Pork Chops—stove top and baked featuring cumin and mustard— easy and delicious
This particular recipe serves 4 however it can just serve one or more than 4 if you have a very large skillet.
- 4 8-ounch thick pork chops
- 1 Tsp. kosher salt
- 4 Tsp. grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tblsp. crushed cumin seed or ground cumin will do as well
- 1 Tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1 Tsp. canola oil and another generous tsp. or more for the iron skillet (or any skillet that can be used stove top as well as in the oven)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix the salt, mustard, cumin, black pepper and 1 tsp. canola oil
- Spread the mixture above on both sides of the pork chop
- Stove top, heat the other Tsp. canola oil in the iron skillet
- Put the pork chop(s) in the heated skillet and brown for 2 minutes on each side.
- Put the skillet in the pre-heated oven and bake until the chops are just cooked through—about 12 minutes but it can be before, so watch carefully. You don’t want your chops to be tough.
- There you go—easy and delicious.
- Now, that you have the basic recipe, try to imagine other variations to spread on your chops and let me know what you like the best.
Bon Appétit—From Margot’s Table to Yours and http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com
Shortbread Cookies—–Warning—- Dangerous: Can’t Stop Eating These
Easy to make and they are the freezer kind, but of course are called refrigerator cookies. Shouldn’t they be called Freezer Cookies? Go figure?!!!!
So, once you make the dough (in your processor or if you prefer, in a bowl with your electric mixer) you roll the dough into two logs and freeze them for at least 2 hours or up to one month. One roll makes at least 30 delights so I bet you’ll easily have some cookie dough left over to make into yummy cookies some time later unless you are baking for a large crowd. Below, look for variation possibilities.
Ingredients: makes 60 cookies
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tsp. coarse salt
- 1 Tblsp. plus 1 Tsp. lemon zest (or whatever you choose)
- 1 Tsp. fresh lemon juice (or whatever you choose)
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, cut into pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- Granulated sugar (maybe 1/4 C?) for rolling the dough in before baking
Directions (easy and if you don’t have a food processor, you can use a bowl and electric beaters):
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and lemon zest until combined.
- Add the butter pieces and process till crumbly.
- Add the egg yolks and lemon juice.
- Pulse until dough comes together. (If it hasn’t done that to your satisfaction, use your hands to form the dough into a cohesive ball)
- Divide the dough in half and form with your hands each half into a 1 ½ inch wide log.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm—- 2 hours or up to 1 month.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Place parchment paper on your baking sheet(s).
- Spread granulated sugar on a paper towel and roll the log(s) in the sugar. If you still want more sugar on the log, use your hands to place more on the log.
- With a sharp knife, slice the log(s) into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. These cookies really don’t spread so you are safe from their melding together.
- Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges (about 15 minutes). They’ll be sort of white on the tops but as long as they have some brown edging, they’ll be perfect. If you are using more than one baking sheet, rotate them half way through the baking cycle.
- Transfer the baked cookies to a wire rack or onto paper towels to cool.
- To store, cover and keep at room temp for up to 5 days. They also freeze well.
- Hint: want orange flavored cookies? Use orange juice and orange zest. How about lavender buds, crystallized ginger, ground almond, ground pecans? Use your imagination to alter these cookies to your very own taste and make sure to comment on what you have invented. I can’t wait to hear.
Bon Appétit: From Margot’s Table to Yours
Want some more recipes? Easy to find on Margot’s blog: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com Want someone to help you with small time entertaining or cooking?—email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Margot’s Beet and all about beets
Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Nuts—serves 4
Lots of us don’t like beets because of the poor maligned red beet. Well, frankly I sort of agree. I am not crazy about the red beet unless it is very fresh and mild tasting. I do however like the other colored beets which are now so prevalent in our grocery stores. So, here is a recipe for a salad that you can vary to your heart’s content and totally ignore if you just want to eat the roasted beets by themselves. Additionally, DO NOT THROW AWAY THOSE BEET GREENS—because they too are delicious. No waste here!!!! As a little aside about the benefits that beets offer free of charge to our bodies think about this: they are a powerful antioxidant, reduce inflammation, are packed with vitamins and promote a healthy circulation and cardiovascular system. Some say that they are nature’s Viagra. So, now, will you eat beets?
- 1 bunch medium sized beets-preferably sized about the same-stem cut off but leave about 1 inch worth on each beet; scrub beet thoroughly.
- Fresh lettuce, kale, spinach whatever kind of greens your heart desires
- Scallions—one bunch will do (optional)
- Baby tomatoes (optional)
- White mushrooms (have you noted how healthy mushrooms have all of a sudden become) (optional)
- 1 medium sized orange and/or 4 tangerines or 1 lemon (you will zest and juice these except for the tangerines which you might want to juice and zest but also you will use some for segments in the salad.)
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- S&P to taste
- Honey (optional)
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (but they can be pecans as well)
- 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)
To roast the beets do the following:
- Pre-heat oven to 400F.
- Place each beet in 2 pieces of foil, sprinkle some olive oil and S&P on them wrap well in the foil. Put foil opening at the top and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hour—depending on how fresh the beets are. Around here, mine get done in 45 minutes. To test if the beet is done, carefully open the foil (watch out for the steam) and stick a sharp knife into it. If it goes in easily, it’s done.
- So now, you can if you wish take the skin off (try a paper towel or a sharp knife), slice it and place more butter or olive oil on top and devour.
- But if you are going to save the beets for your salad, put the beets in the tin foil in your frig to cool. They’ll stay good for several days.
- I slice mine horizontally however it’s up to you how you wish your beets to look in your salad. You might like to cut them in cubes.
While the beets are cooking, make your vinaigrette:
- In the olive oil, add the zest of one orange, or lemon or even two tangerines.
- Also, add the juice of one orange,one lemon or 2 tangerines.
- You might want to add some honey—but I didn’t.
- You might want to add some thyme
- You might want to add some S&P
- You can whisk this, put it in the blender and just shake it well.
I also added some homemade croutons that I had made from my beer bread recipe. So good!!!!! Later for that. But of course you could add cooked couscous, lentils, whatever. Anyway, I am sure that I don’t need to tell you how to assemble your salad—so just go for it and use your imagination. I love pretty colors and often take pictures of my food presentations. I would love to see some of your pictures so don’t forget to send me some.
This salad could be a whole meal or just a light side to a lovely dinner you’ve invented.
OK—now for your well washed beet greens:
- Cook uncovered for about 2 minutes in a pot of lightly salted boiling water.
- Drain in colander under very cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, chop coarsely.
- In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Stir in some garlic and red pepper flakes (I use these lot) and stir them well in the heated olive oil (about 1 minute and till fragrant).
- Stir in the greens, season with salt to taste and cook just until greens are hot and taste good.
- I serve them with a side of lemon wedges.
Once again: NO WASTE HERE!!!!! and so healthy.
Bon Appétit-From Margot’s Table to Yours
For more excellent recipes visit http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com and email email@example.com for small group catering needs or even for help inventing in the kitchen.
Crepes, The Easy and Painless Way
No measuring is daring and it can be fun. It’s certainly the quick way to cook and you might be surprised at how well you can do this.
Crepes are a good substitute for morning pancakes and they certainly are good for lunch, dinner or dessert. They are so versatile. So, it’s up to you with what you want to fill or top them: ricotta cheese and berries? Jam? Veggies and cheese? Chicken bits with a lovely sauce over it all? Or topped with a delicate orange or lemon Crepe Suzette sauce? Variations are endless and fun to invent. You can even have an array of fillings on the side and let guests or your family invent themselves. What I myself had this morning were crepes filled and topped with ricotta and fresh berries. Yum, they were delicious!
I could go on and on about fillings and toppings but what I am giving you here is just the basic crepe recipe. The trick with this recipe is to use the SAME SIZED cup or glass for placing the eggs, flour, milk and butter because you are going to eyeball your amounts within these four vessels. A vessel that holds about 2 cups (oops—I shouldn’t have said that—sorry) will make enough crepes for 4. My picture showing my vessels with the ingredients are for half of the listed ingredients i.e. 1/2 a vessel of eggs, 1/2 vessel flour, slightly less than 1 vessel full of milk & 1/8th vessel of melted butter.
I use a Teflon crepe pan but if you don’t have one, then make sure to put a little oil or butter in your pan first. I like to make sure my pan is quite hot (when an entered droplet of water sizzles). If your first crepe doesn’t turn out quite right, fear not because you’ll know whether to turn the heat up or down to make the next one right.
To keep your crepes warm, you can have a double boiler top all ready to put them in; or wrap them in foil or in a dish covered with foil in a 200F or 250F oven. I also have had left over batter which when whisked again make fine crepes the next day. You also can freeze left-over already made crepes. So see how versatile these guys are?
- Eggs-1 vessel full
- All-purpose flour-1 vessel full
- Whole milk-1 ¾ vessel full
- Melted unsalted butter-1/4 vessel full
- Pinch salt
- Pinch baking powder (optional)
- Pinch powder sugar (optional
- Drop or so vanilla (optional)
- Lemon or orange zest (optional)
- In a bowl that has a pouring spout is the best, whisk well or beat with electric beaters the eggs.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients. Whisk or beat till you have a smooth batter.
- Heat your crepe pan or a small size skillet. Add a bit of the batter, just enough to partially cover the bottom because then you want to roll your pan around so the batter slides smoothly over the whole pan bottom. You don’t want a thick crepe. You want a crepe that is fairly thin.
- Cook until the edges begin to brown—anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds or more. You can peek to say how brown the bottom of the crepe is getting.
- Pile them up on your oven warmed platter and cover; or place in the top of your double boiler that is warm by boiling some water in the bottom part.
Bon Appétit —-From Margot’s Table to Yours
Want some more recipes or small group catering: visit http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com or email Margot at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricotta Kisses, Italian Style, For Your Honey on Valentine’s
Easy to whip up and yummy to eat, this will certainly be a treat for you and your honey. Celebrate Valentine’s here in the good ole’ US of A with an Italian twist (Baci Di Ricotta). This recipe can make about 30-40 kisses and goes very well with coffee, espresso or even a nice liqueur.
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract –but this can vary like almond, rum, liquorish, etc. Use your imagination.
- 1/2 C. flour (best to use unbleached flour but all purpose also will do)
- 1 ½ Tsp. baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tblsp. sugar (superfine is the best but regular if sifted is OK)
- 1/2 Tsp. ground cinnamon but again you can vary like nutmeg, etc.
- Grated orange or lemon zest (optional)
- Vegetable oil for frying—I use Canola oil
- Confectioner’s sugar for last minute dusting
- In a medium bowl and with a whisk (or you can use your electric beater) beat the egg and then add the ricotta and extract.
- Place the dry ingredients in a sifter
- When the liquid mixture is blended till smooth sift in the dry ingredients and mix again so that you have a smooth batter.
- Next is the slightly tricky part, but fear not, you can do it.
- Pour the canola oil in a large skillet so that there is about 3/4 inch of oil in it and heat oil over medium heat till the oil is about 350F degrees if you have a candy thermometer, or when you drop a small piece of bread in the oil, the bread will be browned in 40 seconds or so. At this point, test one kiss to see that it does not brown too fast and too much. If it does, turn the heat down, wait a minute and try another kiss. You want your oil to be just perfect heat wise. Visually, your kisses should puff and turn golden brown on one side after about one minute—and then when you turn it over with a slotted spoon, it should brown in another minute.
- Place about 5 or 6 kisses at one time in your pan so that you are not overwhelmed.
- When your kisses are browned nicely, place them on a paper toweled lined platter to drain.
- Let them rest for several minutes; pile them on a pretty platter in a rough pyramid and sprinkle, through a fine-meshed sieve, some confectioner’s sugar over them.
- Happy Valentine’s and Buon Appetito.
- These kisses are best devoured immediately; however you can pop them, PRE-SUGARED, on a wire rack over a cookie sheet in a 300F oven and keep them warm for up to 1 hour.
- As well, I have stored left-over’s in my refrigerator in a closed container and then the next day reheated them on some foil in a 300F oven for about 10 minutes and they certainly still tasted good; not as good as when first cooked but good enough. So, don’t throw those left-over’s away—that is if you have any.
GUAC: JUST IN TIME FOR THE SUPERBOWL –The Basic Plus 14 Fresh Ways
Skiing on Big Game Day in Sun Valley is usually superb because you mostly have the mountain and trails to yourself. The rest of the folk are prepping the chicken wings, guacamole and wondering about “flat footballs”.
You’re on your own for the chicken wings but here’s a little help for the Guac and believe me that will NOT be flat. Frankly, I like a good tasty strong Bloody Mary to go with any one of these recipes—but if beer, wine or a margarita is your preference, go for it.
And just in case you’ve bought too many avocados, next week I’ll have a nice little breakfast oven baked avocado/egg recipe just so those extra avocados won’t go to waste. It’s easy, delicious, healthy and not flat either.
The Basic GUAC’ for 8 (Way # 1)
- 2 to 3 ripe avocados
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lime (taste as you add)
- 1/2 to 1 Tsp. ground cumin (taste as you add)
- 1/2 C. diced tomato (fresh and drained canned)
- 2 Tblsp. chopped/minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 C. diced/minced red onion
- S & P, to taste (can be as much as 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp. salt)
- Hot sauce, to taste or 1/2 to 2/4 Tsp. red pepper flakes (taste as you add)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Slice avocados in 1/2; remove the seed; spoon flesh into a medium sized bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the avocados until the consistency of your desire has been reached. If you wish a rougher chop, use a knife to slice through the avocado flesh and then a fork. And you might add the lime juice to the pulp to start with so that the avocado doesn’t brown.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
14 Fresh Ideas For A Switch On The Ole’ Basic GUAC’
- Fast and Dirty: In place of the tomato, cilantro and red onion, stir in 1/2 C. of your favorite jarred salsa, 1 Tblsp. olive brine and 2 Tblsp. chopped green olives.
- Mango-Balsamic: In place of the tomato, stir in the diced flesh of 1 mango. Use scallions in place of the red onion and 1 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice.
- Chipotle-Corn: Stir in 1 minced chipotle and 1 Tblsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Add 1/2 C. corn kernels (fresh, defrosted frozen or drained canned)
- Tzatziki: Use 1 C. finely diced seedless cucumber in place of the tomato and red onion. Use dill in place of the cilantro. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves.
- Roasted Garlic and Poblano: Roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil with a little olive oil until tender and brown, about 30 minutes at 400 F. Roast a poblano pepper under the broiler, turning frequently, until the skin is charred. Carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper (with gloves maybe), then chop the flesh. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skin and mash. Mix both into the guacamole, omitting the onion.
- Minted Cotija: Follow the basic recipe but add 3 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint instead of the cilantro and add 2/3 C. crumbled cotija cheese. Season with S&P.
- Maple-Bacon: Follow the basic recipe but use 3 avocados, 2 Tblsp. white wine vinegar, 2 Tblsp. soy sauce, 2 Tblsp. maple syrup, 2 chopped scallions and 1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon. Season heavily with black pepper.
- Ginger-Hoisin: Add 2 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger and 2 Tblsp. hoisin sauce to the basic recipe.
- Citrus Tabbouleh: Replace the tomato and onion with 3/4 C. purchased tabbouleh and the zests of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange. You can also add 1/3 C. pomegranate seeds. You’ll love the color of this version.
- Shrimp Scampi: Use lemon juice in place of the lime juice and basil in place of the cilantro. Omit the cumin, tomato and onion. Stir in 1 C. chopped cooked shrimp, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Pico de Gallo Guac: add 1/2 C. of chunky tomatoes, 2 Tsp. of minced jalapenos and 2 Tbsp. of chopped green peppers to the basic recipe. Don’t like green pepper, choose the milder red, yellow or orange one.
- Calorie Conscious Guac: Delete one of the avocados and add 1/2 C. of LIGHT sour cream or LIGHT plain yogurt. Here you’ll have a creamy and fluffy guac minus some calories. You may like to do this even with 2 or 3 avocados because it’ll be a bit different.
- Greek Guac: Add 1/4 C. of chopped Kalamata olives and red peppers and instead of the cilantro and lime, add basil and lemon juice.
- Guac in those little peppers: Yes, you know those cute little peppers in all colors, all ready in a package. Serve a tray of those, cut in half and filled with your favorite Guac. Fun, easy and colorful. And you still can have chips and drinks on the side.
SLOW COOKER ONION SOUP (6 Servings)
Here’s a yummy soup that will warm your bones, body and soul
January here in our snowy valley is always a good time to have a repast to warm up the bones, body and soul. After a hard day’s skiing either on our BCRD cross country trails or down-hilling on Mt. Baldy, a delicious hot soup that is easy to make because most of it will be cooking while you are skiing is very desirable indeed. And by the way, you can also after caramelizing your onions, take half of them out and freeze for future use on pizzas, etc. and so just make half of this recipe for your soup.
For the caramelized onions:
- 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions, (about 2 very large onions or 4 medium sized ones)
- 10 to 12 clove garlic, minced or 8 garlic minced garlic gloves and 2 thinly sliced shallots
- 4 tablespoon olive oil or peanut oil and 2 tablespoons melted sweet butter
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the soup:
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup white wine or white vermouth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- Sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 cups good beef broth (I like the Better Than Bouillon brand but there are others however, of course, the best is the one you’ve made with beef bones, etc. at home)
- 1/2 to 1 cup mushroom broth which is different than most recipes but I like it in this soup (optional)
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (a last minute deal option—I like it)
- 3 egg yolks (a last minute deal option and it will make your soup a bit creamier—I like this too)
- 6 or more thin slices baguette, toasted in a 400 degree oven until golden and quite dry and more slices for your bread basket—and you could just toast it in your toaster to make things easier.
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, Parmesan, Romano, Swiss or any kind of the MUST cheese you can envision for this dish.
- Serving idea: This wonderful soup plus a green salad, a basket of more baguette slices and a side board filled with an assortment of good cheeses and dried meats would make a great meal at any time of the day—even one to break the day’s fast.
- Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with some melted butter.
- Add the onions, (shallots), garlic, oil and melted butter.
- Toss well, and then season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours, until the onions are richly colored and sweet. After the first hour toss the onions and you can do this one another time in about 3 hours if you wish. I also place a paper towel under the lid to absorb the extra moisture.
- Once the onions are ready, sprinkle them with the flour and stir until well-combined. Then add the sherry and vermouth or white wine.
- Then add the bouillons & water (which should be well heated in the micro) and the herbs; cover and cook for another 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
- Optional: Once the soup is done, stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
- Optional but very good: Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in one ladle full of hot soup and then whisk in another ladle full in that bowl. Then add this concoction to the soup.
- Set broiler to high when ready to eat. Ladle the soup into broiler-safe serving crocks. Top each crock with a thin slice of the toasted baguette and a heaping tablespoon of Gruyere. However, see below for additional hints
- Hints: If you wish, you can place the toasted baguette on the bottom of the crock, ladle in the soup and then top with your choice of cheese; then place it under the broiler for a moment or two. Or you can just add croutons to the top of the soup, plus the cheese and broil it. Or leave out the bread and just top with cheese however no matter what you choose broiled cheese on top is a must. Decisions, decisions, decisions—and don’t forget to remove your herb sprigs before serving.
- Place the filled crocks on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a bit of foil for easy cleaning and broil just until cheese is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Do not leave the crocks under the broiler unattended as they will burn quickly so watch carefully.
- Serve with more toasted baguette slices or even just oven warm slices, a side board of assorted cheeses, dried meats and a green salad and of course, a cupo of vino or yes, even a good glass of bierre. Voila—magnifique!!!!
Don’t forget to check in on Margot’s blog: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com for more than 200 recipes.