Fiery Baby Bok Choy Recipe

Last night, we were looking for something different for our vegetable side dish and we came across this amazingly simple dish from Williams-Sonoma.

Wok-Seared Baby Bok Choy with Chili Oil and Garlic from Williams-Sonoma, photo by Williams-Sonoma

Baby boy choy is packed with vitamins and nutrients and is ridiculously low in calories…in fact 1 cup of bok choy has only 9 calories. Winter is the best time of year for this cruciferous vegetable, so right now it’s also very inexpensive. (I bought a pound and it cost only $0.98!)

We were a bit concerned that the recipe was going to be a bit too spicy for the kids (who can be really picky about that) so we toned it down slightly by omitting the chili oil in order to head off any dinnertime arguments. The dish still packed some heat, but the only complaint we had was that there wasn’t more of it!

The ingredients are few, the flavor large, and it’s mindblowingly fast.

Check out the recipe over on Williams-Sonoma and let us know what you think!

Andy Warhol, Cookbook Illustrator

In a reminder that everyone has to start somewhere on the road to greatness, The Crossett Library Bennington College has made several of Andy Warhol’s illustrations available on its Flickr account. The illustrations were done for Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook in 1961 and run from mundane meat cuts and placesettings to the rather more fanciful hors d’oeuvre tray below.

Andy Warhol

I think my grandmother had a copy of this cookbook as I recognize the dustcover, but I have no idea which family member might have it now…wouldn’t she have been surprised to know she had it in her kitchen all these years!

Summer Corn Salad Recipes – Spicey, Basil & More

I was looking at this fabulous apron shop online the other day and saw a ton of fabulous summer time bbqing recipes.  Not only did it get me to run to the store to start thinking about summer time recipes, but it also got me back in the kitchen to prepare a few fabulous, fast and easy corn salads that go with any meal.  The bases are all the same, it’s the sauce and seasoning you need to change.  So here are the basics for each salad and then the different versions are below it.

  • 2 bags of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 zucchini squash
  • 2 large sweet bell peppers, red and orange (to add color to the salad)
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 shallot
  • tons of garlic (I use at least at least 5 tablespoons but I love garlic…most people should use two or three)
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Take the two bags of sweet corn and boil them in salted water until they are cooked.  While the corn is slowly cooking in the pot, take two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and heat it up.  Now mince your shallots, chop your garlic very fine and slice your onions or dice them into chunks.  Add them into the olive oil and get the flavors coming out.  Now slice your zucchini into slices then cut each slice into 4 pieces.  Take your bell peppers and slice them into slices going from the bottom to the top and then cut those slices in half.

Spicey:

Take chili powder and cover the zucchini and bell peppers with it, sea salt, pepper, and add in some ancho chili powder as well.  Everything should be so covered that it is actually red and the sauce in the pan when you saute them becomes a bit thick.  After you take the veggies out and combine them with the sweet corn into a large bowl, add more chili powder and sea salt/pepper to make it spicier if you’d like.

Mediterranean:

Take the veggies and saute them in olive oil with freshly chopped basil leaves.  Now pour in about 1/4 or 1/3 cup of aged balsamic vinegar once the veggies are sauteed.  Let this reduce down a bit then combine with the sweet corn in a large bowl.  To add extra to this, chop fresh campari tomatoes or roma or heirloom tomatoes into halves or bit sized slices and add in more fresh chopped basil leaves.

These are two of my favorite corn salads to make in the summer.  They are easy to make and take next to no time at all.  They are also pretty inexpensive and are healthy if you don’t overdo it on the salt and pepper.  Don’t forget to check out the site for aprons as well if you want something fun and fabulous to cook in.

Stuffed Pork Loin with Brandied Cranberry Sauce

imageWe’ve been focusing on cooking more at home lately (except of course when we travel for work) and teaching the kidlets their way around the kitchen more and more. Over the weekend our oldest, who will be twelve in a month or two, actually made an entire batch of cookies all on her own with no physical help from either of us…just the occasional question. She’s been helping more and more with making dinner and it’s been a big help in overcoming her picky eater tendencies!

In fact, tonight she even helped with making dinner and didn’t balk at the addition of spinach to the stuffing in our stuffed pork loin and even sampled the brandied cranberry sauce I made on a whim without complaint. This is a very simple and elegant dish that only takes about an hour to prep and cook. I’ll admit, I cheated a bit and used (gasp!) a boxed stuffing mix, but when you’re under the gun for time, it’s a shortcut I’m willing to take on occasion. We topped the finished stuffed pork loin with a delicious brandied cranberry sauce that I made from scratch while we waited for everything to finish baking. To round out the meal, we made homemade yeast rolls and steamed broccoli. Yummy!

Stuffed Pork Loin

2 lb Pork loin
1 box stuffing mix plus the ingredients it calls for
1/2 C chopped fresh spinach
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 350F. Make the stuffing mix according to the instructions on the box, or substitute your own stuffing if you desire. Once the stuffing is off the heat, add a 1/2 C chopped fresh spinach. Butterfly the pork loin and pound it out with a mallet if you’re using a tough cut. Spread the prepared stuffing and spinach mixture evenly on the pork loin. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the pork loin up and secure with a wooden skewer or use kitchen twine to tie it. Heat a skillet with the EVOO and sear the stuffed pork loin on all sides. Place on a foil lined cookie tray and back in the oven for about 45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Allow meat to rest 15 minutes before slicing to serve. Slice into 1″ thick servings and serve with brandied cranberry sauce.

Brandied Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of cranberries
1/2 C orange juice
1/3 C water
1/3 C brandy
1 1/2 C sugar

Wash and sort cranberries. Combine cranberries, orange juice and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately ten minutes. Add sugar and brandy and reduce until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve over the stuffed pork loin or with warm rolls. Brandied Cranberry Sauce will keep in the fridge for approx two weeks.

Fancy Little Pound Cake

Yet another new recipe for me, this pound cake turned out pretty darn yummy! I’ve never made a pound cake before, but I was recently looking for a recipe that wasn’t too complicated and didn’t require any special ingredients as I didn’t have a lot of time to mess with fancy. However, using my new mini bundt cake mold, I whipped up this pound cake and baked it into a pretty little cake topped with powdered sugar glaze and berries. It was so scruptious!

fancy little pound cake

fancy little pound cake

If you’re going for a low cal, or low fat treat, move on, this isn’t it. It’s a smaller, lighter version of the original 1 pound of butter cake, but it’s by no means the perfect treat for dieters counting calories. Let’s move on to the creation of yum…

Fancy Little Pound Cake recipe:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Powder sugar icing

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Soften butter. In another bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds at medium speed. Gradually add super (2 teaspoons as a time) to butter and beat at medium speed for about 6 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute each. Scrape bowl often. Gently add in flour mixture, beating on low until just combined.

Grease and flour baking pan/s. Pour batter into pan and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool for another 20 minutes. Drizzle prepared glaze and top with fresh berries.

Baking pan/s – recipe good for 1 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or two small bundt pans and 3 3x5x2 inch load pans.

Powdered sugar icing

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons milk

Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 teaspoon milk. Stir in additional milk until drizzling consistency.