The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Prunes’

Pork & Prunes – Yum or Yuck?

In General Articles on May 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I don’t know about you, but prunes make me smile. As a child I hated them, particularly as prune juice, which my mother felt was a sure-fire remedy for whatever ailed me. While I still have no love for prunes in their juice form, I have come to appreciate their fruity, dark sweetness, either the dry, finger-sticky kind, or the plump, juicy kind. It is the latter kind that I decided to recently experiment with. But either type will work. If using the dried type, be sure to soak them in boiled water first and then drain them, reserving a bit of liquid for the sauce.

I came across Pork Tenderloin in the local supermarket, and unlike most that you find, this one was not marinated. Pork tenderloin is usually sold vacuum packed with 2 one-pound tenderloins in the package. They are low in fat, about 10 inches long and narrow, maybe two inches wide. Because of their narrowness, they cook through in 10 to 15 minutes. The marinated type, which come in a myriad of flavors, are a great boon to mankind; merely rip open the package, throw them on the grill and 15 minutes later slice them up and dinner is ready. The un-marinated kind are a great boon as well.

As I was moving through the supermarket aisle thinking of how I was going to prepare the tenderloins, I recalled how last year I experimented with Pork Chops with Apples, Raisins and Calvados and also Pork Chops with an Apricot Mango-Chutney and Cognac. Some sort of fruit seemed like a good idea, and, I still had a bottle of Calvados at home.

When I saw a jar of prunes in liquid on the shelf, bingo, I had it! Slice the tenderloins, brown them in a fat, add the prunes and flame-off with the Calvados – Pork Medallions with Prunes and Calvados. The only hard work here, if you want to call it that, is pitting the prunes.

Hint: If using the wet prunes pit them while the medallions are browning and with a small salad as a side, dinner is truly ready in 15 minutes! If using the dried ones, soak them in advance.

Pork Medallions with Prunes and Calvados

In For Moms on the Go, Meat, Pork, Recipes on April 30, 2012 at 11:04 AM

(Preparation time 15 minutes; serves 4.)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Pork Tenderloin, (plain, i.e. unseasoned) about 2 lbs., sliced into 1 inch medallions – You should have about 16-18 pieces
24-30 Ready-to-Serve Prunes, drained and pitted (between 1 and 2 for each medallion). As an alternative, soak dried, pitted prunes in 1 quart of boiled water. In either case reserve about 1/4 cup of liquid to enhance the sauce. Or an even better suggestion soak them in Calvados as suggested by Jeannie.
1/2 cup Calvados
Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to taste

Procedure:

1.    In a 12 inch non-stick skillet, on high heat, melt the butter.
2.    Add the Pork Medallions, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and sauté for 10 minutes, turning several times to brown evenly.
3.    When browned, add the prunes and then the Calvados. Shut the heat and ignite the Calvados.

CAUTION: When igniting, stand back from the stove, and if you have a vent fan directly over the stove be sure to shut it before igniting the Calvados.

4.    Once ignited return heat to low, and with long tongs, carefully turn the medallions several times times to coat them well with the sauce, continuing cooking 2 to 3 minutes longer.
5.    Place 4 to 5 medallions on each plate, cover with an equivalent number of prunes and 2 or 3 extra, and pour the sauce over all. Serve immediately with vegetable of choice, or a small salad.

Please refer to Pork & Prunes – Yum or Yuck?

Devils on Horseback

In Appetizers, Recipes on February 25, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Devils on Horseback

(As adapted from Freemans Restaurant)

Ingredients:

12 prunes, removed from liquid and pitted
¼ lb. creamy Gorgonzola
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, each piece cut in half

Preparation:

1.    Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Using a small spoon, fill each pitted prune with Gorgonzola cheese, about ½ tsp. of cheese for each.
3.    Wrap each filled prune with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
4.    Place the wrapped prunes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the bacon is crisped, but not burnt.
5.    Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and serve warm.

Please see East Side, East Side, All Around the Town

East Side, East Side, All Around the Town

In General Articles on February 25, 2012 at 12:47 PM

It has been said that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’ We recently had occasion to visit two vastly different restaurants on the eastside of New York. L’Absinthe, a beautifully decorated brasserie located on the Upper East Side  that is evocative of Belle Epoque Paris, and Freemans, a funky and charming restaurant in the Bowery on the Lower East Side, that with its rough-hewn tables, wide floor boards and private rooms is suggestive of a Colonial American tavern.

Betty and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the former, which presents a classic brasserie menu including Foie de Veau, sautéed calf’s liver and Coq au Vin, chicken braised in red wine. The following morning we met our friends Colin and Bernadette for brunch at Freemans, where we enjoyed two outstanding appetizers, Devils on Horseback and a hot artichoke dip served with crisp French bread, followed by traditional brunch dishes with innovative twists.

We will be back to both restaurants in the near future, as each was memorable in its own right; food service and ambiance, all at a reasonable price. But in the meantime we decided to try to replicate the appetizers and the Coq au Vin and invited our friends Ed and Anne to be the guinea pigs. Being world travelers, fine cooks, and people who enjoy food and wine, they were the perfect dinner guests with whom to share these ventures.

The Devils on Horseback were the easiest to replicate, as our waiter at Freemans was forthright in responding to the question ‘what are they?’ The hot artichoke dip was a little more complicated and required some thought and experimentation, as it was obvious that cheese was an essential ingredient along with non-marinated artichokes. But what cheese, which fat and how much savory? According to our guests, we got it right.

The Coq au Vin was the most complicated, and in order to limit the preparation to a manageable amount of time and effort, as well as utilize ingredients that are readily available, the consultation of three cookbooks was necessary:  Mastering the Art of French Cooking, French Classics Made Easy and The Food of France. We think we got that right too, at least all of our plates were clean at the end of the meal.

The Coq au Vin required two bottles of Côtes du Rhône and we and our guests required another two bottles. As a very wise man once told me, ‘you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of Côtes du Rhône.’ He was absolutely correct. Bon appétit!

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: