Monthly Archives: October 2011

Baked Pork Chops with Swiss Chard

Baked Pork Chops with Swiss Chard
Baked Pork Chops

Dear Jillian

All the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on these chops was supposed to have gone in the risotto I was going to make as a side dish.  But you were asking me questions about what to put on your resume, which requires thinking about things like, when did you paint the mural in Obryonville? 2008? 2009?  When did you join the National Honor Society?  What would you call your role in the Arts Ensemble at school? An apprenticeship? Aaaahhhh!

I'm not experienced enough to read a recipe and stir risotto and build a resume all at one time.

So the cheese went in the chops and we had frozen corn as a side …with a little saffron melted in a bit of chicken broth.  It made the corn pretty special, actually.  But I didn't take a picture of the corn. Because that would be lame.

Love Mom


Dear Alyssa

You are so lucky!  You just found out your first official month-long project with Americorp will be rebuilding and repairing parts of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.  

You also get to volunteer at the Humane Society, a horse rescue, the Ronald McDonald House, and do a "Night at the Museum."   I'm sorry you missed out on the chain saw sign-up.  Maybe that's for the best.  You never know what you were saved from (like going home with 9 toes and 1 knee cap).

Love Mom

Now about the food.  These chops were delicious.  Bought them from Avril Bleh's Meat Shop downtown.  1" thick.  Juicy, tender.  Next time I will add more swiss chard and will make sure I have the fontina cheese on hand as the recipe calls for.  But the Parm-Regg was super.

Baked Pork Chops with Swiss Chard
Compliments of JennaDish

from Food & Wine's Quick from Scratch Italian

1 pound Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves washed and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds in all)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 ounces grated fontina (about 1/2 cup)

Heat the oven to 450°. Oil a 7 1/2-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss the Swiss chard with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Put the chard in the baking dish.

Rub the pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put the pork chops on top of the Swiss chard. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon oil over the chard, around the pork chops. Sprinkle the Parmesan and fontina over the chard, around the chops. Bake until the chops are just done, about 18 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

NOTES Swiss Chard You can use either green or red Swiss chard for this dish. You'll want to rinse the leaves thoroughly before cooking, but don't dry them. The moisture will help keep the chard from drying out during cooking.


Baked Eggs n Whatever

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs n Cheese n Tomato Sauce n Herbs n Bread n Whatever!  Simple.  Easy.  Good.

And very difficult to screw up.

You can bake at 350 degrees or broil.

Get some ramekins out, put in a layer of sauce.  I used Newman's Own Spaghetti Sauce with Garden Peppers.  I even put a layer of leftover bread, toasted, in the bottom layer which I liked OK but others didn't care for it.

Baked Eggs 2
Put in your favorite cheese cubed or shredded or sliced.  Then your two or three eggs.  Drip a couple teaspoons of cream or milk over the yolks (optional but may keep them from drying out).  Then herbs like oregano, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, dried onions, whatever.  Then bake or broil until done – 5 minutes or so.

You may even want to bake all ingredients except eggs for 4-5 minutes, then put the eggs in and bake a few more minutes until they are done – just to make sure the cheese melts enough before the eggs get overdone.

Tinker away.


Chocolate Cherry Bread

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Aaargghhh!! These charred chocolate chips look like bulging frog eyes.  Nasty.  Aside from that small issue, this bread was super!  Impressed some friends at work.  A dusting of confectioner's sugar would help cover the eyes. 

It always surprises me when I take something I baked in to work that I think is flawed, and everyone seems to rave about it. 

I think that when I make this again, I will lose the chips, or I will try to poke them down into the dough.

Chocolate Cherry Bread 2
I also don't like the way the chocolate smears when you cut it.  Untidy.  But again, if your family or guests are not like me – aka normal – these minor imperfections won't be noticed.


The recipe called for pecans also but I left them out this time.

This is a "start the night before" offering, or start darned early in the day for evening bread.

You can bake it in a bread crock,or any small to medium-sized heavy, oven-safe, covered pot, like a dutch oven.

I used my Martha Stewart dutch oven.  And guess what I learned while this was baking …

Chocolate Cherry Bread Dutch Oven
it was recalled.  No, not my bread.  My dutch oven.  Evidently the enamel chips off and could pop off while hot and land on your skin.  I seriously thought about removing my baked bread and pot with some kind of armor … and maybe some goggles (oh wait, I have glasses) or a face mask.  This thought lasted about 3 seconds, then I just shook my head at myself.

No-Knead Chocolate Cherry Bread
Compliments of JennaDish

from King Arthur's Flour online recipes

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) rye flour, any type
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) cool water
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) diced pecans, toasted

Mix flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Add cherries, chocolate chips, and pecans. Stir well to make a very soft dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will be bubbly and puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times. Let it rest 15 minutes, then form it into a ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.

During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a bread crock (or a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot) in the oven while it heats. When the dough is risen, remove the crock from the oven, and turn the dough out of the bowl and into the crock; the smooth side will be facing up. Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 30 to 40 minutes (Mine almost burned after about 20-25 minutes, so beware), until the bread is deep brown in color and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.  Remove the crock from the oven, turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing. 

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake
I wish I had a better picture, but it just didn't work out that way. 

This is marbled simply because the last step is to pour hot water with baking soda into the very thick batter and mix until just combined.  Well, it would take a lot of mixing for it to actually be fully combined and I didn't want to overmix it.  So in it went.  Didn't make a bit of difference.

This cake had a deep flavor.  Was not overly sweet.  Just right.  Would be great with whipped cream or ice cream.  The only thing I would say is that I'm not sure the crystallized ginger was necessary – I didn't care for the little bits. 

Gingerbread Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from the Food Network

Softened unsalted butter, as needed
1 cup vegetable oil, like soy, peanut, or corn (I used peanut oil)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsulphured molasses
1 to 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger (I used 2-3)
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup water
1 tablespoon baking soda
Serving suggestions: Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Lightly butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, molasses, and crystallized ginger. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Whisk the molasses mixture into the flour mixture until evenly combined.

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Whisk the hot water into the batter until just combined. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake in the center of the oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake Nigella Kitchen
I just bought my first Nigella Lawson cookbook, Nigella Kitchen.  Prior to this Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, I've only made one Nigella recipe, Apple Cinnamon Tea Cake and it was awesome.  I need to make it again, actually. CORRECTION: the apple tea cake was not a Nigella recipe.  It was a Donna Hay recipe. 

This loaf cake was equally tasty and would be especially great around the holidays because of the mix of chocolate and citrus.  A little reminiscent of other fruited breads and cookies you run into in November and December. 

HOWEVER, I am not a big fan of the sunken loaf, which is exactly what can be expected from this recipe.  Here's what Nigella and company have to say to cooks lamenting their sunken loaves:

In (Nigella) Kitchen on p298 (at the end of the Seed-Cake recipe) Nigella mentions "The centre of the cake will sink a little as the cake cools, but this is the way of the loaf". The photographs in Nigella's books are intended to be real – to show the food as it should be and to reassure that you are not doing anything wrong if certain cakes do sink.

Many loaf cakes do have a tendency to sink on cooling and this is partly due to the loaf tin. The deeper sides of a loaf tin cause the outside of the cake to cook more quickly than the inside, so the cake rises in the oven but the centre of the cake has not cooked quite enough to permanently set the proteins in the cake batter (from the flour and egg) and hold the cake up – so it will sink as it cools.

The batter is also a reason as these cakes are all intended to keep well they may sink but they will remain moist and delicious to eat for longer than a madiera or pound-type cake which may rise but become dry after a day or two.

So if you are not good with the whole feeble looking loaf, try making this as cupcakes.  Keep the temperature at 325 or 350 degrees F and start checking through the glass door at 20 minutes for the visual test before opening the door.  When it looks like the top is firmed up and could be done, do a toothpick test and check for doneness in 5 minute intervals.

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen

MAKES ONE 9" LOAF CAKE or about 10-12 SLICES

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
dab flavorless vegetable oil, for greasing syrup spoon
2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle's), or dark corn syrup
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 eggs
zest 2 regular oranges and juice of 1
1 x 2-pound loaf pan

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides, or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.
Beat the already soft butter with the syrup — if you dab a little oil on your tablespoon measure with a sheet of paper towel, the syrup shouldn't stick to the spoon — and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, though the sugar will have a bit of grit about it.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 tablespoonful of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg.
Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled, as if slightly curdled. No need to panic!
Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer if need be. A cake tester won't come out entirely clean, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of inner stickiness. Let cool a little in its pan on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.

Make Ahead Tip: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. Will keep for 5 days total.

Freeze Ahead Tip: The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature.


Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake 2

Happy Birthday Patti!  Patti requested either a chocolate or pumpkin dessert so I made both.  This is my pumpkin offering.

This cake was delicious.  However, I baked it in a springform pan rather than a regular pan with lower sides, therefore it was underbaked in the middle even though it looks perfectly done – almost overdone.  After 20 minutes of cooling, it started sinking. 

The recipe calls for honey frosting but I didn't make that.  I mixed powdered sugar, water, a little honey and drizzled, which worked, and it was fun that it pooled up in the middle.  Friends really liked it, even with the underbaking in the middle, because it actually tasted and felt like pumpkin pie in the middle.


Pumpkin Spice Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree

Honey Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1 bar (8 ounces) regular (or reduced-fat) cream cheese, very soft
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth.

Turn batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.

Make Honey Frosting: In a medium bowl, whisk butter, cream cheese, and honey until smooth.

Spread top of cooled cake with honey frosting. Cut cake into squares to serve.