PRINT this recipe

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly and PDF

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stuffed Pork Loin with Fig Jam and Bread Crumbs

Ingredients for pork loin stuffing: Seasonings, bread crumbs, Dijon Mustard and Fig Jam
I'd been wanting to post this recipe for several months, ever since I resurrected a recipe for home-made Fig Jam made with balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions.  I made a stuffed pork loin in the Fall but never got around to taking decent photos or posting the recipe.  Then life got in the way and the opportunity to make this dish hadn't presented itself until now.    

The recipe is fairly easy, and this step-by step photo technique should illuminate how you open up a roast to butterfly it, stuff it, roll it, truss it and roast it!

Bread crumb mixture w/seasonings, mustard, fig jam and garlic
Stuffed Pork Loin with Fig Jam and Bread Crumbs Ingredients:  

  • 1 Pork Loin - about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 1 Cup Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes (or 1/4 cup fresh & minced)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Minced Onions
  • 1 Teaspoon Celery Seed
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Fig Jam
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper - for seasoning
  • Kosher Salt - for seasoning
  • Olive Oil - for drizzling
  • Butcher's Twine
  • Sheet Tray or Roasting Pan
  • Aluminum Foil or Parchment paper
  • Pork Loin - needing a trim

  1. Preheat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet tray or baking pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, minced garlic, parsley, thyme, onion flakes, celery seed, Dijon Mustard, Fig Jam and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  Whisk to combine and turn the dry mixture into a wet mixture that holds together.  Set aside. If the mixture is too dry, add in a bit more mustard and fig jam, a tablespoon at a time.  You can also add in a tablespoon of olive oil to get the mixture to be more moist.
  3. On a cutting board, trim away the fat and silver skin from the pork loin, before opening up the loin to butterfly it. Once the pork loin is trimmed of excess fat and membranes, make a slit through the center and begin opening up the loin like a book, cutting to the left and right of the meat but not cutting all the way through it.  Open up the meat until the round log-like loin is now longer and flattened.
  4. Season the interior of the butterflied pork loin with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  Fill the inside with the breadcrumb mixture, spreading it evenly inside the butterflied pork loin. 
  5. Roll the loin back up into a log, and use butcher's twine to secure the pork loin, trussing it to keep the meat together and the filling mixture inside.
  6. Place the stuffed pork loin onto the prepared baking tray/pan. Season the outside of the pork loin with Kosher Salt and more Freshly Ground Black Pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Put the pork loin into the preheated oven and roast, for one hour to an hour and a half (approximately)
  7. Check the interior temperature of the pork loin with an instant read thermometer reaches 150 degrees.  Take the pork loin out of oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let the roast rest for 10 minutes or longer before slicing.  
  8. Serve with additional fig jam, if you have it, or with applesauce!  Serves 4 people.  Will hold for up to 5 days, covered and refrigerated.

Trim away the fat and silver skin
Make an incision into the center of the loin, to open it up like a book
Butterflied pork loin, opened and ready to be stuffed before being rolled and tied
Breadcrumb stuffing mixture ready for its place inside the pork loin
Season with some Kosher Salt and Grinds of Fresh Pepper
Fill the opened pork loin with the breadcrumb mixture
All the cavity spaces are filled with the flavorful mixture
Just like making a savory jelly roll! Roll up the pork loin and tie it
Don't worry if you can't do a Butcher's Truss - just tie pieces of Butcher's twine around the pork loin to keep it in shape
Season the outside of the loin with Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper and a little bit of Olive Oil
Roast the pork loin for an hour and and a half , at 425, covering partially, then removing the cover to brown
Let the roast rest, lightly covered with foil, for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing
Serve with extra fig jam and enjoy!
Sunday Supper is Ready!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pumpkin Waffle Sandwiches

Waffles as sandwiches.  Not exactly an original idea, I'm sure it was on a blog I found called
Waffleizer, which as I understand it, is going to have a book published all about the benefits and fabulous uses of your one-note waffle iron.  But I digress.  Whenever I make waffles I make extras. It's sort of hard not to when the recipe I use makes a big batch of batter. Besides, waffles freeze well so why not make a dozen or so for later use?  The waffles in this photo were made with pumpkin puree incorporated into the batter.

Since we had so many waffles, and I didn't freeze them, I started using the extras as "bread" for sandwiches.  It was one of those ideas born out of a desire for a sweet and savory snack.  You can use waffles in most any way as your bread.  This sandwich was Dijon Mustard, my cranberry ginger compote, sliced rosemary ham and a piece of mozzarella cheese.  Reheat or toast the waffles, and then layer on the sandwich fixings.  You won't be disappointed.

One waffle should be sufficient, fold it in half and use each half as the top and bottom of your sandwich.  If you make the waffles low-fat, with whole wheat flour, non-fat milk, and no other fat, oil or butter, you can feel good about eating these however you want!

Pumpkin Waffle Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour (such as King Arthur Brand)  OR 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour and 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 Whole Eggs and 1 Eggwhite - beaten (or substitute 3/4 Cup Egg Beaters)
  • 2 1/4 Cups Non-fat Milk
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Cooking Spray for Waffle Iron
  1.  Preheat waffle iron. 
  2. In one large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour(s) though cinnamon (if using); dry whisk these ingredients together to incorporate. Set aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites together until they are frothy then pour in the  non-fat milk  and pumpkin puree, whisking to combine.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold until combined, but do not over-mix.  There may be a few lumps but all the batter should be thoroughly mixed together.  Let the batter sit for at least 15 minutes to rest, or cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  5. Spray the waffle iron with the cooking spray before using or else the waffle batter won't release!  Depending on the size of the waffle iron, ladle in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of waffle batter onto the iron; close the top and cook until the waffle is golden brown on both sides and the waffle releases easily.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
  6. Extra waffles, should you have any left-overs, will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days, or will keep frozen for up to 1 month, tightly wrapped.  Makes approximately 10 standard size (8-inch round) waffles.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Year In Review: 2012

Keeping up with my annual tradition, I present this year's recap of the Year in Review.  This QnA comes by way of my friend, Aimee, who saw it on a blog called, All and Sundry; that writer "borrowed" this from her friend,Gwen.  I'm sure this goes further back to others, but that's far enough for me!   I've been doing this recap since 2008.  It's a great way to reflect on what's happened and gives me a chance to think about the new year about to unfold before me.  

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before? Lived in a different state! We officially lived in New Jersey for a full year.

I also biked 65 miles from Philadelphia to Atlantic City in the Irish Pub's 25th Annual Tour de Shore Charity Ride.

I got to be on television, doing a cooking demonstration segment on a local television station, CBS 3 Talk Philly.  In addition to now being a "TV Chef", I'm also in a video and in a print brochure for ExtraordinaryED, an education learning center in Collingswood.  I've been interviewed for some local newspapers and  I'm trying my hand at getting back into teaching cooking lessons.

Saw my name and writing in print, in a major magazine.  I wrote a "In Your Words" essay answer to REAL SIMPLE Magazine and my submission was picked to appear in their August 2012 magazine.  I still have people mentioning to me that they saw my story!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? In general, I do not like to make resolutions, they are too easy to not keep.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Babies, Babies, BABIES Everywhere! We have a new nephew in the family, Jaxson, who was born on January 2nd.  Our good friend, Roberta, had Kristina in March.  A friend who I met during the 2010 SheRox Tri had a baby boy, this summer.  A friend from the neighborhood, who I met through someone at my job, had her third child, a boy named Cash, on October 17th - which is Nate's birthday!  There were lots of others too, but these are the kids that stand out most for us.

4. Did anyone close to you die? In my line of work, at a synagogue, we lose a lot of members each year.  Fortunately, we didn't have any close friends or family pass on this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Still haven't left the USA, not since 2007.  I did get out of state and beyond the tri-state area though! I managed to go out west for a long weekend, visiting with my bestie, Rachel and her new husband, Jim, in Tucson.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? Hmm, we seem to have a lot, and not just material possessions.  I consider myself to be very fortunate, lucky and loved.  I can't say that I want for much.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The biggest date is October 13th, the day my best friend, Rachel got married.  That entire week actually will be etched in my memory.  From picking her up at the airport and driving without head lights on in Center City until a Cop flashed at us! Driving she and her soon-to-be husband out to Norristown to get their marriage license at the last minute; getting our nails done and the brunch we all shared on South Street, meeting her new family of in-laws; the rehearsal dinner party at Panorama Ristorante.  Being her bridesmaid.  It was a day long in coming and one of the happiest days in which I've ever been proud to participate.

The entire month of October stands out, actually!  After the wedding, we had Nate's 3rd birthday and his party. Then Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.  While we were spared any and all damages from the storm, we lost power (and a bit of foodstuff) for 2 days.  Luckily, we had gas for cooking, hot water and our gas fireplace.

May 20th - the Sunday we participated in Collingswood's town-wide open house and garden tour event.  100's of people came to see our house.  It was one of the crazier things that I've ever done, entertaining so many people, all day long!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Biking down to Atlantic City; making time to bike in the early morning from April to September.  I've been lazier about biking and because we live further from Center City, it's a bit trickier to get up that much earlier to bike.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not exercising enough! Same as last year! Not reading or writing more. Not writing thank you's to people, or letting others know I appreciate them enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Hurt my knee, again, biking. Hurt my back, AGAIN, hauling my heavy, single speed, steel frame bike, which was loaded up with an elaborate picnic, on the 5th Annual Tweed Ride back in November. But that was worth my back spasms!

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new car! Well, thanks to Liz's dad, we have a new car. We are officially, a two-car, two-car-garage, semi-suburban family.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Barack Obama.  I said this in 2008 and I'll say it again.  He's a fine man. Maybe not the best president we've ever had, but he's a good man and wants to do right for our country.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? And I've been saying this since 2008 - the G@d damned Old Party.  The radical right has become so out of touch and insane that I cannot even bring myself to say more than that.
All the shooters and mass murderers.  Way too many shootings in 2012, but none more depressing and senseless than the killings that happened in Newton, CT.  G@d rest the souls of those children, educators, parents, friends and loved ones.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bridge Tolls and Train fare!  Real Estate Taxes and our  Mortgage.  Towards the wedding - a dress, a tux rental for Nate. Baby sitters.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Living in Collingswood.  Getting involved with ExtraordinaryED and all the cooking/teaching opportunities I've had with them. My tv spot.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? I'm so out of touch with music these days.  I like that crazy song, Gangam Style by Psy.  So darn catchy!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, but with way less muscles
c) richer or poorer? Hmm, financially speaking, about the same, but w/less disposable or net income.  In spirit, richer. In friendship, richer.  In love and family, richer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing, reading, biking, sleeping.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Eating! Driving!

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas is a long affair, mostly because Liz has a lot of time working at church.  Nate got sick two days before, so we weren't sure what was going to happen.  I drove him to church for our annual Christmas Eve Dinner with our church family.  He was too sick to stay for the pageant, but not too sick to play for a bit.  Having the second car allowed me to drive out and come home as we needed.  Nate slept on the couch while I put his toys together.  It was a touch and go night with him, feverish and throwing up.  We all got little sleep.  I spent 2 days cooking!  Christmas day he woke up at 5 am, not because he knew it was Christmas and that Santa brought him toys, but because he couldn't sleep.  We came downstairs, found his new toys and played for a bit, before we all fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.  From 10 am until 7-8 pm, we entertained guests, family and visitors.  It was a very merry, albeit, sick holiday, full of love, toys, cookies and tissues!

21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Nah, but I'm still in love with Liz and Nate!

22. How many one-night stands? AHA!! This was the missing question that I couldn't figure out from the first time I wrote one of these q and a's.  None. And this will be the last time this ever appears here!

23. What was your favorite TV program? I am such a TV JUNKIE.  Pawn Stars.  American Pickers. American Restoration.  And then we discovered Downton Abbey in the late Fall. Like 5.4 million American Viewers, we are hooked.  Dame Maggie Smith is beyond hilarious.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't hate many, but I did "unfriend" a number of people on Facebook as well as blocked a lot of people, mostly due to politics and the 2012 election.

25. What was the best book you read? Dearie, the biography of Julie Child.  Though, I haven't finished it.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? None. I love music, but I just don't spend my time and money on music the way I did 15 and 20 years ago.

27. What did you want and get? A new car and house!

28. What did you want and not get? It's always about bikes for me.  I bought a new to me, used bike.  Otherwise, I didn't want for anything.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Feh! Like with music, I don't have time for movies. Liz bought HUGO for me, and it took us a few months to get around to watching it.  That is a good movie, well worth another viewing.  I'm still waiting to watch The Artist! I think the dvd is still in the original wrapper.  We tend to watch a lot of the same animated movies with Nate, over and over again.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 45 this year. As the years roll by, I forget more and more what we did to celebrate it.  I think we went to dinner.  I'm sure we had a nice evening.  I'm just glad I'm healthy, we have a nice home and our son is doing well.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having more time off and more sitters (and money to pay them) so we could do more fun things!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Same as ever, preppy sporty, classic. I'm happy I didn't have to buy many new things even though I'm not nearly as slim and trim as I was a few years ago.

33. What kept you sane? Blogging.  Biking.  Coming home to the new house and it's loveliness!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Daniel Craig.  We watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I melt when I see this manly, rugged man.  Really. No lie.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? I'm so sick of politics. I'm grateful the election season is temporarily over.

36. Who did you miss? My grandmother, Faye.  Though she's now been gone for a year and a half, I still think of her all the time and miss her a lot.  

37. Who was the best new person you met?  Since moving to Collingswood, we've been blessed with meeting many new lovely people.  We are now friends with Donna and her adorable daughter, Bella, who is one of Nate's girlfriends!  Lesley and her 2 girls and new baby son.  I got reacquainted with a college girlfriend from 25 years ago.  Even though we only knew each other briefly back in 1987, we've managed to form a new and much stronger friendship this past year that is far nicer and much more real than when we were young women.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012. TRY. Take risks. Stop being jealous of other people.  Just because someone else has done something doesn't mean you can't as well.  What you will do will be different.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Banana, Banana, Banana. Hey! Ripe and Green. Banana. Everybody Like It! Banana!  By the Aggrolites.  If it wasn't on Yo! Gabba Gabba, I don't think I know any new music!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Cream" of Broccoli Soup - VEGAN!

Cream of Broccoli Soup - completely vegan and delicious!
I bought way too many bunches of broccoli for Christmas dinner and then forgot to cook it!  I had so much food around the house for our holiday festivities, that the broccoli got left in the basement refrigerator (yes, I know, since moving to New Jersey, I've become more suburban with my 2 car garage and 2nd refrigerator!)  There was no way we could eat all the broccoli before it spoiled.  I could have frozen some but I thought it would make more sense to make a quick soup instead.  This soup is so easy and quick, plus it's "clean eating" just in time for the detox for the New Year.  

Clean eating because it's made entirely of vegetables, fresh water, a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Everything fresh, from scratch and as simple as it should be.  It's vegan cream of broccoli because I used Idaho/Russet potatoes to be the thickener and "cream" in the soup.  The secret to making this taste great is to build up flavors by using aromatic vegetables, sweating them until they begin to caramelize.  Don't use a lot of water, try to keep the salt to a minimum and let the flavors of the soup marry overnight to  blend together before doing a final seasoning.  I don't use store bought stocks - too salty and frankly, expensive.  You can use water and make your soup taste great if you just add in more aromatic vegetables in the beginning.  I like the addition of carrots in this soup, they add a sweetness and help take away some of the broccoli's harsh, cruciferous edge.  

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Onions - diced small
  • 1 Cup Carrots - diced small
  • 1 1/2 Cups Celery - diced small
  • 2 Idaho/Russet Potatoes - peeled and diced small (about 2 to 3 cups)
  • 6 Bunches/Heads of Broccoli Florets - cut stems away and reserve
  • 6 Cups Water
  • Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg - more or less to taste

Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Food Processor, Blender or Immersion Blender

  1. Clean and prep all the vegetables.  Cut the broccoli florets off of their stems and reserve the stems.  Cut the woody outer covering off of the broccoli stems and slice the stems into small pieces or dice them.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer.  Add in the onions, carrots and celery and sweat the vegetables until the carrots are tender and the onions and celery turn from translucent to golden - about 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the broccoli stems and the diced Idaho/Russet potatoes.  Pour in 6 cups of cold water, cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Then, reduce the heat, and simmer covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, add in the broccoli florets, pushing them down into the pot.  If they don't all fit, don't worry, as the broccoli cooks down, the rest will fit into the pot.  Cover the pot and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and pushing the broccoli down into the pot.
  5. When the broccoli is completely tender and falling apart, remove from heat and allow to cool down, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Once the soup is cool enough to handle, puree the soup in a food processor or blender, working in batches.  If using an immersion blender, you can do this in the stock pot, all in one step.  Ladle some of the soup and the solids into work bowl of the food processor of blender. Cover the top of the blender or food processor tightly, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent leakage or soup from flying out!  Puree until the mixture is nearly smooth.  Pour the soup into a mixing bowl, then continue pureeing the solids in batches until all the soup is done. 
  7. Pour the soup back into the stock pot and bring the soup back to a simmer and season with a generous pinch of salt, pepper and the nutmeg;  don't over-season the soup at this point, as the flavors still need to marry together.  The soup will actually taste better if it's had a chance to sit for at least an hour to over-night.  If not using with in an hour, cool the soup and store in containers.  Refrigerate.  Season to taste when ready to serve.
  8. Makes approximately 3 quarts of soup.  Holds, refrigerated and tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Freeze, in tightly covered containers, allowing for a little head space for up to 2 months.