STICKY SPICY PORK OVER GOLDEN RICE

Super simple recipe. If you use ground pork, no need to add any oil to the skillet. If you use ground turkey, add a tablespoon of grape seed oil before sautéing it.

STICKY SPICY PORK WITH ASPARAGUS AND EDAMAME
(inspired by Modern Proper)

1 pound ground pork
1/2 tsp salt
small bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen edamame, no need to de-frost
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Gochujang sauce (or more to taste)
minced ginger, to taste (I used about 2 tsp)

Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork, season with salt, and use a spoon to break it up into large pieces. Cook, until beginning to brown and crisp, about 8 minutes, resisting the temptation to move it around. You want to get a nice crisp layer in the bottom. Add the asparagus and edamame, stir everything around, and cover the pan. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce with Gochujang and ginger.

Open the pan, add the prepared sauce and cook, stirring for another couple of minutes, until veggies are crisp-tender. Serve over golden rice (recipe available here) or plain steamed rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is the type of recipe that is at the table in no time… Make sure to prepare the rice in advance. If you follow my recipe for the golden rice, it sits in the burner for exactly 30 minutes, so you can start that step and 10 minutes later get going with the pork. Do not use asparagus that are overly thick, if that’s all you have, steam them for a couple of minutes in the microwave before using in this preparation. Finally, the most important thing is to get that crispy bottom on the pork before moving it around. Leftovers were still awe-inducing on day #2…

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MARINATED CHICKPEAS WITH SLOW-ROASTED RED PEPPERS

I follow a group of food bloggers I completely trust. Kelly from Inspired Edibles is part of this group. When she raves about a recipe, I usually jump on making it. This is the most recent example, and I know if you make it you will rave about it also. Two things: do not be tempted to use canned chickpeas. And go for the slow-roasting of bell peppers. These two small details make the dish shine.

MARINATED CHICKPEAS WITH SLOW-ROASTED RED PEPPERS
(adapted from Inspired Edibles)

for the veggie mixture:
1 + 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (from 1 1/4 cup dry)
2 large red bell peppers, cut into strips
110 g Feta cheese
60 g pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
parsley to serve

for the marinade:
⅓ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
¾ tsp salt or to taste
black pepper to taste
½ Tbsp honey

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water. Next day, drain and rinse, then cook in slightly salted water until tender, but still al dente – about 40 minutes. the chickpeas in a large pot with lots of water until desired consistency is achieved (for this recipe, I prefer the chickpeas to have some texture – not too mushy – so I aim for al dente, it takes over 1 hour). This step can be made in advance.

Heat oven to 300F and prepare the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients. Make sure when you add the honey that it gets fully integrated with the other components.

Place the cooked chickpeas (ideally still warm) in serving platter with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. intermingle with tomatoes, onion, olives and half of the feta. Pour the marinade over top, tossing gently to combine.

While the chickpea mixture marinades at room temperature, spread the sliced peppers out on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1.5-2 Tbsp olive oil and add a couple shakes of salt, and roast for about one hour. Add them to the chickpea mixture, and serve, sprinkled with parsley leaves.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This recipe is a winner, all the way. Leftovers were fantastic next day and even better on the second day. I warmed everything in the microwave, just barely, and there was no compromise in the texture, the taste of the marinade just got more intense. Perfect.

Make sure to stop by Kelly’s blog and read her post, as she offers a different way to enjoy it, with cucumbers in tzatziki sauce. The key is to cook the chickpeas from scratch. Totally different from canned, which works fine for other preparations such as hummus. The slow-roasting of the bell peppers is another great twist, they develop a milder flavor and very soft texture.

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PORK WITH PRUNES, RE-VISITING A CLASSIC

Years ago (2018, to be exact), I blogged on the classic version, and you can check it out here. Today, I offer you a variation using a leaner type of meat and the crockpot. Lately I’ve been exploring different uses for country style ribs, and this was a crowd-pleaser. Even if it was a crowd of two…

SLOW-COOKER PORK WITH PRUNES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 packages of country-style pork ribs, boneless
(or amount enough to fully cover the bottom of your slow-cooker, some overlapping ok)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup pitted prunes (or amount to taste)
1/2 cup pitted black olives
2 Tbsp capers
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
2½ tsp sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
juice and zest of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
fresh parsley leaves to serve

Place all the ingredients except lemon juice, zest, and parsley in your slow cooker, distributing the pieces of meat with a little overlapping if necessary.

Cook on low for 7 hours. Remove the meat gently from the liquid that accumulates in the crockpot, transfer the liquid to a large skillet and reduce it by half or more, until slightly thick. Add the meat back to the skillet, and allow to simmer with the sauce for a few minutes.

Squirt the lemon juice, add the zest and parsley, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been on a roll with the country-style pork ribs lately. The crockpot performs miracles with this particular cut of meat, which can dry out easily. Just make sure to stop the cooking at 7 hours, so that the texture is not compromised. Once you open the crockpot, you will have excess liquid, that will be much improved by a little extra step to concentrate it. That is why in the picture you see the meat on a large non-stick frying pan. You can do this final concentrating step later, so the whole meal can be prepared a couple of days in advance, it will only get better.

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KAREN’S BRAIDED LEMON BREAD WITH BLACKBERRIES

She posted. I read the post while away on a trip. Could not wait to get home to bake it. As far as enriched bread goes, you cannot get much better than this. Think brioche loaded with a tangy lemon cream and luscious blackberries. As I said, cannot get much better. THANK YOU, KAREN!

BRAIDED LEMON BREAD WITH BLACKBERRIES
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)


For the Sponge:
3 ounces warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
30 grams unbleached all purpose flour

For the Final Dough:
All of the sponge
85 grams vanilla yogurt, room temperature (I used plain and added 1/2 tsp vanilla)
56 grams softened unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
50 grams sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
300 grams unbleached all purpose flour
one beaten egg for the egg wash
pearl sugar for topping (optional, but nice)

For the Filling:
85 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
25 gram sugar
29 grams sour cream (I used creme fraiche)
1 tsp lemon juice
15 grams all-purpose flour
100 grams lemon curd
Handful of blackberries


Combine the sponge ingredients in a small bowl, stir, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
In your stand mixer bowl, combine the sponge, yogurt, butter, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla, and flour. Mix with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled dough rising bucket or bowl, cover, and allow to rise for one to two hours, until doubled (mine took 2 hours and 30 minutes).

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and flour until smooth. Cover and set aside.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the risen dough not the parchment, and press or roll it into a 10 inch by 15 inch rectangle. Mark the dough lengthwise into thirds by pressing a ruler into the dough. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the middle third, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top and the bottom. Spread the lemon curd on top of the cream cheese mixture. Top with the blackberries.

Cut the outer sides into strips. Cut off the strips from the four “corners” of the dough, leaving a flap at the top and bottom. Fold up the bottom flap and fold the strips over the filling alternating in a braid pattern. Fold the flap over the top before finishing the braid. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.


Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. When the dough is ready, brush it with the egg wash and sprinkle it with the sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a deep golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Make sure to stop by Karen’s post because her pictures and explanations are very detailed and will help you with the shaping. The dough is a pleasure to work with, as enriched doughs always seem to be. You can make the filling while the dough rises, and use store-bought lemon curd to make your life easier. Next time I will add more blackberries, I was afraid they would contribute too much moisture and leak too much, but that was not the case.

This basic method can be used for savory breads, or use different sweet fillings. Karen has a lot of suggestions in her article, so pay her a visit.

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AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI SAUCE

This is a winning combination that I urge you to try whenever you find fresh pomegranates to play with. In our neck of the woods, it’s not always available. I prefer to buy the pomegranate seeds in those little jars because I am not too fond of the work needed to extract them from the fruit. Yes, I am familiar with all the tricks, but in this particular case, I opt for the easy way out.

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower, florets only
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste
pomegranate seeds

for the tahini sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup water to adjust consistency (you may need less)

Coat the cauliflower florets with the oil, season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Place in the air-fryer at 390F or as high as your fryer goes. Cook the florets until they start to get brown at the edges, shaking the basket every once in a while. While the cauliflower fries, make the sauce.

Mix all ingredients for the sauce (except the water) in a food processor and process until smooth. It will be very thick. Slowly add the water, until you get to the consistency you like.

Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter, drizzle the sauce all over and sprinkle pomegranate seeds, as many as your heart desires.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I adore cauliflower and I am crazy for tahini. It was odd that it took me so long to put both together. If you don’t have pomegranate seeds, kalamata olives will work well for the contrast of color and that sharp flavor. A shower of black sesame or Nigella seeds could be great too. Anything to give some contrast to the cauliflower-sauce duet. Because our air-fryer is small, when I made this recipe there were no leftovers. Actually I did have extra sauce that was drizzled on all sorts of goodies for a couple of days. If you want to make this dish for company (or if you do not own an air-fryer), go for oven-roasting, 425F works like a charm. It just takes longer and the texture won’t be as crispy.

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