Monthly Archives: September 2012

Simple Savory Roast Pork Tenderloin

Savory Roasted Pork Tenderloin

The picture doesn’t do this pork justice (one of the serious downsides of trying to photograph food quickly so you can eat it). Even the kids, who always say they don’t really like pork, loved this. The pork is really tender and the flavor is great. I love garlic, so I left the garlic pieces in the sliced pork, but I would take them out if serving to guests. This is great served with a balsamic mustard sauce – recipe follows, but I didn’t make the sauce this time, so it’s not pictured.      Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium sized Pork Tenderloin (usually there are two loins per package – totalling  2-3 lbs.)
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil (I used 1/2 Blood Orange flavored Olive Oil)
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Orange Zest
  • 2 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar (if you can find cherry or pomegranite flavored – even better)
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Oregano – chopped
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Thyme
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Rosemary
  • 2-3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Peel the garlic cloves and cut each lengthwise into 3-4 slices. Make small slits in the pork loin and stuff with garlic. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, wine and orange zest in a non-reactive bowl or baking dish and add pork (you can also use a ziplock bag). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2-6 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Remove pork from marinade, season with salt and pepper and cover with herbs. Cook pork for about 30-40 minutes (depending on size of your pok tenderloins) – the internal temperature should be  145 degrees. Allow meat to rest for a few minutes tent with foil) and then slice and serve.

Balsamic Mustard Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
  •    1 TBS. Butter

In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar until it is reduced and becomes syruppy. Add Dijon mustard and butter and combine until well mixed. Serve warm over pork, beef, or poultry.

Miso Glazed Lobster Skewers

Miso glazed grilled lobster with miso brown rice and confetti corn

This dinner was a result of many things – the “diet,” lobster tails on sale at the grocery store, and a desire to enjoy fresh corn for just a little bit longer. Miso contains probiotics, which I have to have two servings of per day, but more importantly, I love the flavor; it’s nutty and mild and pungent all at the same time. I decided to try a miso glaze on grilled lobster. I didn’t really marinate the lobster, because I thought the miso might be overpowering; I just dunked the lobster pieces into the miso, threaded them on a screwer and grilled (or, rather, Bryan grilled) them. Brown rice is allowed on my diet, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and have it compliment the lobster, so I simply added 2-3 TBS. of the miso glaze to the boiling rice water before I added the rice. (This is really the same method I use for making my Spanish rice – but I use salsa – and it works with almost any flavoring you want to incorporate into your rice).  For the confetti corn, I used grilled corn and added it to a saute of red peppers and shallots. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 Lobster Tails (uncooked)
  • 1/2 Cup Light Miso
  • 1/4 Cup Light Soy Sauce
  • 14 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Mirin (or white wine)
  • 2 tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp. Chopped Garlic
  • 4 Ears of Fresh Sweetcorn
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper- seeded and chopped
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice


so,

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine the  miso , soy sauce, mirin (or wine) , brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic to make the miso glaze.To prepare the rice: follow the instructions on the package but skimp a bit on the water and substitute 1- 2 TBS. of the miso glaze. Preheat a grill to medium. Place corn (unshucked) on the grill and cover. Meanwhile, remove meat from lobster tails and remove the “vein” that runs just under the red “skin.” (Yes, that vein is just like the one you remove in shrimp – gross). Cut the lobster meat into large bitesize chunks (I say large because the meat will shrink a bit during grilling, and you need to have large enough pieces to skewer).  After about ten minutes, take the corn off the grill and remove the husks and silk. Brush corn generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the lobster meat to the remaining miso glaze and coat generously. Skewer the lobster meat on two barbeque skewers (don’t pack on too tightly). (If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water before using – this will prevent them from catching fire). Grease the area of the grill which will hold the lobster (I just use spray Pam). Place skewered lobster and the shucked corn on the grill – turn the corn as is browns. Turn the lobster skewers as they brown and start to become opaque. In the meantime, heat 1 TBS. Olive oil in a medium saute pan, add shallot and red pepper and saute until tender. (Bryan typically tends the grill while I continue in the kitchen – this is a meal where it’s nice to have a designated grill master). Check the rice and give a stir to fluff it. When the corn is cooked, cut it off the cob, combine with the sauteed red pepper and shallots and season with salt and pepper. When the lobster is nicely grilled and cooked through (I think the best method for testing doneness is to try a piece) remove from grill and serve immediately (you can serve on individual skewers if you like, but I just served it loose).

Enjoy!

Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties with Grilled Onions and Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce

I had never had salmon patties until I went on the “diet.” Bryan grew up eating them, and my neighbor makes them all the time, and now I see why… yum! The first time I made them I used canned pink salmon, and they were great. But the second time I made them, I used leftover teriyaki glazed salmon, and they were amazing! It’s not often that one would have leftover salmon, so don’t wait for that occasion – try these with canned salmon. The measurements for the canned salmon are exact, but if you’re using leftover cooked salmon, you’ll have to approximate based on how moist the salmon is and how flavored it is. I also added about 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs to the teriyaki salmon version because the patties were a little too loose.  I served these with leftover Wasabi Hollandaise sauce, but you could substitute Wasabi Mayonnaise (just add a little wasabi powder to prepared mayonnaise). Also, if it weren’t for the “diet,” I would have put these on an awesome toasted bun. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 14 Oz. cans of Pink Salmon (Wild Caught – if available)
  • 2-3 Scallions (Green Onions) – chopped, green and white parts
  • 1 1/2 TBS. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Ground Mustard
  • 2 Egg Whites (or you can use 1 whole egg)
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a non-reactive bowl.

Leftover teriyaki salmon

Canned Pink Salmon

 

Form mixture into four patties.Add olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium. Add patties to skillet and cook until browned on one side; flip and cook until browned on the other side. Serve immediately or place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Canned Salmon Patty

 

 

Italian Style Frittata

Italian Style Frittata

Let me begin by apologizing for the “busy” plate. I made this while on vacation, and the rental house didn’t have any plain plates. I love frittatas because they always come out looking great, unlike omelettes, and you can make them to feed 1-2 people or 6 people. Like omelettes, you can also use just about any combination of ingredients. I typically base mine on what I have available, but every once in a while I’ll get creative. I call this one Italian because the ingredients are Italian – fresh tomatoes, basil, and plenty of mozzerella cheese (you can use less cheese if you want). Frittatas are great not just for breakfast, but for lunch or dinner – they’re like a crustless, creamless quiche – so they’re delicious served with a simple side salad and some good artisan bread. This recipe serves 4-6.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes – diced
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup of Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup Mozzerella Cheese – shredded
  • 1 TBS. Butter (can substitute Olive Oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your broiler (you can preheat to high and keep the oven rack in the center, or preheat to medium or low and move the the rack so it is just under the broiler). In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and season with salt and pepper, add chopped tomatoes and basil and give a stir. Heat butter or oil in an ovenproof saute pan (12 inch if your making the full recipe, smaller if you’re reducing) over medium heat. Add eggs, tomatoes, and basil to the pan and mix around as you would for scrambled eggs. As the eggs begin to set, spread them evenly around so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered, and stop mixing. Add the cheese in an even layer over the egg mixture and allow to cook until the eggs are well set on the bottom and starting to set on the top. Remove pan from the stove and place under the broiler. Cook under broiler for another 3-4 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the eggs are fully set (cooked). If the top is browning too quickly and the eggs are not yet fully cooked, place pan on a lower rack. REMINDER: The handle of the pan will be HOT, use an oven mit to remove pan from the oven – it sounds stupid, but plenty of us have made this mistake. Serve immediately.

 

 

Quail Eggs Benedict Japanese Style

Quail Eggs Benedict Japanese Style

This Eggs Benedict recipe was inspired by my long time unfulfilled fascination with quail eggs. They are so little and beautiful; I’ve passed them by in the Asian grocery store so many times and thought about how I could use them. As it turns out, they taste just like regular chicken eggs; they are just small and beautiful. The outsides look like they have been splattered with ink. The insides are colored a robin’s egg blue. The egg is predominantly yolk, and it is delicious. Because of their small size, I used four eggs per serving. I found a recipe for quail eggs over yaki-onigiri which is a pan seared rice ball http://www.lafujimama.com/2010/04/quail-eggs-benedict-pagodas/ ; I immediately fell in love, particularly because she embraced blender hollandaise sauce, but I thought I could add a few little extra touches. As I mentioned, I used two eggs per yaki-onigiri, I added salmon, and made a wasabi hollandaise sauce. I also sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top of the finished dish. I served it with Japanese style cucumbers (my mom used to make them, and they were a childhood favorite). Bryan has now become an even greater fan of the Japanese style cucumbers. The cucumbers are worthy of their own post (soon to follow). The finished product, quail benedict with a side of cucumber salad was fantastic, but I’m not sure it’s something I would want to eat first thing in the morning (coming from someone who eats miso soup for breakfast) – it’s more of a late brunch type of meal. I loved the combination of rice, quail eggs, and salmon. I used smoked salmon (lox), but I think it might be even better with sushi grade salmon. Bryan said he liked it with the smoked salmon. The quail eggs can be challenging to break open. I searched the internet for advice and learned that, because of the tough membrane inside the shell, it is best to use a knife to cut the top off of the egg (similar to how you would cut open a soft boiled egg) and then pour out the egg into a ramekin. There are a few internet posts that describe the process, but I didn’t find any of them particularly helpful – I just bought extra eggs to experiment, but found that it wasn’t actually that difficult. I do recommend breaking the egg into a ramekin in case you do get some bits of shell – you can always pick them out by using the discarded shell. A note about the wasabi hollandaise – Bryan would have preferred more wasabi flavor, but he’s crazy like that, add more or less wasabi powder depending on your palette. This recipe serves 2, but there is enough hollandaise to serve 4 – just increase the amount of rice, salmon, and quail eggs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Quail Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Prepared Sushi Rice (follow instructions for sushi rice, but typically, 1 1/4 Cups of water to 1 Cup of rice – using stovetop method)
  • 4 Slices of Smoked Salmon or Sushi Grade Salmon – thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS. Sesame Seeds – toasted in a dry pan
  • 1 tsp. chopped Chives
  • 4 Shitake Mushrooms – thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS. Sesame Oil
  • 2 TBS. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce * See below

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare the sushi rice according to the package and allow to cool to room temperature. Make the hollandaise sauce and stir in wasabi powder to taste. Line a 1/2 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap – add water and drain off the water so that the plastic wrap is just coated with water. Sprinkle with salt. Add rice to measuring cup and remove the rice in plastic wrap. Firmly press rice together and mold so that it is a flattened ball shape. Remove rice ball from plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat until you have 4 rice balls. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 1/2 TBS. of Sesame Oil over high heat. Add rice balls to pan and brown; flip and brown on the other side. As the rice heats through, it will start to fall apart, so be careful not to cook for too long. Set grilled rice balls (yaki-onigiri) aside. Add remaining sesame oil to pan and stir fry shitake mushrooms until tender; set aside.Fill a medium sized saucepan about 1/2 way full with water and add rice wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, crack quail eggs into individual ramekins. When water begins to boil, stir quickly in clockwise motion to create a “vortex”. Add quail egg to the center of the vortex and cook for about 2 minutes (until yolk reaches desired doneness). Repeat with remaining eggs. (You can cook more than one egg at a time, but they don’t turn out as well). Plate the rice balls, top with sauteed shitake mushrooms, add two poached quail eggs, drizzle with wasabi hollandaise sauce, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives.

Close-up of the assembled Quail Eggs Benedict

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp. Wasabi Powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce. After hollandaise sauce is blended, add desired amount of wasabi powder and blend again. Taste and add more wasabi powder if desired.

* You may find that the blending sauce splatter; I recommend placing your blender in an area of the kitchen that is easy to clean.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Grilled Tomato and Onion

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Grilled Tomato and Onion.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Grilled Tomato and Onion

Grilled Turkey Burger with Grilled Tomato and Onion

In an effort to recover from my hedonistic camping trip, I’ve been cooking light again this week. I’ve always loved turkey burgers, not because they’re healthier than hamburgers, but because I just like the flavor. However, I don’t typically buy the all white meat ground turkey; I usually buy the mixed. The all white meat is fantastic if you are on a lean protein diet, but the meat, when cooked, can become somewhat dry and tasteless. Adding to the difficulty, I wanted to skip the bun and the ketchup. So, I made sure I seasoned the ground turkey really well, and decided to grill my normal burger accoutrements, tomato and onion to add a little more flavor and cut down on the dryness. The seasoned grilled tomato and onion were the perfect trick – I put the burger on top of a crisp piece of red leaf lettuce, topped it with the burger and tomato and onion and I never missed the bun or the ketchup. I did have mustard on the side, but I didn’t end up using much of it. Certainly, you could make these burgers with the mixed turkey meat, and you could always have a bun (and even ketchup), but I wouldn’t forgo the grilled toppings. This is a great weeknight dinner which is very figure friendly!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb. of Ground Turkey Breast
  • 1 Lg. Tomato (Heirloom if available)
  • 1 Lg. Sweet, Spanish, or Red Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS. Seasoned Salt
  • 1 TBS.  Worcesteshire Pepper (or any seasoned pepper)
  • 1 TBS. Granulated Garlic (garlic  powder)
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or any combination of herbs you like)
  • Non-stick spray (or a little vegetable oil)
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your grill to medium heat. In the meantime, season the ground turkey with Salt, Pepper, Garlic, and Herbs and mix thoroughly. Form into 3 large patties or 4 smaller patties (because the turkey is lean, it will not shrink up as much on the grill, so I flatten out the patties quite a bit to allow for even cooking). Slice the tomato and onion about 1/3 of an inch thick (too thin and they will become mushy). Brush top sides of tomato and onion lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Flip tomato and onion over and repeat with oil and seasoning. When ready to cook the burgers, spray the grill surface lightly with non-stick spray or coat lightly with vegetable oil (you only need to spray the area where the burgers will be). Place burgers on the grill. When the burgers have nice grill marks, flip and to cook on other side. Put the vegetables on the grill and grill until they begin to softened and nice grill marks are achieved. Flip and repeat. It is important to cook the turkey burgers through entirely, so you can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – center of turkey burger should be 165 degrees. If I’m not so worried about how the burgers look, I will sometimes just cut into them to make sure that there is no sign of pinkness.
Serve the turkey burger atop fresh lettuce and top with grilled tomato and onion.

Campfire Cooking and Fishing the Au Sable

Canoe Camping Trip

Bryan and I went on our annual (well, almost annual) canoe camping trip this past weekend. We went out on the Au Sable river – a blue ribbon fly fishing river in Michigan. I had never camped before I met Bryan; quite frankly, I couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping on the hard ground. I agreed to the trip if we could find a reasonable sleeping arrangement – air mattresses. So, we purchased good quality, small and lightweight self-inflating air mattresses from R.E.I. and I was, literally, a happy camper.

Comfortable beds

You can bet that I wasn’t going to be eating a withered hot dog and potato chips, so between the two of us, we managed to provision for and prepare gourmet meals. The first year I did have a back-up plan for rain which involved cold cuts for sandwiches and yogurt and fruit for breakfast; but after three years, and quite a bit of rain, I have realized that Bryan can make a fire no matter what. (OK we did start cheating by stopping at a local farmstand and buying a couple bags of campfire wood – for a buck a bag – after our first year when there was rain in the forecast and we knew we wouldn’t be arriving to our first campsite until dark).

I love food cooked over the campfire; in fact, we joke about opening a campfire restaurant, but we both have real jobs. I first heard about campfire breakfast when Bryan took my son Jake on his first canoe camping trip. Jake couldn’t stop talking about how great the bacon, eggs, and hash browns were when cooked over the campfire. I couldn’t agree more, but add in another element…campfire coffee – it is like nothing you have ever tasted!

Campfire coffee to start the day

The key to gourmet camping is preparation. Since we have to pack everything into a canoe, we have to be prepared, but not overpacked. I pre-chop and, if necessary, marinate, all of our vegetables and meat. I only pack as many buns as we’ll need, and portion out all of the other ingredients. Granted, I use a ton of small ziploc bags and tupperware containers, but it makes a huge difference. Bryan has invested in great camping gear, so our eggs stay protected in a plastic egg crate, we have camping knives, cutting boards, camping cutlery, cooking grates, cast iron skillets, 5- 7 day coolers, and the most magnificent percolating camping coffee pot.

Our well provisioned canoe ready to launch on Day 2

The view from Day 1 Campsite

This year’s menus (not too different from previous years) included:

  •  Grilled Italian Chicken Sausages (the diet, though modified, continues) with grilled onions, peppers, garlic and crimini mushrooms, and spicy horseradish mustard on Sesame seed Hogie Rolls
  • Caprese Salad (fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden)
  • Fresh grilled Corn on the Cob

(Severe rain made photographing the first night’s dinner impossible)

Hashbrowns, bacon and coffee cooking over the hot coals

Eggs get cooked in the iron skillet which has a nice bacon flavor already- Yum!

  • Homemade Maple Cured Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Hashbrowns (frozen Oreida)
  • Campfire Coffee (great percolator coffee pot and Dunkin Donuts coffee)

    Bryan prepares the breakfast food (background) – I prepare breakfast cocktails (foreground)

  • Grilled thick-cut New York Sirloin steak
  • Baked (campfire cooked) potatoes with Yogurt sauce (chives, garlic, Seasoned salt and Pepper)
  • Fresh grilled Corn on the Cob

    The potatoes get drizzled with olive oil, pierced and well covered with foil. They cook directly amongst the hot coals.

Day 2 Dinner

We don’t eat breakfast until late morning, so we skip lunch, but if you want to pack cold cuts and bread (in case you don’t have a Bryan who can make a fire regardless of conditions), sandwiches would be a great mid-day river treat.

We’ve learned to pack paper plates, and burn all leftovers in the firepit at the end of the meal. At night, we tie up our garbage in a tree and hope that the critters don’t come too close to our tent. We love to fish, but don’t count on catching our meals (especially because I am always a catch and release fisherman). You can reduce your garbage by packing only what you need – most campsites do not have garbage facilities, so we have to “carry out” our garbage.

Bryan has iron skillets (the best) and he packs his own cooking grates (don’t count on finding a cooking grate, even if your campsite has an established iron fire ring). The skillets are well seasoned and the perfect campfire cooking ware.  And, as mentioned, the coffee pot is key.

We love to fish and canoe leisurely; this year the weather got to us, but it paid to be prepared. We still ended up with two beautiful days, we just had two dinners in the rain, which, were, nonetheless, delicious!

Coming off the river

Campsite Day 2

Fishing

Trying to dry out after the rain

Transportation stored for the night

Another view from camp