Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Garlic Roasted Pork Loin with Raspberry Chipotle Glaze

recipe slightly adapted from The Food Network

I was searching for a recipe one day and came across this recipe from the Food Network.  I had some leftover chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from making this amazing chipotle chicken taco salad and decided to try this pork loin recipe.  The glaze was so delicious.  I think it would be a perfect menu item for a holiday party.  I also made the accompanying wild rice and cranberry dressing, but wasn't as big of a fan of that.  I will definitely make the pork loin again, though.

Raspberry Chipotle Glaze
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup small diced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped
2 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed (I think you could have success with frozen raspberries as well)
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar with pomegranate)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring until soft and slightly caramelized, 4 minutes.  Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the chipotles and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.  Add the raspberries and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.  Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan.  Add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. 

Garlic Roasted Pork Loin
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound pork loin 
8 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
olive oil
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

For the pork loin, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Add oil to a large skillet until bottom is coated.  Season the pork loin with salt and pepper.  Sear the pork in the skillet on all sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.  

In a food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme.  Process until smooth.  Add enough oil to make the mixture a good, spreadable consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Remove the pork from the heat.  Carefully rub the garlic/herb mixture over the pork loin. Place pork on a roasting pan and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 40-45 minutes.  Five minutes before removing the roast from the oven, evenly spread the glaze over the top.  Remove the from oven and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.  Drizzle with leftover glaze.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

It is the time of year for all things pumpkin and this pumpkin bread recipe does not disappoint!  Mel from Mel's Kitchen Cafe  says that it tastes best when it has cooled completely for a few hours and even better the next day.  It is true... I tried a piece warm out of the oven, one a few hours later, and one after I had stored it in my refrigerator overnight, and it was definitely the tastiest the next day!  (Leave it to me to experiment with all three scenarios!)  

Recipe makes 2 (9x5 inch loaves) or 3 (8x4 inch loaves)

2 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar (I got away with about 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups and it still tasted wonderful)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans (or three 8x4 inch loaf pans).  In a  large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together canned pumpkin, oil, eggs, and 2/3 cup water until well combined and stir into dry ingredients, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no dry streaks remain.  Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove the bread from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Run a knife gently around the edge of the bread and turn bread out, right side up, onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Judy's Sugar Cookies with Glace Icing

sugar cookie recipe from my Mom, Glace Icing recipe from Our Best Bites

I love Halloween!  I love Fall!  And ever since I can remember, my Mom would make these darling sugar cookies around Halloween. We would use chocolate chips to make the Jack O' Lantern faces, but I wanted to try making them with the Glace Icing that the gals from Our Best Bites have posted on their website.  It was so fun and easy!  The thing I love about the glace icing is how cute the cookies turn out. They look more like bakery cookies and less like cookies I have made with my toddler!  I was so proud of how these turned out. ** Be sure to go over to the Glace Icing tutorial at Our Best Bites to see how you use different consistencies of icing for covering the cookie and for piping.  I also love how after you let the icing set, you can stack them without worrying about sticking, so it makes them perfect for giving away as cute little treats for the neighbors.... has anyone else been "BOOED"  lately? So here are the recipes!  I hope you enjoy them.  Happy Halloween! :)

Judy's Sugar Cookies
* this recipe makes approximately 68 cookies

2 cups butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
7 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer.  Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract and mix.  Then add baking powder, and flour a cup at a time to reach desired consistency.  Dough can be stored in refrigerator or used immediately.  Roll out to approximately 1/4 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes, then place cookies on cooling rack until completely cool.

Glace Icing

1 lb. powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
6 Tbsp whole milk
6 tbsp light corn syrup 
1 tsp extract (for our Halloween cookies my Mom always used Anise extract which gives the icing a black licorice flavor. I LOVE it, my husband hates it.  You can use vanilla or almond extract, whatever you prefer.)

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth.  Then stir in corn syrup and extract. You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. Thickened, you can pipe outlines, and as you thin it, you can use it for “flooding” cookies.  Make sure to let them dry overnight to fully harden for stacking. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Okay, I am still trying to hone my food photography skills.  Although this picture isn't my proudest effort, I want you to know that this chili is really delicious.  Check out Mel's picture from Mel's Kitchen Cafe for a picture that does this chili some justice.  It is a wonderfully hearty, delicious chili perfect for these cooler autumn nights.  Give it a shot. It has made several appearances at our dinner table and is truly tasty. Hope you like it!

*Serves 6-8

1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

suggested garnishes:  shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips

In a large pot (about 6 quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes.  Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.

The chili will thicken considerably upon cooling.  Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Super Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake

recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up

I don't know if my life will ever be the same. This chocolate zucchini cake is truly that good.  Usually I make a spice zucchini cake, but for the chocolate lover in all of us, this chocolate zucchini cake is truly out of this world!  Try it, you won't regret it.

And a note to all those who are trying to be health conscious and leave the peel of the zucchini on when you shred it for the extra vitamins (am I the only one that does this?), DON'T do it.  I was tempted to, but decided to follow the recipe exactly as it is.  In previous zucchini cakes and breads, I have left the peel on and it just doesn't result in the same consistency. It doesn't blend in well. If you peel and then shred your zucchini, you can't even tell the zucchini is there and your cake takes on a wonderful, moist and uniform consistency.  Let's just be honest... this is an indulgent treat and leaving the peel on for the extra vitamins is not really going to make a whole lot of difference. This is not a "healthy treat" even if you are trying to justify it by saying that there is a vegetable in there. So there is what I have learned about shredded zucchini. Take it for what it is worth. :)

Here's the life-changing recipe ... enjoy! :)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (We don't like nuts at our house, so I didn't add these to my cake)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Into your stand mixer or large mixing bowl, place 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1 3/4 cups sugar and 2 eggs. Mix well for about 3 minutes.  Into a medium sized mixing bowl place 2 1/2 cups flour, 4 Tablespoons cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves and 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Whisk until all dry ingredients are well distributed.  Pour 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla into the mixer.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and pour batter in.  Spread around with a knife.  Roughly chop up pecans (or not), and pour pecans, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup chocolate chips into the same mixing bowl you used for the dry ingredients. Toss the topping ingredients together and sprinkle them over the top of the cake batter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the oven, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.