I was thinking the other day about being adventurous with food and what that means…for some, like Minnesota’s own Travel Channel star Andrew Zimmern, adventurous might mean noshing on barely-edibels; for others, it might mean going for the title of “Most Juicy Lucys'” eaten at Matt’s.
For me right now, being adventurous means challenging myself to step out of my cooking comfort zone to learn new recipes and techniques and it also means not being afraid to fail. A huge aspect of cooking that I realized that I don’t know a whole lot about is one of the basics of all good cooking – spices. And I don’t mean your usual oregano and parsley!
Papreeekah….Paprahkah – however you say it, the only thing I’ve ever used paprika for is to garnish deviled eggs, so this is the first adventurous spice I’m tackling in this delicious recipe for Paprika Rubbed Pork Tenderloin! The bright red powder I’ve been taking for granted is made by grinding chili peppers or bell peppers and is a much used ingredient in Hungary, where it originated….no clue as to whether or not Hungarians use it to top their eggs…
I’d had a pork loin in the freezer that I wasn’t sure what to do with and some fantastic looking carrots from the farmer’s market. Don’t they look vibrant and delicious?! I love that the carrots cook first with garlic and honey and get a slightly sweet and savory glaze before they finish cooking with the pork – I loved how they turned out!
Although it is mixed with other spices, paprika is definitely the defining ingredient in the sightly spicy rub that is massaged into the pork loin before searing it on the stove. I used a smokey, Spanish paprika that smelled absolutely delicious, but there is quite a variety to choose from – from the typical mild to rather spicy – and whichever appeals to you will work fine!
The pork loin is pretty lean, but searing it on all sides before placing it with the carrots in the oven to finish cooking will create a fantastic crispness on the spice-coated edges (yum!).
I absolutely enjoyed this dish – then, I enjoyed the left overs! And, I can say that I gained a new passion for paprika!
Here’s the Recipe!
- 2 pounds baby carrots, peeled, trimmed, leaving 1/2 inch of green tops attached
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeño (preferably red), seeded, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2 1-to 1 1/4-pound pork tenderloins
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika**
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Arrange carrots on large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk 2 tablespoons water and all remaining ingredients in small bowl; pour over carrots and toss to coat. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Toss to coat before continuing.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast carrot mixture covered until just tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange pork tenderloins on another rimmed baking sheet. Stir oregano, cumin, chile powder, smoked paprika, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt in small bowl; rub mixture all over tenderloins. Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Return to rimmed baking sheet.
Remove foil from carrots. Nestle pork among carrots on baking sheet, arranging carrots in single layer around pork. Roast uncovered until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, stirring carrots occasionally if beginning to caramelize, about 18 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer pork to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange carrots on platter. Top with pork slices, drizzling any pan juices over.
* Available in the spice section of many supermarkets and at Latin markets.
** Sometimes labeled Pimentón Dulce or Pimentón de La Vera Dulce; available at some supermarkets or at specialty foods stores
As a girl growing up in Mississippi, my favorite place to be as a child was with my grandparents – Memaw and Pepaw Jay. I used to spend as much time at their house as I could manage and loved exploring their big backyard, listening to music in the kitchen and enjoying my Memaw’s old-fashioned, southern comfort-food cooking. One of my very favorite food memories is sitting at their kitchen table enjoying one of Memaw’s freezer staples: Peach Ice Cream. The cold, rich cream flavor on my tongue and biting into bits of chilled, vibrant ripe peach…..Mmmmmmm! Funny – I’ve never met anyone since who’s ever stocked peach ice cream. Super-chunky-fudgy-monkey-cookie-dough varieties have become the norm, but I like a more minimalistic approach to my favorite flavors: clean, simple and fresh. So this is how childhood memories have become the catalyst for trying to make my very first batch of homemade ice cream!
I decided on a recipe from an ice cream cookbook I’ve had on my shelf for a while – the recipe didn’t call for a lot of extra sugar and took a simple approach to the ice cream base instead of the slightly more complicated, traditional creme anglaise base made by cooking down eggs and cream.
The heavy cream and peaches have been bought and the ice cream maker bowl has been in the freezer for 24 hours!
1. I peeled and sliced four large, ripe, beautiful peaches and cooked them down until they were soft, but not mushy; then I cooled them thoroughly.
2. I pureed most of the peaches and all of the peach syrup with 1 1/4 cups of evaporated condensed milk.
3. I forced the mixture through a sieve to remove brown flecks of peach – it’ll be pretty thick. Then, I diced the remaining peaches and added them into the strained mixture – you can make the peach pieces as big or small as you’d like them.
4. In the meantime, I used my stand mixer to whip the heavy cream on high speed until it holds its shape (but don’t let it fully get to the whipped cream stage – it should be slightly only slightly stiff.)
5. Lastly, I folded the whipped heavy cream into the puree’ mixture and poured it right into my ice cream maker – you will just want to follow your manufacturer’s directions on this part!
Taa-daaaa! Peach Ice Cream, just like I remember! Everyone in my family really loved it – I even made a little batch of crumble topping, just like you might have on peach cobbler with oatmeal, brown sugar and a little cinnamon and vanilla and crumbled it over the top…..it was such a delicious treat in this crazy hot weather we’ve been having, and I think my Memaw would be proud!
My sister lives a few hours away in Iowa – it’s the most boring drive, ever. The majority of the “scenery” is nothing but cornfields. There is one little area of the highway where you can spot a buffalo farm, though…you know it’s a boring drive when you start holding out hope for a possible buffalo sighting…
Other than my end destination, the best part of this trip is that it gives you plenty of thinking time and, of course, I usually spend this time thinking of new foods I want to try out and different Twin Cities spots I need to visit. As you can imagine, I wind up getting a little bit hungry on the way! I was so lucky last time I visited – by the time I arrived at her house, Annie had made a saucy, delicious pot of one of my very favorite dishes – Green Curry.
It was so fantastic, I stole her recipe and recreated it here at home for dinner last night – I think you’ll like it!
One of the great things about a curry is that it works perfectly as a vegetarian or vegan dish if meat isn’t your thing – the curry paste is both vegan-approved and gluten free. I make Annie’s recipe with chicken, but you can leave out the protien for a dish that’s just as yummy and filling! For mine last night, I really copped out and just bought some fresh, pre-cut stir fry vegetables from the grocery. The bag had everything I needed – snow peas, carrots, some cabbage, broccoli – and cut down my preparation time at least in half, after a long day at work.
Another awesome aspect of making curry is that it’s basically a one-pot meal. Other than cooking the rice in a different pot or rice cooker, everything else pretty much just gets cooked together. Less dishes to wash is never a bad thing!
We held back just a little bit on the green curry sauce so that it wouldn’t get too spicy for The Redhead and she loved it! As I mentioned in the veggie fries post, she’s not too excited about eating veggetables, but she ate the chicken, sauce and rice with a smile and she at least gave a carrot or two a try. The fresh basil in the curry tastes amazing and the dish is so warm, flavorful and fragrant – one of my all-time standard favs (it also makes awesome leftovers!) This post is really making me want to take an adventure to some local Asian Markets in the cities…hmmmm….future post, perhaps?! Give this dish a try and let me know what you think!
Here’s the Recipe!
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups Jasmine Rice
1 White Onion, diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 Tablespoon fresh, minced Ginger
2-4 Tablespoons of Thai Green Curry Paste, to taste
1 Cup fresh Broccoli florets
½ Cup Carrots, sliced
½ Cup fresh Snow Peas
2 Stems (with leaves) of Fresh Basil; additional Fresh Basil leaves
2 Cans High-Quality Coconut Milk
2 Chicken Breasts, cubed (if desired)
Salt, to taste
- Cook Jasmine Rice, as directed on package (can stir into 2 ½ cups boiling water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until firm, but cooked)
- Heat olive oil in large, deep skillet and sauté onion and garlic until golden brown
- Add green curry paste and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly (this will really bring out the flavor in the curry paste)
- Pour in both cans of coconut milk and whisk until curry paste is incorporated (the coconut milk will probably have separated into a thin, clear liquid and thick white solid – this is normal, just whisk a little harder J )
- Add vegetables, stems of basil and meat and allow to cook at a medium temperature until veggies and chicken are thoroughly cooked and sauce has reduced and thickened
- Salt and/or add more curry paste, to taste
- To serve, remove the stems of basil and discard, then ladel sauce over rice, adding fresh basil leaves
- For an added bonus, serve with wedges of lime – it’s great squeezed right in the curry!
The warm breeze, late evening sunsets and children’s laughter as they play outside – these are some of my favorite things about Summertime. Summer inspires me to take extra moments in my day to just soak in my environment – to enjoy simple, easy living and the freedom that comes from not having to plan ahead to bundle up to go outside or scrape snow off the car before driving like in the certain chilly months to come.
When I think of easy, simply delicious summer food, fruit is the first thing that comes to mind: perfectly ripe, seasonal, juicy, lovely fruit. I made this dish last night and it was so delightful, I absolutely could not wait to share it with you!
I fell in love with this dish right from the start for two reasons: it incorporates healthy and local ingredients for a fantastic alternative to sugary desserts and, maybe even more importantly, it indulges my love for the produce section! It’s a little ridiculous how much I enjoy the process of picking out good produce, but in this age of pre-packaged, pre-made everything, using your all of your senses to choose exactly the fruit or vegetable that you want feels so down-to-earth to me.
Plums are one of those stone fruits that I typically accidentally overlook – it’s not flashy, it’s not exotic, but it IS delicious…and it’s sweet, tart flavor and really comes out when it’s slowly baked in the oven. This recipe does call for a little bit of sugar sprinkled on the tops of the plum halves before baking, but the sugar could be left out completely and the dish would taste every bit as good….on the other hand, you could go the other way and caramelize the tops of the plum halves with sugar and a torch/broiler after they bake for a crunchy, sugar coating!
Every summer, I stock up on home-grown, Minnesota honey from the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market – Marquette Honey Farms is my favorite honey vendor. I can’t get enough, so I was excited to pull it out for this dessert!
A dollop of tangy Greek Yogurt and some roasted hazelnuts and you have one simply delightful, flavorful summer dessert!
Here’s the Recipe:
6 dark plums, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted in the oven at 375°F for 7 minutes, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place plums cut side up on sheet, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until soft and some juices run off, about 15 minutes. Divide among 4 bowls, top each with 2 tablespoons yogurt, sprinkle with nuts and drizzle with honey.
Being a mom, wife and employee, the more hectic and busy life becomes, the more I deeply appreciate the simplest pleasures in life – those lovely moments when something very satisfying comes without too much effort.
This post is going to be a simple one, celebrating one of my greatest food pleasures – garlic herb bread.
Now, I am an equal-opportunity garlic bread eater – I won’t say no to any available version including the frozen kind that come six to a box, but this is my very favorite recipe for a simple, delicious and fresh loaf.
All I do is chop up a handful each of fresh parsley and basil, mince four or five cloves of garlic and stir them into six tablespoons of butter.
I love to buy the fresh French loaves from the Byerly’s just down the street from me – I half it and spread the herb butter on each piece. It can be baked in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or wrapped in tin foil and warmed slowly at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
The herbed garlic butter and crusty, warm bread smell amazing and, I have to warn you, are very addictive!
As the summer draws to a close in the next few weeks, I hope you take a few moments out of the hectic hustle and bustle, take a breath and allow yourself to savor your simple pleasures!
Ever since I discovered pâte à chou, I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that showcase my new-found skill, and I think I’ve hit on a winner…a tasty, easy-to-make yet impressive-to-look-at winner!
When I say easy to make, I mean seriously easy – I made these Gruyère and Black Pepper Gougères in 15 minutes yesterday morning while simultaneously straightening my apartment up before friends came over and making sure The Redhead didn’t use her new set of markers to “decorate” the living room walls! They also use one of my favorite cheeses – a slightly smoky gruyère that is deliciously melty and warm inside the crunchy, toasty crust with a little ground black pepper kick.
These are light and bake into hollow puffs which can be eaten warm, right out of the oven along with a meal or even filled with a crab or chicken salad, if you want to serve it as a more substantial hors d’œuvres – I’d love them with wine and fruit!
Here’s the Recipe!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (4 ounces) gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift flour into a small bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the flour is incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan in a ball. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for approximately four minutes. The dough will continue to pull away from the pan in a large clump.
Scrape the dough into the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough forms large clumps, about one minute. Beat in one egg at a time until each egg is blended smoothly into the dough, about one minute for each.
On low speed, beat in the cheese and the black pepper.
Use a round, one tablespoon ice cream or cookie scoop or two tablespoons (one to scoop dough and the other to scrape dough onto the baking sheet) and spoon mounds of dough about one inch apart onto baking sheets.
Bake one sheet at a time until the gougères are lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
Cool five to ten minutes and serve warm.
Gougères can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two days and briefly warmed in the oven before serving.
(Recipe Credit: Real Food by Lunds and Byerly’s, Summer 2010)