Monday, January 31, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Biscuits and Gravy

Okay, this is kind of a cholesterol bomb...but this was one of my favorite breakfasts at John Hudspeth's long-gone Bridge Creek Restaurant in Berkeley.  Marion Cunningham was a friend of Hudspeth's and the menu and recipe consultant at Bridge Creek.  She included recipes for many of the dishes served there (including this one) in her The Breakfast Book cookbook. So I made breakfast for dinner.

Cream Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Slowly add the cream while stirring with a wooden spoon.  Once all the cream has been added, mix with your fingers until the dough comes together.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.  Pat into a square about 1/2 inch thick.  But into 12 squares.  Dip each square into the melted butter and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for about 15 minutes until nicely browned.

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Cream Gravy

1 pork tenderloin cut into twelve 3/4 inch thick medallions
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
3 T bacon fat

Blend together the flour and salt and pepper.  Melt the bacon fat in a 10-inch skillet.  Dredge the pork medallions in the flour, shaking off the excess.  When the fat is hot, add the pork.  Brown on both sides then turn down the heat and cook gently until cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a heated plate and keep warm while making the gravy.

For the Gravy
1/4 cup bacon fat
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 cups half-and-half

Add the bacon fat to the fat left in the skillet used to cook the pork.  Scrape up the browned bits.  Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly to keep the flour from burning.  When the flour is nicely browned, slowly add the half-and-half.  Cook over low heat until the gravy is smooth and thickened.  Serve with the biscuits and pork medallions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Seared Scallops on Celery Root Puree

This comes from a recipe in Barbara Lynch's Stir cookbook.  I was cooking for the three of us, so I seared the scallops in two batches.  I plated the first batch for Tess and Lisa. Before the second batch was done, they were sitting behind empty plates with big smiles on their faces.

1 pound sea scallops, muscle removed
1 tsp sea salt
2 small celery roots ( 1/2 pound) peeled and roughly chopped.
1 cup whole milk
3 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup panko
2 T vegetable oil
1 T chopped chives

Toss the scallops with the sea salt, rinse, then pat dry.

Cook the celery root in the milk until tender, about 20 minutes.  Pass the celery root through a strainer and combine with the milk.  Whisk in 1 1/2 T butter and 1 tsp kosher salt.  Keep warm.

Melt 2 T butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the panko and stir, coating the panko evenly with the butter.  Fry until nicely browned.  Transfer to a bowl.

Sear the scallops in two batches.  Warm a plate.  Heat 1 T vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Place half the scallops in the skillet and cook undisturbed until brown and carmelized, about 2 minutes.  Turn, and cook another minute or so.  Transfer to the warmed plate and cook the second batch.

Spoon the celery root puree onto four plates.  Top with the scallops, then sprinkle on the panko.  Top with chives and serve.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Potato Sopes with Salsa, Greens and Queso Añejo

This is a Rick Bayless recipe from his Mexico One Plate At Time cookbook.  The potato in the masa dough make the sopes taste kind of like thick potato chips––really good potato chips.  I topped them with some bay lettuce leaves and red chile-tomatillo salsa.  These little guys are incredibly tasty.  The recipe can be found here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mock Porchetta

For Christmas dinner this year, I roasted a couple of whole, boned pork shoulders using Judy Rogers' Mock Porchetta recipe in her The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.  I froze the leftovers, and inspired by the Porchetta Sandwich I had at Salumi Artisan Cured Meats in Seattle this past summer, I slow cooked a hunk of the leftover meat in a bit of chicken stock with carrots and celery.  The result was meltingly tender pork with which I stuffed Village Bakery rolls.  A side of boiled Kale made for a satisfying dinner on a cold winter night.

Mock Porchetta (adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook):

3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and dried
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
12 sage leaves, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1-1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 pounds of prepared vegetables: potatoes, carrots, garlic, etc., cut into chunks
olive oil
2/3 cup chicken stock

Trim, season and tie up the pork (1 to 3 days in advance):

Trim off all but 1/4" of the fat from the pork.  Locate a long seam between the muscles of the pork.  Using a small sharp knife, separate the muscles along the seam exposing more seams as you go.  Continue until you have butterflied the pork.  Salt the pork evenly using about 1-1/2 tsp salt.

Combine the capers, lemon zest, sage, rosemary, fennel and black pepper.  Sprinkle this mixture all over the exposed face of the pork making sure to stuff it into any of the nooks and crannies you have created.  Reform the pork into a roast and tie up the roast.  Use 4 or 5 strings to close the roast and another couple around the length of the roast.  Rub any remaining herbs on the outside of the roast.  Cover the pork and loosely refrigerate so that it dries out a bit.

Roasting the porchetta:

Preheat the oven to 350 °.  Remove the pork roast from the refrigerator.  The colder the roast is, the longer it will take to cook.

Toss the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss again.

Heat an ovenproof skillet large enough to barely contain the vegetables and the pork.  When very hot, add the pork roast.  Surround with vegetables and place in the oven.  After one hour, turn the roast over and roll the vegetables around in the rendered fat.  Repeat after another hour and add 1/3 cup chicken stock.  Roast until the internal temperature reaches 185°.

Transfer the roast to a plate and tent with foil.  Let rest at least 15 minutes before carving.