Saturday, September 24, 2016

Peppercorn-Crusted Roasted Pork Loin (with Pickled Red Onion and Melted Gruyere)

This is such a fun and easy recipe for fall! You don't HAVE to make the onions, but it's super simple to do and the tanginess of the onion partners perfectly with the sweet pork and gooey cheese. Plan to make this over and over again...

Peppercorn-Crusted Roasted Pork Loin (with Pickled Red Onion and Melted Gruyere)

For the Pickled Red Onions
1 cup water
1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced

For the Peppercorn-Crusted Pork 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless pork loin roast (about 2 pounds)
3-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons peppercorn mélange (tri-color peppercorns, sold next to the other peppercorns)
6 ounces sliced or grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

To make the pickled red onions, whisk together the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve. Place the sliced onion in a jar and pour over the water mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover and chill until ready to use (onions will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator). Drain before using.

To make the pork, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat (if you don’t have a large oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the pork to a roasting pan after it’s seared).
Add the pork to the hot pan and sear on all sides, until golden brown.
Brush the mustard all over the top and sides of the pork. Season the top and sides with the salt and black peppercorns (press the peppercorns into the meat to help them stick).
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until a thermometer reads 140-145 degrees. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
Slice the pork into 1-inch thick slices and serve with the cheese draped or sprinkled over top.

Serves 4-6

Friday, September 23, 2016

Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

How fun are these little egg cups? And so easy! I grew up eating Canadian bacon, and I actually prefer it over regular bacon. School mornings often started with Canadian bacon nestled on top of a toasted English muffin. Just the thought of that makes me smile. 

Thinly sliced Canadian bacon, when pressed into a muffin pan, makes the perfect "cup" for baked eggs. You can also use your favorite ham or prosciutto, but note that the cups may not hold their shape as well. 

12 thin slices (rounds) Canadian bacon
8 medium or large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Coat 8 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. 
Press two pieces of Canadian bacon into each cup, pressing into the bottom and up the sides of the cup. 
Crack the eggs into the cups and season the top with salt and pepper. 
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the egg whites are fully cooked and the yolks are cooked to your preference. 
Serve with bread, toast or English muffins if desired. 

Serves 4 (2 egg cups each)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cider-Braised Pork Roast with Chipotle Chilies and Potatoes

Happy Autumn! Let's celebrate by braising some pork in apple cider! And, to kick things up, let's add a little smoky heat from chipotle chilies and a breath of fresh jalapeno peppers. After a quick visit on the stove-top, the oven does all the work. In the end, the pork is tender and rich. If you want to leave the potatoes out, this dish can be served in soft rolls, or with rice or mashed spuds. 

And for you slow-cooker fans: I cooked this dish in the oven, but you can certainly use your slow cooker. I recommend searing the pork in a hot skillet first, to lock in juices and create a nice crust. 

Note: I like to cook my sauce down until it's almost gone, thick and caramelized. After the pork cooks and is shredded, you can decide how thick or thin you want your sauce. And, if you go too far, you can always add a little water to thin the sauce out. 

Cider-Braised Pork Roast with Chipotle Chilies and Potatoes

4-pound boneless pork shoulder or butt 
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups cubed potatoes (red, gold or russet, I prefer red or gold)
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 1/2 cups apple cider (not apple juice)
2 minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce with 1 tablespoon sauce from can
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
Cut the pork into 4-inch chunks. Season the pork all over with the salt and pepper. 
Heat the oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned on all sides. Add the oregano and thyme and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute, until the herbs are fragrant. 
Remove the pan from the heat and nestle the potatoes, onion and jalapeno around the pork. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider, chipotle chilies, vinegar, and mustard. Pour the mixture over the pork and vegetables. Return the pan to the heat (medium-high) and bring to a simmer. 
Once the mixture is simmering, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. 
Transfer the pork to a cutting board (leave the vegetables in the sauce). 
When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred the pieces with 2 forks. Return the pork to the vegetables and sauce and set the pan over medium heat. Simmer until you reach the desired consistency of the sauce. 

Serves 6

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pear and Cherry Galette

The pears and apples are out! Best time of year... Grab a couple of pears and whip up this galette with ease. What's a galette? A free form pie - baked on parchment instead of inside a pie pan. They always look gorgeous, no matter how you build, fill and mold them. The pastry and fruit do all the beauty work!

I used pears for this, but you could certainly use apples with dried cranberries - excellent combination too. 

Note: In this galette, I use refrigerated pie crust but you can certainly substitute 1 sheet of frozen (and thawed) puff pastry.

Pear and Cherry Galette

9-inch refrigerated pie crust
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
21-ounce can cherry pie filling, strained to remove excess liquid
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the pie crust onto a large piece of parchment paper and roll out to an 11-inch round.  Set aside.
Combine the pears, pie filling and flour and mix well to combine.  Spoon the mixture onto the center of the pie crust, leaving a 1 inch border around the edges.  Fold over the edges, slightly covering the filling (the crust will overlap slightly as you bring it up over the filling – that’s what makes it look rustic and cool!).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Cool slightly before sifting confectioners’ sugar over top.

Serves 8

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 202, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbohydrate: 35g, Protein: 2g, Fiber: 1g, Sodium: 145mg