Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

These summer rolls are actually a marriage of Vietnamese and Thai summer rolls. What makes them summer rolls is the inclusion of fresh vegetables, and the fact that they are not fried. They include carrots, cucumber, scallions, lettuce, cilantro, Thai basil, and, of course, rice noodles. This version uses chicken rather than shrimp, but you could certainly use shrimp if you prefer. You can use either chicken breast (cut into thin strips) or ground chicken. I used ground chicken. This recipe makes 10 summer rolls which get cut into thirds, so you end up with 30 appetizer size pieces. You can adapt to make a smaller batch. This recipe is not difficult, but, quite honestly, it is a bit tedious and time consuming. It took me about 1.5 hours to make the 10 rolls (30 pieces). You can cut recipe in 1/2 or less.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 Round Rice Paper Sheets (8-9 inches)*
  • 1 lb. Ground Chicken
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 4 TBS. Fish Sauce**
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 TBS. Chili Paste (Sambal Oelek is a popular brand)*
  • 4-5 Oz. Dried Rice Noodles (sometimes called rice sticks) – thin, vermicelli or angel hair size
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Thai Basil- chopped (can substitute regular basil)**
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro – chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cup Lettuce (Romaine or Leaf)- chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots – cut into very thin strips (you can buy packaged “shredded” carrots)
  • 5 Scallions (green parts only) – thinly sliced (matchstick size)
  • 1/2 English Cucumber – peeled, seeded and thinly sliced (matchstick size)

* Often available at regular grocery stores in the “Ethnic food” aisle.
**Available at specialty Asian grocery stores – particulary Thai or Vietnamese

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice (4-6 Limes)
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 TBS. Fish Sauce*
  • 1 TBS. Rice Wine Vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. Jalapeno (seeds and membranes removed) – very finely chopped

Combine all ingredients until sugar is disolved and ingredients are well blended. Serve with Summer rolls – mix again before serving.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Soak the Rice noodles in water as directions indicate (usually 30 minutes). Prepare the marinade by combining honey, fish sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Add ground chicken to marinade and mix (with hands) until well combined. Because the chicken is ground, it doesn’t need to marinate long – let it sit while you prep other ingredients and make sauce. Saute the marinated chicken until thoroughly cooked. Drain off marinade. Soak one sheet of rice paper in water until softened (30-60 seconds). Remove from water and place on prep area (I recommend using a cutting board). Beginning about 1/3 of the way from the bottom, lay about 1/2 inch of ground chicken across rice paper leaving about 1 inch free on each side. Top chicken with a few strips of carrot, cucumber, and scallion. Add a single layer of chopped cilantro and basil and another layer of chopped lettuce. Add softened rice noodles to the top – or the top edge if they won’t stay on top- cutting noodles so that they fit. Starting at the bottom, roll the rice paper over the filling – pulling as tightly as possible. Once you have rolled the bottom over the filling, fold in the two side edges – continue to wrap until completely rolled. Cut roll into thirds. Repeat process with remaining rice paper sheets. Serve with chilled or at room temperature with dipping sauce.

Chicken Miso Soup

Chicken Miso Soup

My kids and I love miso soup. It’s actually very easy to make, but you will need to go to an Asian (Japanese, if possible) market to find the two key ingredients (dashi and miso paste). Dashi is the normal base for miso soup – it’s made from fish and seawood- and it’s usually available in a quick cooking version. However, I’m on this diet that requires that I eat two servings of probiotics a day, and I can only eat so much Greek yogurt in a day, but, luckily, miso is a probiotic. While regular miso soup would be fine, I was on a quest to combine my probiotic serving with my lunch which includes a lean protein. So, I decided to add miso to chicken broth and add some cooked chicken and some greens. I have used leftover chicken (shredded), but for this batch I just poached some thin slices of chicken breast. Seaweed is usually what’s in miso soup, but I didn’t have any dried seaweed, so I added spinach (I have also used Swiss chard, which was great, so you can use any good “green”) . Miso paste comes in a variety of flavors (or colors); I think light miso is the best for soup. This recipe makes two lunch size servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cooked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast*
  • 2 TBS. Light Miso
  • 1+ Cup Spinach or other “green”
  • Approx. 3 TBS. Green Onion (green part only) -chopped

* Use leftover chicken (as long as it’s not overly seasoned) and shred it, or thinly slice (it’s easier if partially frozen) a chicken breast and add to boiling water to simply poach.INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium sized saucepan, bring chicken broth to just below a boil. Add miso and stir until miso is comletely dissolved. Add greens and cook until wilted, add chicken. Add green onions and serve immediately.

Grilled Watermelon with Simple Green Salad

Grilled Watermelon with Simple Green Salad

Nothing says summer like watermelon. I love it mixed with feta in a salad; I love it plain with a dash of salt, but I really love it grilled. Grilling the watermelon sort of condenses the sweetness. To counteract the sweetness, I served it with a simple green salad with a simple vinagrette. The combination of salty, sweet, and sour was spectacular. I will say that our grill could have been a little cleaner – the watermelon was more blackened than was necessary. You could certainly serve the grilled watermelon as a stand-alone for dessert, or even a sweet starter, but I really do enjoy the combination of flavors achieved by combining with the salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Small Seedless Watermelon
  • 1 Bunch of Green Leaf Lettuce- washed and torn
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (substitute 1 part balsamic vinegar and 2 parts red wine or sherry vinegar with a splash of cranberry or cranberry cherry juice)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil – for brushing the watermelon

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat a grill to high. Cut watermelon in half and then slice into 1/2 inch slices; cut slices into thirds or quarters (depending on size of watermelon). Place watermelon slices in a colander and allow to drain. Make the vinagrette: Combine olive oil, vingegar (s) and season with salt and pepper. Brush watermelon with olive oil and season with salt (both sides). Place watermelon slices on grill and grill until grill marks appear. Flip watermelon and grill the other side. Combine torn lettuce and vinagrette, in a medium sized mixing bowl, until lettuce is well coated. Plate dressed lettuce and add grilled watermelon. Serve while watermelon is still warm.

Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lavender Whipped Cream

Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Cake

I started making this cake for my (former) sister-in-law’s birthday twenty years ago. It’s become a tradition for Easter as well. While I’m not a baker, this recipe is easy and, essentially, fail proof. The original recipe is from the Silver Palate Cookbook, but I’ve adapted it a bit – particularly the glaze. This is not a light and fluffy cake, it’s a dense and rich cake. This time around, I made a lavender whipped cream to accompany the cake. I have some lavender syrup which came from a fantastic store Up Home in Pennsylvania http://www.uphomeltd.com/ . If I were serving the cake, I would have drizzled each slice with a bit of the lavender syrup (it is divine), but I sent the cake whole and didn’t want to part with my lavender syrup. It has always been my tradition to decorate the cake with edible flowers, usually pansies, but since it is mid-August, and because I was using the lavender, I decorated it with lavender and lemon balm. You could also use thin lemon slices.

INGREDIENTS (for the cake):

  • 2 Sticks (1/2 lb.) sweet, unsalted, butter – softened
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Zest – tightly packed
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Icing (see below)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube or bundt pan. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (I use a handheld mixer but you could use a stand mixer, or do by hand). One at a time, beat in eggs until well combined.
Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk to better, alternating dry and wet, but beginning and ending with dry. Add lemon zest and juice and mix until well combined. Pour batter into greased pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Insert a toothpick into the center, and if it comes out clean, cake is done. Cool cake in the pat on a rack for 10 minutes and then flip onto a plate to remove the cake (you may have to gently tap around pan to release cake). Allow cake to cool before icing.
INGREDIENTS (for the Lemon Glaze):

  • 3/4 Stick Sweet (unsalted) Butter – melted and cooled
  • 3+ Cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

In a medium sized non-reactive bowl, combine melted butter and confectioners sugar, whisk until there are no lumps. Check for desired thickness (I like more of a thin glaze, but if you like a thicker icing, add more sugar). Add lemon zest and juice. Place foil or parchment paper pieces around the edge of the cake plate to catch excess glaze (there will be a lot). Spoon glaze on top of cake so that it can run down both the inside and outside of the cake. I usually don’t glaze the inside as much as the outside. Keep spooning glaze over (move the outer edge to get good coverage for the outside of the cake). Once you have finished glazing the cake, remove you tin foil or parchment paper “catchers” and wipe plate of any excess frosting that may have gotten through. Decorate with edible flowers or thin lemon slices (pictures here include: lavender and lemon balm, and pansies, but nasturtiums are another good option).

Lemon cake for Easter (with Pansies)

Serve with whipped cream (or Lavender Whipped Cream- see below).

INGREDIENTS: (Whipped Cream):

  • 1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 TBS. Lavender Syrup (substitute 1 TBS. Vanilla (or other) Extract if you don’t have Lavender Syrup)

Put a small metal bowl and the beater attachments for an electric mixer, or a whisk,  in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. (The key to achieving great whipped cream, as opposed to butter, is to keep everything very cold). When ready to prepare the whipped cream, remove items from freezer, add whipped cream and flavors to the bowl and begin whipping immediately. Whip until desired consistency is achieved.  You can also assure that your mixture is cold whipped by putting a smaller bowl, containing cream, atop a larger bowl of ice water.

Asian Style Chicken Skewers – Diet Friendly

Asian Style Chicken Skewers

I continue on my quest to stay on this diet but not sacrifice eating good food. So, I’ve tried to re-do some of my “go to” meals and reinvent them to fit this diet (little to no fat, little to no carbs – in this phase). We make kabobs (or skewers) all the time. It’s a great way to combine meat and vegetables. Well, on this diet we can only eat very lean proteins (chicken, turkey, fish) and vegetables. So I figured, why not combine the two. Plus, my attitude is that if it’s grilled, it just tastes better. My challenge was to make a marinade without any oil. A limited amount of low sodium soy sauce is allowed, so I figured that was the best option. Rather than using oil, I used chicken stock because it’s flavorful. I had mushrooms and onions on hand, but I think baby Bok Choy – cut in half- would be an excellent addition to the skewers. (Serves 4, or 3 plus leftover chicken to add to salad the next day)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock (Broth)
  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBS. Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
  • Mushrooms – about 7-10
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, cut in about 1 inch pieces
  • Baby Bok Choy – cut in halves or quarters

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Add chicken, onion and any other vegetables (except mushrooms) to a non-reactive bowl. Add garlic, chicken stock, Chinese five spice, and chili paste to bowl. Mix until well combined and chicken and vegetables are well coated. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour. Heat grill to high. Add mushroom to marinade mixture. Thread chicken and vegetables onto skewers (alternating chicken and vegetables). Reduce grill to medium and grill skewers at about 350 degrees until browned on one side, turn and continue to cook until browned on all sides and cooked through. Serve immediately.

 

 

The Diet and Mexican Baked Tilapia with Grilled Squash

So, I’m on day 4 of a diet. I won’t mention which specific diet it is, because I’m sure there’s something taboo about that, but let’s just say it’s currently a popular diet, and it lasts 17 days. I am pretty well informed about nutrition and am personally familiar with a variety of different weight loss methods. Different methods work for different people depending on their situation and lifestyle. I chose this particular diet because it provides the opportunity for rapid weight loss in the beginning, but by the final phase, you are eating all the foods you regularly do. The challenge for me is that the first phase consists of very simple foods prepared simply. Lean protein (fish, chicken, and turkey) is either grilled or baked and vegetables are eaten either raw or steamed.( I didn’t buy the cookbook which is sold separately from the diet because the last thing I need is another cookbook.) However, the diet allows for 2 TBS. of Olive Oil per day. I use one on my salad at lunch and am now “saving” the second one for prepping dinner. The diet also allows for limited use of certain condiments, including mustard, low sodium soy sauce, and fat free dressings (not going there yet). So, I am committed to trying to tweak things so that I can enjoy dinners that are not simply a bland piece of lean protein with a heap of steamed vegetables. Tonight we were having Tilapia. I decided to bake it, but I wanted it to stay moist, so I seasoned it with some Mexican style spices and put it in a baking dish to which I added Vegetable Stock (much lower sodium than vegetable broth). The fish was very tender, but also had flavor. I decided to grill the zucchini and summer squash and was able to do so using just 2 TBS. of Olive Oil (it was for 3 servings, so less than 1 TBS. per person). I heated up some Pico de Gallo sauce that I had in the fridge (very few calories, and, unlike salsa, no oil) and topped the fish with it. My daughter, who is not on the diet, but is stuck eating what we have for dinner, said it was a fantastic meal. So here’s my first “diet recipe”:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 Tilapia Fillets
  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable Stock (you could substitute broth, but it has a much higher sodium content)
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Adobe Seasoning (available through Penzey Spice) – or substitute Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Oregano – dried (use 2 tsp. if fresh)
  • 3- 4 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – chopped (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Pico de Gallo *

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Season fish with salt, pepper, chili powder, Adobe Seasoning (or cumin) and oregano. Add vegetable broth to an 8″ baking dish and add fish. Stock should come up to the top of the fish, but not cover it (this allows the the seasoning to bake onto the fish). Bake for about 20-25 minutes (depending on thickness of fillets). Heat Pico de Gallo in the microwave until just warm, not hot. Serve fish with warm Pico de Galloand garnish with chopped cilantro.

For the Grilled Squash:

Preheat grill to high. Slice one zucchini and one summer squash into 1/4 inch rounds. Coat with 2-3 TBS. Olive Oil, 1 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs, 1/2 tsp. Salt and 1 tsp. of Seasoned Pepper. Put squash in a grill pan (in a single layer if possible) and set on grill. Grill until browned on one side, then flip and grill the other side until browned.

* I used store bought Pico de Gallo (from Costco) because I had it on hand. However, if you’re watching your calories, carbohydrates (sugar), fat, and sodium, you’ll want to check labels.  Pico de Gallo is very easy to make, but you have to do it in advance to get a really good flavor.

Pico de Gallo:

  • 3 Large Tomatoes – diced
  • 1 Large Onion – diced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro – finely chopped
  • 1 Small Clove Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers (more or less to taste) – finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Lime  Juice
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate after 2 hours.

Filet Oscar

Filet Oscar – pictured with Soy Green Beans and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Scallions

Two of our resident teenagers have birthdays two days apart, so we decided to do one celebration for both. We thought this might present a problem because everyone gets to choose their own birthday dinner and the chances of two teenagers of different genders agreeing on one meal was unlikely, but when Max threw out the idea of Filet Mignon topped with Crabmeat, Lizzie gladly agreed. Even more surprising, however, was the discovery that my teenagers are actually willing to help in the kitchen (and they can follow directions quite well), when they are on a tight schedule because they have plans after dinner. In addition to the Filet Oscar, we had oven roasted potatoes, and buttermilk mashed potatoes with bacon and scallions (there was disagreement about potatoes), soy garlic green beans, and grilled bread. I will post the mashed potatoes separately because they are worthy of their own post. I typically make the Bernaise sauce in the blender, but it needs to be refrigerated to thicken up, so I made it stovetop- I actually had Max whisking it until it thickened. It turned out great, but should have come off the heat a little sooner as it did start to separate a bit. I didn’t have any tarragon vinegar, so I improvised and just heated a clove of smashed garlic and fresh tarragon in 6 TBS.white wine vinegar for about 5 minutes and then strained it and cooled it – it works well in a pinch. Things were hectic in the kitchen, so I didn’t have much opportunity to take photos, and some were taken by the kids. I couldn’t even get a proper picture of the table because the kids were too anxious to eat…or just get on to more important celebrations with their friends.  (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Medium Sized Beef Filets
  • 1.5 Lbs. Snow Crab Legs
  • Bernaise Sauce – see below (you could use Hollandaise sauce if you prefer, but Bernaise is traditional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Remove filets from the refrigerator and set aside. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Drop in crab legs and cook for 6-8 minutes depending on size of crab legs. Drain crab legs, run under cold water and then put in an ice bath until cool enough to work with. Using lobster crackers and kitchen scissors, crack legs and remove all of the crabmeat. Set aside. Heat the broiler or barbeque to high. In the meantime, prepare the Bernaise sauce:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Egg Yolks – beaten
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 TBS. Tarragon Vinegar (see note above for a quick version)
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Tarragon – finely chopped
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Shallot – finely chopped (about 1 TBS)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

In a small saucepan, heat wine, vinegar, shallot and herbs.  Some people recommend straining the mixture, but I just chop my shallots and herbs very finely (I like a little texture). Allow this mixture to cool. In the meantime, find a heatproof bowl (unless you have a double boiler) that will sit comfortably atop a large saucepan or small stockpot. Fill the pot with enough water so that the water is about an inch below the bowl (you do not want the water to touch the bottom of bowl when it is placed on top. Bring water to a low boil. Once the liquid mixture is fully cooled, melt the butter (I do this in the microwave). Add the vinegar mixture to to bowl atop the pot (or the top of a double boiler) and then add alternately the beaten eggs and melted butter, whisking steadily until they are well combined. The sauce should be smooth and glossy. Season with fresh ground pepper. Remove top bowl from heat, but reserve bottom pot of water in case you need to just reheat the sauce a little.

Season filets well with salt and pepper and put on grill or under broiler. Cook to desired temperature (medium rare is recommended). Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Check the temperature of the sauce, if it is not warm enough, return the bowl to the top of the pot for a minute to reheat. Plate the filets, top them equally with the crabmeat and top with Bernaise sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.

 

 

 

 

The Diet – Day 1

Yes, it’s true, Bryan and I started a diet today. It’s rather intuitive that being an adventurous cook with a taste for rich gourmet food and starting a food blog is not a good recipe for one’s waistline. We will be eating a lot of vegetables and lean protein over the next few weeks, but I’m going to try to be as creative as I can, and I still have a few “pre-diet” recipes to post. Tonight we had Grilled Mustard Garlic Chicken Breasts and steamed broccoli. The chicken was a new concoction (I’ve never marinated chicken without Olive Oil), and it was actually really good, so I’ll post that recipe soon. Now, let’s keep in mind, that I have been hungry all day, so maybe the chicken just tasted good because I was hungry.

I don’t want to go on about the details of the diet, but let me just say that Day 1 was rough. I was texting my “don’t go on a diet because then you can’t go out for lunch and cocktails with me friend” while I was walking the dog. I’m sure she won’t mind if I share the dialogue. It kind of encapsulates my hungry state of mind. (I am K, and she is F)

  • K: I’m going to eat a dining room chair.
  • F: That’s troubling to me…
  • K: Because I’m that hungry or because the chairs are nice?
  • F: Cause you’re that hungry. I’m eating pot pie from Mrs. Kravitz.
  • K: Nice, someday I, too, may eat that.
  • F: If you don’t eat your own lips off first.
  • K: Right, dog leash might be tasty.
  • F: I hope I don’t find you grazing in the backyard like a goat.
  • K: I would be enticed if a tin can was involved.
  • F: Preferably with bacon grease inside.
  • K: Now that’s just mean, my mouth is watering.
  • F: Sorry, but bacon is good.
  • K: I know, it could end wars.
  • F: Indeed, I hear the FBI is using it to negotiate hostage situations.
  • K: Humphrey just discovered an abandoned bun on the sidewalk – I almost fought him for it.
  • F: You’d have won.
  • K: No doubt. Gives new meaning to street food.
  • F: Who needs a food truck when you have litter?
  • K: Right, Could be a new Food Network show.
  • K: Remind me never to become so passionate about a cause that I am willing to go on a hunger strike.
  • F: Right, that would just be stupid.
  • K: Just saw a bunny – thinking Hossenfeffer.
  • F: My cousin could whip you up a tasty meal.
  • K: Humphrey would fight me for that one- he’d probably win that one.
  • F: Indeed.
  • K: Did you know that sauerkraut is a probiotic? You can now feel very healthy about eating a Reuben.
  • F: Great. How does the 1000 Island factor in?
  • K: Probably not so good.
  • K: Wish I new more about mushrooms, I just saw a huge one.
  • F: LOL

 

Sauteed Pork Medallions with Red Currant Glaze and Fried Sage Leaves

Sauteed Pork Medallions in Red Currant Sauce

I was at our local farmer’s market not too long ago and I came across a beautiful pint of little red berries – turns out they were currants. I have to say, I’ve never seen fresh currants, but they were beautiful and I had to buy them. I’ve heard of red currant jelly, but not much more than that, so I thought I’d have to try them with either chicken or pork. Since I had just picked up a beautiful pork tenderloin at the market, I decided pork was to be the dish. I marinated the pork tenderloin and decided to slice it into pieces that I could pan cook (saute). I served it with fried sage leaves, a nutty mushroom wild rice and sauteed  red Swiss chard. We enjoyed it as our first dinner in the garden meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin (app. 1 – 1.5 lbs.)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS, Orange Zest (the zest of one large orange)
  • 1 TBS. Herbs de Provance (could substitue Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Pint Fresh Red Currants
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 TBS. Sherry Vinegar (could substitute part Champagne vinegar and part white Balsamic)
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4-6 Fresh Sage Leave
  • Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Marinate (covered with plastic wrap)  pork tenderloin in garlic, olive oil, orange zest, herbs, and wine for 2-6 hours. In the meantime, prepare the glaze. Remove stems and leaves from the currants. Add currants to boiling water and cook until currants start to burst and become tender (similar to making cranberry sauce). Pour currants over a sieve or fine strainer (over a bowl) and smash to release all of the currant juice. Discard currant skins and reserve the juice. In a medium saucepan, heat currant juice, honey,  vinegar, and Dijon mustard until reduced and slightly thickened. Slice the pork tenderloin into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and add to saute pan with marinade. Cook until pork is tender and cooked thoroughly (about 5-7 minutes). In the meantime, heat olive or vegetable oil in a small saute pan and add sage leave, cook until crisp (flipping once to insure both sides are crispy) Serve sauteed pork with red currant sauce and fried sage leaves.

“Loaded” Blueberry Muffins

“Loaded” Blueberry Muffins

I’m lucky to live in a state known for blueberries, and previously, I lived in a state which bordered a blueberry state. I say lucky because I love blueberries and they are well known to be somewhat of a super food because of the amount of antioxidants they contain. Regardless of where you live, fresh blueberries are available nearly year round. My kids love to just snack on blueberries, but they love blueberry muffins even more. I call these muffins loaded for the obvious reason – they are loaded with blueberries. These are super easy to make – I say this with the utmost confidence because I self admit that I am not a baker. This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins; I’ve never tried them in jumbo muffin tins, but I expect they would just have to cook longer.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter – softened
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 – 3 Cups Fresh Blueberries (I always use 3)
  • Extra Sugar (regular or sanding) for sprinkling
  • Paper Cupcake Liners (optional, but makes clean-up easier)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add butter, sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl and cream together. Sift together all of the dry ingredients and add vanilla to milk. Add flour mixture and milk alternately (in about 2- 3 batches) to the creamed butter mixture. Gently fold blueberries into the batter. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tray (or add cupcake liners to muffin tray). Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes clean). Allow muffins to sit for 3-5 minutes before removing from the tray.
Enjoy!!!