My girl bought me the "America's Test Kitchen" cookbook over the holidays. I really like it; the recipes are well-tested and taste great.
Two things I made recently: hummus (from ATK recipe book, customized ever so slightly), and pork in red chile sauce, based on a recipe I saw "Daisy Cooks!", a PBS cooking show.
My "trick" is adding cumin...this tip was in the recipe my first cookbook/textbook called "On Cooking". After looking at that cookbook today, I appreciate it more. I think I screwed up some of the recipes because I didn't measure accurately by weight and/or by volume, which is critical. You need to know when to use weight measure (dry ingredients especially) and volume measure (wet ingredients mostly). In any case, I also added another clove of garlic (preferred by Beckey); reduce it for a less garlicky flavor. Roasted garlic would probably also work really well in this recipe, if you like a mellower flavor. The cumin really helps break up any "metallic" flavor that canned garbanzo beans occasionally pick up.
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini (a special sesame paste you find in the ethnic food aisle)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
Throw everything in the food processor and blend for 40 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. It will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge (if you don't eat it all).
Pork with Guajillo Chile Sauce
When I made this from my memory of the recipe of the show, I substituted some leftover BBQ'd pork ribs I had made. It still turned out great as a leftover dish, although the pork loin would probably be even better. The sauce really becomes a luscious, smooth and almost "creamy" after it reduces. It's got some kick, but it's not particularly hot.
6-8 dried guajillo chiles
1.5 pound pork loin, cut into 1" cubes
1 can (15oz) Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
1 yellow onion, sliced in half
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
- Preheat oven to 375. Cover baking sheet with foil, place onion and fresh tomatoes on baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, put cubed pork, bay leaves, and cover with just enough water to cover the pork. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, about 15 minutes.
- Tear tops off of chiles & discard tops & seeds. Heat a skillet on high heat and toast the chiles on each side about 20-30 seconds, pressing down with grill press, heavy plate or spatula; flip chiles, toast on other side another 20-30 seconds, and remove. Place chiles in bowl and cover with warm water (or microwave bowl with chiles & water for 1 minute), nest another bowl on top and add weight to help keep the chiles underwater while they rehydrate, about 20 minutes. Drain chiles well and discard liquid.
- Once tomatoes and onions are roasted, and chiles are rehydrated, add roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, onions, chiles, and about 1-2 cups of the pork braising liquid in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add blended chile mixture back into pot with pork. Raise heat to bring mixture back to a simmer, and simmer uncovered at medium-low heat for at least another 1 hour, or until the mixture reduces to a slightly thicker consistency.
- Server pork and sauce over steamed white rice.