Kate's Cuisine

Jan 25 2018

Brie-Stuffed Pork Chops with Cranberry Sauce

Brie-Stuffed Pork Chops in Cranberry Sauce

I’ve been trying to eat better lately, which means that my pantry is filled with all kinds of healthy snacks including raisins, nuts, and dried cranberries. The other night for dinner I was staring into my pantry trying to come up with an idea that would go well with the beautiful thick pork chops I had sitting out, and my eyes landed on the dried cranberries.

Thinking about how beautifully cranberries and pork go together, and remembering that I also had some brie left in my fridge, inspiration struck and I had my dinner. Or at least the idea for it. I was going to stuff the pork chops with brie and cover it with a thin cranberry sauce – not the chunky stuff you eat over the holidays, but a nice light sauce that would bring a huge punch of flavour. Not that much longer, my idea turned into dinner and every bite was perfect. Brie, cranberries and pork chops, what a beautiful combination!

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick $9.60
  • 1/2 cup brie, rind removed $5.00
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped $0.50
  • Salt $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil $0.17
  • 1 cup dried cranberries $0.75
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.25
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup $0.99
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar $0.06
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard $0.03

Total cost $17.37
Cost per serving $4.34

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Start by stuffing the pork chops. To do it, lay a pork chop on a cutting board or work surface with the thin end facing towards you. Using a small paring knife, cut a small slit into that thin end and keep inserting your knife lengthwise up the chop, close to the bone. Once the knife is near the top, but hasn’t cut all the way through, move your knife to the other side of the chop, away from the bone, creating a small pocket. Stop cutting once you reach about halfway down the other side of the chop and then remove your knife through the small opening you made on the bottom.

3.) Divide the brie evenly among the four pork chops, stuffing a little bit of it into each pork chop through the opening you made and into the pocket. When each chop has been stuffed, sprinkle both sides of each pork chop generously with the thyme, salt and pepper.

4.) Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof heavy-bottomed frying pan) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, sear the pork chops on each side for about 3 minutes, until the pork chops have been seared on both sides and have started to turn golden brown. Then transfer them to the oven for about 10 minutes, until they have been cooked through.

5.) While the pork chops are cooking in the oven, start the sauce. Place the dried cranberries, chicken broth, maple syrup, cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Cook, whisking regularly, to incorporate the mustard and reduce it until it’s reached a sauce consistency, about 7 minutes.

6.) Place the pork chops on a large platter and cover them completely with the sauce.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 09 2018

Sheila’s Marinade

Marinated Salmon

So, I’m not very big on the idea of “New Year, new me” because I think the old me is pretty good. But, after the holidays every year, I do try to eat a little cleaner and a little lighter – for at least a few weeks. I heard somewhere once that people tend to gain between 5 to 10 pounds over the holiday months, and it’s no wonder why. With so much delicious food, it does seem as though the holidays are strictly meant for eating. Oh, and being with loved ones and cherishing the spirit of giving and all that. But mostly, it’s about the eating. So, especially at the beginning of January, I like to pull back just a tiny back. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still eat delicious food.

And that’s why I’m so thankful for this delicious marinade my friend Sheila sent me just before Christmas. She used it on duck (which looked so phenomenal I instantly wished I had a teleportation device so I could enjoy it with her), but when she gave me the recipe she mentioned it’s also really good on roast chicken and salmon.

Marinating a roast chicken is still on my to-do list with this one, but I started off with salmon. It’s so good, you’ll want to eat it right out of the bowl as you mix it up; probably why Sheila recommended doubling the recipe. You won’t have to fight that temptation for long though, as it takes just a few minutes to whip up and then you just need to pour it over the salmon and give it a quick bake. There are a lot of ways I like to enjoy salmon, but this might be my new go-to.

Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon fillets (doesn’t matter if the skin is on or off, you’re choice) $16.97
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce $0.20
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar $0.01
  • 2 tablespoons honey $0.40
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper $0.01
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger $0.90

Total cost $18.55
Cost per serving $4.63

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Oil the foil slightly so the salmon doesn’t stick.

2.) Whisk all ingredients, except the salmon, together in a small bowl. Place the salmon on the baking sheet (skin-side down if you’re leaving the skin on) and pour the marinade evenly over top.

3.) Place the baking sheet into the hot oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets. When the flesh of the salmon just starts to separate into definable layers, it is ready.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 28 2017

Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Fresh figs are really hard to find. I’m sure if they were more accessible, I’d make them (and eat them!) a whole lot more than I do now. They’re one of those fruits that is almost like candy to eat, but so much better.

I made these for a Christmas party my husband threw for his work, and they were scarfed down pretty quickly. Some people had never even eaten a fresh fig before, so I was glad to introduce them to it. And while figs are fairly good to enjoy all on their own, they’re even better when you stuff ‘em with goat cheese, wrap prosciutto around them and then drizzle them with just a speck of honey. While people did like them, I still had plenty of leftovers. And needless to say, I didn’t mind that in the least.

Ingredients:

  • 10 – 15 figs $9.99
  • 1 cup goat cheese $5.99
  • 6 or 7 prosciutto slices, cut in half horizontally (you’ll need two slices for every fig) $7.99
  • 2 tablespoons honey $0.42

Total cost $24.39
Cost per fig. $1.63

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each fig in half.

2.) Press about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese into the center of each fig. Take one piece (one half) of a slice of prosciutto and wrap it around the center of the fig, so some of the fig and most of the goat cheese is covered. As you finish wrapping the figs, place them onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

3.) When all of the figs have been stuffed and wrapped, place them into the oven for about 10 minutes, just until the edges of the prosciutto are starting to brown and curl.

4.) Remove the figs from the oven and while they are still warm drizzle them all with just a little bit of honey.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 20 2017

Caprese Salad Wreath

Caprese Salad Wreath

The holidays can sure be stressful. So I guess it’s a good thing that we have all the wonderful food surrounding us to help us forget about those long lines, the many Christmas presents we still have to buy, and all the other stuff that goes with the holidays. But just sit back, relax for a second, and most importantly – breathe!! We will all get through it, and in the end we’ll be a little happier for it, and a little bit fuller.

This Caprese Salad Wreath was made for a holiday party that we threw for my husband’s work. But don’t worry. Even if throwing a party is adding to your stress, this delicious appetizer will not. It’s dead simple to make and so pretty that if you’re lacking a centrepiece, it can fill in there for you too. But there are only five more days until Christmas, so let’s get going.

Ingredients:

  • About 3 cups of cherry tomatoes $5.99
  • About 2 cups of bocconcini $8.99
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning $0.27
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.22
  • Salt, to taste $0.01
  • Pepper, to taste $0.01
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rolled and sliced $1.99
  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar $2.99
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar $0.60
  • About 50 short skewers $2.99

Total cost: $24.06
Cost per skewer: $0.48

Directions:

1. Combine the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over low and heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn heat to medium so the mixture comes to a light simmer. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the mixture has reached a syrup consistency and has reduced by about 1/3. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. Combine the tomatoes, bocconcini, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl. Toss gently with your hands so everything is covered with a bit of olive oil and some seasoning. One by one, push one tomato onto a skewer and put it to the end. Add one ball of bocconcini, then another tomato. Repeat until all remaining skewers have tomatoes and bocconcini on them.

3. Place the balsamic vinegar reduction in a small ramekin and place in the centre of a large platter. Arrange the skewers around them in a large circle (to resemble a wreath). Sprinkle the chopped and sliced basil leaves around the skewers.

4. Serve and enjoy!

Dec 07 2017

Santa Veggie Tray

A tray full of veggies shaped like Santa

Having a big holiday party this year? Don’t you dare buy one of those prepackaged veggie trays that are overpriced and well, let’s face it, a little boring. Not when you can get super creative and make a Santa veggie tray instead! This is one that I did for a family gathering and it got lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as people gathered around wanting to take a picture of it before pieces started going missing. Little did I know then that there are tons of holiday-inspired veggie tray ideas out there. I’m hoping to do a Christmas tree one next for you guys! They’re so dead simple, and really spruce up the food table at any holiday bash.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly $0.97
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips $0.71
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets $1.77
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes $1.99
  • 2 olives, whole or slices $0.05

Total cost $5.49

Instructions:

1.) Place the cucumbers in the middle of a large serving platter. These will be Santa’s face.

2.) Arrange the red pepper into a triangle on top of the cucumbers. You want to make it look like a hat. Leave out one thin strip of the red pepper.

3.) Arrange most of the cauliflower florets below the cucumbers to form Santa’s beard. Then place some just above the cucumbers to make up the trim of Santa’s hat.

4.) Fill in the bottom of the platter, below the cauliflower, with cherry tomatoes to look like Santa’s suit.

5.) For the pom-pom on Santa’s hat, you have a couple of options. You can fill a small ramekin with Ranch dressing and place it at the top of the red pepper triangle; this is what most people do. Or, if you’re like me and the only ramekin you had was far too big, you can place a large piece (or a couple of small pieces) of cauliflower there instead.

6.) Place the small reserved piece of bell pepper in the middle of Santa’s beard to form his mouth and place the olives at the top of the cucumbers to make his eyes.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 01 2017

Double Potato Soup

Double potato soup garnished with bacon, sour cream, and green onions

One of my very good friends that I’ve known since public school helped me make this soup when I went home last for a visit. As we were making it she told me that she had made potato soup before, but had never considered adding a little bit of sweet potato to it. So, I considered if she hadn’t (and she likes to cook), what are the chances that some of my readers had never considered it before either? Probably pretty good, right? Just like this soup!

The sweet potato brings an extra kick to this soup that gives it so much more complexity and tastiness than regular potato soup. And, it’s super easy to whip up. We did it in about an hour while we giggled and drank wine, so I’m guessing it could be made even quicker than that!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.22
  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced $0.44
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced $0.34
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced $0.03
  • 4 cups of chicken stock (or veggie stock to make it vegetarian) $2.00
  • 2 cups of water Free, with your water bill!
  • 3 tablespoons thyme leaves, roughly chopped $0.50
  • 5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced $1.45
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced $0.50
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese $1.50
  • Salt, to taste $0.01
  • Pepper, to taste $0.01
  • Bacon bits, for garnish $3.24
  • Sour cream, for garnish $1.29
  • Green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish $0.68

Total cost $10.68
Cost per serving $1.78

Directions:

1.)Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot add the onion, carrots, and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to become fragrant. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another 30 seconds.

2.) Add the chicken stock and water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil.

3.) Once boiling, add the potato and sweet potato and allow it to boil again before turning heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, until all potatoes are tender.

4.) Remove pot from the heat and then blend everything together with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this can be done in a regular blender; just remember to blend it in batches so your blender doesn’t explode.

5.) If the soup has cooled some, return it to the burner over low heat and allow it to warm through again. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if it needs more seasoning.

6.) Ladle the potato soup into bowls and garnish with bacon bits, sour cream, and green onions.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 20 2017

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie in Pie Plate

I feel as though we haven’t talked about dessert in a little while around here. Which is weird, because I love dessert. And I’ve also been making it a lot lately, which is also weird. A baker I am not, typically. But when Thanksgiving rolled around last month, we were all headed to the in-laws and I was asked to bring dessert. And my mother-in-law gave me a challenge without even knowing it – making chocolate cream pie.

I’ve always loved chocolate cream pie. I’ve always admired the way it stands so high in display cases and when it arrives on your plate, has the tiniest bit of jiggle still left in it. But making it? Really? Turns out, when someone asks you to make chocolate cream pie, all you have to do is take a deep breath and believe in yourself. I wouldn’t say it’s any more difficult than lemon meringue pie and I’ve made that plenty of times without breaking a sweat. Plus, when you make it yourself there are all those good chocolate-covered spatulas and whisks lying around that you get to snack on while you clean up!

The recipe does call for the pie to be topped with whipped cream and rest assured, we did do just that once we got to the Thanksgiving destination. With an hour car ride though, you don’t want to risk it melting all over the pie or flying right off of it (which was in fact, one of the fears we had with the meringue on a lemon pie we also brought). So let’s not put this off any longer than we already have. On to the chocolate cream pie!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 16 Oreo cookies, with filling, processed into crumbs $1.91
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled $0.26

For the chocolate cream:

  • 2 1/2 cups half and half $1.55
  • Pinch of salt $0.01
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar, divided $0.06
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch $0.54
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature $0.30
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6 pieces $0.78
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream $2.29
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons icing sugar $0.03
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.33

Total cost $10.27
Cost per slice $1.28

Directions:

1.) Start by making the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs with the melted butter in a medium bowl, tossing with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9″ pie plate and press them evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a crust. I find it easiest to start at the centre of the pie plate and work your way out and up the sides. Refrigerate the crust for 20 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes until the crust is fragrant and firm. Cool on a wire rack.

2.) To start making the chocolate cream filling, bring the half and half, salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a slight simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to melt the sugar and ensure the cream doesn’t burn. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch.

3.) Whisk the egg yolks thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cornstarch/sugar mixture and whisk until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has begun to dissolve.

4.) When the half and half mixture has reached a slight simmer, use a ladle to remove about 1/2 cup and add to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to temper the eggs. Then whisk the entire egg yolk mixture back into the half and half mixture. Whisk constantly for about 30 more seconds, until 3 or 4 bubbles have broken out on the surface and the mixture is thick and glossy.

5.) Remove the half and half mixture from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until melted, scraping the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula to fully incorporate all ingredients. Stir in the vanilla then immediately pour the entire filling through a fine-mesh colander over a bowl. Using the same rubber spatula, pour the filling into the baked and cooled crust and spread into an even layer. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate the pie until the filling is cold and firm, at least 3 hours.

6.) When ready to serve, use a hand mixer to beat the cream on low speed until it begins to froth. Increase the speed to medium for about 1 minute and then turn the speed to high. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and continue to beat for another minute or so, until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spread the whipped cream over the chilled chocolate cream filling.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

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