Monday, September 28, 2009

Pork Roast with Bacon & Mushroom Gravy

I made this a few months ago for dinner party, and let me tell you...YUM-MEE!
By now you've noticed I'm a huge fan of Emeril Lagasse. I've been watching him on TV for years, and I love his cookbooks! What I love about him the most is that he puts a "comfort food" twist on foods that would normally be considered "gourmet". I watched him make this on TV, and decided I had to try it. I'm not going to lie, this recipe is time consuming, and is in NO WAY healthy (but oh so good). I would suggest making it on a Saturday or Sunday, and invite lots of friends over because it makes a ton. The night I made this was one of my favorite dinner parties. After the meal, we all sat around the dining room table drinking wine and laughing hysterically into the wee hours of the morning.
I served this with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and homemade fresh greenbeans the way my granny used to make them. This meal is a winner, no doubt! Enjoy!
1 (5 pound) boneless pork loin roast
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Essence or other Creole Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 quart canned low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Season the roast evenly with 2 teaspoons of the Essence, the salt, and black pepper and rub into the meat. Do this the day before to intensify the flavors if you wish. Heat a cast iron Dutch oven (or just use a big skillet) and, when hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and set aside. Add the roast to the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook until the roast is evenly browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the roast to a rack/roasting pan and bake at 350 until internal temp is about 160 degrees.
Add the flour to the pan (that you just seard the pork in) and cook, stirring constantly, until a roux the color of milk chocolate is formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables have wilted, 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of Essence and the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they have released their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the beef broth and Worcestershire and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep the gravy warm until ready to serve. You may need to add a little more broth because it will thicken.
Once the roast is done, take it out of the oven and let it "repose" for about 15 minutes. This will allow all the juices to re-absorb into the meat. Slice the meat and ladel the gravy over it. Here's what happened to the gravy that didn't make it to the platter...
Sorry E had to do it!!! :0)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blueberry Streusel Pie

I don't bake very much. Well, let me rephrase that. I don't cook a lot of sweet stuff unless it's for a special occasion like a holiday, dinner party, or someone's birthday. I'm not one of those girls who's eyes bug out of her head when I see a box of chocolate. Personally, I'll take a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy over a piece of cake any day. I do, however, LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with blueberries.
My friend Mia gave me a subscription to "Eating Well" magazine, and this recipe was included in my first issue. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend picking up a copy. They also have a very informative website on healthy cooking, and tons of recipes without sacrificing flavor. Another thing I like about Eating Well is they include the nutrition information with all of their recipes. And at 289 calories a serving, this pie "takes the cake".
Crust 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon butter 3 tablespoons canola oil 1-2 tablespoons ice water Streusel topping 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Filling 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons “minute” tapioca 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon lemon juice 5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
To make crust: Stir together 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a nutty brown, about 30 seconds. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Stir in 3 tablespoons oil. Using a fork, slowly stir the butter-oil mixture into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Gradually stir in enough ice water so that the dough will hold together. Press the dough into a flattened disk. Place two overlapping lengths of plastic wrap on the work surface. Set the dough in the center and cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Remove the top sheets and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pie pan. Remove the remaining wrap. Fold the edges under and crimp. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the streusel topping and filling. To make streusel topping: Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon oil and lemon juice and work in with your fingertips until the mixture forms small crumbs; set aside. To make filling and bake pie: Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and tapioca in a mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon juice. Add blueberries and stir gently to mix. Spoon the filling into the prepared crust. Cover loosely with foil and set in the middle of the oven, with a baking sheet placed on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the berries are juicy and bubbling. (Frozen berries will take about 10 minutes longer.) Uncover the pie, sprinkle evenly with the reserved streusel topping and bake for 12 to 15 minutes longer, or until the streusel is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peachy Chicken in Garlic Wine Sauce

I know I know! I haven't posted a blog in TWO MONTHS! But trust me, I've been cooking more than ever thanks to a little chef competition my buddy E and I won. That's right, Charleston Market Iron Chef People's Choice. I did hear however through "word of mouth" that a particular opponent of ours (I won't mention any names, you know who you are) said something like, "Oh, people's choice, that doesn't really count". If you ask me, People's Choice is the ONLY vote that counts. If the PEOPLE aren't happy, then they don't eat your food. Let's see: Four Judges -vs- 150's a no brainer if you ask me. ANYWAYS...back to the peaches. Last week I was in the mood to COOK, but had no idea what to cook, nor had I anything to cook that wasn't frozen. I was cravin' FRESH. And what better place to get fresh ingredients than our own Capitol Market. So after work I strolled around the outside farmer's stands, and could not take my eyes off the PEACHES. A dish came to mind that my mother makes this time of year when the peaches are so yummy and beautiful: Chicken and Peaches in Champagne Sauce. Since I had no champagne (well actually I did, but if I open a bottle, I drink it all, and that's not a good idea on a weeknight), I decided to use the pinot gris I already had open. This was DEEEELICIOUS. So light and yummy, and the sweetness of the peaches complimented the JERK seasoning tremendously. I have to say some of my best meals have been cooked on a whim like this. Being able to walk around the market and just let the ideas come to me is the creative part of cooking that I just LOVE. I ate this with some rosemary and thyme roasted new potatoes and a piece of multigrain bread. Olive Oil One chicken breast pounded out to about 1/4" to a "cutlet" 2 TBS Jerk Seasoning 2 TBS Flour Mix the flour and jerk seasoning in a bowl and then dust the chicken with the mixture. Heat the olive oil to medium and saute chicken about 3 mins on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and add: 2 Cloves Garlic chopped Cook for 3 mins or so...don't burn the garlic or it will tasted BITTER. Add one cup (or one wine glass that I just poured for myself) of white wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for about three minutes and get it boiling, then reduce the heat to medium low. Then add: 1/2 Small Fresh Red Pepper Strips 1/2 Sliced Fresh Peach 1 TBS Jerk Seasoning Fresh Parsley Fresh Rosemary 1 tsp sugar Cook while simmering about five minutes, then put the chicken breasts back in the pan with the sauce, cover with a lid, and cook another 7-10 minutes to let all the flavors marry each other. You'll need to adjust the taste to your liking after the peaches have cooked down and released their sweetness. TAH-DAAAAAAAAAA!