Thursday, September 22, 2011
Simple, delicious, and it almost cooks itself. The original recipe was devised after a trip to Normandy; Normandy has no vineyards, only apple orchards....the orchards yield apples (of course) and cider in all iterations, from fresh pressed, to fizzy fermented, to Calvados an apple brandy. So take yourself to Normandy this weekend, and cook this for your honey.....it's easily doubled or tripled for a larger crowd.
Pork Chops In Cider
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Two 1/2 pound center cut pork chops
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons beef soup base (Better Than Bouillon Superior Touch is my fave)
2 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
In large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat, and saute the onions, apples and thyme for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions are softened.
Taste for seasoning and serve. For a much more luxurious sauce, add the cream and bring to serving temperature. This is delicious served over buttered egg noodles to soak up the sauce.
Cook's Note: I cooked mine in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours, low for 6 to 7 hours will work.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Today dawned gloomy, with an onshore wind, that has kept the day crispy and fall-like--since we don't have seasons per se, here in So. Cal. it was the perfect day to set about trying to make that perfect pizza.
A few ground rules:
- Not everyone likes a thin crust pizza, I know!
- The atmospheric conditions in your kitchen matter; a damp day, and the flour (although stored airtight) may be damp, and not need as much water as the recipe calls for, so add sparingly.
- Buy a pizza stone that can be heated to a zillion degrees. I bought the Emile Henry, it can be used on your grill, and it's gorgeous in aubergine!
- Buy a pizza peel; I bought the Epicurean, which doubles as a cutting board---and goes in the dishwasher.
- Know your oven temperature, and its capabilities. I have a convection oven and if you have one, you want to cook a pizza on "convection bake" that means that the lower element is also heating, giving you a crispier crust. If you don't have a convection oven, then put the pizza stone on the lowest rack in the oven.
- Flour used in this type pizza matters; I've tried blends of all-purpose and cake flour, and just all-purpose, but the flour that works is what they use in Italy; it's called 00, and King Arthur Flour sells a 3 pound sack on their website. Click here for more info.
This will make about 6 14-inch pizzas
5 to 6 cups 00 flour (or King Arthur Italian Style flour)
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 to 2 cups warm (110 degrees) water
whole milk mozzarella
freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano
- In a large bowl, combine the 5 cups of flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, and gradually stir in the water, until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. With floured hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding flour if needed to make a smooth, supple dough---it will still be sticky. Separate the dough into 6 balls and set on a baking sheet to rest for 15 minutes, while you get the oven ready.
- Place the pizza stone into the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Using the remaining flour liberally, roll out the dough into 14-inch circles.
- Sprinkle the pizza peel liberally with the cornmeal; learn from my mistakes, if you don't the sticky dough will stick like glue to the peel and you won't get it onto the stone.
- Transfer the rolled dough to the pizza peel, working quickly spread a thin layer of sauce (you will see the pizza dough through the sauce) sprinkle with the cheeses, and finish with a sprinkle of the oregano.
- Now, it's the moment of truth; transfer the pizza to the hot pizza stone, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheeses are bubbling, the crust is is crispy on the bottom. Remove from the stone and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Enjoy your weekend!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Coming back home after a week at Rancho La Puerta, I wanted to share all my photos with you. I think they speak for themselves; enjoy!
Friday, September 9, 2011
When we arrived at the school, there wasn't any power, and no gas for the ovens and stoves......but, no problem! There is always a way to get food on the table, and we used the wood fired grill for the cooking portions, and the rest was done as "raw" food.....with such amazing produce from the garden, it's simple to prepare the recipes without cooking. Here are a few snaps of our time in the gardens with Salvador and the our meal which was superb....a bunch of great cooks got on the bus to ride back to the ranch after power was restored.
Until next week, I wish you buenos tardes from Rancho La Puerta.