Saturday, 24 May 2014

Corn and Bean Salad

No time for an amusing story today. You need a recipe for a quick and fast summer salad. Here is the easiest one ever.

You'll need (and I'm assuming you're feeding a crowd. Reduce everything by half if you aren't)
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans
2 can of drained and rinsed peaches and cream corn
4 sliced green onions
2 diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper to season

Stir it all up and let it chill for as long as you can. I'd add in a Sangria recipe here, but I realize you're in a rush and have no time for that! Enjoy!

WHISKEY! Baked Pork Chops

Well DAMMITTTTT!!! It is my life's goal to learn to cook authentic Mexican cuisine. I love Mexican food and I love Mexico and all Mexicans. The end. Love. So I ordered an expensive cookbook on line which I was hoping would assist me in achieving my goal. I shall not name the celebrity chef author since that wouldn't be very nice and my failures cannot be blamed on him. But I was very stealth and secretive about my mission since Mario thinks I spend too much money on cookbooks, so I ordered it on line so as to avoid detection on any kind of Chapters Indigo surveillance video. And every day I was tearing home from work, skidding up to the mailbox sideways on two wheels in the anticipation of its arrival. And when it finally arrived, I was breathless with excitement. I put it to the side (okay, under a pile of towels in the linen closet so I wouldn't be caught) until I had the time to really embrace it and soak up the joy. And guess what - it has the type of recipes where it says 2 cups of ancho chile sauce (page 267), 1 cup of spice mixture (page 93) serve with corn tortillas (page 60) and so on. That type of thing hurts my brain and pisses me off. I'm not running a research project here. I want to cook a recipe for Christ sakes! So I am not pleased at all with my secret purchase and I think I would have found quite a bit more joy from a new pair of sandals. That's right. Sandals. Because our winter from hell has just now finally ended!

So onto the recipe. This jumped out at me from a pop up on facebook. I can't give credit right now because I don't remember where I found it. But if I ever do, I'll edit here and give credit. I just saw "whiskey" and it had me right there. That's why I tried it and it turned out to be amazingly delicious and the chops were so moist that I couldn't believe it! Who doesn't love whiskey and who doesn't love pork? Talk about a marriage made in heaven.

You'll need:
2/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of dried thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh, remove the stem
olive oil to brown the chop, just to coat the pan
pork chops, bone in or boneless. 4-6 of them. I used 3 since my family all flew the coop.
1 small chopped onion
1 pack of slice mushrooms. You choose. Baby bellas or whatever you like
1/2 cup of WHISKEY!

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Whisk the sour cream, water, flour salt, pepper and thyme together and set aside.
Heat the oil on med to high heat in a cast iron Dutch oven or a vessel that can go in your oven. Brown off the chops for about 5 minutes per side until they're really good and seared. Remove them from the pan and add the onions and mushrooms all at once. Reduce the heat to medium and let them get golden brown. About 5 minutes. Then add the WHISKEY! and let it simmer until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated. Whisk in the sour cream mixture and add the pork chops back in. Make sure they're covered with the sauce. Cover and bake for about an hour. These are so awesome. I served them with a side of garlic mashed potatoes which was perfect for spooning the extra sauce over. And a side of whatever veg you like. Enjoy friends! I should abandon my dream of becoming an expert Mexican cook and dedicate my life to finding boozy good recipes like this.

Monday, 5 May 2014

B & B Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad

So I have been obsessed with roasting fennel lately, because fennel is the most delicious and interesting vegetable.

My favourite recipe so far has been this one, roasted pear and fennel, with bourbon and blue cheese. I think it’s pretty on-trend, what with people loving bourbon these days, and it’s got some great bold flavours.

Plus, you can serve it in a really pretty and minimalist way, which I like too. You could also serve it as a warm salad and have the cheese melt a little! You can place it on a lovely bed of arugula, or you can skip the greens and just do the pear and fennel. Your options here are endless.

Start by slicing your pear and fennel bulb lengthwise into nicely sized wedges. Obviously, you are going to de-seed your pear by scooping out the middle bit. Place these slices on a baking sheet with olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and a splash of bourbon. Get them all nicely coated and pop them into a preheated oven for 20 minutes (375°) or until golden. Yum!

Now your house smells amazing, so you may as well slice up that cheese. I strongly recommend some form of blue cheese for this, but depending on the one you use, you may crumble it rather than slice it. I used an amazing blue chèvre, with an ash rind, so that was quite special.

Let’s do a quickie vinaigrette to go with the salad. Start with a few splashes of olive oil, with a kick of a great balsamic and maybe a little extra splash of the hooch! (This is a small splash, not a shot. Don’t get dramatic.) Finish with salt and pepper, then whisk.

Now, layer your salad in an attractive way and serve with a drizzle of your bourbon vinaigrette. Those extra pieces of pear and fennel happen to refrigerate nicely for tomorrow’s salad too! But you may want to take it easy on the hooch vinaigrette if you work in an office, lest anyone get any kind of notions about you.