Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Canned Plum Tomatoes

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Canning tomatoes is so easy and so good!  A must try for the at home chef.  I suggest making a lot all at once, so you have a nice full pantry on hand when needed.

For each pint:

  • 5-6 plum tomatoes
  • garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Prep - Boil large stock pot of water.  

Immerse the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes or until you see the skin begin to crack / peel.  Remove from the pot (carefully) and rinse under cold water.  Remove the skin and cut out the core.

Place garlic and bay leaf into clean hot jar (I like to use the dishwasher on them right before canning).  Tightly pack the tomatoes into the jar and top w/ sprinkle of lemon juice and salt.  Leaving 1/2 inch room at the top of the jar – fill the jar with boiling water.  Run spoon along the jar edge to remove air pockets if necessary.  Immerse in a water bath 15 minutes.  Remove jars and invert for 10 minutes.  Turn jars right side up, cool, and store in a pantry for up to 1 year.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best of the Best Banana Bread

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This banana bread is an old recipe from a friend of mine.  It is so moist and flavorful!  Trust me – this one won’t last long.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Baking Directions:

Mix wet ingredients.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients.

Optional adds – fold in bittersweet chocolate bits/chunks (a must for me!) or walnuts.

Grease and lightly flour standard loaf pan, and pour in batter.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-55 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stuffed Veal Rolls

I got the idea from watching Ciao America a few weeks ago.  I don’t often eat veal (it’s been years actually), but I do enjoy it now and then and do really appreciate the tenderness of the meat.

For rolled veal, there are many options.  Options for stuffing and options for sauce (typically a nice tomato sauce would be appropriate).  Since Ciao America made it as a snack food (sans sauce) and used tomato and cheese – I decided to stick with that too.

Directions:

  1. Lightly salt and pepper thin veal slices.  Brush with olive oil. 
  2. Bread with seasoned bread crumbs and shake off excess.
  3. Stuff w/ tomatoes and any of the following cheeses: pecorino, parmesan, or fontina. 
  4. Roll and lay in shallow baking dish.
  5. Bake 400 degrees 25 mins depending on thickness of veal.

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I paired my stuffed veal roll with veggies including pea puree, oven roasted corn on the cob, and carrot sticks, and well as an egg noodle side dish.

Trick of the trade: use a bundt pan when removing the kernels.  So easy!  They just fall right into the pan with no kernels overboard or countertop mess to clean.

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Pea puree may not look like the most appetizing thing plopped in a bowl, but it’s super good, good for you, and makes a perfect foundation for fancy meat to set on (if you’re into pretty plating that is…).

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Simplistic

While I adore complex flavors, textures, and unexpected combinations of food, I also really enjoy the simplistic. 

This weekend, I made pastry dough, cut it into croissant triangle cutouts, and filled with a mixture of either nutella chocolate hazelnut spread or butter, cinnamon and sugar.  So good!

I have been enjoying them with my morning coffee all week – perfection! 

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Last weekend I made carnitas.  The process was slow going for sure, but the flavor was really great and the meat so tender.  The great thing about Mexican pulled pork is that it can be used in so many ways!  Tacos, enchiladas, sandwiches, stews, etc…

It was a very different way of cooking pork for me.  The pork loin starts on the stove top with oranges, onion, bay leaves, lime juice, and a few spices.

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Once cooked, the orange and bay leaves are removed (pork and onion set aside in separate bowl) and the remaining liquid is reduced.  Then, add back in pork (now shredded) and onion (mashed).

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Optional: finish the pork in the oven (on broil) to crisp up the meat with a nice crust.

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Shred the meat and have however you like.  I made a purple cabbage slaw and served the meat and sides on a heated soft corn tortilla.

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