Monthly Archives: May 2013

Savory Marinated Pork Loin Roast

Roasted pork tenderloin with green salad

Pork Roast, otherwise known as pork loin or pork tenderloin, is an easy entree for a family gathering or just a weekend dinner. You can use many varieties of marinade (Asian, Italian, Spicy Caribbean etc.). The secret is to let the roast marinate for at least two hours (or as long as overnight). This version is savory – it’s stuffed with fresh garlic and covered with fresh herbs. I had some blood orange olive oil and some cherry balsamic vinegar which I used, but you could certainly substitute regular olive oil and balsamic and even add some orange juice (the sweetness balances with the garlic and herbs and the acidity will help to tenderize the pork). You can also substitute dried herbs, but I really like the fresh herbs. The pork roast is great with any potato side dish (twice baked potatoes)or a good rice or risotto side dish. We were dieting when I prepared the roast (it’s a good lean meat), so I just paired it with a simple salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Large Pork Loin or 2 Pork Tenderloins
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic (each cut into 4-6 slivers)
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil (orange or lemon flavored if available)
  • 4 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar (cherry, pomegranate or other flavor if available)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice (optional)
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Oregano- chopped*
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Parsley- chopped*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Rosemary – chopped*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Thyme – chopped*
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

* Substitute 1/2 amount of dried.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Season pork loin generously with salt and pepper and set in a roasting pan or glass baking dish. Make several slits in the pork and stuff with garlic.Stuff with garlic

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine and/or juice (if using) and pour over pork loin. Spread chopped herbs evenly over pork. Cover with herbsCover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator – allow to marinate for at least 2 hours (as long as overnight). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pork roast (uncovered) for 25-40 minutes (tenderloins will only take about 25 minutes depending on the size, while a loin roast may take up to 40 minutes) until internal temperature registers 145 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Linguine with fresh tomato and basilIt’s lacrosse season here in Michigan, so that means that most of my evenings are spent at games (both my son and daughter play). This means that the blog suffers and we eat out a lot. There are some nights that I’m able to cook dinner, but I try to keep it really simple – usually grilled chicken, fish or meat, and a simple side dish. I have a plethera of pasta combinations, but this is a favorite of ours. I almost always have cherry or grape tomatoes in the refrigerator, and I always try to keep fresh basil on hand; in a week or so I will have it fresh in the garden. This pasta side dish (or can be served as a vegetarian entree) comes together in no time – it really only takes a few minutes more than whatever the cooking time is for your pasta. This is a classic – simple and good. (Serves 4-6).

INGREDIENTS:Ingredients (2)

  • 1 Lb. of Linguine (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (cut into halves or quarters)
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic- finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil – rough chopped
  • 3-4 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large, deep saute pan. Add the garlic and saute until tender. Add the tomatoes and saute until softened. When cooked to desired tenderness, drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of cooking water. Add basil to saute pan, Add tomato and basil to pan to warmstir and then add pasta directly to the pan; add the parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta to combine and add pasta water if necessary. Add cooked pasta and tossSeason well with salt and pepper. Serve with additional grated parmesan cheese.

 

Mother’s Day Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

I can only take credit for the hollandaise sauce and cooking the lobster for this dish. This was my Mother’s Day breakfast in bed last year- it makes motherhood seem particularly decadent! This is a really easy dish to prepare, and you can, as I did, do a good portion of the prep the night before. I made my go-to “blender hollandaise” and substituted toasted Ciabatta bread for the standard English muffin. You can certainly add some greenery – I have made this with some wilted spinach, fresh arugula, or you could add a nice slice of oven roasted tomato. I didn’t want to get too bossy or complicate things since I was not actually preparing the final dish. I had two slices of bacon served with my benedict – they could also be put right on the toast. This is a great special occasion brunch item that is sure to please whomever you deem deserving.  (Serves 2).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 Lb. Cooked Lobster Meat – chopped (at room temperature)
  • 4 Slice Ciabatta (or your favorite bread or muffin) – toasted
  • 1/4- 1/3 Cup Hollandaise Sauce (see below)
  • Optional Additions: Wilted Spinach, Fresh Arugula, Roasted or Fresh Tomato, Cooked Bacon

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)

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.

To Assemble the Benedict:

Toast the bread or muffins and set aside. Poach the eggs (I use an egg poacher, but that’s not necessary). Place the toasted bread on serving plates and top with greens or any other optional toppings. Add eggs. Top eggs with chopped lobster and pour hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.Lobster Benedict Close-up

Roasted Crab Legs

Roasted Crab Legs RusticI love to serve a rustic boiled seafood dinner. My former almost sister-in-law gave me the inspiration… just cover the table with craft paper (I found some cute table paper that has a fancy silverware pattern) and put out a huge bowl of seafood – everyone just stands around, eats, and leaves a mess that gets rolled up and tossed in the trash. Crab legs are often requested for birthday dinners in our house, but I like to buy them when they’re on special because it’s just hard to pass them up. Recently, I decided to try to mimic the spicy crab that I had when visiting Singapore. In looking for recipes on-line, I was distracted (shocking, I know) by a couple of posts about roasted crab legs. Essentially, all of the crab legs that you can buy are pre-cooked, steaming or boiling them is simply a method for heating them. In this preparation, you heat them in the oven, but most importantly, you first smother them in butter and seasoning. Butter and crab legs are almost inseparable. I used Old Bay seasoning, minced garlic (fresh), and a fancy salt mix that I had. You can really use any combination of seasonings that you enjoy. This is a great method if you’re not making a huge batch of crab because an oven preheats much faster than a huge pot of water. This crab feast was only for three of us, so it doesn’t look so impressive, but it sure was tasty! Also, the snow crab legs were on sale (as opposed to the Alaskan King Crab Legs), so they are the ones I featured – they are very sweet, tender, and delicious. (Serves 2-3).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Lbs. Crab Legs (Snow, King, or Dungeness)- cooked (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 TBS. Old Bay Seasoning (or other seafood seasoning)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Medium to Large Shallot – finely chopped
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Parsley – chopped
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 TBS. Red Pepper Chili Flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic, shallot, and herbs; saute for 2-3 minutes until garlic and shallot are softened and fragrant. Add Old Bay, red pepper flakes (if using) and lemon juice. Simmer over medium heat until lemon juice is reduced by 1/2. Place crab legs in an oven proof roasting dish – pour sauce over crab and toss until crab is well coated. Crab legs in roasting panPlate in oven and roast until heated through (10-15 minutes depending on size of crablegs). Serve immediately. Hint: make extra butter sauce to reserve for dipping if you are feeling particularly indulgent.

 

Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Honey Ice Cream 1

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

What I love most about homemade ice cream is that you experiment with all sorts of ingredients, and you can control the sweetness. This ice cream is the perfect example of just both. I had some lavender syrup and wanted to make an ice cream that was  fitting for spring. I did cheat a little bit and added some blue food coloring to give the ice cream it’s beautiful lavender color, but sometimes you have to abandon being a purist for the sake of beauty. This is, by far, one of the best flavors of ice cream I’ve ever made, and it’s just fun and unique. You can find lavender  syrup at specialty spice stores or on-line. There are some recipes on-line for homemade lavender syrup, but I haven’t experimented with that yet. To impress guests, I recommend garnishing this with dried lavender – I didn’t have any on hand, so I wasn’t able to. I did use an ice cream maker to prepare this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 3 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Lavender Syrup*
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 tsp. Honey (plus extra for garnish if desired)
  • Blue Food Coloring (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

IngredientsWhisk together all ingredients. Add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached – this step is optional. Pour into ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturers directions (mine churned for about 20 minutes). Ready for Ice Cream makerTransfer ice cream to storage containers and freeze for at least a couple of hours. Garnish ice cream with dried lavender and drizzle with additional honey if desired.Lavender Honey Ice Cream

 

Pasta with Sausage and Kale, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Oh how we do love pasta in my family! This recipe is another positive result of throwing together ingredients that I had available. I always keep sausage in my freezer (I buy the most delightful sausages at the local farmer’s market) and I certainly always have pasta around. The kale was the wildcard- I had made a chopped kale salad (yum!) and had leftover kale. I also had mushrooms that needed to be used, and they were a nice addition, as were the chick peas (my daughter and I both love them). I made this with regular sweet Italian sausage, but you could certainly use hot Italian sausage (or a combination of both would be great), or you could use turkey or chicken sausage. There are also such a great variety of sausage flavors available, that you could really get creative. This is a super easy fast dish to put together, great for a weeknight dinner; plus the leftovers are great for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb. Sausage – casing removed
  • 4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4 Cups Kale (or other dark green leafy vegetable) – thick stems removed
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine (optional – if omitting, add extra chicken stock)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup chicken Stock (or broth)
  • 3 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 Cup Chick Peas
  • 3/4 -1 Lb. Pasta (Penne, Rigatoni, or a hearty noodle of your choice)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat (breaking up sausage into bite size chunks); transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Cook garlic in pan with remaining sausage drippings until softened and fragrant but not browned. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms just begin to become tender. Add kale, stock and wine. Add mushroomsCover and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions – when cooked to al dente, drain and set aside. After kale and other ingredients have simmered for about 10 minutes, add tomatoes, chick peas, and cooked sausage to pan. Add chopped tomtoesAdd sausage and chick peasSimmer for another 2-3 minutes just until tomatoes start to become tender. Add pasta to pan, toss until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add pasta to panCombineServe immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale 2