Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cashew-Pesto Pasta

January has been a rough month for me. I had two wisdom teeth pulled at the beginning of the month and have been recovering ever since. You'd be surprised what foods you miss eating when you're only able to eat on one side of your mouth.

I've spent most nights cooking quick pasta dishes, typically just cheese and butter but have actually come across a few gems. Every Day with Rachel Ray Magazine featured a great recipe for Cashew-Pesto Pasta. This recipe was featured in the Everyday Menu Planner, a section that is prefect for the busy chef that doesn't have much time during the week. It includes 7 different recipes, many containing similar ingredients to use through out the week. While the point is to cook all the recipes, I only chose one (although they all looked great!) And it was delish!

1 12 oz box of farfalle pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper
2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling water cool the pasta according to package. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cover to keep warm
2) Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 2 tbsp of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until wrinkled, about 12 minutes.
3) Using a food processor, finely chop the parsley, cashews, parmesan, garlic and lemon juice. With the machine on, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
4) In a serving bowl, combine the pasta, tomatoes and pesto. Serve with more parmesan.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pork! (The Other White Meat!)

I finally got a chance to look through my new issue of Food Network magazine and was thrilled to find a new recipe for a roasted apple and onion dish. If you recall my post from a few months ago, I made a FN recipe for Chicken thighs baked with apples and onion. This month, FN featured Pork Chops with Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes. I absolutely loved their chicken rendition and couldn't wait to try this one out.

I noticed the chops recipe called for tart Granny Smith apples, where as the chicken dish called for Courtland Apples. I could already tell this would be equally delicious, yet not the same as before. I couldn't help myself while cooking the apples and onions and snapped a shot of the beautiful color!

If raw onions actually tasted good, I would have stopped and eaten then! (haha... maybe not.) Anyway... on to the recipe!

1 lb small fingerling potatoes (I subbed in yukon golds)
2 cloves garlic
kosher salt
4 1/2 inch-thick boneless pork loin chops
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cups apple cider
1/4 cup buttermilk

1) Put the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, rub both sides of pork chops with sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high, then add 1 tsp olive oil and sear the chops until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to plate. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 2 tsp olive oil. Add the onion and apples and cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cider.
3) Return the chops to the skillet. Cover and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid. Return the potatoes to the pan; add the buttermilk and mash (I didn't have buttermilk so I subbed in heavy cream.) Add cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chops, onion and apples. Drizzle with the pan juices.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meatloaf: Round 2

The holiday season is officially over. It's sad how fast it always seems to fly by. Yet here we are, the second week of January, buried in snow with only memories and mementos of Christmas and New Years. Maybe it's just me, but as soon as New Year's is over I fall into a spout of complete exhaustion. My work-day seems to drag on and the only thing I can bring myself to cook is pasta.

After the last week of pasta dinners, I had enough... I need some protein in my life! I always have ground turkey on-hand so after work I set out to make Turkey Meatloaf. Way back when I began this blog, meatloaf was one of my first recipes and I haven't made it since.

Feeling adventurous, I didn't bother looking for a recipe. I know enough now to know what will work well together and sweet Jesus! This meatloaf was the most tender, juicy-est piece of meat I have ever had! Delish! Check out the (sort-of) recipe. :)

2 lbs ground turkey
2 eggs
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 pack french onion soup mix

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Spray loaf pan generously with cooking spray and pat meat into pan firmly. Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Slice and serve.