Spicy Pork and Pineapple

img_7772I love to cook the smaller pork tenderloins that come two to a package. They’re so easy to cook because they’re fairly thin, but the meat is so tender and juicy and flavorful. This Rachael Ray recipe puts those tenderloins to great use in a flavor-packed dish that incorporates sweet and spicy — sweet from grilled, juicy pineapple and a spicy kick from jalapeño peppers, alongside a gorgeous, cumin-spiced pork tenderloin and avocado.

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The key is to get each of these flavors into one awesome bite. I ate this as the recipe calls for, but also tried wrapping it into a taco with some cheese, which was pretty great as well. One of the best parts about this recipe is there are so few ingredients and very little to do on the stovetop, so it comes together really quickly. A perfect weeknight meal!

TW’s Tips

  • You want to cook the pork until it’s medium — not done all the way through. People get weird about pink pork, but it’s delicious and tender and has so much more flavor.
  • The recipe called for quartering the pineapple, but I found it better to slice it thickly so you could get a sear on both sides of each slice but still warm it through.
  • Serve alongside some greens dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
  • You could even turn this into a quesadilla by chopping up the pork and pineapple more finely and serving alongside some salsa.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Pork and Pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 avocado, cut into wedges
  • 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle all over the pork. In a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork to the pan and cook, turning, until browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

Using the same skillet, add the pineapple and cook over medium heat, turning, until golden, about 8 minutes.

Slice the pork. Divide the pineapple, pork and avocado among 4 plates. Top with the jalapeño.

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Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots

img_7695I love comfort food, but I also love some big, bold flavors, and this recipe for Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots is right up that alley. Both of these beautiful dishes are from Food & Wine, and I whipped it up for my friend April and I for a weeknight catch-up. We were in heaven!

The chicken was absolutely divine — you brown and crisp up the skin in a skillet and then braise the thighs in the oven for an hour, so they are super juicy and fall right off the bone. I especially love braising olives and artichokes — it makes them so tender and sweet, and they absorb up the great flavor from the artichoke brine, garlic, sherry, lemon and fish sauce. It’s an amazing combo of acid, umami, salty and rich from the olive oil in the brine.

Look how beautiful that is!

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And the carrots! These were amazing — and it’s a must to make them with super fresh farmers market carrots, preferably smaller ones so they cook through faster. These are coated in an awesome spice mix including paprika, cayenne, garlic and oregano and topped with a vinaigrette of balsamic and honey. Wow, so much flavor happening and you get such a great sweetness from roasting them through in the oven. I could eat these as a meal on their own!

 

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TW’s Tips

  • When you eat the chicken, make up a bite that has a little bit of everything happening — chicken, olive, artichoke and lemon. Yes, lemon. Cut the entire slices, rind and all, into pieces and eat them — it’s such an awesome hint of bitterness alongside the other flavors. If you love tart, you will loooove this.
  • When the chicken is done, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and smash them up a bit in the sauce so you get that flavor all mixed in too.
  • I could have gone even heavier on artichokes in this one — don’t be afraid to add more.
  • I served this straight up, but you could definitely put it over rice to soak up some of the yummy sauce.
  • The carrots are blackened, so you may stir up quite a bit of smoke in the cooking of these — I sure did. And with all the spices, I was sneezing like crazy! Fair warning: open a window, turn on the hood and get the air moving around in the kitchen for these puppies — it’s worth it.
  • Don’t bother cutting of the ends of the carrots, just wash them well.

Enjoy!

Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (3 3/4 pounds)
  • Sea salt and pepper (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, plus 1/4 cup brine from the jar
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup semidry sherry, such as amontillado
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet or black steel pan, heat the oil. Add half of the chicken skin side down and top the pieces (not the pan) with a pot lid; cook over moderate heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer skin side up to a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Scatter the artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme in the baking dish.

Pour off the fat from the skillet. Add the artichoke brine, stock, sherry and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, then pour the mixture around the chicken. Cover tightly with foil and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender.

Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 400°. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp.

Discard the thyme. Transfer to plates and serve.

Blackened Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the oregano, cayenne and garlic powder. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.

Put the butter in a shallow bowl. Dip the cut side of each carrot in the butter and then coat in the spice mixture, pressing to help the spices adhere; transfer to a plate.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots cut side down in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until blackened on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey. Whisk in the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrots to a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Turmeric Chicken and Rice

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Helllooo, one-pot dish. This is an awesome take on the basic chicken and rice, taken up a level with turmeric, a great earthy, slightly bitter spice that goes really well alongside the cumin, curry and cinnamon in this recipe. The rice is flavored up with onion, fresh ginger and tomatoes, with some funk from fish sauce. With a little fresh lime to brighten this up, it’s such a simple dinner, and super delicious.

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TW’s Tips

  • Instead of bone-in chicken, I used boneless chicken breasts and cut down the browning time a bit to account for that. I bet this would be even better and more flavorful with skin-on, bone-in chicken though.
  • If you don’t feel like using fresh tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes would work in a pinch.
  • I cooked this in a Le Creuset, which worked beautifully
  • I served this alongside an eggplant/mint/walnut side — but a green salad would also work

Enjoy!

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Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Ingredients

  • One 4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Plain whole yogurt, sliced cucumbers, mint leaves and lime wedges, for serving

Directions

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sprinkle with the turmeric. Add the chicken skin side down and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the casserole and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin and rice and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up. Add the bay leaves, fish sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Adjust the lid to cover partially and simmer until the rice is cooked, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, uncover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with yogurt, cucumbers, mint and lime wedges.

Pantry Pasta

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Nothing beats a meal you can whip up in under an hour from what you have in your cupboard. Admittedly, this probably ges a little beyond the cupboard for most people, but it’s a really simple list of ingredients, and what you don’t have you can easily pick up at the market.

I’m sort of obsessed with all the awesome flavors going on in this dish from Bon Appetit. First, there’s olives — and Castelvetrano have to be some of my favorites. They’re more mild than your traditional green olive, with a little sweetness to them. I pop them like candy (or the candy corn pumpkins I’ve been gorging on lately…I digress). We’ve got cherry tomatoes, a little red onion, and some spicy peperoncini, then some salty Pecorino cheese on top and fresh basil, and the delicious meatiness of the sweet Italian sausage. So. Much. Happening. And sooo delicious.

I love that the sauce for this pasta is so simple — it’s just the liquid that comes from smashing the tomatoes, a little oil and butter and the pasta cooking liquid. Because there’s so much going on here, it’s the perfect way to make sure the dish doesn’t get overwhelming and allows the flavors to stand on their own. And stand they do.

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TW’s Tips

  • I used fresh cherry tomatoes — make sure they burst in the pan to give it some juiciness
  • Instead of spaghetti I substituted penne — or use any pasta
  • Use fresh basil — store it on your counter with the stem in a glass of water
  • Really seek out the Castelvetrano olives. Most high end grocery stores will have them either in an olive bar or pre-packed in the olive/cheese section.

This reheats beautifully. I can’t wait to make it again. Enjoy!

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Pantry Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup torn pitted olives, preferably Castelvetrano
  • 1 14-ounce can cherry tomatoes
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup peperoncini, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup torn basil

Directions

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, browned, and crisp in places, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and olives to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, mashing tomatoes lightly and stirring often, until juices are slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta and ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce and cook, tossing, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats noodles. Mix in peperoncini, cooked sausage, and another ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid. Then, tossing constantly, gradually add all but ½ cup cheese, followed by butter. Once incorporated, remove from heat and mix in basil. Divide pasta among bowls. Drizzle with oil; top with remaining cheese.

Chicken and Wild Mushrooms

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It’s starting to get chilly here in New York, and this is a great warm-you-up meal to kick off it’s-really-fall. I am a HUGE fan of mushrooms, and this Ina Garten recipe calls for a whole slew of them, alongside some delicious chicken in an awesome wine, sherry, garlic and thyme-flavored sauce. It’s FULL of goodness.

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It’s also a one-pot meal, which makes me happy. I can’t say enough about the beauty of cooking this in a Le Creuset dutch oven. If you don’t have one, it’s absolutely worth the investment. It’s a pure joy to cook in this thing, and it cleans up so easily, you won’t believe it. Because it heats evenly and holds heat well, everything you cook is just better. Period. And it goes beautifully from stovetop to oven. I’m a little obsessed with it.

TW’s Tips

  • Most grocery stores will sell chicken broken down into 8 pieces so you don’t have to do it yourself. It’s a bit cheaper if you’re hacking into it yourself, but paying a little more is worth it if you don’t want to deal with it.
  • You could also use just chicken thighs and legs or any combo that speaks to you.
  • Make sure you get a good sear on the chicken. When you put it in the pot, don’t move it around. Let it sit and get a nice crust on it — more flavor.

Serve this with some rice and a side vegetable, such as my favorite chili garlic broccoli. Curl up on the couch and enjoy!

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Chicken and Wild Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chickens, cut in eighths
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms, such as porcini and cremini, stems removed and (1 1/2-inch) diced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 cup flour in a bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour. In a large (12-inch) ovenproof pot such as Le Creuset, heat the oil. Add the chicken in three batches (don’t crowd them!) and brown lightly over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue until all the chicken is browned.

Add the whole garlic cloves, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the brown bits. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken (large pieces first), cover, and place in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (about 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove the chicken to a bowl and discard the thyme. With a fork, mash together the butter and 1/4 cup flour and add it to the sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season to taste (it should be highly seasoned), put the chicken back in the sauce, and serve hot.

Spaghetti with Sautéed Cauliflower, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

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For Meatless Monday tomorrow, I give you this gem. If you haven’t gotten on the cauliflower bandwagon yet, this may well convince you. There’s a ton of flavor going here, and I get it, at first it sounds weird. But trust me — when you put it all together, it works. There’s the caramelized cauliflower, sweetness from the raisins, acid from the lemon and umami from the anchovy, plus cheese, nuts and lots of parsley to top it off=bliss. I loved the addition of panko bread crumbs on top which gave it a nice buttery crunch. This is yet another of Tyler Florence’s hits from his “Tyler’s Ultimate” cookbook.

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It’s nice to have a pasta now and then that doesn’t use a traditional meat or pesto sauce. This one uses just olive oil, a little water and lemon — when reheating you may want to add a bit more olive oil to loosen it up a little.

TW’s Tips

  • Instead of using anchovies, you can buy anchovy paste in a tube (literally like toothpaste)
  • On the raisins, you can use golden or regular
  • To keep this totally vegetarian, just leave out the anchovy (but I don’t recommend it!)
  • On the pinenuts, you can substitute others — almonds, walnuts are good options
  • Keep the toasted breadcrumbs separate so you still get a crunch when you reheat the pasta for leftovers — just sprinkle them on top when it comes out of the microwave.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Sautéed Cauliflower, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-size florets
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raisins (TW: I used leftover golden raisins)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste with the side of a large knife (TW: or use anchovy paste)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (TW: I used sliced almonds)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350.

Saute the cauliflower and the anchovies in a saute pan in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and the anchovies are sizzling. Add 1/4 cup of water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, heat on medium, cover and and steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 5-7 minutes more until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is starting to brown. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

On a baking sheet, drizzle the panko with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until it’s lightly brown and crunchy.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente.

Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl. Add a 2 count of olive oil and toss. Dump in the cauliflower mixture, add the parsley and lemon juice, and fold together. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and cheese.

Summer Vegetable and Burrata Salad

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I’m all about the summer ingredients, and this salad is a great way to get in on it. Use some greenmarket cherry tomatoes, corn and arugula, and alongside some rich, creamy burrata, you’ll be in heaven. I love what the fresh basil and mint do for this salad — the recipe (from Food & Wine) calls for a generous amount of both, and it adds such an awesome array of flavor to this — so much more than you’d get from just plain lettuce (even if it IS arugula). Unfortunately I couldn’t find fava beans for this, but I bet it would make it even more interesting.

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TW’s Tips

  • Buy quality fresh burrata — good grocery stores package it themselves and sell in the cheese section
  • If you’re not eating the salad in one sitting, don’t dress the whole thing so the greens stay fresh and crisp.
  • To keep your basil fresh, snip off the ends and put in a glass of water on the counter.

Enjoy!

Summer Vegetable and Burrata Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears of corn (preferably white), shucked and kernels cut off the cobs (3 1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 ounces arugula (6 cups lightly packed)
  • 8 ounces mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil (see tip for keeping fresh)
  • 8 ounces burrata cheese

Directions

Fill a medium bowl with ice water. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice bath to cool completely. Slip off and discard the skins.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the corn and fava beans and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, just until the corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the arugula, tomatoes, mint, basil and the corn mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spoon onto plates. Scoop the burrata into pieces and gently spoon it onto the plates. Season with pepper and serve.