Smoked & BBQed Boneless Pork Loin with Herb Rub, Hash Browned Potatoes, & Fried Apples for Sunday Dinner. Old family recipies shared.

Lean moist slices of herbed and smoked pork loin.
Last week I hit a bonanza upon finding and buying a whole boneless pork loin for $1.60 something per pound! Saturday morning I cut two roasts and a portion sliced thinly for stir frying and froze two of the three.

Brine for loin roast.
Next I prepared a BRINE of 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup each of sugar and kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns and heated until the salt and sugar fully melted.  After cooling completely I added the brine and the loin roast together in a gallon zip lock freezer bag and set in a glass dish in the refrigerator overnight.

Brian had agreed to fire up the smoker out of doors to smoke it a day ahead of serving.  I prefer always to do that and store in the refrigerator overnight before slicing when cold.  Then I sauce it and reheat for serving.

Herb mix for chicken or pork.
Ingredients for Her Rub for pork or chicken:

1 T. sage
1 T. rosemary
1 T. salt
4 cloves finely minced fresh garlic

Pat meat dry.
Wash and dry the meat or poultry and set aside.  Mix the rub ingredients and sprinkle over the entire surface of the meat.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Seasoned herb mix.
To smoke a 4 pound pork loin place in preheated smoker preheated to 225 degrees F. and slow cook approx. 8-9 hours until it tests dome with a meat thermometer.  Cool, wrap snugly, and refrigerate overnight.
Add sauce.

Slice in thin slices with a sharp knife.  Add your favorite sauce, cover and reheat in the oven for serving.

Home hash browns.
Home Hash Brown's:

Peel and dice fresh russet potatoes.  Cover with salted water and boil until tender.  Drain and set aside.  20 minutes or so before serving time heat 3-4 T. oil in a cast iron skillet.  Toss in the dry cooked potatoes.  Salt and pepper and pan fry until edges are brown and crisp.  These are an old fashioned hash browned potato as served by my Mother at home many tears ago.

Luscious fried apples.
Fried Apples:

6-8 cooking apples peeled and cored and thick sliced.  I like Gala or Johnathon apples for this.
1/4 C. bacon grease
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon

Juice the lemon into a large bowl and slice the apples into it.  Add water to cover.  This inhibits browning.  Drain and dry the apples.  Heat the bacon fat in the skillet and add the apples. sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium low heat until tender and serve warm.  These are very like the fried apples served by my Grandmother and my Mother and is a old family recipe.

Hot corn bread.
I also threw together a big pan of cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet and served with soft butter and honey to top off a golden dinner!


Almond Toffee Bar Cookies

I have but one word for these.  DELICIOUS.
Every once in a while I get a yen for a good bar cookie.  Today was such a day!  These are almost a brown sugar short bread with melted chocolate chips as a topper and sliced almonds.  Now what doesn't sound good about this? AND they sure didn't stay around very long either!

Two dozen Almond Toffee bar cookies gone just like that! 
Ingredients for Almond Toffee Bar Cookies:

1 C. soft butter
1 C. packed dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/4 C. sliced almonds

Butter a 9" x 13" pan and set it aside.  Preheat the oven to 350  degrees F.

Use a large bowl and beat altogether the butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until creamy.  Add the salt and flour.  Combine until a thick batter draws together into a ball.  Pat evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  I put my hand into a plastic bag and just pat it out with my covered fingers evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the hot oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate across the top of the cookie.  Place the pan back in the oven for 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and spread the melted chocolate with an off set spatula.

These would be good with toasted pecans too!
Sprinkle with the sliced almonds while the chocolate is still melted and set aside for it to cool and harden.  Cut into bars with a thin bladed knife and serve.  Yield 24 bar cookies.

Easy Polish Sausage and Kraut Served with Fried Potatoes

Easy dinner plate with Fried Potatoes, Polish Sausage and Kraut.
A couple of days ago I stopped in at the butcher shop for bacon and an Easter ham.  Our butcher specializes in all kinds of fresh sausages he makes daily.  He was introducing a fresh made Polish sausage and I bought a pound remembering I had sauerkraut already and my husband loves these dishes!

Ingredients for Polish Sausage and Kraut:

4 C. sauerkraut
1 pound Polish sausage in link form
1 t. caraway seed
3 T. sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the kraut, caraway seed, and sugar in a casserole with a cover. 

Top with the sausage and place the lid atop all.  Bake 45 minutes.  Remove the lid the last 15 to brown up the sausage.

Ingredients for Fried Potatoes:

4 C. sliced Russet potatoes
1/2 C. diced onions
1/4 C. peanut oil
black pepper

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the oil.  Dry the potato slices and place them into the heated oil, add the onions, salt and pepper them as desired.

Stir then cover and reduce the heat to medium.  Turn with a spatula in 8-9 minutes and continue cooking and turning.  These will brown and are ready to serve when tender.  Cooking time will vary depending on quantity and desired browning.  I start them a hour before serving time and just turn to simmer and keep warm if they are ready before I am!  Yield 3 servings.


Roasted and Seasoned Warm Cubed Potatoes Replace Croutons on Green Salad Paired with Old World Spaetzle

My dinner salad before the dressing.
My German Grandmother made Rivila soup and I do not know how she made it but I tried Spaetzle because it looks close enough in heritage and composition to at least be a cousin!  This is a featured recipe from The Iowa Housewife blog written by two wonderful sisters.  It is my opinion that the star of this dish is the broth and being a lover of good homemade broth it was a hit at my house.

My husband's dinner salad with shredded cheese before dressing.
Complimenting this main dish I cubed a large potato and roasted it with salt pepper and olive oil for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. and served them warm atop a dinner green salad in place of croutons.  This was a delicious new twist!  My husband liked this better than croutons.

Our steaming Spaetzle a rich stock with chicken, vegetables, and noodles.
Ingredients for Spaetzle:

1 1/2 quarts good chicken or turkey stock
3/4 C. sliced celery
3/4 C. shredded carrot
1 large diced onion
2 C. diced chicken or turkey, optional

Simmer all together  20 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.

Batter for Spaetzle:

1 large beaten egg
good pinch of salt, no more than 1/4 t.
1/2 C. flour
1 T. milk

Beat egg, add salt, flour, and milk gradually.  Beat well.  Batter should be thick and elastic.  Butter or spray with cooking spray a flat dinner plate and a table knife.  Flatten out the batter on the prepared plate and tilt it over the bubbling hot soup.  Slice off small noodles and slide them off the plate.  Continue until the batter is gone.  Let them cook about 5 minutes until they are all floating atop the soup.  Garnish with parsley or green onion diced finely if desired and serve.  Yield 4 servings.


Black Raspberry Sauce Drizzle Over Cake or Make My Ice Cream Sundae

Warm gooey black raspberry sauce over vanilla bean ice cream for an Ice Cream Sunday.
The thought a an ice cream sundae caught me by surprise and of course set me on a course for a delectable sauce. Short of a hot fudge sauce a warm berry sauce was the one that set me on my path.  Luckily I have frozen berries put up in the deep freeze and it was a short task to defrost a pint of my favorite black raspberries.

Ingredients for Berry Sauce (Use any berries you like.)

1 pint frozen berries thawed
2-3 T. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 1/2 T. corn starch
pinch of salt
1 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla

Add the berries and sugar and salt to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a medium boil.  Meanwhile  dissolve the cornstarch in the water.  Add the water mixture to the berry mixture stirring constantly until thickened.  Add the butter and vanilla and remove from the heat.  Stir well and serve drizzled over cakes, puddings, or ice cream. 

If using large berries you may crush them if you prefer.  Yield about 2 cups of berry sauce.  Refrigerate any unused sauce for later.


My Favorite Turkey Sandwich

Ready to serve turkey sandwich.
This turkey sandwich has long been a favorite of mine.  My Grandparents on my Mother's side raised turkeys for market for a number of years and what my Grandma could do with a turkey! But that is another story!  We were making them on white bread back then but today I am using oatmeal bread at 140  calories a slice.  Many calories less is rye at 140 for 2 slices and white wheat at 130 calories for 2 slices.  Significant saving, but I wanted oatmeal bread today!

Meat is always easier to slice cold.
Over the weekend I roasted a turkey breast I picked up on sale last week and also have almost a quart of luscious turkey broth put back in the freezer for another day.  I placed it after salting and peppering generously on a small rack and roasted at 325 degrees F in a covered cast iron dutch oven maybe 2-2 1/2 hours or so.  Next I allowed it to cool and slipped it into a large plastic bag and stored it in the refrigerator.

Lovely slices of turkey.
Today I simply pulled back the plastic and using a fillet knife sliced thin slices and removed the skin.

Ingredients for My Favorite Turkey Sandwich:

2 slices your favorite bread
1 T. mayonnaise or dressing of your liking ( I like Miracle Whip on this.)
lettuce washed and dried ( I washed and removed the stem from 1 large leaf of romaine.)
3-4 slices real turkey (Not processed.)

Slather dressing on slices of bread.  Add lettuce and top with turkey.  Add second slice of bread, serve, and enjoy.


My Grandma's Hot Chocolate Recipe Made by the Cup, Delicious, Easy, Inexpensive, and Versitle

I will admit to getting old insomuch as it would be quite impossible to deny at this point with children in their mid 40;s!  But further I do not mind it.  No, not at all really.  I think it is because I had such wonderful Grandparents and thought them the most wonderful and amazing people in the whole world! So they were beautiful to me.  I loved the snow white hair and the big smiles on softly wrinkles faces.

One of my favorite memories of my Mother's Mother was the hot chocolate she made us.  It makes me wonder why today people are buying mixes? They just must not know about this? The other beauty of this is that it is actually "warm" chocolate and not all that hot which works quite well for little ones who really do not like "hot" anything, but generally have to wait for things to cool before they can enjoy them fully.  Here is her pure and simple recipe.  You may tweak it for flavor intensity and sweetness. Heat in the microwave to warm it more and just generally enjoy!

Ingredients for Grandma's Hot Chocolate:

1 t. unsweetened cocoa powder (Grandma used Hershey's Cocoa Powder)
1 T. sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 C. very hot tap water or boiling water (Grandma used hot tap water)
1 1/2 C. whole milk ( Grandma used right from the refrigerator but you can warm it if desired)
marshmallows, optional

Place the first 3 ingredients in a 2 cup glass measuring cup or other large mug. Stir together and add the very hot water and stir until the dry ingredients are dissolved.  Stir in the milk and serve.
Garnish with marshmallows if desired.  Yield 2 cups.  Yummy!  May you never buy mix again!


Birthday Cookies

After cooling I made up a big sack of both snicker doodles and oatmeal cookies and placed them in a birthday gift bag adding tissue paper and a birthday card to finish the home made gift!
Our friends the Linton's often celebrate birthdays with us as my birthday and Mike Linton's are but a couple of days apart and we are the same age but yes, I get to be the older one.  Let it be known that Mike Linton is a COOKIE MONSTER from way back!  He is a very seasoned and capable heating and air expert and once upon fixing our furnace would only take my home made Snicker Doodles in payment!

A hot cup of coffee and a few snicker doodles hit the spot every time.
Mike and Mindy have often tasted other cookies that were here when they visited and if I remember correctly they also love Oatmeal Cookies.  So today was double batch baking day.  We are splitting a batch of each with them for a birthday gift.

Since I was making a batch of each I did a couple of time and trouble savers I'll call them helpful hints!   Also altered the oatmeal cookies by reducing the chopped pecans to 1/2 cup and adding 1 cup of cinnamon chips.  YUM!

My helpful hints are : 
When making two different cookie doughs in one day make the plainest one first then you can reuse the bowl, beaters, and utensils again for the second batch without washing.  Thus I made the snicker doodles first.

When using a scoop to dip up cookie batter as I did with the snicker doodles dip the scoop into a half cup of sugar between scoops.  The batter will not stick to the scoop. 

Use  the left over "scooping" sugar in the second batch of cookies as part of the sugar needed in the batter.  *I also used the leftover cinnamon and sugar mixture from rolling the dough balls in as part of the required sugar in the oatmeal cookies.  A little extra cinnamon never hurt an oatmeal cookie!

So, love in a cookie is always a welcome gift says Grandma Diane!  


Hubby Home and All is Well

Brian at Deaconess Hospital.
This has been a busy and eventful period and I am happy to report things are looking up and life may once again be "normal"!  After a bout with AFIB  and a 5 day hospital stay my husband is back at home and at his place of business and life may get back to it's every day routine.

This I felt I needed to share as an explanation of my absence from posting anything.  Please stand-by as we get back into our grove.  Happy Spring and thanks.