Gingerbread, Pears, Apples, And Pork

Waldy Malouf takes The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring challenge to create a delicious three course meal for under $30.

Malouf is the executive chef and co-owner of the Beacon restaurants located in Manhattan, New York and Connecticut. Wood fire and open fire cooking are Chef Malouf's culinary signatures.

He describes the dishes for the challenge as a great "transitional" menu. The food, he says, hints at some of the flavor of fall. The two main dishes are roasted artichokes stuffed with herbs and garlic and roast of pork loin with apples and bitter chocolate. He prepares gingerbread cake with balsamic roasted pears for desert.

Chef Malouf roasts Bosc pears in the dessert recipe because, he says, the pears hold their shape well when baked or poached. He also likes its sweet-tart flavor.

For the roast of pork loin dish, he uses Cortland apples, which are considered an "all-purpose" apple. It is smooth with a shiny red skin. It is juicy with a crisp, sweet-tart that resists browning.

Chef Malouf is also using dried thyme instead of fresh thyme in the marinade. He believes that dried thyme in the marinade is better absorbed and easier to apply.

The chef shares some of his secrets in his first cookbook, "The Hudson River Valley Cookbook," published in 1995. He is currently working on his second book, which is scheduled for publication later this year.

Chef Malouf also lends his time to many charities. He has participated in "Share Our Strength/Taste of the Nation," "God's Love, We Deliver," "The James Beard Foundation" "City Meal On Wheels," and "Windows for Hope."

The Menu:

Roasted Artichokes Stuffed With Herbs And Garlic
Roast of Pork Loin With Apples and Bitter Chocolate
Gingerbread Cake With Balsamic Roasted Pears

The Recipes:

Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Herbs and Garlic
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 lemons
4 globe artichokes
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Grate the zest from the lemon and set aside.
  2. Fill a bowl with water, ice and the juice from half a lemon. Trim the artichokes by first pulling off the tough outer leaves. Trim off the bottoms so the artichokes can stand upright, and then the tops. Use a pair of kitchen shears or scissors to snip off any points remaining on the leaves. As you trim the artichokes, put the finished ones in a bowl of ice water to keep them from turning brown.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the artichokes in the water and cover them with a heatproof plate or a round parchment of waxed paper just smaller than the pot in order to keep them submerged. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a thin, sharp knife to cut the center leaves and hairy choke out of each artichoke.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, combine the raisins and lemon juice of 1 lemon to a simmer. Turn off the heat, letting the raisins cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. To prepare the filling, in a skillet over medium heat, combine 6 tablespoons of the olive oil with the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and lemon juice.
  6. Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add the raisin mixture and the olives and toss well. Toss in the mint, parsley and reserved lemon zest and season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the artichokes in a pan just large enough to hold them upright. Put filling in their cavities and in between their leaves. Drizzle them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pour 2 tablespoons of water into the bottom of the pan and roast until the filling is browned and crisp, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Roast Loin of Pork with Apples and Bitter Chocolate
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 boneless pork loin roast (about 2 pounds) trimmed and tied
1.5 cups of chicken broth (low sodium if canned)
1/2 cup brandy
2 Cortland apples, cored and peeled and cut into 6 slices each
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Method:

  1. Roast the jalapeno by placing it directly over the gas flame on your stovetop. Using kitchen tongs, turn the jalapeno until it is blistered and lightly charred all over.

    Alternatively, the jalapeno can be roasted under the broiler as close to the heat source as possible. Put the pepper on a bowl and cover it with a plate. Let the pepper steam for at least 5 minutes, or until cool. Wearing rubber gloves, use your hands or a spoon to peel the jalapeno, then mince it.

  2. In a bowl, combine the jalapeno, salt, cocoa, thyme, cinnamon, and pepper, Rub this mixture thoroughly all over the pork, coating it evenly. Wrap the pork tightly in plastic and refrigerate it overnight for up to 2 days. Turn the meat every 12 hours or so.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the heat from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
  4. Place the pork on a rack set in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Lift the rack and meat out of the pan and add the chicken broth, brandy and apples to the pan juices, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any caramelized, stuck-on bits. Set the rack and meat back over the apples in the pan and roast for another 35-45 minutes, basting with the pan juices occasionally, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
  5. Transfer the pork and apples to a warm platter and let rest for 20 minutes (the meat will continue to cook as it sits). Skim the fat off the pan juices and place the pan over medium heat. Simmer the liquid to thicken it (about 5 to 10 minutes), then whisk in the butter. Slice the meat and arrange it in the center of a large platter. Pour the pan juices over the top, arranging the apple slices around the meat and serve.
Gingerbread Cake with Balsamic Roasted Pears
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup light molasses
1 cup whole milk
Whipped cream or ice cream for serving

For the pears:
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into 12 wedges

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To prepare the cake, grease and flour a 10-inch cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, butter, and egg and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. With the motor running, drizzle in the molasses and beat until incorporated. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk in three additions, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when pressed, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. To roast the pears, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and vanilla bean to a simmer; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until syrupy. arrange the pear wedges in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pour the balsamic syrup over them. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, basting occasionally until tender, keep warm.
  5. To serve, cut pieces of cake and garnish with the pears, a drizzle of balsamic syrup, whipped cream or ice cream.

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