Decade favorites

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By: Linda Brandt

  • Image by Sabrina St. from Pixabay
    Image by Sabrina St. from Pixabay
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A few columns ago, I talked about how food-related Web sites, blogs and magazines cited their favorite or most popular recipes of 2019 — and then I found at Food52.com, favorite recipes for the entire decade. These two sound especially good.

Slow-cooker brown sugar and balsamic glazed pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 cup water

2 pounds pork tenderloin

Glaze:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub all over the tenderloin

Place 1/2 cup water in a slow cooker and then add the tenderloin. Cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

Glaze: About an hour before the roast is finished, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water and soy sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Continue to heat and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.

Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking.

For a more caramelized crust, remove pork from slow cooker and place on an aluminum lined sheet pan, brush with glaze and set under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat 2 or 3 more times until desired crust is achieved.

Serve warm with remaining glaze on the side.

Serves 6.

Variation: For 8 to 10 servings and moist pork that falls apart, use 4 pounds pork shoulder (boneless pork butt), 4 cloves garlic, grated, 2 teaspoons sage and 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Combine seasonings and put into slow cooker with pork. Cook on high setting for 4 hours.

For the glaze, combine 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mustard powder and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add to slow cooker and cook for an additional hour.

Remove pork to cutting board and carve against the grain. Serve with roasted carrots and/or white rice.

World’s best cake

A couple of years ago, I was so intrigued by a recipe titled “The World’s Best Cake” that I had to bake it. The instructions sounded tricky — layers of cake, meringue and whipped cream — but once I started preparing it, I found that it was not difficult.

Food 52’s version takes it to a different level by adding bananas, coconut and spices.

World’s best cake with banana and coconut

10-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 stick plus 1-1/2 tablespoons)

1-2/3 cups sugar, divided use

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 pinch salt

5 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup whole milk

1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean

1 or 2 bananas, sliced

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing some to drape over the sides of the pan.

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2/3 cup of the sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Mixing at low speed, add flour, baking powder, spices and salt; mix well

Mix in egg yolks and milk until combined.

Scrape batter into pan.

Clean and thoroughly dry the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pour in egg whites, making sure there are no specks of yolk; add the remaining cup of sugar. Beat until whites form soft peaks. This may take a while. If the egg whites aren’t reaching soft peaks, wait until the mixture ribbons back onto itself. Carefully spread whipped whites over the batter in the pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown and puffy. About 15 minutes through baking, cover the meringue with coconut flakes. This way, the coconut can adhere to the still-damp meringue but it will not burn.

While cake cools, pour cream into a medium bowl; scrape in the vanilla seeds and discard the pod. Beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.

This is the only tricky part, if I can do it, anyone can do it. Using the overlapping parchment, carefully transfer the cooled cake to a cutting board. Cut cake in half with a serrated knife. Place one half of the cake on a serving tray, meringue side up and cover with whipped cream and banana slices. Place the other half of the cake, meringue side up, on top of the whipped cream and banana slices.

Place the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving to allow cake to soften and flavors to blend.

To share a food story or recipe, column idea or comment, e-mail: brandtlinda11@gmail.com.