Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Pork Chop with Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Rice Pilaf

Last September, I published a pork chops dish for #SundaySupper that was not satisfying from the standpoint of it's plate presentation, so I decided to replicate it again.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I remember reading in Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri that Chef Colicchio doesn't change the proteins on his restaurant menus very often, but he will change the vegetable accompaniments depending on what's in season and what is at it's peak. Using this theory, I consulted The Flavor Bible to re-pair pork chops for spring produce. Spring onions are obviously in season around now and onions were strongly suggested as a pairing with pork. I knew caramelized onions were sweet and thought it would be a good substitute to apples that are in season in the autumn.

Dish Details

I prepared my pork chops using a tried and true method from Chef Tyler Florence. In addition, I utilized the guide to making rice pilaf and my love for caramelized onions can be traced back to this recipe on epicurious which I found about six years ago. I'd imagine this dish would be at home on any casual chain restaurant, however I'm unsure if one would go through the trouble of brining their chops.


1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt plus more as needed
Thyme sprigs
4 pork rib chops with the bone frenched
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thin
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
Italian parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)


1. Prepare the pork chops. Brine the chops by combining the water one cup kosher salt and brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the thyme sprigs and the pork chops, then cover and refrigerate covered for two hours.

Once the two hours have elapsed, drain the brine and discard the brine. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, sear the pork chops in the skillet, approximately three to four minutes per side, then remove and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm while the onions and rice are prepared.

2. Caramelize the onions. In the same skillet used to prepare the pork chops, melt two tablespoons butter in an additional two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir, coating them in the fat. Continue to cook the onions until they reduce, soften and turn a golden brown, stirring occasionally, approximately twenty to thirty minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. While the onions are caramelizing, prepare the rice. In a medium saucepan, melt one tablespoon unsalted butter in one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot to sweat, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, approximately two minutes. Perfume the shallots by adding the cinnamon, then the rice. Stir the mixture until the rice is toasted and coated in the oils, approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let it steam until the rice has absorbed, approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. Once the rice is finished, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. To plate, spoon a portion of the rice off center on a warmed plate, then rest the pork chop on the rice so that the frenched bone is raised. Drizzle some caramelized onions over the pork, then garnish with parsley leaves.

Final Thoughts

If you look closely, you'll find that I seared the pork chops in a stainless steel skillet in the picture above yet I instructed to sear them in a non-stick one. I made this change because I thought the onions might be able to pick up some of the pork fond but I found the sear on the pork a little too dark and I didn't want my onions to have a charred taste when they were supposed to be sweet so I switched pans. Additionally, Chef Florence instructs to finish the chops off in the oven and I did in this case but I omitted it from the instructions because I found them to be a little dry, despite the fact that they were brined. If the pork chops are one-inch thick or more, roast them in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit until their internal temperature reaches 140° Fahrenheit, approximately thirty minutes. In the end, I found the onions a very good substitute for apples and am surprised it isn't more common.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Red Wine Poached Pears with Ricotta and Balsamic Glaze for a Libational #SundaySupper

Red Wine Poached Pears with Ricotta and Balsamic Glaze for a Libational #SundaySupper

A couple of weeks ago on Thanksgiving I spent the majority of the day watching football however I could not help but think of the things that made me thankful in 2014. One item that is high on my list from a food standpoint is the #SundaySupper Movement. It has provided me with several memorable experiences, most all of them positive. This tradition continued with a new experience this week when I volunteered to co-host with Alice of A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen. I was delighted to meet her in person a couple of months ago when she was in town for IFBC, but the only picture I have from that meeting is one where she is holding the camera and wasn't in the picture. I have hosted events in the past by myself so it was nice to divide the hosting duties, but beyond that it was a pleasure to work with her.

Speaking of hosting duties, I published my preview for this week's event with the intention of preparing a lemoncello tiramisù. It utilized a sabayon in what I thought was a creative way. Then I went looking for a small container of lemoncello and couldn't find one in time to prepare this dish. This issue was further complicated when I had to do a mad scramble to think of a replacement dish because the temperature gauge on my oven broke off this past week which eliminated any possibility of baking. To keep with the theme of Libational Recipes, I didn't want to prepare a savory dish with a wine sauce because I still wanted to challenge myself with a dessert. Then I remember a picture from Fabio Viviani's first cookbook that I thought looked elegant. It also provided an opportunity to update the process of making ricotta cheese from scratch.

The Challenge

This could almost be categorized in my Presenting: series because the challenge is to replicate the photo in Fabio's book.

The Source

Adapted from pages 24, 220 and 268 of .


1/2 gallon whole milk
1/6 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch kosher salt
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups red wine
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
4 pears, peeled


1. Prepare the ricotta. Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Once the milk reaches a temperature of 181° Fahrenheit, immediately remove the pan from heat and add the vinegar, lemon and salt. Stir as the milk curdles to fully incorporate the salt and lemon. Cover and let it cool for approximately 2 hours. Once cool, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, pressing lightly on the curds to ensure the whey is completely drained.

2. While waiting for the ricotta to cool, prepare the balsamic. Combine the balsamic vinegar and the molasses in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the mixture to the consistency of a syrup. Set aside to cool.

3. Poach the pears. In a large pot, combine the wine, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Add the pears and simmer them in the wine for about 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set aside to allow them to cool, then raise the poaching fluid heat to high. Reduce the fluid to the consistency of a syrup. To plate, place one pair off to one side on top of the reduced poaching fluid with a dollop of ricotta and drizzled with balsamic.


In my rush to complete the dish the evening I prepared it, I neglected to notice one word in the ingredient list: peeled. It would have changed the composition of the dish. Unfortunately, the pears did not soften sufficiently. Despite my troubles with it, the flavors of the dish complemented each other well.

Other Libational Recipes this week:

Savory and Sweet Libational Dishes
Libational Desserts
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Light Stunt: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Am I being baptized by fire?

As you're well aware, I moved from California over this past summer. I grew up there and didn't realize how spoiled I was as a California resident from the standpoint of weather. Alas, as I sit here looking at my desktop monitor, I'm experiencing my first cold snap as a Washington resident. Overnight lows have dipped into the low 30s (that's one side or another of 0° Celsius) and it only warms to the mid 40s during the day. Consequently, I was in the mood for something warm and comforting.

The Source

Adapted from page 78 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced thin
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into a coarse 1-inch dice
3 cups apples, peeled and cut into a coarse 1-inch dice
2 teaspoons toasted spice rub*
6 1/2 cups chicken stock\
Kosher salt
1/4 cup candied walnuts


1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter browns, add the leek and sweat, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant.

2. Raise the heat, then add the squash and apples and sauté until caramelized. Stir in the toasted spice rub, then deglaze with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and maintain until the squash and apples are tender, approximately 40 minutes.

3. Transfer to a blender, in batches if necessary, and pureé until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, then transfer into warmed bowls garnished with candied walnuts. Serve immediately.

* The recipe for toasted spice rub can be found on page 24. Combine 1/4 cup whole fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon coriander seed and 1 tablespoon in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Toss frequently to ensure the spices toast evenly. Once the fennel is lightly browned, add in 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes and continue to toss, then remove to a plate and set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind in a spice grinder, then combine with 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon.


Chef Chiarello's toasted spice rub recipe makes significantly more than what is needed for this dish so I played around with the spice amounts to achieve a balance of flavors instead of making the recipe. I was also surprised that Chef Chiarello notes the walnut garnish as optional. In my opinion, they're an integral part of the dish, providing a contrast in both flavor and texture.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry-Red Moscato Sorbet and Moscato Zabaglione for a National Moscato Day #SundaySupper with Gallo Family Vineyards

Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry-Red Moscato Sorbet and Moscato Zabaglione for a National Moscato Day #SundaySupper with Gallo Family Vineyards

In a moment of self-evaluation, I must admit I'd love to be a cook at a fine dining establishment if money wasn't a concern-not the chef because I wouldn't want the responsibilities that accompany the title. There are several reasons I have yet to achieve it but you might say it's a long term goal. I realized this fact after examining many of the dishes I have produced here. I always attempt to present my food in a manner that an expensive restaurant would be proud to serve to a customer. Sometimes I get close; often I don't. It's a continual process of learning by trial and error.

I am also like many savory chefs because I don't prepare many desserts and it isn't a skill that is utilized often. I attempted to produce a gourmet dessert last summer for #SundaySupper, however I was happy with the flavors but not its presentation. It's one of the reasons I enlisted the assistance of Jenni Field of Jenni Field's Pastry Chef Online for this dish.

What inspired it in the first place? Quite simply, Gallo Family Vineyards and their celebration of National Moscato Day, which is this upcoming Friday, May 9th. Did you know that Gallo Family Vineyards produces three Moscato wines: red, white and pink? I recommend checking them out. If you're unsure of where to find Gallo wines, they have a convenient store locator and to incentivize you, Gallo has provided a $1 digital coupon. Please also check out Gallo Family Vineyards on facebook, twitter, instagram and YouTube. Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.

Let's discuss the dish for a moment. Since Gallo Family Vineyards sells three Moscato wines, I thought I'd use all three in one composed dish. Olive oil cakes have fascinated me because I find the flavor to be rather muted and was curious to see if it was able to stand on its own. The recipe I adapted used Vin Santo, but I substituted the white Moscato. I also need to note here that Chef Field assisted me in adapting the recipe that served eight to ten using a nine-inch springform pan to individualized portions. As my title suggests, I used the red Moscato in the sorbet and the pink Moscato in the zabaglione. Speaking of a zabaglione, I had never heard of it until I learned that the French call it a sabayon. It's often served in a cocktail glass but I decided to use it as a sauce for this dish. Additionally, Chef Field also identified the tuile. I used one because I think it gives a dessert an elegant presentation and I wanted the experience baking them.

The Challenge

Earlier this year, I prepared a spicy dish to pair with Gallo Family Vineyard's white Moscato so I wanted to use Moscato in a dessert dish to exhibit its versatility, in addition to attempting a fine dining presentation.

The Source

I adapted the sorbet from Dish with Clarissa, the zabaglione from epicurious and the tuile from With the help of Chef Field, I adapted the Apple & Olive Oil Cake recipe I found on pages 232-234 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer.


For the sorbet:
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds strawberries (thawed, if frozen)
1 1/2 cups Gallo Family Vineyards Red Moscato
Juice from 1 lime

For the tuile:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

For the cake:
5 large egg yolks
7 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Gallo Family Vineyards White Moscato
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch kosher salt
Cooking spray

For the zabaglione:
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup Gallo Family Vineyards Pink Moscato

Sliced strawberries and sifted confectioner's sugar, for garnish


1. Prepare the sorbet: Combine the water and sugar into a small saucepan and place over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves, then remove from heat to create a simple syrup. Blend together the simple syrup and the remaining sorbet ingredients. Once smooth, pass the sorbet base through a sieve to remove any seeds(an offset spatula might be needed to speed up the process), then add to your ice cream machine and use according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once finished set aside in the freezer until the other components are finished. I recommend preparing this a day or two before serving to give the sorbet time to fully solidify.

2. Prepare the tuile batter: Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high setting. Add the egg whites one at a time, then the vanilla. Lower the speed on the mixer to medium and beat in the flour and cocoa until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

3. Bake the tuile: While the batter rests, preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit and make a stencil out of cardboard. (I cut out a triangle but you can use any shape you desire.) Once the batter has rested, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the stencil on the baking mat (parchment) and place a small dollop of batter in the middle. Use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the batter so it is thin and reaches the edges of the stencil. Repeat this process to make more tuiles. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are slightly browned, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. The tuiles are pliable while hot and may be draped over a rolling pin to harden and cool for a more dramatic presentation. This can be done earlier in the day the dessert is served.

4. Prepare the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the mixture with a whisk until it thickens, is pale and doubles in size, then whisk in the olive oil, Moscato and flour in that order. Set aside. In a separate bowl, use a mixer's whisk attachment to beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the original bowl, one-third of the whites at a time.

5. Bake the cake: Drop a circle of parchment into each space of a muffin pan then spray each with the cooking spray. Fill each muffin space up to 3/4 of the way full with the cake batter and bake in the oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until the cake registers an internal temperature of 200° Fahrenheit. Chef Field recommends allowing the cakes to cool in the pan upside down to prevent them from collapsing.

6. Prepare the zabaglione and finish the dish: While the cake is resting, prepare the zabaglione. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large metal bowl, then gradually whisk in the Moscato. Set the metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (Ensure the water does not touch the metal bowl.) and continue to whisk the mixture until thick, foamy and the mixture reaches 160° Fahrenheit. To plate, spoon some zabaglione onto a plate, place the cake onto the zabaglione, and spoon some sorbet off on one side of the cake, then garnish with a tuile, strawberries and sifted powdered sugar.


Unfortunately, I am unable to judge whether or not the dish would be suitable to be served at a fine dining restaurant, but I hope I was able to display Moscato's versatility. I'd also like to express a sincere gratitude towards Chef Field for her assistance with this dish.

Happy Moscato Day!

Before you go, please check out the other bloggers celebrating the holiday in this week's #SundaySupper event:

Appetizers and Mains:
Beverages, Breakfast, and Sweets:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Poppy-Seed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust and Creamy Cabbage Slaw plus a Giveaway

Poppy-Seed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust and Creamy Cabbage Slaw

I know I've left you for another week, but I have been busy working and I'd like to give an update.

This past Saturday, I attended an event with Carla Hall from seasons 5 and 8 of Top Chef and currently of The Chew in San Jose. She demonstrated a recipe and signed copies of her new cookbook, Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. I picked up a copy for myself and a second one to giveaway to my readers. More on the details below.

During her demonstration, she noted that the book brings together flavors from different cultures in an attempt to illustrate similarities between them. One example is burgers. She gives tips on how she prefers to prepare them and then adapts the dish by using different spices to make a Persian pita and a Vietnamese banh mi.

The Challenge

Display recipes from the book to entice my readers to want to enter my giveaway.

The Source

The pork recipe was taken from page 147 and the slaw was taken from page 12.


8 cups cabbage, sliced thinly (preferable with a mandolin)
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 cup pre-packaged julienned (shredded) carrots
1 tablespoon chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 whole pork tenderloins, 12- to 14-ounces each
1/2 cup fresh dill leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped


1. Prepare the slaw: Start by combining the cabbage and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large colander and let it set. After ten minutes have elapsed, wring the cabbage with paper towels to remove any moisture. While waiting for the cabbage, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and celery seeds in a large bowl. Add in the carrots, onion and cabbage, then toss to combine. This can be completed up to twenty-four hours before serving but toss again before serving if necessary.

2. Prepare the pork: Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, combine the vegetable oil, paprika, poppy seeds, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Apply this rub on all sides of each tenderloin and let it stand in an oven-safe skillet or rimmed baking sheet while the oven comes to temperature. Roast the pork until it reaches a temperature of 135° Fahrenheit with an instant-read thermometer, approximately 15 minutes. While the pork cooks spread the parsley and dill on a sheet of parchment and set aside. Remove from oven and roll the tenderloin in it's drippings, then in the herbs. Let it rest for five minutes to allow for carryover cooking, then slice each loin on a bias. To plate, spoon some of the slaw off center of the plate then fan the loin slices around the slaw.


Due to it's relative ease of preparation, I recommend this dish as a weeknight meal. I also thought about the pairing of these two recipes because I consulted The Flavor Bible which noted that cabbage complements pork well. The fresh herbs used in this application were unusually flavorful.

In other news, Mrs. Stuntman and I celebrated our anniversary earlier this week. Long time readers might remember we celebrated at home last year where I prepared a radicchio appetizer, a lamb entreé, and an espresso dessert but this year Mrs. Stuntman chose The Basin in Saratoga, California.

We ordered two appetizers, but ordered the same entreé.

Croquetas: Spanish jamon serrano, chicken, onion-bechamel, rolled in bread crumbs, lightly fried

Tuna Cruda Picante: Sashimi tombo, sicilian hot chili oil, spanish chardonnay vin, olive oil, fried shallots

Roasted Fresh Duck: 24hr hour brined breast and leg roasted in pata negra “bellota” fat, with a lemon preserve-english-pea-carrot-leek risotto and a forvm agriculce spanish vinegar reduction

Finally, the details of the giveaway:

I am giving away 1 hardcover copy of Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko autographed by Carla Hall. The contest will end on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 12 midnight Pacific Standard Time. This giveaway is open to Continental US residents only. When the contest concludes, the winner will be chosen by random draw. I will then notify the winner through e-mail and they will have 3 days to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tea Smoked Roast Chicken

Tea Smoked Roast Chicken

Cross this one off the To Do List.

I found this recipe several years ago but never got around to preparing it. It appealed to me because of the unusual cooking technique. Then it occurred to me that I already had many of the ingredients used to prepare the dish leftover from my chicken wings post, so the timing was good.

The Challenge

Unusual cooking method: Smoking a chicken using tea leaves.

The Source

This is a Chef Andrea Reusing found on Food & Wine magazine's website but I adapted some of the ingredients.


2 quarts water
6 cloves garlic, smashed
9 dried red chiles, divided
10 star anise pods, divided
3 tablespoons honey
Two-inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Zest of 1 small orange
1 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 cup soy sauce
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 whole chicken, approximately 5 to 6 pounds
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons loose jasmin tea
Vegetable oil, as needed
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
Kosher salt
Fried rice, for serving


1. Brine the chicken. In a large stockpot, combine the water, garlic, 5 of the red chiles, 4 star anise pods, honey, ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, onion and 1 tablespoon sugar. Simmer the brine over medium heat for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool. Once the brine has reached room temperature, add the chicken to the stockpot. Rotate the chicken so that the brine has coated all of the skin, then rest it so it is breast side down.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Smoke the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit, then line a stovetop-safe roasting pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the chicken inside and out with paper towels, then truss the chicken. Break the remaining red chiles and star anise into pieces, then combine them with the rice, remaining sugar, and tea. Pour the tea mixture into the roasting pan so that it coats the bottom evenly.

Place a rack on top of the tea mixture, then the chicken in the rack, breast side up. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, sealing all sides, plus any overlapping pieces of foil with tape. Place the roasting pan over high heat for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat entirely and let it stand for 3 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil cover and let it rest for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Roast the chicken. Remove the rack with the chicken from the roasting pan, then the aluminum foil from the bottom along with the tea mixture. Return the rack back to the roasting pan, then rub oil over the chicken. Season them with the Szechuan peppercorns and kosher salt. Roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for 35 minutes, then increase the heat to 425° Fahrenheit and roast for an additional 35 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 165° Fahrenheit. Remove from oven, but let the chicken rest for approximately 10 minutes. Carve and serve with fried rice.


The flavor of the tea was subtle, but still very good. I'd also recommend monitoring the chicken periodically while it roasts at 425° Fahrenheit. If it browns excessively, cover it with aluminum foil and continue roasting.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Presenting: Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

A quick side: My toe is much better.

This dish is one of my first successes as a food blogger and originally appeared on my first website in the spring of 2010. At the time, I had very little culinary experience and was just following a recipe but upon further examination, this dish has more technique in it than I first realized. More on that later.

I can't find the first picture I took three years ago but it wasn't very good. I reshot the dish a couple of months later bur still wasn't satisfied. I still am not completely content with the photography, but this is the first time I was happy with the plate presentation. Over the years, I prepared this dish every few months when pork chops went on sale like they were last week.

The Challenge

Improve my presentation skills.

The Source

This is a Tyler Florence recipe that can be found on Food Network's website.


I substituted kosher salt for sea salt and apple juice for apple juice concentrate. Otherwise, ingredients and their quantities remain unchanged.


In summary, the pork chops are brined first, seared on the stovetop, and then roasted in the oven. While the pork is roasting, apple slices are simmered with some spices.


I remember how fragrant my kitchen was the first night I cooked this dish. The simmering apples reminded me of potpourri bouquets my mother used to have around the house when I was growing up. From a culinary standpoint, I like this dish because it is so well thought out. Pork chops have a bad reputation of being dry, so this preparation method takes steps to avoid this pitfall. This dish introduced me to the concept of a brine that I use on poultry so often. Secondly, Chef Florence uses an old restaurant trick by just searing the protein on the stovetop just to get the exterior caramelized and then cooking it through in the oven.

In other news, I hadn't commented on the Next Food Network Star recently so I thought I'd do so here. I was surprised to see Stacey leave when she did. I voted for Rodney because culinary skills can be learned but his charisma can't. I don't think Russell presents himself well, and the concept Damaris presented doesn't seem to appeal to Food Network's core audience.

I was able to find the second picture I took of the dish: