Saturday, March 21, 2009
I love bruschetta and you've seen my recipe before. Here is a perfect appetizer to throw together when you have unexpected company. Of course, this is only going to work if you keep your pantry well stocked. In the near future I will be posting about how I stock my pantry and all the items that I like to keep on hand. This time I happened to have a niece piece of fresh mozzarella in my fridge but in a pinch you can use any type of mozzarella. My mom likes to buy a lot of items in bulk so she buys a big bag of shredded mozarella in Costco and divides them into small bags and keeps them in her freezer. I buy mozzarella and other cheeses when they are on sale in the supermarket. If you have a block of Polly-o or Sorrento cheese that's fine, just slice it thin. If you have shredded mozzarella use enough to neatly cover the bread.
The next pantry item I used for this appetizer is a jar of roasted peppers. If you happen to have a few beautiful red bell peppers to roast I would definitely recommend that. If you would like to know how to do that, see my recipe here. However, we're talking about simple today so I didn't do that this time. Drain peppers and slice them into strips and place them in a bowl. I like to dress or "fix" my peppers (as my mom would say) with cracked garlic, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and a little salt. If you have the time let the peppers marinate in that mixture for an hour or as long as you can. If you are kalamata olive obsessed like Steve and I are you can throw in some olives. I always have some in the fridge that I pick up at the olive bar at our local Stop and Shop. So slice those in half or smaller and add them to the bowl with the peppers.
Now you're ready to make the bruschetta. Slice the bread on an angle so you have a larger surface area than you would have if you just sliced it straight down. Besides, it looks prettier this way, don't you think? Drizzle with a little oil and toast under the broiler, flip them over and toast the other side. Be careful not too cook them too long, you want a crunch but you don't want to burn them or break your teeth on them. Next add whatever type of cheese you have, fresh sliced, block sliced or shredded. Put back under the broiler just long enough until cheese melts. Arrange on a plate and top with roasted peppers and olives. That's it!
I know this isn't a structured recipe but when you're throwing something together in a pinch who has time to read a recipe, right? Hope this all made sense to you guys! If not, let me know and I will right up a "proper" recipe. :-)
Friday, March 20, 2009
I really like Skirt Steaks. My brother-in-law Tommy got me into them years ago but I don't make them that often. They tend to be fatty but the fat is visible and easy to trim. Steve didn't think he liked them so I shied away for them for a long time. Since I've been in the spirit of getting "The Boss" to try more things I like I decided to give them a shot. To my surprise, he actually approved of them. I love when I am able to get him to try (and like) new things. We have both been able to do this for each other. Steve got me into Sushi, Guacamole and Egg Drop soup! The soup is actually a funny/cute story. On one of our first few dates Steve and I decided to do Chinese Take-Out and a movie. When Steve took out the menu for his favorite Chinese Restaurant he went right to the Egg Drop - Wonton Mix soup and said that we have to get this because it's so good. I never had Egg Drop soup. One of my coworkers used to call it Phlegm Drop Soup and that's all I could think of. "Do you like that?" he asked. "Yes, yes, it's fine." I told him. I didn't want to seem like I was difficult. When the food came I was hesitant to try it but didn't let him know. So, I tasted it and LOVED it! From that moment on it's been my favorite thing to order at a Chinese Restaurant. I'll never order plain Wonton Soup again! Sometimes I'll even get just plain egg drop!
Wow, I certainly went off topic. Anyway, I came up with this marinade after looking at a few marinade recipes in my Weber cookbook. None of them jumped out at me so I used some of their ideas in combination with what I had in my pantry and spice cabinet. I was very happy with the result. It was a little on the salty side so don't add any salt to this at all. Marinate the steaks for an hour or longer. I have a nifty marinator from Tupperware that can be flipped over without leaking. It's great for steaks. A good tip whenever you are using a thick saucy marinade is to pat the meat dry before you grill it, especially if you are using a grill pan like I did. This prevents the sauce from burning and causing smoke which will set off the smoke alarm. Yes, I am talking from experience. It happens to the best of us, right? So besides the marinade there really isn't a recipe because we all like our steaks cooked differently. I cooked these for about 8 minutes on each side and they were nice and red in the center. Leftovers are great for fajitas the next day (as long as you don't overcook them on day one)!
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin
t tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp terriyaki sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp honey
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Raise your hand if you're addicted to the food network! I am! I have many shows recorded and Saturday mornings I can't seem to turn it off. I watch it while I clean...this is why it takes me all morning and early afternoon to clean our 2 bedroom condo...I get easily distracted. Well a few weeks ago I watched Giada make stuffed shells for her sister. This wasn't a new show but I guess this time it got my attention. Giada stuffed her shells with turkey and artichokes. Sounds interesting, I certainly do like artichokes but I wasn't really feeling that this weekend. So instead I made two boxes of shells (1 and half would have been plenty) and I stuffed half with turkey, spinach and ricotta and the other half with the normal cheese filling for ravioli, stuffed shells or manicotti, ricotta and mozzarella. My mom made her usual Sunday Sauce and it was delicious. She had meatballs and sausage and small chicken steaks in it. Both of the fillings were great! Everyone seemed very surprised and pleased with the turkey stuffed shells so now I have my creative juices flowing and will try something new next time.
I use part skim ricotta and part skim mozzarella but feel free to use the full fat versions if you like. You could use lean ground turkey if you like that but for my taste it is a little dry. I buy the ground turkey that's a mixture of white and dark meat. If you use the leaner meat I would suggest adding some more ricotta so it's creamy and not dry. I don't usually measure the amount of ricotta, I just add it in and taste it, same with the egg. I used only one egg but it was an extra large egg so depending on the other ingredients you chose you may want to add two large eggs.
Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells
1 package of stuffed shells, cooked until al dente and cooled on a cookie sheet
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove water
1 - 1 1/2 cups ricotta (approx)
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil
1 -2 eggs, beaten
Prepared Sauce (see below)
1. Sauté ground turkey in olive oil until browned, season with salt and pepper, drain fat and set aside in large bowl.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add chopped spinach, seperating it with your fingers when you add it to the pan, season lightly with salt and add pepper and nutmeg. Once mixture is cooled add to bowl with turkey. Add ricotta and romano cheese, taste. You may want to add more romano, salt or pepper at this time. Add egg and combine.
3. In a lasagna pan add one layer of sauce to prevent shells from sticking. Fill shells well with a tablespoon of mixture, adding more if needed. You want to be able to see the filling but you don't want it to overflow from the shell. Add shells to pan. Top shells with sauce but don't drown it. You want to be able to see the shells. On top of the sauce add a layer of shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.
Michele's Basic Sauce
2 cans Tuttorosa crushed tomatoes (use whatever brand you like)
1 medium onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil, to taste (dried or frozen can also be used)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (if you like more spice add more)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and basil. Stir to combine flavors.
2. Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Fill about 1/3 can with water and swish around to clean tomatoes from sides and then pour into next can and do the same thing. Add to pot. Stir and add sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Let sauce come to a boil and add fried meatballs to the pot and stir gently. Reduce heat and let sauce simmer for 2 hours stirring frequently. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
If you want to add sausage, beef steaks, pork ribs or neckbones saute them in oil in the same pan as the meatballs and add to sauce when you add meatballs putting heavier meats in first.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Recently I had the pleasure of making a new friend on Bakespace. Her name is Dajana and she lives in Italy. She posted a picture of a beautiful marble cake that she made and she swapped out the cocoa powder and used Nutella in it's place. Just seeing her photo and the word Nutella together convinced me that this non baker (that would be me) needs to bake this cake. I definitely panicked a bit because I had to convert the metric measurements to American Standard. I had some help from this lovely lady and some of my other wonderful Bakespace friends, like Shane of Culinary Alchemy. So, equipped with my conversions, Nutella and a couple of glasses of wine, I was ready to go. I'm going to blame it on the wine because I did not read the directions clearly and didn't whip the egg whites just sort of scrambled them. The result was a cake that sunk in the middle. It still tasted great but it was not perfect. Two days later, sans alcohol, I made this cake again. Well, this time it worked! Hooray! I am so proud of myself when I have baking success because, well, it's rare, but I don't mind!
Here's the recipe the way it was given to me originally and next to it I are the American Standard Conversions.
250 g flour (2 cups)
150-200 g butter (14 Tbsp)
200 g sugar (1 cup minus 1 1/2 TBSP)
4 eggs, whites separated from the yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder / or Nutella
1. Whisk the egg whites with a little salt until firm, and set aside.
2. Beat the yolks with sugar, add butter, vanilla and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with baking powder.
4. Add flour and egg whites to to the batter (alternating - a couple of spoons of flour, then a couple of spoons of egg whites). Mix everything well, and then divide the batter in two. Leave one half yellow, and add cocoa powder or Nutella to the other half.
5. In a bread pan, (greased and floured) alternate yellow and brown mixture. Bake for 40-50 mins at 180°C (350 F), or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I love breakfast foods! When I got to a diner I'm always torn between ordering breakfast or lunch. I love french onion soup but give me some french toast and a poached egg and I'm so happy. It all depends on what everyone else is ordering though. If I am sitting there enjoying my soup and then I get a whiff of bacon and eggs...deep regret. I'm just so indecisive when it comes to this!
Last year Steve and I got a few couples together to go apple picking. Everyone met at our place first for breakfast. That was so much fun for me! I experimented with baked french toast and it was a huge hit! So last weekend when my childhood friend stayed over with her Fiance there was a request for a repeat of this dish. I was happy to make it again but the only problem was that I combined a few different recipes and never wrote down what I did. That was before I started this lovely little blog that forces me to write down recipes! I did find some notes scribbled onto one paper but not enough information was there. Now that I made it again I think I left out a step. Oops. I didn't bake the french toast again with the topping which is what I think I was supposed to do. I didn't have the topping in the oven at all. I'm pretty sure that's wrong now that I think about it. I also feel like 3 cups of milk is a lot. I will try it next time with a little less because it seemed a little wet in the middle and it was cooking at 425 and got nice and browned on top. I think in the future I will cook it for about an hour at 350.
The taste was great! I don't think it was missing anything at all! I would absolutely make this again and now that I have this written down I will be able to perfect it. Wish me Luck!
1 loaf Challah Bread, cut into 1 inch slices
3 cups whole milk
3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp dark corn syrup or maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. In a baking dish layer slices of bread so that they are touching and rip a slice of bread into pieces to fill in any holes. Make two layers.
2. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, extracts, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over bread. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. Next morning, preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt butter and take off the heat. Add corn syrup/maple syrup, brown sugar and nuts. Stir to combine and it will make a paste.
4. Spread mixture over bread that soaked up eggs and milk.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Like I said above, I did this wrong. I baked it before I put the topping on. This is what it looked like puffed up and golden.
Here's the topping!
Well, that certainly would never happen if Nanny was still alive. She shunned all things not Italian unless it was Wonton Soup and Lo Mein. What can I say, she liked to stay true to her roots. I on the other hand am a little more adventurous. A year ago I went to Marakesh, a Moroccan restaurant for the first time. I really enjoyed it, the flavors were so different and the colors so vibrant. I thought about going back many times. Unfortunately, I am the only one in this two person household who had a desire to go back. I still wanted to get my fix so I searched high and low for a recipe that resembled my meal at Marakesh. I found a recipe at a blog called A Weight Lifted: Healthy Weight Loss Blog for Women Tired of Dieting. I wasn't looking for a specifically healthy recipe but if it's healthy then why not? Right?
I made some changes and additions to the recipe so it would be closer to the meal I had at Marakesh. I think I need to improve on it slightly so it fits my taste a little more. I used this recipe as a guide and made the mistake of using the cooking time that was recommended but I forgot (silly me) that I cut the chicken smaller than the recipe stated because that is how I remembered it. Obviously, if you cut the chicken smaller it's going to cook faster. Duh! I know this but I wasn't paying attention. The great thing is that once everything is sliced and diced this doesn't take a long time to make. I would absolutely consider it for a weeknight meal again. In the future I will leave out the zucchini. I love this vegetable in pastas and soups but it just didn't seem to pick up the flavors. A little too bland for me but there was zucchini in my dish at the restaurant. I also don't think I would use diced tomatoes. Maybe some tomato paste and chicken broth. Usually when I use diced tomatoes in a sauce they get very sweet. This didn't happen and the spices just didn't work for me. That could just be because my palate is not used to this. It doesn't mean that it didn't belong there.
A Tagine is a special clay pot with a cone shaped cover that is used in Moroccan cooking. Stew type meals that are cooked in these pots (like the meal I made) are also called Tagines. Now I don't have a traditional Tagine but I used my Le Creuset and it worked wonderfully. Any heavy pot with a tight fitting cover should work.
You can see the original recipe here but I will post it with all my changes and the proper cooking times for how I made it.
Tagine of Moroccan Recipes and Couscous
Adapted from aweightlifted.blogs.com
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup butternut squash, cut into 1- inch pieces
1/2 cup sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups diced canned tomatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup zucchini, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons raisins
1 box Near East Couscous, any flavor you like, prepared as instruced on box
Saute onions in oil until softened. Add garlic and all seasonings, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, tomatoes and enough water to cover. (Next time I will try using chicken broth and tomato paste or sauce instead.) Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmering. Let veggies cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Add chicken, raisins and zucchini, stir and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender.
Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions.
Serve chicken and veggies on top of couscous.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Most of us have made or at least have eaten mushrooms that are stuffed with breadcrumbs. I have even shared a recipe for basic Stuffed Mushrooms a few months back. What I'm sharing today is a unique twist on Stuffed Mushrooms, it's unique but still versatile as I feel most recipes are. Again, this is a recipe that I got from Rachael Ray. Her recipe calls for Portobello mushrooms (which I love) but sometimes these can be a bit pricey. I made these with Cremini mushrooms which are sometimes called Baby Bellas because that's what they are, portobello mushrooms that haven't grown to their full size. These are a staple mushroom for me. I never buy white mushrooms because they have no taste and since creminis aren't exotic they are affordable. If portobellos are available you should definitely use them. They are big and beautiful great for this stuffing.
Besides the mushrooms I used I didn't make any changes to the recipe. I really liked this recipe my only comment is that I didn't really taste the balsamic. Maybe if it was more of a syrupy balsamic like one that you purchase or reduce yourself it might have a more noticeable flavor. Otherwise this recipe is a keeper. If you use the Portobellos it makes a great presentation as a first course or if you are using the smaller ones they are great in an appetizer assortment.
This recipe can be found on the food network or see below.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle
5 medium portobello mushroom caps
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow skinned onion, chopped
1 pound fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 can, 6 to 8 count, 15 ounces, artichoke hearts in water, drained well on paper towels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
3 slices Italian bread, toasted and chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup packaged or canned chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a handful
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and the portobello caps. Season caps with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 3 minutes on each side. Add balsamic to the pan and allow the vinegar to cook away as it coats the caps. Transfer balsamic glazed caps to a cookie sheet. Return pan to the stove and add oil, garlic and onion. Saute onions and garlic 3 minutes, add spinach to the pan and let it wilt. Coarsely chop artichoke hearts in the food processor and add to the spinach. Season veggies with salt and pepper and thyme. Add chopped toast and dampen stuffing with chicken or vegetable stock. Combine stuffing and sprinkle in a little grated cheese. Top each mushroom with 1/5 of the filling. Set mushrooms in oven for 5 minutes to set the filling. Cut each mushroom into 4 pieces and transfer to a serving dish.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
It was another cold day here in New Jersey and I needed something to warm me up. I had a pound of ground sirloin defrosting in the fridge but wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it. I didn't want to make soup because I have photos of Escarole and Mini Meatball soup that I still haven't blogged about. After some internet searching I found a recipe from Rachael Ray for Chili Mac. There was only one ingredient that I didn't have which was Jalapeño peppers. That didn't stop me because I knew I had chipoltle hot sauce in the fridge and that would provide enough heat that this chili needed.
This recipe makes a lot (8 servings) so I have halved it so I would have enough for me and Steve and some leftovers for lunch. I have more than enough for lunch so I will be sharing that with my coworkers (taste testers!). I'm very happy with the way it came out. I wish I had some Mexican cheese to add to my dish but I didn't so I did sprinkle a little Romano. I know, I know, it's not an Italian dish but I was desperate. It's hard for me to eat any pasta without cheese!
Besides using only one pound of meat and half pound of pasta these are the changes and additions that I made. Did not use the Jalapeños but used 1/2 red bell pepper (because I had it) and a few shakes of chipolte sauce. I didn't use another hot sauce like Rachael uses but did add some smoked paprika, additional chili powder and adobo seasoning. Season this however you would normally season your chili. I don't measure the seasonings I just taste and adjust. I used two cans of diced tomatoes and broke them up with my wooden spoon as they cooked. With the amount of meat and pasta I had adding crushed tomatoes would make this dish too saucy for me. I wish I had scallions for garnish but I just finished my scallions a couple of days ago.
Here is the recipe in it's original form which could be found on the Food Network Website.
1 pound corkscrew shaped pasta with lines or elbows with lines
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 palm fuls) dark chili powder
2 tablespoons (1 palm ful) cumin
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce
1 cup beer or beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Chopped scallions, for garnish
In a large pot, boil pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a big, deep pot, brown beef in oil over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Season meat mixture with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Cook together 5 minutes, stir in beer or broth, and reduce liquid by half, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain pasta. Add hot pasta to chili pot and stir to coat pasta evenly. Remove from heat and garnish big bowlfuls of chili mac with chopped scallions.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
If you're like me you always have a ton of leftovers that you don't know what to do with. I don't know how to cook for two. I cook for at least four most days. Sometimes I take leftovers for lunch but sometimes there are still leftovers and I can't eat the same thing more than two days in a row, I get bored with it. However, if that dish is changed into something new it's not boring. That's what I did with my leftover Perciatelli all' Amatriciana for a quick lunch. I made a Pasta Fritatta, sometimes called Spaghetti Pie. Yes, normally this is made with spaghetti but it worked just fine with the Perciatelli.
There isn't a recipe for this because it's so simple. I beat two eggs and added a splash of milk like I would if I was making an omelette. I added a spoonful of Romano cheese and set it aside. In a small nonstick frying pan I added about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once heated I added the leftover pasta making sure to include plenty of the diced tomatoes and pancetta. I had some Kalamata olives in the fridge (as always) and I sliced those up and threw them in as well. Once the pasta starts to get a little brown and crispy (my favorite part) I add the egg mixture to the pan and covering all the pasta. You may have to move the eggs around a little with a spatula so the eggs get through the strands of pasta. Once the eggs start to set I threw the pan in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees. Normally this wouldn't be necessary but since I only used two eggs (didn't want to go to crazy just for me) and the perciatelli is a little floppy, I didn't want to have any trouble flipping it. I let it bake for about 10 minutes and then removed it from the oven. Here's the tricky part, time to flip the Fritatta so the other side gets nice and brown. Do this by placing a plate that is larger than the frying pan over the pan and invert the Fritatta into the plate. This is always a bit scary but it was fine. Then I just slid it back into the pan and back over the flame for a few more minutes. As soon as the second side is cooked (this shouldn't take long at all since the pan is so hot) slide it onto a clean plate and slice like a pie.
This was delicious. The tomatoes were so sweet and the Kalamata olives added a salty kick. I loved it. If you like, serve this with a small side salad.
The photo isn't great but I never said it was the prettiest dish...my stomach didn't mind!
Monday, March 2, 2009
A little over a year ago I attended a dinner party at the home of my friend Lindsay. This was the first dinner of many for our dinner group but still I haven't forgotten that dish. I haven't cooked pork that often and before today I only made a pork tenderloin one time. Problem is my boyfriend "The Boss" thinks that he doesn't like pork. Funny because he eats Ham, Prosciutto, Pancetta and bacon. "I don't eat white pork" he claims. His reason...it's too dry and flavorless. Well, when I tasted this dish at Lindsay's house I knew it was one I would have to try. I put it in the vault for the day that I become brazen enough to cook something that I very well know my honey won't eat. Ha ha! Well, let's say that I feel like I've earned the right to make foods that I like and he only semi likes or doesn't like. Relationships are about compromise, right? So tonight I went into the vault and pulled out Lindsay's recipe. It came from Food and Wine magazine and I'm not sure if she followed the recipe completely but I will give it to you in it's original form. The changes I made are very slight and only because I don't believe in running out to the store for silly little items that aren't (in my opinion) going to make a world of difference.
Here are my changes.
The recipe called for Riesling...too bad The Dinner Divas just drank the last bottle of Riesling on Saturday night, so I used Chardonnay instead. The recipe stated golden raisins and I have TWO boxes of regular (regular? not sure what else to call them) raisins so I'm not buying another box until at least one gets used up, of course, I used those. Lastly, I was supposed to use fresh thyme. I always have some fresh herbs on hand but this week thyme isn't one of them so I used dried and used about half of what the recipe called for. Dried herbs are much stronger than fresh, especially thyme. It could ruin a recipe if you overdo it. Hmm...guess what? I just took another look at the recipe and it doesn't specify if it's fresh or dried. It says "chopped thyme" I assumed that meant fresh but it may not. Sorry, I'm rambling. Just use half of the thyme, taste it and add more to your taste. That makes sense, right? One last thing. The recipe states that the pork only needs to be cooked for 4 minutes when browning and then an extra minute in the sauce. This is not enough. Unless I misread the recipe or it just isn't clear, it needs longer. I cooked it in the sauce for about 5 minutes but it still could have been cooked longer. I understand that pork can be pink in the middle but some of the pieces looked dark pink, like medium rare steak. So, just cook it a little longer to be safe.
Before I show you the recipe I want to tell you what I served with it. I followed Lindsay's lead and made yummy creamy mashed potatoes which tasted delicious with the wonderful gravy on it. I also made some french string beans because you have to have your greens in there, especially since this recipe has plenty of butter in it.
Oh and in case you're wondering what The Boss though of it...he actually enjoyed it! So pork may be showing up on the menu more often. Great things can happen when you take a chance!
Pork with Sweet Riesling Sauce and Toasted Almonds
Recipe by Bruce Aidells
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch-thick medallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup late-harvest Riesling
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1. In a small skillet, toast the slivered almonds over moderately high heat, tossing occasionally, until they are golden, about 2 minutes; let cool.
2. Season the pork medallions with salt and pepper, then coat in the flour. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the medallions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Riesling, stock, raisins, vinegar and thyme and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
4. Return the meat to the skillet and simmer until hot, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce and cook over moderate heat, swirling, just until the butter is melted. Pour the sauce over the pork, garnish with the toasted almonds and serve.