Saturday, December 7, 2013
For most people look forward to Fridays because it's the end of the work week. I keep a pretty unconventional work schedule, so that isn't always the case. But I still look forward to Fridays because I get to wake up and read the Cook's Illustrated e-Newsletter. Each week it highlights 3 or 4 recipes from the archives, many of which I probably would never think of or search for if they didn't show up in my inbox each Friday morning. I don't always want to cook each and every one of them, but there's usually at least one that strikes my fancy. Last month this awesome Brussels sprout salad recipe was in the newsletter, and it immediately made the leap to my "Things from Cook's Illustrated to Make" list. (Yes, there is such a list in my life.)
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Friends, I am entering new territory here. I don't think I've ever done this before, but there's a first time for everything, right? I am going to blog about something that I didn't make. It was made for me, but it was just so delicious that I cannot keep it to myself.
On Tuesday night Jordan made me this simple but absolutely scrumptious pork loin, that combines several of my favorite flavors. First, 5 spice powder is one of those ingredients that I often forget about, which is sad, because it lends a wonderful slightly exotic but not overpowering flavor that I adore. You can never go wrong with onions, which also bulk up the sauce, and orange juice and prunes lend a sweet fruitiness that I absolutely cannot resist. (Prune skeptics, just stop. Prunes aren't just for old people anymore. Have you not seen Sunsweet's aggressive marketing campaign? They're delicious, and that's all there is to it,)
Combine spices, rub meat, brown, add liquid, cover, braise. So easy. The result is deliciously tender pork, and a sauce that becomes rich and thick with caramelized onions, sweet, sticky prunes and zesty orange flavor. I couldn't get enough of it. (I was eating it out of the pan by the end!) We tweaked this recipe a little, upping each of the sauce ingredients, because in this case, more is more (delicious sauce).
|It's no glamour shot, but check out that sauce! God, it was good.|
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I've been on a baked fruit kick lately after rediscovering a recipe I'd clipped a while back. (Remember that actually using all the recipes that I clip project that I started at the beginning of this year? It's still going....sort of.)
A couple weeks ago I was looking for a dessert to bring to some friends who were having me over for dinner. I was keen to find something light, since I feel like the bounty of the season is already catching up with me (specifically my hips). I decided upon a simple recipe for baked winter fruit from the Boston Globe. It's just a simple combination of apples, pears (you don't even need to peel them!), prunes, raisins, and dried cranberries, with a touch of orange juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar. You can also add slivered almonds or walnut pieces, if you wish. Mix, cover, and bake--that's all there is to it!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
A couple weeks ago I went to a talk by Christopher Kimball, founder of America's Test Kitchen. (ATK publishes Cook's Illustrated magazine, probably my favorite and most trusted food resource. If you're not already familiar with the magazine, check it out!)
It was only fitting that I'd already planned on making Cook's Illustrated's "Grown Up Grilled Cheese" after the talk. Quick background: my boyfriend Jordan and I have embarked on a project called The Year of Cheese, which we'll also be blogging. (As of today there's only an "About" page, but hopefully that will be remedied soon.) The project is pretty straight forward: sample a new cheese or two each week, sometimes straight up, sometimes in a cooked preparation, record impressions. We're only a few weeks in, but so far it's going deliciously.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
...is being able to make this chutney!"
This is approximately what a friend said last night when a group of us got together and made dinner, and I brought this mango chutney.
Inspired by a chutney my Mom made for me a few weeks ago (although it turned out to be entirely different), this mango chutney is as easy and delicious as it comes. The peeling and chopping is a tad bit time consuming, but once the fruits and veggies are all diced up, everything is dumped in one pot and cooks together. Spices and a dash of acid at the end complete this delicious condiment that you'll want to serve (or just eat with a spoon!) all winter long. Last night we served it over a brined pork tenderloin (more inspiration from Mom!), but I suspect it would be fantastic on chicken and lamb as well.
(Apologies for forgetting pictures--by the time dinner was on the table we all dug in and forgot the photos! I can guarantee I'll be making this again and again, so pictures will come eventually)
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I've had a short but intense love affair with frangipane, otherwise known as almond pastry cream. I can't remember the first time I had it--either at my first bakery job, where we made Cherry Frangipane Galettes, or perhaps it was on vacation with my family a few months prior to starting that job. Either way, it was about two years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. With almond paste at its base, it is similar in flavor to almond macaroons, (which happen to be my favorite cookies), but with a denser, richer texture. My favorite uses for frangipane are in tarts and galettes (rustic tarts), embellished with seasonal fruits of choice. I've made this tart several times in the winter with ginger poached pears, but for the summer, I love a combination of stone fruits and berries. A few weeks ago a dinner with friends gave me the opportunity to make this favorite dessert again.
I am a fan of all things Martha [Stewart], and her recipe has been my go-to since I discovered this delicious dessert. A basic pate sucree crust can be prepared up to a day ahead of time. The crust is pre-baked in a tart pan; the frangipane can be prepared while the tart shell cools. I've streamlined her fussy crust baking method just a bit--I think the results are probably comparable. You definitely need to start early in the day to allow sufficient time for chilling and cooling at the various stages, but it's not too hard to execute, and certainly worth the effort....At least that's what I gathered from the second helpings accepted all around!
Friday, April 19, 2013
So Boston/Cambridge/Watertown/Surrounding areas are on lockdown. I'm sure you know that.
I was woken up shortly after 6am this morning with simultaneous texts from my roommate, who was stuck at Logan Airport, and from the Cambridge Police. The police text said:
"This is the city of Cambridge. Do [sic] to the police investigation in Water Town [sic] and the surrounding area, MBTA."
TOTALLY unhelpful, but by then I was wide awake, so I turned on my computer to learn more. Good lord, things are CRAZY in this city right now. From my kitchen window I saw MBTA buses full of police being transported while I was eating breakfast. Otherwise there's been very little vehicular traffic and few people out along the river, which is usually packed with walkers, runners, and bikers. With the exception of occasional sirens, my neighborhood is very quiet, much like the whole city. After what seemed like a lot of activity this morning, mostly from various media outlets catching up on the night's activity, there's been little fresh news since late morning. It's kind of crazy to think that a city can literally shut down, and people more or less respect the command to stay inside, but so far it's working.
One friend wrote on Facebook that it feels like "a scary, weird snow day in spring." Which is true. Can't go outside, no where to go, and nothing to do. So clearly, that called for snow day amusement tactics, namely baking.