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Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Rosemary Applesauce and Maple-Gorgonzola Squash

Pork Chops and SquashTHE VERDICT:

Yet another tasty meal inspired by our Best of Chef At Home cookbook and Closet Cooking. The pork chops are a fairly simple dish, but the savoury applesauce adds a nice flavour boost. Thanks to the simplicity of this dish, we were able to serve it to Zayden without any changes–we just minced it up into a more manageable consistency for him in the mini prep. He enjoyed it along with plain roasted squash. Only the grown ups indulged in the sumptuous maple syrup and gorgonzola topping. The squash dish is a bit rich to enjoy often, but we highly recommend it for special occasions or to accompany a special mid-week meal like this.

If you want to try it yourself. . .

THE RECIPES:

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Rosemary Applesauce (source: The Best of Chef at Home by Chef Michael Smith)

Applesauce

1/4 cup olive oil

4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced (we chose to forego the onions when we made this dish)

4 apples, cored and cut into chunks (if feeding this dish to a baby, you may want to peel the apples as we did)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops

4 thick centre-loin pork chops

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the applesauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions and patiently cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized and turn golden brown. Add the apple chunks, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir well. Simmer until the apples are very soft. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.
  • For the pork chops, preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Splash the oil and toss the butter into the centre of the oil. This will help keep the butter from burning. Pause until the butter begins to brown.
  • Meanwhile, pat the chops dry using paper towels, then season them with salt and pepper and carefully place them into the hot pan. Sear for 2 minutes or so on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Freestyle variation: try adding a spoonful or two of grainy mustard or horseradish to the applesauce

Roasted Squash with Gorgonzola and Maple Syrup (source: Closet Cooking; original recipe)

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Blue Cheese and Apple Strudel

Blue Cheese & Apple StrudelTHE VERDICT:

Most of the time we think of leftovers as boring, something to be reheated for lunch the next day. But every now and then, leftovers can inspire a new dish with delicious results. That was certainly the case for us the with leftover blue cheese crust from our steak dinner. We hate to be wasteful, especially with such a fine ingredient as blue cheese, but you can’t just eat a mixture of butter, blue cheese and bread crumbs. As we brainstormed ways we could use the tasty remains of our dinner, we quickly came up with a delightful idea: bake the crust inside some puff pastry with a few tart apples. And thus, blue cheese and apple strudel was born!

This indulgent pastry could serve well as an appetizer or dessert, but we don’t recommend that you serve it often. As delectable as it was, we’re pretty sure your arteries start to harden as soon as you look at it. But as a now and again kind of treat, we highly recommend it.

THE RECIPE:

Blue Cheese and Apple Strudel (source: Tonight’s Dinner/The Best of Chef At Home by Chef Michael Smith)

Leftover Blue Cheese Crust from Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon recipe

1-2 sheets of puff pastry

1-2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped

Extra blue cheese, if desired

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Roll out puff pastry.
  • Spread crust mixture over 1/2 the pastry leaving about a 1-inch border on three sides.
  • Place apples on top. If using, crumble blue cheese over apples.
  • Roll up filling inside the remaining pastry. Pinch edges closed. Slice holes in the top. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • If there are sufficient leftovers, prepare a second pastry.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown and contents are bubbly. Serve warm.


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Apple Crock Pot Oatmeal

Apple OatmealTHE VERDICT:

We love our slow cooker oatmeal as followers of this blog know, so we were eager to try this recipe. It was easy to put together as only the apples needed to be prepped; everything else could just be thrown into the pot. The results were pretty tasty though I think the Four Grain Hot Cereal is still my favourite. The only thing I would change would be the cooking time. I think 7 hours would probably be sufficient. The bottom got a little burnt after 8 hours of cooking time.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Apple Crock Pot Oatmeal (source: www.wittyliving.com; original recipe)


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Turkey Breasts in Apple & Maple Sauce with Fresh Local Asparagus

Turkey Breasts with Maple & AppleTHE VERDICT:

Here is a good example of the kind of recipe I love: something that is incredibly quick and easy to prepare, but still feels like a special meal. This meal required very basic ingredients, was ready in less than 30 minutes, and tasted incredible.  I love turkey, but usually reserve it for major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I am glad we discovered this recipe that inspired us to bring turkey to the table as part of a weeknight meal. This simple way to dress up the meat would also be a great idea for those holiday leftovers that seem to linger in the fridge forever.

All we did to prepare the asparagus was steam it in our asparagus pot. We picked it up at the Trout Lake Farmers’ Market on Saturday, and I must say there is a pronounced difference in the flavour and texture of fresh, local asparagus over the supermarket variety. The stalks are much less woody and the taste is far more vibrant. It was a little pricier, but definitely worth it.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Pan Seared Turkey Breast with Apple and Maple Sauce (source: Closet Cooking; original recipe)

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Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Apple Rhubarb CrispTHE VERDICT:

I enjoyed the rhubarb crisp that I made on the weekend so much that I decided to make another crisp the minute it was finished. Not wanting to repeat myself, but still feeling totally obsessed with all things rhubarb, I decided to come up with my own variant on the recipe. Apples and rhubarb are a classic flavour combination, so it was easy to come up with the main ingredients for this crisp. I also played around with the spices a bit and particularly liked what the allspice added to the party. I think it’s time to go enjoy another tasty bowlful.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Rhubarb Crisp (source: Tonight’s Dinner)

Fruit Filling:

4 cups rhubarb, sliced (about 4 stalks)

3 cups apples, chopped (about 3 apples)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. all spice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 cup water

  • Combine rhubarb, apples, sugar, flour and spices.
  • Put in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
  • Pour water over all.

Topping:

1 cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

  • Combine all ingredients, mixing with a fork to make a crumbly mixture.
  • Sprinkle over rhubarb.
  • Bake at 375 F for about 35 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
  • Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

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Breakfast Risotto with Rhubarb Compote

Breakfast Risotto with Rhubarb CompoteTHE VERDICT:

We love starting our day with a hot breakfast, but until we discovered the joys of slow cooker porridge, a hot breakfast was a special treat on weekends or involved going out to eat. Since making this important discovery, we have sought out breakfast recipes for the slow cooker at every opportunity, including this recipe for Breakfast Risotto. Slow cooker recipes, especially breakfast recipes can be rather hit or miss, but this one was a success. Like most slow cooker recipes, it was quick and easy to prepare. It paired very well with the rhubarb compote though I think it would also taste delicious on its own, especially if you use nice, tart apples to prepare it.

Rhubarb is currently in season, and our weekend trip to our local farmers’ market at the Lonsdale Quay inspired me to incorporate it into a few dishes this week. If you like rhubarb as much as I do, then this compote recipe is definitely one you should try. It is incredibly simple to prepare, and its small number of ingredients really allow the rhubarb flavour to shine. It was a wonderful addition to this breakfast, but would also taste great at dinnertime over pork tenderloin or for dessert poured over ice cream. We combined leftover compote with leftover quinoa as a spontaneous dessert, and it actually tasted pretty good. This week we plan to use the compote to flavour plain yogurt as a snack.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPES:

Breakfast Risotto (source: www.wittyliving.com; original recipe)

Rhubarb Compote (source: www.epicurious.com; original recipe)

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