Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Marsala Sauce

I was pleasantly surprised by this dish.  I was looking for a "different" pork tenderloin recipe, and somehow when I read into this one, it looked really appetizing.  To my surprise, the flavors were outstanding.  Burst of peppery crust paired with a soft and juicy pork bite and a delicious sweet and tangy cherry sauce.  I am telling you, this recipe, is the kind you save for those special occasions when you want to wow your crowd.!  And let me tell you a secret... it doesn't require a huge effort to put it together... fancy and easy? yeah... that's my kind of combo!

- For the Loin:
3 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 Tbps. coarsely ground pepper
2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tspn. salt
1 (3 pound) boneless center-cut pork loin, trimmed

- For the Cherry - Marsala Sauce
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped (about two cups)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used homemade)
1/2 cup Marsala wine (the original recipe called for Brandy)
1 bag (8 ounce) frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed
1 cup dried cherries
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste


- For the Loin:  Combine sugar, pepper, rosemary, and salt and rub all over pork.  Let roast sit at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- For the Cherry Marsala Sauce:  Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onions until golden, about 8 minutes.  Stir in broth, Marsala, and frozen and dried cherries and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the vinegar, and the remaining two tablespoons of butter.  Cover and set aside to keep warm.  Season with salt to taste.

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450ºF.  Arrange the pork on V-rack set in roasting pan.  Roast for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375ºF and cook until the meat registers 140ºF, about 50 minutes longer.  Transfer the pork to cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest until center of roast registers 150ºF on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes.  Slice and serve.  You can add some of the cherry sauce on top or pass the sauce at the table.

Source:  Recipe Courtesy of "All Time best Holiday Recipes" - America's Test Kitchen (Slightly Adapted)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roasted Turkey Roulade

Keeping with the Thanksgiving's Theme, here is a delicious and tasty recipe especially for the occasion. If you don't feel like roasting a whole bird and would like to make a little twist to your regular meal, this is a great recipe you will certainly enjoy!


3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup Calvados or brandy 4Tbsp.  (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1 1/2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3Tbsp.  pine nuts, toasted
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don't mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.
Source:  Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten - Back to Basics 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oven Roasted Turkey with Compound Butter

Turkey.  One of the most feared birds to cook.  Let me tell you a little secret.  It may look very intimidating, but it's like a chicken... but bigger.  The secret weapon... a good planning ahead and no fuss happy roasting!


- For the Turkey:
1 (12 to 15-pound) whole fresh turkey, rinsed well and patted dry
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, quartered
1 garlic head, halved lengthwise
a bunch of thyme, rosemary and sage sprigs
1 green apple, cut in half
1 or 2 turkey necks
2 cups homemade chicken stock, divided, plus more if needed for gravy
Salt and fresh ground pepper

- For the Compound Butter:

1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Note:  If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure to defrost it before cooking.  Plan on having the bird in your fridge for 3 to 4 days ahead.  This is the easiest and safest way to defrost your turkey. 

The night before roasting your turkey:  It's time to do some prep work, so the next day you can just put your roasting pan in the oven and baste your turkey every 20 to 30 minutes. Plan wisely on your roasting timing. Depending on the size, your turkey can be done within 2:45 to 3:30 hours.  Also, do not forget the resting time of the roasted turkey before carving (30 minutes).  So, if you are eating lunch at 2, you should be getting ready to cook around 10:45 to 11:00 am.

So, this is what you need to do the night before:

Get your turkey out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.   Rinse it and pat it dry.  Make sure you have removed the giblets and neck.  Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the turkey with the apple, one onion and herbs. Truss the bird for a better look and set aside.

Get your roasting pan (preferably a v-neck roasting pan) and add the chopped vegetables, herbs, garlic  and set aside.
Combine the butter, sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  With the help of your fingers, dis-attach the breast skin and rub a generous amount of the compound butter.  Then, rub the rest of the bird.  Make sure you are very thorough.  Sprinkle the turkey with some sea salt and pepper.  Finally, set the turkey on top of the pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and put back in the fridge until the morning.

The next morning/afternoon: (depending when if you are eating lunch or dinner)

Bring your turkey out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.  In the mean time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Put 2 cups of the chicken stock in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. Pour over the turkey pan, making sure not to touch the turkey.

Put in the oven, and roast until lightly golden brown, 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue roasting, basting with the warm pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 2 to 2 1/4 hours longer (This will depend on your bird size, so make sure to start checking the temperature after the 2 hours mark, so you don't overcook your turkey.) Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to baking sheet and tent loosely with foil, and let it rest 30 minutes before carving.


Monday, November 21, 2011

I am back!

Hello everybody!!

I know... I know... it's been way too long... if only I could have one reason... but what can I say... sometimes life gets in your way, and you just become crazy busy and those little things that you enjoy super much but you don't always have the time to work on get put in the waiting list.... does it make sense?!?!  All that to say that I've missed you all and can't wait to be back on track with my favorite recipes, especially for this week of Thanksgivings and later on for some Christmas time!

Here is a little sneak peak of which recipes I'll be posting on the following days:  Hope you get ready to read and cook with me!

 Thai Coconut Soup
 Black Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Marsala Sauce
 Banana Pumpkin Cupcake, with truffle center and Orange Cream Cheese Icing
 Roasted Turkey Roulade with Cherry- Cranberry-Sausage Stuffing
 Nutella - Pumpkin Tart
Oven Roasted Turkey with Compound Butter

I promise we'll have a delicious week coming on!