Sunday, February 26, 2006

Green Pekoe Brined Pork Loin


This is a dish that we really enjoyed. I have decided that I really like to brine certain meats--pork, chicken, turkey (next will try lamb). The brining process really does help the meat stay moist and you can use whatever seasoning you prefer after using the basic salt & sugar. There are many excellent brining recipes out there & I encourage you to try at least one if you do eat these foods. At Thanksgiving we brined chickens instead of turkey and cooked them on the rotisserie and they were excellent.

Ingredients
1 quart cold water
1/3 cup sea salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 tablespoons Green Pekoe Tea
2 lb. pork loin
2 tablespoons cooking oil
paprika

Directions
Bring water, salt, sugar, & peppercorns to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea. Cool solution to room temp. Place pork loin in a self sealing plastic bag and add enough solution to cover. Place sealed bag in a large bowl (just in case it leaks).
Weigh the meat down by placing an object (such as a can of food) on top so that the meat is submerged in the solution. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove pork from solution & rinse & pat dry. Discard solution. Brown pork on all sides in vegetable oil. Sprinkle all sides with paprika and place in a 350 degree oven for approximately one hour. Ovens vary, so check doneness by making a small cut in pork. Remove pork from oven & tent in foil for about 10 minutes. Slice & serve.

Note--the tea used in this recipe was from Adagio. I am a real tea drinker and frequent this tea site. I have entered this recipe in the February Tea Chef contest (the name of the recipe is listed & my other initial M. Hall) If anyone feels so inclined, I would appreciate your vote (by Feb. 28) over at

http://www.adagio.com/

Happy Cooking,

Fran

Sunday, February 19, 2006

WHB #20



"Hunger pangs for fresh veggies"--that is what I was hearing today. Went searching in the veggie bin and found these--eggplant, purple onion, red & green bell peppers, & tiny tomatoes. We love roasted veggies, so I decided to make the eggplant the centerpiece. Keep it simple today. EVOO in the bottom of the dish, next the sliced eggplant, then the onion, the peppers, tomatoes and another splash of olive oil, sea salt & fresh cracked pepper. Roasted them in 400 degree oven for an hour. Sounds like a long time to roast, but they tasted yummy. Nice & and brown & mushy!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Grilled Macaroni & Cheese Sandwich


So many cheese sandwiches, so little time to make them all. What a creative bunch of lovely Food Bloggers! There are lots of thoughts about this in my head, but I am not as expressive with this as so many of you are. I just come to you with my offering thinking that I am probably one of those true "cheese sandwich" bloggers.

My contribution is a Grilled Mac N' Cheese Sandwich. (Although technically this sandwich was not "grilled".) I am a public servant so I don't have the funds to purchase a much wanted panini grill. Considered using my George Foreman grill or my waffle iron, but I hate the cleanup on those. Instead, I selected my hand me down (from my dear Grandmother) Revere Ware skillet with a copper bottom. It is probably old enough to be considered an antique and I certainly wish I had all of the great food that has been cooked in it. Anyway, I digress.

I truly believe this version of the cheese sandwich is best made with cheap & soft white bread rather than a tasty artisan loaf. Cheap starchy mac gives the innards of this recipe the starch to stick up to becoming the integral part of a sandwich. The recipe could certainly be made with Dreamfields, spelt, or rice pasta but in this case it was straight starch all the way.

The recipe for the mac n' cheese is a truly wonderful recipe which my family loves and has enjoyed many times. As you will see, the recipe can be adapted to include the types of cheese you like the most. This recipe calls for 5 cheeses--sharp & mild cheddar, muenster, monterey jack & yes, velveeta. It is Patti LaBelle's Over The Rainbow Macaroni & Chesse Recipe (easily googled).

Now to the construction of the sandwich. It is quite simple. Place a chunk of the delicious mac n' cheese between 2 pieces of bread. Place at least 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Brown one side and repeat with more butter for the flip side. This really does make a good sandwich and if you have a bit of leftover mac n' cheese, it is worth your time.

Thank you Kalyn & Brother for the fabulous Icons. Am looking forward to reading every single contribution on this topic.

Fran

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Chocolate Cake


Happy Valentine's Day! After reading many posts today, I had to think of a way to join with something that seemed to be in the spirit of the day. Since I haven't been doing any baking lately, I searched my photo file and found just the picture I wanted. A few months back I made a wonderful chocolate cake that was moist, delicious and a little different. I borrowed the recipe from Fanny at http://FOODBEAM.BLOGSPOT.COM. The recipe was in her September Archive. I struggled a bit with the conversions but we did enjoy the end result. The surprise ingredient was Guinness. The recipe makes quite a bit of glaze or sauce and I couldn't stand to waste it--so--I cored 2 MacIntosh Apples, stuffed them with pecans and poured the rich & buttery sauce over the apples. Baked them for about half an hour & they were yummy! Hope everyone enjoys whatever they cook, bake, or eat today.

Fran

Sunday, February 05, 2006

WCB


Have missed being here for almost a month. Miss Tilly Girl has been my constant companion and nurse during my time away from blogging. Maybe that explains her trying to get away for some "me" time in her photo. Shortly after my last post I broke my knee--ouch! Am now in PT and hoping to be on the road to recovery. Have had lots of time to think and be thankful for what I had taken for granted--like being able to go into my wonderful, beautiful kitchen and cook anything whenever time allowed. I had accumulated pages of ideas to try and to post and of course, that has all been placed on hold. I have not cooked a thing in almost a month. Husband has been doing the KP. Shopping, preparing and cleaning, plus nurse duty for me. Only once did we have take out burgers and one trip for chinese take out. My wonderful sister-in-law, P, (who is the total master cook) has supplied delicious meals 3 times. Chicken and noodles, turkey and dressing (with all of the trimmings), wonderful spicy chili, and for desserts she has offered up apple blossoms, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, and spice cake. Our Guardian Angel neighbor, K, made the most delicious pork chops and cheesey potatoes, along with tender tasty muffins from Paradise Bakery. K has carted me from one end of this town to the other (literally) for doctor appointments with never a complaint and always in good humor. My friends from work have kept me up to date on that front. My dear colleague, J, just brought the most yummy peanut butter/chocolate/coconut bar cookies. She "accidentally" made a double batch. My dear friend, C, has been an invlauable liason between work & home and keeps telling me everything will be ok.

My wonderful friends in the blogging world have also been a great source of encouragement during this time. Thank you Dear Paz, Cooking Diva Melissa, Fanny, and Tattum. During those times when I could cozy up to my computer it was so nice to see your kind words.

At this time I have no recipe or picture of food, but my head is full of ideas for the future.
Please be thankful for every day you can spend doing what we obviously enjoy doing--cooking and baking. A lesson learned the hard way...............

Love & Best Wishes To All,
Fran