The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Spanish-Style Brine & Rub for Pork Tenderloin with Maduros and Spicy Slaw January 13, 2009

spanish-pork

After brining our Thanksgiving turkey, I was hooked on the method.  This book includes several brining recipes for pork and I really wanted to give one a try.  This was fantastic!  If you love pork and intense flavor this recipe is for you!  Think Bobby Flay.   I just love Spanish flavors and this recipe really hits the mark.  I had 2 plantains ripe on the counter and was excited to make Maduros (or fried plantains).  There is a small Peruvian place in the Upper East Side of Manhattan (Pio Pio) that has the best maduros and chicken you will ever eat.  Mine didn’t come out quite as good (but we still ate every last bite so you know this is good!) and I think it was because my oil wasn’t hot enough.  I made a spicy slaw to serve with the pork as well. 

Source:  Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork; I recently got this book as a gift and it really is a go to book for pork.  My changes are in green.

Spanish Style Brine

3 1/2 cups cold water

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar)

1 cup ice cubes

4 bone-in rib pork chops (about 3 pounds total) 1.5 pound pork tenderloin

1.  Pour the water into a large bowl or plastic storage tub.  Stir in the salt and continue stirring until the salt dissolves.  Stir in the sugar and vinegar and continue stirring until they dissolve.  Add the ice cubes and stir to chill the mixture down.  It should be 45 F or colder on an instant-read thermometer.  Add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.  Remove the pork and discard the brine.  Pat dry with paper towels, and either proceed with the recipe or cover with plastic wrap.  The pork can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before being cooked.

Spanish Style Rub

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar)

1.  Combine all above ingredients.  Coat the brined pork generously on both sides with the rub.  Set the chops aside while you prepare a grill.  

2.  I used a gas grill and cooked the pork uncovered high heat 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total) and then covered for an additional 10 minutes.  Pork reached an internal temperature of 145 F and juices were no longer pink.  

3.  Slice pork and serve with spicy coleslaw, avocados, bell pepper, and maduros (below).

 

maduros

Maduros (Fried plantains)

2 ripe plantains (yellow with some black spotting)

Canola oil

1.  Slice plantains on the bias.   

2.  Heat oil in a small saucepan until very hot.  Oil should reach to top of plantains.  Oil must be very hot or it will soak into the plantains while cooking.  Cook plantains 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel to drain.

 

spicy-slaw

Spicy Slaw

4-5 cups precut slaw mix

1/2 cup low-fat mayo

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 

1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce

salt & pepper

1.  Combine first 6 ingredients.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Serve immediately if you prefer a crunchy slaw or chill in refrigerator for a few hours.

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Savory Sweet Potato Pear Soup and Soft Parsley and Garlic Pretzels January 9, 2009

sweet-potato-soup-finished

I didn’t think I was going to be able to enter this round of Platinum Chef being out of town for the two weeks prior to the deadline.  Lucky for me the deadline was extended!  These ingredients were fun and I just love sweet potatoes and pears so this was right up my alley.  Kate from Paved with Good Intentions picked the following ingredients:  carrots, potatoes, pears, parsley, and egg.  I had a heck of a time thinking about that egg.  I thought long and hard about a quiche or frittata or my favorite…pot pie!  Mmm love that stuff.  I wanted to use my new emersion blender (thank you Lien!) so I figured soup would be fun.  I wanted bread with my soup (of course) and thought a flavored pretzel would be fun!

Savory Sweet Potato Pear Soup

1-tablespoon butter

½ red onion, chopped

½ cut carrot, chopped

½ cut celery, chopped

2 very large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds), peeled and diced

2 pears, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1-teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cumin

5 cups low sodium low fat chicken broth

1.     In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Sauté onion, carrot and celery 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent.

2.     Add potatoes, pears, coriander, curry, and cumin and sauté 1-2 minutes.

3.     Add chicken broth and bring to boil, simmer 20-25 minutes until sweet potato is soft.

4.     Using emersion blender, blend until smooth.  Serve warm.

sweet-potato-soup

5.     Leftover soup can be frozen flat in large freezer bags and defrosted in a saucepan.

 

 

Soft Parsley & Garlic Pretzels

Inspiration:  # 117047 Recipezaar 

1 package dry yeast

1 ½ cups warm water (100-110 degrees)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons packed finely chopped parsley

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 large egg, beaten

Coarse salt or sea salt

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

2.     Dissolve yeast in water in a small bowl. Tiny bubbles form around edges to ensure yeast is active.  Add salt and sugar. 

3.     Pour mixture into stand mixer and add all the flour, parsley, and garlic powder.  Using hook attachment, knead until well blended and smooth, approximately 4 minutes. 

pretzel-dough

4.     That kind of looks like a turkey, huh?!  Anyways, cut dough into 6 even pieces and roll into approximately 2-foot ropes.  Create a rainbow shape and using each end, wrap around each other 3 times.  Invert twisted center and press ends into dough to form pretzel shape.  Place onto prepared baking sheet. 

pretzels-shape

5.     Brush pretzels with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle with coarse salt or freshly ground sea salt. 

6.     Bake approximately 17-19 minutes or until golden brown.

pretzel-finishes

pclogo

 

Stir-fry Chicken with Jalapeno and Allspice Marinade January 4, 2009

Filed under: Chicken,Spice rubs and Marinades — xigumdrops @ 5:02 pm
Tags: ,

jalapeno-chicken

I used the ingredients found in the Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken book but changed the prep and cooking instructions.  The marinade was quick to make and I pretty much always have these ingredients on-hand so it was convenient too.  The chicken was not spicy at all as the heat from the pepper is lost in the high heat cooking.  Changes to the original ingredients are in green; prep instructions are different from original recipe.

Inspiration:  Grilled Chicken Skewers with habanero chile and allspice from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken cookbook

1/2 habanero chile (1 Jalapeno pepper)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small red onion, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons cider vinegar (Rice Wine Vinegar)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup canola oil (1/3 cup olive oil)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into pieces

1 large red bell pepper cut into 1-inch squares (green bell pepper)

 

1.  Combine all ingredients into a large nonreactive bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours.  Time was not on my side so I marinated for 1 hour.

2.  Heat large skillet to wok on high heat and add all ingredients.  Cook over high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  You may need to push onion and bell pepper to the side to prevent burning.  Serve hot with white rice.

jalapeno-chicken-cooking

 

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Filed under: Dessert,Holiday — xigumdrops @ 4:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

chocolate-oatmeal-cranberry-cookies

Definitely some of the best cookies I have ever eaten.  I made these for a book club meeting and they were a hit.  My husband who is not a cranberry fan loved them too!

Source:  Recipe Girl 

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinammon

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted, room temperature butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cranberries

2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate, for drizzling

 

1.  Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and blend just until incorporated. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.

4.  Drop batter by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart (they will spread a bit). Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

5.  Place chopped milk or white chocolate in small glass pyrex bowl. Melt in microwave, stirring after 30 second intervals, until melted and smooth. Carefully pour chocolate into a small ziploc baggie. Snip a tiny piece off of the corner of the baggie. Squeeze gently to drizzle a zigzag pattern over baked cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 1 hour.

 

Lasagna Rolls: Food Network top ten recipes in 2008 January 3, 2009

Filed under: Holiday,Italian,Pasta,Proscuitto,Uncategorized — xigumdrops @ 1:39 pm
Tags: ,

lasagna-rolls-final

According to a Food Network web article, this was one of the Top 10 recipes of 2008!  After making it and getting rave reviews I can certainly see why!  This was delicious and although somewhat time consuming, simple to make.  The béchamel sauce was the most time consuming part and next time I’ll probably substitute marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan instead.  That will cut down on a lot of the prep time and I think it’ll taste just as good.  The recipe makes 12 rolls will should be enough to serve 6 people (2 each).  I served it with a side salad.

Source:  Foodnetwork.com Giada de Laurentiis Episode: Italian Fast Food

Sauce: 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour 
1 1/4 cups whole milk 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 
Pinch ground nutmeg

Lasagna: 

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese (I used part skim ricotta) 
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan 
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped 
1 large egg, beaten to blend 
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil 
12 uncooked lasagna noodles 
2 cups marinara sauce 
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

 

1.  To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

2.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

3.  Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

4.  Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

5.  Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. I used high heat non-stick spray.  Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll.

lasagna-rollups1

 

6.  Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the béchamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

lasagna-rollups-in-pan