Monthly Archives: March 2016

Cider Poached Pears

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pears

I have long wanted to make Poached Pears for my pear loving son. This recipe is both simple and elegant. A combination of fruit juices are brought to a boil and spiced with star anise, vanilla, and a cinnamon stick. Just peel, halve and core a pear and place it into the boiling liquid. To be honest it took the full 20 minutes for the pear to become fully cooked. Continue to simmer the liquid until it reduces to a syrup and top off the pears with it. Be patient — it seems as if it will never reach the right consistency and then all of the sudden it is done. Add a little vanilla yogurt and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Beautiful, delicious and so worth it!

Kitchen note: If you don’t have star anise in the pantry, substitute a 1 tsp. of Chinese Five Spice.


CIDER POACHED PEARS (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 pear
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Greek yogurt
  • Toasted almonds

Directions

  1. Peel the pear, cut in half and core.
  2. Add the cider, orange juice, star anise, cinnamon stick and vanilla extract to a small to medium pan.
  3. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the pear halves and poach at a low-medium heat for 10-20 minutes (until you can stick a knife through with no resistance).
  4. Remove the pear halves when cooked and reduce the rest of the mixture over a medium heat until it is a thicker glaze.
  5. Serve the pears with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a handful of toasted almonds and the glaze.

pear

~ from ProperTasty.com

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The Perfect Filet Mignon

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filet1This post is more about technique than ingredients. Some simple guidelines to help you create a delicious, juicy steak every time. Here in the south we tend to stick to the “Low and Slow” rule of cooking meats. However, here we learn that “High heat — Great meat” is the rule of the day for cooking steak. I used some Roasted Garlic Thyme Butter to baste my steak with — so good. You can also serve the steak with a small pat of the butter placed underneath for added flavor. Served here with a Srirachi Loaded Sweet Potato Boat and Cole Slaw.


THE PERFECT FILET MIGNON (Serves 4)

Technique

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Take the filet mignon out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to cook it, and season it liberally with salt and pepper. That time allows the meat to come to room temperature – which will help ensure you cook it to the right doneness.
  3. Getting a good sear on the filet is critical.  Bring your heaviest sauté pan up to temperature over very high heat, and add a few tablespoon of oil – I generally use olive oil, but only for convenience. Lay the filet mignons down in the pan, and let them sear on that side for 3 – 4 minutes depending on thickness.  Don’t touch, don’t move, don’t fiddle. Just let it sear. Turn the steak over, and allow it to sear for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Near the end of those 3 – 4 minutes add a couple tablespoons of butter, and the herb of your choice.  I love rosemary, thyme also is great. Baste the steaks with melted herb butter.
  5. If you like your steak very rare, you can probably take it off now. For more well done filets, slide the pan into the hot oven.  Generally speaking, every few minutes will move the steak up a notch on the doneness scale from rare to medium to well. They really should never take more than another 7 – 8 minutes in the oven.
  6. Please don’t cut into the filet to tell doneness.  First off it’s a bad way to tell, as the steak is still cooking and constantly getting more cooked.  Second, and more important, cutting into the filet while it cooks, will cause the juice to run out of the meat, horribly drying it out. The best ways, in order, to tell doneness is 1) Judgment.  Because you’ve cooked a few filets, and you know how to do it you’ll eventually just know  2) A combo of judgment and the feel test (see below). 3) A distant third is a meat thermometer.
  7. Remove the steak and put it on a holding plate, and cover with foil for 5 minutes.  That allows the filet mignon to rest, and the juices to settle, so they don’t run out when you cut into it at the table. After five minutes, serve up that perfectly cooked filet mignon, and if you’re feeling really decadent, spoon a bit of the herb flavored brown butter right over the top.

Kitchen Tip: The Touch or Feel Method —  Basically, the firmer a steak, the more well-done it is.  With some practice, you can use that firmness, as well as the length of cooking time to know if the steak is rare, medium or well.  In fact, I suggest that every time you use a thermometer, you also practice the touch technique so you get a sense of what various temps feel like.

 

~ from NoRecipeRequired.com

Roasted Garlic Thyme Butter

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herbs

Never throw away left-over herbs again. Save them by creating compound butters that can be frozen for use later. I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays and then transfer them into a freezer bag so that they are easy to use on the run.


ROASTED GARLIC THYME BUTTER (8 Tablespoons)

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • extra-virgin olive oil to cover
  • 1 cup (1/2-lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced fresh thyme
  • sea salt, preferably Gray salt

Directions

  1. Put the garlic cloves in a saucepan with just enough olive oil to cover them. Place over low heat and simmer until the cloves are soft and golden, 30-40 minutes. With a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic into a bowl, then mash to a puree. Immediately strain the oil through a coffee filter and reserve.
  2. Process the butter in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add 1/4-cup of the garlic puree (save any extra for spreading on bread), 1-1/2 Tbs. of the reserved garlic oil, the thyme, and a pinch of salt. Process until well blended. Taste and add more salt if needed. Refrigerate until firm enough to shape into a log
  3. Put an 18-inch sheet of aluminum foil on your work surface. Spoon the butter down the center of the foil into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Spoon into an ice cube tray or enclose in foil and twist the ends to make a sealed log, like a Tootsie Roll. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

~ from FoodNetwork.com

Sriracha Loaded Sweet Potato Boats

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This recipe was a BIG hit at our house! Baked sweet potatoes are scooped out and mashed with sour cream and shredded cheddar. A fairly standard take on the Twice Baked Potato, but the addition of a bit of Sriracha sauce really puts this one over the top. So good that my son asked to have it again the next night.


SRIRACHA LOADED SWEET POTATO BOATS (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1¼ cup sour cream (divided)
  • ¾ cup extra mature cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (adjust the amount to your liking)
  • cooked bacon, crumbled

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes then pierce them a few times with a fork, heat on max heat in the microwave for around 10 min (time varies with your microwave and the potatoes you use). You know when they are ready if a thin stick can easily pierce the whole potato.
  3. Take them out of the microwave (careful, they are hot!) and cut them in half lengthwise.
  4. Scrape out the potatoes with a spoon and place in a bowl.
  5. Mash and mix with sriracha, half the sour cream and half the cheese.
  6. Place the skins on a baking sheet or oven form and fill them with the mixture. Top with the remaining cheese and crumbled bacon and bake for 5-10 min in the oven until cheese has melted.

~ from IngredientMatcher.com