Sunday, May 4, 2008

Someone's in the Kitchen with Kelly... Bryon Makes Dinner!

aThe husband recently decided that he will take over cooking dinner on Saturdays and wants to use this as an opportunity to experiment and try new recipes. He started out last Saturday with three recipes from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen cookbook. Pork chops with spiced apples and raisins, roasted carrots with orange brown butter and sage, and corn pudding. All three were big hits with us and are definitely "keepers". I could eat the orange brown butter with sage poured over ice cream!

Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

Note: Bryon cut the brine recipe in half, as we were only doing two pork chops, but made the full recipe of spiced apples and raisins. Before we even made it, we suspected that part of the recipe would be good enough to want leftovers. We were right! To prepare four pork chops, double the brine recipe

Pork Chops:
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 double-cut bone-in loin pork chops, 1 pound each
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the water, brown sugar, sea salt, apple juice, peppercorns, and thyme in an extra-large plastic bag or container. Give it a stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, seal up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not brine any longer than that or the meat will break down too much and get mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count drizzle of olive oil and get it hot. Lay the pork chops in the pan (if doing 4 chops, put 2 in the skillet at a time) and brown 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a large baking pan. Put the baking pan in the oven and roast the chips for 30 minutes. The pork is done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature reaches 140 to 145 when tested with an instant-read thermometer.

Spiced Apples and Raisins:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of dry mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

While the chops cook, melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 8 minutes to give them some color. Toss in the raisins and add the apple juice, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and dry mustard; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the lemon juice to wake up the flavor and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples break down and soften. Spoon the spiced apples over the pork chops to serve.

Roasted Carrots with Orange Brown Butter and Sage

1 bunch young carrots, with tops
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 orange, halved
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
4 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut off all but 1 inch of the carrot tops, leaving a little green. Put the carrots in a large shallow pan, add the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat the carrots. Stick them in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the carrots are fork-tender.

While the carrots are roasting, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan around and cook until the butter begins to become brown and nutty. (Note: Tyler Florence says "crazy nutty".) Squeeze in the juice from the orange halves, add the brown sugar and sage, and continue to cook for 2 minutes or until syrupy.

Remove the carrots from the oven and arrange them on a platter. Drizzle the orange brown butter over the carrots and serve.

Corn Pudding

2 ears fresh corn, in the husk
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the 2 ears of corn, in their husks, in the oven, directly on the center rack. Roast the corn for 30 minutes, until soft. Cool slightly so you don't burn your hands, then remove the husks. Cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife and set the loose corn aside. Leave the oven on.

In a large pot over low heat, combine the milk, cream, and butter. Once the butter has melted, turn up the heat slightly and bring the mixture to just under a boil. Pour in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, whisking at the same time. Cook and whisk constantly until the cornmeal is blended in and the mixture is smooth and thick, like a porridge. Take the pot off the stove and fold in the corn, chives, salt, and pepper. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, to make it more like a batter. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the corn pudding to lighten it. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When it's done, the corn pudding will look puffed and golden brown, like a souffle.

Source: Adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen cookbook.

No comments: