Monday, December 24, 2012

Roasted Pork Loin with Fig-Port Sauce, Carrots, Potatoes, and Parsnips

It's Christmas Eve folks, and for the first time in my 24 (almost 25) years of life I won't be spending it with my family. The restaurant schedule (and more importantly plane ticket prices) didn't really allow for a trip home to Chicago this year. Thankfully I was able to make it back for Thanksgiving—albeit I was there for only 23 hours—and was able to see most of my family and friends back home. This year I've been adopted by a college friend and her family nearby. It'll be interesting to see how others celebrate the day outside of the Hutcherson household. Our Christmas table is fairly similar to our Thanksgiving one (turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, dressing, etc.). I've been told that there's always a mix of Jamaican and traditional American food at my friend's family gatherings, and I'm definitely looking forward to try the curried goat she speaks of. No matter what you're used to eating at your Christmas gatherings, I encourage you to bring this bad boy to the table should you want to break tradition (or really anytime you want to impress someone with your culinary skills). The pork, when cooked to the right temperature and then allowed to rest, is juicily divine on its own; however, the addition of the fig-port sauce definitely takes it over the top. PLUS you get to play with fire AND cook with booze. #Winning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Steak with Red Wine Reduction and Lima Beans

Mmm...meat. You all know how much I love it. Yes, there's a million different ways to prepare it, but a simply cooked steak is superb. The complexity is taken up slightly by the reduced red wine. Depending on which grape you choose to use, the sauce can be smokey, spicy, fruity, bold, smooth, or whatever other flavor and characteristics the wine embodies. It's almost like a choose-your-own-adventure book (remember those?!). This was back when I still had duck fat, so I had no other option but to use it to sear the steak. And here the beef is served with lima beans, serving as both a vegetable and a pseudo-starch.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

It's cookie swap time! The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap has once again reared its sugary head as hundreds of batches of delicious treats were sent around the country (and world, if I'm not mistaken) to hungry foodies everywhere. PLUS we helped raise money to support Cookies for Kids' Cancer through each blogger's donation/purchase of OXO's "Good Cookie" Spatula.

This year I wanted to send The Food Poet, MarocMama, and Chopsticks and Measuring Cups something fairly straightforward, but still delicious. Into my mind popped the idea of a shortbread cookie. I thought I would switch things up by using brown sugar instead of regular, granulated sugar, and also threw in some freshly grated nutmeg for an extra touch of Christmas. Most recipes that have brown sugar listed as an ingredient intend for you to use light brown sugar as opposed to dark brown sugar—the difference between the two being the amount of molasses. Well I say, "Bring on the molasses!" and prefer dark brown sugar, but whatever you have on hand will do.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Banana-Cocoa Oatmeal

A brief synopsis of a conversation I had with a friend a couple of years ago:

Friend: "Hey, who wants to help me drive from D.C. to Houston to move my stuff for med school?"