Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Real Family Dinner

Long before the guidos and guidettes of the Jersey Shore sat around their table to enjoy an Italian feast, I've been making a big family dinner on Sundays. By family, I mean making dinner for my boyfriend and his brother, my makeshift family since I moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin for graduate school last July.

I decided to create this blog to document my cooking and dining adventures in the Midwest.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday February 2nd, 2011


Crispy Apricot Pork Chops

I never usually have good luck with pork chops, but I decided to try this recipe from my new favorite cook book, "Great Food Fast". Mostly because apricot is so delicious! They were very easy, and didn't take long. Here's the recipe, along with some pictures:

1 Tbl Olive Oil

2 slices Multigrain bread

4 bone-in Pork loin chops

4 teaspoons apricot jam

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil; set aside.

2. Tear the bread into large pieces; place in a food processor. Pulse until the large crumbs form. Drizzle with the oil; crumbs are moistened.

3. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper; spread one side of each chop with 1 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the jam, and pat them on gently.

4. Transfer the pork, coated side up, to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden and the pork is opaque throughout, 14-16 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Shells with Winter Squash!

Butter for the baking dish

4 Tbl Olive Oil

2 Large onions, thinly sliced

Salt and Pepper

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 lb Small pasta shells

1 package (12 oz) frozen winter squash puree, thawed

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 slices crusty baguette, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until onions are soft for about 15 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring until unions are browned for about 20-25 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of rosemary.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than the directions require. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.

3. Stir squash and reserved pasta water into the onions; simmer for 2 minutes. Toss the squash mixture and 1/2 cup of parmesan with the pasta. Transfer to prepared dish.

4. Combine the bread cubes with the remaining parmesan, rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the bread cubes. Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

Roasted Asparagus

This is my go-to vegetable whenever I need some quick, easy and super tasty.

All you need is 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 tbl of olive oil, salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Trim the tough ends of the asparagus...I've found if you just slightly bend the bottom part of the stalk, the end just snaps right off. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus in with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Roast until the asparagus is tender and cheese is melted..about 10-15 minutes.

Rustic Apple Tart

This dish would've turned out better if I had a rolling pin, but as a poor graduate student, a well-stocked kitchen is hard to find. But I did my best!

Flour, for work surfaces
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
3 Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup of sugar
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
2 tbl unsalted butter
2 tbl apple jelly or apricot jam (I made this the same night I made the pork chops, so my advice would be the apricot!)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet (still folded) to an 8x14 inch rectangle. Trim edges and transfer to baking sheet...Place in freezer. Peel, core and slice the apples 1/4 inch thick. Toss in a large bowl with the sugar.
2. Brush the pastry with the egg wash, avoiding edges. Use a sharp paring knife to score a 3/4 inch border around the pastry. Place the apples inside the border and dot with butter. Bake until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender about 30-35 minutes.
3. In the microwave, heat the jelly with 1 tbl water until melted. Brush apples with glaze. Serve tart warm!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti

Have a great week! Cate Reynolds

1 comment:

  1. This looks great! I always have trouble with pork drying out, I am definitely going to try this for my family soon.

    Can't wait to read this blog! =]