Roasted Goodness

This has been a busy week at work, leaving me exhausted when I get home…which doesn't lend itself to highly complicated cooking projects. But the lure of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is still there. My trip there yesterday sent me home with pork tenderloin, chorizo, more berries than we can eat in the next few days, apples, nectarines, baby potatoes, ACME bread, and my favorite dark purple/red dahlias.

Last night, despite the heat and being tired, I dipped into this cache and made a roasted pork tenderloin with roasted baby potatoes and apples, served with a Kenwood pinot noir. Takes about an hour including prep and baking, but most of that is oven time, making this an ideal dinner for a lazy night.

Heat oven to 450. Rub pork tenderloin with spicy mustard (I used a Sierra Nevada porter mustard), then coat with your favorite pork breading/seasoning/bread crumbs. Place in large glass baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes.

In the interim, wash and core your apple (I used a fuji), and cut into 8 wedges. Wash the pound of baby potatoes and pat dry. Atfer the 20 minutes of pork roasting has passed, remove pork from oven and reduce heat to 400. Place apples into the sides of the baking dish; sprinkle them with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the baby potatoes whole, and drizzle olive oil over them. Salt and pepper the pork and the potatoes. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove pork from pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove potatoes, and place in a bowl. Add thin slices of butter and a large spoon of sour cream, then pepper. Toss the potatoes until covered with this mixture. Slice the tenderloin into 1 cm thick round slices. Plate with the apples partially covering the pork loin slices. Enjoy!

Spring Bean Salad

This past weekend, I had a veggie friend over for dinner and made this salad as part of our dinner. Best to make it on a weekend as it is a little prep-intensive.

  • 1 lb fava beans, shelled, blanched, and shelled again
  • 1 can/jar white beans
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1small red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Sautee onions and garlic in oil for 3 minutes, then add bell pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes or until soft. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 25 minutes or until beans have absorbed most of the liquid. Strain and serve hot or toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour to serve cold.

mojitos

Whenever I can obtain fresh mint at the farmers’ market, I make mojitos. Here’s my recipe.

  • 1 large lime
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 shots of light rum
  • 1 small bottle of seltzer water

Rip the leaves off 3 stems of mint, and place in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add sugar, juice of 1 lime, and shots of rum. Use a muddler or spoon to mash up the mint and release its oils. Add 3 ice cubes and shake to mix. Pour mixture into 2 cocktail glasses. Add mint leaves from 1-2 stems (to taste), and crush them with a spoon. Add 1-2 ice cubes then top off with seltzer water until glass is full. Enjoy!

Impromptu Chili

Last night, I wanted to make chili. I couldn’t find the recipe I’d planned to follow, so, I improvised. The results were quite tasty, so I’m sharing the recipe.

 

 

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 small red onion, diced

2 tsp butter

2 tsp olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 package taco seasonings

2/3 cup water

1 Mackesson triple X Stout

1 12 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 can great northern beans

2 cans kidney beans

3 tsp Haracha hot sauce (a.k.a. “chicken sauce” for its packaging)

1 Tbsp flour

 

 

 

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil and butter for about 3 minutes, then add the ground beef. Cook the ground beef until crumbly and starting to brown, then add the taco seasonings and water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the stout, beans, and tomatoes. Stir in the hot sauce to taste over the course of simmering over medium heat for an hour. Add in flour as needed for thickening or cook longer if your schedule allows.

 

 

Serve with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Madeleines

image from distilleryimage0.ak.instagram.com

I finally found a madeleine recipe that worked for me… I basically did this, borrowing from an online recipe and from Julia Child's "The Way to Cook"…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter (plugra) melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a few drops of lemon juice

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Paint madeleine tin with a flour and melted butter mixture (1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp melted butter).

2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add vanilla extract and lemon juice to butter. Combine the eggs and sugar in a sauce pan. Place pan on low heat and beat the mixture with a whisk or electric beaters until thick and pale yellow. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to beat the mixture until cooled slightly and increased in volume.

3. Add the egg and sugar mixture to the sifted flour, then add in the butter, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Fold all ingredients in quickly until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the madeleine tin.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Carefully remove from the tin and place on a wire rack until cold. OPTIONAL: Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Easy Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

Sometimes, you just need a slushy frozen adult beverage, yes? You don't need one of those fancy margaritaville frozen beverage machines to enjoy a frozen margarita at home.

Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

1/2 package of frozen strawberries (look at trader joe's if your grocery store doesn't carry them)
same amount of ice as strawberries to start (add more at the end if needed for texture)
1 can of limeade, still frozen (no extra water)
1 shot of grand marnier
4 shots of tequila (I prefer Herradura Silver)

Blend well. Drink immediately. Makes 4 servings.

perfect crepes

Perhaps the most…particular cook I've known had this precise recipe for making perfectly lcy browned crepes. Can you tell they work in science?

Yields 8 Crepes: (scale up as necessary)

Whisk 2 eggs together w/ 2/3 cup milk + a bit of salt (1/2-1 tsp. Melt 4 Tbsp butter (depending on which you use, salted/unsalted, adjust salt, above, accordingly) and whisk rapidly and continuously into egg/milk mixture. What you are looking for is to form small individual butter dropplets dispersed throughout the batter. This is what gives you the 'lacey' pattern in the crepes.

Whisk up to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (sifted if you like) into the batter 1/4 cup at a time. Try to get out as many lumps as possible, but a few small ones are irrelevant. If you want to do buckwheat crepes, just substitute 1/4 cup buckwheat flour for regular (therefore 1/2 cup flour/ 1/4 cup buckwheat flour total).

Check the consistency of your batter. Only experience can tell you what works and what doesn't. It definitely should NOT be thick like regular pancake batter. Add more milk or flour to adjust the consistency as necessary.

Let the batter 'rest' in fridge for 30 min-1 hour (I usually skip this step due to time constraints and get perfectly fine results, but have noticed that the 'resting' does have a beneficial effect).

Heat regular (NOT non-stick) 8 or 9 inch skillet over medium heat (or use electric crepe pan according to directions-something I have no experience w/). Starting off, I grease w/ just a DROP or two of canola oil (or any other exotic but low flavor oil would work, such as almond oil) and spread around pan w/spatula, ensuring edges are coated. It is easier to add like a tsp of oil to the pan and then spread around with a paper towel to distribute oil evenly and wick off excess.

This is where 'crepe philosophy' comes into play. Too much oil in the beginning and the crepe won't form properly as it won't stick. Too little and the crepe will stick too much and your crepe is ruined and you have to scrape the pan. Some people think that you just have to sacrifice the first crepe (that it can't come out right no matter what you do) but I am not one of them. The crepe batter itself, due to its butter content, will grease the pan for subsequent crepes, so you shouldn't need to re-grease w/ oil for the remainder of the crepe making process. If you do, then you don't have enough butter in the batter. Another key issue here is how to know when the pan is at the right temperature. Not only does this require experience, but you must also pay attention*.

The pan is ready when the oil or clarified butter (thrown off from previous crepe) begins to 'bead' in the pan. A few seconds later, it will begin to smoke. Just in between those two states is when to throw your crepe. You can see the 'beading' by looking at the surface of the pan w/ your overhead light reflected at the 'right' angle. It's probably like a 45 degree angle, but I'm not sure.

Once the pan is at the right temperature, lift the pan off the heat and pour 1/4 batter into the pan and rotate it to coat the surface of the pan w/ the batter in a thin layer. You are just trying to coat the bottom, not the sides as well. This motion takes practice. Return pan to heat and cook for approx 5-10 seconds, or until edges dry and begin to slightly come up off the pan surface. Flip w/ spatula and cook another 5 seconds on other side, then slide crepe off onto waiting plate.

Repeat this process until batter is gone, 1/4 cup batter per crepe, waiting for pan to reheat to the 'correct temperature' between crepes and checking the adequacy of the greasing of the pan, adjusting if necessary, as you go.

Good luck!

* Please note this is a direct personal admonishment from the chef, as I have been known to be incredibly impatient and sometimes easily distracted when cooking upon the stove-top.

Carolyn’s 7-Layer Brownies

The tastiest treat in our cookie exchange, other than my stars, of course, were these fabulous 7 Layer Brownies:

1. Melt 1 stick of butter in 9"x13" pan, then add the following layers:
2. 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
3. 1 cup of grated coconut
4. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
5. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of butterscotch chips
6. 1 cup chopped nuts (Carolyn used pecans)
7. Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over the top

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for nugget style brownies.

I mean, how can any recipe that starts off with melting an entire stick of butter *not* be fabulous???

Pound Cake French Toast

This is a  fast and easy dessert that sends your guests home with a warm happy feeling (and the impression you slaved over it.)

Pound Cake French Toast

1 slice pound cake* about 1/2 inch thick per person having dessert
2 eggs
2 TBSP half and half
1 TBSP grand marnier**
1 square dark chocolate per slice of pound cake
butter
powdered sugar
real maple syrup

In a wide bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and grand marnier. Melt butter (1-2 tsp) over medium heat in a pan large enough for both slices of cake. Grate chocolate squares and keep chocolate close by. Lay each slice of cake in the bowl, coating each side with the egg mixture. Place coated cake in the pan. When first side is lightly browned, turn over. Sprinkle the chocolate on the top of the cake and cook until done. Serve with sifted powdered sugar and maple syrup on top.

* You may use previously frozen pound cake if your neighborhood bakery ruins their pound cakes with raisins and such.

** I suppose you could substitute orange juice, but I wouldn't. And don't even think of using cheap triple sec; it'll ruin everything. Pony up the $3 for the single serving size of the grand marnier at your friendly neighborhood bodega.