Friday, February 5, 2016

Apple stuffed pork tenderloin with butternut squash whipped potatoes and sour cherry jus



Are you looking for something a little different for your Easter dinner? I've never been a big fan of ham, but I've always enjoyed pork. The drawback of pork is that it's easy to overcook, but it's great to find some recipes that are simple, delicious and sure to please a crowd.

Pork tenderloin is small...they're only about a pound each. One tenderloin is good for about 3 people for dinner, so you might want to make sure. This recipe is good for about 2 pork tenderloins

Ingredients for pork and stuffing.

  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 apples
  • stale bread
  • fresh sage and thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chicken stock
  • 2 pork tenderloins
Directions
  1. Saute onions, celery, garlic, carrot and apples in a little bacon fat until vegetables are tender. Add herbs and seasoning.
  2. Pour vegetables in a bowl with stale bread cubes. Pour a little chicken stock over it just to moisten it. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Butterfly open the pork tenderloin and spread out. Place filling in the pork and roll back up. Tie tightly with kitchen twine.
  4. Season pork with salt and pepper. Sear hard on all sides and roast pork loin in the oven until internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 145 degrees (about an hour)
  5. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
For sour cherry sauce, chop up some pitted sweet cherries packed in syrup. Saute in a little butter and add a good splash of rice vinegar. Pour some of the syrup over and let cook until reduced, adding more sugar, syrup or vinegar to taste.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Portabello Mushroom Wellington


At our wedding, Steve and I had Portabello Mushroom Wellington as our vegetarian entree choice. It was so different and so much more delicious than your normal vegetarian options at those events (usually pasta). We tried it and were absolutely floored by the flavor of the dish. They paired it with a fig chutney that gave a nice sweet/sour note to cut the earthiness of the mushrooms and richness of the puff pastry. It was one of the least memorable things (after all, it was our wedding day) but still a delicious meal.

I've made it a few times since then (for our anniversary and some special occasions). This recipe is a little different (the original didn't have spinach) but it's still delicious and a little heartier (which I like). I really recommend having this with a chutney of some kind because it makes it 10x better. I used apricot chutney at home, but really anything will work.

Ingredients
  • 2 portabello mushroom caps (gills removed)
  • 2 cups mixed sliced mushrooms (I used a mix of enoki, shitake and crimini)
  • 2 cup packed spinach leaves
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • balsamic vinegar
  • bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 sheet of puff pastry
  • egg wash
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle portabello mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake portabello mushrooms cap side up for 20 minutes. Remove and let drain on paper towels.
  2. Sautee shallot and garlic in a little butter until fragrant. Add mixed mushrooms and cook until tender and all moisture has evaporated. Add spinach and and cook until just wilted. Add balsamic and season with salt and pepper. Remove to let cook, stirring in bread crumbs as needed.
  3. Cut full puff pastry sheet into 4 squares (you will use 2 for this recipe). Equally fill each mushroom cap with the cooled spinach mixture. Place one puff pastry sheet over the filling and wrap all the way around the mushroom so the seam is at the top of the mushroom cap and the flat side is stretched over the filling.
  4. Brush top of pastry with egg wash and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes and enjoy.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Wonton Soup


I can't think of anything better than soup on a cold day. Today in the DC area, we're having a monster blizzard with a projected 2+ feet of snow. I've never experienced that much snow before in my life and it's cool to see. Mostly, I'm glad I don't have to go to work and I just get to sit home and enjoy watching the snow fall.

This version on wonton soup is extremely easy and so much tastier than anything you'll get at a chinese restaurant. You can buy pre-made wontons for your soup, In my case, I used homemade pork gyoza that I already had in the freezer and they were quite delicious.

Wonton Soup
Ingredients (for 2)

  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 8-10 pieces pork wontons or gyoza
  • 6 pieces baby bok choy (hard inner stem removed)
  • Napa cabbage
  • Green onion
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 4 pieces dried shitake mushroom
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Soy sauce or fish sauce as needed
Directions
  1. Mince the garlic and ginger. Place in a small saucepan with shitake mushrooms and bring to a simmer.
  2. Place a steamer pot over the top of your broth and steam wontons until cooked.Set aside until ready to serve
  3. Add bok choy, cabbage, sliced water chestnuts to broth. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through. Removed dried mushrooms, cut off stems, julienne and return to broth.
  4. Season broth to taste as needed. Return wonton to broth with green onions. Serve immediately. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Homemade Orchetti with Italian Sausage and Fennel Fronds


 
It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. As most of you know, Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (secretly) and reveal it on a given day. This week, group C is revealing their creations. It's so much fun to explore another member's blog and also see some old recipes other people may make from yours. It's great to get back to the club after our hiatus from the end of December through the middle of January. This is our first week back and I'm really starting off my first post with a bang.

When I found out I was cooking from Manu's Menu this month, I got super excited. Her posts always look amazing and she has a wonderful assortment of Italian foods and otherwise. I knew I wanted to make a pasta dish from her site. She has so many great tutorials and pasta recipes, it seemed like the thing to do. I almost got sidetracked by her Curry puffs and Chicken Biryani. I even considered making her veal saltimbocca,  but this recipe for Homemade Orchetti with Italian Sausage and Wilted Fennel Fronds really won me over.

I think this was the best pasta dish I've ever made, no exaggeration. My husband said he would pay for this at a restaurant and even though I thought I made too much pasta, we were pigs and ate all of it. It was delicious and flavorful while still being subtle. All of the flavors of the Italian sausage, fennel, saffron and cheese stood out on their own while not overpowering anything. It was a beautiful dish that will absolutely go into my regular rotation. I recommend making her homemade orchetti because it is so easy. Her tutorials are much better than I could every do, so take a look on her site if you're interested in shaping your own.

Thank you Manuela for introducing me to this wonderful dish!

Ingredients (for 2)
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed (I use half mild and half hot)
  • Green tops from 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • water as needed
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese for serving
  • Orchetti Pasta (homemade or store bought, recipe follows)
Directions
  1. Shape homemade pasta with about 100 grams of durum wheat flour per person and enough water to make a stiff yet pliable dough after a few minutes of kneading. Great tutorials on shaping an be found here. Set pasta aside when done
  2. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the fennel tops until tender. Remove from water, drain and chop into small pieces. Reserve fennel water.
  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed sautee pan, sautee onions in a little olive oil until tender. Add sausage and cook until well browned. Add fennel, saffron and white wine and cook 5 minutes or so and remove from heat.
  4. Cook pasta until al dente in your reserved fennel water, adding more water or salt as needed.
  5. Reheat sausage and fennel sauce and add cooked pasta with a Tbsp of the pasta water. Toss until well coated and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Garlic Sichuan Eggplant


I absolutely love spicy food. Any time I go to Thai or Chinese restaurants, spicy Sichuan style eggplant is one of my favorite dishes. This recipe is super easy to make at home, but I must warn you that the heat level is no joke. I got the recipe from Serious Eats, as I get so many wonderful recipes. It's spicy and easy and super delicious.

Ingredients
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs Japanese eggplant, cut lengthwise into quarters and then into 3 inch lengths
  • 2 Thai chilis
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cheap balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 scallions, white parts sliced thin and green cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang
  • chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Dissolve kosher salt in 2 quarts of water. Place eggplant in water, skin side up, and allow to soak for 10-20 minutes
  2. Heat rice vinegar in small pan and pour atop sliced Thai chilis. Let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine, sugar, soy and balsamic to chilis. Add corn starch and set aside
  4. Remove eggplant from the water and let try on paper towels
  5. Heat vegetable oil in a wok until smoking. Add eggplant and cook until browned on all sides. Push to the sides of the wok and add ginger, garlic and white parts of scallions to the center. Cook until fragrant.
  6.  Add gochujang and stir again. Add chili sauce mixture. and stir to coat the eggplant until well glazed. Adjust with water as necessary and serve with rice or tofu.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Beef Rendang


Until I made this dish, I've never had any exposure to Indonesian food. I was challenged to make to make this particular dish and the recipe did not disappoint. Apparently beef rending is one of the most well know dishes in Indonesian cuisine. It gets better as it ages (it was originally a method of preserving food), it's easy and it's super delicious. I mean, you're essentially making beef confit using the fat from coconut milk. What's not to love about it?

This is a weekend food since it does take about 4 hours to make. I recommend making it on a weeknight while making other dinner. Since it is better the next day, you can very easily make this on a Wednesday and box it up for Thursday night.

I used this wonderful recipe from "No Recipes" which is an ironic name because that website has a ton of wonderful recipes. I'm not complaining, I'm just enjoying it.

Ingredients
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 inches ginger, sliced into circles
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 large shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, roughly smashed
  • 3 tbsp. red chili flakes
  • 2 lbs fatty beef chuck or short rib, cut into large pieces
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • oil
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • fresh lime, zested
Directions
  1. Add salt, coriander, turmeric, chili flakes, garlic, shallot and half the ginger in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste
  2. Season the meat with a little extra salt and pepper. Brown meat in oil in a heavy pan and remove
  3. Add lime zest, lemongrass and the rest of the ginger to the oil. Fry until fragrant and remove
  4. Fry chili paste in oil until most of the moisture has evaporated. Fry on low to prevent burning.
  5. Add meat, coconut milk, ginger/lemongrass back to the pot and stir to coat. Cover loosly and simmer on low for 4 hours until meat is tender (stirring occasionally).
  6. Remove lid and fry meat in residual oil in the pan until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Beet, Grapefruit and Radish Salad with Tahini Dressing


2015 was a pretty amazing year (as you could see from my previous food posts). But in real life it was pretty great too. I didn't keep the resolutions I wanted (as if I thought I could run a 10k). I was optimistic, as you should be, but not quite practical. I'm going to make a list again this year and hopefully i'll keep myself more accountable.

1. Post on this blog at least once a week (I managed it last year, lets keep it up)
2. Read at least 50 pages per night
3. Finish all lessons of rosetta stone Japanese by the end of the year
4. Learn something new daily.

I think these are reasonable... don't you? My husband and I aren't so bad off. We eat relatively healthy foods on a regular basis (you just get the more interesting, sometimes fattier) meals that we make in this blog. We're pretty good at saving money for the future, but there's always room for improvement. Lets start with the things I listed (little things) and go from there.

Since it is the beginning of the year, I'm going to start everyone off with a healthy recipe. This amazing salad comes from this wonderful cookbook of Moroccan cooking. The recipe is simple, fresh and perfect any time of year. The citrus and the raw beets make a perfect paring. You can serve it with or without lettuce, but I like a little bed of bib lettuce underneath.

Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp lime juice
  • water as needed
  • 3 oz red radishes, sliced thinly on mandolin
  • 14 oz raw beets, peeled and sliced thinly on mandolin
  • 1 pink grapefruit, zested, peeled and sliced in circles
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Mix together tahini, ginger, garlic, lime juice in a mason jar and shake until you make a well combined dressing. Add water and season with salt as necessary.
  2. Slice the radishes and beets paper thin, leaving them separate. Arrange attractively on serving plate over a bed of bibb lettuce
  3. Zest grapefruit. Peel remaining pith and slice grapefruit. Arrange slices over beets and radishes. Sprinkle zest over salad and dress with a drizzle of tahini dressing.
  4. Sprinkle dill and toasted sesame seeds over salad and serve with warm pita bread.
 

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