Monday, October 29, 2007

Feeling Domestic

I've been in a cooking/baking mood. I'm not sure if it is the change in the weather, the nearing holidays, or just the fact that I'm not in class right now and don't have much else to do. It might also have something to do with being severely limited in the amount of driving I can do until the first of the month (need more gas coupons, can't afford another $100+ tank of gas).

So, until I can get out and about I thought I'd share some of the recipes I've tried lately that have been a hit in my house. I try to cook with fresh ingredients whenever possible, but I don't mind taking shortcuts like using canned stock (who has the time to make fresh stock??). I also try to find recipes that are healthy. Most importantly, I like to make food that tastes good!

Pork Chops with Pear & Ginger Sauce
Yield: 4 servings; Total time: 40 minutes
  • 4 4-ounce boneless pork chops - 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
  • salt - to taste
  • pepper - to taste
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 firm, ripe pear - such as Bosc or Anjou, peeled, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger - peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
  • 6 scallions - trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tsp water - to mix with cornstarch
  1. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Pour off fat from the pan.
  2. Add vinegar and sugar to the pan; stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until the syrup turns dark amber, 10 to 20 seconds. Pour in wine (stand back, as the caramel may sputter) and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add broth, pears and ginger; bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, turning the pears occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add scallions and cook until the pears are tender, about 2 minutes more. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until lightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan; turn to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C. cake flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 1 C. canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. dark brown sugar
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients (whole wheat flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).
  2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk.
  3. Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.
Notes: You may substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour if that’s all you have on hand. You may also use only whole wheat flour, just increase whole wheat to 1 1/2 cups and omit cake flour; pancakes will be just a bit heavier. Light brown sugar or white sugar may be substituted for dark brown sugar. If you have it on hand, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Chipotle-Orange Chicken Cutlets
From Cooking Light Magazine, APRIL 2006
Yield: 4 servings
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle chile - about 1 chile
  • 2 tablespoons water - (optional)
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
  2. Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
  3. Combine flour, cumin, and salt in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in orange juice concentrate; dredge in flour mixture. Reserve concentrate.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high. Heat pan for 2 minutes or until butter starts to brown. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
  5. Stir in reserved concentrate, 1/2 cup water, and chile. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. (Thin sauce with 2 tablespoons water, if needed.)
  6. Combine rice and chopped cilantro. Serve with chicken. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Wild Rice with Cranberries and Caramelized Onions
From Sheena, her source was the Craisins package
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 medium onions - sliced in thin wedges
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup Craisins Orange Flavor Sweetened Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  1. Combine vegetable broth and both rices in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and brown sugar. Cook 6 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and onions are soft and translucent. Reduce heat to low. Slowly cook onions, stirring often for 25 minutes or until they are caramel color. Stir in Craisins Orange Flavored sweetened cranberries.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until cranberries swell. Gently fold cranberry mixture and orange zest into cooked rice.
Beef Stroganoff with Portobello Mushrooms
Yield: 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each; Total time: 40 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon canola oil - divided
  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms - stemmed, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or parsley - divided
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add steak and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (The meat will be rare, but will continue to cook as it rests.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut lengthwise into 2 long pieces then crosswise, across the grain, into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are very tender and lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Stir in broth, cognac (or brandy) and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in sour cream, chives (or parsley), the sliced steak and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Sweet Coconut Tapioca Soup with Bananas (Che Chuoi)
From Cooking Light Magazine, AUGUST 2004
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup uncooked granulated tapioca
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large ripe bananas - quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted - (optional)
  1. Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, tapioca, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in bananas. Remove from heat; cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm, or chill 3 hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
I hope you have a chance to try some of these recipes. Les and I loved all of them! I have more on the way, just need to try them before I share.

Happy Eating!

A small disclaimer: I did not author the recipes or take the pictures in this post. My source for each is listed.

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1 comment:

Pinch My Salt said...

Glad you liked the pancakes and thanks for sharing all those other yummy recipes! I think those pork chops sound really good! But it will be a while before I get to try them since my kitchen was packed up yesterday :-(