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Friday
Mar182011

Vanilla buttercream frosting

I have made more frosting this winter than during any other 5-month span in my life. Lots of cupcakes and cake and just plain old licking of spoons and fingers. Reason #489 why my baby weight is still not totally gone. I'm blaming it all on the horrendous winter we have just experienced. All I have wanted to do is stay inside and make food and eat food and then eat more and more and more.

My peppermint buttercream frosting is still my winter favorite, but can you ever really go wrong with frosting? Butter and sugar are meant to be together, especially when they are swirling around in my satisfied belly.

With an electric hand mixer, cream 1 stick of butter for 3 minutes.

Add:

3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix on low speed until light and fluffy. Add additional confectioners' sugar, if needed. Mmmmm!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Mar162011

Roasted pork loin with orange-herb sauce

This is Week #11 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

Oops, I cooked pork two weeks in a row for this challenge. Isn't pork delicious, though? My mother prepared it a lot growing up. She really only prepared it one way, but that one way was fabulous. As with everything she makes, I am constantly striving to achieve the flavor that she achieves. In the past month, my husband and I have prepared a lot of pork and I feel confident saying that we have gotten close to Mom's level of pork deliciousness.

This recipe is insanely delicious. The reduction sauce that swims around the tender, flavorful pork makes me cry tears of happiness.

First, you will want to marinate a 1 1/2-pound pork loin. The recipe suggests a marination time of 1 hour, but I let mine sit overnight.

In a shallow dish, combine:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

Add the pork loin and coat with the oil-garlic mixture. Place in the refrigerator and flip the pork periodically.

Once the pork has had some time to soak in its bath of olive oil and garlic, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and set a rack in the upper third part of the oven.

In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, fat side down. Cook over moderately high heat until it is richly browned, about 4 minutes. Brown the pork on the remaining sides, and then turn it fat side up.

Add to the skillet:

1 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

5 black peppercorns

1 rosemary sprig

1 oregano sprig

1 parsley sprig

Once the mixture has reached boiling, transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast the pork for about 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers at 145 degrees F.

Transfer the pork to a carving board. Carve it into 1/2-inch slices, but you might want to wait to do this until the sauce is nearly done cooking. Do as I say, not as I do.

Strain the liquid from the skillet into a saucepan.

Allow the sauce to boil and reduce to 1/2 cup. This takes about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

What? You don't see chopped parsley in my reduction sauce? Well, this is because there is no parsley in my reduction sauce. This was the point in my day where chaos reigned our home. Sammy was screaming for more food, as always. Elijah's potty watch had gone off. I knew I needed to take photos quickly, before the sauce got too thick. My husband's phone rang. AAAGhsdkghhghh! So. I forgot to add the parsley. It sat in a sad pile on the cutting board, and I didn't see it until we were sitting down at the table. Please forgive me.

And then drizzle your sauce over the slices of pork that adorn your plates.

Did I mention how delicious this reduction sauce is? If I could take a bath in it, I would be one happy girl.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Sunday
Mar132011

Chicken jalapeno dip

This delicious Mexican dip is flavorful, spicy and cheesy, my three favorite ways to describe food. I love that it is unique and familiar all at once. I am marking this as a new favorite for parties. Or, just for those indulgent days when my husband and I decide to enjoy a margarita and a spicy, gooey treat. We are due for one of those soon.

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese

1/3 cup skim milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 jalapeno peppers, chopped (give or take, depending how much you like for your mouth to burn)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pull and coarsely shred the meat from 1 Rotisserie chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Add the chicken meat to the mixture and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized, greased baking dish.

Top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with chips and pita bread. Have a cold margarita handy! 

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Mar102011

Reuben braid

I find it unappetizing to use the word "loaf" when describing food, bread being the exception. I, along with the girls who attended our Bloggy Day party last month, pondered long and hard about what word might be a good replacement in this instance. Even the slightest of negative connotations should not surround the word "Reuben." By the end of the night, our Reuben loaf had turned into Reuben braid. Still not perfect, but better. So, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite new foods, the delicious Reuben braid.

I adore Reuben sandwiches. Years ago, I lived a few blocks from a divey little restaurant in Omaha that made the world's best Reubens. Strangely enough, in an attempt to find the name of the restaurant, I discovered that the Reuben sandwich originated in Omaha! Anyhow, I miss that place, whatever its name might be.

I found this Reuben loaf, er, braid recipe in Taste of Home magazine and furiously ripped the page out. My friend Jess helped pull it together (thanks, Jess!) because I was making about 8 recipes at once and needed a hand. It was one of the favorites at our party. It is fabulously tasty and I often find myself thinking about it at odd times during the day. I absolutely cannot wait to make and eat it again.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

On a large, greased baking sheet, roll 1 pound of thawed frozen pizza dough into a 15x12-inch rectangle.

Down the center, layer:

3/4 pound thinly sliced deli pastrami

1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing

1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese

1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and well-drained

On each long side, cut 1-inch strips until you reach about a 1/2 inch from the center.

Fold alternating strips across the filling and pinch the ends to seal.

Beat together in a small bowl:

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon cold water

Brush the mixture over the braid.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-38 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

ENJOY. You will enjoy, I promise.

Reuben Braid

The Reuben sandwich transformed! This is DELICIOUS and a definite crowd-pleaser. (source: tasteofhome.com)

Serves: 8-10

Total time: 50 min

Reuben Braid


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced deli pastrami
  • 1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
  • 1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
Instructions:
  1. On a greased baking sheet, roll pizza dough into a 15x12 inch rectangle. Arrange pastrami down the center third of rectangle; spread with dressing. Top with cheese and sauerkraut.
  2. On each long side, cut 1-inch-wide strips about ½ inch into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over braid.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-38 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

 

 

Thursday
Mar102011

Four-cheese french onion soup

A friend recently asked me if I had any Dutch oven recipes to share on this website. I did not, so I searched for something delicious. This was my favorite of the list I pulled together. What could be more delicious than a cheesy French Onion Soup? Although I have not ordered French Onion Soup from a restaurant in ages, I have to say that this recipe was the best FOS I've had in a very long time. Perhaps even the best ever. It was DELICIOUS.

Did you know that with a Dutch oven you can go from stovetop to oven to table in one dish?! There's a reason this cooking vessel has been around for hundreds of years. I'm excited to try some different recipes with my versatile little pot!

In a Dutch oven, melt together:

1/3 cup butter, cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

3 large onions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir frequently.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup all-purpose flour over the mixture.

Stir until blended.

Gradually stir in:

Two 32-oz. cartons beef broth

1 1/2 cups white wine

Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 additional minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Place 8 French bread slices (1/2-inch thick) on an ungreased baking sheet (use as many servings as there will be per sitting). Broil for 3-5 minutes on each side, 3-4 inches from the heat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 1/3 cups shredded Swiss cheese

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and top each with a piece of toasted bread. Sprinkle with the cheese mixture.

Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly golden.

Please go make this. And then invite me over.

Click here for a printable recipe!

French Onion Soup