Monday, August 20, 2012
Not too long after I started blogging Connie came home from a bridge game and announced that Suzanne had a friend who blogged also. Well, now. That'd be fun to know another Indianapolis blogger. Her name was Liz and she wrote a blog called ThatSkinnyChickCanBake.
It turns out that Liz is not only a fabulous blogger but one of the most wonderful people you can ever hope to meet. She and her husband, Bill, live not too far from us. And, coincidentally, across the street from a friend from high school and his wife - who I'd lost contact with. Super double bonus. We meet Liz and Bill and Steve and Pam are now back in our lives.
So, let me tell you a bit about Liz. She and Bill are from Iowa. His work brought them here. They've got three kids. Tom, Katie and Nick. They're great kids. Not surprising at all given how wonderful their mom and dad are. She's super involved in the community. And, she's got LOTS of friends. Friends who've been friends for years and years and years. She's that kind of person. Once you know her you're her friend and you want to stay her friend because she's so delightful. I can't forget Lambeau. She's the family dog. She's an old lady but still loves to have company. You'll see her in the occasional post.
Her blog is amazing. I've never seen anyone who can not only master so many dessert techniques but who also does such a wonderful job with the other courses - appetizers, entrees, sides, salads... Now, because I'm not a dessert maker I love it when she posts the other stuff. And, I know it's going to be good because our tastes are so similar. When I'm in a position where I've got to fix dessert, the first place I go is Liz's blog. That's where I found the Mounds Bars cookies. Thank goodness the leftovers are in the basement freezer. If they were in the office freezer they wouldn't still be around... I'm not much of a sweets eater but those I'll make an exception for.
Now, imagine my delight when I got my Secret Recipe Club assignment. Liz. Wooo Hoooo!!! With the big change over at work going on time to cook has been scarce. I wasn't excited about getting a blog that didn't have fantastic choices. Not a problem here. I must've printed a dozen recipes before settling on this one for pork tenderloin. Actually, there's another that I'm going to have to make this week. It's a salad with beets, hearts of palm and blue cheese. I've got all the ingredients and just have to remember to cook the beets.
A note about Secret Recipe Club in the event you're not familiar with it. Every Monday a different group of bloggers posts for SRC. We're given our assignment about three weeks prior to the reveal date. Then, it's time to sit down and read blogs. We've had some fantastic recipes from SRC. I think Connie's favorite is the Irish Pancakes from Josie. I'm not sure if my favorite was the BBQ Chicken Dip or the Stuffed Meatloaf. It's a fun opportunity to get acquainted with other bloggers.
So, how did we like the pork tenderloin? MMMMMMMM! Liz hit another home run with this. We marinated the pork overnight then grilled it for dinner. Leftovers wound up in sandwiches for lunch. I'll tell you more about the sandwiches in another post... This will now be the alternate to my favorite pork tenderloin from Back Home Again - a cookbook both Liz and I love. Here's the link to Liz's post: Maple Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
There's one fun note that I want to add. Connie's our wine steward. He'll ask what we're having for dinner then figure out the right wine. The evening we had the pork tenderloin he came up from the basement with a big grin on his face. A Chablis from Suzanne! It was perfect with the pork :-)
Maple Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins
1/4 c Dijon mustard
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T lemon juice
1 T soy sauce
3 T maple syrup
Mix the ingredients in a ziplock bag. Add the tenderloins and marinate in the fridge overnight. Grill until the tenderloins have reached your desired temperature. We like ours more pink than most folks... Liz serves hers with sauteed Granny Smith apples. Connie gripes if I feed him too much fruit. That and the fact that I had about a dozen tomatoes from the garden to use up tipped the scales in favor of parmesan baked tomatoes instead of the apples...
adapted from ThatSkinnyChickCanBake
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Prosciutto and cantaloupe. Pretty much the perfect pairing, isn't it? So, I have a choice here. One, tell you really quickly about this fantastic recipe or two, write a long post and once again let it languish in the queue because there isn't time to finish it. Speed wins. This was amazing. We'll have it again for lunch today!
Prosciutto Bruschetta and Cantaloupe Chutney
12 1/4" thick baguette slices
2 T olive oil
12 thin prosciutto slices (I used half slices since my baguette was tiny)
for the chutney:
1/2 medium cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
Mix the chutney ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 45 minutes. You'll want the chutney to thicken up so it stays on the bruschetta. Now, because it was almost 9pm and I'd just gotten home from the office and wanted dinner NOW, I put the chutney in a bowl and microwaved it for 3 minutes. It didn't thicken well, but it did serve to combine the flavors nicely. Next time I'll do it the right way.
To make the bruschetta, brush the baguette slices with olive oil and broil them until they're just a tad bit brown. Fold the prosciutto and put that on the slices. Top with a dollop of chutney. Broil again until the chutney is bubbly.
adapted from Southern Living
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Normally this time of year we have a bumper crop of everything from the garden. Not so much this year. A lot of Indiana is in an exceptional drought. That's the worst type. Until the last week or so rainshowers had pretty much hit all around us but very few had actually hit our home. Our herbs have mostly gone to seed and the vegetables (with the exception of peppers and cucumbers) just haven't grown. Finally, we went out to the garden and got enough for dinner! Well, at least for the salad course!
I remember the year we had an absolute bumper crop of eggplant. I made all kinds of new and fun dishes. This year, we've had two eggplants from eight plants. The first was almost decent sized. The second as about the size of Connie's fist.
The Southwestern Grill by Michael McLaughlin had recently joined my collection of cookbooks. There was an eggplant dip that I really wanted to try. But, I couldn't find the cookbook. All over the kitchen and family room I searched. Not to be found. Ah, ha moment. I'd taken it to bed to read. Yup. It was sitting on the floor next to the bed. Whew.
What did we think? This was incredibly easy to make. And, we totally loved the flavor. The recipe calls for using the dip with corn chips. I can see it being used mixed in with mashed potatoes. Or a good dollop on top of a lovely southwestern rubbed pork tenderloin.
Now, for the second, little eggplant, I got creative on my own. We had a couple of burrata that we needed to use up. I'd never seen them in Indy and had found them at Trader Joe's. One of my favorite eggplant salad combos is fried eggplant and tomatoes with shredded mozzarella. What if I replaced the shredded mozzarella with the burrata and added some good homemade pesto? Well, let me tell you, that worked. I wish I had another eggplant in the garden and I'd be making that again NOW.
Grilled Eggplant Dip wtih Sweet and Smoky Flavors
3 T pine nuts, toasted and set aside
2 - 1/1/2 lb eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/2" slices (do not peel)
3 T olive oil (divided)
chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T minced canned chipotle chilies en adobo
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Toss the eggplant with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. You can either grill the slices or roast them. The eggplant should be very well done.
Coarsely chop the eggplant and put it in the bowl of the food processor with all the othe ingredients other than the pine nuts and cilantro. Pulse a few times making sure the mixture is still a bit coarse. Top with the pine nuts and cilantro. (Obviously from the photos I skipped both.) Serve at room temperature with corn chips.
adapted from Southwestern Grill
Eggplant and Burrata Salad
One small eggplant, sliced into four slices
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c panko
1/2 c finely grated gruyere, parmesan or romano
1 large tomato, sliced into 1/2" slices
1/4 c freshly made pesto
Don't peel the eggplant. Dip the slices into the egg then into a mixture of the panko and cheese. Fry in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until the eggplant is brown and crunchy. Remove from the heat and put on two salad plates. Nest the slices.
Top with tomato slices. Depending on the size of the tomato, you'll need either one or two per salad.
Top the tomatoes with a burrata. Drizzle pesto over.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
We had a party at the office this weekend. It was a shredding, electronics disposal, BBQ and chair massage. Oh, and folks could sign their paperwork for our big change. Several weeks ago we had a BBQ tasting and determined that Black Diamond was the best. Like they won by 27 points out of 30 to the other's 19 points. See the things we go through for our clients? I know. It's tough but somebody's got to do it.
Time came to order and the website said the big tray of pulled pork or beef brisket would serve 40. I ordered a tray and a half of each. Then, I ordered a tray and a half of mac and cheese and a tray each of slaw and baked beans. Should have been plenty of food. Let's just say the mac and cheese and baked beans were inhaled. I got a little taste early on then headed to my office to meet with folks. When I came up for air four hours later the pans were empty. Bare. Nada. The only thing we had much left over was pulled pork. There was about four pounds of that. And, maybe a pound of the beef brisket.
With the hours we've been working cooking has not been a priority. But, I'm craving some good homecooked food. So, I decided to take an evening and turn the pork into four dishes of about six to eight servings each. I'd decided to make chili, shepherd's pie, stuffed peppers and something else. As luck would have it, there was an article in Food Network Magazine by Melissa D'Arabian about ten uses for leftover pulled pork. I was pumped. As it turned out, I'd already made "sloppy joes" with some of the meat. And, I had the chili and shepherd's pie on the menu. Then, I found an old recipe from an antique Woman's Day that I'd pulled out of the stack in the basement to go thru and toss. It was for a beef stew with garbanzo beans, black beans, salsa... Perfect for pork. I had my four dishes. And, I came home in time to cook.
Here are the basics. Since time is so precious here I'm going to be brief...
Shepherd's Pie: Mix pulled pork, jarred gravy (pork is best but turkey will do,) a good splash of white wine, a good dose of herbs, frozen peas, chopped and cooked carrots, frozen pearl onions and a can of mushrooms. Top it all with cheesy mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of paprika or emeril's essence or BBQ rub or something that'll give it some color and zing. Bake until it's nice and bubbly.
Stuffed peppers: Mix pulled pork, cooked brown rice, black beans, salsa, chipotle chili powder and shredded mozzarella cheese. You can either freeze them and cook them later or bake them until the peppers are cooked through.
Chili: Saute a large yellow onion (diced) with some diced green pepper. Add a can of chicken broth (homemade stock is best but use what you've got,) a couple of cans of diced green chilies, pulled pork, a couple of cans of beans (rinsed and drained - I like pinto, white kidney and/or black beans,) along with a good sprinkle of cumin and chili powder.
Pork stew: Mix a can of corn (drained) with a can of garbanzo beans and a can of black beans (both drained and rinsed,) pulled pork, 1 c each salsa and BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays,) and a package of taco seasoning mix. It also calls for mixing in chopped cilantro but since I was putting the mixture into a foil lined casserole dish then freezing the whole deal, I decided I'd top it with some grated cheese and cilantro when I actually bake it.
So, there you have it. How I turned a few pounds of pork into about 16 meals. Now, if I can keep from going nuts from eating pork too often over the next month, I'll be in great shape. That and if I can get through the veritable mountain of paperwork in my office...
pork stew adapted from Women's Day