Sunday, May 23, 2010

Potluck Leftovers

The week began with a BBQ potluck at our house so I used some of the leftovers for a few of the meals on the menu. We had at least three bags of tortilla chips so we indulged and made nachos. There was also a bean salad left over so I mixed it with some brown rice to make a meal out of it.

Spaghetti with Three Tomato Sauce
Rice and Beans
Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce


This recipe caught my eye in the middle of winter and I mentally filed it away for spring when I could get rhubarb. The sauce was sweet and tart and savory and made for a perfect complement to the pork. It think it would also be delicious on grilled chicken.

Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce
from Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast
makes 4 servings

1/2 cup dried cherries
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup hot water
1 t plus 2 T olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
8-10 oz rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces (2 cups)
3 T sugar
Pinch of ground nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper
4 6-8 oz pork loin chops (1/2" thick)

Combine the cherries with the vinegar and hot water and set aside for 10 minutes to soften.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat 1 t oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the cherry mixture, rhubarb, and sugar; bring tot a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb has softened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 t oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork (in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding) until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Serve topped with the warm sauce.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Take Two

I don't know exactly where to start so I am just going to jump in. Obviously I have been on a little break. The start of this year seemed to bring a lot of changes to my life and I just found this blog to be on the bottom of the list of priorities. But I have started to miss it and I have been thinking about how I could get back to it but in a less time intensive way. Beside the time issue I was feeling like, although I was still doing my menu planning and cooking a lot, I hadn't been making very many things that I hadn't already posted about here and I just don't think it is worth my time or yours for me to re-post recipes. So, in keeping with the spirit of the menu planning blog I think I have come up with a plan. I am going to be posting my weekly menu but only sharing recipes for anything new. I will try to do at least one new thing a week.

Grilled Chicken with Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Green Chili Breakfast Burritos
Grilled Burgers with Oven Fries
Pan-Broiled Porterhouse Salads


This salad evolved as I was making it. I had a porterhouse steak in the fridge because a friend of mine picked them up buy one get one free and didn't want both for himself. I have cooked steak a couple of times recently with mixed results. For this one I remembered a steak cookbook we have that Jer got as a gift from his sisters (since he is such a carnivore). It has a ton of great info on all the different cuts you can get and how best to cook each one. It said that for porterhouse most people think the best method is under the broiler but that most home ovens don't get hot enough to cook it properly. Instead he recommends cooking the steak in a very hot cast iron skillet. Here are the instructions I followed and it turned out really great.

1 porterhouse steak (about 1 1/4" thick)
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T fresh thyme
2 T vegetable oil, plus more for the pan

Pat the steak dry and coat one side with half the pepper and half the thyme, pressing the seasonings onto the meat. Coat with 1 T of the oil. Turn over and repeat. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Very lightly coat the surface of a cast iron skillet (ridged of flat) with vegetable oil (wipe up any excess with a paper towel). Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Place the steak in the skillet and cook until seared and nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 5 minutes more for medium-rare of 6 minutes for medium.

Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain of the meat.

I served the meat atop a salad of baby spinach, hard boiled eggs, artichoke hearts, sliced red onions (which I cooked in the same pan I had done the steak in with a little balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper), and a creamy Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs. It turned out to be an immensely satisfying combination of flavors and textures.

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