Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter

Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard GlazeFallin’ for Pork
Fall is when pork shines. My family eats pork pretty much year-round—either as pork chops, or in tacos, or whatever. But, when the calendar flips to fall, I start thinking about juicy pork roasts. (Turning the oven on in the middle of July when it is 102º outside is a non-starter.) Fall flavors like apple and cinnamon pair perfectly with the mild flavor of pork.

But, the challenge with pork roasts is that they can dry out if you cook them too long. To solve that problem and to introduce the flavors of the season to the pork, I like to throw any roasts or chops that we’re having for dinner in a brine.

Brining is easy and you don’t have to do it for long periods of time. Pork chops, for example, only need to be brined for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how thick they are. (Double cut chops can go as long as 2 hours.) Over-brining will cause the meat to be mushy which is never pleasant.

There are so many brines to pick from. But, I am partial to any that include apple juice or cider. The end result is just a bit sweeter but not super apple-y. One of my all-time favorite brines for pork is our recipe for Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins. I use it 90% of the time, as it’s relatively quick and can be managed mid-week.

Sometimes though, you wanna go bigger.
This recipe for Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter is not a quick weekday whip-up. It is better left for a lazy Sunday dinner with friends and family watching the leaves fall from the trees. Serve this with some roasted sweet potatoes and/or Brussel sprouts and maybe our Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf for the best representation of Fall on your plate…

Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter Recipe
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay and the Food Network
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Black Bean Veggie BurgersConfessions of a Burger Junkie
I have a mental block when it comes to veggie burgers. It’s not that I have a problem with them per se, it’s just that I haven’t found one that I like. When I am craving a burger, I’m going for a legit burger. But, there are times when my family is on the burger train but I’m just not feeling it. Those are the times I go for something “other” and I am usually disappointed.

True, it’s easy to just have a turkey burger or a mushroom burger and I have been known to go that route with quite a bit of success. But, there is a part of me that wants to find a true veggie burger that I like. My issue is that in my mind I can’t get past the fact that I am not eating a ground beef burger. Eating a veggie burger, so far, hasn’t given me that same cheesy, juicy, fatty flavor that I love. And, yes, I get that it’s the cheesy fatty part that I should try to avoid for health reasons. Hence the search for a veggie burger.

I have tried the Beyond and Impossible products with great results but because of the amount of sodium in those options (it’s crazy) I don’t see them as a healthy alternative to the occasional classic burger.

My friends are very aware of my burger quest so I get a lot of recipes handed to me to try. Some are better than others. I am always on the lookout. So, if you are reading this and have a recipe you want to share, please post it in the Facebook comments and I will give it a shot.

In the meantime, the recipe below is the latest submission. I am planning to give it a shot this weekend as I have been told they are really flavorful and good. We’ll see…

Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Adapted from Sarah Britton and My New Roots 
Read more…

Southern Shrimp Burgers

Southern Shrimp BurgersOn The Run With A Burger And A Bun
I have never met a burger I didn’t like, and I’ve had a lot of them. Not all of them have been good. But, in my book even a bad burger is better than no burger.

However, you can’t eat burgers all the time. Well, you can but you better have a cardiologist on standby. As I have gotten older, I have noticed that I am eating fewer beef burgers and instead opting for something different but still burger-like.

If you are looking for alternatives to the classic beef burger the good news is that there are plenty of options from turkey, to salmon, to black bean. And you could even try the meatless versions that are currently popular—just be aware of the sodium content. (Yikes!) One of my favorites is this shrimp burger. It is great when I want something burger-ish but also a little different.

This recipe is adapted from the Lee Brothers Southern Cooking cookbook. This was a book we explored in my cookbook club many moons ago and it still remains a favorite. Since the weather outside says it’s summer even though the calendar doesn’t, put off putting your grill in storage and give these a try this weekend.

Southern Shrimp Burgers
Adapted from Lee Brothers Southern Cooking
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of GarlicFall, Fires, and Garlic
September is a weird time in California. While the rest of the country is thinking about colored leaves, pumpkin spice, and has started pulling out their light sweaters, we here on the west coast are still battling 90-degree heat and, sadly, forest fires. What’s happening in Tahoe is heartbreaking. What would normally be a gorgeous Labor Day weekend to celebrate the last days of summer (at least according to the calendar) is now an ash-filled hazy orange nightmare. Makes talking about food trivial but, we still gotta eat…

There are a lot of reasons I chose this week’s recipe. First, this dish is the very essence of comfort food. French comfort food. With everything that is going on locally as well as across the globe, we could all use a little comfort right now. And, I think Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic will do just the trick. There are multiple versions of this classic dish, the most obvious being from Julia Child. I personally like my modified version of the James Beard’s classic.

Rosh Hashana starts Monday at sundown and for those who celebrate, this recipe is a tasty and flexible melt-in-your-mouth way to feed a small family or a large crowd depending on the size of your Jewish New Year feast. This is the second reason I chose this recipe.

The third reason is because you put it in a pot, throw it in the oven, and walk away for over an hour. (Preferably with a lovely, very cold glass of white wine). Since my daughter has practice that runs fairly late in the evening, a recipe like this is a great way to have a hot meal ready when she gets home and is ravenous.

Paired with crusty bread and your favorite salad on the side, this is a classic satisfying meal no matter what your reasons for choosing to make it.

That being said, thank you and Godspeed to our firefighters! L’shana Tovah to all who are celebrating. And, Go Falcons!

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic Recipe
Adapted from James Beard
Serves 8 Read more…