Pork, Pears, Nectarines and Ginger Sauté

Pork, Pear, Nectarine Stir Fry

  • 2 TBSP chopped onions
  • 1 TBSP fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz boneless pork loin cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2  Bosc pear cut in wedges
  • 1 small nectarine, cut in wedges

Heat skillet to medium-high. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and sauté until transparent, about 4 minutes. Add pork pieces, salt, and pepper and cook until it browned, about 4 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add pear and nectarines. Let cook for about 3 minutes, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp of soy sauce

Serve over rice.

This actually made two servings. There was sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lemon and the heat of ginger and blending together for a tasty and easy dinner. About 20 minutes from start to finish.

 

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Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

I make tomato jam several ways using variations on the New York Times recipe. I made the recipe as written once, but thought it was far too sweet. I use half the sugar, switched to brown sugar, and quite a bit more lime juice. I sometimes use cinnamon and red pepper flakes, sometimes I add a habanero, but the best, I think, is this one with Jamaica Jerk seasoning mix. It’s a deeper, more earthy flavor.

  • 1 ½ pounds good ripe tomatoes, chopped. If you use cherry tomatoes, cut the sugar to 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Juice from two fresh limes
  • Zest from two fresh limes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaica Jerk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Dump everything in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring steadily. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it cook down to jam consistency. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. Check on it and give it a little stir about every 15 minutes so it cooks evenly and you don’t let it scorch. Taste about mid-way through and add seasoning to your taste. When it’s cooked down to a jam, let it cool and store it in the fridge. I will keep at the very least a week, more likely two weeks thanks to all the acid in the tomatoes and the limes.

 

Jerk Pork, Rhubarb Nectarine Chutney, and Cabbage Salad Sandwich

There’s nothing like a delicious sandwich for lunch. The trick is to get a good blend of flavor and texture and this sandwich brings everything. There are three ingredients in this sandwich, roast pork, cabbage, and chutney.

Roast Pork

I like to buy the cheapest pork roast, the shoulder or picnic roasts which run about $1.50 per pound. I spread Jamaica Jerk seasoning over the outside of the roast, top, bottom and sides. I roasted for about 40 minutes at 450° F. Roasting time depends on the size of the roast, so I always use a meat thermometer, removing the roast from the oven to rest when the thermometer reaches 140°.

Nectarine-Rhubarb Chutney

Chutneys are the easiest thing to make. All you do is toss some fruit in with sugar, spices, lots of ginger, and some vinegar or citrus juice, in this case, lime juice. Chop everything up, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about one to two hours so all the substance is cooked down to a thick liquid. These are ingredients in this chutney.  This makes about a cup of chutney.

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb
  • 4 small or 2 large nectarines
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small lime, use zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Cabbage Sandwich Slaw

Just about any slaw will work, a mix of crunchy cabbage with a dressing of vinegar is all you need.

  • 1 cup finely chopped cabbage
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP diced yellow onion
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar (more or less)
  • Lime zest from one lime

For this, I finely chopped one cup of cabbage, added cilantro and yellow onion. I added some salt and pepper to taste. I then added rice vinegar, just enough to dress the salad (about 1 TBSP). Mix it up and let it rest for an hour or more so the cabbage absorbs the vinegar. (This makes enough slaw for two sandwiches)

Rye Bread

I suppose you can use any bread, but I am partial to rye. I spread chutney on one slice and mayonnaise on the other. On the side with mayo, I put the cabbage slaw and I put the pork on the chutney side. I spread a bit more chutney over the pork. This helped hold it all together when I put the pieces together and cut it in half.

This is a delicious sandwich with the crunchy freshness of the cabbage with the bit of tang of vinegar and lime. The chutney adds the unctuous sweet and sour. The rye lays down this hearty foundation for the meat and slaw. It’s perfection.

 

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

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My best friend makes this for Thanksgiving every year, but this year she was deep in roasting lamb, making brioche, and baking pies and brought the ingredients over with her recipe and said, “Here.” Well, not quite so peremptorily, but you get the idea. Knowing that her lamb is the most delicious dish that has ever existed on the planet, I was happy to help. Besides, my contribution was two pickled salads that I had made the day before so the brine could work its magic. This is a recipe that originates with Nigella Lawson and was printed in The New York Times years ago. It has been a tradition ever since.

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  • 2 med red onions, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper – don’t remove the seeds, you want the heat.
  • 2-3 inches of ginger, peeled
  • 3 TBSP canola oil

Chop onions, garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger. Sauté in canola oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.

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  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 2/3 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • salt to taste

Add spices, stir and mix. Let bloom by heating so the aroma fills the room. This releases the aromatic oils so they infuse more flavor.

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  • 3 med sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut milk (light) (1 can)

Add sweet potatoes and stir until covered by spices. Add coconut milk. Raise heat to medium and simmer.

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  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable broth (can use water if you don’t have broth)

Heat broth and stir tamarind paste in hot liquid until dissolved (You can use a microwave). Tamarin paste is super sticky, so you want to be sure it is completely dissoved in the hot liquid before you add it to you pan of simmering sweet potatoes. Keep simmering, partially covered for about 25 minutes. You want the sweet potatoes to be tender, but not soft.

  • 4 to 5 cups cooked chickpeas

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Add the chickpeas, stirring them into the sweet potatoes and making sure they heat through. Then remove.

  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro

Top with cilantro when serving.

This is a warm, slightly spicy dish rich in the hearty, warm flavors of fall with the beautiful browns and oranges of fall as well. It is delicious, hearty, and a great substitute for the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy.  It is a huge meal, serving 12, or great for leftovers. It just tastes even richer the next day.

 

Sweet & Sour Pork With Couscous

Sweet & Sour Pork Couscous

This was very fast and easy to make.

First I boiled some water for couscous. I put 1/4 cup of couscous with 1/2 cup of boiling water in a bowl and put a lid on it to soak up the water while I cooked the rest.

Then I put 2 tsps of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of chopped onion and a small sliver of fresh ginger, some salt and pepper and cooked until tender. I cut a 3 oz. piece of boneless pork loin steak into small pieces and added them to the onions. Meanwhile, I pitted 6 fresh cherries and cut them in half and chopped up about 1/2 of fresh cilantro.

When the pork was done, I added the cherries and the couscous. I added two packets of sweet and sour sauce I had saved from a takeout from Panda Express. I don’t use many condiments except mayo and mustard. I don’t like ketchup and buying any condiments is just a waste, so I save a few from when I eat out. They come in handy as I didn’t want to make a batch of sweet and sour this size and probably won’t make something using sweet and sour sauce for months. So, I mixed in the two packets and added the cilantro at the end. This made one serving. It was flavorful, with sweetness from the cherries and tang from the ginger and onions and a nice freshness from the cilantro. The sweet and sour sauce could have been left out, it would still be good, but I liked how it married the flavors.

Rutabaga Soup with Apples, Carrots and Linguiça

Rutabaga Soup With Linguica, Carrots and Apples

Winco had some impossibly low-priced linguiça that I picked up a few weeks ago and put in the freezer. I thawed it out for a soup, deciding to try it with a couple rutabagas. I was a bit leery because it was so incredibly cheap ($2.67 for 1 pound) but hoped for the best. Let’s just say that I will be buying it again. It was delicious and made a fabulous soup.

Okay, I started with 1 TBSP of olive oil in my soup pot and heated it on a low medium. I added 1 tsp of cumin powder and 1 tsp of cinnamon. While it heated, I chopped1 medium yellow onion, salt and pepper, and tossed it in, letting it sauté until tender. While it was cooking, I pelled a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger and shredded it. I then added 2 cloves of minced garlic and sautéed everything together. The aroma was heady. I added the linguiça and let it cook a bit, so it was browned before I added 1 quart of water and  turned the heat up to a simmer.

Now I peeled 2 carrots and 2 rutabaga and 1 apple and chopped them up into small pieces. I did not worry about regularity as I planned to puree the soup, but it would cook faster with smaller pieces. I added them all to the soup, tossed in some salt and pepper and let it cook until tender.

I removed the linguiça and set it aside. I let the soup cool down, coming back an hour later to puree the soup. An immersion blender works best, but I don’t have one, so I used my Magic Bullet. After it was pureed, I added back the linguiça that I had chopped into 1/2 inch long pieces. I reheated it using the microwave on low and added a dollop of sour cream for that hot-cold,  spicy-sweet and sour contrast.

I made a similar soup several times, but this has a different flavor profile with the cinnamon and the linguiça and is, I think, a better version.

Kale & Grapefruit Salad

kale and grapefruit salad

I used a small bunch of lacinato kale, washed, removed the stems and chopped the leaves. This made about 8 cups of chopped kale. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated. With my hand, I massaged the oil into the kale, softening the leaves.

With a knife, I supremed a grapefruit, cutting off the ends and the peel and pith. Then I used the knife to cut the flesh off in segments between the skin. I tossed the grapefruit into the salad.

I then added 2 TBSP of mango nectar and 2 TBSP of 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened). I put a lid on the container and shook it to distribute everything evenly and let it set in the fridge for an hour.

When serving, I added a bit of pepper on top. It’s a delicious tart and sweet salad with a hearty kale foundation. The ginger adds heat to balance the sweet mango.

Curried Parsnip Pear Soup

Curried Parsnip Pear Soup

I had a craving for some curried parsnip pear soup and decided to make it for lunch. It tastes and looks like it is hard work, but it is a simple recipe that only takes patience, not hard work.

To start I minced 1 TBSP of fresh garlic (3 small cloves) and 1 TBSP of fresh ginger (a piece about the length of a thumb) and added them to 2 TBSP of butter on medium heat in my soup kettle. While they cooked, I chopped up a yellow onion and put 1/2 cup of yellow onion in with the garlic and ginger. I added 1 TBSP of curry powder, stirred, added some salt and pepper and let sauté until tender.

While that was sautéing, I peeled 3 parsnips and cut them into chunks about 1 inch square or so. The exact size matters less than trying to make them all uniform in size. I added them to the pot and added water to cover plus 1/2 inch. A bit of salt and pepper was added to taste.

I cut up two Bosc pears. I did not bother peeling because this will be pureed and the pear skin is not tough and woody like parsnip peelings. I added the pears and put the lid on the kettle and turned the heat up to medium-high, bringing it to a slow boil. Then I let it continue to cook at a low boil until the parsnips were tender.

Removing it from the heat, I removed the lid to help it cool faster and let it sit and rest until it cooled enough I could put it in my Magic Bullet. You can use a blender or an immersion blender. I pureed until smooth.

I spooned some into a bowl, added a dollop of sour cream and 3 thin slices of pear. This happens to be Bartlett, but any ripe and tender pear would do.

This could easily be made vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter at the beginning and leaving out the sour cream garnish. The soup itself is a delicious blend of the tart parsnip with the sweet pear. The bit of heat from the curry works well with those flavors. It is so delicious you might find yourself using a spatula to get ever last bite of soup out of the bowl.

This makes 8 servings.

 

 

Rutubaga Soup

Rutubaga Root Vegetable Soup

This may have the most intense flavor per spoonful of anything I have ever made. The flavor is so rich and intense that it is amazingly filling and satisfying. I know I will make this again and again. I was inspired to make it by the fact that I had four rutabagas in the crisper that were losing their crispness. I knew I had to make something and they were no longer crisp enough for great salads, so I decided to make a soup. I looked online for some soup recipes, but most called for cream and I almost never have milk or cream. I was pretty sure I could come up with a non-dairy version that would be pretty good.

To start I sautéed a medium sized yellow onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil with some salt and pepper. I added 1 full inch of fresh ginger (about 1.5 tbsp) and 2 tsp of cardamom. I let sauté until they onions were tender and a soft golden yellow. Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped up 4 rutabaga and 2 turnips into about 1 inch cubes. The turnips were the adorable little small, round ones, not the big ones. I thought they might add a bit of pungent brightness to the soup. When they were all cut up, I tossed them in the pot and added salt and pepper.

I then added 24 oz of broth. I used chicken broth I had made from some roast chicken and froze. You could use a mushroom or vegetable broth for a vegan alternative. The point is to enrich the vegetables with flavor from the broth – but the particular broth flavor is less critical.

While they cooked, I peeled and cubed two tart apples. I happened  to use 2 Fiji and 2 Granny Smith, but so long as they are tart apples and not sweet ones like HoneyCrisp or bland ones like Delicious, the particular strain is not important.

When the rutabagas and turnips were tender, I added the apples with some salt and pepper. I then juiced two fresh lemons. I added the lemon juice and 1.5 tsp of cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. I am sure you note that I am adding salt and pepper over and over and over. This does not make an over-salted dish, because I season to taste at each stage – and adding with each new stage of cooking, the flavor actually becomes rich with less salt and pepper.

Let it cool a bit and puree with an immersion blender. It will be creamy and smooth and delicious.

The brightness of the lemon, the little bit of cayenne and the earthy richness of the root vegetable and the delicious aromatic cardamom combine into an intense and delicious flavor that is hard to describe. It’s has a tiny bit of heat, but it’s not spicy. It has a bit of zing, but it’s not sour. It’s just sublime.

This made 2 quarts of soup – enough for several more than a single serving. It can easily be made vegan and will be just as good.

Wild Plum Sauce

Wild Plum Sauce

This is just a recipe for the Wild Plum Sauce. My best friend made the stir fry that I served over the rice with the sauce and a pork chop.

She brought over 2 quarts of wild plums and suggested I come up with a good sauce. I love a challenge and started to work.

I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a sauce pan and heated to medium. I chopped on medium yellow onion and sautéed them with 2 inches of minced ginger and about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg. I let the onions cook until tender. Meanwhile I removed the pits from the plums. When the onions were tender, I added the plums and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. I let simmer until the plums broke down into a sauce. I used a potato masher to help it break down some more. Removing from the heat, I squeezed the juice of two fresh limes, added a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Then I added some sriracha to taste. I suppose about two tsps or so. Mileage may vary. If you like it hotter, add more.  After it cooled, I pureed to a nice, smooth sauce.

This is sweet, sour and spicy – perfect for meat, for fried wontons and anything that likes a sweet-sour flavor.  It’s good with veggies on rice and just about anything.