Monday, August 3, 2009

Latin Deliciousness!

While my darlin' worked hard doing all sorts of housework on Sunday, I decided to start thinking about my next meal (no surprise there). Trying to budget, I checked what we already had, which was pork chops and fresh parsley and cilantro. I hate buying fresh herbs because so much of them always go to waste, but low-and-behold, when I quickly searched for some pork inspiration, I found a recipe for Chimichurri (which involves none other than fresh parsley and cilantro)! Needless to say, a latin-themed dinner was in order. I thought up some tasty matching sides and my delicious Sunday dinner was born.

Ancho and Rum-Glazed Pork Chops with Chimichurri, Seasoned Black Beans, and Homemade Plantain Chips

The Chimichurri was easy!
1 1/2 C chopped parsley
1 1/2 C chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp chopped garlic (6-7 cloves)
1/4 Tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tsp kosher salt
1/4 Tsp black pepper
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Roughly chop parsley and cilantro and add to a food processor. Add the oregano, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper to food processor and blend until evenly mixed and smooth. Spoon into a bowl and stir in red pepper flakes. Add in oil gradually, as you stir so you can control the thickness of sauce to your preference. Store in fridge about an hour for flavors to get even more delicious!

Next comes the marinade, veggies and meat (enough for 2 boneless pork chops)!
2 dried ancho peppers
About 1/2 Cup of dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
About 1-2 shots of rum (I used light Rum, but any variety would suffice)
1 sliced Red Bell Pepper
1/2 sliced Red Onion

Seed anchos and chop roughly. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth. Place pork chops in large ziplock bag and add marinade to coat chops. Set in fridge for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet and quickly brown pork chops on each side over medium heat. Remove from pan and place in pyrex baking dish. Add peppers and onions to skillet and sautee until soft. Add veggies to baking dish as well. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. After removing from oven, let meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing at an angle.

Seasoned black beans are super-easy!
1 can black beans, drained
1/4 chopped yellow onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

Add all ingredients to saucepan, with about 1/3 can-full of water. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Homemade plantain chips!
1 Plantain
A few cups of vegetable oil
Salt and Chili powder to taste

Slice plantain thinly. I used a mandolin but found using a knife got me an even thinner chip - depends on your preference. Fill a large sautee pan with about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil and heat the oil on med-high heat until it sizzles if you splash a drop of water into it. Carefully add plantain chips using a slotted spoon, and be careful because they will start to stick together. Let cook until they feel crispy. Remove with slotted spoon into paper-towel lined bowl, and sprinkle with salt and chili powder to taste.
These taste amazing dipped in the chimichurri!

Then warm some tortillas to wrap your meat + veggies, beans and chimichurri...and enjoy your delicious latin meal!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cannoli Cupcakes

It's been awhile! But these cupcakes came out so good that I just had to post them. I had the idea for a Cannoli cupcake randomly one day, but was a bit worried that the cream wouldn't take well to a cupcake and make them soggy or not be thick enough. However, they were a hit at work and surprisingly even better tasting after spending the night in the fridge! Just make sure you drain the ricotta well in a cheese cloth before using.

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes (that i turned almond):

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Ricotta Cream

  • 2 pounds of ricotta cheese, well drained
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2 ounces of mini chocolate chips
  1. Place the ricotta in the bowl of your stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and beat until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the vanilla and whatever spice you want to use.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chips.
  5. Spoon onto cooled cupcakes and refrigerate cupcakes overnight if serving the next day.