Sunday, May 17, 2009

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Courtesy of Food

Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter - I would have gone for the whole stick
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Add them to the boiling water and bring the water back to a full boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a collander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disk/blade over a heat proof bowl. (We just used our potato masher) Pass the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk mixture with a rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper, and serve hot.

To keep potatoes warm, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water for up to 30 minutes. You can add a little extra hot milk to keep them creamy.
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Garlicky Broccolini

Garlicky Broccolini
Courtesy of Food

1 1/2 pounds broccolini
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Trim broccolini ends off. Place 4-5 inch long, thin stalks into a skillet and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer broccolini for 6 to 7 minutes, until tender and bright green. Drain the broccolini and return skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add extra virgin olive oil to pan, then garlic. Cook garlic 2-3 minutes. Add broccolini to pan and coat in garlic and oil - then serve.
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Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
Adapted from Food

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 package Stove Top stuffing for pork
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
1 (3 pound) pork loin roast, butterflied
1 package bacon

Preheat smoker. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apples and stove top seasoning. Sautee until softened. Remove from heat and gently stir in the bread portion of the stuffing mix, butter, salt, pepper, and add chicken broth until everything is moistened. Let the stuffing mixture cool completely before putting it in the pork loin.

Sppon the stuffing down the middle of the pork, horizontally in a line. Roll the pork over the stuffing, jelly roll style, ending with the seam down and fat side up. Tie the pork roast up with butcher's twine, season it with more salt and pepper. Wrap the bacon over the roast until it is completely covered, and tie with more butcher's twine.

Place the roast in the smoker and cook for 3-4 hours until the middle reaches 150-160 degrees. Remove from the smoker and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Garnish with apple slices and fresh herbs.

**Can also be roasted in an oven at 375 for about 90 minutes - this cooking method might not work with the bacon. This was John's addition for added moisture in the meat - the original just roasts the loin without bacon for 90 minutes.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake
Recipe Courtesy of John's Family

Yellow Cake Mix

Make the cake according to the box directions into two 8-9 inch rounds. Let the cake cool completely before making the frosting.

Frosting (this is the old family recipe that John's paternal grandmother was famous for)
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
Sweetened Coconut

Place the sweetened coconut on a baking sheet and lightly brown to your desired taste. The toasted coconut was an addition we tried this time, but in the days that his grandmother made the cake - she just used the coconut straight.

Place all other frosting ingredients except vanilla in the top of a double boiler. Over rapidly boiling water beat the mixture with an electric mixer until mixture stands in stiff peaks. Remove from heat and add vanilla, continue beating until thick enough to spread.

To assemble:

Place one layer of the cake on the bottom of your serving dish, top with some of the frosting and some of the toasted coconut. Add the second layer securing with tooth picks, and add frosting to cover the top and the sides of the cake... then add toasted coconut as desired on the top and sides of the cake. Enjoy!
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic Chicken
Adapted from: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium canned chopped tomatoes with juice

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Pound chicken thin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. I like how the chicken crisps when dredged in flour. Add chicken to pan and cook about 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and keep warm.

If pan is dry, add just a touch of olive oil. Add garlic to pan and saute 2 min. Add 1/3 c chicken broth and balsamic vinegar, bring to a simmer. I wanted more sauce, so I added a bit more broth. Add spinach, tomatoes with juice and bring to a simmer. Return chicken to pan and let simmer 5 minutes. (I also added an onion with a large dice to the recipe - which I added with the garlic and olive oil.)

We served with Far East brand Parmesan Cous Cous - which was a MUCH more successful attempt at the side dish for us! A little added parmesan on top is always an added benefit in our house.
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