Flashback Friday – Fast Food @ Home

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 11/5/08 at Exit 51

Fast Food @ Home

This week has not been my best in the kitchen.  All the hubbub and activity of late has me off my game.  My pantry and fridge are not adequately stocked for the meals I had planned.  Somehow I overlooked a fundamental part of meal planning – making sure I have the ingredients for what I intend to make.  I don’t mean things that I can fudge like an onion or spices.  That would be too easy.  I mean that if I figure on making hamburgers, it would be helpful to actually have ground beef. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Fast Food @ Home”

Flashback Friday – One Pot Wonderful

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 10/6/08 at Exit 51.

One Pot Wonderful

That’s what I said after I tried the Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Mushroom Marsala recipe from the Washington Post.  This recipe had everything going against it…my lack of skill in preparing pork in general and not really wanting to be cooking that evening…and it still came out a winner. The pork was tender and juicy and the mushroom marsala sauce was silky and rich.  Best of all, there was only one pot to clean up.

My only gripe is that the pork took longer than 20 minutes to reach 160 degrees.  I really don’t understand what it is about my oven that I can’t replicate these cooking times.  Since the cooking time almost doubled, I didn’t have much liquid left in the pot once it came out of the oven.  So I was able to skip the step of reducing the pan juices before adding the chicken broth and marsala.

I can definitely see this becoming a weeknight favorite, especially if I can find a way to turn it into a 30 minute meal.  But even if I can’t, it’s worth the extra oven time.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Mushroom Marsala

From The Washington Post

WaPo Notes: This one-pot dish has the flavor profile of classic veal Marsala but requires less prep work. It can be made with any type of mushrooms: oyster, portobello and tree ear varieties are particularly good here. Serve with steamed asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts or sauteed summer squash and rice.

Using a large shallow nonstick braiser works best here, but a roasting pan or a deep saucepan that’s ovenproof also can be used.

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork tenderloins, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, stemmed and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala (Sicilian dessert wine)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat in a large braiser, deep saucepan or heavy roasting pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.

Season the trimmed tenderloins all over with salt and pepper, then add to the pan. (If the tenderloins are a little long for the pan, cut them in half crosswise.) Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turning the tenderloins halfway through, so that they are browned on the bottom and top. Use tongs to transfer them to a large plate. They will not be cooked through.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the onion. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the onions start to soften around the edges. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Return the pork tenderloins to the pan, which will be a little crowded, then place the pan in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the tenderloins registers 160 degrees.

Use tongs to transfer the tenderloins to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Return the pan with the mushrooms and onions to the stove over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pan juices have almost evaporated. Add the Marsala and broth; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into several small pieces and add to the pan in several additions, stirring as the butter melts. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat.

Cut the tenderloins crosswise into thin slices and divide among individual plates. Top with a portion of the mushroom sauce and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve immediately.

Flashback Friday – Oven Hot

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 9/24/08 at Exit 51.

Oven Hot

This recipe is coming to you courtesy of last week’s Food Chat over at the Washington Post. The timing was perfect since I’m trying to find new and interesting ways to work those SB Friendly veggies into our meals. SFC has already established that he’s a fan of the sweet potato. But I didn’t know how he’d feel about squash.

Hitting the Oven

He came in the kitchen as I was cutting and chopping and asked, “Is that squash?”  The tone of his question didn’t tell me whether he was excited or not.  He went off to the basement, to do whatever it is he does down there, and I went back to getting the squash, shallots, and rosemary ready for their coating of salt, sugar, and olive oil.

About thirty minutes later, after the vegetables had come out of the oven and the pork chops went in for a quick roast, he came upstairs.  Making his way over to the cooling veg, he said, “Something smells good.”  Before I could say a word, he started stealing bites off the sheet pan.  Guess that means that he won’t mind if I make this again.  I hope not, because I picked up another squash at the store this weekend.

My only gripe with this is that there’s no reference to oven temperature.  I started out with my oven around 400 degrees.  After the first 20 minutes of roasting, I cranked it up to around 450.  I think the squash was a little too crowded on the sheet pan.  I had more of a steamed veg than a roasted one.  No matter though.  We ate it all.

Butternut Squash Roasted with Rosemary and Shallot

From The Washington Post, who credits it as being adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.

This side dish achieves long-roasted flavor and caramelization in a half-hour’s time. To double the recipe, use 2 baking sheets; if roasting both sheets simultaneously, increase the final roasting time to 20 to 25 minutes.  This can be made several hours ahead and reheated just before serving.

4 servings

  • 3 cups 3/4-inch diced butternut squash (from a 2-pound squash)
  • 4 medium shallots, cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Distribute the diced squash and quartered shallots in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over them and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the rosemary, salt, sugar and pepper over the vegetables and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve hot.

UnTurkey Recipes

On this day before Thanksgiving the Internets are sure to be chock full of swoon worthy recipes perfect for your Turkey Day table.  For those of us who choose to give thanks with something other than Meleagris gallopavo, here are a few UnTurkey ideas.

Is pork more your flavor?  Then perhaps you should invite David Lebovitz’s Carnitas to dinner.

Looking for a vegetarian option?  How about a nice big bowl of Lentil Soup with Vegetables from Delicieux?  Metric conversions aside, this is a quick and easy soup you will be thankful for.

And if you want to jazz up some sweet potatoes, how about a Warm Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from The Washington Post?

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.  May your table, and your day, be full.

Flashback Friday – Would You Believe?

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/16/08 at Exit 51

Would You Believe?

Rose Levy Beranbaum talked to me?   Well she did. And I can prove it.

Ok, so it’s not like we had a leisurely chat over coffee or anything. She was on today’s Free Range on Food chat hosted by the Washington Post. Seeing as how I had drooled all over myself reading her pie recipes, this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up to ask a few questions.

So I did.  And she answered ‘em.  Check it out: Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Would You Believe?”

Flashback Friday – Did Someone Say Pie?

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/16/08 at Exit 51

Did Someone Say Pie?

It’s almost lunch time and I foolishly checked out the Washington Post Food Section.  Give me a moment while I clean up the slobber that is smeared all over my monitor.

Now, I can’t vouch for these recipes but when you’ve got Rose Levy Beranbaum and the Washington Post involved, I’m thinking the recipe is going to be pretty good.

Yes, this does mean that I will be taking home recipes for flaky cream cheese pie crust, cherry lattice pie, and perfect peach pie. Lord have mercy on me.

Flashback Friday – Today’s Count

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/2/08 at Exit 51

Today’s Count

If you read my July 1st post, you are already aware of my problem when it comes to collecting recipes.  Just to illustrate how in need I am of an intervention, I thought I’d share with you the recipes I found today. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Today’s Count”

Simplicity

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/6/09 at Exit 51.

Simplicity

My friend Merriam-Webster defines simplicity as:

  • the state of being simple, uncomplicated or uncompounded
  • lack of subtlety or penetration
  • freedom from pretense or guile
  • directness of expression
  • restraint in ornamentation

In most things, I would never be associated with any of those definitions.  On my best days, I am anything but simple or uncomplicated.  But when it comes to cooking, I am consistently drawn to recipes that are simple, direct, and even restrained.  Maybe it’s an attempt to bring a small bit of balance into my life.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t buy into the notion that all good things come at a high price whether that be monetary or otherwise. Continue reading “Simplicity”

Don’t Judge a Book By the Cover

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/20/09 at Exit 51.

Don’t Judge A Book By The Cover

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Not only is that some commercial tag line, it’s also the God’s honest truth.  Sometimes, bad first impressions can’t be overcome.  Other times, if you look past them, you find that you were totally wrong.  Like that time in middle school when both Kristen Heher and I thought each other was trouble, with a capital T.  Maybe we were, but after we got to know each other, we were best friends for two years.  As hard as it is for me to admit when I am wrong, it’s even harder not to share with you something so ugly it’s good. Continue reading “Don’t Judge a Book By the Cover”

GOOPy

image from http://www.istockphoto.com

While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/27/09 at Exit 51.

GOOPy

Dear Gwenny,

You really do make it too easy to pick on you.  You can’t help the fact that you are genetically blessed, so I won’t hate you because you’re beautiful.  I also won’t hate on you for your career success (truth be told, I really enjoyed you in  View From The Top and I was sorry to see you lose your head in Seven) or for landing a rock star husband.  Some people are just lucky. Continue reading “GOOPy”