Wish Upon A Dish

May 25, 2019

Skillet Chicken & Orecchiette Cacciatore

I am pretty sure this isn't a TRUE Chicken Cacciatore but the sauce is close enough.

When the Nudge asks "whats for dinner" I try to make it as easy as I can and this was the best I could do.

I don't do one skillet recipes all that often unless its an omelet or sausage & peppers, especially if it includes pasta. I find that the pasta starch weighs down the consistency of the noodles and soaks up all that carby stuff.

This time I was giving it another go-round and thought that by using tomato paste + water I could keep the broth on the lighter side. While it was really good, by nature, when you leave all that starchy water in a dish it has no place to go but into the sauce.
Another theory chopped to the ground!

On the plus side, the dish was loaded with flavor and we both had seconds but I think after a few bites more we got full really fast.
So, the takeaway from this is...when you realize you only have 1 cup of pasta and you need 2, just cook it with the sauce and every one will walk away full and happy.
Another way to stretch a buck.

Chicken thighs, broccoli and onions slowly & simply simmered in Italian spices with tomato paste and water. Another easy one pot wonder.

My Chicken Cacciatore with Little Cats Ears
serves 2

* Dutch Oven or heavy saucepan
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 chicken thighs, skin-on & bone-in
* 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
* 3 large cloves garlic, micro-planed
* 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 small can tomato paste (about 2 1/2 T)
* 2/3 cup uncooked orecchiette
* 1 1/2 - 2 cups water (+ more if needed)
* small head broccoli, cut into florets

Heat Dutch oven and add olive oil.
Season thighs with salt & pepper and Italian seasoning.
Saute skin side down until they are browned. Repeat on other side.
Remove chicken to a platter and add the onions. Saute until soft.
Add the garlic and the thighs to the pot.
Cover and simmer until the skins fall off the meat.
Add the tomato paste and water and simmer until the chicken is tender and skinless.
Remove the thighs, throw away the skins and add the pasta. Lower the heat to a simmer, stir and cover.
Simmer & stir & add more water when it gets dry. Stir every 4-5 minutes.
When the pasta is almost done (about 15-18 minutes) add the broccoli.
Add more water to just cover the pasta & broccoli and simmer until the broccoli is cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the bones, shred into large pieces and add to the pasta/broccoli mix.

Serve and enjoy.

May 11, 2019

Orange Pork Loin - A wonderful start to three different meals

It's time to dig out that jar of apricot jam buried somewhere in the deep depths of your refrigerator. Yes, we all have a deep depth in our fridge but for you it might be a jar of mint jelly or hot pepper jelly but for most of us it's apricot.

Come on, at one time in our cooking lives we all knew that a jar of apricot jelly was a one-er, but you bought it anyways.

It's OK, I like be right.

I do have to admit that I was happy to see that jar but wondered why it was even half empty!
My mom loved orange marmalade but you couldn't cook with that because the good ones always had candied rinds in it, so the reasonable question was....what did I make back then?

I am almost sure it had something to do with duck.

While that recipe was a one pot wonder, this recipe was excellent and while it killed the jar, it will not be replaced. I rarely make a dish twice and if I ever wanted too, I will simply keep my eye out for 2 small packets tucked away in those little jam racks spewed all over IHOP.

My market carries individually shrink wrapped pork loins (not tenderloin), and while most of them are flavored there is one that isn't and when they are on sale (usually $4.99) I buy one.
Usually I will make my own marinade but I needed a quick, easy & tasty sauce so I grabbed my iPad and clicked on America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country site.

They never let me down.

Orange Pork Loin was a 3 ingredient, 20 minute wonder and a perfect quick dinner.
Instead of drowning the loin in marinade in the AM you simply cut it into 1 1/2" steaks, brown them on all sides, coat them in this 3 ingredient sauce and serve with veggies or a grain. I had an instant package of Risotto Milanese laying around for just this meal.

The leftover pork and risotto (with the addition of cauliflower) will make a grand elote-flavored risotto pancake for the next day and the leftovers from that will create the best albondigas for a soup on the weekend.

I love when I can make 3 meals from one protein and have everything in my pantry.
I need that time to put in my deck garden.

Orange-Glazed Pork Medallions
* 1/3 cup Apricot Jam (sugar-free if you can)
* 2 tbls orange juice
* 1 tbls hot sauce (I used sriracha)
* 1 1/2 lbs pork loin
* Salt & Pepper
* 2 tbls vegetable oil
* 2 tbls finely chopped chives or  scallions, green tops

1. Whisk jam, juice, and hot sauce in small bowl. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook pork until well browned all over, about 10 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add jam mixture and cook, turning pork occasionally, until meat registers 145 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and sprinkle with chives.


April 25, 2019

Sweet Onion Corn Cakes

I am in love with corn.
Doesn't matter if it is on the cob, in a can or from the freezer. I could quite possibly eat it everyday, in any form or recipe.

Luckily the Nudge gives me leeway as long as it's doesn't appear on the table more than once a week.
I appreciate his generous soul so I try to pair it with other foods that are on the top of his list.

Tit for tat.

I have come to the realization that organizing for retirement means most of my cookbooks will be donated to our local grocery store book drive for the charity it sponsors. That gives me 12 months to scan the recipes I want in the books I can live without so there will be room for the ones I love.

I am starting with the books no longer in print and all the Junior Woman's Club & Church Ladies Leagues. Most of them come with plastic binders so separating the sheets, while time consuming, they will be the easiest making it feel like I am making a dent.

This recipe comes from a cookbook on onions. Another favorite ingredient of mine. I had my eye on this recipe from the first run thru.
This book was published many, many years before the food blog phenomenon , so I know the recipes are one of a kind.

I could post a recipe a day from this book and I would be done same time next year.
A years worth. Easier to pack the book then to cook the recipes.

Recipe makes 16 4"pancakes. I made 8.
I think this is worth saving because it's easy and it would make a great casserole. A perfect addition to a Sunday covered dish or a summer pool party.

There isn't any ingredient your basic supermarket won't have and very kid friendly.
We served ours with maple syrup but if you made this for a pot luck party a topping of Bacon Onion Jam or a Corn Relish is also a good way to go.

Sweet Onion Corn Cakes
makes 18 cakes

* 1 cup unbleached flour
* 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

* 1 scant tbls baking powder
* 1 tbls sugar
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp cayenne
* 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 tsp kosher salt
* 6 tbls (3/4 stick) butter, melted
* 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
* 1 cup finely diced sweet onions
* 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
* 1/4 cup minced scallions
* 2 tbls finely diced red bell pepper
* 1 tbls minced fresh cilantro
* 1 tbls minced fresh chives

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cayenne,pepper and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Beat egg yolks lightly and stir into dry ingredients, along with melted butter and buttermilk.
Blend well.
Add onions, corn, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro and chives. Fold lightly to blend: mixture should be thick enough to make a good pancake. If too thick, stir in a bit more buttermilk. If too thin, add more cornmeal, 1 tablespoon at a time, and blend carefully.
Beat egg whites just until they hold firm peaks. Mix some into the batter; lightly fold in the rest of whites.
Pour 3 tablespoons oil into a large cast-iron skillet and set over med-high heat. When oil begins to sizzle, drop about 1/3 cup batter into the pan to make 3" round cakes; do not crowd cakes.
Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface, about 2 minutes. Turn and brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Remove finished cakes and keep warm on a baking sheet in a low (250 degree) oven, and cook remaining cakes, adding more oil as needed.
Serve hot.

I happened to have leftover ham from a roast at Easter but a ham steak or thick sliced deli ham would work also. I think any pork product would work well, including ribs, chops and a loin roast.