On Crinkle Cookies + Cold Days

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I’m not much of a baker; it’s an artform that requires more precision than I can usually muster, but it’s cold–as in first day I had to wear my winter hat with the face mask so my lungs wouldn’t hurt cold–and there’s something about cookies that make everything better on cold days.

I would say the same about soup, and I’ve got a crockpot full of that bubbling away on the kitchen counter as I type. We’re in full-on survive-without-hibernation mode here. Continue reading “On Crinkle Cookies + Cold Days”

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Cuban Pork Chops & Green Mojo Salad

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and bounty in the kitchen during the month of November. I’ll be posting a new recipe every day for 30 days. Subscribe to receive email updates on the project in the sidebar on the post page here, or follow along on Instagram at @dianaprichard and the #Feast30 hashtag.

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The bane of the hog farmer’s existence is the near-extinction of the American home cook. Because hogs have a reputation of being stout, brawny animals their meat is often thought to be nearly as indestructible as they are. It’s too often misused and abused, resulting in an unpleasant eating experience. The truth is that while live hogs are every big as burly as you imagine, the meat that comes from them is much more fragile. When it comes to preparation it’d better be compared to lamb than beef. It doesn’t take overcooking of any kind — either the heat being too high or spending too much time over it — well. The trick to a good pork chop, whether you’re cooking it indoors or out is a good, quick sear and then a steady, but-not-too-slow cook through.

As for this particular recipe, these chops have a bit of a kick on the back side. Nothing jarring, but they finish strong, which is something I love. The inspiration? A great cuban sandwich with a sweet-tangy jus dipping sauce I had at the Jolly Pumpkin in Traverse City over the weekend. I wanted a version that was a bit more grown up, with less bread, and this combo definitely does the trick. Continue reading “Cuban Pork Chops & Green Mojo Salad”

Skillet Chicken Thighs w/ Artichoke Hearts + Carrots

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and bounty in the kitchen during the month of November. I’ll be posting a new recipe every day for 30 days. Subscribe to receive email updates on the project in the sidebar on the post page here, or follow along on Instagram at @dianaprichard and the #Feast30 hashtag.

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Artichoke hearts don’t generally make it all the way to the pot or pan around here. They’re so good we usually can’t be bothered to do much more than pour them into a big bowl of antipasto salad and cart it straight to the table, but somehow I had an extra can tucked into the back of the pantry. Continue reading “Skillet Chicken Thighs w/ Artichoke Hearts + Carrots”

World’s Best Cranberry Bread

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and bounty in the kitchen during the month of November. I’ll be posting a new recipe every day for 30 days. Subscribe to receive email updates on the project in the sidebar on the post page here, or follow along on Instagram at @dianaprichard and the #Feast30 hashtag.

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Making ‘Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread’ from Wende and Harry Devlin’s Cranberry Thanksgiving is a tradition we started when Wren was just a little thing. She couldn’t have been more than six or seven when she came home from my Mom’s house with an original, circa 1971, copy that was, no doubt, probably mine. Both of our girls have always loved food and cooking, so it wasn’t a surprise that she had toted the thing home solely for the recipe on the back cover. We made it that year, and have made it again and again every year since. Continue reading “World’s Best Cranberry Bread”

Pork Knuckle Soup

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and bounty in the kitchen during the month of November. I’ll be posting a new recipe every day for 30 days. Subscribe to receive email updates on the project in the sidebar on the post page here, or follow along on Instagram at @dianaprichard and the #Feast30 hashtag.

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Pork knuckles, or ham hocks as they’re more widely known on this side of the pond, aren’t given enough credit. They’re meatier and more flavorful than they look, and one of my favorite cuts for making soups and stews.

This recipe makes a big pot of soup, but that’s okay, because it’s even better on day two. I actually made it late last week, dumped it into gallon-sized ziplocs and took it with us last weekend for a quick, easy in-room meal at the hotel. It was warm, hearty and filling — perfect for the cold outside — but not too heavy, which we appreciated when we jumped back in the pool and on the waterslides minutes after eating. Continue reading “Pork Knuckle Soup”

Piperade Eggplant Boats

This post is part of a series celebrating diversity and bounty in the kitchen during the month of November. I’ll be posting a new recipe every day for 30 days. Subscribe to receive email updates on the project in the sidebar on the post page here, or follow along on Instagram at @dianaprichard and the #Feast30 hashtag.

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Across the pond they call eggplants aubergines, which is also synonymous with the color purple, but here in America eggplants originally got their name when the smaller, white, egg-shaped fruits were the most popular variety. Now, those type are usually the forté of small farms and niche farmer’s markets and the big, aubergine-skinned type are what most everyone thinks of when you say “eggplant.” They’re also the type I used for this recipe. Continue reading “Piperade Eggplant Boats”

On The Brown Bits: Pork Stock Recipe

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If there’s anything Americans are good at, it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. An excellent example of this, I think, are the brown bits that collect at the bottom of the pan when you put a good sear on a hunk of meat. I can only assume this came about when we decided we didn’t like the French and British. No one on the other side of the pond seems to have forgotten how to use the brown bits. Sure, some of them are better at it than others, but the complete eschewing of all that flavor appears to be a distinctly American tradition, lost somewhere at the bottom of the harbor with proper tea and a fascination with Pippa Middleton’s backside. Continue reading “On The Brown Bits: Pork Stock Recipe”

On Strawberry Jam & Tomcats + Sourdough Bacon Sandwiches, Two Ways

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My Mother was never much of a canner, from where I got the gene that urges me to put things by we have to go back another generation. When I started my first garden she stopped by one day mid-summer to see it. “Yup,” she nodded approvingly, “your tomatoes are on track. Poopsie always said they ought to be in full production the first week of August.” When she was a kid my Grandpa would load all the kids in the car on that first weekend in August and drop them off at the Ox Roast in town, the local festival that still takes place today, and then head back to the farmhouse to put up the garden’s bounty. I don’t know what else he canned, I’m certain there were things other than tomatoes, but I don’t remember specifics. My Mother was among the youngest of twelve children and was twenty-seven by the time I was born so by the time I was old enough to care much about things like gardening and canning and cooking Poopsie was gone. Continue reading “On Strawberry Jam & Tomcats + Sourdough Bacon Sandwiches, Two Ways”

Sweet Soyaki Beef + Orange-Ginger Rice

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I usually try not to share recipes that depend on a certain brandname ingredient. I think it’s kind of silly. As far as I’m concerned, the best food has always and will always be brand-less — well-raised, tender and flavorful meat; fresh fruits and vegetables; potent spices. That said, I’m an American in the year 2015; there are store-bought sauces in my kitchen, and depending on which sauce we’re talking about there are either proprietary recipes and/or quality issues at play with each one. In this case, Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce is where it’s at.

Normally, I use Soyaki sauce for making jerky. Thinly slice a roast, marinate it in the stuff overnight and dehydrate — it’s delicious — but yesterday I was craving P.F. Chang’s Orange Peel Beef, and had an unopened bottle in the pantry; it was perfect in the sauce.

Enjoy! We certainly did.

Sweet Soyaki Beef + Orange-Ginger Rice

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

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Serves: 4

Citrus-sweet stir-fried flank steak with a little kick, inspired by P.F. Chang's Orange Peel Beef.
Ingredients

  • Beef
  • 1 lb Flank Steak, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable Oil
    Marinade
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Red Pepper
    Sauce
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 4-8 dried chiles de árbol (or similar small, dried chiles)
  • ¼ cup Golden Raisins
  • 1 TBSP Cornstarch
  • Peel of 1 Orange, finely grated
    Rice
  • 1 cup Dry Rice
  • 1½ cup Water
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Pat Butter
  • ½ cup Orange Juice
  • ½ tsp Ground Ginger
Instructions
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients and pour over flank steak in a shallow dish. Allow to marinade at least 4 hours.
  2. Combine rice, water, salt and butter in a pot. Bring to a boil stirring to distribute butter once melted. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer. When rice has absorbed most of the water, dissolve ginger in orange juice and mix through. Remove from heat, leave covered and allow the rice to finish absorbing the liquid in the pan.
  3. Combine first five ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil in a small sauce pot over med-high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a couple "glugs" of vegetable oil over high heat in a shallow frying pan. Once hot, add beef to oil -- if hot enough, the oil should pop and crackle when you put the beef in the pan - and fry, turning halfway through, until the outside of the beef develops a dark, crunchy layer. Remove from oil and set aside.
  5. When the sauce begins to boil, remove ⅓ cup from the pan and mix thoroughly with cornstarch in a small dish. Reduce heat under sauce pan and slowly pour the cornstarch mixture back into the sauce, stirring constantly. Once thickened, add beef and grated orange peel to the sauce, mixing well. Allow to simmer five to ten minutes.
  6. Serve beef and sauce over rice; garnish with additional orange peel and sliced scallions.