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Monday, November 26, 2012

Thai Corn Chowder with Shredded Turkey

Recipe from Simmering Soups and Stews Class, November 2012, at Topeka Hy-Vee.

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil
1 tsp. cumin
2-3 tsp. red curry paste
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into thirds
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups of corn
14 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
2-3 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cans light coconut milk, 14 oz. each
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Juice and zest from 1 lime

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, heat olive oil and stir in cumin and curry paste; cook for one minute, stirring constantly, to infuse the oil with the spices.  Add the onion; cook and stir often for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, and cook another minute.  Add the corn, tomatoes and broth; cover and bring to a high simmer.  Add coconut milk and shredded turkey; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer soup gently for 20-30 minutes, taking care not to let it boil.  Just before serving, add cilantro, lime juice and zest; adjust salt and pepper, if needed.  Remove lemon grass stalks before serving.  Serves 6
Nutrition Facts:  195 calories, 8 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 15 g carb, 1.5 g fiber, 17 g protein
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Autumn Sangria

The amount of ginger ale you use is up to you, depending on how strong you want the drinks.  I generally buy six pack cans or bottles and use as needed, so any leftover will store without going flat.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ vanilla bean
2 whole star anise
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 (7-ounce) packages mixed dried fruit
2 (750 ml) bottles red wine
Ginger ale

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat, drop in the vanilla bean, star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Cover and leave to infuse and cool.  When cool, pour the syrup and the spices into a jar, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.  The spiced syrup will keep for a week.

The night before you want to serve your sangria, put the dried fruit into a large pitcher and pour over the wine.  Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Up to four hours before serving the sangria, strain the spices from the syrup and stir the spiced syrup into the fruit and wine. 

Serve over lots of ice in tall glasses, topped with ginger ale.  I’d say about 2/3 sangria mixture to 1/3 ginger ale.  You can add ginger ale to the pitcher, but if it is not large enough, mix the drinks in glasses as you serve.  Drop a few pieces of the dried fruit in each glass to garnish.

Easily serves 12, but will stretch to serve more
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Cran-Apple Butter

This recipe was recently featured in our Canning Class, All Things Apple, taught by KSU Extension Staff, Cindy Evans and Karen Blakeslee.  Cindy gave me a big, fat jar of this yummy stuff to take home for my family - I ate the WHOLE thing with a SPOON the next day - it's delicious!   I am anxious to make this to give as holiday gifts this season. 

6 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and chopped
8 cups cranberry juice cocktail
4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt (the original recipe did not call for this)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (the original recipe did not call for this)

1.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apples and cranberry juice cocktail.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Using a potato masher, crush softened apples just until a uniform texture is achieved.  (Original recipe says to transfer cooked apples in batches to a food mill or food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until a uniform texture is achieved, but do not liquefy.  My apples always softened enough after cooking 15-20 minutes that I was able to use the potato masher method,  making the perfect consistency!)

3.  In a clean large stainless steel saucepan or dutch oven, combine apple pureee, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat; boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds it shape on a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

4.  Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.

5.  Ladel hot apple butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot apple butter.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar; screw band down just until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight only.

6.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring water to a boil and process apple butter in jars for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes, remove jars from water, cool and store, making sure all jars seal properly. 

Makes about nine 8 oz. jars or four 5 pint jars. 

Now You're Cannin',
Chef Alli

Cranberry Apple Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa

1 tsp. grapeseed or canola oil

1 pork tenderloin, approx. 1 lb., seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

Cranberry apple chutney, recipe follow below

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooking directions follow

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until sizzling, then add tenderloin and brown off on all sides.  Remove from skillet and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast tenderloin, uncovered, in oven for approx. 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees at the center.  Cover tenderloin and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving into medallions.

Cranberry Apple Chutney
2 lbs. honey crisp apples (3-4 large), peeled and cored, cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup splenda or sugar
2 Tbs. maple syrup
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 ½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place apples in a large sauce pan with ¼ cup water, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, salt and cranberries; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until apples are tender and sauce is thickened.  Uncover pot and mash mixture just until pulpy; stir in lemon juice.

1 cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well

Bring water and orange juice to a boil in a large saucepan. Add quinoa, bring back to a boil and cover, cooking over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. 
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Simply Saucy Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

Recipe from
Prep Time: 20 minutes prep, Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes cook

4 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast, (untied), fat and silver skin trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 to 9 slices bacon
1 cup barbecue sauce, purchased

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Wrap bacon slices vertically around pork roast; do not overlap bacon. Tie lengthwise and crosswise with kitchen string to hold bacon in place; tuck loose ends of bacon under string. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, tucked-bacon side down.
  4. Roast on rack for 15 minutes. Turn pork over and reduce temperature to 350ºF and roast for 15 minutes. Remove rack and return pork to pan, tucked-end side up. Roast, turning occasionally until bacon is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145ºF, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Skim fat from pan juices, leaving browned juices in pan.
  6. Add barbecue sauce and preferred ingredient (*see below) and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring to loosen browned bits in pan; simmer 2 minutes.
  7. Remove strings, carve pork, and serve with sauce.

Serves 10 6-oz portions

*Preferred Ingredient

Savory: Whisk 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard into the sauce.

Spicy: Stir in 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos chilies (nacho slices), drained and finely chopped, into the sauce.

Fruity: Stir one 8.25-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, into the sauce.

Smoky: Stir in 1 or 2 minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo into the sauce.
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crown Roast of Pork: Tips for Choosing and Roasting

Crown Roast of Pork is truly one of the most magnificent of all holiday entrees, an absolute show-stopper for your family dinner.  Not only is it elegant, it's EASY to prepare and serve as long as you've got a little savvy know-how:

Choosing and Roasting a Crown Roast of Pork (CROP):

1.  Place your Order Ahead of Time for This Specialty Roast.
Make a visit to your butcher and specifically tell him that you want a CROP created from two complete rib racks, chine bones removed, bones 1 through 8 of each rack frenched, then both racks tied together to form a perfect, round crown.  You will then have 16 ribs, enabling you to serve 16 guests a beautiful piece of pork loin.

2.  Lose the Chill and Don't Forget the Beauty Rest.
When you are ready to prepare your CROP, be sure to remove it from refrigeration about an hour ahead of when you want it to go into the oven.  A full CROP typically weighs about 12 lbs., so it's a BIG hunk of meat.  Letting it set for that hour or so will allow the meat to lose it's chill and this beauty rest ensures that your CROP will cook not only a little quicker, but much more evenly as well. 

3.  Find a Seasoning Assistant.
When seasoning your CROP, it works best if you've got an extra set of hands available to help you with this process.  Place the crown on it's side on a large sheet of foil.  As one person holds and turns the roast, the other can work to get the seasonings down into all the crooks and crannies of the CROP to ensure even application and flavor. 

4.  Roast like a Pro.
Position the oven rack into the lower third of the oven, leaving about 2-3 inches of headspace between the CROP and the broiler element.  I like to crank my oven up to about 450 degrees F., place my CROP onto the rack and then turn my oven back down to 350 degrees - this really gets things cookin'!

5.  Use that Instant-Read Meat Thermometer!
After about 2 hours into the roasting process, begin taking the internal temperature of the CROP, checking in several places to be sure the meat is up to temperature throughout.  Insert the probe of the instant-read thermometer into the eye of the meat between the bones at the interior, checking for an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  (about 18 minutes per lb.)  When this area registers 145 degrees F, continue to roast the CROP an additional 20-25 minutes longer, then remove from the oven.

6.  CROP Carving
After removing the CROP from the oven, use two large spatulas to transfer to a large cutting board; tent CROP with foil and give an additional 20 minutes beauty rest. To carve, clip and discard the kitchen twin that holds the CROP in the crown shape, then slice down between the bones.  Serve with a drizzle of sauce over the top along side your favorite holiday side dishes. 

See?  It's easy and elegant - just like I promised!

Here's the recipe jlink for the Italian-Herbed Crown Roast of Pork that I presented on WIBW 13 News This Morning today:

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Italian-Herbed Crown Roast of Pork

As seen on WIBW 13 News This Morning, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012

Italian-Herbed Crown Roast of Pork
(Recipe for Chef Alli's Cranberry Walnut Dressing Follows Below)

Recipe from
Prep Time: 10 minutes prep, Cook Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes cook

Italian-Herbed Crown Roast and Pan Sauce:

1 16-rib pork rib crown roast, (about 8 pounds)
2 tablespoons dried Italian herb blend
Salt and pepper , to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry red wine, preferably Italian
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 to 6 pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the pork in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with the herb blend and generously season with salt and pepper. Roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F (check towards interior of crown), about 2 1/4 hours (about 18 minutes per pound).

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain roasting pan and discard liquids; place pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add broth and wine. Bring to boil; cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid reduces to 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Reduce to simmer; add butter, stirring until butter melts. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; cook until sauce thickens, just a few seconds. Remove from heat; whisk until smooth. Strain if you like; season with salt and pepper.

Slice the roast. Serve with the pan sauce on the side.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrition per serving (Serving is 1 rib/chop and pan sauce)

Serving Suggestions:
Feel free to change up the pan sauce by using white wine instead of red. You can also swap the Italian herbs for your favorite dried herb blend.
Serve with
Sausage and Parmesan Dressing.

Nutrition:Calories: 370 calories
Protein: 61 grams
Fat: 15 grams
Sodium: 320 milligrams
Cholesterol: 125 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Chef Alli’s Cranberry Walnut Dressing

½ cup unsalted butter
1 Tbs. dried parsley
¾ tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 lb. cubed bread or cornbread, dried or toasted
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups strong chicken broth, divided use

In a large sauté pan over medium low heat, bloom spices for a few seconds, just until fragrant.  Add butter to saute pan and melt, stirring to incorporate with spices; add onions and celery and cook until tender, approx. 8-10 minutes.  Stir in raisins, cranberries, walnuts, and bread cubes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place dressing into greased baking dish; pour 2 cups broth over all and toss to incorporate. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, adding more chicken broth during baking time if needed. Remove cover during last 10 minutes of baking time.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bacon-Pork Chops with BBQ Glaze

Bacon-Pork Chops with BBQ Glaze

Recipe from

Prep Time: 5 minutes prep, Cook Time: 20 minutes cook

4 6-ounce boneless top loin pork chops, cut 1-inch thick
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 slices bacon, preferably maple-flavored
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/2 cup lager beer, (or non-alcoholic beer)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup chicken broth, reduced-sodium

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Season pork with salt. Wrap bacon around the edges of the pork and secure with a wooden toothpick. Mix together barbecue sauce and beer.

Heat oil in ovenproof large skillet over medium-high heat. Stand chops bacon side down in skillet, leaning against the side of pan if needed. Using tongs, in sequence, turn and stand chops along bacon-wrapped edges to lightly brown bacon, about 3 1/2 minutes (allow about 45 seconds to brown each section). Place chops, wide flat side down, in skillet and cook until underside is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Turn chops over. Spread equal amount of barbecue sauce mixture over top of each chop, letting excess run into skillet.

Place skillet with chops in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer each chop to a dinner plate and let stand while making sauce.

Meanwhile, pour out fat from skillet, leaving browned bits in skillet. Heat skillet over high heat until hot. Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Top each chop with a spoonful of sauce and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with roasted potato wedges or smashed sweet potatoes.

Nutrition per serving of pork and glaze.

Calories: 350 calories
Protein: 51 grams
Fat: 11 grams
Sodium: 1120 milligrams
Cholesterol: 130 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 7 grams

Tomato-Basil Cod

Tomato-Basil Cod

½ lb. cod fillets, rinsed and patted dry
½ Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 Tbs. fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 hydroponic tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs. aged parmesan cheese, freshly shaved

 In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, lemon zest, juice, basil, salt and pepper; cook until tomatoes are thickened and begin to form a sauce, approx. 5 minutes.  Season fish with pepper and push sauce to the side of the pan; place seasoned fillets into skillet and spoon a little of the sauce over the fish, cover pan with a lid (or foil) and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until the fillets are opaque in the center and flake easily with a fork, about 10-12 minutes.  Garnish with shaved Parmesan. 
Recipe provided by Hy-Vee Dietitian, Amber Groeling, 785-272-1763. 
Nutrition facts per serving:  190 calories, 6 g fat, 250 mg sodium, 3 g carb, 2 g fiber, 29 g protein.  Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Outrageously Addictive Caramelized Bacon

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Recipe – Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

Makes 15-20 hors d’oeuvres
½ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
½ lb. thick-sliced smoked bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with foil and place a wire baking rack over the top. 

Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor bowl and process until pecans are finely ground.  Add the salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and pulse just until combined.  Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs. 

Cut bacon strips in half crosswise and line up across the baking rack, making sure pieces don’t touch each other.  Using a small spoon or your fingers, evenly spread the prepared pecan mixture over the top of each piece of bacon, using all the mixture .  Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, on center rack of oven, until the topping is very browned, but not burnt.  (If bacon is underbaked, it won’t be crispy as it cools.)

While bacon is still hot, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool.  Serve at room temperature.