Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

I'm a pork loin girl. Some gals are all about ham roasts or pork chops, and while they have their merits, when I want to make a dinner I know will turn out right every time, I put pork loin on the menu.

While it's perfectly fabulous roasted in the oven with apples and potatoes, and rosemary, or braised on the stove with an orange glaze and veggies, it's November, so it's time for pulled pork. In the slow cooker.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 red/purple potatoes, peeled and diced
1-2 lbs pork tenderloin roast (boneless)
1 cup chicken broth
3 sprigs rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
2 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
3 TBS butter
Barbecue sauce

To Do
  • Place apples and carrots in bottom of your slower cooker pot then add the pork loin and the rest of the ingredients, dotting the top with butter.
  • Set your slow-cooker to 8 hours, and don't touch it for 8 hours. (Don't lift the lid!)
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs then pull meat apart with a fork until shredded. The apples and potatoes should have pulverized into a thick-ish sauce.
  • Stir in about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce then use in sandwiches, on pizza (top with jalapenos and cheddar), in tacos (with slaw and sweet peppers) or slop it on a plate  with some tortilla chips and gooey cheese, then devour. No one will blame you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raspberry-Almond Blondies

Looking for an easy go-to sweet treat?
Try these quick and tasty cookie bars. The combination of raspberry and almond flavors is addicting. Definitely a crowd-pleaser, so put this recipe on your holiday cookie short list!

Raspberry-Almond Blondies
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix or my homemade version
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
Raspberry curd or seedless jam
*Note, if you use homemade baking mix, reduce the oil by about 2 TBS

To Do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together the baking mix, sugars until blended
  • Whisk in the eggs, vegetable oil and flavorings
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of the raspberry curd or jam
  • Grease a 9x9-inch or 13 x 9-inch pan then spread the batter into it evenly
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center and color is a golden brown
  • Let cool slightly, then top with more raspberry curd or preserves before serving.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Perfect Pie for the Holidays: Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie with Pecan Crumble


It's been ages since I've posted. (Sorry!) I started a new job not too long ago and it's proving to take up quite a lot more of my time than I anticipated, thus I'm a bit behind on the blog. I'm still active on Instagram (@Gourmess) and Facebook (@PetiteGourmess) so if you miss me, make sure you follow/like me there.

And, since we're a week away from Thanksgiving, I thought I'd dig out one of my old favorites and share it here again. It's been four years since its debut, so I think it's time for a reminder.

So, without further ado, here is my absolute favorite holiday dessert: Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie with Pecan Crumble. It has nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and Calvados in it, plus lots of butter and brown sugar, and tons of fall fruits. It's delightful and much more interesting than Pumpkin Pie. You can get the recipe here.

You can thank me later. After all, it is the season of giving thanks. (Wink!)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Searching for the Best Grandma Ever: Pie #7, Abbondanza Trattoria

Lucky Number Seven in our search for #thebestgrandmaever came from a lovely little "ristorante" called Abbondanza Trattoria.

We ordered a Tricolore Salad (zippy and light) and a large "Pizza della Nonna" for our latest Friday Night Pizza Night adventure. The pizza arrived quickly and was piping hot. We opened the box and found a puffy, square pie that looked as if it were filled with air.

Delicious air, that is.

Chris and I took a bite and promptly described the pizza to each other as "airy","fluffy", "like a focaccia donut", and my favorite one from Chris -- "an Italian cloud". 

The pizza had all the trimmings of a traditional grandma -- crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and garlic. The outer crust was satisfyingly crispy and made an audible "crunch" when bitten into, but the bottom and interior crust was flaky and delightful. It is hands down the most pillowy pizza I've ever had.

The next day it was near perfect, with the garlic coming through a little stronger than day 1. And unlike Pie #2, there was no extra moisture -- no sogginess.

Abbodanza's Pizza della Nonna was exactly what comes to mind when you hear "Grandma Pizza." It tasted authentically homemade, with the tomatoes and garlic and overall delightful flavors, and I am pretty confident that this is THE ONE, folks.

So far...(wink).

Pizza #7: Abbodanza Trattoria
Sauce: A+
Crust: A+
Presentation: A+
Next Day/Cold Pizza test: A+
Grandma-style: A+

Abbodanza's pizza #7 gets an A+!

Will next week's pizza top this? I can't wait to find out!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fillet of Sole in Lime-Soy-Chilie-Ginger Sauce with Ginger Sesame Soba Noodles and Farmers' Market Veggies

I've missed you! 

We had a busy summer -- lots of trips and adventures, and I started a new job! (And, I've been preoccupied with my search for the perfect grandma pizza.) That doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. I just haven't had time to write much, and from the looks of my calendar for the fall, things aren't slowing down. So, apologies for the lax in recipe postings. Hopefully you're following me on Instagram -- I've been posting lots of food pics there.

We have a lovely weekend farmers' market near our apartment so loaded up with eggplant, squash, zucchini, broccoli and peaches. There were a couple fillets of sole in the fridge and I had some soba noodles in the pantry, so I decided to make fish with noodles and veggies. It was delicious.

I marinated the fish in lime juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, minced ginger, and a spoonful of chili paste for a few hours in the fridge. I didn't measure -- I just added enough juice and sauce to cover the fish, then flipped the fillets over about halfway into my marinating time.

For the noodle dish, I toasted some sesame seeds in a pan on the stove and prepared the soba noodles according to the package directions, then let them drain. I diced up two small eggplants and a large zucchini, and chopped up half a head of broccoli, then sauteed in sesame oil until the eggplant was soft, the zucchini tender-crisp and the broccoli bright green (add it last).

While the veggies cooked, I heated a bit of vegetable oil in a pan and cooked the fish over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. I sprinkled a bit of salt/pepper and fresh parsley before serving.  It was flaky and flavorful -- the marinade was a hit!
When it was time to eat, I put the noodles and toasted sesame seeds in a large bowl and added the veggies, then tossed with a garlicky, ginger sauce that I had made a bit earlier in the day (recipe below).  It was a light, lovely dinner for the end of summer.

Garlicky Ginger Sesame Sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
4 tsp minced gingerroot
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 TBS soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon extra fine sugar
Red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do:
  • Add all of the ingredients through the sugar to a medium-sized bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Add the pepper flakes and salt to taste.
  • Let sauce marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.
  • Enjoy!