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.

 

Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro November 28, 2008

Filed under: Quinoa,Salad,Side dish,Vegetarian — xigumdrops @ 5:28 pm
Tags: ,

quinoa

I bought a bag of Quinoa at Dean & DeLuca a few weeks ago and have been looking for a recipe to catch my eye.  I found this one from Liz’s Cooking Blog originally from Bon Appetit.  I really liked the texture of the quinoa and I liked it much better than couscous.  I didn’t find the recipe spicy at all and actually think it would be better with diced jalapenos or some chipotle powder.  

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups chopped white onions

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup water

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese (optional) (I used sharp cheddar)

 

1.  Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes.

2.  Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and cheese, if desired.

 

Platinum Chef Challenge #10 Results! November 27, 2008

When Lisa from Lime in the Coconut chose my entry as the winner for Platinum Chef Challenge #9 I was honored and so excited!  But then I had the daunting task of choosing the next ingredients.  I couldn’t find a site that listed all previous 9 challenge ingredients so I did my best to choose ingredients that most likely had not been picked yet.  I thought I might have chosen ingredients that were too difficult when I only had one entry at the original deadline.  Now I’m glad I added the extension because I received a total of 5 fabulous recipes!  In no particular oder (well actually, it is the order I received the entries), here are the recipes:

Cara, from Cara’s Cravings, the Platinum Chef Challenge creator:

Cara decided to adapt a recipe from Cooking Light to make Lentil-Goat Cheese burgers.  Personally, I love this idea!.  She served it with some baby spinach and a lemon vinaigrette adapted from a Orange Tarragon dressing recipe in her Moosewood Low-fat Favorites Cookbook.

 

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Lentil Goat Cheese Burgers

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon olive oi

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 ounces goat cheese

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten 

1.  Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaf. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a fork. Cool slightly. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Add onion mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes. 

2.  Divide mixture into 3-4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side or until done.

 

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Roasted Garlic & Lemon Vinaigrette

1 whole head of roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves out of the skins)

1/4 cup lemon juice

salt & pepper

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp minced fresh tarragon

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1.  Combine garlic cloves and remaining ingredients in a blender, process until smooth and creamy. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.


Kate, from Paved with Good Intentions

Kate took a delicious classic take on the ingredients:  soup and salad.  But boy did she ever jazz up a classic minestrone by adding sausage.  What a delicious sounding soup!

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Sausage and Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil

5 links hot italian sausage

7 oz ham, shredded

2 onions, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

3/4 tsp thyme

8 cups chicken broth

1 can whole tomatoes

1/2 lb dried lentils

1 bunch spinach leaves, chopped

1.  Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage links and cook until done. Remove sausages from pot, cool, and slice sausages.

2.  Add ham, onions, and green pepper to the pot. Cover and cook 15 minutes.

3.  Add garlic, cumin, and thyme. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.

4.  Add chicken broth, sausage, tomatoes, and lentils. Lower heat, cover, and cook two hours.

5.  Remove from heat, add spinach, and let stand 2 more minutes.

pcc001-1

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/6 cup olive oil

2 belgian endives

1 bunch spinach

1/2 granny smith apple, sliced into 8 slices

2 oz goat cheese, sliced into 2 rounds

chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat broil. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shake to blend.

2.  Add oil and shake again.

3.  Place endive leaves and spinach on plate.

4.  Place slices of apples on broiler pan into two fans. Place round of goat cheese on top of each fan of apples. Broil 5 minutes.

5.  Use spatula to place apples and goat cheese in center of salad. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with walnuts.


Ms. Feather Flower, from Ms. Feather Flower’s Kitchen:

Ms. Feather is a new blogger and I’m so happy that she joined our challenge!  Her blog focuses on gardening with a section to highlight fresh vegetable recipes.  Hope to see more from her!  She created a spicy baked side or suggests that it could be served over rice for a vegetarian main.  I think it would be a great topping for flatbread or pizza.

 

pcc-garden

Tangy Spinach with Lentils and Goat Cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne red pepper

10 oz regular spinach – rinsed, stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch slices (or 1-10 oz bagged baby spinach)

2 cups cooked lentils drained

1 small fresh tomato, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 oz goat cheese 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover and mix in the lentils, tomato, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted, about 4 more minutes.

3. Transfer the spinach to the baking dish and dot with goat cheese, pushing it down into the dish.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the goat cheese is lightly browned.

 

Next we have Lisa’s entry from Lime in the Coconut:

Lisa put a Mediterranean twist on the challenge ingredients.  Or at least I like to think so because lentil spreads remind me of delicious hummus and babaganush dips.  You’ll have to check out her blog for detail pictures which will help tremendously when you make her dish.  The roasted garlic head looks amazing!

pccbrus

Goat Cheese and Lentil Bruschetta Topped with Fresh Baby Spinach

1 cup lentils

2 sprigs rosemary

2 small bay leaves

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 head of roasted garlic (to roast the garlic cut off the top, brush it with olive oil and place it in a baking dish. Pour water into the dish so it goes about 1/2 way up the head of garlic. Cover with foil. Preheat your oven to 425 and put in the garlic for about an hour or until soft. Remove, let cool and then squeeze out your soft cloves

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

1 loaf of French baguette

16 oz of spreadable herbed goat cheese (or any variety of goat cheese you like)

 

1.  To make the lentil spread, combine your dry lentils, rosemary, bay leaves, chicken stock and water in a pot and place the lid cocked over top to let steam escape. Turn the burner to medium heat and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until lentils are tender.

2.  Once lentils are cooked, drain them, remove the bay leaves and the rosemary stems (many of the rosemary leaves will have come off the stems, this is fine it will all get pureed in the food processor. You just have to remove any woody stems.) Place the lentils in a food processor, add your lemon juice, garlic and vinegar and process. Stream in the olive oil as the processor is running until you have a creamy spread-like consistency. Add in salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

3.  Preheat your oven to 350. Slice your baguette in half longways, as if you’re going to make a sandwich with the entire baguette. Once you’ve done that then slice it into 4 in pieces. Drizzle olive oil over each piece, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in your oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until bread is toasted. If it’s warm out you can grill your bread, or if you have an indoor grill you can grill your bread. It was cold outside and I didn’t feel like pulling out my indoor grill pan so I toasted it in the oven. Worked just fine.

4.  Once the bread is toasty, pull it out and spread a layer of goat cheese on each piece.

5.  Then spread a thick layer of lentil spread on each piece.

6.  Finally, top with a handful of baby spinach leaves.

7.  You can place the bruschetta back in the oven for about 3 minutes to wilt the spinach just a bit and warm the spreads.


Finally we have Cookie from Workout then Cook:

In the past month, Cookie has added some great sounding fall seasonal recipes on her blog which everyone should checkout.  For the challenge, Cookie stuffed a pork chop with a delicious sounding goat cheese spinach mixture and served with a light lemon lentil salad.  The pork chop looks fantastic as I love the stuffing idea.  


ppcporkchops

Pork Chops stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

2 oz goat cheese, softened

½ tsp grated lemon rind

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 boneless pork chops

 

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  In medium bowl, mix cheese, mustard, lemon rind and spinach until well blended.

3.  Using a sharp knife, slice pockets into chops by slicing horizontally into the side, and almost through to the other side. Season the outside with salt and pepper. Stuff chops with spinach mixture, allowing stuffing to overflow out of pockets.

4.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and sear on 1 side until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip chops and cook another 4 minutes until done.

 

Lentil Salad with Lemon Dressing

½ c dried brown lentils

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1.  Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Place in large bowl. Mix in tomatoes.

2.  Whisk together olive oil, mustard and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Add goat cheese. Transfer salad to serving bowl or platter.

 

So after three days of thinking I’ve finally picked a winner.  And the winner is…Kate from Paved with Good Intentions!  I loved her soup idea and it really fits with the fall season.  She creatively used all of the ingredients in a classic dish.  I really would love to make this soup.  Congratulations!  Be sure to check out her blog and the continuation of the Platinum Chef Challenge.

 

Smashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives November 19, 2008

Filed under: Side dish,Uncategorized — xigumdrops @ 8:49 am
Tags: , , ,

smashed-potatoes

A good quick recipe for hearty mashed potatoes.  I added some butter to boost the flavor.  I subbed the Yukon Gold with Russet and cut out half of the skin to make up for the change in skin texture.  Changes in green.

Source:  Ellie Krieger The Food You Crave

1 1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 medium), left unpeeled (4 medium Russet potatoes, skin half peeled)

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, warmed

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbs. butter

 

1.  Place the potatoes in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water.  Cover and steam until the potatoes are knife-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.  Hmm I have never thought to steaming potatoes!  Unfortunately, I did not try it to get a review.  I covered potatoes with water and then boiled and cooked potatoes until knifer-tender.

2.  Drain the potatoes and return them to their pot.  Add the warm broth and coarsely mash.  Stir in the sour cream, butter and chives, season with salt and pepper.

 

Arugula Fuji Apple Salad with Vinaigrette October 5, 2008

I got the idea from an LAPD banquet that I attended on Saturday and thought it would work perfectly for the Platinum Chef Challenge #9.  #9 ingredients include apples, shallots, bacon, mushrooms, and sage.  This salad goes with my walnut crusted pork chops and was really delicious.  I cut the apples into fancy slices to create visual appeal but it would be just as good with the apples cut into wedges.

Vinaigrette:  

2 Tbs and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 shallot, minced

pinch granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 slices turkey bacon

1/2 Tbs. butter

3 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large fuji apple, thinly sliced cross-wise

Arugula, about 1 cup

Coarsely chopped walnuts

 

1.  Combine first 7 ingredients into a small bowl.  

2.  Cook bacon on medium-low heat until a small amount of drippings forms in the pan.  Push bacon to the side and add butter to the drippings.  Once butter has melted, sauce mushrooms until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  You may continue to cook bacon until it is crispy if you prefer it crisper.

3.  Crumble or chop bacon (depending on if you liked it crispy or soft) and add bacon and mushrooms to the vinaigrette.  Save bacon drippings to make Walnut Crusted Pork recipe.

 

4.  Place an apple slice on a plate, top with vinaigrette, then top with arugula.  Place an additional apple slice on top of the arugula, followed by vinaigrette and arugula.  Top with final apple slice and sprinkle with walnuts.  Serve with Walnut Crusted Pork and wild rice.

Visit #9 Platinum Chef Challenge at Lime in Coconut.

 

Sweet Potato Fries September 15, 2008

I love sweet potatoes and these were pretty quick and easy to make.  The fries didn’t crisp up at all so I turned up the heat after the 30 minutes to 450 and baked for another 5 minutes to add some browned bits to the fries.  Changes in green.

Source:  http://sarahscucinabella.com/

1/4 cup extra virgin oil oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2-3 large sweet potatoes 

 

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (preferably the easy release kind).

2.  Peal the sweet potatoes. Cut into strips that are about 1/2 inch wide on each side.

3.  Place the sweet potatoes into a sealable plastic bag. Add oil, salt, paprika and cinnamon. Seal the bag and shake well to thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

4.  Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm.

5.  After 30 minutes, increase heat to 450 degrees.  Bake an additional 5-10 minutes to brown potatoes.

 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes August 22, 2008

These potatoes are pretty time consuming but really delicious.  They would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving as an alternative to traditional sweet potatoes. The chipotle flavor is very mild. I cut the recipe in half and it made enough for 2 large sweet potatoes split into 4 servings (with a 1/4 cup extra sauce leftover).  I substituted about 1 Tbs. of brown sugar for the maple syrup and it turned out great.  You could add more if you like a sweeter taste.  I also replaced half of the heavy cream with whole milk to make it a bit healthier.  I used a microwave to soften the potatoes instead of an oven for the “first bake”.  Changes in green.

Source:  Food Network Bobby Flay

4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed (and pricked of course) 
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (half heavy cream, half whole milk)
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo, pureed (I used the full 1 Tbs. chipotle in my 1/2 recipe)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
1/4 cup creme fraiche  (reduced fat sour cream)
1/2 cup maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons (1 Tbs. brown sugar)
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
Nonstick cooking spray

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.1.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until soft, 45 to 50 minutes. (Microwave 3 minutes per side, alternating sides until soft; about 12 minutes.) Remove the potatoes from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh, being careful not to damage the skin. Rice the flesh in a ricer set over a bowl.  

2.  Bring the heavy cream and chipotle puree to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir the warm cream, butter, creme fraiche and 1/2 cup of the maple syrup (brown sugar) into the sweet potato mixture until combined. (Gradually blend in the sauce because you don’t need it all) Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray. Fill each of the skins with the cream mixture, place back on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown (15-20 min). Remove the potatoes to a platter and drizzle the tops of each with the remaining maple syrup (omitted).