Juicy, tender pork chops oh my yes. I usually have a tough time with pork chops, I really am not their biggest fan so I put this one off for awhile. Then I found these beautiful butterflied pork loin chops on sale. The time to make a pork chop I actually enjoyed was now. In the game pork chops are made with salt, pork chops, and cauliflower. The first thing that came to mind was to do a brine. I hear so many good things about doing a brine before grilling. I have now learned that these things are completely true. Wow! I loved this pork chop. I will be doing brined pork chops from now on. It was juicy, flavourful, and well…tastylicious! I never thought I would say that about a pork chop. These pork chops also displayed what I think are the prettiest grill mark lines I have ever seen my husband do. Was it the magic of the brine or was it the awesomeness of husband….only the grill knows what happened out there. It is not talking.
- 2 centre loin butterflied pork chops about 4 ounces each
- 2 cup water
- 2 tbl kosher salt
- 2 tbl brown sugar
- 1 tbl molasses
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 long peppercorn or half tsp peppercorns
- 2 cup ice cubes
- 2 cup cauliflower
- 2 tbl margarine
- 4 tbl chicken stock (added slowly to achieve desired texture)
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the water, salt, sugar, molasses, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorn in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the burner and add ice cubes.
- Once the brine is cool, place the pork chops in a bowl and pour the brine over them. Refrigerate for atleast 2 hours but no more than 12 hours.
- Preheat the grill to high then reduce to medium. Oil the grill and remove the chops from the brine placing them on the grill. Discard brine. Allow to sear for two minutes on each side. Then cook on each side for 3 minutes.
- While the chops are cooking bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes or less. Drain. Add the margarine and rosemary and smash. If you want a smoother texture slowly add chicken stock 1 tbl at a time while you mash. Season to taste.
Serves 2. Each serving contains 281 calories, 10.2 grams fat, 8.4 grams carbs, 2.5 grams fibre, and 37.2 grams protein. Oh what tasty happiness these pork chops with a side of rosemary cauliflower be. On a side note, rosemary mashed potatoes are tasty with this too, for those not fond of cauliflower.
Psst, want to know what long peppercorns look like…
They have a bit more of a woodsy and spicier taste than your usual peppercorn. They are a lot of fun to work with. If you see some, acquire!! You can usually find them in Indian grocery stores. You often see them in pickles, Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. Err….I mean….from just beyond the shire ofcourse.
Another one of my favourite ways to enjoy pork. Our trip to Vancouver to once again enjoy a tonkatsu japadog just won’t come fast enough so I had to make some here at home. So nummy, so easy, and really not that bad for you. Avoiding the deep frying really does that. I also modified the breading so that we get more fibre out of it. It’s been so busy and hectic over here, with japanese being my comfort food I guess it comes as no surprise that here is another japanese style recipe to share. Hehe. I love the crunch of this dish, it tastes and sounds like naughty! Being a huge ketchup lover that tonkatsu sauce is nothing but epic win for me.
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 3 tsp dry sherry
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 12 oz pork tenderloin chops or stirfry strips (I went with the strips)
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup potato flakes
- Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the panko and potato flakes in a plastic bag.
- Add the chops or pork strips to the bag and shake to coat.
- Arrange the coated pork on a baking sheet and bake at 450F for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with a drizzle of the sauce you made.
Serves 4. Each serving contains 244 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 13.9 grams carbs, 2.4 grams fibre, 26.2 grams protein. Great on a nice sticky rice or shredded cabbage.
It’s time to work on our rep! In LOTRO cooks that are a part of the guild prepare certain recipes that help them earn a reputation as a scrumptious cook. Ok maybe not scrumptious but it is rep all the same. One of those recipes is the large supreme repast. Wow….that was a potential typo of doom. The game says this meal is made of pork, spiced potatoes, mint sauce, mixed herbs, mixed spice. As luck would have it I had just visited a local epicurean spice store that is sadly closing it’s doors. This means ofcourse I picked up all sorts of fun spices to play with for unbelievable prices…and play with them I shall. I absolutely had to use the juniper first! It called to me, it told me to do things. Tasty things. Shall we?
- 1 tbl dried juniper berries
- 2 cloves garlic
- 12 black peppercorns
- 1 tbl smoked sea salt
- 9 oz red potatoes, wedges
- 8 oz pork tenderloin
- 1 tbl dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- butter cooking spray
- Hardcore Hobbit Mint Sauce
- Grind the juniper berries, 1 clove of garlic, smoked salt, and peppercorns together. Rub the mixture to coat the outside of the pork tenderloin. Allow to sit for atleast 1 hour.
- Boil the potato wedges for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender but not too tender.
- In a separate bowl, press the garlic and add the parsley, oregano and pepper flakes. Add some salt and pepper if desired. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Pour the potatoes onto a baking sheet and spray with butter spray.
- Heat the oven to 425F. Cook the potatoes for 35-40 minutes.
- Heat a skillet to medium high. Add the pork tenderloin. Sear on all sides for 2 minutes. Move the pork tenderloin to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve topped with a drizzle of mint sauce and potatoes on the side.
Serves 2. Each serving contains 324 calories, 9.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of fibre, 36 grams of protein and 21.3 grams of carbs. Great served with a side of steamed asparagus to complete the dish. I have to say I am totally in love with the way juniper goes with pork. So floral and woodsy at the same time! Perfect for a hobbit dish. I must explore this spice more.
So, in the game roast pork is made from pork, onion and butter. The item is described as being “cooked simply”. Well hmmm, that leaves far too much wiggle room. So I sat down and asked…wwhd…what would hobbits do? hehe. The answer was obvious really. Stuff it with mushrooms ofcourse! I love stuffed pork tenderloin. Lovely organic mushrooms were even on sale this week. So, I sent my husband out on a mission of mushroom retrieval and began plotting. The end result was delicious!
- 1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 150 grams crimini mushrooms
- 2 tbl yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 tbl dry sherry
- 1 tbl chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp light butter or butter flavoured cooking spray
- 12 ounces pork tenderloin
- salt and pepper
- Slice the pork lengthwise but not all the way through, open it up, cover with plastic and pound flat. I find 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thickness works best for me.
- Puree the olive oil, mushrooms, onion, garlic, sherry, and a bit of salt and pepper together until you get a smooth almost mousse like consistency.
- Fill the center of the pounded pork with the mushroom filling and roll closed. Bind it closed using either cooking twine or toothpicks.
- Melt the butter and brush on the tenderloin or spray with butter flavoured cooking spray. Season by sprinkling with salt, pepper, and chopped basil.
- Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Allow to rest for atleast 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serves 4. Each serving contains 215 calories, 9.6 grams of fat, and 2.6 grams of fibre. Calculated using light butter although this time I used cooking spray. I served this with a lovely butter lettuce salad. A side note this mushroom mousse recipe of mine was originally used to fill homemade ravioli. So delicious! If you are also a home pasta maker I definitely recommend this as a filling. My original recipe for the pasta filling though was half baby bella and half shitaake. Either way is very tasty.
I hummed and ha’d over this dish for a long time. Originally, I had wanted to make my own pork sausage…but then I realized that wouldn’t really be true to the game. We buy the pork sausage from the vendor. So, in real life I also bought the pork sausage. I found a really nice low fat one made by president’s choice. In the game pork sausage is made with spiced potatoes and (the real shocker) pork sausage. So, I concentrated on making some fun spiced potatoes on the side and served this with a tasty curry mayo (combine a bit of curry dip mix with a tbl of light mayo, very nummy with pork sausage). I know, it’s a bit racy to post a pork sausage on valentines day but…well…it makes me giggle and we all need a good giggle sometimes.
- Low fat pork sausage of choice
- 2 large red potatoes, cubed (I like to leave the skins on)
- 1 tbl dried parsley
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Curry mayo *optional, refer to the recipe intro
- Combine the parsley, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion, salt and pepper in a container. Add the cubed potatoes and shake to coat.
- Remove the potatoes and onions from the container and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 450F for 30 minutes.
- Score the top of the pork sausage. Prepare the sausage according to directions. I pan fried mine since it seemed to capture the “fried to perfection” essence of the recipe.
Serves 2. Since the pork sausage would vary according to the brand you bought I’ll just give the nutritional info for the potatoes. Each serving contains 318 calories, 2.2 grams of fat, and 8.9 grams of fibre. This is a really generous portion, you could probably feed four folks with it but I was really in a potato mood that night.
Are you an Elven soldier on the go? No? How about a person of nerdy repute that loves to make hardcore hobbit recipes? Me too! Hehe. This time I tackled the Galadhrim Ration from LOTRO. The game tells me this contains a ball of dough, royal tater, and beef. The ball of dough is an ingredient recipe that contains water and winter barley flour. Well, to me all these things make me think of a stuffed meat bun that is inspired by a tortiere (o.k. maybe that last bit is my canadian nature shining through). Especially the bit about it being for elven soldiers on a battle field…a pie might not be practical, buns it is! Hehe buns…
- 2 cup flour
- 1 tbl brown sugar, unpacked
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 tbl light cooking margarine
- 1 cup pureed cooked sweet potato
- 1/3 cup water
- 8 oz extra lean ground beef
- 8 oz ground pork
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1 tbl poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbl red wine
- 1 pkg oxo beef (optional)
- Prepare the dough according to the hard biscuit directions Here. This dough is just a slight variation on that recipe. It works so well!
- To prepare the filling spray and heat a pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add beef and pork. Brown and drain any fat.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce the sauce by half.
- Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut 16 rounds using a large round biscuit cutter. Fill each round with 1-2 tbl of filling. Pull up the side of the dough to form the bun and cover the filling. It’s ok if some of the meat ends up in your dough. I think it looks rustic. Ofcourse thats my excuse for most mistakes…it’s rustic!!!
- Bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Makes 16 buns. Each bun contains 160 calories, 6.6 grams fat, and 1 gram of fibre.
If you want to make this into a pie instead just spoon the filling into a pie plate and cover with the dough. Fold over the excess to create a raised edge. Bake 425F for 25-30 minutes.
Nummy for the Elven soldier not on the go.
One pie divided into 8 portions is 319 calories, 13 grams fat, and 2 grams fibre per serving. The pie version of this was so tasty that my personal hungry soldier (well, sailor really) ate the majority of the pie throughout the evening. I count that as an epic win considering my husband hates sweet potato.
I have found that for some reason when a pork tenderloin comes out around here it tends to automatically go asian. Well that just isn’t fair to the rest of the world now is it? Well, sure we didn’t go far with this one since caraway is considered to be arabic in orgin but its a step right? Afterall, it did later spread throughout Europe. In fact it was once used an aphrodisiac in them thar parts. Sounds like a tasty way to a lovers heart to me! Such a nice and simple way too.
- 3 tbl horseradish dijon mustard
- 4 tbl rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 lb pork tenderloin
- Combine all the ingredients and allow to marinade for atleast 4 hours.
- Remove pork from marinade. Sear in a medium pan on all sides. Transfer to a 400F oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Did I not tell you it was going to be simple? This serves four. Each serving contains 218 calories, 9.2 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fibre. This is great with a butter lettuce and radicchio salad.
Posted in Dinner
This weekend I needed a tasty simple lunch…and since its fall weather out there it needs to be warm. So I whipped this together. It’s based on something my uncle used to make while babysitting my sisters and I all those years ago. A delicious and comforting dish that can be made with any cold cuts really. So quick it doesn’t leave the raid waiting too long for its healer hehe. While it is a fast healthy alternative to fast food I would still classify this as a lunch to be indulged in only on occasion as it still has quite a bit of fat in it.
- 1 mini bagel
- cooking spray
- 2 oz extra lean ham cold cuts
- 10 grams parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 tbl tzatziki
- lettuce leaf
- Cut the bagel in half and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place under broiler until lightly toasted.
- Top the toasted bagel half with equal portions of ham and cheese. Place under the broiler again until the cheese melts and browns.
- Gently remove the meat and cheese, it tends to move as one unit for me, top the bagel with tzatziki and lettuce. Replace the meat and cheese on top of the lettuce. Serve!
I suggest serving this with a couple of dill pickles to complete that deli sandwich num! This dish serves one. It contains 235 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fibre. Like I said the fat is not fabulous to lower it even further I suggest experimenting with other lower milk fat cheeses and lean chicken cold cuts. Also a very tasty toasty. Great for gaming on a rainy day. Enjoy!
At some point on this island everyone comes across Little Qualicum Cheeseworks (http://www.cheeseworks.ca/). This includes my local farmers market. They have such tasty different cheeses (including those naughty naughty cheese curds) I just had to pick something up and do something with it. The cheese of choice this week was their berry fromage frais. So creamy, so fruity, so healthy! If you aren’t as lucky as I am you can easily substitute some berries and goatcheese in this recipe. I have done this both ways and found it delicious each time.
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
- 3 tbl berry fromage frais (or goatcheese blended with 1 tsp of berry preserves)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- butter flavoured cooking spray
- twine or toothpicks
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Slice the tenderloin in half lengthwise but not all the way through. Leave about 1/2″ on the bottom. Place the pork on a cutting board and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Pound to 1/2″ thickness using a meat mallet or in my case since I don’t have a meat mallet…that really heavy can of beans.
- Spoon the fromage frais down the center of the pork. Make sure you leave about 1/2″ margin around the outside edges. Roll up the pork from the long side like you would a jelly roll. Secure the pork closed using either twine or toothpicks. My twine ran away never to be seen again so I used toothpicks:No matter how tempting do not try to pretend this is an alien bursting out of your stomach. It ruins all that hard work…not that I tried it..noooo.
- Place the pork on a foil lined baking pan. Spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
- Bake at 450F for 25 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes, remove the toothpicks, cut into twelve slices and serve!
Makes four servings of 3 slices. Each serving contains 215 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, and 2.2 grams of fibre. This can be a tasty special occasion dish or just a haha look at my leet skillz dish for when you have company. Goodtimes.
Posted in Dinner
Tagged Cheese, Pork
This is not so much a recipe but a new idea I’ve been seeing around. I don’t remember where I first saw this sadly but I’m starting to see it more and more. It quite simply the exclusion of the top bun, it cuts those bun calories and fat in half of course and to me it seems to be a more elegant burger as a result.
I feel like it opens up a whole new world to topping the burger. A much prettier world indeed, rather than just mushing the toppings under a bun. Like a burger crostini perhaps? I’m pretty boring usually about my prefered toppings, ketchup, mayo, maybe a bit of mustard and relish if I’m feeling squirrely. No wonder I was hiding it under a bun. For these burgers I blended ground pork, extra lean ground beef, onions, beef oxo and montreal steak spice. The buns were toasted with a bit of margarine, garlic, pepper, and italian seasonings. The top was just a few slices of avocado sprinkled with lime, some minced dill garlic pickle, and a dollop of sweet heat mustard. The colours were awesome and the burgers were delicious!! I’m definitely a convert to this fancier way of getting my burger on. I look forward to getting more creative and decorative with the toppings too. Another great side effect? We only needed two buns to feed the both of us instead of four. Elegant and money saving? Epic win!