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Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Don’t you just love those caprese appetizers? Those little fresh mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes skewered on picks and drizzled with balsamic vinegar? So yummy! I decided to make a sauce based on those delightful, summery, picks-o-goodness! Only no toothpicks. Because that would be dangerous.

I picked up a package of basil gnocchi at our local World Market for this dish, but regular gnocchi should work also. I used “pearl” tomatoes – which are more golf-ball sized, so I’m not sure where the name came from! A couple of diced, seeded Roma tomatoes would work just dandy. Speaking of pearls, I wish I could have found those cute little pearl-sized fresh mozzarella balls, but oh well!

1 – 16 oz. pkg. Basil Gnocchi

3-4 cloves Roasted Garlic

mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, caprese sauce

The sauce just needs to simmer a little longer to warm through!

¾ c white wine

1 tbl. Balsamic vinegar

1 tbl olive oil

3 small Tomatoes, cut in wedges and seeded

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/3 c chopped fresh basil (I use scissors)

12 fresh mozzarella balls (1 inch size –although I would have loved to have found the pearl-sized mozzarella)

SAUCE: Measure the wine and Balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan – add the roasted garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt & pepper and simmer 2 minutes longer. Put in the mozzarella balls and basil and warm through.

gnocchi, caprese sauce, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella balls

We ate every single bite!

GNOCCHI: Using only mountain spring water, hauled by hand in a copper bucket…kidding! Cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Note: I should have added a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar…next time!!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Recipe

 

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Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Jelly Sauce

Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Jelly Sauce

As an empty-nester, it’s difficult to cook just for two people when you’ve spent decades cooking for a family. Here’s a recipe that makes plenty for two, plus maybe a bit leftover for a lunch to take to work! My daughter gave me a small jar of roasted garlic jelly that she had made and canned herself. I found a similar recipe HERE, if you’d like to try it yourself.

I confess right here and now that this was an experiment. I had the roasted garlic jelly and decided to try it with the pork chops. I had no clue how to use it, so I did a search and could only find pork recipes using pepper jelly. I read a few of them and decided to use them as a guide to develop my own recipe. This is the result and it was delicious!

wine, chicken stock reduction

Reducing the wine-chicken stock mixture.

The sauce:

  • 1/4 c. Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 c. White Wine
  • 1/2 c. Roasted Garlic Jelly
  • 1 pinch each: Thyme and Crushed Rosemary

Bring chicken stock, wine and herbs to a boil. Simmer and stir to reduce a bit – about 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Add jelly. Break it up and stir until it is fully melted. The sauce will be thin. Remove from heat and set aside.

roasted garlic jelly, reduction sauce

Chunks of quivering deliciousness, melting in the sauce.

The chops:

  • Two Sirloin Boneless Pork Chops (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 Tbl. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over fairly high heat. Add the pork chops and with sprinkle salt and pepper; brown on both sides. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until done (10-15 minutes), turning occasionally.

Add the sauce, turning the chops to coat. Cover and let simmer a few minutes to meld the flavors. Serve hot, spooning some sauce over the chops.

pork chops

Two browned chops – can you smell them yet?

pork chops

Yummy chops with cheesey macaroni shells and steamed baby broccoli!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Recipe

 

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A Work in Progress: Raspberry-Balsamic Reduction Sauce

I’ve had two fabulous meals at restaurants lately that inspired me to give reduction sauces a shot. I had the Chicken Marsala at The Main Street Ale House in Kingston that was so wonderful that I came >this< close to licking the plate. The other was Apricot Chicken at – of all places – The Olive Garden in Silverdale. Again, there was very nearly a plate-licking incident.

Both of these dishes had chicken breasts that were pounded nearly flat. OK – I have a breast-pounding mallet

Surely this device will pound a chicken breast nice & flat!

that looks like it could stop a moose in its tracks which I keep in the car for protection. Or in case I’m suddenly underwater and need to break a window. With the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, I commenced pounding (with the smooth side of the mallet) until they were flat and the size of a salad plate. And, hey, it was fun! I sprinkled them with thyme and fresh ground pepper on both sides and put a little sea salt on one side only before cutting them into manageable sizes for grilling.

As I said, I never made a reduction sauce before and I didn’t want to muck up my experiment by actually researching the concept. Pshaw! So this is what I did:

  • In a large, deep sided skillet (large because I needed to add the grilled chicken later and I hate
    Raspberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

    See - reduced by half!

    washing dishes) I melted 1/2 c. of seedless raspberry jam over low heat.

  • I added 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar, 3/4 c. apple juice (I used a small juice box of 100% juice), fresh ground pepper and 1 tbl. dried onion (handy for sauces when you only need a small amount of onion). I bumped the heat up to medium-high so it would come to a boil.
  • Once it was boiling, I reduced the heat to a simmer until it reduced by half and the chicken was ready to go in. I tossed in some fresh raspberries for color.
  • I coated the chicken in the sauce and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes so the flavors would meld.

It smelled like heaven and was very pretty to look at. Not to mention, quite tasty!

See how pretty?!?

Remember that this is a work in progress and that I had never made a reduction sauce before. My husband begged me to put the recipe on my blog so here it is! If you have made a reduction sauce before and what I am doing is horribly, horribly wrong, please let me know.

But if something this delicious is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Information, Recipe

 

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