Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops with Polenta

I am ever so happy to finally contribute to this lovely blog dedicated to deliciousness. I just posted this same thing on my sister's food blog: Pots and Peter Pans. It is only the second time I have ever done it so I am quite proud of myself. It will be my policy from now on to post recipes on both blogs if I ever do get around to doing it at all. Zach actually picked out this recipe because he loves to grill meat. They turned out really great, but I want to see if it would be good just doing it in the oven instead of on the grill (that way I won't need Zach's help... I really should learn how to use it I guess). Next time I may experiment with that. If anyone else decides to try them in the oven, let us all know how it goes.

Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops
Prep: 25 Minutes, Grill: 35 Minutes
Makes 4 Servings (we made it into 6)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms (button, chanterelle, or shiitake... we used portabello)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
4 pork loin chops or pork rib chops, cut 1 1/4 inches think (we got them cut by the butcher)
1/4 cup ginger jelly or preserves or orange marmalade (we left this out, but it probably keeps it more tender)

1. For stuffing, in a small saucepan cook mushrooms and onion in hot better until onion is tender. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in ginger, salt, and pepper. Add spinach and bread crumbs, tossing gently until combined.
2. Trim fat from chops. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting horizontally from the fat side almost to the bone. Spoon one-forth of the stuffing into each pocket. Secure openings with wooden toothpicks. Sprinkle chops with additional salt and pepper.
3. For charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place chops on grill rack over pan. Cover; grill fro 35 to 40 minutes or until chops are slightly pink in center and juices run clear (160 degrees F) turning once, brushing occasionally with ginger jelly during the last 5 minutes of grilling (For gas grill, preheat. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as above)

*Compliments of Better Homes and Gardens New Grilling Cookbook

Polenta With Parmesan Cheese


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Slowly whisk in the polenta.
  3. Add the salt and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter. Mix well.
  5. Serve immediately.

Note: These directions did not say to turn down the heat, but I did anyway after I whisked in the Polenta. Even with the heat on Medium the Polenta started spitting out of the pot at me. I took it off the heat completely and then just put it back on simmer and it turned out fine. Also, one cup of Polenta should be 4 servings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Contrary to the evidence in my posts, I do actually make savory dishes, I just haven't taken any photos of them.  This was a recent success without photos but I decided to post it anyway.  I've been struggling with seafood lately, especially because I don't prefer to cook fish unless it's fresh.   Obviously not happening in AZ, so I was really happy with the outcome of this dish.  I think the secret was the lemon zest.  Also, love this because most of the ingredients I always have in my pantry.
Serves 6 (I halved this and we had about 4 servings, so the serving size is very generous)

Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lb linguine (I actually used mushroom tortellini and it worked really well with the shrimp)
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
5 tbsp good olive oil
9 cloves minced garlic (3 tbsp)
2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c chopped fresh parsley
 grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes

Drizzle some oil in large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt (I found this to be too salty, so pare it back a bit if you don't prefer salt) and the linguine and cook until al dente (about 7-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a large pan (12 in), bring to medium-low heat and melt butter and olive oil.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 min.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and saute until shrimp just turn pink, 5 min, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes.  Toss with drained pasta and serve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nutella Ice-cream

Now for the belated man-post:

Below is my improvisation with slight help from the ATK:

1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
6 tbs. nutella

1. Prepare ice-bath: set medium bowl in a large bowl filled with ice and water.

2. Heat milk, cream, 1/2 c. sugar, vanilla in med. sauce pan over med. heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and hot (~175°, if you have a thermometer handy)

3. In a separate bowl, mix yolks, 1/4 c. sugar, and nutella. Slowly add 1 c. of milk mixture to temper egg mix. Then add egg/milk mix bake into sauce pan and heat until hot, not simmering (~180°).

4. Put in ice-bath for 10 mins. Obviously the medium sized bowl and not the one with the ice! Then chill in fridge for 3 hrs.

5. But the nutella custard into your ice-cream machine and churn (25-35mins.). It should look like soft serve at this point. Then put into containers and freeze for at least 3 hrs. but, if you can wait this long, overnight.

I realize not everyone has an ice-cream attachment to their stand-mixer, but here is one reason to think about it. It has a consistency ten times better than anything you buy at the supermarket or even at a parlor. The one drawback is that you have to eat it within a week or else it gets freezer-burn, ha! as if that is a problem.

Island Pork Tenderloin

One of my favorite uses of pork tenderloin is this recipe, Island Pork Tenderloin (from the Gourmet Cookbook, 2004 - poor Gourmet...). I usually make the full recipe with 2 pork tenderloins, but the other night I just made a single tenderloin which was in the freezer. One was the perfect amount for two people - keeping in mind of course that one of those people is 34 weeks pregnant. The full recipe is supposed to serve 6.

For Pork - 2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin (I usually use half this since Patrick doesn't like it, and just use more chili powder or use some paprika instead)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (about 2.5 pounds or little less)
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For Glaze -
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. Tabasco

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon in small bowl. Coat pork with spice rub.
Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides for about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat, leave pork in skillet.
Stir together glaze ingredients in small bowl. Pat mixture onto tops of tenderloins. Roast about 20 minutes, until instant read thermometer inserted in pork registers at 140 F. Take out of oven and let pork stand in skillet, covered loosely with foil, for 10 minutes.
Cut pork at an angle into slices about 1/2 inch thick.

We like to eat this as the cookbook suggests, with (or in our case, on top of) a salad of greens, red bell pepper, avocado, and sliced oranges, with the juices from the skillet drizzled on top.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bittersweet Cafe Mocha

This really brought me back to Italy.  I seem to continue failing on the coffee front, but I marked this one as a success even though it destroyed my kitchen because I don't have any of the proper coffee making utensils (ie milk frother, espresso machine). However, that's why I love this recipe because I was able to recreate a delicious Italian coffee without the expense of a gorgeous copper espresso machine.

Makes 1 serving (I doubled this so I would have leftovers for an iced mocha the next day)
1 tbsp unsweeted cocoa powder (you want to use good cocoa powder like Dutch-process or natural cocoa power)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c brewed double strength coffee
dash of vanilla extract
1 c whole milk (I used 1 %)

In a saucepan over med heat combine cocoa, sugar, and coffee and heat until hot and steaming, 5 min.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour into a large mug with room for milk.

If you're without a milk frother like me, warm the milk in a saucepan over med-high heat until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.  Do not allow the milk to boil.  Pour the hot milk into the mug and stir to combine.

Yum.  Reminded me of the lattes in Assisi.  Did anyone else find the coffee in Assisi to be some of the best in the world?

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

I've started keeping Ricotta cheese on hand because it lasts forever, and I keep finding great recipes with it.  The ricotta in this keeps the pancakes very moist, and I'm a sucker for any recipe involving buttermilk (which I've never actually purchased, I just make my own by adding lemon to milk- I add 1/2 tbs. lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk and let sit for 10 min, and for this recipe I obviously tripled that).  And if you found you always went for the Limone flavor on your gelato tour of Italy, then you'll probably enjoy these.

Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c ricotta cheese (whole or part skim)
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp unsalted butter
strawberries for topping or maple syrup (optional)

In large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks, sugar, ricotta, and lemon zest.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until blended.  There will be some small lumps.

In a separate bowl, using a mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Using a spatula, fold the beaten whites into the ricotta mix just until blended.

Warm a frying pan or griddle to medium heat (just hot enough that a drop of water quickly evaporates).  Butter the surface and ladle about 1/4 c of batter onto surface.  Cook on med-low until edges look dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Flip and cook til golden.  Makes about 16 pancakes, and you can keep them warm uncovered in the oven at 250 while finishing the batter.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Oven Crespella with Nutella Sauce

Alright, this is an easy one.  Eliese sent it to me a while ago and I can't believe I haven't made it more often.  It's like a popover pancake; so easy to mix, with minimal clean up and you just pop it in the oven.  It is delicious with strawberries, though I've had it without and wouldn't have known it was missing anything.  I've found that 1/2 a cup makes more than enough nutella sauce (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), so you might want to skim back a bit.

 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons whole milk, divided (I've used 2% with success if whole milk isn't on hand)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread such as Nutella

confectioners sugar
chopped strawberries

Put a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet in middle of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.

Whisk together flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 1/2 cups milk in a bowl.

Add butter to skillet and heat in oven until golden, about 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet and bake until puffed, set, and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together Nutella and remaining 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. Thin sauce with additional milk if necessary.

Cool pancake in skillet on a rack 5 minutes (it will sink). Dust with confectioners sugar and drizzle with sauce. Serve with berries.