Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Here is my farewell to summer. While the weather seems to refuse to believe it is fall, stores have moved from school supplies to Christmas decorations. Since I can’t freeze time and prolong summer, at least I can give you a quick and yummy way to enjoy the flavors of summer year round.  In my mind, summer is connected with citrus, especially limes. I think it is the combination of delicious smell, bright flavor, and wonderful color. When I saw this recipe combining limes and fruit, I knew it was going to be a hit.

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Adapted From My Kitchen Cafe

1 large can pineapple chunks- drained
1 can mandarin oranges-drained  
3 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced into thick half moons
1 cup halved green grapes
1 cup strawberries sliced in quarters
Zest from one lime
1-2 tablespoon lime juice
Any other fruit in season (I used blackberries)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Combine the fruit in a medium-large serving bowl (except for any juicy berries, gently place those in just before serving). Add the lime zest, juice, and poppy seeds and gently toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and again, gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the honey (it helps to microwave the honey for a few seconds; this will make it runny and easier to mix in). Serve as soon as possible, since some of the fruits (mainly the berries) will stain the others.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Basil, Chicken and Orzo Soup

I love chicken noodle soup. Not the greasy kind that comes in a can, but delicious homemade soup full of vegetables and identifiable chicken pieces. It is one of my standard answers to the generic question of "what is your favorite food". Although, good dark chocolate does give it a run for its money. I have also recently discovered how great orzo pasta is. If you have never used orzo, it is a small pasta that looks like rice and cooks quickly.  So when I saw this recipe, I knew it would be delicious.

 Basil, Chicken & Orzo Soup
(adapted from the blog Gimme Some Oven)
1 tsp olive oil 
1/2  onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced 
2 carrots, peeled and diced 
1 clove of garlic, minced (the original recipe called for three, but I found it too garlicky and it overpowered the freshness of the basil)
8 cups chicken stock or broth ( I used broth)
3 cooked medium chicken breasts, diced into bite sized chunks (you want around 2 cups of cooked meat
2 bay leaves 
salt and fresh cracked pepper 
5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped 
1 cup dried orzo pasta

Heat oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add onion and stir for 2 minutes. Then add carrots, celery and garlic then stir for one more minute. Add broth, chicken, and bay leaves, and salt and pepper (to taste, you can always add more later).  Lower heat and let simmer for about an hour. Remove the bay leaves and heat to the soup to a boil.  Then add basil and dried orzo pasta and cook until the pasta is done (about 10-12 minutes).  Taste, add  more salt and pepper  if needed, and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cider-Glazed Pork Chops

I have been talking about starting a food blog for months and so here it is. Enjoy!

For my birthday my amazing husband gave me The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook and for the past few months I haven't been able to put it down. I'm sure I have spent hours leisurely flipping through this book, time I consider well-spent. I think it is only fitting that my first post is from this book. Since fall is in the air, I decided to try these cider-glazed pork chops which were both easy and delicious!

Cider-Glazed Pork Chops
(Taken From The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook)

  1/2 cup cider vinegar
  1/3 cup brown sugar
  1/3 cup apple cider or juice ( I used juice since that is what I had, but I will try cider next time)
  2    tablespoons dijon mustard (or spicy brown will work)
  1    tablespoon soy sauce
        pinch of cayenne pepper (use more if you like heat)

Pork Chops
  4 boneless pork chops 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick with excess fat trimmed off
  Salt and Pepper
  1 tablespoon of cooking oil

Combine all the glaze ingredients and set aside.

Take your chops and cut two slits, about two inches apart, through the fat and skin layer of each. This will keep the meat from buckling as it cooks ( This cookbook is full of amazing tricks and tips, like this one). Pat the chops dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat until the oil is extremely hot. Add chops, and cook one side until it is well browned (about 5 minutes). Flip the chops over and cook the other side for one minute. Place the chops on a platter and discard any remaining oil.

Place the chops back in the skillet, with the browned side up, pour in the glaze, and cook on medium heat until the center of the chop is about 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. This will take about 5-8 minutes. Take the chops out, place on a plate, and loosely cover with foil. Let the chops rest until the temperature rises to 150 degrees, about five minutes.

While the chops rest, pour any juices from the plate the chops are on into the skillet with the glaze. Whisk this constantly until the glaze has thickened. This should take around five minutes. Once it is thick, place the chops back in and coat both sides. Place the chops (browned side up) on your serving dish, pour the remaining glaze on top, and serve.