1 apple bourbon pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbs. butter
2 apples (I think mine were gala?), thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider
2 heads broccoli, florets separated
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small sprig of fresh thyme
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, ground coriander and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the sliced pork with the spice mixture.
Heat a cast iron (or large skillet) over medium high. Sear the pork for about 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and browned all over. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.
Back in the pan, add the butter and melt. Add the shallots and sauté until they start to soften, 2 minutes. Add the apples and broccoli to the pan, continuing to sauté until another 2 minutes. Add the apple cider and sauté two more minutes, or until everything is so glorious you need to rest. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Nestle the pork back in (with the accumulating juices) and cook about a minute longer, incorporating the flavors.
Serve dish garnished with fresh thyme leaves!
Credit: Bev Cooks
QUICK DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color
Crushed peppermint candies
Crushed lemon drops
Multicolored jimmies or nonpareils
Mini white and dark chocolate chips
Small chocolate candies
Colored decorating sugars
Cereals such as corn pops, fruit rings or graham cracker cereal squares
White Faux Buttercream:
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring, such as yellow, blue and red, or your favorite, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, oil and eggs on medium speed until moistened and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, stirring it occasionally to redistribute the chocolate chips. The batter will nearly fill each liner to the top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the cupcakes. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
When cool, put the White Faux Buttercream out with spoons or small spatulas along with bowls of the cupcake toppings for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift the confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour half the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Once combined, add the remaining sugar with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.
Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again. Makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes).
Yield: about 8 cups, enough for at least 6 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
LOADED CHICKEN CARBONARA
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 gallon water
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 cups frozen peas
- PREP 20 mins
- COOK 45 mins
- READY IN 1 hr 10 mins
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breast halves in the bacon drippings until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Rest chicken for 5 minutes before slicing; set aside.
- Heat remaining tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook and stir garlic and ground black pepper in skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour wine into skillet; cook at a simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Whisk Parmesan cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Slowly stream wine mixture into the Parmesan mixture while whisking continually.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the water from the pot for later use.
Put the peas in a large colander. Drain the pasta in the colander with the peas. Return drained pasta and peas to the pot. Stir bacon, chicken, and wine mixture into the spaghetti. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water as desired.
A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.
But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.
But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.
LOUISIANA SEAFOOD GUMBO
Olive oil, for sauteing
1 1/2 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, cut crosswise into 1/3 (use the middle 1/3 only) and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
6 cups baked okra, sliced 1/4-inch thick and baked for about 10 minutes in baking pan
Roux, recipe follows
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Stock, recipe follows
1 pound shrimp heads reserved for stock
2 or 3 crabs, cleaned,and chopped into chunks
Chopped green onions
Serving suggestion: with rice or as a soup
Coat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, and okra. Add the roux and mix thoroughly to pick up all the excess oil in the pot.
Next add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. When mixed, strain the stock and add it to the pot, mixing thoroughly to prevent lumps. Cover with lid, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Clean the shrimp and saute in a separate pan to get rid of any excess moisture. When they have turned pink add the shrimp and crab to the gumbo. Cook for 10 minutes. Lastly, add lemon slices and chopped green onions
1/2 cup flour
Combine the ingredients in a separate pan. Brown on a medium high heat until it turns light brown.
9 cups water
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
3 basil leaves
Creole seasoning (recommended: Dash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Yield: 6 servings