Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Success

So I tried some new and yummy recipes on my valentine. They were a success.

For dinner we had pork chops with a cranberry-balsamic sauce and barley pilaf with toasted pine-nuts and cranberries.

The sauce came from Bon Appetit, but I couldn't find the original recipe on their web page so here it is.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry and Roasted Garlic Sauce
1 head garlic
3 T olive oil

1 1/2 cups cranberries
1/2 c fresh orange juice
4 T sugar, divided
1 t grated orange peel

1/4 c flour
1 t garlic powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried thyme
1 t pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 1-pound pork tenderloins

1/4 c balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350. Place head of garlic in small oven proof dish. Drizzle with oil, cover with foil. Bake until tender about 1 hour. Cool; peel cloves reserve garlic oil.
Boil cranberries, juice, 3 T sugar, and peel in saucepan until berries begin to burst, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400. Whisk flour and next five ingredients in small bowl. Brush pork with garlic oil. Rub pork with flour mixture. Heat 2 T garlic oil in nonstick oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Cook pork until brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until pork is 145 degrees, about 13 minutes. Transfer pork to platter. Tent with foil.
Add roasted garlic and cranberry mixture to same skillet over medium high heat. Simmer 1 minute. Add vinegar and 1 T sugar. Stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve over pork.

Now I didn't roast the garlic. I just used regular oil and added minced garlic. I also halved the recipe and used two thick pork chops. It was still delish.

Barley and Pine Nut Casserole
(this came from a relief society party in Tucson)

2 T butter
1/2 c pine nuts

1/4 c butter
1 c barley, (i used regular not quick)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c chives, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
salt and pepper
2 1/2 c chicken broth

Sautee pine nuts in butter. Set aside.
Sautee barley and onion in butter. Add parsley, chives, salt and pepper and cranberries. Add broth. Boil. Place in 2 qt casserole. Bake 375 1 hour. Stir in pine nuts.

This is the best barley I have ever had. I could eat it every night.

Finally, dessert. I tied the soft-centered chocolate tortini I posted about and it was as delicious as it looks. I even had a fun little heart tin to make it in. I converted the recipe and changed it a bit so here is my take on it.

Soft Centered Chocolate TortiniCake
3.5 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces butter
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 c caster sugar (i used regular sugar, blended in a food processor, but I think you could just use normal)
1/3 c flour
Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. Stir to combine. Cool.
Beat eggs, yolks and sugar for 8 minutes until thick and creamy. Gradually add flour. Beat to combine. Add chocolate and beat 5 minutes.
Pour among 9 greased and floured (i just used PAM) small oven proof ramekins (4 ounce).Place on cookie sheet and put in fridge 1 hour.
Bake 10-12 minutes at 340 until firm but soft in center. You want it to ooze.
Only bake as many as you plan to eat immediately. Keep the rest in the fridge, covered until you want some more. They will hold a few days.

2/3 c cranberry juice
1/2 c water
1/2 c caster sugar
1 t vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 c berries (I used 1 c frozen of blueberries and raspberries)
1 T cornstarch

Combine all but berries and cornstarch in saucepan. Boil. Reduce heat, add berries. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Combine starch with a 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice or water and add. Boil until thick and syrupy. Cool.

Serve tortini with a scoop of mascarpone and sauce.
mascarpone cheese - I used 8 ounces cream cheese, 4 T sour cream and 3 T heavy cream and blended it. It offsets the sweetness of the cake.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!

The kids and I made some fun valentines using cute paper, scissors (Eliza finally got her own pair), glitter, and puffy paint.

We were sadly unable to make fun treats to go with Porter's because homemade treats are not allowed at school. How sad is that? At least Eliza could make some cookies to give to her friends.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And the Grammy goes to...

Steve Earle for his new album Washington Square Serenade.

I was rooting for my new favorite folk artist, Patty Griffin and her newest album children Running Through. But I like them both, so congrats.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

This look so good to me, but I need help converting the recipe and a substitute suggestion for the port.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Way To Go Underdogs

We very much enjoyed witnessing the miraculous, heartfelt win of the Giants over the Patriots. Proof that once again, cheaters never prosper.

And what could be better than witnessing this wonderful event? Witnessing it while stuffing our faces with pigs in a blanket, hot wings, honey BBQ wings, chips with guacamole and queso dip, cheese ball with crackers, copious amounts of coke with fresh lime and homemade cheesecake.

Go Giants!