Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Sunrise

I have had a fantastic morning. You know those mornings where things just keep getting better & you're listening to all of your favorite songs & it's good you're about to burst?

 I love those.

THEN, I made the following recipe for breakfast & my day almost exploded with amazingness.

By small & simple breakfasts doth great mornings come to pass.

Summer Fruit Salad & Yogurt
serves at least 3, probably 4

8-10 ripe strawberries
1 ripe mango (or mahngoe, if you prefer)
2 ripe bananas
1 large navel orange
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

plain yogurt

Peel mango, orange, & banana. Dice all fruit into a large bowl. Add sweetened condensed heavenly goodness milk & mix it up. Let the fruit mixture sit for a few minutes & get all juicy & fantastic.

Divide yogurt into bowls & top with fruit salad. Yes, it really is that easy.

NOTE: This summery fruit blend is also a great topping for yellow cake.

Serving Suggestion: Eat while listening/dancing around the kitchen to Van Morrison & David Gray.

Okay, so you can't really see it, because of the
way my bowl is glowing in such a heavenly way but
it's also a really pretty salad.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh Bother

 I have to cook dinner for 30 hungry Spanish-speaking people on Wednesday.

That's a lot of people.

I am, as always, "cooking on the fly." This does not mean I will be cooking insects. It means I don't have any sort of actual recipe, but rather a vague concept of what I'd like to cook & how I hope it will turn out.

Current Game Plan: Chicken Pasta Primavera with Browned Butter & Garlic Sauce
(translation: I pan fry chicken. I cook butter until it browns, add fresh garlic & a lot of spices, & pour it over cooked noodles, red pepper, cucumbers, spinach, onions...& possibly broccoli. Yay/nay on the broccoli?! Mix it all up. Voila.) 

I am armed with 5, yes, 5 "family sized" packages of rotini.

I will be cooking on a Barbie-sized stove.

Think happy kitchen thoughts for me?  

Oh, & desert is vanilla ice cream with coconut caramel sauce. New twist on an old favorite. This is my fridge, already awaiting its debut. whew. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Orange-glazed Pork Chops

In a burst of culinary creativity (and with the help of my Gooj), I've invented about five new recipes in the last couple weeks. It's been delicious. I hadn't realized how much I had missed spending time in the kitchen! I'll be posting more in the coming weeks, now that my crazy semester is over. whew.

I'm still in Provo, spending Spring Term living in La Casa Española in the FLSR (Foreign Language Student Housing). Living here is a bit like Harry Potter, only with languages instead of magic. And I'm loving being roomies with my Carrieface again.

Each night, our house gets together for dinner. We take turns cooking and helping each other out, and last Wednesday, I was playing assistant chef to my amigo, Casey. He had a recipe for a citrus and pork chop casserole sort of thing...? But we weren't exactly sure how it was all supposed to come together, whether the rice should be cooked, how everything should be layered, etc. All we really knew was that orange juice, shallots, pork chops, chicken broth, and rice were supposed to somehow come together to make dinner. As that seemed rather mysterious, I suggested to Casey that we cook the rice on its own--even rice deserves a bit of independence--and make sauce to pour over the pork chops before baking them. I was completely winging this and cooking for 30, so these measurements are... approximate. And it was my first time ever cooking or even eating pork chops! But it was yummy!

Bon appétit and buena suerte! And, of course, I added a bit of extra spice. And some butter. mmhmm... 

Saucy Oranged Pork Chops (For 6)
That ^ was a typo, but I like it.
6 pork chops (redundant much...?)
3 or 4 shallots, minced
2 tbsp butter (maybe a bit more...)
3 cups of orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 of a can of chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

In a large (and deep) skillet, melt butter and saute shallots on medium-high heat, stirring regularly to prevent shallots from sticking and burning. When shallots start to soften, add paprika, red pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, and salt and pepper, to taste. Once the shallots have browned, leave the pan on the heat, take a step back from the stove, and add orange juice. The step back is necessary because this should ideally cause a mighty spicy citrus steam-cloud.

Stir in brown sugar and let the sauce reduce for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and dry pork chops and place them in a greased baking dish. Season chops with salt and pepper. (Depending on the size of your pork chops, you may have to use a 9x13 and an 8x8. Do not use a cookie sheet, as it won't be deep enough.)Mix cornstarch with chicken broth and add to sauce mixture. Let cook for about ten more minutes. Gently pour sauce over chops--be sure each one gets some shallots on top. Bake at 370 F for about 45 minutes. Disfruta!

Unfortunately, these chops were a big hit and everyone was really hungry, so I didn't get any photo evidence of their goodness. This will have to do.
& Pasta with fresh tomatoes & basil  & 
spicy browned butter & garlic sauce. mmhmm.