy seeds
1 c canola oil

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Berry Sauce

This was an interesting recipe we found that combines pork chops with a striking sauce of blueberries. Blueberries? Yes, and well you might ask. But it actually works quite well. And when paired with mashed potatoes made of sweet potatoes, it makes for a really attractive dish.

Pork Chops and Berry Sauce - Makes 4 chops and 1 cup of sauce

4 boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, halved crosswise, seasoned with salt and pepper (1 lb.)
1 T shallots, minced
1/4 C dry red wine
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 C beef broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges

-Saute pork chops in oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate and keep warm; return pan to the burner. Add shallots and saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
-Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in blueberries, broth, vinegar, and brown sugar; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until blueberries begin to burst and sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes.
-Off heat, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. To serve, place a mound of sweet potatoes on each plate, spoon some of the sauce over potatoes, then top with pork chops. Garnish if desired with parsley and lemon wedges.

For 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes:

-Boiled 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced, until tender. Drain, then mash with a bit of butter (3 T butter) and juice of half a lemon.

--My note: This was a really interesting dish, both flavor-wise and in appearance. Blue, orange, and then the pork chops. We really liked it. And the mashed sweet potatoes were really tasty, and could be something we do more often with other things. The recipe says to cut each chop in half because they thought it looked more interesting, but you can leave them whole if desired. If they are cut in half, serve two halves per person. If you can't find boneless pork chops, just cut out the bone like we did. Also, there is a really great brand of alcohol-free wine out there called Arial. We have found it so far at Emigration Market in Salt Lake, I believe they are an Associated Food Store, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Salmon Salad BLT

We made these Salmon Salad BLT sandwiches a few weeks ago. They tasted really great, sort of reminded me of some of those chicken salad sandwiches that people have at showers, but this one has salmon, dill, cucumbers, and bacon. Even Derk really liked these.

Salmon Salad BLT--4 sandwiches

3/4 C mayonnaise (I'd go for low-fat)
1/2 C English cucumber, seeded, diced
1/4 C plain yogurt (also low-fat)
2 T shallots, minced
2 T chopped fresh dill
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 and 1/4 pound salmon, cooked, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For sandwiches:

Your favorite bread, toasted, romaine lettuce leaves, sliced tomato, and 8 strips of thick-sliced bacon, fried.

-Stir mayonnaise, cucumber, yogurt, shallots, dill, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Fold in salmon and season with salt and pepper.
-Toast bread, then assemble sandwiches with slice of tomato, 3/4 C salmon salad, and 2 strips of bacon.

--I would suggest adding maybe 1/2 C mayo and test to see if the salmon salad is the way you like it. If you need more mayo, then add it. We thought it was kind of juicy and there was a little too much mayo with 3/4 cup. Another nice thing about this recipe is that if you aren't able to buy the best quality salmon, or buy frozen salmon like we did, there's enough going on here that you won't notice it's not the highest quality salmon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cinnamon Bear Popcorn

This recipe is for Derk! Hopefully it tastes as good as the sample I tried with the mom from Cael's school.

1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup Karo/light corn syrup
1 Cup sugar
3 Cups mini marshmallows
Few drops of red food coloring (if pink/red coloring of popcorn is desired)
1 Cup Cinnamon Bears, cut up
6-8 quarts popped corn (1 cup unpopped)

Combine butter, corn syrup and sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn to low. Cook for 5 minutes on low. Remove from heat and add marshmallows, red food coloring, and cinnamon bears. Pour over popped corn mix until well covered. You may also use gummy bears or any gummy candy in place of the cinnamon bears. Do not use sugar coated candy, as it will not work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sage-Crusted Pork Tenderloin w/Apple-Thyme Compote

Sage-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Thyme Compote

This time we have pictures! (It appears the above plate was a little over-excited for the apples!) We made this last week and absolutely loved it. The apples are wonderful, the herbs really add a nice flavor, and the pork was really good. I don't especially love bacon or sausage, but pork tenderloin is very good, especially when paired with a really tasty apple compote.

Serves 4

For the pork:

3/4 C fresh bread crumbs (we used panko)
1 T minced fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage)
salt and pepper to taste
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed, halved crosswise (1 pound)
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T olive oil

For sauce:

1/4 C sliced shallots (about 2)
4 tsp unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp olive oil
1 C sweet-tart apple (such as Braeburn), cored, thinly sliced
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1/4 C brandy or dry white wine
1/4 C thawed apple juice concentrate
1/4 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp flour

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Combine bread crumbs, sage, salt, and pepper together on a baking sheet. Brush pork pieces with Dijon and roll in crumbs to coat, pressing them to adhere. Transfer to a rack and let stand 15 minutes.
-Heat 2 T oil in large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high. (We cooked in regular skillet, then transferred to a baking dish afterwards.) Add pork and saute on 1 side until crumbs are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over, transfer pan to the oven, and roast until pork reaches 150-155 degrees, about 15-20 minutes. (Ours wasn't quite done, so we cooked it a little longer, maybe 10-15 minutes, so check it first.) Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing into medallions.
-Saute shallots for the sauce in 3 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil in a second nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add apple and thyme, and saute 3 minutes. Deglaze with brandy/wine, simmer until nearly evaporated, then stir in juice concentrate and broth.
-Blend remaining 1 tsp butter and flour together in a dish, whisk into boiling sauce, and simmer until thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Butternut Squash-Tangerine Soup

This is called a butternut squash soup, but it's really more citrus-y, gingery, cinnamon-y goodness. It's nice and bright, smells really great and the bits of ginger taste really great in here. The squash seems to be more of a base rather than the actual flavor. And once you realize this, you'll realize how great this soup is! Oh, and again, we got this recipe from "Cuisine At Home", the December 2008 issue.

Citrus-y, Gingery, Cinnamon-y Soup

1 lb. peeled, cubed butternut squash (4 cups)
2 T chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of saffron threads, optional
2 T unsalted butter
5 C water
1 1/2 C fresh tangerine juice or orange juice
1/4 C dried apricots
2 T honey

-Saute squash, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and saffron for the soup in butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook until squash browns, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
-Add water, tangerine or orange juice, apricots, and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 40 minutes. Let soup stand off heat for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat until warmed through.

The recipe also suggests making a gremolata, a garnish of sorts. We didn't opt for that, but I think it would make a nice contrast and add a little bite of flavor. The gremolata:

1/4 C chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 T chopped pistachios
1 T minced tangerine or orange zest
1/4 C plain yogurt

-Toss parsley, pistachios, and zest for gremolata together in a bowl. Spoon yogurt on each serving of soup, then garnish with parsley mixture.

The recipe says it makes 7 servings of 1 cup each. We decided it was probably closer to 4-5 servings, since, well, I don't really know anyone who actually sticks with the 1 cup serving suggestion. We definitely will make this soup again.