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Red and Blue: A Refreshing Drink and Blueberry Hand Pies

I had made a couple of quick and easy recipes a few days ago that lend themselves perfectly to the summer. Both use some great summer fruits and can be made in almost no time at all. The first was a simple drink of watermelon agua fresca, a very refreshing drink that you can make with this recipe that I got from Food Republic.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

16 cups cubed seedless red watermelon, about a 5-pound watermelon’s worth

2 cups water

2/3 cup sugar

1 bunch fresh mint

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Club soda

Lime slices, for garnish

Blueberries, for garnish

Combine the watermelon, water, sugar and mint in a blender and puree until smooth (You may have to do this in batches to accommodate all the watermelon). Pour through a coarse strainer into a large container.

Stir in the lime juice. Refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 4 hours or overnight. To serve, fill a highball glass with ice, fill the glass 2/3 full with the watermelon mixture, and top with club soda and garnish with a lime slice. You can also add several blueberries to float on the top if you wish.

It is a very easy drink to make and you can even jazz it up a bit with some alcohol if you wanted to go that route. I thought it was great and refreshing just as it is with a strong watermelon flavor mixed with the lime.

I also got a recipe from bon appetit magazine for some blueberry hand pies. I have long had a thing for Hostess and Drake’s fruit pies, and until they are back on the market (which should be in a week or so), this is a great substitute that you can make on your own. They are perfect for any type of barbecue or picnic since you can just pick one up and dig in.

Blueberry Hand Pies

1 homemade or store-bought pie crust

All-purpose flour (for dusting)

2 cups blueberries (about 10 ounces)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water

1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 rectangles.

Toss the blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Brush the edges of the dough rectangles with water; mound some blueberries into the center of each rectangle. Fold the dough over, and press the edges to seal. Place the pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them with the egg wash, and sprinkle the tops with the raw sugar. Cut small slits on the top for steam to escape.

Bake the hand pies, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking, until the juices are bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes (some juices will run out onto the parchment paper). Transfer the pies to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve the pies warm or at room temperature.

I loved these pies. The are the perfect serving size and portion and make a great dessert that you could easily double or triple the recipe for a bigger crowd. I did use a store-bought pie crust and they turned out just fine, but I can see where a homemade crust would be easier to deal with and roll to the right size without making the dough too thin. In either case, I think it is a great summer dessert that doesn’t take long to make.

That’s all I have for today. Check back again for more recipes in the coming days, including one for magic bars that we recently made for a dessert. I also have several other recipes I will be trying in the next few days to post, including one for barbecued chicken, some pulled pork sliders, Cobb salad style chicken salad and more. Check back and see what comes up next. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Beverages, Cooking, Dessert, Pie

 

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Pork Tenderloin is the Night

The grilling gods must not be on my side yet this summer. Every time I intend to go out and use the grill, we seem to get hit with rain and thunderstorms. The same thing happened to me last night, so I had to make some adjustments to the way I was going to cook this particular recipe that I found in bon appétit magazine. I’d seen this one a while ago and have intended to make it, I just haven’t gotten around to it until now. It is for a pork tenderloin with plum chutney. I have to admit I was a little skeptical as to how the chutney would come out, but it tasted awesome and I could see using that for other pork dishes down the road.

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Chutney

4 red or black plums
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thin slices pancetta (Italian bacon) or prosciutto

For the plum chutney, peel the plums and halve and pit them. Cut the plums into half-inch wedges. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, mustard seeds, ginger, black pepper, and bay leaf and 1/4 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the plums. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the juices have thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. The chutney can be made up to one week ahead of time. Cover and chill and then re-warm it slightly before serving.

For the pork, stir the rosemary, herbes de Provence, and oil in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork; season the pork with salt and pepper. Wrap the pancetta slices around the pork and tie it at 2 inch intervals with kitchen twine to hold it together.

If you are using a charcoal grill, build a medium-hot fire; push the coals over to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, heat all but one burner to high. Grill the tenderloin over the hot part of the grill, turning frequently, until a crisp brown crust forms on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Move the tenderloin to the cooler part of the grill to gently cook through; cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loin registers 145°, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with the plum chutney alongside.

Since I had to cook this in the oven, I had preheated the oven to 375° and placed the tenderloin in a cast-iron pan and roasted it for 25 to 30 minutes until the desired crispness and temperature were reached. I think it would’ve come out a little crisper on the grill, but it tasted just fine when I did it in the oven. I also used regular bacon since I did not have any pancetta and I think it turned out just fine. There is also a bit of a trick if you want to easily peel the plums. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and using the tip of a paring knife make to shallow 1 inch cuts to form an X on the bottom of the pieces of fruit. Add the fruit to the water and cook just until the skin begins to peel back at each X, about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water so they can cool. You can then simply take a paring knife and your fingers and easily pare back the skin. If you aren’t that worried about the presentation of the dish you could also just simply either use a paring knife on your own and remove the skin or even use your vegetable peeler.

That’s it for today. Check back again tomorrow and see what recipe I have posted. I still have a couple of things that I made last week that I want to post and I do have a few new recipes planned for this week, including a new chicken dish and one for bay scallops. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day, tried to stay cool and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Sauce, Side Dishes

 

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One Pot Meal : Roast Provencal Chicken and Vegetables

Making a one-pot meal for dinner has some great advantages to it. Not only does it make cleanup after the meal simple and easy, but cooking everything together in one pot or pan gives all the food the chance to meld flavors. As soon as I saw this recipe in bon appétit Magazine, I knew I was not only going to give the recipe a try, but that I was going to add vegetables to it so we could have the complete meal together.

Roast Provençal Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup herbes de Provence
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°. Mix the garlic, herbes de Provence, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pieces of chicken, covering the skin on both sides. Place the chicken on a wire rack.

Add the carrots, parsnips, onions, sweet potatoes, and potatoes to the roasting pan. Mix the olive oil with the vegetables, tossing to evenly coat everything. Season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and roast the chicken in the oven until the skin begins to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the largest piece of chicken registers 165°, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the oven to a separate platter and cover to rest for 10 minutes. Put the roasting pan back in the oven to allow the vegetables to roast longer and caramelize for another 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and place on a separate serving platter.

If you didn’t want to cut the chicken up beforehand, you could certainly leave it all and then rub the herb mixture inside and outside the chicken before you roast it. If you like your vegetables a little crisper, when you place them back in the oven after removing the chicken you could turn the heat up on the oven to 450° and let them roast at a higher temperature for a little bit longer. I particularly like the way the spices came out on the chicken itself. They tasted great with the vegetables and you could use any vegetables that you like here, although vegetables work best for this type of roasting because they can sustain in the oven a little bit longer than the other vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower or the like.

That’s all there is for today. Check back again next time to see what other recipes I use for the week. I still have a couple of other things planned for the coming days so hopefully I can get to them. I know I’ll be making something with Italian sausage, some type of chicken sandwich and I also have a couple of pork recipes that I want to try out soon so keep checking back to see what I decide to make. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Dinner, One Pot Meals, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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