Archive for March, 2009

Blackened Chicken Pizza


Difficulty: Easy

We love pizza! This is a hearty meal in itself, a wonderful crust of your choice, loaded with flavorful chicken, a fresh tomato salsa and cheese. We get our pizza dough from our local grocery store and it rolls out to be almost an extra-large, you can find fresh dough at your local pizzaria, if your grocery store carries them or sometimes in the frozen aisle. Or use a favorite recipe. Adapted from Rachael Ray.

1 fresh dough ball
All-purpose flour, a couple of tablespoons to work dough
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch dried cayenne pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out to even thickness, about 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups shredded Cheddar with jalapeno or chipotle pepper or mozzarella cheese (use the latter if you want to tone down the heat factor)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 small-medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt
1/2 lime, zested and juiced

Directions: Preheat a large heavy skillet over very high heat. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine grill seasoning, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper and place on a plate, press chicken breasts into seasonings on one side. Add oil to screaming hot pan and cook chicken 2 minutes on each side, chicken will not be cooked through but will finish in the oven.

Spread out a little flour or and stretch out pizza dough onto a pizza pan to desired size and thickness.

Remove chicken from pan and slice into thin strips. Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Make garlic paste by mashing it with the flat of your knife and a generous pinch of coarse salt. Add paste to salsa. Add zest and juice of 1/2 lime and mix salsa thoroughly. Scatter chicken, salsa and cheese over pizza dough working to the edges of pizza. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until crisp and bubbly-brown on top. Remove from oven, let cool 5-10 minutes, cut into slices and devour.


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Roast Pork Loin


Difficulty: Easy

What is easier or tastier that a juicy pork loin, perfectly roasted and then topped with a sweet, flavorful glaze? Not much! The pork is brined in a salt water mixture and will guarantee juicy, tender and flavorful meat every time. If your pork is enhanced already, do not brine. You may choose any glaze you like, we love the flavor combinations of the pork and sweet apricots, but a cherry glaze, cranberry- orange or apple would be fantastic as well. A classic meal that is easily rounded out with a few simple sides, we served pan sauteed green beans and a brown rice with lemon, thyme and Parmesan. So good, so simple with fantastic flavors.
Serves 8.

1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, tied at even intervals
Salt and pepper
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup apricot jam
2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 cup water, separated

Salt water brine
3 TBS table salt
3 TBS sugar
2 quarts water

Directions:Dissolve salt and sugar into 2 quarts water in a large bowl (one that can accommodate the roast and brine). Submerge the meat completely in the brine, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the meat, rinse, pat dry, trim off any excess fat or silver skin and tie with kitchen twine at even intervals if your meat did not come tied from the butcher. Let pork sit at room temperature, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour prior to roasting.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the pork down with paper towels again and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Roast pork until the center registers 135 degrees in an instant-read thermometer, 50-70 minutes, flipping it over halfway through the roasting time. Prepare glaze if using when there is 20 minutes left of roasting. Combine jam, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until hot and glaze has thinned. During the last 15 minutes of roasting, brush the glaze over the pork, add remaining 1/4 cup water to bottom of pan to prevent burning.

Remove from oven, cover pork with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees. Remove the twine and cut into 1-4-inch thick slices. Spoon additional glaze over meat.


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