Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweet Mustard Pork Chops

I've made these pork chops like three times since I took the picture, but each time I was too busy devouring them to write about how yummy they are.

I love summer. I used to think winter was my favorite season but that was before I experienced a blizzard. Now I long for three straight months of wearing shorts and three straight months of firing up the grill every weekend (and every other week day). Summer isn't even half over and I'm fighting back tears thinking about the end of it.

These pork chops are the simplest thing in the world. And so tasty. I've made them with thick and thin(ner) cut chops and they are delicious either way. If you don't like dijon you're crazy...but also you shouldn't be afraid of an overly mustardy flavor because its very subtle in this recipe.

Sweet Mustard Pork Chops
recipe from Tasty Kitchen

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 (scant) cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
black pepper
4 bone-in center cut pork chops (or cut and thickness of your choice)

In a bowl whisk together the honey, soy sauce, dijon, lemon juice, garlic and several turns of fresh cracked pepper. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of marinade in a small bowl for basting. Place the pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag and pour the remaining marinade over them. Seal the bag and squish the marinade all around the pork chops. Place the chops in the fridge for 4-8 hours. After chops have marinated grill them over medium high heat for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Brush them with extra marinade when you turn them and again when you pull them off if you'd like. If they seem to be getting too charred move them to cooler part of the grill.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zucchini Spice Muffins

I remember hearing someone talk about zucchini bread when i was a kid and i thought it sounded so weird. Dude. It's GOOD. This was my first experience baking with zucchini and I was quite pleased. My friend Bekah has lots of zucchini recipes I'm looking forward to trying.

I know its not really the season for spice cakes and muffins but you'll have to make an exception and try these, because like I said dude...they're GOOD. Also, these are not too sweet. I think they're perfect served warm with a little pat of butter for breakfast.

Zucchini Spice Muffins
recipe adapted from Serious Eats

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/4 t salt
2/3 C quick cooking oats
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C canola oil
2 eggs
2 C packed grated zucchini (this ended up being exactly two mediumish zucchini for me)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  In a bowl whisk together the flour, soda, spices, salt and oats. In a separate, larger bowl beat together the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs and combine well. Stir in the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches until everything is just combined. Fill the paper liners 3/4 of the way full with batter. I actually got 15 muffins out of this recipe. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Early Summer Pasta Salad

I was so excited about my first trip to the farmer's market this year. Too excited. I came home with four pounds of squash and 3 pounds of green beans (there wasn't much else to choose from this early in the summer). Then I remembered that I am the only person in my family of three who actually eats veggies. Whatev. I see zucchini bread in my near future. Stay tuned.

In the meantime I threw together this pasta salad to bring to my dad. At least someone will celebrate my farmer's market finds with me.

I was on vacation for a week and a half and came back to a brown herb garden (but some promising looking tomatoes) so I'm sorry for the lack of fresh parsley.

Early Summer Pasta Salad

1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into smaller pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 c short pasta (dry), I used macaroni
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbs olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of italian seasoning
black pepper
1/4 c parmesan, grated

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add plenty of salt, throw the green beans in for 4-5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon (you still want them a little crisp). Run under cold water to stop cooking and throw them in a mixing bowl. Throw the zucchini in the same bowl (uncooked). Toss your pasta into the boiling water and cook until done. Drain and add to the mixing bowl. While the pasta is boiling whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings. Taste the dressing and adjust accordingly. Pour the dressing over the warm pasta and toss everything together. Add the parmesan and toss. Taste it. Taste it again. And again. Cover and stick in the fridge for a few hours.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chipotle Shrimp Skewers

I'm a little late to the chipotle party. I mean I've been eating and enjoying them for years, but I've only cooked with them twice...the first time being less than a week ago. I'm in love. So spicy. So smoky. So perfect on the grill!!

Chipotle Shrimp Skewers
recipe slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp reserved adobo sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbs chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (much prettier if you leave the tails on)
pineapple slices, optional

Place all ingredients except shrimp and pineapple into a food processor or blender. Pulse until a paste has formed. Place the shrimp in a shallow dish or plastic bag. Dump the marinade over the shrimp and coat thoroughly. Use a spatula to make sure you get all the marinade's thick stuff. Let the shrimp sit in marinade for 20 minutes. Skewer the shrimp making sure not to overcrowd the skewers. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for an hour before using. Heat your grill (or cool your grill, if using charcoal) to medium-medium/high heat. Grill the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes on each side. If using, place pineapple slices on the grill at the same time cook for just a minute or so on each side to give them a little char.

I also cut some russet potatoes into wedges, boiled them for just a few minutes and let 'em cool. Then I tossed them in some oil and GrillMates Montreal steak seasoning and put them on the grill for some color. The spinach is just tossed with some fresh orange juice, salt and pepper. This shrimp would be great over rice, but I was fresh out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thai Pork and Noodles

I want to apologize now for the photo you will see at the end of this post. I realize none of my pictures are pretty, but something about the lighting combined with improper plating combined with a crappy camera made this one especially bad.

That being said, this was absolutely effin' delicious and I can't wait to eat it cold for lunch tomorrow. Slowly but surely I've been introducing some Asian ingredients into some of the foods Billy will actually eat. I was a little nervous about the fish sauce as the smell can be a little off putting (I love it..but remember how Billy is all picky and stuff?). Thankfully he was playing video games while I cooked so his brain was too concentrated on killing the enemy to smell the fish sauce. He gobbled it up and so did I. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes on top of mine because I'm spicy like that. I think when I'm done typing this I'm going to have a few more forkfuls from the fridge.

Thai Pork and Noodles
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, April 2011

1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 slices peeled ginger, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (and seeded if you dont want the heat)
2 Tbs chopped onion
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
4 Tbs canola oil
1 lb thin boneless pork chops, sliced into very thin strips
1/4 lb green beans, split lengthwise
8 oz wide Thai rice noodles

In a food processor or blender combine the cilantro, lime zest and juice, ginger, garlic, jalapenos, onion, fish sauce, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water until pureed. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the rice noodles and allow to soak until tender yet slightly firm. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet or wok, heat 3 Tbs canola oil, add about half of the cilantro puree and fry for a minute or so. Add the pork and stir fry over high heat until done, maybe 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove pork and set aside on a plate. Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir fry the green beans for a minute or so then add the noodles, pork, and two tablespoons cilantro puree or more to taste. Turn off heat and toss everything together quickly. After plating, individuals can add more cilantro puree to taste, if it isn't all mixed in the dish already :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemon-Berry Cake

So I've had my eye on this Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Cake ever since it was featured on the Tasty Kitchen blog sometime last month. But in true Em fashion, I have forgotten to pick up blueberries and buttermilk every single time I've walked into the grocery store. I had sour cream, milk, and strawberries, so I decided to play with the recipe just a little. It's just perfect, not too sweet, very simple, and so fresh tasting. I think I'll make a couple of these and a couple with blueberries for Easter dinner at my parents' house.

Lemon-Berry Cake

1 cup ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
4 Tbs butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus 2 Tbs for sprinkling on top
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or lemon extract if you want an extra lemony kick)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 whole milk
5 oz fresh berries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a round cake pan with non-stick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, add extract, lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Add egg and combine well. Whisk together sour cream and milk until smooth in a small dish. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream/milk mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Finally, fold in the berries. Pour into cake pan, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 25 minutes or so, invert it, let it cool completely and slice. Dust it with some powdered sugar or plop some whipped cream on it!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

French Breakfast Puffs

I've decided to start naming my posts after whatever recipe they contain. It'll make it easier for me to organize things if I ever decide to make a recipe index. I'm glad I told you that.

Weekdays are cereal for Billy and the Kid and either cereal or fruit and yogurt for me. On weekends I like to get a little more involved and actually cook something. Spread out. Make a mess. You know.. I've been doing the pancake thing for about a month or so, and have tried some really yummy recipes, but this morning I was over pancakes. I was over pancakes but at the same time I didn't have much to work with in my kitchen. I turned to Pioneer Woman, knowing she would provide me with something simple yet scrumptious. And she did. There's not much to say about these beauties. They're warm, buttery and coated in cinnamon sugar. Do it.

French Breakfast Puffs
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 1/2 cups ap flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

for the coating:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 6 muffin cups. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl cream together sugar and shortening. Add the egg and mix well. Add one third of the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then add half the milk, then another third of the dry get the idea. End with the dry ingredients. Divide the batter evenly between the six muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes (I had to go 30) until golden. Set the puffs aside and melt the butter in a dish. In a separate dish mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Dip the warm puffs in melted butter, coating thoroughly and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

I like the brown one up front. I'm about to make it my bitch.