- package of bacon
- container of artichoke hearts (use marinated in a jar or un-marinated in a can, whatever you prefer. Just be sure to retain some of the liquid)
- toothpicks (or something like 'em. we had wooden skewers handy)
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
So, instead of Tacos, we offer today a recipe for one of our all-time favorites: Parmesan Pork with Herb Sauce from the Publix Simple Meals series.
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped - (we've used dried sage as well)
- 1 cup Italian-style panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg white substitute)
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 packet garlic/herb sauce mix (about 1 1/2 oz)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Zest/grate lemon peel (no white). Chop sage.
- Combine on plate, lemon peel, panko, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Combine in bowl the lemon juice and egg whites. Dip pork lightly into egg mixture; then press and turn in panko mixture to coat (wash hands).
- Bake 20–25 minutes or until 160°F (for medium). Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
- Combine milk, butter, and sauce mix; bring to a boil on medium, whisking to blend. Reduce to medium-low. Stir in sage; cook and stir continuously, 2–3 minutes, or until thickened.
- Slice pork and serve with sauce.
It's a hit in our house... hope you enjoy it too!
Photo Credit: J Clyde photo from al.com
Monday, December 12, 2011
Doesn't look particularly healthy, does it? But it is (at least healthier than most holiday goodies), thanks to a nutrient-packed secret weapon from that last holiday...
Most cake box mixes call for at least two eggs (164 calories -- 104 calories from fat) and 1/2 a cup of oil (964 calories -- 100% from fat). Leave out the eggs and oil and use, instead, 2 cups of canned pumpkin. It's got 166 calories (only 12 calories from fat) and gives you 0 cholesterol, 5 grams of protein, and loads of Vitamin A. Night vision, anyone?
It works great in muffin and cupcake recipes. When I was making these Red Velvet Cake Balls it was a bit messier than the egg/oil version. The consistency with pumpkin is moister/gooeyer; but you can compensate by freezing them a bit longer before rolling in white chocolate and sprinkle heaven.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
- 1.5 pounds pork tenderloin (we had them butterflied, so nice and thin)
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Brian is a Gypsy brewer. What's that mean? Check out this story that aired on NPR's Weekend Edition.
Representing the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. We strive to define ourselves through our passion and sincerity while accepting that not all aspects of life are readily explanable. To manifest this ideology we present an ale of intrigue, deep and dark, though deceptively dry, braced by a firm yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. This is an ale for you to define...
Friday, December 9, 2011
She heard about my early New Year's Resolution to conquer my fear of baking and suggested I check out Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Balls. I'm so glad she did because not only are they easy (time consuming, yes... but easy), but they're super yummy!
- 1 box Red Velvet cake mix
- 1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz)
- 1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
- wax paper
1. Cook cake according to directions on box, cool completely, then crumble into a large bowl.
2. Mix can of cream cheese frosting into the crumbled cake (I used my hands. Messy, but effective)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.
4. Chill for several hours in fridge, or speed up the process by popping into the freezer for a while (I put mine in for 35 minutes)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on the package (do only a few blocks at a time because it does harden up rather quickly)
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper to firm up.
I'm already imaging all of the variations. Maybe coconut sprinkled on top before it hardens? How about white chocolate covering with colored sprinkles for a kids' party? Different cake mixes?
I've already made another batch of cake crumbles using this tip that saves tons of calories and fat. Olivia's going to mix in the frosting and make the balls tonight with her sleepover friends. We'll let ya know tomorrow whether it works!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Monday - chicken stir fry with Worcestershire sauce
Tuesday - beef stir fry with soy sauce
Wednesday - chicken stir fry with store-bought marinade sauce
Thursday - beef stir fry with Worcestershire sauce
(you get the idea)
Jason grew up in a traditional home. He mother never was taught to cook (women's work, ya know). I also grew up in a traditional home (once, when Grandpa was left alone for a week, he fried up and ate dog food patties that'd been left in the freezer), but my Dad - an Iowa farm boy - occasionally took to the kitchen.
It could be fear inducing. His "dump soup" is family legend - and I still remember the peanut butter and jelly omelets he tried to pawn off on me and friend who'd spent the night. But he could also whip up the basics - eggs, bacon, spaghetti, etc. And mom made sure all of us - including my brother - left the home knowing how to cook.
Fast forward 25 years and Jason and I share duties in the kitchen and our repertoire has greatly expanded. But, our philosophies are still different. He's a "recipe" cook who pays attention to detail and generally follows the rules. That's what makes him a good baker. Much like my Dad, I'm a bit more "make it up as you go", occasionally combining random ingredients I find in the pantry and fridge, while praying it comes out alright. Often, when I tell Jason what I'm making for dinner he'll politely inquire: "Is this a real recipe or something you made up?"
So, I ask you: how do you answer when it's a real recipe that you've tweaked so much it may not look much like the original? Last night I made Rachael Ray's Rosemary Grilled Tuna Steaks with Eggplant and Zucchini. The original recipe follows, with my changes noted in parenthesis.
- 4 tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, just enough to lightly coat the steaks
- 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves chopped, about 3 tablespoons (It's 30 degrees outside. We have no fresh rosemary. I'd planned to use dried rosemary, which one commenter on the original recipe site said worked fine, but I forgot. Oh well!)
- steak seasoning blend or coarse salt & pepper (I opted for the latter)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (didn't use this - see explanation below)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small, young, firm eggplant, chopped (we're not eggplant fans, so we left this out)
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 small yellow squash, chopped
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped (30 degrees. Nothing growing. Didn't feel like spending $4 for a small packet of fresh thyme)
- salt and pepper
- 2 small vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (I'm the only one who likes tomatoes, so I used one and didn't bother with seeding since the seeds don't bother me. In fact, I ate 1/2 of the tomato whole while prepping the meal.)
- 1 loaf crusty bread, 9 - 12 inches in length
- parsley (no amount give in Rachael's recipe. I sprinkled a bunch of dried parsely into the pesto mix)
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup black pitted calamata or oil cured olives, chopped (we used green, pimento-stuffed olives)
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce
- 1/4 pound deli sliced provolone (we used shredded mozzarella)
- 1 jar, 16 to 18 roasted red peppers, drained (we used significantly less than that #. Maybe 2 total)
- 1 (15 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained (we also used significantly less than that. Maybe 2 artichoke hearts total)
- 1 cup giardiniera (a.k.a. pickled vegetables... can include hot pickled peppers, cauliflower, carrots, etc. I found it near the pickles at Publix. You can also find it in the Italian foods aisle)
- salt and pepper
- EVOO for drizzling
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
1. Pulled out the carpet in the kitchen (YES!! they covered the kitchen floor with that ubiquitous blue office carpet. GROSS!) and the gold shag carpet in the living and dining rooms and replaced it with a nice maple laminate.
2. Built an island, complete with wine fridge and tiled countertop, in the kitchen and pulled out the poo-colored brown laminate backsplash and replaced it with a nice glass tile.
3. Ripped out the 1970's bar (complete with gold laminate countertop) in the family room, flipped it around on the wall, refinished it, built a new top and added bookshelves above -- voila, a "built in" bookcase!
4. Lots of other ripping out of ugly wallpaper (we had TIKI HEADS on our dining room wall!) and painting of various surfaces.
But this latest project has us a bit flumoxed (I *don't* to electricity!), so we're calling in the experts. The first contractor is coming this morning. What advice do you have? What questions should we ask? What should we be watching for when choosing which contractor to go with?
Thanks in advance!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
So, a disclaimer: I will make more and bring them in to the radio station. I promise!
But first, we have to take care of all the teachers (23 of them?!?), especially since the new state ethics law outlaws most other types of holiday gifts. (which, by the way, I'm okay with ... more on that on a blog post coming tomorrow).
Back to the baking. Let's be clear. I am not a baker. Jason bakes bread. From scratch. By hand. Really impressive bread like this Ethiopian Spiced Honey Bread that he helped Olivia make for her World of Food series.
I usually bake from a box. And sometimes I even screw that up (like the time I used lemon juice concentrate instead of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a poppyseed cake I made Dad for Father's Day). But, inspired by really good bakers like my friends Melanie and Erika, I'm putting "learning how to bake" at the top of the culinary resolution list for 2012. I thought I'd get a head start by trying a little scratch baking this holiday. Here's the result...
Melissa d'Arabian's recipe is called "Delicate Mint Sandwich Holiday Cookies" - but I prefer "Peppermint Snowflakes". It's punchier. And I didn't have a round cookie cutter (see!!! I'm really NOT a baker!), so I made mine into snowflake shapes. I also doubled the recipe to it would make 24 complete sandwich cookies. The amounts below are the "doubled" amounts.
Ingredients for Cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- colored sugars (green, blue, red, silver, white, whatever. I used red.)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar (for us non-bakers, that's a.k.a. "powdered sugar")
- 4 tbsp butter, softened
- 4 drops mint extract
- 4 drops red or green food coloring (I used red, but it turned out kinda pink. Which I like!)
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting, optional (I forgot this part)
Monday, December 5, 2011
And she's reminiscing about her years in prison and how she used her monthly stipend to buy clay and mold a nativity set that she says looked just like Wedgewood. Ohhh, Martha!
Her book includes hosting tips, decorating ideas and recipes, including one for Noah's Ark Cookies. Got me thinking -- how long did it take Noah to build the Ark? According to one source, about 40-50 years. And that's exactly how long it seems to be taking to finish my latest building project.
Yes, Jason set an eight day deadline; but after he unceremoniously hammered into the soffit and that led to taking down the walls, and then we found that under the tiled floor was a crumbling concrete pad (on the 2nd floor? Was HardiBacker not invented in 1978?), well - let's just say the timeline and the budget have expanded.
Yesterday was filled with hours of reno, bags of chunked up concrete lined up on the front stoop, and...
Baking. Yes, that time honored holiday tradition of attempting to look like I know how to bake. This year's Bake-Fest takes on special meaning given a new state ethics law that outlaws gift cards and "anything of value" for public school teachers. Here's a preview of what Olivia & I made:
(more on those goodies in a post coming soon....)
As soon as I get time to do anything besides destroying drywall or mixing sugar and butter! We've been so busy that lately that we haven't had a chance to blog about all the great meals we've been making. But here's a really good one I wanted to share.
Scallops with Creamy Bacon Corn Sauce (from Publix Apron's Simple Meals)
- 4 slices bacon
- 3/4 lbs scallops
- 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
- corn (can be removed from 3 ears fresh corn or use one can corn)
- 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced onions
- 1/3 cup diced bell peppers
- 1/8 cup coarsely chopped chives
- 1 tbsp blackening seasoning
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- salt & papper
1. Preheat saute pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Put oil in pan, add scallops and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden, opaque and firm. Remove from pan, put on plate and cover to keep warm.
2. Cut bacon into small piece (use kitchen scissors.... it's easier!). Cook in pan 3-4 minutes until crisp. Drain bacon fat, reserving one tablespoon in pan. Stir in tomatoes, onions, and peppers (It's called a "Trinity Mix" -- anyone know why?!?!). Cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Combine blackening seasoning, half-and-half and corn; add to pan.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3-4 minutes more, stirring.
Transfer corn mixture to service dish and top with scallops and chives.