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Now that Miss A has started eating more and more table food and declared her toddler independence, we have started looking for recipes that will feed her and us for dinner. Many are just misses, but this one from the Baby Center was a hit with everyone. That said, being a “hit” with a one-year-old A means most of it didn’t get thrown to the floor.
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2-3 apples, such as Granny Smith, McIntosh, or your favorite variety, peeled, cored and thickly (the key word is thick!) sliced
4 pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick, boneless or bone-in
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup apple cider without preservative
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I boiled the apple cider to reduce it a bit. Grease the bottom of a medium-size roasting pan or an ovenproof skillet (like our favorite cast iron skillet!) with the olive oil.
Arrange the apples on the bottom of the pan, layered as needed.
Place the pork chops on top.
Then sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper and pour the cider on top.
Bake for 20 minutes (we baked for 25). Preheat the broiler and place under the broiler for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through and the apples are tender, basting the meat once or twice.
We didn’t actually baste the meat once or twice as the directions indicate and it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Since we were eating this as a family, I didn’t “season with authority” (as J is so fond of saying!), but we were able to add seasoning at the table for our liking. All in all we would eat this again.
One of J’s favorite dishes is his father’s chili. It makes more than enough for three meals and a few lunches for us. Like most of our favorite meals, this one gets better the longer it simmers. It looks complicated, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.
1 and 1/2 pounds chili or stew beef (you can also use ground beef if you want)
1 pound pork chop cut up (or you can use ground pork)
2-3 green bell peppers chopped
1-2 onions, chopped
1 beer (any kind, cheap is particularly good)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons chili powder (REGULAR chili powder, not ancho, not super, not hot. Trust me)
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons ground chipotle (we buy them whole and use a coffee grinder for this)
3 cups chicken broth
1 clove garlic
1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can rotel or green chiles
lime juice as needed
Brown the meat. Add the chopped bell peppers and onions and cook until desired caramelization. In a separate pot make the sauce by adding the first 11 ingredients and simmering for about 45 minutes until smooth.
Add 1 to 4 tablespoons massa flour to thicken if needed (most of the time we leave this step out).
My opinion: This is delicious with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lime juice and tortilla chips. J prefers his with corn bread. It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night.
J grew up eating the decadent hot and sour soup at King Doh, authentic Peking and Szechuan cuisine. After several years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe that is really close to the original. To celebrate the Chinese New Year last night, we made a big pot.
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces dried black mushrooms (we had trouble finding these and had the must success using fresh shiitake mushrooms)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chili paste (in a pinch, we combined Thai chili oil, Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce to make a paste)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can water chestnuts (you can buy them already sliced)
1 small can straw mushrooms
18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
three small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame oil
green onion, chopped (to garnish)
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in water according to package directions. Heat oil in wok or large pot. When the oil is hot, add ginger, chile paste and chicken, cook for about two-minute. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms, cook for about a minute. In a bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar and pour into wok. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (don’t rush this. The simmering is what seals in the hot and sour flavors). Add tofu and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water and add to soup and cook until thickened (this will make the soup cloudy and thick, but don’t add too much cornstarch or it will gelatinize . Stir soup in one direction to get current going then add beaten egg, it will look feathery. Stir the soup brining the contents from the bottom to the top> Garnish soup with green onion and serve.
Make sue you leave the soup on low for seconds. The second bowl is always better than the first. The only thing we might add in the future is some shrimp or an onion. The soup is even better the next day!