Anybody who is fond of food blogs has probably spent a little time on the Smitten Kitchen blog, which features impressive yet relatively easy recipes and gorgeous food photos that make you want to drool.
Now, the author of that blog, Deb Perelman, has come out with her own cookbook, “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.” This book, like the blog, features lovely pictures and a variety of dishes that look and sound gourmet but do not appear to be very difficult to prepare.
One lucky blogger is going to win a copy of this cookbook. And since it is bitterly cold outside and some nasty weather is reportedly moving in, I think I’ll share two recipes from the book that look perfect for a cozy evening indoors on a winter night.
For a chance to win this book, leave me a message and write a Haiku about why you love or hate snow, whatever the case may be. I’ll pick my favorite for the win. It isn’t that hard, I promise. As a reminder, Haiku is three lines, 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. I’ll go first:
When the snow comes down,
I want chili and PJs,
maybe some whiskey
Hey, that was fun. I’m going to do another:
Snow piled on the roof,
snow blanketing the driveway.
Snow can kiss my butt.
The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. on Monday. I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday. Read on to see recipes for slow-cooker black bean ragout and pork chops with cider, horseradish and dill.
Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout
Makes 6 cups
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 lb. (or 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans, rinsed if not already soaked
1 dried chile
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. table salt
9 to 10 cups water or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbsp. lime juice or sherry vinegar
1-inch thick slices of bread, such as country or ciabatta loaf
1 large garlic clove, halved
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup sour cream, creme fraiche, or crema Mexicana
Optional garnishes: Chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedge
1. Put all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime or vinegar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender (3 to 6 hours, depending on how fast your slow cooker cooks).
2. To make toasts, brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast under the broiler, and as soon as you take it out of the oven, rub it with the raw garlic cloves.
3. To make crema, stir together cumin and sour cream. Set aside.
4. Once the beans are cooked, stir in the lime juice or vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste. Ladle over toast, top with crema and sprinkle with cilantro and chopped onions, if desired.
Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish and Dill
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup hard or pressed apple cider
2 Tbsp. freshly grated or prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. table salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 bone-in loin pork chops, 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1. Whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Trim any excess fat from around chops until you only have about 1/8 inch of fat. Pat chops dry with a paper towel and generously season them with salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in a heavy, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until oil starts to smoke. Add pork chops to the skillet and cook them until they are well-browned, about 3 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer, then transfer them to a plate and pour off any fat in skillet.
4. Pour glaze into the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Cook until mixture thickens enough that your spatula leaves a trail when scraped across the pan, 2 to 4 minutes.
5. Return chops and any juices to the skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the center of the chops registers 140 on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
6. Serve chops with glaze drizzled over them and sprinkled with dill.
Recipes adapted from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman.