BULGUR PORK TOMATILLO PLATTER

Some call it bowls, but I will go with platter. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal, all components served together. Not too long ago “sheet dinners” were a thing. It seemed like every popular food blogger was showcasing them. I never joined that party, because I find it hard to perfectly time the cooking of different items on the same sheet pan. You have to do a lot of rearranging and/or adding ingredients in stages. It never appealed to me. But in this preparation, items are cooked each to their optimal stage, and then simply placed together for the finale.

BULGUR PORK TOMATILLO PLATTER
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

for pork:
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

for veggies:
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz asparagus stalks, cut in pieces
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced thinly
splash of water
salt and pepper to taste

to serve:
1 cup bulgur wheat
tomatillo salsa (store-bought)
blood orange segments (or regular orange)

Marinate the pork. Mix olive oil, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper, emulsify with a whisk. Cover the pork with it and leave for several hours in the fridge. I like to butterfly the pork tenderloin, but you can leave it whole. Grill the pork to your liking, when butterflied I like to grill it for a total of 16-18 minutes. We do not like pork pink in the center, so do as you prefer.

Cook the bulgur in 2 cups slightly salted water, boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until water is absorbed and grain is cooked. Reserve.

Heat the final tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add asparagus, bell pepper, water, salt and pepper. Cover, and cook for 2 minutes, then remove the lid, increase the heat and cook until the bell pepper starts to get some golden color.

Assemble the dish. Place the cooked bulgur on a platter, top with the cooked veggies. Cut slices of the grilled pork and arrange on top. Add orange segments, and drizzle a nice amount of tomatillo salsa all over the dish. You can process the salsa in a small food processor to make it smooth, or use it straight from the bottle.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one delicious meal! I know you can make your own tomatillo sauce from scratch, but we often use bottled and don’t mind it at all. It makes life easier and there is no compromise of flavor. You can use freekeh, quinoa, couscous, in place of the bulgur. Bulgur cooks so fast, it is a great option. The blood orange gives that burst of freshness, and goes perfectly well with the tomatillo salsa. This will be incorporated in our regular rotation, no doubt. I hope you’ll give it a try!

ONE YEAR AGO: Baking through the blogosphere

TWO YEARS AGO: Chickpea Burgers, Vegan and Delicious

THREE YEARS AGO: Macarons with Ganache Noisette

FOUR YEARS AGO: Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel

FIVE YEARS AGO: Fakebouleh

SIX YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

NINE YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

TEN YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread

PISTACHIO ROSE DONUTS

I am very fond of this combination of flavors, the aura of romance and elegance it conveys. These baked donuts have a nice texture, moist and delicate. And they are so easy to make, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

PISTACHIO & ROSE BAKED DONUTS
(adapted from The Baking Explorer)

for the donuts:
30 g pistachios, coarsely ground (use a small food processor or a nut grinder)
175 g sugar
30 ml vegetable oil
175 ml whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rose water
225 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon

for the glaze:

250 g powdered sugar
2 tbsp Water
1/2 tsp Rose water
3 tsp lemon juice

for decoration:
chopped pistachios optional
sprinkles

Heat the oven to 350F and grease donut pans with a very small amount of butter. Reserve. Sift the flour with baking powder in a bowl and reserve.

Mix together the sugar, milk, oil, vanilla extract, rose water, eggs and lemon zest in a bowl with a whisk
Add the flour mixture and ground pistachios, and fold them in. Place the batter in a piping bag, cut the tip and pipe in 12 donut pans. Bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through and starting the get some golden color.

Remove the baked donuts and let them cool on a rack. Make the glaze, adjusting the consistency with water if needed. It needs to be thick enough to nicely coat the surface. Decorate with chopped pistachios and sprinkles.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The addition of ground pistachios into the batter gives the donuts a speckled look and interesting texture. If you have pistachio flour, you can definitely use it, but I actually prefer to grind it, so that it’s not too fine. I realize some people are cheerleaders of the Team Fried Donuts. I’ve never made them because I have a deep dislike for dealing with a large volume of oil. At some point I need to face this little phobia of mine and give them a try. I still remember my first encounter with those donuts from a certain shop, all cute lined up in a conveyer’s belt, served straight from the fryer, with just a coating of powdered sugar. Definitely worth the extra calories!

ONE YEAR AGO: Smoked Chocolate Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Celebration Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four, May 2018

FOUR YEARS AGO: Tangential Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel

FIVE YEARS AGO: Fakebouleh

SIX YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

NINE YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

TEN YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread


TURKEY JALAPENO MEATBALLS

I’ve been playing with an ingredient that is quite likely very popular in many kitchens, but new to me. A bit embarrassed to admit, but here we go: pickled jalapenos. They are sold in big jars, cute slices of pepper swimming in a liquid that makes your tastebuds tingle. I may have developed a slight obsession. These meatballs are very light and super flavorful. Contrary to most recipes, you won’t have to brown them, but you can if you prefer. My method of choice is the pressure cooker, but I offer you other ways to cook them too. Just in case you are a pressure-phobe.

TURKEY-JALAPENO MEATBALLS
(inspired by The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book)

for the meatballs:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon brine liquid from pepper jar
cilantro leaves and stems (to taste, I like to use a lot)
1 + 1/2 pound ground turkey
½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the tomato sauce:
(you can also use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes with juices (28 oz)
2 shallots, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add the jalapeno slices, the brine, the olive oil and the cilantro leaves into the bowl of a small food processor and process the mixture a few times. Add it to the ground turkey in a large bowl, together with all other ingredients for the meatballs. Mix with your hands without compressing the mixture too much. For into twelve large meatballs. Reserve in the fridge. Can be made hours in advance or even the day before.

Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker, add the shallots, celery and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes. Place the meatballs on the sauce, if the sauce does not reach half the height of the meatballs, complete the volume with water. Lock the lid onto the pot. Set the pot over high heat and bring it to high pressure then cook for 10 minutes. Release the pressure and open the pan. If needed, reduce the sauce by simmering gently.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are serving these meatballs as an appetizer, I recommend that you make them smaller, and either fry them, air-fry them (about 12 min at 390F), or bake them. As an appetizer, I think they profit from a nice browned crust. But as a main course, I prefer to cook them straight in the sauce. The pressure cooker makes them perfect to my taste, but if you don’t own one you can make them in a crockpot set for 6 hours on low. Alternatively, you can simmer them on top of the stove, until they are fully cooked, but the sauce won’t have the same depth of flavor as the pressure cooker offers. Pressure cooking tames the spices a bit, so if you opt for another method, consider reducing a little bit the amount of pickled jalapenos you use.

I find them delicious next to a simple salad, but of course the traditional way would be alongside a nice helping of pasta. It will keep you satisfied, even if much lighter than the usual Italian style meatballs.

The best compliment a recipe gets in this kitchen is the husband saying “you must put this one in our regular rotation.” I fully agree. And I suspect the bottle of pickled jalapenos will have a dedicated spot in our fridge from now on.

ONE YEAR AGO: Whole Chicken Sous-Vide

TWO YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four, May 2019

THREE YEAR AGO: French Style Baguettes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sad Times

FIVE YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas Lettuce Wraps and Paleo Planet Review

SIX YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

NINE YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

TEN YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

SPRINGTIME PIPED FLOWER MACARONS

This method might seem a bit intimidating if you are new to baking these finicky creatures, but as long as you feel comfortable with the macaronage step, it’s not complicated at all. You will make a single batter, start incorporating the almond mixture with the meringue, and then divide the batter in four portions: one large to be left plain, and three smaller portions dyed with two different colors for the flower petals, and green for the leaves. The piping is very loose, no need for precision, no need for hyperventilation. You know I never lie to you. After baking, you can either leave the design plain or draw an outline with a fine tip black food pen. The outline gives a more dramatic look, it’s totally up to you to go for it or not. Your bake, your rules.

SPRINGTIME PIPED FLOWER MACARONS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the shells:
200g powdered sugar
115 g almond flour
115 g egg whites at room temperature (approx. 4 eggs)
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar (optional)
100 g granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla paste or extract
pink, purple and green food gel color (I used Sugarflair and Americolor)

For filling:
60 g unsalted butter softened
160 g powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp lemon oil
pinch of salt
heavy cream if needed to adjust consistency


Line 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment/baking paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar and ground almonds/almond meal in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 12 pulses. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl or to a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. Add all the sugar at once and keep whisking until the meringue is soft and shiny. Add vanilla extract.

Whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the ground almond/almond meal mixture in two increments. Start incorporating, but before you do the macaronage, divide the mixture in four bowls, one large, three small. Dye the small portions pink, purple, and green, then proceed with the macaronage for all four portions of the batter. Place the plain mixture in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip (round, ¼ or ½ inch in diameter or 6 – 12 mm). Place the other portions in small piping bags, with no tips. Pipe shells, and then use the colored batters to make any design you like. Leave half of the shells plain, as they can be the bottom side of your macarons.

Gently bang each sheet four to six times on the counter/worktop. Be careful not to disturb the designs. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. In a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 300 F. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide or move (independently of the ‘feet’ when you gently twist the top), then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Check one or two. If they move when gently touched, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes until they don’t move when touched. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. The macarons should release without sticking. If desired, do the outline and details with a black food pen.

For the filling, use a hand-held electric mixer and whisk the butter until creamy. Add the other ingredients except the heavy cream, and whisk until creamy and smooth. If needed, add a bit of heavy cream to loosen the mixture.

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge. Store in the fridge for 24 hours for perfect texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As you can see, the design is very loose. Let your inner child come out to play, just have fun with it. I think I like the ones with the outline better, but in the end decided to leave half the batch without it. For this type of design to work, the batters need to have approximately the same texture, and should not be too thick, or it will look a bit coarse. Another thing to keep in mind is that piping the design adds additional batter to each shell, so they get bigger. Make a row with the flower piping, and then grab the plain batter and pipe a row of plain shells right by them so you can more efficiently match their sizes. Of course, you can draw on all shells, but I prefer to save my energy and leave the bottom shell plain.

ONE YEAR AGO: Charcoal Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Ispahan Macarons

THREE YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FIVE YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

SIX YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

NINE YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

TEN YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2021

Last time I shared Incredibly Simple recipes was 7 months ago, so it’s been a while… The first three are embarrassing simple. The fourth will surprise you. Read on, my friends!

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER FLORETS

I admit that the picture is not that great. The problem is I had no intention of blogging about it, until I realized I made it three weeks in a row, and now it’s pretty hard for me to prepare cauliflower any other way. The air-fryer is the perfect environment to get crispy, tender inside florets, in 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes start to finish. No mess, no fuss. Perfect results every single time.

Toss the florets in a large bowl with a little grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), season with salt, pepper, and when you want to rock your world a bit, go for smoked paprika, maybe a touch of curry. Set your fryer to the highest temperature (mine is 390F), and let it roast for 20 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

HARD-BOILED EGGS, THE AIR-FRYER WAY

If you own an air-fryer and want to expand your horizons to use it more often, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Place as many eggs as you want in the basket. Set it to 270F (or around that temperature, depending on your model) and set the timer to 15 minutes. You might need a little adjustment in the time. For my fryer and my taste in hard-boiled eggs, that combination hits the spot. If you want to have soft-boiled eggs, reduce the time to 8 to 10 minutes, but again you’ll have to tweak the conditions. The eggs peel like a dream, by the way.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

SWEET AND SPICY WALNUTS (or PECANS)

Phil came up with this idea and now we do it all the time for our salads. Grab a handful of walnuts or pecans. Coat a non-stick small skillet with a tiny tiny tiny amount of olive oil. Heat, and add the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, or if you like to change things a bit, go for a touch of paprika. When the nuts start to get fragrant, drizzle a very small amount (maybe 1 tsp) of maple syrup. Everything will bubble furiously. Shake the pan to move the walnuts and coat them with the syrupy mixture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl to cool down a bit. Add to your salad. Any salad. Try to refrain from picking those babies from the bowl when no one is looking

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

FRIANDS

You may ask yourself… “Has she lost her mind?” BAKING in Incredibly Simple? Nope, I did not lose my mind (at least not for this particular reason). This is a recipe that a 5 year old can make with minor supervision as the young child will need to operate a food processor.

Melt 1 stick (113g) of butter and place in the bowl of a food processor together with
90g all-purpose flour
110g almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites
190g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Process for 1 minute. It will be very foamy. Spoon the mixture in non-stick muffin tins (or friand molds), filling each cavity no more than 3/4 full. Place two raspberries in each portion, top with some slivered almonds. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes, remove from the molds and when fully cold, dust with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope that if you consider yourself a non-baker, or worse yet, a bake-o-phobe (like I used to be), you will still grab the ingredients and try this recipe. You can vary the nut flour by adding some hazelnuts or even ground pistachios in some proportion together with almond flour. Or you can bake this simple version. They are delicate, moist, fragrant, absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. And so incredibly simple to prepare! Make sure to surprise whoever is around and when you bring those to the table, say very non-challantly… “I’ve made some friands for you”… Work on your best French accent, it is a must in this case.

ONE YEAR AGO: Phyllo Parcels with Moroccan Turkey

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad

THREE YEAR AGO: Fraisier Cake, A Celebration of Spring

FOUR YEARS AGO: Zucchini Frittata with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

FIVE YEARS AGO: Playing with Pectinase

SIX YEARS AGO: Poached White Asparagus with Lemon and Pistachios

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard’s Saffron Bloomer

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Fesenjan & The New Persian Kitchen

NINE YEARS AGO: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets

TEN YEARS AGO: Pasta Puttanesca

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Miche Point-a-Calliere