Mother’s Day Feast: Buttermilk Brined Chicken and Panzanella

Panzanella salad with buttermilk brined grilled chickenContinuing what I’m hoping will become a tradition, we hosted Mother’s Day at our house for the second year in a row.  We had last year’s weather in mind while planning the menu: Buttermilk Brined Chicken grilled on the barbeque, Italian Panzanella, potato salad, grilled asparagus, all topped off with carrot cake for dessert (whew!).  Continue reading

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Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing and Croutons

Do you buy salad dressing at the grocery store? Stop! Making your own is so easy and tastes so much better, once you start you’ll never look back. Plus, you’ll know what goes into it and you can easily adjust seasonings and fat levels to your liking. I previously posted a delicious oil and vinegar dressing that works in any fall salad over here, but what about classic Caesar dressing? It took a while before I attempted it because I was intimidated by the whole raw egg thing, not to mention anchovies (yuck). Continue reading

What to Eat Now: Apples!

I’ve posted a couple of desserts with apples recently (Groundcherry-Apple Pie with Red Fife Crust and Strawberry Apple Crisp) but apples can be used for so much more than dessert.  For last night’s dinner, we incorporated apples into sauce for pork chops as well as in the salad.  I love fruit in salads!

Fall is a great time of year to make salads heartier and play with unexpected ingredients – this one I topped with walnuts, dried cranberries and some amazing local cheese from Back Forty Artisan Cheese.  Their cheese is made by hand using heritage cheese making methods.  The one I used for this salad was called Bonnechere (love how they even used Ottawa Valley history to name the cheese!).  It has a colourful rind, creamy texture and sightly smoky taste that I thought worked perfectly in this salad.  Another trick I use for Fall salads is to mix different varieties of greens, including heartier greens generally reserved for cooking.  Adding a couple of leaves of rainbow chard helps the body of the salad stand up to the more rugged toppings.

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

1 tbsp butter
1 small onion
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1/4 cup white wine (I used Trumpour’s Mill Pinot Gris – the flavour was perfect)
2 pork chops, bone-in (about 1 inch thick)
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Directions

1. Heat broiler to high; set rack 4 inches from heat. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until onions are soft, about 5 minutes more.

2. Add apples and wine; cover, and cook until apples are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and apples are tender, 2 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

3. While apples are cooking, season pork chops generously with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side (less if your chops are thinner).


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Harvest Salad

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground salt and pepper
6 large romaine lettuce leaves
2 large leaves of chard, spinach or other hearty green
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Macintosh apple, diced
chopped walnuts
dried cranberries
small amount of local cheese

Directions

1. Whisk olive oil, cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2. Tear lettuce and chard into bite size pieces in large bowl.  Add tomatoes, apple, onions. Pour in dressing and toss to combine.

Dressing from Martha Stewart

To serve:

Pile salad on serving plates and top with walnuts, cranberries and crumbled/sliced local cheese.  Spoon apple-onion mixture over pork chops.

Serves 2.