Friday, September 22, 2006

Pork Loin Stuffed with Fuji Apples

Last Sunday, my family celebrated my parents' birthdays. For dinner we made a pork loin stuffed with Fuji apples and golden raisins that was quite delicious. My lovely sister found the recipe on epicurious.com. Pork Loin Stuffed with Fuji Apples.

I made a few modifications and thought I would share them with you. We did not have the butcher cut a "1 inch incision in the center" as the recipe calls. Instead, I cut several incisions in the center of the loin and packed the filling inside. I was only able to fit maybe half to three-quarters of the mixture, so I would make less than the recommended filling. Also we did not put any of the wine in the stuffing as the recipe states. I ended up putting the wine in the roasting pan after the meat was browned.

We tried putting the wine and vinegar in the roasting pan as a reader recommended. This made for a very powerful aroma as it cooked. I do not know if this step was necessary. I would definitely recommend adding the wine to the roasting pan. After it was cooked (a 4-5 pound loin took approximately 1 hour), we strained the juices and reduced it. We added a bit of cornstarch to thicken it, however were too impatient to have it any thicker than water.

Here is a copy of the pork loin we made. Please note: I have not actually tried this version, so I can not guarantee its quality.

PORK LOIN STUFFED WITH FUJI APPLES

1/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup Riesling (or Gew├╝rztraminer)
1 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, peel and core reserved
Pinch of cinnamon
2 lb center-cut boneless pork loin
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 medium onion, diced large
1 carrot, diced large
1 celery stalk, diced large
4 stems fresh rosemary
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 375°F.

Soak raisins in wine for 10 minutes. Drain raisins, reserving wine. Combine raisins, apples and cinnamon in a bowl.

Cut a pocket in the center of the loin. Fill the cavity with the apple-raisin mixture. Season pork with sea salt and pepper; set aside 15 minutes at room temperature. (If loin splits, tie with kitchen twine.)

Meanwhile, coat a roasting pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Sear pork on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes total, turning frequently so it doesn't stick. Place onion, carrot, celery, rosemary and apple peels and cores in pan; place pork on top. Pour reserved wine over and cook uncovered for 25 minutes or until pork reaches 150°.

Remove pork from pan; let rest 10 minutes. Strain all juices from pork, add vinegar and cook in a small saucepan 15 to 20 minutes on high heat until thick and syrupy. Slice pork and divide among plates. Drizzle reduction over pork.

Note: We served with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. For dessert, molten lava chocolate cakes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chicken Tart


For a dinner party that was held last weekend (a sitted dinner for eight), I served a Chicken Tart with Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach, drizzled with a Riesling Butter. We at the Presto! test kitchen must have ate a dozen versions trying to get the dish just right. After I did not think I could eat another version, we found the right combination. The final dish looked so lovely I wanted to share it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's So Cheesy, Part 2


I tried to upload this to the original post, but had no luck doing it. So I am adding it as a secondary post so you can see the beauty of this gem.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Animal Crackers

"Animal crackers in my soup
Monkeys and rabbits loop the loop
Gosh oh gee but I have fun
Swallowing animals one by one"

A great song originally sung by Shirley Temple, and my favorite childhood version by Anne Murray, among others. Animal crackers are actually an English invention from the late 1800's, originally called animals. After coming to the United States, P.T. Barnum used to sell these circus crackers to promote the circus. The string on the box was not originally put on as a handle, but it was to hang the boxes as ornamental presents at Christmas for children.

They are not just a snack. The name has been used as a Broadway play, a comic strip, several films and songs. And there is the age-old philosophical debate Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

There have been 54 different animals throughout the years in that colorful circus box. Currently there are 18 types of crackers? How many can you name? And in 2002, the one hundredth year of the Barnum's Animal Crackers, a new animal was voted on and added - Bonus points if you can name that critter. (Click on comments to see the answer)

You have permission to play with your food!