Friday, December 30, 2016

Pandoro Zuppa Inglese and Alkermes


 Pandoro is a staple in Italian households at holiday time, along with its cousin, Panettone. Unlike panettone, pandoro has no raisins or candied fruits, and is typically served with a dusting of powdered sugar.
But with all the cakes, cookies, candies and ice cream eaten in our household in the last week, there is still plenty of Pandoro to be eaten. 
If you're like me and have leftover pandoro, here's a way to use it up - a zuppa inglese - a classic Italian dessert whose name translates to "English soup," although it's not at all a soup, but more of an English trifle. The words "pan d'oro" mean golden bread in Italian, and it's easy to see why once you slice into the egg-rich confection.
Zuppa Inglese is typically made with sponge cake and layers of pastry cream. The cake is usually sprinkled with Alkermes, an aromatic red liqueur that's used in Italian desserts and as a digestivo. 
Recipes for Alkermes date back to the Renaissance, and generally contain a variety of spices including cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, along with rose water and other ingredients. Its scarlet red color is derived from a small parasitic insect called kermes, or cochineal. These are parasitic insects growing on paddles of prickly pear cactus in Mexico and Central and South America. They look like a white fungus on the prickly pear paddle, but when when scraped off, give off a brilliant red color. On a trip to Peru earlier this year, I saw the insects first hand, and observed Incan women dying fabric using coloring made from the insects after they were dried and ground.
Here in the U.S., it's nearly impossible to find alkermes (sometimes spelled alchermes) but the last time I was in Florence, I brought some back from the Santa Maria Novella Farmacia, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, dating back to 1221, and well worth a visit. 

The farmacia has expanded its product line to include perfumes, soaps and other items, but still makes alkermes, using the same recipe since 1743. 
The company now has branches all around the world, including one in New York City, but alas, alkermes can't be bought there.
If you can't get to Florence, Italy, you can always try making your own alkermes. Francine Segan has a recipe in her book "Dolci," (using red food coloring, not cochineal insects). Email me if you'd like that recipe. Or use a combination of kirsch and the liquid from maraschino cherries. It won't taste the same, but it's a pleasant substitute and it will be the right color.
Anyhow, to assemble the zuppa inglese, make some chocolate pastry cream and some vanilla pastry cream. I "cheated" and used a box of instant chocolate pudding, to which I added some rum, and a box of instant vanilla pudding, to which I added some whipped cream.
Place the chocolate pudding on the bottom of large glass bowl, followed by a layer of the pandoro (or sponge cake or savoiardi biscuits.) Sprinkle the pandoro with the alkermes, then cover with  the vanilla pudding/whipped cream mixture, followed by another layer of pandoro and more alkermes. 

Whip some heavy cream, spread it over the layers and top with sprinkles. Grab a spoon and dig in.

For more recipes using pandoro, click here for a Pandoro "Christmas tree",
 here for a zuppa inglese "alla Napoletana,"
and here for a fruity zuccotto.


Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Pandoro Zuppa Inglese with Alkermes

1 large Pandoro cake (or sponge cake or savoiardi biscuits)
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1/4 cup dark rum
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
alkermes (I diluted it slightly with a simple sugar syrup made by boiling some sugar with water)
sprinkles

Mix the packaged instant pudding according to directions on the box (or make pastry cream from scratch.) Add the rum to the chocolate pudding. Whip the 1/2 pint of cream with the sugar, and fold 1 cup of the whipped cream to the vanilla pudding. Save the rest for the top.
Slice the pandoro cake. Place the chocolate pudding on the bottom of a large glass bowl and cover with slices of the pandoro (or sponge cake or savoiardi biscuits.) Sprinkle alkermes on top, then cover with the vanilla pudding. Place more slices of pandoro on top of the vanilla pudding and sprinkle with more alkermes.
Spread the remaining whipped cream on top and decorate with colored sprinkles.

  

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Snowflake Pasta



During a recent visit to Williams-Sonoma, I spotted bags filled with this snowflake (fiochi di neve) pasta and knew it would be perfect for this holiday season.
  I have a weakness for pasta shapes, and there are always at least five or six different kinds in my cabinet.
There are umpteen ways you could dress this pasta, but I thought it deserved a festive red and green treatment with Christmas just around the corner. Using just what I had in the fridge and freezer (part of a red pepper, half a bag of peas, some ricotta and parmesan cheese), dinner was on the table in the time it took to boil the pasta.
Of course, you can make this recipe with any pasta shape, but the snowflakes are just so apropos for this time of year. If you do use this snowflake pasta, with this recipe or any other (click here to buy it) take a photo and email it to me. I'd love to see your creation.
Buon Natale!

Christmas Snowflake Pasta
printable recipe here
makes two very generous portions

8 ounces (half a bag) snowflake pasta (available from Williams Sonoma)
1/2 to 3/4 of a red pepper (about 1/2 cup), diced
about 3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
salt, pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
pasta water
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
minced parsley

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until almost done. It will cook a little longer in the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Sauté the onion and pepper at low to medium heat in the olive oil until softened. Add the frozen peas and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Using a slotted spoon or "spider" tool, drain the pasta right into the pan with the peas and red peppers. It's ok if some of the pasta water gets into the pan too. In fact, you'll need to reserve about a cup of the pasta water for this recipe. You may not use all the water - maybe only half of it - but it's good to have it on hand.
After draining the pasta into the red peppers and peas mixture, add spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese and some of the reserved pasta water. Stir and blend everything together. You want it to be moist, not dry, and you may need to add more pasta water as the pasta continues to absorb it. Keep stirring in the rest of the ricotta and pasta water (at low heat)  until you have the desired consistency - not soupy, but not dry either). Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, leaving some to serve at the table. Sprinkle with a little minced parsley and serve.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Struffoli


If you've ever been to a Christmas eve or Christmas day feast at the home of Italians or Italian-Americans who hail from Southern Italy, struffoli - fried dough balls bathed in honey and covered with sprinkles - are sure to appear at dessert time.
They'd also be perfect for the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which features fried foods and whose first night coincides with Christmas eve this year.
I didn't grow up eating these, but my friend Lily, who is from Salerno (near Naples), introduced me to this Neapolitan treat years ago.
Last year, my father brought them for dessert following our fish extravaganza on Christmas eve.
He followed a recipe from Lidia Bastianich's book, "Lidia's Italy in America."
What's on your dessert table this holiday?

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Struffoli
recipe from Lidia Bastianich's "Lidia's Italy in America"

serves 8 to 10
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 T. sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 t. cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups honey
vegetable oil, for frying
sprinkles, for garnish

Pulse together the flour, 1 T. sugar, the lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon and salt in a food processor. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the food processor with the motor running, and then drop in the butter pieces. Process until a smooth dough forms, about 30 seconds. Knead the dough on the counter a few times, then wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature at least one hour.

Make the syrup: Combine the honey, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy, about 6 to 7 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a pot or straight-sided skillet to about 365 degrees F., or until a piece of dough sizzles on contact. Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of dough, and roll into a rope about 1/2 inch wide. Cut the rope of dough into pieces the size of a hazelnut and roll into balls. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Fry the struffoli in batches until puffed and golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Drain on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining struffoli.

Toss the struffoli in the hot honey syrup, in batches, as many at a time a you can fit without crowding. Roll the struffoli in the syrup until well coated, then scoop them up with a slotted spoon or strainer, and drain off the excess syrup. Stack the struffoli in layers on a plate to form a cone, or circle, sprinkling each layer with the sprinkles as you stack. Repeat until all the struffoli are coated in the honey syrup and covered in sprinkles. Drizzle the completed stack of struffoli with any remaining syrup, if you wish.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cranberry Orange Spice Bundt Cake



 I'm not sure why I don't make bundt cakes more often because they're delicious, easy to put together and serve a lot of people. With the holidays approaching, and my Italian chit-chat group meeting at my house yesterday, I was inspired to dig out this Christmas tree bundt pan from my basement, given to me by a friend a few years ago. 
I scoured the internet to find a festive recipe for it and landed on this one from Williams Sonoma's website.
 It's studded with a streusel interior made from dried cranberries simmered in orange juice, pecans and brown sugar. As if that weren't enticement enough, the moist cake is perfumed with spices and orange peel and brushed with a drizzle of sweetened orange juice. 
Ready to try it?
 You don't have to use a pan with a Christmas tree design - any Bundt pan will do. Or even a loaf pan. But if you've got one of these, finish it off with a dusting of powdered sugar and decorative candies, like these m&m's.
You'll be wishing for snow covered trees the whole year through.


Cranberry Orange Spice Cake



Ingredients:

For the cranberry streusel: 

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans 

For the cake: 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 Tbs. grated orange zest 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 3/4 cup milk 

For the glaze (optional): 

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a holiday tree Bundt® pan; tap out excess flour.

To make the streusel, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the cranberries. Transfer to a small bowl, add the brown sugar and pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.

To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and orange zest and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon one-third of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half of the streusel. Repeat the layering, then spoon the remaining batter on top. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the orange juice and granulated sugar. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Tap the Bundt® pan gently on a work surface to loosen the cake. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan.

Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving. Serves 16.

From Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Meyer Lemon


It's the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., and hopefully you've got some good soup stock simmering on the stove, made with the leftover carcass from all that turkey you gobbled down yesterday. 
 This recipe, from Domenica Marchetti's "Rustic Italian" cookbook, is just the antidote for turkey overload.
These garlicky-lemony pork chops are so succulent, you'll be tempted to gnaw the bones down to the last morsel -- not to mention swiping and swishing some crusty bread through that luscious sauce in the pan. I can't blame you since that's just what we did.
Start by sautéing thinly sliced garlic and fresh bay leaves (or dried) in olive oil.
Remove them and set aside, then brown some lemon slices in the oil. Then remove the lemon slices while you put in the pork chops.
Season and brown the pork chops, then put the garlic, lemon and bay leaves back in. Add a splash of white wine and lemon juice and cook until done.
A lot of people complain that pork chops are too dry, but that's mostly because they're cooked too long. Cook just until the meat feels springy, and there's some "give" to the meat.
Here's another way to test doneness. Make a fist. The pork chop should sort of feel like the piece of flesh at the base of the thumb where it attaches to your hand (before the thumb reaches the wrist).
 If the pork chop is a teensy bit pink, it's ok.
Don't cook it too long, or you'll be eating a hard, overcooked piece of meat.

The herbal and lemon flavors blend so well in this recipe, and it was so easy and quick to make, I'll be coming back to this one again and again. Thanks Domenica.


Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Meyer Lemon
(Costole di Maiale in Padella)
From Domenica Marchetti's "Rustic Italian" cookbook
printable recipe here

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
4 fresh bay leaves, or 6 dried bay leaves
2 Meyer lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, 6-8 oz. each
(I used 2 very thick pork chops that weighed 1.5 lbs. total)
1/2 cup dry white wine 

fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the olive oil, garlic and bay leaves over medium-low heat. Sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and the oil is infused with the aroma of garlic and bay leaf, about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic and bay leaves to a plate and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the lemon slices. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the garlic and bay leaves.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Arrange in the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Sear until nicely browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until browned on the other side, 2-3 minutes longer. Since my two pork chops were very thick, I decided to add some white wine at this point to Domenica's recipe to help them cook more quickly. Let the wine boil down for a minute. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chops and turn to coat them with the juice. Return the garlic, bay leaves and lemon slices to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook (with a lid, if the chops are very thick, as mine were) until the chops are cooked through - 3-4 minutes longer. The pork chop should spring back but still feel tender if gently pressed with a finger, and the center should be very slightly pink.

Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter and spoon the pan juices, along with the lemon slices, over the top. Serve right away.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Brining and Roasting a Turkey


This is a blog post from five years ago, but with Thanksgiving on Thursday, many of you might need a refresher on how to brine and roast a turkey:
It's almost that time folks. Are you ready to roast that big bird or are you running from the task quicker than you can say turkey trot?  To all of you with trepidation in your soul at the thought of tackling this job, fear not -- I have one word to help you achieve success -- and it rhymes with fine. No, it's not wine -- although a glass of chardonnay or pinot noir for the cook never hurts. The word folks is brine. Since the first time I brined a turkey years ago, I have never looked back. It's a fail-proof way to ensure a moist, flavorful turkey, even if you forget to baste it and even if you roast it a little longer than required.  
Mix salt, sugar, herbs and spices with water and bring to a boil.
Dump the brining mixture over the turkey and add ice cubes (unless you have a refrigerator large enough to contain the large bucket). Let it sit overnight.
Roast the turkey over a bed of celery, carrots and onions and with some whole heads of garlic strewn all around the pan. Baste occasionally.
I leave the carving to my dad, but it's the same way you would carve a chicken. Remove the legs, thighs and wings, then remove each half of the breast in its entirety from the carcass.
Cut the breast in slices and place all the meat on a serving platter surrounded with the whole roasted heads of garlic.
gobble, gobble!


Turkey Brine
(Makes enough for up to a 24 lb. turkey)

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 gallon water
2 T. black peppercorns
1 T. allspice berries
1 onion, sliced
1 large bunch sage
6 bay leaves
ice cubes

The day before (or night before) you want to cook the turkey:

Using a 5-gallon bucket, line it with a plastic bag. Put the salt, sugar, onion, herbs and spices in a pot on the range with only two cups of water taken from the one gallon of water called for in the recipe. Bring to a boil and stir everything to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat and add some ice cubes to cool it off, plus about half of the remaining water. Put the thawed turkey in the plastic bag in the bucket and add the water and herb mixture. If the bucket needs more water to cover the turkey, add it now.

Since I can't fit the bucket into my refrigerator, I always place it outdoors on the deck, adding ice cubes to the water to make sure it stays cool. It's never been a problem here in New Jersey in late November, and sometimes it's gotten so cold that the top layer of water has frozen.  I don't want to take any risks though, so I always add the ice cubes. Twist the top of the bag and secure it closed. To keep squirrels or birds from pecking into the bag during the night or before it goes into the oven, place a flat baking pan on the top and weigh it down with something heavy. Let it sit overnight and soak.

The next day, drain the turkey from the liquid before roasting.  Pat dry, then place your hand between the skin and the breast meat and spread some butter inside with some sage leaves. Alternately, make an herb butter, mixing some softened butter with minced sage, rosemary or other herbs.

Roasting Method

After rubbing butter between the skin and the breast meat, place the turkey in a pan that has a bed of celery sticks, carrots and onion chunks. Take several whole heads of garlic and slice a shallow slice off the top. Spread them in the corners of the pan. If you're not stuffing the turkey, place some onion chunks, fresh herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme or a combo) and a couple of lemons that have been halved, in the cavity. Rub the outer skin with a stick of butter that's been softened. Roast turkey according to timetable below, basting occasionally. If the breast starts to get overly browned, make a tent with aluminum foil and cover loosely. If wings get overly browned and the rest of the turkey still needs cooking, wrap the wings in aluminum foil. The total roasting time will depend on whether the turkey is stuffed or not.
Here are the roasting times recommended by the USDA. If you're checking with a meat thermometer, the USDA says the turkey is safely cooked once the thickest part of the breast and thigh reach a minimal internal temperature of 165 degrees. Full roasting instructions from the USDA are here.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 °F oven temperature) 
Unstuffed
4 to 8 pounds (breast)1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds4½ to 5 hours

Stuffed
4 to 6 pounds (breast)Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast)2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds4¾ to 5¼ hours

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Roasted Acorn Squash


This has to be one of the easiest, most delicious and most colorful side dishes you can make for your Thanksgiving table - or for any fall or winter meal, really.
Acorn squash, aside from its rich taste and nutritious qualities, has the added benefit of thin, edible skin - no peeling necessary.
The hardest part is cutting the slices -- you need a sturdy knife and steady hand.
But once that's done, you simply roast the slices in the oven, then sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top, with a drizzle of balsamic syrup, and a scattering of fresh herbs. I've used parsley and lemon balm, but if you're a cilantro fan, that would be welcome too.

Roasted Acorn Squash 

Wash the squash thoroughly, then cut in half. Remove seeds, then cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Coat each side of the slices with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and herbs. I use a homemade herb salt, but you can mince some fresh or dry herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sprinkle on top.

Place on a cookie sheet and put into a preheated 425 degree oven. They'll need only 5 to 7 minutes, after which you'll flip to the other side. They're done when they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them to a platter, then drizzle a balsamic glaze on top. (If you can't find balsamic glaze in the store, make your own by boiling down supermarket balsamic vinegar until thick and syrupy.) 
Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and scatter fresh herb leaves on top (I use either parsley or lemon balm or a combination of the two.)
 
Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Pork Tenderloin and Cannellini Beans



If you're looking for an easy, delicious way to serve a crowd (Election Day comfort food perhaps?) that's also healthy and reasonably priced, pork tenderloin is your answer. 
I love any cuts of pork, particularly the shoulder, which is loaded with fat, resulting in savory meat that falls off the bone. That, however, takes 12 hours to cook with this recipe, if you're interested.
I'm more likely to buy the tenderloin when time is a factor, and even though it's so lean, with proper seasonings and accompaniments, it can be just as satisfying as the fattier cuts of pork.
After seeing an Instagram photo from my friend Domenica of her cannelloni beans soaking, I was inspired to do the same as an accompaniment to the pork.
  I've had friends say that they made dried beans that ended up too hard, probably from not cooking long enough. That's happened to me too and the way I prepare them now to avoid that is this way: 
Wash the beans and drain them, then put into a pot with water about one inch above the beans and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes. Skim off the scum that forms. Turn off the heat and let the beans sit in the water overnight.
The next morning, drain the beans, add fresh water to cover, plus a few squirts of olive oil and some fresh sage. Let the beans simmer for two hours, then turn off the heat and let the beans sit for a few more hours.
Come back to the beans before you're ready to serve them and test for doneness. They should be soft enough now, but if not, cook a little longer. Drain the beans again, saving some of the cooking liquid.
Place a healthy amount of olive oil (1/4 cup or so) on the bottom of a clean pot, add as much minced garlic as you like (I like a lot); briefly soften over mild heat, then add the beans back to the pot, to reheat. At this point, season them with salt and other herbs of your choosing - sage and/or rosemary are nice here. (don't add the salt before the beans are soft or it will impede the cooking). Add a little more olive oil if you like (a few tablespoons), and some of the reserved cooking liquid if they seem too dry (but not too much, since you're going to have more liquid from the roast to drizzle on later).
 I flavored the beans using some of the seasoned salts I made from some of the herbs growing in my garden - thyme, sage, rosemary, lemon balm and bay leaf. If you've still got herbs growing in your garden, it's not too late to make the salt. It makes a great hostess gift. Just cut the herbs, dry them on a cookie sheet and after a few days, put them in the food processor with some coarse salt. I used a salt from Sicily that I got from Gustiamo.com, but you could also use kosher salt.
The salt is fantastic on vegetables, fish and meats - in this case the pork tenderloin. Just slather some Dijon mustard on the pork, then sprinkle on a generous amount of the seasoned salt and a good grinding of fresh black pepper.
Cover it with aluminum foil, and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes - 1 hour. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Reserve the liquid to pour over the roast later (Before serving it, I whirred it with a stick blender to make it more homogenous.)
Arrange the beans on the bottom of the serving dish, then place the sliced pork on top. Just before serving, pour the heated sauce on top. It's tender enough to eat with just a fork, and it's so easy and delicious, it'll become one of your go-to recipes.
Cannellini beans and pork tenderloin
printable recipe here

Pork Tenderloin
Smear pork tenderloin with Dijon mustard, then sprinkle on freshly ground black pepper and seasoned salts. (If you don't have seasoned salts, use some kosher salt and sprinkle on herbs de Provence, or use minced fresh rosemary, sage or a combination of herbs.)
Roast covered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes-one hour. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the liquid from the pan, strain it and whir it with a stick blender to homogenize it (or use a whisk if you don't have a stick blender).

Arrange the cooked beans on the bottom of a serving dish, then slice the meat and place it on the beans. Finally, reheat the liquid and pour it over all the meat and beans.

Cannellini Beans
Wash the dry beans and drain them, then put into a pot and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes. Skim off the scum that forms. turn off the heat and let the beans sit in the water overnight.
The next morning, drain the beans, add fresh water to cover, plus a few squirts of olive oil and some fresh sage. Let the beans simmer for two hours, then turn off the heat and let the beans sit for a few more hours.
Come back to the beans before you're ready to serve them and test for doneness. They should be soft enough now, but if not, cook a little longer. Drain the beans again, saving some of the cooking liquid.
Place a healthy amount of olive oil (1/4 cup or so) on the bottom of a clean pot, add as much minced garlic as you like (I like a lot); briefly soften over mild heat, then add the beans back to the pot. to reheat. At this point, season them with salt and other herbs of your choosing - sage and/or rosemary are nice here. (don't add the salt before the beans are soft or it will impede the cooking). Add a little more olive oil if you like (a few tablespoons), and some of the reserved cooking liquid if they seem too dry.

 Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Butternut Squash Tarte Tatin



If you're like me, you've had your share of killing time waiting in a doctor's reception room. Sometimes however, there are magazines to read that don't date back to the Nixon era and from which I can glean some good recipes. 
Since butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables, and the season is upon us, this twist on the classic tarte tatin made with butternut squash, rather than the traditional apples, caught my eye while I waited for my name to be called during a recent appointment.
It starts out with roasting half moons of butternut squash, seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper.
The roasted squash is delicious as is, just out of the oven as a side dish, but this recipe, with a hint of honey, transforms it into something special.
Layer the slices in an oven-proof skillet (cast iron is best), overlapping the edges slightly.
Fill in the center with another piece of squash.
Place a piece of puff pastry on top, and pierce holes into it with a fork.
Bake in the oven until golden,then carefully flip onto a plate.
It's a side dish fit for your Thanksgiving meal - or your family's everyday dinner table.
Now if only I could find a recipe this good each time I'm sitting in the doctor's reception room, I might not complain about that last one hour wait!
 Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Butternut Squash Tarte Tatin
from Shape.com

1 (1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch-thick half moons
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt
fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 T. unsalted butter (I used two)
1 t. lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
1/3 cup honey

-Preheat the oven to 400 degree. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment. On the prepared pan, toss squash with oil, a pinch of salt, and about 3/4 of the rosemary. Spread in an even layer and roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly on a plate.
-Meanwhile, cut the pastry into a round the same size as the top of a 9 to 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate.
-Melt butter in the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in lemon zest and juice, honey and remaining rosemary. Remove from heat and when squash is done, drizzle most of it over the squash, leaving a thick layer in the bottom of the skillet.
-Arrange squash in concentric circle in the skillet over the remaining butter mixture. Scrape any juices from the plate into the skillet. Place the pastry over the squash, and prick with a fork all around.
-Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. (I omitted this step because I was impatient.) Wearing oven mitts, center a serving dish over the skillet and carefully flip both together, then lift the skillet off the taste. Garnish with rosemary, if desired.

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