Tag Archives: Epicurious

2019 Cookery Project — Pork Loin with Cherries and Shallots

Pork Loin with Cherries and Shallots

Pork Loin with Cherries and Shallots

This one is significant because it’s the first serious homemade meal I’ve cooked since The Flood that trashed my condo on Memorial Day weekend. I’ve spent the last three months dining mainly on takeout, deli, and leftover Easter candy, which gave me first-hand proof that the old adage is right: “Man shall not live by rotisserie chicken alone.”

Pork loin is ridiculously easy to cook, easier, even, than boneless skinless chicken breast.* I blended elements from a recipe for Pork Loin with Cherry Vinaigrette that I found in Bon Appétit with a complementary one for Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Cherry-Thyme Pan Sauce from Epicurious, and came up with this.

Despite appearances, btw, the pork was not overcooked. It was much pinker than it appears in the photo.

Underappreciated gadget: I have to give special credit to the little plastic cherry-pitter that spends 99.9% of its time sitting on a shelf, ignored and unloved. I use it maybe three times a year, but when I need it for something like the pitted cherries in this recipe, it’s absolutely essential. Ever try to pit cherries manually?

The way this story should end is with the Pork Loin with Cherries and Shallots declared a culinary masterpiece, and everybody applauding like they do in r/ThatHappened.

Maybe next time. This was just OK.


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.


* But boneless skinless chicken breast is much more versatile.

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2018 Cookery Project — Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

In what was almost certainly my last Cookery Project meal in 2018, I roasted a leg of lamb for the holidays. I got my recipe for Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary from Epicurious.

I’ve cooked lamb before, but I’d forgotten about the high ratio of fat and gristle to meat in a leg of lamb.  When the GMO food people get around to breeding a fat-free lamb, I’ll be first in line at Safeway.

With some memorable exceptions, lamb has often seemed a bit bland to me, so for a side dish, I went with a FoodNetwork recipe for a colourful Black Bean Salad to liven things up. It turned out that the side was tastier and more interesting than the main. Not a result I was looking for.

Still, it was satisfying. Just not the high note with which I wanted to end 2018.


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.


Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2017 Lamb Ad Campaign 

Some Hindus, some Anglicans, and some vegetarians complained about the ad, but for whatever reason, there were no reports of protests from the Scientologists about L. Ron Hubbard’s presence at this Feast for the Gods.

2018 Cookery Project — Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

In addition to the kindness of strangers, you can always rely on the recipes that have won four-star reviews from the readers of Epicurious. This one, for Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce, maintained that high standard.

Despite my well-documented obsession with Duck Confit, I’d never actually cooked any kind of duck dish before this. It’s not the same as cooking chicken or turkey. Duck is a much more fatty bird, and one of the first things to do when cooking it is to score the skin in a diamond pattern, which helps in rendering some of the fat. After doing that, I cooked the duck in a stove top skillet with a little butter.

The sauce made the dish memorable. After draining most of the skillet drippings, I sautéed a chopped shallot, then added chicken broth, honey, butter, pitted cherry halves—which gave me a chance to use my nifty little cherry-pitting device for the first time—and cognac.* I cooked it down to a glaze, plated it with fanned slices of the duck breasts, and served.

I liked the way it looked, with a red, pink, and brown colour combination. Tasted good, too.


*The recipe called for port, but cognac is what I had on hand. Worked fine.


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.

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 — Filet Mignon Belmont House

This made up for the mixed results I had a few days ago, when I made gazpacho and gorgonzola toast.  (Memorable gorgonzola toast, but forgettable…whatever the other thing was.  It slips my mind just now.)

I found the Filet Mignon Belmont House recipe, which was originally in Bon Appétit, on Epicurious.   It’s pretty straight forward.  Here’s what I did:

I cut the Russet potatoes in half, doused them with olive oil and seasonings, and baked them at 450 degrees.  After 25 minutes, I added some rather elderly heritage tomatoes I had lying around, turned the potatoes over, and baked them for 25 minutes more.

Meanwhile, back on the stove top,  I seasoned the filet and cooked it in butter for five minutes on each side.  Then I removed the steaks from the skillet, let the pan cool a bit, and added beef broth, brandy, and rosemary.  I scraped up the browned bits, and reduced it to half a cup.

The sauce and the vegetables were ready at the same time.  I plated everything, spooned the sauce over the beef, and crumbled bleu cheese on top of that.

Success!

2016 Cookery Project — Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore. Posted 4 May 2016

Here’s what I made for lunch today.  It’s Chicken Cacciatore, based on a recipe from Bon Appétit that I found on Epicurious.  The result was a version of the dish that was considerably more flavourful and exciting than the old dining hall standard of my (much) younger days.  Since the recipe is supposed to serve six, I have enough left over for dinner, breakfast, and probably a small weekend brunch with guests.


Today’s helpful kitchen hint:  If you leave an oven mitt lying on the stove top while you go to another room to check your email and maybe play a few rounds of Gummy Drop, make sure that all the burners are turned off.  Nosy neighbours sometimes over-react when they see smoke pouring out of your windows.