Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

After making traditional enchiladas and loving them as much as we do, I was super excited to see Enchiladas Verdes in one of my issues of Cook's Illustrated.  I absolutely love tomatillo salsa, and I honestly can't believe I haven't blogged it yet! I will have to make a point to do it soon.

These enchiladas are made by a similar method to the red chile ones.  The chicken is poached in a flavorful broth, then mixed with fresh tomatillo sauce, cheese, and cilantro, and wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with more sauce and cheese.  Poblano chiles are used for smoky heat, but if you want a spicier kick, feel free to add some jalapenos as well.  I can't necessarily say that I like these more than the traditional ones, but they are really really delicious.  We both enjoyed these, and can't wait to make them again.

Enchiladas Verdes
adapted from Cook's Illustratedserves 4 to 6
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped medium
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks and stems removed, rinsed well and dried
  • 3 poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1-2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 ounces Pepperjack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
Adjust the oven racks to the middle and highest position, and turn on the broiler.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently until golden, 8-10 minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons of the garlic and the cumin.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Decrease the heat to medium-low, and stir in the broth.  Add the chicken, cover, and cook until an internal temperature of 160-165 has been reached, 15-20 minutes.  Halfway through cooking, flip the chicken in the broth.

Remove from heat, and transfer the chicken to a bowl to cool.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the broth, and strain the liquid, reserving the onions and garlic for the filling.  Discard the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, toss the tomatillos and chiles with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil; Scatter on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, with the peppers skin-side up.  Broil until they blacken and soften, 5-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the skin from the chiles.  Transfer the chiles and tomatillos to a food processor, and add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic, and the reserved cooking liquid.  Pulse until the sauce is thick and chunky, about 8 pulses.  Season with salt and pepper, and adust the tartness by adding the remaining sugar, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.  Set the sauce aside.

Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and combine with cilantro, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, the onions and garlic, and 1/3 cup of the tomatillo sauce.  Toss to combine and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Stack the tortillas on a microwave safe plate, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 30 seconds, or until the tortillas are soft and pliable.

Spread 3/4 cup of the tomatillo sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of chicken filling, and roll tightly.  Lay the tortillas in the baking dish seam side down.  Pour the remaining sauce over the top, and spread it with a spoon to coat each tortilla.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover with foil.

Bake the enchiladas on the middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.  Top with scallions and cilantro, and serve immediately.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

I really don't know what to say about these waffles except... well.... you really should make them this weekend.  They are pretty much the best waffles I've ever had.  You all know I'm a big fan of the sweet and savory combo, so it should come as no surprise that these were such a favorite. 

Thick slices of applewood smoked bacon are cooked with brown sugar, then broken into bite-sized pieces (try not to just gobble the bacon up at this point).  It is then mixed into a waffle batter that is made with brown-sugar instead of granulated, and just a touch of cinnamon.  Drizzle the finished product with some pure maple syrup, and eat with some fresh berries.  You have the perfect breakfast. 

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles
adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Bacon
  •  10 slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and line with foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray, and line the bacon in a single layer on the foil.  Sprinkle each slice with brown sugar.  Bake until the bacon is crispy, and the sugar is caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.  Immediately transfer the bacon to a cutting board, and when cooled enough to handle, break into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

For the Waffles
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Set your waffle iron a clean level surface, and set to preheat.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and fold in the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined (its okay to still be lumpy).  Gently fold in the bacon, being careful not to overmix.

Cook in the waffle maker according to manufacturer's instructions. 

Serve with maple syrup and fresh berries.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roasted Mushroom and Chorizo Salad

Another hit from Mexican Everyday!  This was a salad that was hearty enough to serve as a main course.  Joey doesn't typically like to eat salad as dinner, but he said he really liked this.  And what's not to like?  Chorizo, mushrooms, caramelized onions, cheese?  All good things.  Plus, it comes together in just 20 minutes.  This is served with a light lime vinaigrette, but I really think it would be fine with just a squeeze of lime juice; the mushrooms and chorizo have so much flavor on their own.  Serve this with a piece of warm crusty bread, and you've got a perfect dinner.

Roasted Mushroom Salad with Spinach and Chorizo
adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday
serves 4
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo, casings removed
  • 4 cups (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms (I used the gourmet mix that my grocery store sells)
  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 8 cups (about 8 ounces) salad spinach, washed, and stems removed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablesoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
Heat the oven to 425.

Break the chorizo into clumps and scatter on a baking sheet with the mushrooms and onions.  Toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 10 minutes, then stir to break up the chorizo.  Bake an additional 10 minutes, and remove from the oven.

Mix together the olive oil, lime juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 Tablespoons of water in a microwave safe container.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds and whisk to combine.

Toss the spinach with the dressing, and divide into 4 dishes.  Top with the roasted mushrooms, onions, and chorizo, and sprinkle with cheese.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Meyer Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

Until last week, I had never even tasted a madeleine, much less made them, but I agreed to make some for a baby shower, so I set to work!  Peabody is a great resource for pretty much any delectable baked good, so I looked there first.  I also had in the back of my head that I'd like to use meyer lemons, since I had just bought some from Trader Joe's.  Lo and behold, she has a recipe for Meyer Lemon-Glazed Madeleines! 

They aren't terribly difficult to make, you just have to be careful not to overfill the molds or overmix the batter.  And the glaze is so tasty, I could probably drink it!  In case you've never had a madeleine either, they are little shell-shaped cookies that are actually delicate little cakes.  So pretty!  I loved using meyer lemons - they are sweeter than regular lemons, but still retain a bit of tartness, and not as sweet as oranges. 

These were so fun and pretty, and I can't wait to try out some different variations!

Meyer Lemon-Glazed Madeleines
adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
makes at least 64 mini Madeleines, or 24 standard sized ones
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest of 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature
For the glaze:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of juice from a Meyer Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons water
Brush the Madeleine mold with melted butter, then lightly coat with flour.  Shake off the excess and place the mold in the refrigerator.

Zest the lemon into the melted butter.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt until thickened and frothy, about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour and baking powder, and sift into the egg mixture, folding as you go with a rubber spatula.  Mix until just combined.

Drizzle the melted butter/lemon zest into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, folding gently.  Again, mix until just combined, and be careful not to overmix.

Refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour, or overnight.  Preheat the oven to 425.  Use a teaspoon to drop the batter into the Madeleine molds, filling each one 3/4 full.  Do not spread, the batter will spread as it bakes.

For mini madeleines, bake 5-7 minutes, for standard madeleines, bake 8-9 minutes, or until the cakes feel just set.

As they bake, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water together to make the glaze. 

Gently remove the madeleines from the mold using a spoon, and cool on a cooling rack.  After they have cooled about 3-5 minutes, dip the scalloped side in the glaze, and return to the cooling rack to cool completely and set the glaze.

They are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored overnight loosely covered.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chile-Cheese Bread

In addition to Rick Bayless's cookbook, Santa also brought me a book called Savory Baking.  NPR named it  one of the top cookbook's of the year, so I couldn't wait to break it in.  It is chock full of intriguing recipes that I'm so excited to try.  Some of the ones I'm especially looking forward to:  smoked-salmon crepe torte, hazelnut waffles, peppered pear and goat cheese scones, baked pomodoro dumplings on olive salad, onion and sherry cream turnovers... seriously I want to make them all.

I actually kept it pretty simple with my first recipe, mostly because I already had everything I needed to make this bread.  It couldn't have been any easier to put together, and the resulting bread was delicious!  The bread actually reminded me a little bit of Ina's Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, but a little turned up.  It houses 3 different peppers:  fresh jalapenos, green chiles, and red bell peppers.  Moist, flavorful, and a little spicy, we went through this loaf before I could make the gratin sandwiches that were actually part of the original recipe!  I will say that it makes great cheese toast though!

Chile-Cheese Bread
Savory Baking, by Mary Cech
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno chile, veined and seeded
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
Preheat the oven to 375, and  grease or spray an 8x3 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the cheese and gently toss and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Whisk the milk, oil, egg, green chiles, jalapeno, and red bell pepper in another bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour and cheese mixture, and pour the milk mixture in the center.  Briefily blend with a spatula, only until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place in the oven.  Bake until the top is golden-brown, and springs back when touched in the center, about 45-50 minutes.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rustic Roasted Salsa

Santa brought me Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday this Christmas, and I was so incredibly excited.  This was probably the #1 cookbook on my wishlist, and I couldn't wait to start breaking it in.  So far I have been very impressed.  I love his philosophy of "everyday eating."  Basically he discusses the importance of portion control and a well-balanced diet.  Plenty of vegetables, good carbs, etc.  He also stresses that is important to "feast" every once in a while for special occasions.  Most of the recipes are actually pretty healthy, and so far, they have all been very tasty!

The first recipe I'll be sharing with you is his recipe for Rustic Roasted Salsa.  One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of tomatoes and fresh produce.  I absolutely love making salsa in the summer, and pretty much have it in my fridge at all times.  So I kind of fall out of the habit as the weather gets colder, and the tomatoes go out of season.  This is a great alternative to fresh salsa, using good quality canned diced tomatoes, then roasting the garlic and jalapenos to add some extra depth of flavor to the salsa.  The result was spicy, smokey, but still fresh.  The key is to use good tomatoes.  I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted, and they really have great flavor. 

This is very simple to throw together, and keeps well when refrigerated.  I snacked on this for a few days, then used the rest to make some black bean chili. 

Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa
adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday
makes about 2 cups
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
  • 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime, or 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and dry roast the peppers and garlic, until soft and blotchy in spots.  The peppers will take about 10 minutes, and the garlic will take about fifteen.

Meanwhile, rinse the onion in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water.  Shake to dry, and set aside.

Stem and peel the jalapenos, and scrape out the seeds and membranes (or leave them if you want the salsa extra spicy)!  Peel the garlic, and transfer it to a food processor, along with the jalapenos.  Pulse until they are finely chopped, then add the tomatoes (with their juice), and pulse a few more times to make the salsa as smooth or as coarse as you want.  Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, and add the onion, cilantro, and lime juice.  Stir to combine, and add salt to taste.  Cover and refrigerate, or serve immediately.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Green Bean Bundles

Another hit from The Pastry Queen, these green bean bundles are so fun and delicious!  Who doesn't want their food wrapped in bacon?  They were a festive addition to our New Year's Day spread.  The marinade gives the beans a great flavor, and as the bacon cooks, the beans absorb that delicious salty, smoky flavor.  They are perfect to make ahead and just bake off while you prepare the more labor intensive dishes of your meal.  These would also be great served as an appetizer on a buffet. 

Seriously, The Pastry Queen is quickly moving up the ranks as one of my favorite chefs.  I have yet to make anything that wasn't absolutely delightful, and I'm looking forward to working my way through her cookbooks!

Green Bean Bundles
adapted from The Pastry Queen Christmas, by Rebecca Rather
yields 6-8 servings
  • 1 1/2 lbs green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces of bacon, each piece cut in half width-wise
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat, and blanch the beans 3-4 minutes, or until they are bright green in color and pliable but still very crunchy.  Drain and run them under cold water.  Place in a shallow, ovenproof casserole dish and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, mustard, salt, and brown sugar.  Pour the mixture over the green beans, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Gather 8-9 beans at a time and make bundles.  Wrap with a slice of the (halved) bacon, and lie seam-side down in a greased baking sheet or casserole dish.  Pour remaining marinade over the top.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through and the beans look wrinkled.  Cook under the broiler for an additional 1-2 minutes to crisp the bacon even more, if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Garlic and Herb Ciabatta Bread

To go along with my kitchen-killing fettuccine alfredo, I made my favorite garlic bread.  Ina's Garlic Ciabatta bread is full of yummy herbs, garlic, oil, and butter.  And the beautiful thing is, you can adapt it however you like.  I used rosemary, thyme, and parsley this time, but I've used oregano and basil the past (though I didn't heat the basil with the oil, just mixed it in afterwards). I think a little Parmesan would be delicious as well.

I love ciabatta bread, and anything I pick up a loaf I make this with half of it, then use the other half for sandwiches.  Or more garlic bread the next night :-).

I pretty much follow her recipe, though sometiems I spread butter and the herb mixture on both halves.  It makes it a little easier to eat.

Garlic Ciabatta Bread
adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics
  • 6 galic cloves,roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, and/or basil)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 large ciabatta loaf
  • 2-4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350.

Place the galric, herbs, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until finely minced.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the glarlic and herb mixture, and cook until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut the ciabatta in half horizontally, and spread 1-2 Tablespoon of butter over each half.  Spoon the garlic mixture over each half as well, and press the halves together to make a sandwich.

Wrap in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan.  Bake 5 minutes.  Unwrap from the foil, and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Slice loaf into pieces and serve warm.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo

This meal really wreaked havoc on my kitchen.  Like, really. 

Santa was generous enough to bring me the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid, and I couldn't wait to use it.  My sister was visiting, and her favorite is Fettuccine Alfredo.  So I set to work.  I rolled out my sheets, and began cutting into noodles with the fettuccine attachment....and.... smoke..... and ..... grinding.  I turned off the mixer and unplugged, but she never made a full recovery :-(.  I can still make cakes and thin batters, but when it comes to kneading breads or mixing thick batters and doughs, I'm afraid she is done.  But its okay because there is a 6 quart Pro Series in my very near future.

And then I broke my cheese grater shredded the Parmesan (but that's okay too because it was a cheap one, and I replaced it with this beautiful Microplane).  And then, I dropped the lid to my mini-prep food processor and broke off the latch.

So all in all, a stressful time in the kitchen.  As we finally sat down for dinner, Joey made sure I had a big glass of wine to take the edge off.  I was so mad by that point that I didn't even want to eat.  I commented that it'd better be good or I was really going to be upset.  And.... heaven.  We all just mmm-ed all through dinner.    Worth it for all the trouble and broken appliances?  That's a toss up since mixers are expensive.  But so good.  Oh yes.

There are a few things that really made this a standout dish.
  1. Fresh Pasta.  If you can't make it, buy it from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  The dried stuff just won't do.
  2. Add pasta water to the alfredo sauce towards the end.  If you've ever tried to reheat leftover alfredo sauce from a restaurant, you know that, well, it doesn't.  The delicate sauce is very quick to congeal and become thick.  Unless you eat it in less than a minute or so, this will start happening.  Adding the pasta water helps thin it out just enough to last a little longer.
  3. While cooking the pasta and sauce, fill your serving bowls with hot water.  Serving the pasta in already warmed bowls will help the sauce maintain its texture a little longer as well.
  4. Use the best quality ingredients you can.  No powdery Parmesan or fake butter here.  When a recipe has so few ingredients, its really important to let them shine.
This is not a light dish.  In fact, its widely known to be one of the worst things you can order out at a restaurant.  But every now and then its good to indulge, right?  I did replace some of the heavy cream with half and half with no negative results.  Other than that, I stayed pretty true to the recipe.

 While I did make my pasta from scratch, I'm not going to post the recipe in this post.  Rather, I will link to the recipe I used since I followed it to the letter.  I'm hoping to experiment with more fresh pastas when I get my new mixer, so be on the lookout for those recipes!

Fettuccine Alfredo
slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated
serves 2-3 as a main course
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces fresh fettuccine
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Bring 4 1/2 quarts of water to a boil, coved, in a stockpot or dutch oven.  Using a ladle, fill serving bowls with boiling water.  Set bowls aside.

As water is coming to a boil, heat 1 cup of heavy cream and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and gently simmer until the mixture has reduced to about 2/3 cup, 12-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in half and half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the boiling water and add pasta.  Cook until just shy of al dente.  Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain pasta. 

Return cream to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low again and add the pasta, Parmesan, and nutmeg.  Toss gently with tongs to coat the pasta, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the reserved pasta water.  At this point the sauce might seem to thin, but it will thicken as it begins to cool and is served. 

Quickly pour out the water from the serving bowls, and divide pasta and sauce among them.  Serve immediately.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots

Other than chicken, pork tenderloin is the cut of meat we eat most often.  I love that it is lean, cooks pretty quickly, and can be adapted to so many tastes and dishes.  I also really love to pair pork with fruit.  I just think the fruit brings out the natural sweetness from the pork, and the sweet and savory combo is one of my favorites.

This particular recipe is great for so many reasons:  it is a quick and easy meal, would be perfect for entertaining, and is fairly healthy.  The sauce is finished with pear nectar, and it makes it seem so luscious and elegant. 

Pork with Pears and Shallots
adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2010
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3 large shallots, peeled, stemmed, and quartered
  • 3 unpeeled Bosc pears, cored and quartered
  • 4 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup pear nectar
  • kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 475.  Combine the oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in a small bowl.  Toss half the mixture with the pears and shallots, and rub the other half over the pork.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and shallots.  Brown the pork on all sides, about 7 minutes total, and toss the shallots occasionally.  Transfer the shallots to a platter, and transfer the pork to a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 145, about 8-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, using the same skillet, saute the pears over medium-high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and softened.  Transfer the pears to the platter.

Mash the butter and flour together in a small cup or bowl.  Add the white wine to the skillet, and cook, scraping up the browned bits.  Add the chicken broth, pear nectar, and pear nectar to the same skillet.  Boil until sauce thickens, and season with salt and pepper.

After pork has rested at least 10 minutes, slice and arrange on the platter with pears and shallots.  Drizzle sauce over the platter, and serve with additional sauce if desired.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

BB: Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

The second December recipe for Barefoot Bloggers was chosen by Michelle of Welcome to the Club.  She chose sausage-stuffed mushrooms, which was a perfect choice for December.  I actually made these 3 times:  for my extended family's Christmas Party, Joey's family gathering, and finally for New Year's Eve.  They were all eaten at all of the parties.

In the past when I make stuffed mushrooms, I've kept it simple:  low fat cream cheese, bulk sausage, Parmesan, and parsley.  These were from Ina, so of course they were slightly more elegant and upscale.  The mushrooms are stemmed and tossed in olive oil and Marsala wine.  Then the stems are chopped and sauteed with Italian sausage, green onion, garlic, panko, and parsley.  Rich Marscapone cheese is then swirled in, and the mushroom caps are filled and baked.  The result is pretty much the perfect stuffed mushroom.  A little salty from the sausage and Parmesan, earthy from the mushrooms, and a little sweet from the Marsala wine and Marscapone cheese. 

They come together quite easily; the only issue I had was that there was still plenty of filling leftover after stuffing the mushrooms.  Therefore, I suggest that you use 16 ounces of mushrooms.  And don't worry about that being too many.  There won't be any leftovers, no matter how many you make.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms