Monday, July 26, 2010

The Pleasures of a Simple Dinner

You would think I have nothing to do judging by recent frequency of posting. Let me assure you, I do (have many things to do, that is); but I would rather not. I simply wanted to share our favorite way of doing pork chops (a cheap, delicious staple), along with an easy appetizer recipe. The appetizer recipe is one my husband likes making, and even though in most cases I am not a fan of radishes, it is delicious.

Radish Toasts: Thinly slice radish using a vegetable peeler, layer on baguette spread with butter, finish with coarse salt. These make a great easy party dish, too.

Simple steps to delicious pork chops: Heat oil - better, leftover bacon fat - in skillet (use cast iron if you have it) over medium high. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. When oil/fat is hot, cook chops for 3 minutes. Flip and turn heat to medium, cook 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chop. Remove and place on plate, tent with foil and let sit for another 5 minutes or so. Done! (Enjoyed here with homemade applesauce and a Manhattan.)

On the side, a green salad with heirloom tomato - lettuce and tomato courtesy of farmer's market - over which husband later decided to shave a few more radishes (delicious).

There you have it: simple dinner. Enjoy with a glass of wine, or a cocktail if desired.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Banana Bread Two Ways

No beer in this post. Just bananas. I didn't get a picture of the loaf, because you know what banana bread looks like. Not that bananas are anything new either (to most of us), but:

<---- Mmm, bananas.

This is the only banana bread recipe I've used since college. Call me boring - maybe there are better recipes out there - but this one always turns out well. It's slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine (I know! Light! - but I promise it's good) from probably at least six years ago. Here's the basic recipe:

2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/4 c butter, softened (hence, light)
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 c mashed ripe banana (about 3 - I usually have this many or more old nasty brown bananas lying about in my freezer, which is where they go when I buy bananas, don't eat them, and don't have time right then to make banana bread)
1/3 c plain yogurt - you can use low-fat if you're really into the light thing...
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Cream softened butter and sugar with mixer; add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add flour, baking soda and salt and beat on low until moist and incorporated. Spoon batter into buttered (or cooking-sprayed) loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes or so in pan on wire rack, then remove from pan and cool on rack.

Same measurements for: flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, butter, banana, eggs, yogurt. Recipe doesn't call for vanilla but I don't see why not, if you really wanted to.
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT: 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Follow same procedure (up until putting the batter into the loaf pan). Melt chocolate chips in a medium bowl for about a minute in a microwave and stir until smooth; cool slightly. Add 1 c batter to chocolate and stir to combine well. Spoon chocolate batter into buttered (/cooking-sprayed) loaf pan alternately with plain batter (keep in mind there is much less chocolate batter as you portion it out). Swirl batters together using a knife - a figure eight type patter usually works. Then follow same directions as above for plain loaf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Beer Battered Squash Blossoms

This recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - we used squash blossoms (somewhat hard to find; try them if you can find them at your local farmstand or market) but essentially you can batter and fry almost any vegetable, although the cooking time varies. Once we finished with the squash blossoms, we had leftover batter and subsequently battered and fried zucchini. [But note: this was simultaneously a brilliant and a horrible idea - brilliant because it was very good, horrible because I ate too much and had a stomachache the rest of the night.]

oil for frying (neutral eg. vegetable, corn...)
1 c flour + more for dredging
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup beer (or sparkling water)
kosher/coarse salt for finishing

Put enough oil in deep pan on stove over medium high; prepare veggies as you allow the oil to heat - bring oil to 350 degrees. Mix batter ingredients but be careful not to overmix. Dredge veggies in flour, then dip in batter. Add veggies to oil - don't overcrowd to allow for proper browning. Cook and turn once if needed, until golden (a couple minutes). Drain and serve, sprinkled with coarse salt.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Spice-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

If it didn't taste so good, I would still post this for the photo of the chicken.

3lb. chicken
1 can beer
KC's All-Purpose Barbeque Seasoning (or BBQ rub of choice)

1. set oven to 350ยบ.
2. rub chicken with rub all over, inside & out. drink 2 swigs from can 'o beer. sit chicken on can in shallow baking dish (cf. illustration).
3. put in oven, 1 hr. done.

It is that simple to have really, really moist chicken. Nor does the beer flavor it so much that you can't make an awesome spiced-up chicken sandwich for lunch the next day.