Tag Archives: Bon Appétit

2019 Cookery Project — Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

This is the first meal of my 2019 Cookery Project — Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes. And Garlic and Kale. And the contents of a small spice rack. There’s a lot going on here.

It’s probably the last Cookery Project plate I’ll be posting until late February. The various Washington-area Restaurant Weeks start tomorrow and run through most of January. Shortly thereafter, I’m making an excursion to Charleston, SC, a city that shows up on most of those “Top Ten US Cities for Dining” surveys. I’ve never visited before, but I’ve got a little list….

So I’ll be eating well, but cooking little these next few weeks.


I got the recipe for this dish from Bon Appétit. It takes two or three days to put it all together.

What gives this pork roast its kick comes from the blend of spices that you put on the pork.  I started by toasting black peppercorns and fennel seeds, then blending them with red pepper flakes and cinnamon with a mortar and pestle. (I didn’t own a mortar and pestle before I decided to try this recipe, but, fortunately, the DC area is rich in 24-hour mortar and pestle stores. It’s something we’re known for.)

I covered the pork with the ground spices, sealed it in plastic wrap, and refrigerated overnight.

The rest was easy. The next day, I halved a mix of small red, white, and purple potatoes, cut some leeks into rounds, and sliced six garlic heads in half, crosswise, and, yes that’s full garlic heads, not garlic cloves. They filled the bottom of a big roasting pan. While I was chopping away at the vegetables, I also cooked half a head of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme in butter.

I put the pork on top of the vegetables, basted it with the melted garlic butter, and roasted the whole thing at a low heat. After a couple of hours, I removed the pork and let it rest on a platter. (This was easily the best-rested pork roast in America,)

Final steps: I raised the oven temperature to 500° and added some apple cider vinegar and a lot of shredded kale to the roaster. The well-rested pork when back on top. A half hour later, it was golden brown and beautiful.

After a final 20-minute rest, it was ready to eat.

Meal prep took forever, and there was a lot of stop-and-go action, but the result was well worth the effort.

2019 is off to a good start.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

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2017 Cookery Project — Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

An update: I made Peach and Blue Cheese Toast for the first time last year, and liked it a lot, but thought it could be better. When I made it last week, it was.

The difference was the bread. Last year, I used mass-produced bread from a neighbourhood supermarket, while this year, I used freshly made Country White from a bakery.

The moral of the story is to use the best ingredients you can. It took me a long time to realize that, no, beef bullion from cubes was not an acceptable substitute for beef stock, and that once you try Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, you’ll never use table salt again. It’s a false economy to try.

The recipe came from Bon Appétit. Using great ingredients is what moves this dish from “Good” to “Excellent”.


★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, was probably the most influential general cookbook of the 80s, and 35 years later, it’s still one of the essentials.  Just last March, Bon Appétit published an article titled “How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking”.

The signature recipe from the cookbook was the one for Chicken Marbella. Making Chicken Marbella involves marinating chicken overnight in a mixture of green olives, capers, prunes, honey, white wine, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, bay leaves*, and other stuff that momentarily skips my mind. It isn’t really complicated, but it results in a complex melding of the ingredients. The taste reminded me of Tzimmes, the stew I’d made a couple of months ago, and when I did a little research, I found that, like Tzimmes, Chicken Marbella has become a favourite meal served during Passover.

The New York Times published a brief history of the Silver Palate on the occasion of the cookbook’s 25th anniversary. You can find the recipe for Chicken Marbella at the bottom of the article.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


*When my brother and sister-in-law last visited, they brought me some wonderful fresh bay leaves from the plant in their backyard in California. I used the last of them when I made Beef Bourguignon last month, so I trekked up to Giant to buy a jar from the McCormick spice rack. I was surprised to see that the 0.12 ounce jar, containing 8-10 bay leaves costed $8.49. When I looked closer at the label, I got a bigger surprise.

At that price, a pound of bay leaves would cost $754.67. I think it might be time to buy acreage someplace that has a Mediterranean climate, and start a little herb farm to call my own.

2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

The recipe for this meal of Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots comes from an old issue of Bon Appétit. I couldn’t find the recipe online, so there’s no link with this one. Sorry.

Putting it all together was a three-step process: prepping the vegetables, prepping the chicken, and prepping the vinaigrette.

For the vegetables, I peeled a couple of russet potatoes and cut them into bite-size cubes, sliced the shallots, put them on a baking dish, doused them with olive oil, and roasted them for half an hour. The chicken was dredged in flour and then pan-fried. The shallot and mustard vinaigrette included balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh chopped thyme.

When everything was ready, I plated it on a bed of watercress, and served it hot.

The chicken and vegetables would have been good on their own, but the shallot and mustard vinaigrette was what put the dish over the top.


My rating. The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2016 Cookery Project — Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Cheese Toasts

Lunch today came from a recipe in Bon Appétit.

A few years ago, if I’d read a recipe that told me to blanch and shock the peaches, I probably would have stared at the page for a few moments, before thumbing through the cookbook until I found something more within my comfort zone, like a recipe that began “Take one can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.” But now I know the things I know….

So I blanched and shocked the peaches, then peeled them over a bowl, to catch the peach juice. I added a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and honey. Meanwhile, I cut two thick slices of Country White bread and toasted them under the broiler. When they started to singe at the edges, I brushed them with olive oil, and scattered bleu cheese and watercress—my favourite green these days—on top of them. Then I topped that with the peaches and some of the sauce.

It sure beat Cream of Mushroom Soup.

2016 Cookery Project — Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Damn!  Aren’t they beautiful!  You can almost feel the crunch just by looking at them.

I got the recipe for these Buttermilk Fried Chicken Drumsticks (with Pan Gravy) from a new-to-me website called Life’s Ambrosia, which seems to have some connection with Bon Appetit and Epicurious.

The drumsticks were soaked overnight in a bath of buttermilk, onions, and garlic, then dredged in seasoned flour and fried in canola oil, and kept warm in the oven while I made the gravy.

I had two of the drumsticks for lunch today.  If I only eat two more for late night snacks, I might have one left for breakfast tomorrow, but they’re so good that I wouldn’t bet on any of them lasting the night.

2016 Cookery Project — Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Here’s the final meal from the first half of the 2016 Cookery Project.  I’ll be posting a project summary in a day or two.

I got this recipe for Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco from Bon Appétit, via Epicurious.   “Romesco” is a Spanish nut and red pepper-based sauce that can be used in the same ways that pesto can, although the two taste not at all alike.  In this meal, the Romesco was made with carrots, roasted pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar, and sits at the bottom of the plate.

The salad is made of roasted carrots and baby mustard, which I’ve never tried before.  The baby mustard has a sharp, spicy taste, and a texture sort of like kale.

I browned the pork tenderloin in a pan, then roasted it.

It makes for a colourful dish, doesn’t it?