Friday, February 19, 2010

Pork Roasted the way the Tuscans Do

Pork Roasted the Way the Tuscan Do ~

Joanne Weir's recipe

4 servings
Joanne says: "This is a wonderful and easy technique for pork roasted inside a baguette with wonderful fresh herbs and of course garlic and olive oil! I'm sure this will become a favorite of yours too - it's great to bring on a picnic lunch!"


Preheat oven to 375-degrees (F)

2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel pollen (My notes: I omit because it is not readily available here)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sinewy tissue
1 loaf crusty baguette
Optional (I always include ~ about 3 to 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard)

Mince sage, rosemary, pepper, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and fennel pollen (if using) together, spread out on the work surface for later, the sear the pork as follows:

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place the pork in the pan and cook, turning occasionally until it is golden brown on all sides (this will take about 8 to 10 minutes.)

If you you like, at this point you can smear the seared pork with Dijon mustard before rolling in the herbs. (This step adds a bit of moistness to the meat, which I prefer.)

Roll the pork in the herb mixture and set aside. Next cut, or slit the baguette in half the long way but keep intact (don't cut all the way through); scoop out most of the soft insides ( I reserve for another use.) Brush the inside of the baguette with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Nestle the pork on the inside of the baguette so that the pork is well enclosed. need to be particular as to how you tie it, the aim is to keep the pork securely in the bread while roasting.

Trim off the excess ends of the bread. With kitchen twine tie the bread to secure the pork at 1 to 2 inch intervals.

Place the pork on a baking sheet and roast until done, 155 to 160°F (when instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin) About 25 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to rest 10 minutes.

Remove the strings and cut into thick (about 1-inch) slices. It's wonderful warm, and is flavorful enough to serve at room temperature as well.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Walnut Sauce for Pasta, Chicken, Grilled Vegetables, and...

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Serves 4 as a main course*

Recipe adapted from A Thousand Days in Venice : An Unexpected Romance

by Marlena de Blasi Copyright 2002 by Marlena de Blasi.
The Pasta

Cook a pound of fresh tagliatelle, fettucine, or other "ribbon" pasta in abundant, sea-salted boiling water to the al dente stage, drain, and toss with 1½ cups of the following sauce. If fresh pasta is not available, substitute dried artisinal pasta.

For the Sauce (Makes about 2 cups)

8 ounces shelled walnuts, lightly roasted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Several gratings of nutmeg
Sea salt and just-cracked pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup late-harvest white wine such as Vin Santo or Moscato

* My own NOTES:

I added a bit of finely grated orange zest, and used a light hand with the salt so the slight sweetness of the wine would come through. This sauce is very thick, I like to make it a bit thinner by stirring in a spoonful or two of the hot pasta water. A sweet late harvest wine can be subsituted for the Vin Santo or Moscato

** This is a very rich sauce, I prefer to serve this in small portions, perhaps as an appetizer or along side plainly grilled chicken, fish or chops.


Pulse the walnuts in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, until they are the texture of very coarse meal (not too finely - a bit of texture is better). Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and pulse two or three more times to combine.

In a small bowl mix the olive oil, cream and wine together. With the machine running, pour the mixture through the feed tube and process only until it is mixed. (Will be like thick paste.) Taste and correct the sauce for salt and spices.

Marlena notes: " As divine as this sauce is, tossed with just-cooked pasta, it presents other delicious opportunities: Keep some in the refrigerator and place a spoonful over just-roasted chicken or pork; spread it on grilled bread and pass it along with cold white wine for an appetizer; enrich simple vegetable soups with a dollop, or try it as a condiment for steamed asparagus."
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Walnuts

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Walnuts (and Colatura, optional)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Serves 4

A traditional dish, possessing the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.


1 head of cauliflower, cut into very small florets
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup raisins (golden or black), plumped in warm liquid water, wine, etc.
3 Tablespoons walnuts or 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 Tablespoon colatura (optional)+*
8 ounces orecchiette

*If not using colatura, salt the cauliflower a little more heavily than usual.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F)
Toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 1012 minutes until nicely caramelized. In the last 3-4 minutes, add the raisins and pine nuts and continue roasting. (Careful not to burn the nuts.)

In the meantime, cook the orecchiette in lots of salted, boiling water. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the hot pasta to the pot and stir in the pasta water, colatura(if using), 2 tablespoons of fresh extra virgin olive oil and the roasted cauliflower mix. Serve right away.

* Colatura is a special Italian syrup, made from anchovies.

Recipe adapted from Market Hall Foods

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Herb Glaze

This recipe is from Caprial and John Pence; originally created for pork chops, I took my friend's advice and adjusted it for a pork tenderloin.

Flavored with Herbs de Provence and honey (I substituted Agave syrup) it is a little sweet and absolutely delicious.

Caprial & John's Pork with Honey, Mustard, and Herb Glaze

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Serves 4 to 6 (varies if using tenderloin or 6 pork chops)

1 or 2 pork tenderloin (12 to 16 ounces or so, each ) OR 6 (8-10 ounce) Pork chops
1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Salt and cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
Sea salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven 350°

To prepare the pork: Rub meat (tenderloin or chops) with herbs and salt and black pepper. Heat olive oil in a very large pan until smoking hot. Add the meat and sear well on all sides (if using chops sear both sides, turning once._

Mix the honey (or agave syrup), garlic, mustard, shallots, lemon juice and zest, and pinch sea salt. Pour over the meat and place in the oven and cook until meat reachs an internal temperature of 140 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

Remove meat to platter or plates. Place the pan on stovetop over medium heat and bring to a boil add the butter and adjust the seasonings. Pour over sliced tenderloin or chops and serve hot. (Alternately offer the glaze at the table to allow each diner to add their own.)


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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Individual-size Baked Alaska

Individual-size Baked Alaska
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
4 to 6 servings

Using only 3 or 4 ingredients, these provide huge eye and taste appeal for very little effort.

I actually prefer to make Baked Alaska into individual size portions using slices of plain cake or pound cake. This time I used extra large cupcakes made from Butter Cake batter. Here's how~

Cake slices of your choice (any flavor), or pound cake, plain cupcakes, etc.
Ice cream (any flavor)
Egg Meringue (recipe follows)


Jam or Spread of your choice,
Flowers or fruit for garnish

I make them at the last moment, but you could assemble the cake with ice cream filling and store in freezer (for up to an hour or two) before frosting with meringue and broiling.

Slice 2 pieces of cake per serving
Arrange oven rack near upper center of oven, set to broil.

Make meringue: (enough for 4 to 6 small Baked Alaskas)
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cups sugar

Place egg whites in an impeccably clean bowl, add cream of tartar and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until stiff peaks form.

Using two slices of of cake per portion, place one slice for each serving on a baking sheet, spread with jam or spread if desired. Place a thick slab (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) of ice cream on cake slice. Top with another cake slice. Completely cover entire surface of cake and ice cream encasing thickly with meringue.

Place under broiler until top is lightly golden brown, garnish as desired and serve immediately.

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