Archive | September, 2011

Cornbread Stuffed Pork Chops

26 Sep

My first attempt at Pork Chops. They never really appealed to me before– but then Sam made some maple glazed pork the other day– and i realized– it is kind of just like more flavorful chicken. The other white meat? I guess so.  So for my first foray, I thought pork chops stuffed w. a bacon, sage, cornbread stuffing just had to be good. This is adapted from a Silver Palate recipe– which they call Tuscan Pork Chops. See their lovely diagram for how to cut a pocket into your chop- for stuffing.

2 pork chops (center-cut, boneless, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1/2 cup corn bread or muffin (I made Jiffy mix, which takes about 15 mins, how I do it- it yields about 4 muffins- and 1/2 cup is one muffin. You could also just buy a corn muffin or bread)
pinch of dried sage (I used 2 fresh sage leaves)
pinch of dried thyme (would have used fresh but co-op was out of it)
1 oz prosciutto, slivered (i subbed bacon- because I had some in the freezer- i’d say 2-3 pieces- it worked nicely)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion (about half a small onion)
1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb (about 1/3 of a bulb)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/4 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh ground pepper

1. Cut a pocket in each chop: insert the point of a small sharp knife into the flesh side of the chop. Make an internal horizontal cut in one direction without enlarging the outside opening. Remove the knife, and insert it again with the blade facing in the opposite direction. Make a second cut in the opposite direction without enlarging the opening.
2. *If using prosciutto, Heat the oil in a small skillet, and saute the fennel and onion over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add prosciutto, cook 2 minutes. Set aside 2 tablespoons of this mixture. * If using bacon, leave out oil (because just going to saute in bacon fat instead). Start by sauteing the bacon, for a 2-3 minutes. Then add onion and fennel, and then cook for another 3. If using fresh sage and thyme, add in. Cook until fennel/onion mix softened. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture.
3. Take off heat, add stock, corn muffin,  and pepper. Move to bowl and allow to cool slightly.
4. Fill each chop pocket w. stuffing mixture. It is going to look like it doesn’t fit, put just push to the back of the pocket with your finger.
5. Melt the butter in a skillet (i used the same skillet as before, not cleaned, just crumbs swept out) just large enough to hold the chops. Brown the chops, over medium-high heat, 2 mins per side. Pour off fat, and add remaining 1/2 cup stock and the cider. Sprinkle the reserved fennel/bacon mixture over the chops. Cover and cook 15 minutes** this was too long, I did 13 mins- and i burnt up all the stock. So maybe even done after 11 mins. To get all of the burnt stuff off, add wine or whatever you have sitting around to deglaze/clean.

Jessica’s Marshmallow Clouds

19 Sep

This goes out to two very special Jessicas.  First, the creator of this recipe– Jessica Field’s– Mrs. Field’s daughter. The second to Jess P. whose birthday was last week– and for whom these cookies were made. To quote Mrs. Field’s cookbook, “The Marshmallow Clouds came from Jessica’s idea to wrap chocolate dough around a marshmallow and then bake it. We call them “Clouds” because they are heavenly! Like our own family favorites, each one of these recipes has a memory associated w. it.”  Sam & I made these as kids… though I have to say, they are even fluffier and gooey-er than I remember.

3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter [or 2 sticks unsalted butter + 1/2 tsp salt]
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (12oz) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips [i used a mix of mini chips, regular chips, and chunks]
8oz mini marshmallows, frozen

Preheat oven to 400. [I lined cookie sheet w. parchment paper.] Until you assemble the cookies, keep marshmallows in freezer- otherwise they thaw too quickly.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt [if using unsalted butter.] Set aside.
Combine sugars in a large bowl. Add butter and blend w. an electric mixer, scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add flour mixture and choc chips, and blend at low speed until combined. Batter will be very stiff.
Gather 4-5 frozen marshmallows in the palm of your hand, cover them with a heaping tablespoon of dough, wrapping the dough around the marshmallows, completely encasing them and forming a 2-in diameter ball.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2-inches apart. Bake 8-10 mins [I did 8.]  Cool on pan 2 minutes, then transfer to a cool, flat surface [cooling rack.]

Blondies

12 Sep

Blondies a.k.a chocolate chip cookie bars.  This recipe is from the Mrs. Fields cookbook. When we were growing up, Mrs. Fields was the shit. If Sam & I went to the mall– or my mom went without us, she would bring us back something from Mrs. Fields, usually a raspberry muffin (a recipe i have longed to recreate but haven’t found.) One of the best things about blondies, besides the taste, is how quickly they come together. If you are craving chocolate chip cookies (or dough, as it happens)  but you don’t want to bother w. the scooping of the individual cookies– which shouldn’t seem like such a chore, but sometimes does. Anyway, fast, easy, gooey, great.  By the way, I was thinking that this could also translate to a chocolate chip cookie pie…

1 cup salted butter [i used 1 cup unsalted butter, and 1/2 tsp salt]
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (9 oz)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. Line an 8×8 inch pan w. foil and grease w. butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, and salt (if using unsalted butter.) W. an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture, blend on low until just combined, don’t overmix. Gently fold in choc chips and pecans w. a spoon. Put in pan. With damp hands, press down until flat across the top. Cook for 35-40 mins, until toothpick comes out clean but still soft in the middle. [I cooked mine for 33 mins, toothpick wasn’t exactly clean, but I like them gooey.] Wait until cool to cut. Another thing, blondies usually dry out more quickly than say brownies or cookies- so the fresher the better.

Granola Bars

7 Sep

Made these for a picnic at the beach (it was only a couple weeks ago- but summer beach weather feels so long ago already.)  Chewy, fruity, delicious- just sweet enough. This is an Ina recipe–and it actually pretty quick to pull together. Feel free to use any sort of dried fruit combo you want- can’t go wrong. And I added in some dark chocolate chips– b/c isn’t everything better w. some choc chips in it? As Rach perfectly put it “A great, satisfying afternoon beach snack, especially when the chocolate melts just a little and makes for the perfect gooey bite o’ bar.”

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (rolled, not instant)
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (like oatmeal choc chip cookies, these don’t have a coconut taste, it just helps w. texture)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (i use untoasted wheatgerm- and just toasted w. the other oats)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed (i’d leave out- but keep in if you want more sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
dried fruit- Ina does 1/2 each cup of cup apricots, pitted dates, and dried cranberries
I used– a mix of dates, figs, currents, dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries. De-pitt dates and chop. chop figs too.
And my other add in– a big handful of chocolate chunks- a cut up chocolate bar and some chips I had laying around

Preheat to 350. Butter 8×12 in baking dish (i use pyrex). Line w. parchment. Toss oatmeal, almonds (if using) and coconut (and wheatgerm if using untoasted) together and bake for 10-12 mins, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer to large mixing bowl and if using pre-toasted wheatgerm (it will say on the package), add now.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300. Put butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook & stir for one minute. Then pour over oat mixture, toss to coat. Add in dried fruit. Stir. When slightly cooled add in chocolate.  Pour into prepped pan- w. wet fingers, lightly press mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

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