Cranberry Wild Rice Muffins

I once read that to enter something into the Pillsbury Bake-Off, at least 4 ingredients need to be changed within a recipe.  I have no plans to enter this recipe into the Bake-Off, but I would match those qualifications for the adjustments I’ve made to the Blueberry Wild Rice Muffin recipe I made about a year ago.

After making a bunch of wild rice and going through a few recipes, I had some leftover rice and decided that these muffins would be a good use of the rice.  I didn’t want to go get blueberries, though, since I had cranberries on-hand.  I remembered these not being especially sweet muffins, and wanted to make some other adjustments to enhance the flavor and complement the cranberries, so the adjusted recipe is below.

Cranberry Wild Rice Muffins.jpg

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Wild Rice Meatballs

Sometimes it’s easier to get all the ingredients in one location.  Does anyone else ever feel that way?  When I was looking through cookbooks and came across the wild rice bread recipe, I knew I wanted to make it.  And, I was running errands at Costco, so I came across a gigantic bag of wild rice, and it was easier to purchase it there than to make another stop at the grocery store on my way home.  So, you might see a few more wild rice recipes coming up here in the next few posts.

Now, for those of you not from Minnesota, you might be unaware that wild rice is a Minnesota staple.  We make it into hotdish, amongst other delicious items.  In the past I’ve made a variety of different recipes with wild rice, including muffins, dressing, and soup.  So, when looking for other wild rice recipes, I thought the From Minnesota with Love cookbook series might be a good starting point, and I was correct.  This recipe for wild rice meatballs looked great enough to try.

wild-rice-meatballs

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All-Day Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider

This is another recipe from the Small Victories cookbook, that I decided to make as a response to the challenge.  It seemed like the perfect night before Thanksgiving sandwich, simple, tender meat, and a nice contrast to the turkey we’d have the next day.

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All-Day Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider

2 tsp salt
1/4 c maple syrup, dark brown sugar, or honey
1/4 c Dijon mustard
4 1/2 lb pork shoulder, at room temperature
2 c apple cider

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, maple syrup, and mustard.  Rub the pork all over with the mixture and put fat side up in a large roasting dish or cast-iron skillet that holds it comfortably.  Pour the apple cider around, not over the pork.

Roast the pork for 15 minutes, just long enough to let the maple syrup start forming a crust on top, then turn the temperature to 250 degrees.  Let the pork roast, turning it once every 2 hours, until the exterior is beautifully browned and the meat is incredibly tender, 7 hours (6 hours are okay, as are 8, this isn’t too exact).

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use a knife and/or tongs to shred the meat.  Return the meat to the roasting dish to really saturate the pork with all of its juice.  Serve it warm.  Or if you’re making the pork ahead of time, shred it and let it cool to room temperature in its cooking liquid, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.  Warm in a 300-degree oven or over low heat on the stovetop.

Susan Poupore’s Wild Rice Bread

Every once in awhile, there’s a recipe that looks so delicious, I feel the need to make it.  And, ever since taking a bread making class with my dad earlier this year, I’ve been wanting to try and make some more bread recipes.  I’ve found a white bread I really like — the Old-Fashioned Milk Bread I posted about a few weeks ago.  When I saw this wild rice bread recipe in the same Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland cookbook (really, I need to stop baking and cooking out of this book sometime soon), it looked like a great hearty fall bread recipe to try.  Between this and the wild rice stuffing recipe I love so much and the chicken wild rice soup recipe I love, I’m having a bit of a love affair with wild rice lately.  So Minnesota.

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Honey, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies

I was walking through a used bookstore and came across a cookbook from the Amana Colonies.  Since the Amanas are a local delight, I had to pick it up.  Oma’s (Grandma’s) Family Secrets: Generations of Amana Cooking was a cookbook I needed in my collection.  There are a number of recipes in here which look delightful, and a few that I’m not sure I need to make (like one for squirrel), but part of what is great about the recipes in this book is that they are all handwritten.

I knew I needed to make these cookies because I had all of the ingredients for them, and I was thinking about the holidays coming up and wanted to try a few more recipes out in preparation for the days.  These were nice because they were super chewy cookies, and they weren’t overly sweet.

honey-oatmeal-and-peanut-butter-cookies

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Baked Sweet Potato Salad with Maple and Lime

When my friend was visiting last month, I knew I wanted to cook seasonally.  He’s big into cooking and the environment as well, so it generally works out pretty well to have some deliciousness that matches what is happening.  In addition to the sweet and smoky chicken and bread pudding, I threw together this baked sweet potato salad that had been on my recipe for a few weeks.

I found this recipe in the Farm Fresh Flavors cookbook, which was on my kindle.  I believe this is a kindle unlimited recipe, if you have the kindle reading app and are a prime member.  There are a few recipes in that book that I can’t wait to try.  I liked this recipe.  It reminded me of some other sweet potato recipes I’ve tried, but it was a good addition to the meal.  And the maple flavor was a nice addition to compliment the sweet potato without getting overly sweet.

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Roast Pork Loin with Herbs and Cream Cheese

One of the blogs I read regularly, What’s Gaby Cooking, is doing a monthly cookbook challenge, and for the month of November, chose the cookbook Small Victories.  I made this recipe from the cookbook, when my parents were in town visiting, on their way to see my sister and her family.  It looked like just the recipe to serve with some brussels sprouts, bread, and brownies.

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Roast Pork Loin with Cream Cheese and Herbs

2 garlic cloves
1 c Italian parsley
1/4 c fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3-to 4-lb pork loin
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c white wine, chicken stock, or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

With the food processor running, drop the garlic in the feed tube, and process until finely chopped.  Add the parsley, basil, and thyme, and pulse until everything is finely chopped.  Add the cream cheese, 1 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper and pulse until everything is well-combined.  Set the mixture aside.

Put the pork loin, fat-side down, on your work surface with one of the short ends pointing toward you.  Using a sharp chef’s knife, hold it parallel to the board and make a sharp incision along the length of the pork, cutting the meat about 1/2 inch.  Continue to slice into the meat while lifting the top part with your other hand until the pork loin is opened out and totally flat and about 1 inch thick.

Season the newly exposed side of the pork aggressively with salt.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pork, using your hands or a rubber spatula.  Starting from the short side, roll the pork up tightly so that it resembles its old self, this time with the herb mixture spiraled throughout it.  Lay five 12-in pieces of kitchen string about 1 inch apart on your work surface and carefully lift the pork and put it on top of the string, seam-side down.  Tie the pieces of string tightly around the pork loin so that it is even and compact.  Trim off the excess string.

Transfer the pork, fat-side up, to a large baking dish and drizzle the olive oil over it.  Sprinkle the pork with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Pour the wine around the pork.

Roast the pork until it is browned, is firm to the touch, and registers 145 degrees when you test it in the thickest part with an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the meat (start testing it at 1 hour).  Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

Let the pork rest for 10 minutes, then cut off and discard the string.  Slice the pork, arrange on a serving platter, and spoon over some of the pan juices.  Serve immediately.