Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Herb Salsa

As the pork tenderloins came in a two pack, I had to find something else to do with the other one.  I had very high hope for this when reading it, was expecting disaster when I tasted the salsa alone, and came to rest with a happy medium of decent with the eating of it.  The boys, who I told to expect disaster, really liked it.  Here is the breakdown.  Pork alone was plain, the salsa alone was a bit oily and bitter if you didn't get a good bit of the dried fruit but together it was pretty good.  Another thing, dried currants seem to be MIA unless it is the holidays so I substituted dried tart cherries.  I considered cranberries, but they were pretty sweet and I thought that the tart cherries were a better sub.  Oh and while I enjoyed the broccolini, I think for the price, plain ole broccoli will be fine.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Herb Salsa
1 Cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbl oregano leaves
1/4 Cup pitted green olives
3/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
1/4 Cup dried currants
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
1 sweet onion cut into 1/2-inch-thick slabs
1 Lb Broccolini
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, oregano, olives and the 3/4
cup of olive oil and process to a fine paste. Add the currants and lemon
juice, season with salt and pepper and pulse to blend.
2. Light a grill and oil the grates; alternatively, heat a grill pan.
Brush the onion slabs and Broccolini all over with olive oil and season
with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once or twice, until
charred and tender, about 5 minutes for the Broccolini and 8 to 10
minutes for the onion.
3. Meanwhile, butterfly the pork, cutting halfway through the meat; open
the meat on a work surface. Using a meat pounder, pound the tenderloin
to a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush the pork with olive oil and season with
the paprika and salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once or
twice, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Let the pork
rest for 5 minutes, then cut into thick slices. Serve with the grilled
Broccolini and onion and pass the herb salsa alongside.
Make Ahead The herb salsa can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Patty Melt

So this post doesn't really count.  No real recipe here, just a record of our dinner.  Also just an idea for a slightly different dinner.  It isn't unusual, but it is easy to forget about some dishes.  The patty melt is a great example.  We have ordered them before, but I have never made one before.  No, it isn't a traditional patty melt.  I had some white/wheat swirled bread I bought on a BOGO whim, cheddar wedge left over from the skyrim dinner, and a onion.  Oh and confession time, I used frozen Bubba Burgers for the patty.  I bought them in a moment of "on sale" madness thinking it would be an easy lunch for the kids and their friends when they are over.  That never happened, so I am starting the war again on my pantry and fridge clutter:).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hoisin Pork With Napa Cabbage

I had a gorgeous head of napa from my Front Porch Pickings basket, and pork tenderloins were on sale so this was what was on the menu tonight.  It was super easy to make.  While we all really liked it I had some thoughts for next time.  The broth was flavorful, but didn't seem to get in every bite, which was a shame since it made the meal.  I think next time, I will take everything out when it is done and add a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the broth enough to make it stick to the meat and veggies. 

Hoisin Pork With Napa Cabbage

1 Lb pork tenderloin cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (about 3" long)
1 Tsp kosher salt more to taste
3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
2 Tsp minced garlic
6 Cup napa cabbage cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 lb)
1 red bell pepper cored, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup thinly sliced fresh chives
In a large bowl, season the pork with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. In a small
bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or large stir-fry
pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the pork and cook,
stirring, until it browns and loses most of its raw appearance, about 2
minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, and once it
begins to sizzle, add the cabbage and pepper. Sprinkle with the
remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to
wilt, about 2 minutes.
Add the hoisin mixture, the pork, and half of the chives and cook,
tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Let sit for 2 minutes off
the heat (the cabbage will exude some liquid and form a rich broth),
toss well again, and serve sprinkled with the remaining chives.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Skyrim Themed Dinner

My family is in town this weekend because we have plans to head over to Orlando to iFly to do some indoor skydiving!   As such, I thought I would prepare a special dinner.  Now this dinner isn't special because it is extra fancy. (I wasn't even sure it would be all that great tasting). This dinner is special because it is based on the foods of Skyrim.  Now I totally hooked on the game, but my brother is SERIOUSLY hooked on the game and I thought he would get a kick out of the plan.  If you aren't familiar with the game, it is Nordic themed and you do cook dishes that help restore your life more than the raw ingredients do.   Now many of the dishes are either totally impossible ( like 'horker stew' with a horker being something like a walrus) or just sounded totally gross like apple cabbage stew, but I found a few that could be prepared.   On the menu tonight: "seared slaughter fish" (talapia), tomato soup, "eider cheese wedge" (in this case cheddar), grilled leeks, bread and red apples. I had to make a sauce for the fish.(not in the game at all)  Plain grilled fish wasn't working for me, so I made a take on my sage cream sauce but made it with dill instead. (It's more in theme)  This post isn't so much about the recipes as it is about engaging your family in the food.  My kids are pretty good about eating almost anything I set down in front of them.  The 3 yr old is still a little picky but the 11 yr old is an adventurous eater that even will eat things that make me a little leery.   (like kangaroo jerky)  My nephew is an extremely picky eater, and when he visits I really want to serve meals that make everyone happy.  I knew he liked the game just as much as his father, and I knew that he liked talapia, so when talapia became slaughterfish the rest was easy.  Normally when it comes to trying something new, my nephew pitches a fit, but he happily tried grilled leeks and the sauce both totally out of his comfort zone.  We did our best to keep the dining experience in theme with candlelight only and eating out side to feel more "primitive"  You can apply this to any of your family's favorite games or books, even ones that don't have food in them.  I was thinking of making MREs for a "Black Ops" themed one.  I haven't played it but sounds about right:).  So, tonight, I am not just advocating cooking and eating together, but every once in a while, make it an occasion!  Happily the food turned out to be really good!  The dill sauce was wonderful and with the leeks chopped up on top of the fish with the sauce, we were all making the "yummy" sounds;).  I almost forgot!  My brother brought a bottle of mead based one a 300 year old recipe, there was "alto wine" and ale too:).

Seared Slaughterfish

We just threw some foil down on the grill we were cooking the leeks on and cooked out there.  We flipped them once.

Grilled Leeks

We sliced some leeks lengthwise and soaked them in a large bowl of water, (with a toothpick for each leek half soaking at the same time)  gently fanning out the layers to clean them of any dirt.  If any came apart we put them back together and before the grill we held the leek half together with a toothpick.  Before grilling, we brushed them with some olive oil and cooked them for a few minutes on each side.

Tomato Soup

We have made before. Click link to recipe

Dill Sauce

We made it like the sage sauce I made but substituting dill for the dried sage

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Asian-Style Pork Burgers

I was totally at a loss about what to make tonight. I had a short list of recipes for this week, but as I prepared to go to the grocery, I went back to the 'to try' file and looked for something easy and fast. I had this burger in there for a while now and I never made it because I thought it would be too plain. I am so happy that I was so very wrong! It was simplicity incarnate! All I needed to so was slice, grate, mix, cook and... ambrosia! The consensus around the table was a 4.5 out of 5. Keep in mind we have become a bit snobby about food in general much less burgers! We were all pretty happily surprised by how tasty this was. This recipe was from Food & Wine magazine and they haven't steered me wrong... well ever is a bit of an exaggeration but 95% of the time their recipes are winners in my family. I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee except for the rice wine vinegar. I like the roasted garlic version of it. (Oh and I mixed up the sriracha and mayo to the spice level we liked and put that on the top and bottom buns) The only other change I would make in the future is the amount of coleslaw. We split the 2 cups between 3 of us. (the 3 yr old had it left off hers:) I would have liked a tad more than I had and I had 1/3 of the slaw; that’s more slaw than the 1/4 it would have had.

Asian-Style Pork Burgers

1 1/2 Lb ground pork
2 scallions thinly sliced
1 Tbl finely grated fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove minced
1 1/2 Tsp Asian sesame oil
 Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 hamburger buns split
2 Cup coleslaw mix
2 Tsp rice vinegar (I used roasted garlic rice wine vinegar)
1 Tsp soy sauce

1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a large bowl, mix the pork
with the scallions, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, 2
teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Form the meat into
four 3/4-inch thick patties.
2. Grill the burgers, turning once, until cooked through, about 8
minutes. Lightly toast the buns on the grill.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the coleslaw mix with the rice
vinegar, soy sauce and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil. Season
with salt and pepper. Set the burgers on the buns, top with the slaw and

Serve With Sriracha and mayonnaise.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A New-Look Bloody Mary

Well after that last Bloody Mary, I have rediscovered my love for them! I have always thrown some traditional ingredients in to some tomato juice, but I thought I would poke around for a recipe. I really liked this one. The curry in was noticeable but not overwhelming. This was a tasty take on a Bloody Mary! My only complaint was the let it sit overnight! When I was mixing this up, I wanted it then, but I do think that the overnight sitting in the fridge helped blend and mellow the flavors.

A New-Look Bloody Mary
4 Cup tomato juice
1 Cup dill pickle juice
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl prepared horseradish
2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tsp curry powder
1 Tsp Sriracha
1 Tsp kosher salt
1/2 Tsp celery seeds
1/4 Tsp black pepper
2 Cup vodka
8 celery stalks
8 lemon wedges


Combine first 10 ingredients in a large pitcher. Chill overnight.
Add vodka to pitcher; stir well. Fill tall glasses with ice. Divide
Bloody Mary cocktail among glasses. Garnish each with a celery stalk and
a lemon wedge.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Grilled Chickpea Burgers With Creamy Lemon Tahini Sauce

Let me begin with we DID NOT put these on the grill and were very happy we did not!  That would have been a colossal mess!  My husband and I were concerned that this dish would be a bit dry, but with the tahini, veggies and hot sauce, it was really great!  I would say that the harissa was not optional since we all had some on our "burgers" and we all really liked them as is.  Harissa has got its own unique flavor that other hot sauces can't duplicate.  I did have a hard time finding it around town; I ended up finding some at, of all places, Marshall's/Home Goods!  I am almost out and will need to order some off the internet!

Grilled Chickpea Burgers With Creamy Lemon Tahini Sauce

1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil more for brushing
4 medium cloves garlic sliced
2 Tsp ground cumin
4 or 5 six-inch pitas
2  15.5-oz. cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
5 Tbs. tahini
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
1 large egg
Kosher salt
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 English cucumber (thinly sliced)
1 medium tomato thinly sliced
Harissa (or other hot sauce optional)

Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire. (I wouldn't do this, we used a panini pan with out the press)
Heat the oil, garlic, and cumin in a small saucepan over medium-low
heat until the garlic is soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside
off the heat.
 Tear one of the pitas in half and toast in a toaster until golden-brown
and crisp. In a food processor, grind the pita into fine crumbs;
transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and measure them youll need 1/2 cup.
If necessary, toast and grind a second pita.
 In the food processor, pure 1 can of the chickpeas with the oil mixture,
 2 Tbs. of the tahini, 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the egg, and 3/4 tsp.
salt until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and the pita crumbs,
parsley, and cilantro; pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped
and the mixture is well blended.
 Put the remaining 3 Tbs. tahini in a small bowl and gradually whisk in
2 Tbs. water and the remaining 3 Tbs. lemon juice (the tahini will
thicken at first and then smooth out).
 Shape the chickpea mixture into 6 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
Brush both sides of each with oil. Grill, covered, until heated through
and nicely marked on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
 Cut the remaining 3 pitas in half and heat briefly on the grill. Layer
the burgers in the pitas with the sliced cucumber and tomatoes, drizzle
with the tahini sauce and harissa (if using), and serve.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Asparagus And Fried Eggs On Garlic Toast

Meh!  I am not keeping this recipe.  Each element in it tasted ok on its own, but together, it was hard to eat and not particularly great.  I thought the asparagus came out good, and we all ate our food, but this is going down as a fail and won't be mentioned again:). The boys wanted meat, so I made a few slices of bacon and dinner, while mediocre, was quickly done.

Asparagus And Fried Eggs On Garlic Toast
4    1/2-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
1 large clove garlic halved
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil more for brushing the toast
1 Lb asparagus trimmed of tough, woody stems
Kosher salt
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Oz Pecorino Romano shaved into large shards with a vegetable peeler

Lightly toast the bread. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic and
brush lightly with olive oil. Put 1 slice on each of 4 plates.
Put the asparagus in a 12-inch nonstick skillet with 1/2 cup water, the
olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high
heat, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a shallow bowl. When the asparagus is
ready, pat dry and divide it among the pieces of toast. Wipe out the
skillet with paper towels if wet; then slide the eggs into the hot
skillet, sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and pepper, cover, and cook
over low heat until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny,
about 2 minutes.
Top each toast with an egg. Garnish with the shaved Pecorino, and serve.~

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ramen Shrimp Pouch

This is a recipe everyone should know.  It is a perfect recipe because: it's economical, easy, doesn't make a mess and can be tailored to any diet, taste preference or ingredients on hand. (for example: I have left out mushrooms out of the boy's packet or no meat and vegetable broth for a vegetarian friend)  I have made this before with a variety if ingredients, but this is how I made it tonight.   If you click on the title and to to the original Alton Brown recipe, you will see the way I made it the first time I cooked it.  I personally really like the addition of the cabbage and would include it always.  We had a pound of shrimp and there were 7 or 8 in each packet, so we ended up with a more than the recipe calls for, but even with the extra, the meal, for 4, was less than $10.  I have made it with just veggies and its really good that way too.  I don't use the "flavor" packets that come in the ramen for the broth, but you could. (it will most likely be a tad too salty so careful)  I haven't tried it, but it should work equally well with other proteins.  (If you use something like chicken it should be shaved really thin so more work and I wouldn't want to risk under cooking it.  I would stick with thin slices of beef, small pieces of fish or bay scallops)  Likewise, any veggie can work, you just want to cut them very small to insure some cooking.  For instance the thinly shredded carrots in this dish were still a little crunchy but we like them like that.  So when experimenting with different veggies keep in mind that the size will determine how done they will be.  When preparing it, I line a wide, shallow bowl and fill the ingredients and liquid, then bunch closed and transfer to a baking sheet.  If you are lucky, there will be no leaks and you won't even need to wash the baking sheet. (and if you are a college student, you can eat it out of the foil LOL)  Then just dump the package in to a soup bowl and you have protein, starch and a veg in a big bowl of soup.  The broth makes it very filling. Everyone chowed it down, even the baby! 

Ramen Shrimp Pouch

2 Pkg Ramen noodles (broken in half at the fold in to 2 large thin squares)
1 Cup Carrots, shredded
20 large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 Cup finely chopped onion
1/4 Cup sliced scallions
2 Cups Cabbage, shredded
1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
1 Qt broth (I used chicken and DON'T use the flavor packet!)
1/2 Cup mirin
1/4 Cup soy sauce
4 Tsp sesame oil
Special equipment: 4 (18-inch) squares aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Divide ramen noodles evenly in center of each of the 4 pieces of
aluminum foil. Stack the following ingredients on top of noodles, in
this order: carrots, shrimp, onions, scallions,and  red pepper flakes.
 Pull sides and corners of pouch up to form a small basket shape
leaving an opening at the top to pour in liquid (or do as I do and line a wide shallow bowl)

In small bowl, combine vegetable broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Distribute liquid evenly among packs. Press foil together, leaving a
small opening to allow steam to escape. Place on cookie sheet and bake
in oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately

Layering the raw ingredients
Pinch the packet closed

On a baking sheet coming out of the oven

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sriracha Bloody Mary

For me, a Bloody Mary isn't just a drink, it is an appetizer!  I love to load it up with all kinds of nibbles: olives, salami, cheese cubes, shrimp, and any pickled veggie!  I did use some restraint tonight as we were about to have dinner and the cocktail is filling by itself!  I think of it sometimes as meal replacement shake;).  Now I adore Sriracha, but I haven't ever had a 'recipe' to follow for it's use in a Bloody Mary before. If you haven't had Sriracha, stop reading right now and go out and buy some!  There is a picture at the end of the post.   I have no idea where I found this recipe and recent googling didn't find me this particular recipe however there are plenty of others out there.  The only changes I made: a splash of soy sauce instead of salt, omitting the large caper berries as I had none, omitting celery because I don't like it, and adding pickles and olives.

Sriracha Bloody Mary

4 Cup tomato juice
3/4 Cup vodka
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
2 Tsp prepared horseradish
1 Tsp Sriracha
1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Tsp celery seed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large caper berries
4 pickled onions
4 tender celery stalks leaves attached

1. In a large pitcher, mix the tomato juice with the vodka, lemon juice,
horseradish, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce and celery seed and season
with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Thread a caper berry and a pickled onion on each of four toothpicks.
Fill glasses with ice and add the Bloody Mary. Garnish each drink with a
celery stalk, a caper berry-onion toothpick and serve.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream

Well it is Valentine's Day and for my darling husband, I made ice cream.  I don't make a lot of sweets, but I heard this recipe on NPR  and thought it sounded yummy and easy.  It was super easy and amazingly tasty!  I had to sample some before my husband got home, for quality control purposes only I assure you.  OMG!  Heavenly!  I am already thinking of cocoa powder and Chambord for the next one:).  I was a little too gentle in my folding and I noticed a few spots that weren't coffee colored and correspondingly, those parts weren't quite the right texture.  When my husband tried it, he was amazed by the consistency.  MAKE THIS!  Oh one more note, I used the over proof Kahlua (Midnight at 70 proof) because the regular Kahlua was a lower proof and at only 2 tbsp I wanted to make sure that the alcohol content was high enough to prevent the ice cream from freezing solid.

One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream

2/3 Cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbl instant espresso powder
2 Tbl espresso liqueur
1 1/4 Cup heavy cream
1 -pint airtight container

Put the condensed milk in a bowl and stir in the espresso powder and
liqueur. In a separate bowl whisk the cream until it reaches soft peaks.
Fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture, then pour this gorgeous,
caffe-latte colored, airy mixture into an airtight container and freeze
for 6 hours or overnight.
Serve straight from the freezer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cabbage and Onion Marmalade

I found this recipe while working on one of my newsletter for Front Porch Pickings.  They are a local and organic produce company.  We had cabbage this week and I wanted to find something really different to do with it.  I looked at this originally for a laugh.  Cabbage and marmalade sounds like a recipe for disaster. (LOL no pun was intended but...)  Once I looked at it, I thought it looked good and was excited to try it.  I loved the marmalade, but thought the "pizza" was just ok.  I also used it in place of butter as the author recommended and I thought it was good, better even that way.

Cabbage and Onion Marmalade
2 Tbl olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 pounds onions quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced a
1 Lb cabbage shredded or finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves minced
2 Tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tbl capers drained, rinsed and mashed in a mortar and pestle
For pizza:
1/2 recipe whole-wheat pizza dough
12 anchovy fillets soaked in water for 5 minutes, drained,
12 Niçoise olives (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium
heat. Add the onions and cabbage with a generous pinch of salt and cook,
stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add another
generous pinch of salt, cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook
slowly for one hour, stirring often, until the mixture has melted down
to a sweet, soft, golden marmalade. Add the garlic, thyme, capers, and
salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Uncover,
 and if there is a lot of liquid in the pan, cook until the liquid in
the pan has cooked off.
2. For pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, preferably with a baking
stone in it. Roll out the pizza dough and line a 12- to 14-inch pan.
Brush the remaining tablespoon of oil over the bottom but not the rim of
the crust. Spread the onion and cabbage mixture over the crust in an
even layer. Cut the anchovies in half and decorate the top of the crust
with them, making 12 small xs and placing an olive in the middle of each
x. Place on top of the pizza stone and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the
edges of the crust are brown and the topping is beginning to brown.
Remove from the heat. Serve hot or warm or at room temperature.

Advance preparation: The onion and cabbage topping will keep for a week
in the refrigerator. Pizza dough can be made several days ahead and held
in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sweet And Spicy Barbecued Chicken (Dak Gui)

The original recipe (click link on the recipe title) served this dish in a more traditional way.  (wrapping it in lettuce leaves and other condiments)  I went a little more simple and just had it with some rice and an salad with some "Asian" flavored salad dressing.  I put Asian in quotes because the tahini made me think more middle eastern.  I loved the chicken, but the boys had some issues.  That is most likely because I had some thin breast cutlets for me and they had thighs.  I admit it, I messed up the thighs.  The recipe called for boneless, but there weren't any at the store.  I couldn't pound them thin and long story short, the large thighs weren't great, the small ones were much better.  Even with really liking the marinade flavors on the chicken, the dressing was what I really loved!  I think I will buy more of the plum paste just to make this often!

Sweet And Spicy Barbecued Chicken (Dak Gui)

2 Tbl Korean sweet-spicy chili paste (kochujang)
1/4 Cup Korean rice wine or mirin
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl minced garlic
1 Tbl Sesame Salt*
1 1/2 Tbl Asian sesame oil
2 scallions thinly sliced
1 Tbl finely grated fresh ginger
2 Tsp freshly ground pepper
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs pounded until flattened slightly

Korean Chili Sauce
1. MAKE THE MARINADE Whisk the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
2. PREPARE THE CHICKEN  Rub the chicken with coarse
salt, add it to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for
at least 2 hours or overnight.
 3. Light a grill. Grill the chicken thighs over a moderately hot fire,
turning once, until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer
the chicken to a platter.

Umeboshi Plum Salad Dressing

1 T finely minced onion
1 T umeboshi paste
3-4 T tahini
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

1. Mince onion and place in a glass jar with lid.
2. Add umeboshi paste and tahini.
3. Gradually stir in water with a whisk.
4. Add toasted sesame oil if desired.
5. Let sit for 30 minutes as it will thicken a bit. Adjust consistency with water if needed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Cream Sauce

I had bought a butternut squash for a recipe I keep wanting to try, but just can't bring myself to.  (too long to explain just enjoy the mystery;)  I decided when I was buying the won ton wrappers for my Year of the Snake Dumplings, I would get a second set and make ravioli with them.  This is something I have never done, but was excited to try.  I just kinda made it up as I went.  I have made a sage cream sauce before (don't remember the exact recipe but this is probably close), but I think I used fresh sage last time.  There was no fresh sage on hand, so dried it was!  I thought the end result was really yummy.  In fact I thought it tasty enough for our rarefied list of  "menu items" if we ever win the lotto and can open our own place, but for one thing: looks.  They weren't the prettiest ravioli by a long shot.  So, I turn to you all and ask, what did I do wrong and how can I make them look better in the future.  (I am looking at you Happy Valley Chow:)  I think presentation is a big part of the dining experience.  And, while I don't achieve beautiful perfect looking 5 star plates, I think I put a bit more effort in to the plating than most moms.  So, tasty?  YES!  Pretty?  Not so much.  I had a bit extra of the filling I scooped on to the center of the plate, and the resulting plate looks a bit (rather unfortunately) like a fried egg:D.

Butternut Ravioli

1 package of Won Ton Wrappers
1 medium Butternut Squash
1/4 cup cream
Olive oil

Sage Cream Sauce
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 Onion Finely  Chopped
3 Clove Garlic Minced
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Sage
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a baking sheet.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the tops and rub to coat evenly.  Roast in the oven for about an hour.  (until it is very soft)

Scrape out squash in to a blender or food processor.  Season it with a big pinch of salt and add 1/8 cup of cream.  Puree until smooth.  Add up to another 1/8 cup of cream to achieve the right consistency.  (you want it kind of like mashed potatoes)

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft (about 5 minutes) Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir constantly cooking 4 minutes. Add the cream and sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes back up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper

Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat.

Place a won ton wrapper in front of you. Place a huge heaping teaspoon in the center of the wrapper.  Top with another wrapper and carefully press out the air.  Crimp edges with a fork.  Finish off all the wrappers (or filling, whichever comes first )

Drop a few ravioli in to the boiling water.  Don't crowd.  Cook until they start to float.  Mine took about 2 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer to the sauce and lightly coat them so they won't stick to each other.  Then transfer them to a plate.  Finish cooking all the ravioli.  Put them on the plate and top with sauce (and any remaining filling if you have it)


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake Pork Dumplings

Xin Nian Kuai Le ( 新年快乐) it is the year of the snake!  That is kind of a big deal in my house since my boy was born in the year of the snake.  (Yes I can't believe he will be 12?!?)  From looking at my blog, you might suppose I am of Asian decent.  I'm not.  I just happen to be a girl named Kim who likes cooking Asian (along with many other culture's) food. (I am telling you this so you don't get the impression that these are in any way 'authentic'.  I just read a lot of recipes and go from there)  I also love that more and more holidays are creeping in to our national culture.  I remember when the only time we saw anything about the Chinese zodiac was on place mats in Chinese restaurants.  Granted that was a hundred years ago and, get this, before the Internet. Now I do try to keep up, but I think Fat Tuesday is not going to get much culinary representation in the house.  I forgot to figure it in to my weekly menu plan.  Anyways, dumplings are a favorite in the house, and since they are traditional food for Chinese New Year...  any excuse to eat dumplings I say!

I am still trying to perfect those beautiful amazing dumplings you get in great Chinese restaurants, but these are not bad.  They are really good in fact, but I can't promise dumpling perfection... yet!  Oh and I made up a dipping sauce using some of the umeboshi plum paste I still have lurking in the recesses of the fridge;)

Pork Dumplings (potstickers)
1 cup of broth (I  used chicken)
1 package of won ton wrappers
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup onion grated & squeezed dry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce

crimped but not cooked

Mix together everything from the ginger through the chili sauce in a large bowl, and then mix the pork in with the seasoning Put the wrapper in front of you like a diamond.  Put level teaspoons of the filling in the center of a won ton wrapper.  Moisten the edges with water, using your fingers.   Fold the bottom corner to the top pinch together and slowly move from the top corner of the triangle down the sides pressing out the air. Then starting on one side,  fold over and little crimps all the way around. Put them on a baking sheet with a damp lightly damp tea towel over the top until they're all done.   Then take a pan (it must not be nonstick) put it over medium heat. Using a pastry brush put the thinnest coating of vegetable oil over the bottom.  Place potstickers in the pan when it's hot.  Do not crowd.  Cook for two minutes on medium heat add 1/3 cup of broth,  cover shake the pan to get them loose, turn down the heat a little, and cook another two minutes.  Remove potstickers to a plate kept warm in the oven at 200° and repeat with remaining potstickers.  Make sure you clean the pan between the batches and make sure you remember to turn the heat back up to medium.

In the pan
Umeboshi Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of umeboshi plum paste
1/2  tablespoon of sesame oil

Mix well

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cod With Mushrooms, Garlic & Vermouth

YUMMY!!  We all liked this one, even the boy who has only recently decided he can tolerate mushrooms.  I didn't hold back on the mushrooms either.  The recipe calls for 10 oz but the mushrooms came in 8 oz packages, so I put in all 16 oz!  (I added another tablespoon of butter to the sauteing part just in case;)  It was fast and easy, and the sauce was wonderful, the fish was cooked nicely, and we ate it up!  I have a little sauce left and a good bit of mushrooms, and I was thinking of whipping it in to an omelet for breakfast if I just don't eat it outright:D. 

Cod With Mushrooms, Garlic & Vermouth

4 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
10 Oz white or baby bella (cremini) mushrooms wiped clean and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Cup dry vermouth
3 -1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tsp kosher salt more to taste
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper more to taste
Four 6-oz. skinless cod fillets
In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter over medium-high
heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring only occasionally, until well
browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden
and fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the vermouth, 3 Tbs. of the parsley,
the vinegar, salt, and pepper and boil until the liquid is reduced by
half, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, lightly season the cod with salt and
pepper and add it to the pan (tuck under the tails if necessary to even
out the thickness), nestling the fillets into the mushrooms and spooning
some of the mushrooms on top.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, cover the pan,
reduce to medium low, and simmer until just cooked through (use the tip
of a paring knife to check), 7 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness.
With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to serving plates or a platter.
 Over low heat, whisk the remaining 1 Tbs. butter into the sauce. Spoon
the sauce over the fish and serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/2 Tbs.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ricotta and Bacon Calzone

Not too long ago, I made a lasagna.  I know what you are thinking, but there isn't a lasagna on the blog.  It is true, I didn't put it on the blog.  Why?  Well I think every one and their mother knows how to make a lasagna, and this particular one was nothing special.  Also, I just wanted to go in and clean up some ingredients and relax and cook with out having to write it all down.   However, this applies to this dinner because I made way too much of the ricotta layer.  I put what was left in a gallon zip top bag and pressed it in to a thin layer and froze it.  I have been starring at it wondering what to do with it and since the hamburger calzone came out so good, I thought I would make a lasagna one.  My husband wanted some meat in it, so I let him saute up some bacon (and while he was at, I let him do the onions and garlic as well:).  This is recipe is, unfortunately, very vague.  I know generally what we put in to the ricotta filling, but this one was made a while ago and I am not 100% sure of what all I put in it.  Also, my husband helped and he may try to be exact on his measurements, but he hates cooking that way and I can't be sure that what he thinks he put in the dish is perfectly accurate.  That doesn't mean that this recipe won't work; this is one of those recipes that can be played around with and it will still produce something tasty.

Ricotta and Bacon Calzone

1 1/2 cups of Ricotta filling for lasagna*
6 strips of bacon diced
3 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pizza dough at room temp

Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450
Saute the bacon over medium about one minute, add the onion and cook until the onion is soft and the bacon is cooked to your liking.  Add the garlic and cook 45 more seconds. Drain off the fat.
Roll out the dough until it is about an 18" circle
Spread the ricotta over the bottom half, leaving a 3/4 inch border
Top the ricotta with the bacon/onion mixture, the sun dried tomatoes and the mozzarella
Fold over the dough and crimp the edges.  Poke some steam vents with a fork on top
Transfer to the hot stone and bake about 10 minutes. or until dough is cooked and inside is hot (we flipped it over for the last few minutes)

* my filling consists of a large container of whole milk ricotta, 1 can of condensed cream of garlic & mushroom soup, 1 box of frozen spinach, thawed, 1 egg, beaten, a couple of cloves of garlic, minced, and about 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dill Pickle Soup

Well I am not a fan of Guy Fieri, but I do sometimes watch Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  I enjoy seeing the, sometimes bizarre, dishes from little places around the country.  This dish was one of those oddities that I had to try.  I happen to love pickles!  I was the only one in the family that was expecting to like this.  My husband's first comment was. "make that on a night I'm not home for dinner."  Well he was home tonight, and he decided to alter his comment to, "I'm not excited but I am intrigued."    To make a long story short,  it was alright.  The more we ate it, the better it became, but in the end I think the best recommendation I can give is that my husband liked it a lot better than he expected.  I don't plan on keeping the recipe, but I will look around for another pickle soup recipe as It think it has possibilities.  I wish I had read the reviews for the soup before I made it.  I was thinking that a restaurant wouldn't share the real recipe, but a close approximation, and I can't believe this is the dish that they serve.  I followed the recipe precisely but for one thing, I pureed the potatoes and carrots before adding the pickles.  I do not care much for chunky soups so I used my immersion blender.  If you do decide to try this, (to which I say don't) you need to keep some things in mind.  1) The paste of flour and sour cream wants to turn in to dumplings and you must be vigilant to prevent this.  2) I held off on the salt until after the pickle juice because I was worried about salt content, but I ended up using an ENTIRE pickle jar's worth of juice to get some flavor.  Last but not least, use good pickles! 

Dill Pickle Soup

5 Tbl butter or margarine
5 medium carrots shredded
2 large potatoes cubed (about 2 cups)
3 large dill pickles shredded
1 Cup flour
1 Cup sour cream
Pickle juice

Combine 5 cups water, the butter, the carrots and potatoes in a saucepan.
  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add the pickles and continue to boil.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sour cream and salt in a separate
bowl. Add enough water to make a paste, then slowly, to avoid curdling,
add the mixture to the soup to thicken. Bring to a boil, then remove
from the heat. Add pickle juice, to taste.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Salade Aux Lardons Pizza

So, if you follow the link to the original recipe, you will see I changed it a bit.  Biggest change, was that I cooked it the way I cook pizza, and not for 20 minutes at a lower temperature.  Also I changed the  frisée to mixed salad greens.  (because I don't care much for it, it is pricey and they didn't have it at publix)  I also tweaked the amounts a bit.  I increased the dough by 1/4 lb and used less mustard than they recommended for the 3/4 lb pizza.  I also added a pinch of the mustard to the dressing but still had about 1.5 tsp. left that I didn't use. Oh and I used garden variety Swiss cheese instead of Jarlsberg.  My husband was looking at me like I was crazy while I was making this, but he had to admit that the smell of bacon cooking and then shallots was pretty wonderful.  I thought  the 1/4 cup mustard called for was a bit excessive, but I measured out that amount and then spread it on the dough from there.  I used more of that than I thought I would in order to achieve a thin even layer, but didn't use all of it.  I thought I would like this, but man it was good!  Even my husband, who doubted me I might add, loved it.  He thought it would be too mustardy, but it was fine.  My only word of advice, if you are not going to eat the entire pizza in one sitting, don't mix up and top all the salad components.  We had 2 pieces left over, and we didn't want to throw out the salad on top because of the shallots, but we weren't picking them out,  Even if we were to eat it cold, the salad will be wilted, and I can't imagine that salad will be good reheated.  So, keep that in mind if you aren't eating it all.

Salade Aux Lardons Pizza

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Flour for shaping the dough
1 Lb pizza dough at room temperature
1/4 Cup Dijon mustard (you will most likely not need all of it)
8 Oz Swiss grated (2 cups)
6 Oz thick center-cut bacon cut into 1/4"-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 medium shallot halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 Cup packed arugula
2 Cup packed baby salad greens
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the rack on the bottom level of your oven, add a pizza stone and preheat oven to 500 degrees.

 Cook the bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and just starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined paper plate.

In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, cook the shallot in the bacon fat over medium heat until soft, 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. (Discard the fat.)

Roll out the dough to an even thickness and the proper size for your stone. (that was 18" for me)

Take the pizza stone out of the oven (carefully unless you like getting burned;) and put the dough on top of the hot stone. Carefully (the stone is hot for gosh sakes) reshape the dough to a neat circle.
Spread the mustard evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. You will most likely have about a half a tablespoon more than you will need.  You are going for a thin even layer. Top with the cheese and bacon and bake 6 minutes.  (or until crust is done and cheese melted)

To the bowl with the shallots, add the arugula and greens.   In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp.  pepper. Pour the dressing over the greens and shallots and toss well.  Transfer the pizza from the pizza stone to a cutting board. Let sit 5 minutes.  Mound the salad on top, cut into squares or wedges, and serve.

Before the salad topping
After the topping

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mosaic Pasta

For meatless Monday, I turned to a awesome little book my MIL gave me: Sauces for Pasta.  This one jumped out at me because it said not for people counting calories.  My MIL had just left after a lovely "staycation" and we had eaten decadent foods all weekend and I thought well hell we can can be healthy tomorrow;). The title given this dish in the book is the uninspired moniker, Red, Yellow and Green sauce.  UGH!  I toyed with calling it traffic light pasta, but when I was cooking it I said look how pretty, it looks like a Mosaic, and unless I was willing to put on my thinking cap, that was a good a name as I was going to get.  (note I did NOT put on my thinking cap;)  Yes this recipe was rich, but man was it tasty.  It was rather easy to throw together too.

Mosaic Pasta
1/4 Cups Butter
3/4 Cups Peas (frozen and thawed or fresh)
1 Large Yellow Bell Peppers, Diced
1 1/2 Cups Cream
1/2 Pounds Plum Tomato Peeled And Diced
Pasta And Topping
3/4 Pounds Rotini Ziti Or Farfelle
1/4 Cups Butter
1/2 Cups Parmesan Grated

Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet.  Add the peppers and the
peas and  saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the cream and cook until the
sauce has reduced by about one quarter.  Add the tomatoes and cook for
ten minutes.  (7 minutes out) Cook the pasta until just al dente and
drain.  Pour the pasta in to a warmed serving bowl and add the remaining
1/4 cup of butter (room temp is helpful) and the cheese.  Toss to mix
and pour the sauce over and mix.  Serve immediately.

Not the best picture but this was the "mosaic"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chicken Roasted with Herbs de Provence

I try to have each week a variety of proteins for my family.  I try to have chicken, seafood, beef, pork and a vegetarian meal and fill in the rest of the days with either vegetarian, chicken or seafood.  It doesn't always work out that way.  Sometimes the family makes a request, sometimes there is a good sale at Publix and sometime I just get lazy.  I didn't really have a plan when I bought a whole chicken but I knew there was plenty I could do with  it.  I decided to cook it like the 40 Cloves and a Chicken recipe we all love, but change it a bit.  It was well received, but next time I think I will double the herbs.  I originally planned on a full tablespoon, but it looked like a lot when I got half way through it and stopped.  As always, this method of cooking delivered juicy meat and crispy skin.  I didn't have a baguette and wasn't going out to the store, so I made some rice using some of the drippings from the chicken.  While the drippings were tasty, really they would be better on a baguette.

Chicken Roasted with Herbs de Provence

1 three lb chicken cut in to 8 pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
4 small carrots, cut in to 1-2" pieces
2 stalks celery, cut in to 1-2" pieces
1/2 an onion, cut into 6 pieces
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 350
Heat an oven proof pan on the stove over medium heat and put a little oil in the pan to just cover the bottom.  Season the chicken with salt.  Put the chicken in the pan, skin side down, and cook until the skin is browned. (about 6 minutes) Flip the chicken, season the skin side with the herbs and cook 5 more minutes.  Add the rest of the oil and tuck the veggies in to the gaps trying not to have any on top of the chicken.  Sprinkle everything with some pepper.  Cover and put in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours, basting once or twice.  (about 30 minutes before the dish was done, I added a baster-full of the drippings to the rice I was cooking, but this would ideally be best with a baguette)  Remove lid and turn broiler to high, and broil with the oven door ajar for 1-2 minutes or until the skin is brown and crisp

Friday, February 1, 2013

Steak, Latkes and Ceaser

There were some lovely NY strip steaks on sale at Publix, so I decided to kind of do an ode to a steakhouse dinner tonight.  The potatoes were originally to be hasselback but after some gratuitous knife violence, my husband made latkes. (we loved them and they were what he wanted anyways so win-win)  My husband loves Cesar salad so I decided to make Cesar dressing but not go thought he  effort of making croutons.  I think croutons in salad are overrated anyways.  The latkes were the star of the show.  My daughter looked at them askance until I called them Hanukkah fries, but my son totally convinced her when he called them dradle fries.  (she is obsessed with the dradle song and makes hers our of everything she sees in the room.) I made the steaks like I always do: take them out of the fridge an hour before cooking, sprinkle both sides liberty with kosher salt and broil them 4" from the element on a wire rack (with a baking sheet under to catch drips) for about 4 minutes a side for a 1" thick steak.  These were a little thicker so they came our a little more rare than our ideal, but still tasty;).

Potato Latkes

2 Cup potatoes Peeled And Shredded
1 Tbl onion Grated
3 eggs beaten
2 Tbl flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup oil for frying
1 clove Garlic, minced

1.Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much
moisture as possible.
2.In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt
3.In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil
until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil,
pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on
one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve

Caesar Salad Dressing

1/3 Cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbl freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl water
1/2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 oil-packed anchovy fillet drained
1 small garlic clove
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a mini food processor, combine the mayonnaise, grated cheese,
lemon juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy and garlic and process
until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.