Archives for February 2012
Darlings! A cold front moved into Miami over this past weekend and La Diva found it a most excellent opportunity to put on the oven and make a dinner that would be warm and comforting on a night that begged one to “get cozy.”
Since I’ve been blessed with family and friends that are kind enough to keep me in the latest cookbooks, La Diva has decided that I darn well better start using them! I’d scanned through my Ottolenghi The Cookbook I got as a present from my brother in law and his girlfriend last Christmas and had flagged each recipe that intrigued me, but after researching recipes for a client recently, I stumbled upon a most divine dish, a decadent fennel gratin. (To refresh your memory of this fabulous tome, click HERE.)
I decided that if if I was going to heat the oven, I might as well cook everything in the oven! So, dear readers, this post is about cooking an entire meal in the oven at 400 degrees!
The recipe includes the making of a crumble for the topping of the gratin. It was super easy, just combine 300 g* flour, 200 g of cold butter and 100 g of sugar until the texture of breadcrumbs. This was easily achieved by pulsing the ingredients in the food processor.
*La Diva LOVES cooking and shopping in metric, it’s so much more accurate. This is when a dual metric and Imperial scale comes in handy.
(Blogger Surit from The Dish has kindly replicated the recipe for the fennel gratin with cherry tomatoes, HERE. )
With a very large punnet of blueberries staring me in the face in my fridge, La Diva thought an easy and quick dessert would be to use them in a cobbler. I’ve actually had the recipe printed from Gourmet.com for years and now finally remembered to try it! This recipe was a good choice because it was for two servings (very LARGE servings!) was quick, easy and also called for a 400 degree oven. The dessert could be made and served room temperature, so I chose the cobbler to be next to go into the oven.
In order to get the dough to a texture that I could actually spoon it instead of crumbling, I had to supplement the recipe by adding a bit more cream. Also, next time I would add a half recipe more so the topping would cover the berries entirely. You can view the recipe for Blueberry Lemon Cobbler by clicking HERE.
When I asked The DJ how he’d like me to prepare his pork tenderloin for dinner, he exclaimed “barbecue!” I used a store-bought hickory seasoning mix and slathered it on the meat after coating it first with olive oil. I seared it on all sides to form a nice, spicy crust. I let the pan cool, washed it and then added a good dousing of olive oil on the bottom. I added the pork and the cubed, peeled sweet potatoes. I popped it into the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I had a bit of Stubb’s spicy bbq sauce in the fridge and doctored up with a bit of honey. I basted the loin a few times with barbecue sauce for additional barbecue flavor. I cooked the meat until it was just done, leaving it slightly pink and juicy. After letting the meat rest for 10 minutes, I sliced it up and plated it with the potatoes and gratin.
Plated up and ready to eat: roasted sweet potatoes with hickory smoked barbecue pork tenderloin and fennel gratin with grape tomatoes.
RESULT: What a stupendously comforting winter meal! The meat was moist and tender and had a crunchy, spicy-sweet crust. The potatoes were cooked to perfection, caramelized and extra tasty from the barbecue pork drippings.
The fennel was DIVINE! Perfectly cooked to fork tender, the fennel’s usually strong anise flavor was subdued and combined well with the sweet tomatoes and the sharp, saltiness of the cheese crumble. The creamy texture made the dish very more-ish, we went back for seconds!
La Diva is usually a big fan of roasted tomatoes but I thought they overshadowed the subtle flavor of the fennel. Next time, I will omit the tomatoes altogether.
This quick cobbler was delicious! The berries worked surprisingly well with the lemon zest and juice and gave the berries quite the zingy flavor. A dollop of vanilla ice cream on top made it even better! The cobbler was dangerously quick and easy to make. Even more dangerous is the fact that I have a restaurant in the building so The DJ can run down and get two scoops of ice cream in an “emergency!!!”
All in all, the 400 degree dinner was a warming and wonderful winter meal and all made in the oven, keeping the kitchen warm and toasty.
Do you have a favorite winter time meal that you can just easily pop into the oven? DO tell, darlings, La Diva wants to hear all about it! Ciao for now!