Sunday, February 14, 2010

Warm Black Bean & Chipotle Dip

This is a recipe courtesy of Fine Cooking. My brother Jamin recommended it to me, which is always bound to result in good eating. We've tried it a couple of times, and it's always great, (and is awesome as leftovers, too.)
I didn't add all of the chipotle peppers because they are quite spicy, and I also cut back on the cheese.

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the baking dish
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into medium dice
2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 15-1/2 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained well
2 canned chipotles en adobo, minced (about 1 Tbs.), plus 3 Tbs. adobo sauce
3 Tbs. cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen, thaw first)
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) grated Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips for serving

Heat the oven to 425ºF. Grease a 1-1/2 qt. baking dish with oil and line a baking sheet with foil. Set the tomatoes in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the salt.

Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add half of the black beans, the chipotles and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid reduces by about half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Heat until shimmering hot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add half of the black beans, the chipotles and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid reduces by about half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor, add the vinegar, and process until smooth. Let cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the beans, the tomatoes, corn, half of each of the cheeses, and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake on the foil-lined baking sheet (to catch drips) until the cheese melts and browns around the edges, about 15 minutes (longer if refrigerated). Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve with the tortilla chips for dipping.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roasted Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust

We tried this recipe from Fine Cooking last week. It made great, moist pork, and tasted great as leftovers, too. (We didn't have fennel, so we used onions. It was still yummy, although I do want to try the fennel next time.) The onions and apples had a ton of flavor, so eating the meat with the apples was especially delicious. We also thought it might be good to try making a jus or gravy out of the drippings.

I like to leave some fat on the outside of the pork because it browns beautifully and bastes the roast. I also make sure the pork sits in the brine for at least 8 hours but preferably 16 to 18 hours for the juiciest results. Finally, I scatter wedges of fennel and apple in the pan to absorb the wonderful drippings during cooking. They also prevent the glaze from scorching on the bottom of the pan.

For the Brine:
8 cups cold apple cider or juice
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
One 4-lb. boneless pork loin roast (or two 2-lb. loins), trimmed only if it has a thick layer of fat

For The Roast:
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Brine the pork:

Combine 2 cups of the apple cider or juice with the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring so the salt and sugar dissolve, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining apple cider or juice and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large container, add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.
Roast the pork:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture.

In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Scatter the mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with a couple of inches of space around the perimeter). Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 145°F, 30 to 50 minutes more.

Let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice a quarter to a third of the pork. Serve, topped with the fennel, apple, and juices. Allow the remaining pork to cool to room temperature, wrap well with foil, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 90, pp. 38
December 4, 2007

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

I just realized that I put this recipe on our other blog, but forgot to post it here. It's a yummy one. I really liked the "stacked" presentation, and the cabbage salad on top was a very yummy touch. We actually made this without the chicken and substituted black beans for the meat. I don't think you need that much cheese on each layer, either. We also left out the pine nuts and raisins....because it sounded kind of weird.

The recipe is from Sunset magazine

Yield: Makes 2 enchiladas (each 3 to 4 servings)

* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 can (28 oz.) red chile sauce, divided
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 1/4 cup golden raisins
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 2 tsp. sauce (see Notes)
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
* 3 3/4 cups shredded white and/or dark chicken meat (from one 2 1/2- to 3-lb. rotisserie chicken)
* 12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide; see Notes)
* 3 cups coarsely shredded jack cheese
* 2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 5 to 6 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage (see Notes)
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook onion with olive oil, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in 3/4 cup red chile sauce, the pine nuts, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add chicken, then bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat. Pour remaining red chile sauce into a pie pan.

3. To make enchilada stacks, dip 1 tortilla in chile sauce in pie pan to coat. Place on an ovenproof dinner plate. Repeat with another tortilla on a second plate. Spread each tortilla evenly with a heaping 1/3 cup chicken mixture, then with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering with 8 more tortillas, dipping them in sauce, then adding chicken mixture and cheese to make 2 stacks of 5 layers. (You'll use all the chicken but not all the cheese.) Dip the last 2 tortillas in sauce, place each, curved side down, on stack, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

4. Bake enchiladas until hot in the center and cheese bubbles on top, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, pour remaining chile sauce from the pie pan into a microwave-safe pitcher and cook in a microwave oven on full power until simmering, 1 to 2 minutes. To make the salad, stir together radishes, lime juice, and extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Just before serving, stir in cabbage and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Top each enchilada with a small mound of salad and cut in thirds or quarters to serve. Offer with remaining salad and chile sauce to add to taste.

Sunset, MAY 2008

Monday, November 2, 2009

Skillet Apple Pie

Skillet Apple Pie
from America's Test Kitchen
Episode: Easy Apple Desserts

If your skillet is not heatproof, precook the apples and stir in the cider mixture as instructed, then transfer the apples to a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Roll out the dough to a 13- by 9-inch rectangle and bake it as instructed. If you do not have apple cider, reduced apple juice may be used as a substitute—simmer 1 cup apple juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Use a combination of sweet, crisp apples such as Golden Delicious and firm, tart apples such as Cortland or Empire.

Serves 6 to 8


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces), plus more for dusting work surface
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3–4 tablespoons ice water


1/2 cup apple cider (see note)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds sweet apples and tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (see note)

1 egg white , lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sugar

1. FOR THE CRUST: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough does not come together. Turn dough out onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 4-inch disk. Wrap dough and refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling out. (If dough is refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)

3. FOR THE FILLING: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (between 7 and 9 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 500 degrees. Whisk cider, syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon (if using) together in medium bowl until smooth. Heat butter in 12-inch heatproof skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times until apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Remove pan from heat, add cider mixture, and gently stir until apples are well coated. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface, or between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap, to 11-inch circle. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over apple filling. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With sharp knife, gently cut dough into 6 pieces by making 1 vertical cut followed by 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts (perpendicular to first cut). Bake until apples are tender and crust is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve.

Step-by-Step: Keys to Flaky, Flavorful Skillet Apple Pie

1. Caramelize Apples: Precook apples in butter to deepen their flavor.
2. Add Cider: Coat apples with 1/2 cup apple cider to create juicy, flavorful filling.

3. Cut Dough: Score before baking to allow juices to bubble up and caramelize around edges.
4. Bake in Hot Oven: Precooked apples need less time in oven than traditional apple pie.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Barley, Tomato and Corn Salad

We bought some tasty heirloom tomatoes at a farmers market Saturday and needed a way to use them up. A while ago, I got curious about grains and bought a ton of different kinds. So, we've had the barley just waiting to be cooked. This made a wonderful salad. Derek found this recipe from the following site.

1 cup pearl barley tightly packed
1 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups corn kernels, cooked (about 3 cobs)

*We had made a bunch of pesto and frozen it into ice cube shapes....we just added that instead of most of the seasoning...and it worked well. We also just cubed our larger tomatoes.

Bring large pot of boiling water to boil; add barley. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes or until tender. Drain; chill under cold running water and drain again.

In food processor, puree basil, Parmesan, oil, salt and pepper; stir in garlic. Toss with barley. Add tomatoes and corn. Toss again.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

We had this for dinner tonight, and it was very good. Derek and I both agree that it's one of the tastiest tenderloins we've had. I got the recipe off of foodnetwork. We first saw it on Good Eats with Alton Brown.
I didn't get the ingredients until the night we were making it, so I didn't marinate it as long as it says, and we just threw it on our grill, but it was still really good.


* 1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
* 1 lime, zest finely grated
* 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin.

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt, and garlic powder in a small, lidded jar and shake to combine. Pour half of the marinade mixture into a 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle pepper, and move around to combine. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through the time. Place the remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the grill. Remove the reserved marinade from the refrigerator.

Fill a large chimney starter with natural lump charcoal and light. Once the charcoal is ashy and white, approximately 30 minutes, dump the hot charcoal onto the lowest grate of the grill and spread into an even layer using extra-long tongs. Place the cooking grate back on the grill and cover with the lid; heat the grate to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the grill and place on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil folded at the edges to create a basket, and pour on the reserved marinade. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Fresh Cranberry Scones

Derek found this recipe on The Kitchn

makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Zest of 1 small orange (we only had limes, so we used that...citrus family?)
2 1/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Extra flour
White sugar, for topping

*We didn't have fresh cranberries, so Derek used craisins--which we always have in our pantry. Plump the craisins by bringing about 1/2 cup orange juice to a boil and pouring the juice over the craisins. Let the craisins sit for at least 15 minutes, or over night. When ready to make scones, drain the craisins and chop.

Heat oven to 350 F and prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment or lightly spraying with oil.

In the bowl of a food processor, whiz the cranberries until lightly chopped. (Skip if you plumped craisins and hand chopped.)
Dump out into a bowl, toss with the brown sugar and orange zest. In the food processor, whiz the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and whiz with the flour in the processor until fine and crumbly.
Mix with the sugar and cranberries and stir in the beaten egg and milk.
Sprinkle the counter or a board with flour, and dump the dough out on it. It will be very wet and sticky. Cur out rounds using a biscuit cutter or glass, and put on baking sheet. (Leave the dough fairly thick...maybe 3/4 inch--like a thick biscuit.) Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until just getting golden. Serve warm with plenty of butter.