Cider Braised BBQ Pork Chops

So… I was trying out that Apple Cider Boxed Stuffing hack from a friend, and needed something to go with.

Hmmm. Cider braised pork chops, with the added plus of my own, nicely zippy Barbecue Sauce should do the trick.

And, as it happens, I was correct.

I chose thick cut, bone-in chops because I think that the bone adds a lot of flavor when cooking, but you do what you like.

INGREDIENTS
•Seasoning blend*
•4 pork chops – I like bone-in best for the flavor, but you do what you like
•2 tbsp avocado, olive, or canola oil
•2 cups apple cider
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•1/2 cup barbecue sauce

*I used this Zesty Apple Rub we picked up in NOLA last year; a nice blend of salt, brown sugar, apple powder, red pepper, paprika, onion, garlic, and chili powder, and thyme.

Season both sides of the chops with your seasoning blend of choice, then heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Arrange the chops in the pan in a single layer and cook five minutes per side, until they are nicely browned and mebbe a touch crispity in places.

Don’t worry about the chops being completely cooked, we have another step or two to go through before serving them.

Remove the chops to a platter and add the cider to the hot pan, scraping up any of those tasty browned and blackened bits from the bottom of the pan.

Note: this will also make final clean up a whole lot easier.

Bring the cider to a boil, continuing to scrape the pan bottom, then add the butter and stir until it has melted.

Lower the heat and add the chops back to the pan.

Simmer, uncovered, for 15 or 20 minutes, until the cider has reduced and the chops are cooked through (a sensor inserted in the thickest part of the chop should read 145º).

Stir in the barbecue sauce and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced a bit more and everything is heated through.

Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and set aside to rest for five or ten minutes.

Serve.

This may very well be my husband’s new favorite way to enjoy pork chops.

I guess mebbe you should try it and see if you agree.

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Kimchi Sauté

We were having friends over for an afternoon of wine and conversation, and somewhere or another, the nice folk at Bon Appétit had provided me with a recipe that seemed tailor made to this crowd: Kimchi-Style Sautéed Cabbage.

No doubt this would make for a fine side dish, but I pictured it more as a room temperature relish to go with crackers and chips and such.

So. A multi-purpose dish, then.

Works!

Note: as always, I changed some ingredients to suit what I had on hand, while still trying to keep to kimchi flavors.

INGREDIENTS
Dressing:
•2 scallions, cut into 1/2″ pieces
•2 garlic cloves
•1 tsp grated ginger
•1 tbsp gochujang barbecue sauce
•1 tbsp Sambal Oelek
•1 tbsp fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
•1 tbsp rice vinegar
•2 tbsp canola oil

Salad:
•1 tbsp avocado or canola oil
•1 bag coleslaw mix
•Sliced scallions
•Kosher salt (if needed)

Combine the dressing ingredients together in a blender or mini food processor.

Pulse until well you have a well blended, thick dressing.

Warm the oil in a large sauce pan, then add the coleslaw mix and sauté for five minutes, just until the cabbage is crisp-tender.

Transfer the cabbage to a bowl with additional sliced scallions and toss with the dressing to coat evenly.

Go ahead and serve right away, if you like, but I transferred mine to a small bowl, covered it tightly, and stashed in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to really blend, and to keep true to the “fermentation” tradition of actual kimchi.

Good call, I think.

Tasty kimchi!

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Apple Cider Stuffing

A week or so ago, a friend posted on Facebook about her comfort food answer to a bad cold: Stove Top Stuffing made with apple cider instead of water.

Hmmm.

When you consider that the New England area I grew up in in the 1970’s contained several apple orchards, and even a (rather nice) restaurant called “Orchard Grove;” I had never heard of this combination – probably because my dad thought it’d be

spicy or something like that (otherwise, he was a hoooge fan o’ the Stove Top).

So, I found some lovely, thick cut, bone-in pork chops to braise in cider then finish off with a cider barbecue sauce; and set about to try this magical sounding concoction.

And, you know what?

It is not at all bad! My husband even suggested I make this for Thanksgiving.

I think not.

Stove top and cider is fine for a weeknight dinner, or, in Lorrie’s case, a bit o’ feel better comfort food; but, for the BIG DAY? No. My take on my mom’s Sausage Stuffing it is.

I also took the liberty of adding some veggies and additional seasonings, which seemed to be popular with the household.

INGREDIENTS
•Diced celery
•Diced sweet onion
•Diced garlic
•1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 cup apple cider
•4 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 box Stove Top Stuffing

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Warm the oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat, then add the celery, onion, garlic, and Sherry Peppers Sauce.

Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender – about six or seven minutes.

Transfer the veggies to a ‘wave safe bowl, then add the cider to the pan along with the butter, scraping up and browned and/or blackened bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up those browned and/or blackened bits, until the butter is melted and the cider reduced and thickened a bit – mebbe five or ten minutes more.

A note on those blackened bits on the bottom of the pan: by adding the cider and butter, and simmering to reduce, scraping those bits of flavor up and into the cider, you have also made later clean up a snap. This pan will call for little elbow grease to clean! Wine, brandy, stock, or even water will work, too,though water will not give you a flavor bump.

Sooo.

Cider and butter combined, pan nicely
pre-cleaned, and veggies and stuffing mix in that ‘wave safe bowl; pour the cider mixture over the veggies and stuffing, and stir to combine well.

Cover, and ‘wave according to package instructions. You could also cover and bake according to package instructions, or just stir it all together in that nicely pre-cleaned pan and heat through.

It is all good.

And, I mean that!

What a tasty, terrific hack on packaged stuffing mix!

Thanks, Lorrie!

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French Onion Soup in the Instant Pot

Last week, I got an email from somewhere with the headline “Instant Pot Soups!”

Hmmm…

I love me some French onion soup, and never really considered trying it in the Instant Pot; but the timing, the weather, and the fact that it all gets done in one appliance – well, except for the bread – looked too, too good not to try.

So, I went ahead, and, YUM.

I will admit that my husband and several friends thought I was a touch heavy handed on the black pepper, so I have adjusted the amount called for for this post, but everyone thought it one of the best onion soups they’d had, so, winner!

And, thanks to wellplated.com for posting the original recipe, and for showing me how to use the bone broth I’ve been noticing in the soup stock aisle at my local markets.

On to the soup!

INGREDIENTS
•3 tbsp unsalted butter
•3 very large yellow onions or Spanish onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick – about 10 to 12 cups
•2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
•2 springs fresh thyme
•1 bay leaf
•3 tbsp water
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 cup dry red wine
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•4 cartons (8.25-oz) beef bone broth
•4 cups beef stock
•1/2 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar (optional)
•Sourdough rolls
•Sliced Gruyère cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Set your Instant Pot – mine is actually a Fagor Cooker – to sauté and melt the butter.

Add the onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, tossing to blend and coat with the butter.

Cook for five minutes or so, until the onions have softened and started to release liquid.

Stir in the three tablespoons of water and the Sherry Peppers Sauce, then lock the cover into place and seal the pot.

Set to cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes, then quick release the pressure (use a clean kitchen towel to help keep the steam from burning you).

Remove the lid, set the pot back to Sauté and cook for five minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits that may be on the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the wine and simmer (still on Sauté setting) for 15 minutes, until the stock has reduced and thickened a bit. Remove the thyme and the bay leaf.

Add the bone broth and beef stock and continue to simmer for 45 minutes more.

Give the soup a taste, and add salt or pepper if you think it needs it.

This would be a good time to stir in the sherry vinegar, if you’re using it.

Slice the sourdough rolls in half, arrange, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and top with the Gruyère slices.

Pop under the broiler and cook for five minutes or so, until the cheese is browned a bit and nicely bubbly.

Ladle the soup into bowls, add a roll half or two on top, and serve.

Nice soup!

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Date and Raisin Slices

Don’t dismiss some of those older recipes out of hand as being hopelessly out of touch with today’s tastes. Some of them are amazingly on point.

Such as this recipe.

I belong to a Facebook group called “Recipe Clippings,” that, instead of just posting a recipe, you must instead post an image of a recipe – hand written card, a page torn from a magazine – that kind of stuff. This recipe was shared from a recipe card.

Naturally gluten free, and made up entirely of dried fruits and nuts, with just a dusting of powdered sugar on the outside; these sliced bits of goodness will more than fill your sweet tooth, and come together in next to no time. IN fact, I think it took me longer to wash the food processor bowl than it took to measure and make the whole thing.

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup raisins
•1/4 cup pitted prunes
•1 cup pitted dates
•Grated peel of one orange
•Grated peel of one lemon
•1/4 cup chopped walnuts
•1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Note: after sharing these slices with friends, we all agree that the orange and lemon zest are key here; they add a bright, fresh note, so, don’t skip it.

Place the fruits, walnuts, orange and lemon peel in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Form into a roll about seven inches long.

Roll in the confectioners’ sugar.

Wrap in plastic wrap  – I used waxed paper – and chill.

Serve sliced.

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Cottage Cheese Waffles

I had some cottage cheese leftover from making a batch of White Lasagna, so went on the interwebs to see what suggestions I could find.

Hmmm. Cottage cheese pancakes looked interesting, but, surely, if one could make pancakes with cottage cheese, one could also make waffles.

Right?

Most definitely. And man, are they tasty!

But first, a note on cottage cheese. I use full fat (4%) cottage cheese because, hey, it is only 4% fat, and, compare the ingredients in whole cottage cheese to those “light” and “no-fat” versions. I, personally, prefer “skim milk, cream, and salt” to the list of science experiments involved in removing some or all of the fat from cottage cheese. You should also compare ingredient lists among whole cottage cheese brands. Even some 4% cheeses have a lot of extra stuff added; unlike this Daisy container.

But, back to waffles! This recipe comes to us from the fine folk at Taste of Home, and will make eight waffles.

INGREDIENTS
•1 cup cottage cheese
•6 large eggs
•1/4 cup canola oil
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•1/2 cup flour
•1/4 tsp salt
•Butter
•Maple syrup

Add the eggs to the cottage cheese in a blender jar and pulse to combine.

Add the oil, vanilla, flour and salt, and pulse again to give you a thick batter, scraping down the sides of the blender jar in between pulses.

Waffle batter made, apply cooking spray to your waffle maker and preheat it. I set mine to the middle of the temperature range.

Pour the batter over the waffle plates, close the maker, and cook until the waffles are golden brown.

Transfer the cooked waffles to a pan in an oven heated to 200º and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Just a thought. My niece happens to like her waffles with Jalapeño Cheese Spread.

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Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

So, OK, you’ve made a pretty nice batch of Pineapple Relish, but…

you’ve got that juice leftover from the canned pineapple you used.

What to do?

Why, make a pineapple barbecue and dipping sauce, of course! Tasty on ribs and chicken and such on the grill, but live a little and enjoy it on chicken tenders, Soul Rolls, most anything that could use a bump.

INGREDIENTS
•12 oz Barbecue Sauce
•Juice from a 20 oz can of pineapple

A note on the barbecue sauce: I use my own, which is sweet and just a touch on the spicy side. Feel free to use your own preferred bottled sauce.

The method is dead simple…

Stir the juice into the barbecue sauce in a medium sauce pan and cook, stirring every now and then, over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and darkened in color.

When it as thick and dark as you like, remove from heat, allow to cool, then stash the sauce in the fridge until needed – I keep mine in one of those squeeze ketchup or mustard dispensers.

Serve as you will.

 

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Pineapple Relish

I was reading a novel, and one of the characters was enjoying pineapple relish on something or other, so, quicklikeabunny, I went to da Google, where I found a recipe for Hawaiian Hot Dogs with Pineapple Relish on Rachael Ray’s web site.

Her recipe looked really good, but I needed to make a few changes, based on the content of my pantry and crisper drawer, and also based on the fact that I am not a big fan of the cilantro. I also eschewed the hot dogs in favor of Soul Rolls.

And you know what? This is still a fine fresh relish for use in any number of tasty ways.

INGREDIENTS
Relish:
•2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
•1/2 cup diced red onion
•1 jalapeño, sliced
•2 cloves minced garlic
•1/4 cup cider vinegar
•2 tbsp key lime juice
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard – or Dijon Mustard
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp dried parsley*

Add Ins:
•1 Persian cucumber, sliced
•Sliced scallion

*If you have fresh parsley, by all means add it with the cucumber and scallion once the relish has been cooked and cooled.

Warm the oil in a sauce pan of medium heat, then add the onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook for five minutes.

Drain the pineapple, saving the juice to make a dipping sauce for the Soul Rolls,

Add the pineapple chunks to the veggies in the pan and cook for another ten minutes or so, until bits of the pineapple are browned in spots and mebbe a bit charred.

Reduce the heat to low, then add the vinegar, mustard, black and Aleppo pepper, and dried parsley (if using) and cook, uncovered for 30 minutes more, stirring often.

Run an immersion blender through the relish to give you a more or less smooth, spreadable relish – or – transfer to a blender and pulse a couple of times.

Transfer the relish to a bowl or other container, then, when cooled, stir in the cucumber, scallion, and fresh chopped parsley, if using.

Pretty darned spiffy on those Soul Rolls, if you ask me.

A note on the pineapple: I used chunk, because that’s what I had, but slices would probably be easier to brown.

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Parfait! Sherry Peppers Sauce

Y’know, I make a batch of this stuff three or four times a year – I literally add it to just about everything savory that I make – so I am kinda surprised that has been two years since I last re-shared my recipe.

And this is MY recipe. I picked up an old book at antique store by the Outerbridge company – a Bermuda concern that makes Sherry Peppers Sauce – and I was intrigued.

So, I did some research on the interwebs, compared and contrasted options and…

this is what I’ve come up with. A slightly sweet, kinda zippy sauce that adds a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to most any dish – from eggs to chicken wings to pasta sauce and soup or stew. It is that good.

INGREDIENTS
•32 oz hot cherry peppers, drained
•1/2 cup juice from the peppers
•2 (11.3 oz) cans tamarind nectar
•2 jalapeños, sliced
•3 cups water
•2 cups white vinegar
•3-3/4 cups sugar
•4 tsp pickling salt
•1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce
•1-1/4 cup sherry
•1 (3 oz) pouch liquid pectin or 6 tbsp powdered pectin

Note: add powdered pectin in the beginning, before boiling; add liquid AFTER boiling.

Look for the cherry peppers in the gourmet pickle section of your market (or at most any good Italian deli). The tamarind nectar is usually stocked with Mexican/Hispanic foods.

Stir all the ingredients together (except for the liquid pectin, if you are using it) in a large non-reactive pot and bring to a rolling boil for three minutes.

If using liquid pectin instead of powdered, stir it in now.

Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender.

Note: the sauce shouldn’t be totally smooth, you want some chunks of peppers and pepper seeds floating in it.

Pour the sauce into prepared canning jars and process for 15 minutes.

I usually get anywhere from 10 to 12 half pint jars, which will last me for three months or so.

I told you I use it a lot.

Now go on, get out there and sherry your peppers!

An important note on the sherry: do not use any of that “cooking” stuff from the supermarket. Buy yourself a decent bottle, many are not that expensive. I should note that that old standby, Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry works a treat here.

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White Lasagna

Rich came across a recipe on Taste of Home that he wanted me to try so, when we had some family up, I thought I’d experiment.

Hey, if you can’t experiment on family, who can you experiment on?

I know I posted a lasagna recipe a while back that is mostly white, with just a topping of red sauce – Julia Child’s Lasagna a la Française – but this one goes in another whole direction, using Italian sausage and cream cheese and half and half and stuff…

Well, let’s just start in on it, shall we?

But first; a note on cottage cheese. I only use full fat products because, have you seen what they put into the “lite/light/no fat” versions? It is not pretty. So, full fat cottage cheese is still only 4% – and naturally contains less fat than ricotta, so win. But. Check the ingredients! Note them on this container of Daisy® cottage cheese. Simple, right? Compare to ingredients on some other 4% cottage cheeses. There is a hoooge difference.

INGREDIENTS
•Olive oil
•9 lasagna noodles
•1 lb bulk Italian sausage
•2 cups diced onion
•2 cups diced celery
•1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1/2 cup white wine
•1 cup half and half
•1 tbsp Sherry peppers Sauce*
•3 oz cream cheese, cubed
•1/4 cup minced fresh basil
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 egg, lightly beaten
•2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
•2 cups cottage cheese
•Sliced Mozzarella cheese
•Sliced Swiss cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 375º.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the sausage, onion, celery, garlic, and Sherry Peppers Sauce and cook for about ten minutes, breaking up the sausage as you cook, until the sausage is no longer pink.

Drain, if you feel the need to, but my store made sausage did not leave a lot of fat after cooking.

Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and cook for four minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Reduce the heat to medium low, then add in the half and half, cream cheese, and seasonings, stirring until blended and the cream cheese has melted.

In a small bowl, stir the egg together with the shredded Cheddar and cottage cheese.

Brush the bottom of a rectangular 2-1/2 quart baking pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and arrange three lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.

Spread half of the sausage mixture over the noodles, then spread half of the Cheddar and cottage cheese mixture over that. Top with Mozzarella slices.

Repeat with three more noodles, the remaining sausage mixture, remaining Cheddar and cottage cheese blend, and more Mozzarella slices.

Top with three more noodles and the Swiss cheese slices.

Note: I had some of that basil paste in the fridge that needed using up, so I spread a bit of that over the top of the Swiss cheese.

Now, and this is very important. You may have noted that I did not cook the noodles; nor did I call for the “no-boil” variety. That is because they are all no-boil; if you do this…

Cover the pan tightly with foil, place on a large, rimmed baking sheet (in case of spilling) and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so.

Pull out of the oven and remove the foil. It’ll look something like this.

Noodles tender, cheese nicely melted, but…

a bit pale, so, back into the oven, uncovered this time, for another 15 minutes.

Now that, my friends, is some nicely melted and browned cheese.

And our white (well, more beige?) lasagna is almost ready.

Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes, then go ahead and serve.

Done deal, and wicked tasty!

Also a nice change from the more usual method and flavors.

And, as with most dishes like this, the leftovers were even better the next day, so, mebbe think about pre-baking tightly covered the night before, then cooling and stashing in the fridge. The next day, cook for mebbe 30 minutes, then uncover and cook until you achieve golden cheese-y perfection.

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