Saturday, October 29, 2011

Best Ever Chopped Salad

This is the "Best Ever" Chopped Spinach Salad

and it's based on my good friend Mel's instruction...
Toss together chopped spinach, mushrooms, red onion, grape tomato, boiled egg, bacon, grated carrots, and roasted pine nuts --- plus my special addition of roasted golden beets (Whole Foods had the most beautiful golden beet bunches for $1.99 this week). Dressing of your choosing. Mel prefers a creamy -- ceasar, buttermilk, etc. I used a balsamic. Great either way! Plated here with sliced steak and pea pesto crostini. And there you have Saturday night dining!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Panko Breaded Oven Baked Pork Chops with Roasted Green Beans

Sometimes, it's all about easy. Actually, mostly, it's about easy. So here is an easy "so-close-to-cold-weather-but-not-quite-there-yet-so-we'll-pretend-it-is-anyway-and-use-the-oven" supper.

2 bone-in pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick; about a 1/4 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard; approximately 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs; 2 nice handfuls of fresh green beans, trimmed; olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degree.

For Green Beans: On one half of a cookie sheet, toss trimmed green beans with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange in a single layer. Spray other half of cookie sheet with a bit of cooking spray.

For Pork Chops: Arrange a dredging station with 3 shallow dishes. Place flour seasoned with salt and pepper in one dish. Whisk together egg and mustard in second dish. Season Panko in third dish with seasoning blend or fresh herbs of your choice. I used some salt, pepper and Penzey's Tuscan Sunset Herb Blend. Dredge chops in flour, shake off excess. Coat in egg/mustard mixture. Coat in Panko Breadcrumb mixture and place on cookie sheet with green beans. Spray top with a bit of cooking spray so that it will brown. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for about 18-25 minutes, stirring the beans once halfway through and rotating the pan to get even browning on the chops. Yum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Simple Roasted Beet and Feta Salad

The earthy sweetness of the beet paired with the salty feta is all kinds of fabulous. This salad couldn't be simpler. Or more yummy.

Place your stemmed bunch of beets (leave tips and top portion so the color stays that beautiful, deep red).  Place on a cookie sheet with a fairly big section of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, and seal up the foil packet, allowing room so the beets can steam.  Roast medium to large beets in a 400 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size of beets. Allow to cool.  Peel (best to use disposable gloves if you have them, so your hands don't turn pink for a week), dice in large dice and throw into a bowl. Toss with a dressing made of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle generous crumbles of feta on top and eat it up!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fridge Pickles

Easy fridge pickles make the perfect condiment for a yummy pulled pork sandwich on a lazy weekend day. And if you are lucky enough to have access to a fresh bolillo roll from El Bollio Bakery on Airline, well then, you have an ultimate lunch .

Fridge Pickles

(makes about 1 quart)

1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

7 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

5 small pickling cucumbers, peeled in stripes and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds

1 small white onion, thinly sliced into rounds

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, black pepper, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and dill seed in a quart-sized mason jar with tight fitting lid. Place the lid on jar and shake until sugar dissolves.

Layer the cucumbers and onion in the jar, alternating, and using a spoon to gently press down into liquid to fit tightly in jar. Place lid on jar and shake well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, shaking from time to time to keep the ingredients well mixed. These pickles will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 month.