Thursday, July 24, 2008

you have never had it this good pork tenderloin with white wine and shallot sauce

One day back in February I was removing the fat and silver skin from a pork tenderloin while Isabelle watched. The sight of me sliding that very sharp knife under those long veins of inedible tissue turned something in my delightfully carnivorous daughter. She proclaimed right then and there that she would never eat meat again and to her credit she has not. Though everytime I make pork tenderloin with shallot and white wine sauce...I swear I see her salivate. Its so interesting to me that a little girl who I have witnessed sing the praises of meat from bacon to goat, a child who never flinched at the idea of eating babe, or bunny, could just turn her back. Go figure. So. In honor of Isabella's vegetarian proclamation, I bring you, PORK! YUM. Buy the best quality pork tenderloins you can. You are going to want to trim these, wash them, pat them dry. My rubs vary and I adjust based on whatever herb flavor I seem to be craving that week but the base is always the same, dry mustard. This week in my mortar and pestle it was dry mustard powder, salt, pepper, dry onion, lots of oregano, and a dash of thyme. I rubbed this all over both clean pieces of pork, wrapped them in plastic and refrigerated for a few hours. ( I have been known to do this for 24 hours) DO NOT FORGET to let your meat sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking. I am serious about this. Its important. Now in my big giant cast iron skillet I have some olive oil heating on high heat. Its hot and popping when I toss the tenderloins in and let brown on all sides before I throw the whole entire thing into a 400 degree oven.

I have never been very good at timing things. I tend to cook by smell and browning. Thats not necessarily safe when cooking pork and poultry so I also cook by temperature.
Set your timer for 13-15 minutes and then check your temp. You are going to take the pork out of the oven at 150 degrees internal temp. You'll set it on a plate and cover it with foil and ignore it for about ten minutes while you make an amazing sauce. ( The internal temp will go up to about 155 degrees while the pork sits, this is exactly what you want.)

1/4 cup shallots in the hot pork drippings, cook for a couple minutes and then deglaze with 1/4 cup of white wine. Stir this until it starts to disappear and then toss in 3/4 cup of good quality chicken stock. Let this cook down. Slice your pork into 1/2 inch bits and top with sauce. I have a huge list of exciting sides to go with this. I can't wait until I get to parsnips!
This is the most tender, moist, delightfully perfect pork you will ever eat. I swear.

Monday, July 21, 2008

easy yummy berries.

Marion berries and Black berries were found at this weeks down town farmers market.
2 bucks a pint isn't that bad I guess...but it's certainly not free. We had an abundant supply of berries just across the alley until the berry police bought the house next door and complained until the owners of said berries were FORCED to kill them off. No jam, no pie, no shakes. Sigh. So, Ash brought me two pints of delightful dessert makings! I marinated the berries in a little balsamic with some finely chopped mint and lemon balm for about a half an hour and set it on top of some light vanilla bean ice cream. I think next time I will use spearmint instead of peppermint. It was wonderful and refreshing. No need to add honey. To anything. Really. At least not with this berry combo.

I am a few posts behind.
We don't actually eat dessert very often...but I'm preparing you for a pork tenderloin that will make you want to slap me for being so awesome.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ginger spice cake with chocolate coconut curry drizzle

I am not going to tell you how to make it.
I made it for Annie's birthday dinner.
The afternoon itself was kind of a disaster, but I really liked this cake.
Do you feel like this:
Or maybe like this:

You should. More soon...Things I may actually share.


Monday, July 14, 2008

mommy's meatball subs

Those stupid Subway sandwich commercials have taken over the minds of my family. We don't ever eat there...ever. Yet when I ask what people want for dinner what do I hear? "Subway meatball sandwiches" UGH! What? NO!!! Don't get me wrong... I love meatball subs. Just not crappy ones so I decided to give it a shot.( A waistline, heart friendly shot at that.) I started with John LaFemina's recipe for a basic tomato sauce. In a stock pot over medium heat I cooked 1/4 cup shallots and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic until softened. I added two 28-ounce cans of whole plum tomatoes, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, pinch of pepper and a
pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook this on high heat for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally, breaking up tomatoes slightly, then lower heat to medium and simmer for another 30 minutes. This makes a lot of sauce and the leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.
While the sauce was cooking I made up some meatballs using my recipe that I really should link to here, but don't know how. It was in June. Find it. I felt guilty feeding my family a fruity meat sandwich. I thought, hmmmm, maybe I should make a salad...AHA! No! I'll make a spinach and arugula topping for this delightful sandwich. Brilliant! ( No, seriously... I really said that. Out loud. To myself. Alone. In the kitchen.) I whipped up my basic vinagrette and remembered to add the lemon juice this time. I washed and chopped some arugula and baby Walla Walla greens from last weeks farmers market. I found some baby spinach in the refrigerator and tossed it all together while I stuck some sourdough rolls under the broiler for a minute. The result was really great. I was really excited. The greens and vinagrette really filled in the flavor of the light tomato sauce.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about this one. It wasn't traditional.
The flavors were lighter, less invasive than you're regular overindulgent sandwich.
The reviews were rave! The kids and the men ate them without pause.
Yay for meatballs!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

a dessert made of beer that i stole

To celebrate the fourth of July, I stole this recipe for beer slush from a blog I came across called " Thursday Night Smackdown." (I will link it just as soon as I figure out how.) I bought a bottle of Lindemans Framboise raspberry lambic beer ( a wonderful belgian fruit beer) and poured it into a glass 9 x 13. I stuck this in the freezer and stirred it about every 45 minutes to an hour or so for about 4 hours. Once I had a lovely red slush I plated and topped it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, shredded spearmint, fresh raspberries, and a sprinkle of lavender chocolate I had left over from a cake I made.
You will not understand how good this is until you try it.
James had two bowls...and not just because it was beer. The kids of course had to settle for the ice cream alone, but I don't think they minded much.

You can safely assume the picture is a bit off because I had indeed been testing this dessert through out the day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

chicken milanese as promised.

Summertime is busy. In the slowest possible way, it is just plain busy. I find myself having less time for everything. ( Mostly just blogging, I appear to be attempting an apology for my absence.)
Without further ado, I would like to present my version of chicken milanese. I guess I will break this recipe into two parts, as it is a two part meal and you can determine your best timing instead of using mine.
The beautiful greens soaking in my kitchen sink are spinach from last Thursday's downtown farmers market. I let them soak for about a half an hour while I get the rest of my stuff going and then have Ash play salad spinner in the backyard. (That last line was a subtle gift suggestion just in case anyone is reading. ) My vinagrette is 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup white wine, one finely diced shallot, (or red onion), salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Taste it as you work and adjust your flavors accordingly. To be honest these measurements are a guess because I always forget to measure. Whisk it all up and mix in your spinach just before you serve under the chicken . Okay! moving on...

I used panko this time instead of traditional bread crumbs and I do not think I will be going back.
I pour a box onto a baking sheet and mix it up with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and toast it all in the oven for a few minutes at 425. Check this often and mix up as the top layer toasts up. Remove from oven and place at the end of your dredging line. My dredging line goes in this order, chicken breasts cut thin and pounded flat (washed, trimmed, and patted dry), flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne, two eggs whisked with fork, our delicious toasted panko, and baking sheet.
I use one hand for all of this so I have a second unchickened hand to handle the incredibly difficult job of opening the oven and baking the chicken, without turning, at 375 for about 15 minutes or until done.
At which point you serve it with the spinach you have lovingly made and weep when its gone. Like Ethan did:


Thursday, July 3, 2008

easiest corn ever. i swear.

Pull back the husks. Peel the silk. Throw it away.
Replace husks. Place on hot grill. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn sometimes.
Hold corn in hands with dish towel to remove hot husks. Roll on buttered, salted, and peppered bread. Eat. ( add exotic spice blend or cayenne to your bread if you like)
Do not soak in water. Do not wrap in foil. Do not fret.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

oh jeez i love green beans

Would you look at that? I love love love green beans. I cannot explain to you how much. Since I was a little baby. I can name for you some of favorite green bean experiences, ( Barb has a place here, Grandpa) but that would be creepy of me. To sit here and list all of my most precious memories of eating that lovely hued delightfully flavored vegetable...sigh. Ash didn't like green beans when we met. My heart broke a little, you can believe that. We bonded over our shared love of brussel sprouts and cheese burgers absolutely. This green bean thing really ate at me for awhile. It was even weirder than him not liking onions and potatoes. We went YEARS without eating green beans for crying out loud! This year I decided I hadn't heard him state his distaste and I started making them again. Steamed with salt, pepper and lemon to start and then I started putting them in various dishes and then this. Hes seems to have had a change of heart, thank goodness. Oh man you have to try this. The original recipe came from Julee Russo's Fresh Start Cookbook. I tweaked just a little because I like the vegetable gravy that results. I start with a pound and a half of green beans. The biggest greenest firmest you can find. Try to buy these locally grown, I promise they will taste better. Grow them your self if you have to, seriously. In my large skillet I add one tablespoon of olive oil two tablespoons each of grated ginger and chopped garlic. Keep in mind that powdered ginger and fresh ginger are NOT the same thing. Don't even try it. Cook these together until lightly browned. Add the green beans and coat with oil and yummy stuffs keep everything moving for 3-5 minutes. You'll see the color darken. This is good. Add one and a half cups vegetable broth warmed up with one and a half teaspoons chicken boullion and simmer, stirring until the beans are tender and you have a slight sauce to spoon over beans before serving. Add your salt and pepper at any point. I typically add a dash when I first add the green beans and then wait until the end to add more to taste.