Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recipe: Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two. Serves 2.


2 pork chops, ¾-1–inch thick (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons table salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 


  1. Cut 2 slits about 2 inches apart through the fat and connective tissue on the edge of the chops to prevent the meat from curling when it is cooked.
  2. In a large container dissolve the salt and granulated sugar in 1½ quarts cold water, submerge the chops, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  3. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, brown sugar, marmalade, and vinegar.
  4. Pat the chops dry and season with pepper.
  5. Add oil to a heavy skillet, turn burner to medium, and heat until just smoking.
  6. Cook the chops until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, add the sauce, and turn the chops over.
  8. Simmer until the internal temperature of the meat is 145°, 4–8 minutes.
  9. Move the chops to a serving platter.
  10. Increase the heat to high, simmer to thicken the glaze,  pour it over the chops, and serve.

Brine the pork chops for half an hour.
Mix together ingredients for the glaze: (clockwise from upper right) orange juice, brown sugar, orange marmalade, and vinegar.
Brown one side of the chops, flip them, and add the glaze.
Simmer until the pork chops reach 145°.
Remove the chops, increase heat, simmer until the glaze thickens, pour over the chops, and serve.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recipe: Blueberry Muffins

Based on the recipe from the May 2009 Cook's Illustrated for "Best Blueberry Muffins with Frozen Blueberries". Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two

Makes 12 muffins.


Lemon-Sugar Topping
⅓ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons zest from one lemon
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries

8 ounces (1⅛ cups) sugar
12½ ounces (2½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (or use buttermilk powder, mixing the powder with the dry ingredients and water with the wet, following the directions on the container)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 


  1. Topping: In a small bowl stir the lemon zest and sugar together.
  2. Muffins: Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
  3. Rinse the berries with water and dry well.
  4. Heat the oven to 425° with a rack in the upper-middle position.
  5. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or line with muffin cups.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a medium bowl whisk the sugar and eggs until thick.
  8. Slowly whisk in the melted butter and oil.
  9. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla.
  10. Toss the dried blueberries in the flour mixture until the berries are coated.
  11. Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until barely combined. There will be some small pockets of dry flour.
  12. Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin (an ice cream scoop works well for this).
  13. Bake until golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating the muffin tin after about 9 minutes.
  14. Cool muffins in tin for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  15. Serve warm.
Rinse fresh blueberries, drain and dry well.

Mix sugar and lemon zest for the topping.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.

Assemble the wet ingredients: sugar, vanilla extract, melted butter, oil, eggs, and buttermilk (water is shown here because I used a buttermilk powder.)
Whisk together the wet ingredients in the specified order.

Toss the dried blueberries in the flour mixture.
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.

Transfer batter to muffin cups, top with the lemon sugar, bake, cool, and serve.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Recipe: Crunchy Oven-Fried Fish

Based on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated September 2008. Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two.  

Serves 2.


2 large slices white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Table salt and ground black pepper
Fresh parsley to make 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 small shallot
⅛ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 large egg
1½ tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
½ pound skinless cod or haddock fillet, 1-1½-inches thick
Lemon wedges


  1. With a rack in the middle position, heat oven to 350°.
  2. Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and add to a food processor.
  3. Melt the butter and add to the bread along with ⅛ teaspoon table salt and ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper.
  4. Pulse until the bread is coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses.
  5. Transfer the bread mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring after 5 and 10 minutes.
  6. Mince the shallot yielding about 1 tablespoon minced shallot. 
  7. Mince the parsley yielding about 1 tablespoon minced parsley.
  8. Cool the bread crumbs, transfer to a pie plate, and stir in the minced shallot and parsley.
  9. Place ⅛ cup flour in a second pie plate.
  10. In a third pie plate whisk together egg, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne, and ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper then whisk in 2 tablespoons flour.
  11. Cut the fish into two equal-sized portions.
  12. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  13. Spray a wire rack with vegetable spray and place it in a rimmed baking sheet.
  14. Dry fish thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
  15. Dredge fish in flour and shake off the excess.
  16. Coat the fish with the egg mixture.
  17. Coat the fish with the bread crumbs, using your hands to get a thick layer of crumbs.
  18. Transfer the fish to the wire rack and bake 18 to 25 minutes until the internal temperature is 140°
  19. Serve with lemon wedges, tarter sauce, or ketchup.
In food processor, combine bread, melted butter, salt, and pepper.

Toast in the oven until dark golden brown.
Prepare coating for fish: flour, bread crumb mixture, egg mixture.
Dredge fish in flour, then egg mixture, then pack on bread crumbs and bake on wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Recipe: Steak Fries

Based on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated February 2005. Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two. Start this recipe about one hour before meal time.

Serves 2.


1 large russet potato (about 10 ounces)
2 quarts peanut oil


  1. Scrub the potato to remove any dirt from the exterior, do not peel.
  2. Cut the potato into 12 wedges each about ¾-inch across on the skin side. (Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Cut each half into thirds lengthwise. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.)
  3. Place the potato wedges in a bowl, cover with water and ice, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Place the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat and heat to 325°. You should have about 3-inches between the oil and the top of the Dutch oven.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator, drain the ice water, and dry them in a clean kitchen towel.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully add the potato wedges.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are limp and soft and gold, about 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer the fries to a triple layer of paper towels and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Heat the oil to 350° and return the fries to the hot oil.
  10. Fry the potatoes, stirring frequently, until medium brown and puffy, about 8 minutes.
  11. Transfer the fries to a triple layer of paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and serve while hot.
Wash the potato and cut into twelve wedges.
Refrigerate the potatoes for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Cook in hot oil for 10 minutes.
Rest for 10 minutes.

Fry again and brown and fluffy, drain on paper towels, season and serve.