28 October 2010

Double Take: Tuscan Pork Chops

I’m always on the lookout for a new pork chop recipe because, well, pork chops, when cooked properly, can be very tasty. It’s easy enough to sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and grill or sauté them, but occasionally I like to change things up a bit.

When Tabitha suggested this recipe for Tuscan Pork Chops (p. 314), I had my doubts. I had put it on the list of “I will eat it, but Bender* will not.” But it was time to make something from that list since we hadn’t yet. The reasons Bender would eat it: balsamic vinegar and capers. If there is one thing that Bender doesn’t like, it’s vinegar… which means he also doesn’t like anything that has been pickled… like, say, capers. I checked to see if the recipe was online, and nicely, it was AND it had several reviews. I checked out what others had said and came to one conclusion: I could not use 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and expect Bender to like it. But I did notice that several people had suggested subbing your favorite wine. I agreed to make the recipe provided I could make such a substitution. Of course, Tabitha’s always happy to allow substitutions, so we decided to make this recipe.

21 October 2010

Double Take: Golden Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a staple in our house (er, tiny apartment). I’ve tried over a dozen recipes and generally come back to two: my grandmother’s recipe and a cheese sauce based recipe. The recipe for Golden Macaroni and Cheese from the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook looked most similar to my grandmother’s as it does not require a roux. But like my grandmother’s, it looked unassuming and boring. But I was also interested in finding a non-roux recipe that did not call for eggs (I made the mistake of serving that recipe to someone who was allergic to eggs once… eek!), so I thought we should give this one a day.

The original recipe made 8 servings, so I decided to halve the recipe since it was just the two of us. At the last minute I discovered that I did not have quite enough Cheddar, so I supplemented with Parmesan rather than going to the store. The second time I made this recipe, I forgot to use Parmesan and discovered the Parmesan gives it that lift that brings this recipe over the top to fabulous. The recipe listed here is what I used the first time I made it.

14 October 2010

Double Take: Herbed Tomato Tart

I knew this recipe would be a winner the moment I looked at it. I liked all the ingredients, woot! I begged Tabitha to let me make, despite her dislike of puff pastry. She agreed and we set a date. Originally, I had this one listed for making in November, but I realized how incredibly stupid that was. Tomatoes are already out of season here and it’s the beginning of October, so I knew I would only be able to find mealy, yucky tomatoes in November, so I moved this one towards the top of the list.

Then I had to find the perfect time to make it. It’s not exactly main-meal material, or at least I was nervous enough about whether or not Hubby would like it that I didn’t want to serve it as the entrée. Luckily, the perfect opportunity presented itself last weekend. We went hiking with some friends, and Hubby decided to reward us all afterwards with his famous lasagna. Well, we didn’t get back from hiking until 6:30 and lasagna takes 3 hours to make, so I decided to make the Herbed Tomato Tart (p. 475) as an appetizer for us. I knew one of our guests isn’t a fan of tomatoes, so I just left them off his part of the tart.

I made a couple substitutions/changes, but not many. Instead of using preshredded mozzarella, I used two balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced about ¼ inch thick. For my herb mix, I used fresh basil, chives, and parsley. Instead of wasting a second puff pastry sheet, I simply cut the edges from the sheet I was already using (I also didn’t bother to roll out the dough).

13 October 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Stuffed Grape Leaves

I've been a little quiet on the Daring Cooks front for the past two months. I actually completed the August Challenge (pierogis), but never got around to posting them. I found them bland and dull and just had no inspiration to write about them. When September rolled around and the challenge was revealed, I was thrilled. And then I realized that all the stores nearby had stopped carrying canning supplies already so I got annoyed and didn't participate. Horrible excuse, I know, but I was lacking inspiration again. 

When the October Challenge was revealed, I knew I couldn’t shirk my responsibilities again. Hubby would not go near the challenge (though when I asked him about it he said he might try it). So I decided if they were going to happen, I’d need to kick him out of the house for the day. And by golly, he kicked himself out and had a Star Wars Marathon over at The Dude’s place. The plan was that they would watch the original cannon and then come back to our place for dinner and Spaceballs.

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...