11 January 2011

I love the idea of a Sunday night dinner that can then easily be made into something else later in the week.  I bought a pork loin roast with the idea of stuffing it and roasting it until I ran across this recipe in Fine Cooking for a brined pork loin served on a nest of fennel and apple.  Besides being easy it was delicious.  Later in the week I'll use the leftover roast for Mu Shu.  I had a roast that was a little over 2 pounds so I meant to cut the recipe in half and forgot!  Seemed to still be the right amount of every thing.  This made more than enough for the 2 of us, leftovers for lunch and another dinner.

Roast Pork with Maple Mustard Crust
Serves 4

For the Brine:
8 cups cold apple cider or juice
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
One 4-lb. boneless pork loin roast (or two 2-lb. loins), trimmed only if it has a thick layer of fat
For The Roast:
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Brine the pork: Combine 2 cups of the apple cider or juice with the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring so the salt and sugar dissolve, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining apple cider or juice and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large container, add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.
Roast the pork: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture.
In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Scatter the mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with a couple of inches of space around the perimeter). Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 145°F, 30 to 50 minutes more.
Let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice a quarter to a third of the pork. Serve, topped with the fennel, apple, and juices. Allow the remaining pork to cool to room temperature, wrap well with foil, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Source:  Fine Cooking

09 January 2011

Part of my Christmas Tradition is to make plate fulls of cookies and candies to share with my neighbors, friends and family.  My neighbor Sara returned the gift in the form of cream of onion soup and bread on that was in my kitchen when I arrived home from work on Monday.  I couldn't return the dish empty so that gave me an excuse to try a decadent sounding brownie I found on Annie's Eats.  I'm not a big brownie fan, these could change that!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Yield: 30-36 brownies

For the brownies:
14 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup cocoa powder 
2 cups sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the peanut butter cheesecake swirl:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  To make the brownie batter, combine the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.  Remove the bowl from the heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder, sugar, eggs and cream cheese until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the vanilla and salt.  Add the flour to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.

To make the peanut butter cheesecake portion, combine the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until completely smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter in the pan, creating a cobblestone appearance.  Use a knife or wooden skewer to gently swirl together the peanut butter mixture and brownie batter.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until the center is just set.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled before slicing and serving.

Source:  Annie's Eats