A cooking and baking journal

"Orange" You Glad It's Pig? -- Pork Chops Meet Orange Marmalade

5/16/10: Pork Chops with Orange Soy Glaze and Udon Noodles alongside Hoosier Peanut Bars

Meal details: For the main course I seared 1 inch pork loin chops and braised them in a sauce that had orange marmalade, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and chicken stock. And for dessert I made a really intriguing bar that has a cookie-like bottom layer, a chocolate middle, and a meringue and peanut topping. Sounds yummy, doesn't it?

Defining moments: First time using soy sauce for me! Yeah, it looks like I don't usually cook Asian.

Recipe sources: The pork chop recipe comes from Robin Miller, the host of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller that airs on Food Network. I specifically chose it because I am part of the Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge that is being hosted by the writer of the I Thank My Mother blog.

The Hoosier Peanut Bar recipe came from the August 2009 issue of Baker's Sheet, a newsletter written by King Arthur's Flour. Here is the recipe for those who are interested:

Hoosier Peanut Bars

Ingredients for Base:
  • 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cold water

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large egg whites (from above)
  • 1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) chopped lightly salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan, and line it with a sheet of parchment paper that goes down one long side and up the other, with some extra on each side. Fold the paper so it doesn't droop down into the pan.

For the base: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites into another clean mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl; beat in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the water until the dough is mixed; it will be stiff.

Press the dough into the prepared pan with wet fingers or using a mini pastry roller over a piece of plastic wrap.

For the topping: Spread the chocolate chips over the dough in the pan, pressing them in lightly. Whip the reserved egg whites until they become foamy. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is stiff. Spread over the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is light golden brown and the edges just pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Cut into bars or squares while still warm. Once the bars are cool, you can pull them straight up and out of the pan using the parchment paper on the sides. Yield: 24 bars.

What I learned: The pork chop recipe was really easy to execute and I can't think of any new knowledge gained by doing this recipe. I do have some notes for the peanut bar recipe. When I was beating the egg whites to form the topping, I was uncertain on what was considered "stiff" as was said in the recipe. I know that you can easily over beat egg whites so I was biting my nails as I carefully watched my KitchenAid. I decided to stop the machine when the whites and added sugar started to look white and glossy. I then started beating it by hand to carry it to the final stage, which was, I am guessing, when it resembled marshmallow fluff. I soon found out that I was right in my assumption because the finished bars looked just like the recipe's photo.

Any modifications? I followed the bar recipe exactly but I substituted egg noodles for the udon noodles called for in the pork chop recipe.

How did it taste? The family loved both dishes! The pork chops were flavorful, tender, and paired very well with the egg noodles. My Papa said they needed more marmalade, though, so I will remember to use the whole jar next time. The peanut bars were very delicious and I love the surprise meringue topping. They look like they would be hard and crunchy but they turned out to be soft and chewy. . . Two textures I love when it comes to desserts. :)

How about a 2nd time? Absolutely.

Note: It seems to me that I almost always give a positive answer to the last question. Now that's encouraging!





My goodness! Look at all that peanut goodness!


That Dick Van Dyke Show episode comes to mind right about now. :D



Is it just me, or is my sister's photos getting better each week?

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