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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Honey Mustard Pork Loin

In Pork on March 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Honey mustard and pork - a marriage of love.

Pork and honey mustard go together like…well, I don’t know. But they go together really well. Even a hot dog is improved with honey mustard. We should breed pigs with honey mustard blood. Actually, no we shouldn’t, because that would be genetic engineering, and I’m against that. That and low-carb diets.

One thing I am not against, however, is awesome food, and this one lives up to expectations. It’s really easy, and it tastes like a restaurant meal. Mr. Gorilla turned to me several times while we were eating to profess his love, especially for the sauce. I served this dish with honey-buttered rice and garlic spinach, and he put the sauce on everything.

I saw the recipe on Greedy Gourmet, , accompanied by a query that I have posed quite often myself – how do you pick a good piece of pork? She’s absolutely right, it all looks the same. The only way to be sure is to get the tenderloin. Even then, don’t you dare cook it to 165 like the health guidelines say you should – you’ll end up with shoe leather. I like to take mine out of the oven at 145, and let it sit for ten minutes or so. The temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes, and it will still be all nice and juicy.

I adapted the recipe just a tad from the original, mainly in the handling of the meat. I kept the sauce the exact same, and you should too, because it’s awesome. Honestly, the only reason I cooked the meat differently is because I don’t have an ovenproof pan.

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin

(slightly adapted, otherwise wholly taken from Greedy Gourmet)

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin

1/2 cup coarse mustard

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

salt, pepper, parsley to taste.

Directions:

Mix the coarse mustard and honey. Add the pork and marinate for two hours or overnight.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and lightly brown the meat on all sides.

Transfer meat to baking dish (retain drippings in pan), and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 145.

Meanwhile, heat the wine in the pan, and boil until reduced by half.

Add the cream, and boil until thickened a bit, about 7 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Remove pork from oven and let sit for 10 minutes, then slice into 1/4 inch slices, and top with sauce.

Garnish with parsley, and you’re done! Doesn’t it look fancy?

Ricotta Pancakes with Honey Butter

In Breads / Grains, sweets on March 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Like having dessert for breakfast for dinner!

We LOVE breakfast for dinner in this house. And we also love dessert for breakfast! Yes, our gluttony knows no bounds. So I made pancakes for dinner. Ricotta pancakes. With honey butter. To justify it as a legitimate meal and not just a dessert, I made bacon, too. You know, protein. It’s a balanced meal! Look – bacon=protein, pancakes=carbs, and honey butter=dairy. See? I can justify anything.

Going ricotta was a step for me – I had never had them before, but I love anything that involves cheese, so I figured they couldn’t be too bad. And they weren’t! They were exquisitely delicious, in fact!

I found a recipe posted on some famous chef’s website, but I won’t say who because the recipe was stupid. It basically said to get some instant pancake mix and add ricotta. Duh, like I couldn’t think of that. I was very disappointed in her (oops! did i give it away?). So I made up my own recipe. I did use Bisquick, but if a famous chef can cheat further, I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Ricotta Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups Bisquick

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups ricotta

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Batter should be lumpy.

Preheat griddle – if it sizzles when you put a drop of batter on it, it’s ready.

Pour batter by 1/4 cup-full onto hot griddle, but do not crowd.

When bubbles appear on the surface and edges look solid, flip.

Cook another minute or two, or until both sides are golden.

Serve immediately with honey butter and syrup.

Speaking of honey butter, it’s food of the gods! Here’s how you do it – Let a stick of butter sit at room temperature until it’s soft. Like, squeezably soft. Then put it in a bowl, add about 1/4 cup of honey, and mix until combined. It actually takes more mixing than you would think. You can leave it in the bowl or transfer it to a pretty container, then stick it in the fridge to solidify until you’re ready to use it. Simple!

The pancakes are rich, fluffy, and exquisite. The honey butter is sweet ambrosia. Yes, this is dinner! And because it is dinner, you get to have dessert later too…

Honey Garlic Chicken

In Chicken on February 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Gorgeous? Yes. Delicious? Heck yeah.

First of all, I must apologize for not posting yesterday. I was just beginning to write when WordPress crashed. Nice, huh?

Anyway, on to the chow!

I bought yet another value pack of chicken leg quarters – I know, I know, but I love $1.50 / pound! So, because I’m a cheapskate (I prefer thrifty), I need to come up with all these interesting ways to make bone-in chicken. I prefer it to be sticky, and preferably roasted or baked – I never trust myself to cook bone-in chicken on the stove top. I never have luck with it. Either overdone or underdone, never Goldilocks perfect.

I thought of Honey-Garlic Chicken, because I love Chinese food (I could eat it ’til I pop), and once I smell it or even think about it, I’m not happy until I eat it. Problem is, I would have to debone the chicken. Now, leg quarters look awfully impressive when left whole, but there’s not a whole heck of a lot of meat on them. If I took the meat off the bone, I would have about a handful of pitiful-looking dark meat to make my stir-fry with. So, I decided to experiment a bit to see if I could come up with a roasted Honey Garlic recipe. Did I? Ooooh yes.

It was beautiful! Simple, easy, sticky, sweet, tangy! And the dipping sauce was sublime – I had to stop Mr. Gorilla from drinking it. Just plain delish.

Honey-Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:

2 chicken leg quarters

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, pressed

1 rounded teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag, seal, and give it a good shake to mix. It’s best to mush it around with your fingers a little to make sure the honey and ketchup get combined right.

Add the chicken, and marinate for at least an hour.

After marination (I don’t think that’s a word), place the chicken on the rack of a roasting pan and roast uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

Just one more thing to do, and you can go one of two ways with this: you can pour the marinade into a small saucepan, or if raw chicken freaks you out, you can mix up another batch of the marinade. Either way, pour it into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. After one minute of boiling, let it simmer for a few minutes ( about 5).

Use this mixture to baste the chicken 3-4 times before it’s done. Whatever’s left can be served as a dipping sauce.

Now, don’t expect this to taste like Chinese take-out – it’s a totally different creature. But it’s a beautiful creature in its own right! And you know what? I totally made it up! Yup, right off the top of my head. And it worked! I love it when that happens!

Feta Toast!

In Breads / Grains, Snacks on January 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm
feta toast

Sweet, savory Saturday snacks! How's that for alliteration?

Why hello there, dear readers! Surprised to hear from me on a Saturday? I’ll bet you are! This is my first Saturday post, and it’s going to become habit. Let me tell you why. See, Mr. Gorilla and I usually don’t eat dinner on Saturday nights because we go out with our friends. The last thing I need is a full, bloated belly to contend with when I’m getting dressed for a night out. Besides, if you drink on an empty stomach, you’re very likely to keep the bar tab under a hundred dollars. Last Saturday at the Blue Martini, however, caused me to revise my opinion of drinking on an empty stomach.

I still don’t want to eat a full meal before I go out, but I’ve decided to make a nice hor’ de ‘ouvres platter for us to munch on in the early evening hours. Today’s special? Feta toast! I had some bread and cheese to use up, so this is what I made. It was great! But you kinda have to serve it immediately. It gets cold very quickly. But it’s just the thing when you have the munchies – quick, easy, sweet, and savory. Hop to it!

Feta Toast

Ingredients:

8 slices thin-sliced bread – I used Pepperidge Farm Very Thin

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

4 ounces feta cheese

black pepper and rosemary to taste

Directions:

Why does this oil make me so happy? You'll see!

This is so easy, you’ll amaze yourself!

Preheat oven to 425.

Lay the bread slices out on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the oil, honey, pepper, and rosemary. Resist temptation to drink it.

Brush each slice of bread with your beautiful oil mixture – be generous! Use it all up! Try to get all the way to the edges, but it’s okay if you don’t. I won’t smack you.

Crumble the feta cheese and distribute evenly among the bread slices. Again, be generous! Try not to let it clump upĀ  – keep it evenly spread.

Toast the bread in the oven for about 5 minutes, then switch on the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until everything is satisfactorily golden. If you use the Very Thin bread, keep in mind that it does toast quickly – keep an eye on that instead of the cheese.

Remove from oven, halve diagonally (a pizza cutter works great here). Drizzle with additional honey if you like!

Serve immediately. Try to actually leave the kitchen without finishing it all yourself. It’s nice to share, you know.

Okay then, chilluns! Happy Saturday!

Honey Roasted Chicken and Smashed Potatoes with Spinach Aioli

In Chicken, Snacks, Vegetables on January 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Sticky, sweet, melty yum!

I read so many food blogs, I can’t even list them all. Seriously, it takes up a good portion of my day. Why? I’ll tell you why. Be patient. And sit still.

As I was saying, I read food blogs because a.) I love food, b.)I love pictures of food, and c.) I love it when people talk about food. But there’s also d.), which is inspiration. Very often I’ll see a recipe that looks delish, but I usually don’t have the ingredients on hand, I would have to take out a loan to buy the ingredients, or I just plain don’t like an ingredient (like mushrooms. Yuck. I’ve tried, really, but I can’t).

In the past, I would just file said recipe away in the “someday” box, and make spaghetti for dinner yet again. That tends to get old and well, depressing. So what I’ve started to do is just use the recipe as a sort of guide, and alter the heck out of it to suit my mood or my pantry. I’m not disparaging the recipe as written, but I tend to use it as a bit of a jumping-off point, and see where it takes me. Usually, the results are fantastic – other times not so much. This meal, however, was one of the fantastic ones, even garnering voluble repetitions of joy from Mr. Gorilla.

My chicken. The photo stinks, but the chicken was DIVINE!

For the chicken, I used the Roasted Honey Wings Recipe from Quinn’s Cooking with Love and Passion. The wings in her photos looked so sweet and sticky and everything a chicken part should be, that I just HAD to try the recipe. That being said, I made a few substitutions for my own personal convenience:

1. I did not, in fact, use wings. I used drumsticks because I had a slew of them in the freezer. I just raised the cooking temp to 300 to compensate for the added thickness.

2. I was not about to go all the way to the store for an orange and a pomegranate, so I substituted lemon juice and zest for the orange, and a splash of cranberry juice for the Pom juice.

3. Lastly, since I had no orange (yes, we have no oranges), I garnished with grilled lemon slices. Yes, I dragged out the panini press and dirtied two grill plates to grill two slices of lemon for three minutes. Was it worth it? Meh. Kinda.

The chicken was fantabulous! Like Quinn said in her comments, you really do have to baste and turn quite often, but it is so worth it! The marinade worked wonders – the honey stickied-up beautifully, and the soy sauce added just the right amount of savory. The meat fell off the bone. And may the gods of nutrition strike me down, but this was one time I definitely did eat the skin!

No, those are not marshmallows.

I love potatoes with chicken, so tonight I made ‘em smashed. So easy, so good! There are a zillion different ways to do this, but here’s tonight’s version: Bake potatoes until tender, then place on foil-lined baking sheet and smash with a potato masher. Not all the way, just enough to burst the skin and flatten them out. Don’t kill the potatoes! Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a TEENSY little curl of butter, then top with a decent hunk of goat cheese. Stick it under a broiler for about five minutes, or until it all looks nice and toasty. You can crumble the goat cheese if you like, but I believe I’ve spoken before about my love of broiled cheese, and how it spills its creamy lava on your tongue. ‘Nuff said. So, so good.

Aioli, also known as vampire repellant.

Finally, because I wanted an excuse to use up some extra spinach and cilantro, I made some aioli using the recipe I found on High Over Happy. I really didn’t substitute much, except I added a little more oil, used two handfuls of spinach, and threw in some (about 1/3 cup) fresh cilantro. Whew! Garlicky! In a good way though, of course. But is was so great – we dipped our chicken in it, and then used it as a dressing for the spinach the chicken was served on. Oddly enough, when the juice from the chicken mixed with the aioli and the fresh spinach, the result was a sort of salad that Mr. Gorilla actually ate and liked! I do force the dear boy to eat his veggies, but this time I didn’t have to threaten and cajole.

So, yeah, another successful dinner, thanks to two delicious blogs. Thank you, dears. On another note, I’ve just joined the Daring Kitchen as a Daring Baker and a Daring Cook, so keep an eye out for my challenge postings! These should prove to be interesting…

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