Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork

This was an easy dish and really tasty! I loved the cashews in it. They added a yummy crunch. :)

Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork
from Our Best Bites

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 Tbsp. apple juice
1 lb. pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
1/3 c. water
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. oil
1/3 c. chopped cashews (or exactly one of those little .99 bags of Fritos cashews at the front of the grocery store)
¼ c. green onions
2 tsp. minced or grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced or pressed
6-8 oz. snow peas, trimmed ( I used a bag of those microwavable peas)
1 8-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained

Now…to get your pork super thin, you’ll need to partially freeze it. When it’s semi-frozen (or mostly-frozen), you can either cut it very thinly with a sharp knife or pop it into your food processor fitted with the slicing blade.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sherry, and pork. Toss well.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir with a whisk; make sure there are no clumps with the cornstarch.

Now collect everything that’s going into the stir fry next to the stove so you can access it easily.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add onions, ginger, and garlic.

Stir-fry 1 minute. Add snow peas and pineapple. Stir-fry 3 minutes more. Whisk sauce ingredients again and add to pan, bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews and serve over hot rice. Garnish with more cashews and green onions if you want.

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork

I usually make this with garlic mashed red potatoes, and it is YUM-licious. I mean, YUM!!! Go make it soon. It's a great dish for when you have guests over, because it's easy, impressive, and mouth-watering. Seriously, my sister begs me to make this. Regularly. I almost had to cut her off, it was getting ridiculous. She was turning into an addict. A sugary, delicious, spicy pork addict. Oh well, I might as well join her.

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pork tenderloin cut into 3-4 chunks
1 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 6-8 cloves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then rub the pork with the spice mixture. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet  over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning to brown each side, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, brown the pork in a skillet and transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan.

Stir together the brown sugar and garlic and pat on top of each tenderloin.  If you have extra, dump it in as well! Roast in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. Let pork stand in the skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

We had our annual ladies craft-it-up night for our church last night, also known as Fantastic Friday. We were asked to bring a snack to share, and I kinda forgot about it. lol! Usually I plan way ahead with what I'm making, in search of the perfect recipe, and so on and so on. Obsessive? I prefer prepared, thank you. ANyways.

Luckily I remembered with two hours to spare, so into the kitchen I ran! Well, first a quick detour to Pinterest to find a recipe. I wanted pumpkin cupcakes, since fall is in full swing! I found a fantastic recipe right away, and barely had enough butter, but I made it work. It felt like Cupcake Wars for awhile in there.

These got rave reviews at the crafty night, and I only returned home with two cupcakes. (of which one has already met it's demise)

Pumpkin Cupcakes
adapted from Made in Mel's Kitchen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the  brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Makes ~ 24 cupcakes.

For the frosting, I made a batch of this easy cheater caramel (haha), and used about 3/4 cup of it in the frosting recipe below.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.  Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce. (which is what I did. I cannot seem to conquer caramel yet!)

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).  Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny.  If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.