Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recipe Review - Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Marmeletta

Today's recipe comes from Giada Di Laurentiis's cookbook Giada's Kitchen. The recipes are very well-written, easy to follow, and require a mid- to high- degree of kitchen competence, unlike the recipes in Everyday Italian, which are quite simple and won't crush a beginner's confidence.

That said, even a beginner who gives themselves a lot of time could certainly give these recipes a try. When I say Giada's recipes are "well-written," I mean it. I really enjoy cooking when I'm following Giada!

So, tonight we're going fancypants and serving up something that Giada describes as "the Italian version of pork chops and applesauce."


Shopping List

Since I already had the pork chops and pantry staples, I only had to pick up a few things:
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme
  • large onions (calls for 4; I got two very large Spanish onions)

Recipe Review

Ease of Preparation

Simple, though time-consuming - you need to caramelize onions, which takes a LONG time. (Though I have seen a method to do it in a slow cooker!)

It's also recommended to slice the onions Very Thin, so if your knife skills are still in the "beginner" stages, you might have trouble.

My sister might need help with this one.

Specialty Equipment Required

A grill pan or outdoor grill is nice for cooking the pork.

You'll need a larger pan than you think for cooking the onions.

And a plunger-style measuring cup is helpful for measuring the marmalade this recipe requires, but it's more of a "nice to have" than a "requirement."

Did my husband and daughter enjoy it?

While the kid wouldn't touch it (she knows where the peanut butter is, so she didn't starve) the husband enjoyed the pork, but not the marmeletta.

I enjoyed the marmeletta and would like to make a large batch of it ... and home-can it!

It's too much work to do the marmeletta on a weeknight, especially if I'm the only one eating it, but if I've got it pre-made (and canned!) grilling up some pork chops wouldn't be too hard.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Recipe Review - Pork Spare Ribs

It's coming up on summer, which, for a lot of families, means ribs.

Ours is no exception. The husband and I have shot video of the munchkin eating BBQ ribs from the New Jersey State Barbecue Championships food vending area every year since she's been on solid foods. 

Every year, we have to coax her to eat them, but, once over the hump, she decides she loves ribs and ends up with several bones on the side of her plate and sauce all over herself. 

Recently, having no idea what to make for dinner and a very helpful sous chef, I stumbled on a recipe from Alex Guarnischelli's Old School Comfort Food for pork spare ribs that looked easy ... and something I could assemble using ingredients I already had in the house.

Shopping List

  • 3 pounds of pork spare ribs 
  • tamari (recipe called for "dark soy sauce," I figured this would do nicely)

(Really. I had everything else on hand.)

Recipe Review

Ease of Preparation

Could not be easier, though I recommend having a good chef's knife so you can cut a rack of spareribs into the smaller pieces you'll need in order to fit them into a pot.

My sister could do this. 

Specialty Equipment Required

Not really. A good chef's knife and a large, heavy pot (or Dutch oven) for braising your ribs, but these should be part of your everyday kitchen equipment anyway.

After getting through this recipe, I'd like to use a larger Dutch oven, but that's not a requirement. (For example, I could always switch to the pot I use for pasta and some soups because it's a bit wider at the bottom than my cast iron.)

Did my husband and daughter enjoy it?



Also, if the other recipes in this cookbook are this easy, I think I know what to put on my WishList for Christmas.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Recipe Review - Nemo's No-Fish Tofu Tacos

Yep, we've gone Disney again.

After months of asking, I finally broke down and agreed to make the Nemo's No-Fish Tofu Tacos recipe from Dishes Inspired by Disney.

I always have panko on hand (for AB mac-and-cheese, among other things) and, of course, I had olive oil and garlic in the pantry, so the only ingredients we needed to purchase were tofu, cilantro, Asian slaw, tortillas, and limes. All of these are fairly inexpensive where we live, so even if the kid didn't eat one, we wouldn't have blown the grocery budget on the meal.

Recipe Review

Ease of Preparation


Even pressing the tofu was easy (you need to press the water out of it for the slabs to take up your marinade) because I've had several years to consider the best way to press tofu.

If my sister ate tofu, she'd be able to make this dish with no difficulty.

Specialty Equipment Required?

Yes and no. 

The recipe notes that one may use small cookie cutters to cut fish shapes out of the pressed tofu slabs - so they're no-fish fish shapes. Because this is fun, and small tin cookie cutters are relatively inexpensive, we bought two small whale-shaped cutters for $2.

Aww, they're so cute!

If you cannot get cookie cutters, you'd be fine marinating the slabs of tofu as-is, and then cutting them into smaller pieces before pressing them into the panko.

Did my husband and daughter enjoy it?

I already know my husband has given tofu several tries and he simply can't get past the texture. That's OK; more for me.

The kid, on the other hand, found the side of Star Wars shaped macaroni more appealing. But, she did ask to eat no-fish tacos this morning, so maybe there's hope.

Regular Rotation-Worthy?

I don't think so. It's not a lot of work to put in for just me, but I prefer not to have to make multiple dishes for a single meal.

It's not a fail, but not a win either.

Tasty, though!

Dinnertime. Yum!