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Glazed Pork Loin with Pineapple Chutney

1 May

Surfing around the internets, I landed on this recipe and was enticed by two of my favourite ingredients: pork ‘n’ pineapple. I added a little more cayenne to the chutney as I like things a little spicier. Also, if you’re a bit short on time, you can skip buying a whole pineapple and cutting it up, you could get one that has already been peeled. I wouldn’t recommend getting the canned stuff, but that’s a personal preference and will certainly do in a pinch. Start this baby about 3 hours before you want to eat as it needs some time to marinate. It’s time well spent!

Ingredients

2 large cloves garlic
Kosher salt
1 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 ts finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2  ts ground coriander
1 3lb boneless pork loin roast
1 medium fresh pineapple (about 3-1/2 lb.)
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tb sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
Pinch ground cayenne  -or more to taste
1 large scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
3 tb chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

1. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and mash it into a paste with the side of your knife. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, lemon zest, coriander & 1 tb salt.
2. Put the pork on a large rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet, pat dry with paper towels, and rub all over with the salt mixture. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, no more than 2.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 130°F, roughly 50 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, peel and core the pineapple. Cut half into small dice and roughly chop the other half. Purée the roughly chopped pineapple in a blender, then strain it through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids with a spoon. This should give you about 3/4 cup juice which goes into a small saucepan with the maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. (The liquid will become very bubbly as it reduces; lower the heat as necessary so nothing burns.)
5. Set aside all but 2 tb of the reduced liquid as this will be your glaze. Add the vinegar, shallot, cayenne, and a pinch of salt to the 2 tb liquid remaining in the saucepan and cook over medium heat just until the shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the diced pineapple and scallion whites. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pineapple softens and releases some of its juice, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
6. When the pork reaches 130°F, brush it with some of the glaze and continue to roast, brushing with more glaze every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145°F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
7. When ready to serve, stir the scallion greens and cilantro into the chutney. Slice the pork into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and serve with the chutney.

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Candied Bacon

6 Apr

About a month ago, I came across an article that contained a recipe from one of the best BBQ restaurants in Toronto. This recipe? Oh yeah. It was for candied bacon. I posted it on Twitter with the comment, “I want to make this.” Pretty quickly, replies of “I want to eat that,” came in and a small brunch was planned for a few weeks later.

This recipe is almost silly it’s so simple. You really only need a few ingredients and you’re likely to have them kicking around anyway. I make a package and a half and it fed 6 of us. In all fairness, though, I likely could’ve made four packages for the 6 people and it would’ve disappeared just the same.

Ingredients

1 lb smoked bacon
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c water
black pepper
chile flakes – optional, but recommended

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Make sure you stir it in order to dissolve the sugar. Once boiled, remove from heat and cool.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the bacon out in one flat layer with some room in between each slice.
4. Brush the cooled sugar mixture on the bacon.  Add a generous amount freshly cracked black pepper and, if desired, sprinkle on chile flakes.
5. Pop the bacon in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once at the 15 minute mark.
6. When cooked, drain off the excess grease and serve!

Picture c/o The Star

NYT Project: Malaysian-Inspired Pork Stew

13 Feb

Winter has finally hit our fair city. We’ve lucked out this winter, being spoiled with double-digit temperatures and little snow. The last few days, however, have brought with them a cold front and even some actual snow! Since winter decided to show up, I decided to combat the chills with some Malaysian-inspired pork stew from the NYT Cookbook.

The aromas from this lovely dish permeated the house as they simmered away on the stove for an hour or so. The spicy rub for the pork was balanced out nicely with the coconut milk and the herb and lime juice garnish. Lots of great texture and taste in this one. An instant classic at our place.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

Spice Rub

3 tb minced garlic
3 tb curry powder
2 tb ground cumin
1 tb paprika
1 tb cayenne pepper (less if you don’t want a lot of heat)

2 pounds boneless Boston butt or picnic shoulders, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stew

5 tb olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 tb minced fresh ginger
3 plum tomatoes, cored & diced
¼ c soy sauce
1-1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c dry white wine

Garnish

¼ c roughly chopped basil¼ cup roughly chopped mint
¼ c roughly chopped cilantro
½ c roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 lime, juiced
5 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix together the spice rub ingredients.
2. Pat the cubed pork dry with a paper towel, season with salt & pepper and then put in the bowl with the rub. Toss to coat.

Pork's been all rubbed up....

3. Heat 3tb oil in a heavy-bottomed pan til the oil shimmers but does not smoke. Add in the meat in an even layer and brown on all sides, roughly 10 minutes. (You may need to do the meat in batches in order to avoid overcrowding your pan.)   Remove the meat from pan and place on a platter.
4.  Heat the remaining 2tb of oil to medium heat. Toss in the onions and sauté for 13-15 minutes.
5. Add in the ginger & tomatoes. Stir and cook 2 minutes.

Onions, tomatoes & ginger into the pan...

6. Add the pork back into the pan along with the soy sauce, wine & coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer and skim off any fat that comes to the surface.

Everyone into the pool!

7. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
9. When the pork is tender, serve on a bed of rice and top with the garnish as listed above.

Garnish of fresh herbs, peanuts, hot sauce & brown sugar.

Faceplant-inducing.

Pork Chops w/ Pineapple Salsa

6 Feb

I have an unabashed love of pork and make some mean bacon and tenderloin recipes. (Have a look around the site – you’re bound to find a few!) What I hadn’t attempted yet, however, was Homer Simpson’s favourite: pork chops. Love ’em, but never make ’em. So off to the interwebs I went and found some inspiration! You’re best to let these marinate for a couple of hours beforehand so that the flavours really soak into the meat, but no more than three hours. Any longer than that and the proteins will start to break down which means you’ll end up with mushy chops…and no one wants that.  As with all meat, let it come to room temperature before you cook it.

I also happened to have a pineapple kicking around that needed to be eaten, so I did up a quick pineapple salsa that I’ve also used with my go-to salmon dish and tossed in some tomatoes that we had in the fridge.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

2 pork chops, bone-in, centre cut
1  lime (juice & zest)
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1 tb honey
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 pineapple, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 tb olive oil

Directions

1. Combine the  lime juice, zest, jalapeno, honey, garlic and 1/3 c olive oil in a resealable bag or container. Add in the pork chops and marinate in the fridge for roughly 3 hours, if possible.
2. When ready, heat a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is best, but use what you have) with a little bit of canola oil. Let the pan get nice and hot: you want a nice sear on the meat.
3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and shake any excess off. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carefully place the chops in the pan, cooking one minute per side. Lower heat and cover, cooking 5 more minutes per side.
5. Meanwhile, combine the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Let the pork rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes to allow the juices to be re-absorbed back into the meat. Then plate and top with the salsa.

One Pot Meal: Couscous with Sausage & Green Beans

31 Jan

You’ve just come home, you’ve had a long day at work, you’re starving and you don’t feel like putting in a ton of effort for dinner. What do you need? A one pot meal. Ready in 20 minutes, this dish has your grain, meat and veg all in one and it’s even healthy! It would be great with any kind of sausage: sweet, spicy, mild…whatever ya like!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 tb extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chile, diced
2 sausages, cut into rounds/bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 c canned tomatoes (keep the liquid)
2-3 c chicken stock
6 oz green beans
1 1/4 c couscous
1 c  cilantro, chopped
2 lemon wedges

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large pan at medium heat and add onion, garlic and sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 – 3 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, 2 1/2 c stock and beans. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the couscous and cook for 10 minutes. (Add more stock if necessary.)
4. Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.

NYT Project: Stir-Fried Beef

9 Jan

Stir-fried dishes are a great way to use up lots of ingredients in your fridge and are incredibly adaptable. You can pretty much throw any conceivable ingredient into your pan and make something tasty. So while they are not new to me, I have a bad habit of not getting my pan really, really hot to cook the meat. There’s something intimidating about cranking the dial on the stove to the highest setting, letting the oil get literally smoking hot and then tossing in my chosen ingredients for the day.  I think my fear is founded: I don’t want to burn anything, including myself.  Having said that, I know the major difference between restaurant food and home-cooked is heat (and butter).

So nuts to this, I thought, I’m going to do it the way I am supposed to do it! I am going to crank the heat up on this sucker and get a good sear on my flank steak! And I am going to wear long sleeves just in case. In the end, it was initially nerve-wracking but when I saw the beautiful crust on the steak, I was emboldened. Yes, it spattered a bit but I lived to tell the tale and the meat came out perfectly: nice crunch on the outside, just past rare on the inside.

Note:  this recipe is not exactly as it shown in the NYT Cookbook. I adapted it to suit my tastes and to become a full meal by adding rice noodles and peppers. I also found their original recipe for the sauce too salty, so I added some sugar. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t want it.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb flank or skirt steak, cubed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tb  sugar
1 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1 tb canola oil
4 tb corn or canola oil
3/4 c rice wine vinegar
3/4 c dry white wine
2 tb soy sauce
1 tb fish sauce
2 tb sugar
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 scallions, sliced lengthwise
1 tb butter
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Toss the beef in a bowl with the salt, sugar, garlic and 1 tb canola oil. Marinate in the fridge for two hours.
2. Meanwhile, combine the rice wine vinegar, white wine, soy,  fish sauce and sugar. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
3.  When you’re ready, divide the meat into two portions, and do the same with the peppers and onions. Pour 2tb oil into your wok and turn the heat to max. When your oil is smoking, add the meat in one even layer to the wok. Let it sit until a crust forms, then flip over to brown the other side.  (This whole process should take 5 minutes or less.)
4. Add half the onions and pepper. Stir and let cook for 1 minute.
5. Add half of your vinegar/wine mixture, shaking the pan if necessary to loosen the meat from the pan. Add half the butter and shake your wok until it has melted.
6. Remove everything from the pan and then repeat your process.
7. Serve with lime wedges over rice or rice noodles.

NYT Project: Broiled Lamb Chops

19 Dec

This particular recipe wasn’t on my original list; however, I was looking for something to make with the Brussels sprouts and this seemed like a pretty simple dish. I generally try to steer clear of making two new dishes at once, but with four simple steps this looked pretty foolproof, even for me. (Though I’ve been cooking for years now, sometimes my sense of timing is a little off.) Lamb has been on my list of food that I want to attempt to cook, so clearly it was meant to be!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

2-4 lamb chops per person
extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
salt and pepper
unsalted butter, optional
herbs (dill, mint), finely chopped, optional
lemon juice

Directions

1. Place the lamb chops in a dish and cover with olive oil. Add in the garlic and marinate for 30-60 minutes.
2. Turn on your broiler and position the oven rack so that it is 2 inches below the heat source.
3. Season the lamb with salt & pepper, then place on a foil-lined tray and cook for 4 minutes per side for rare. (recommended, but add extra time if you want them more on the medium-rare side.)
4.  Remove from the oven and plate. If you like, add a small pat of butter, some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice to each chop.

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