Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pork Chops in a Fire Roasted Tomato sauce

I have mentioned before I like Rachael Ray's recipes. Many of the recipes found here on my blog have come from Rachael's 365 book. I recently picked up her Big Orange Book. At first, I did not think there would be many recipes there I would like to try but at a second look, I picked out a few to try.

This was really good, but I think next time I would make it with chicken. The tomato sauce was great, tangy and a bit sweet. I served it with sticky rice because I did not have any polenta in the pantry. Along the side was roasted brussel sprouts with fennel.

Pork Chops in a Tangy Fire-roasted Tomato Sauce

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Orange Chocolate Bundt cake

I needed to bake a cake for Sunday dinner dessert, but I could not figure out just what I wanted to bake. I went searching around my favorite blogs and I found a recipe for this orange chocolate bundt cake on Joy the Baker's site. I love her blog and her recipes. Not to mention, she takes the most beautiful pictures. If you get a chance check it out.

Here is the cake in one of my favorite Nordic Ware pans. I think I've mentioned here before my love for Nordic Ware. Everyone kept asking me where the chocolate was when I said it was an orange chocolate cake.

They were surprised when I cut into the cake and they saw the chocolate ring. It was moist and delicious. The perfect cake for a warm spring Sunday dinner.

You can find the recipe on Joy's blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Blogger-versary!

One year! I started this blog on a whim a year ago today as a way to keep track of my recipes and share them with a few friends. It's been a lot of fun and I hope to continue. I am going to be working on my photography and maybe one day I will finally figure out photoshop.

Thank you for checking out my blog during this time. I hope to continue posting recipes and photos for time to come.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from this year:

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Oatmeal Creme Pies

Asparagus and Gruyère Tart

Chocolate Overload Cake

thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

French Onion Steak and Asparagus

Again, it's all about Rachael Ray. I am hopelessly devoted to her recipes. They are quick, easy and Yummo! I'm sorry. I just couldn't help myself. This time it isn't a recipe from the 365 book, but from her Big Orange Book. It was also featured on her show.

We eat a lot of chicken breasts here because they are so versatile and quick to cook. I've been looking to expand our protein horizon. I saw this recipe which uses london broil. I do not use it often because I am always afraid it will turn out more pot roast like than like steak. This one came out perfectly tender and juicy, just like a sirloin. The price of london broil is much better than sirloin or other steak cuts so we may add this cut to regular rotation.

I was trying to round out the meal but wanted something other than the regular salad and baked potato usually served with steak. I found some of the year's first asparagus and decided to make homestyle potatoes. The Gruyere sauce was great for dipping the asparagus.

To find the recipe and instructions, check our Rachael Ray's daytime show site.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rosemary Orange Chicken Breasts

Rachael Ray 365 to the rescue again. Seriously, even if you hate her on television as much as I do, you should look into this book and many of her other cookbooks. The recipes of hers that I have tried have been great about 98% of the time. Once in a while there will be a dud, but luckily for us it isn't often.

I found some wonderfully fresh vegetables while shopping this weekend. I am so excited spring is around the corner and there will be more fresh vegetables to come. I picked up some baby bok choy because my Thai neighbor Oy used cook it and we thought it was delicious. I miss her, and not just for her cooking skills. I was on my own to figure out what to do with the bok choy this time.

I browsed my 365 book for the millionth time and came across a recipe for Rosemary-Orange pork chops. I had chicken breasts thawed out for dinner so it became Rosemary-Orange Chicken. It was wonderful on chicken and I can't wait to try it on pork chops. Give this a try, it's a great spring dish.


* 1 orange, juice and zest of, navel
* 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
* 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* salt
* fresh ground pepper
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 4 pork loin chops, 1 inch thick (or in my case chicken breasts)


In a medium sauce pot over high heat, combine the zest and juice of the orange, brown sugar, chicken stock, rosemary, crushed red pepper lakes, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lover the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with the EVOO. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook the chops for 5 minutes on each side. (or until done) Pour the glaze over the cooked pork chops. Toss to coat and transfer to a serving platter.

I grilled my chicken breasts outside because it was a wonderful warm spring day. For the bok choy I mixed orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and a little red pepper flake. I poured some of it on before grilling it and reserved some for when it came off of the grill.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I love watching Food Network. One of my favorite new shows is Secrets of a Restaurant Chef with Anne Burrell. She makes the most delicious looking and sounding foods. They are restaurant quality meals but she breaks them down so they are easily prepared at home. From the moment I saw her make these braised short ribs, I knew they would be made in my kitchen. I even bought a new enameled cast iron pot with this recipe in mind.

This recipe takes a little time at the start, but once you put it in the oven you can just let it cook away. I would say you could forget about it until the timer goes off, but with the wonderful smell that will come from your oven there is no way you can forget about it.

I decided to pair the beef ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes. The peppery horseradish did a great job to help cut the richness of the beef ribs. If you haven't given beef short ribs a try, you should. It was wonderfully warming on a cold winter night.

Braised Short Ribs

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 3 hr 30 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 servings


* 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
* Kosher salt
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 cloves garlic, smashed
* 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
* 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine *
* 2 cups water
* 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
* 2 bay leaves

* I used beef stock with balsamic vinegar added for the acid because I do not cook with wine


Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eastern North Carolina Bar-Be-Que (pork shoulder)

In my opinion nothing beats Eastern NC pork bar-be-que. It is pork, a shoulder or a whole pig, cooked over smoke and seasoned with a peppery vinegar sauce. In the western part of the state, they use a tomato based bbq sauce and in some parts of South Carolina, they use a mustard based sauce. We love the tangy and spicy vinegar sauce. Now I love beef brisket in a spicy tomato based sauce, but for pork it has to be the peppery vinegar.


13-15 lb fresh pork shoulder or ham
1 quart vinegar
3 oz. Texas Pete
1 Tbs crushed red pepper
3 Tbs liquid smoke
2 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs black pepper
4 oz. brown sugar

To make the sauce: Mix all ingredients well and heat to make sure brown sugar is dissolved. Makes 1 quart.

Wash meat with cold water and pat dry. Rub skin side with salt and pepper to taste. Cut 4 to 6 2" slits in skin and place in your smoker. We used hickory to smoke pork. After a few hours, cut deep holes into meat and pour enough bbq sauce on to cover meat. Smoke longer until a meat thermometer, reaches 165 degrees. Remove from smoker and slice or chop for bbq. Add sauce to taste. Required side dishes include coleslaw and hush puppies. You get extra credit if you serve banana pudding for dessert.