Monday, April 30, 2007

The Other White Meat

Tonight was another adventure into The Irish Spirit. And it was all white. White!

But tasty...

Pork Tenderloin w/Apple Cider Sauce
serves 4

2 pork tenderloins, 12 oz each
Salt & ground pepper
4 TB Irish butter (Kerrygold, baby! Maybe only 2 TB total)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 TB minced shallot
1/2 tsp crumbled dried sage
1/2 cup Irish cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar (too much)
1 cup chicken stock/broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 TB minced flat leaf parsley

Mashed potatoes for serving.

Cut the pork into 1 inch-thick slives. Place the slices between sheets of wax paper and, with a mallet or rolling pin, pound or roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 TB of butter. Add the pork slices and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Transfer to a warmed platter.

*I think this first step could use less butter, which might help put more color on the pork. I only used 1 tenderloin for the two of us. Good amount.

In the same skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 TB of butter. Add the apples and saute for 2 to 3 miutes, or until the apples are lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the platter with the pork.

*Ditto this step, less butter.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the sage, cider and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until reduced by half. Stir in the cream, pork and juices from the platter. Cook, turning the pork once or twice, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

*Shallots smell so good when they start cooking. I would double the amount of shallots next time.

*Perhaps only 1/2 a cup of stock next time. And only 1 TB of cider vinegar.

*Adjust the cream to only 1/2 cup, max. Look at all that butter floating on the top of the sauce.

To serve, divide the pork among your plates, spoon sauce over the meat and arrange the apple slices around , and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes, if desired.

*Told you. It's the whitest meal I've ever made Too white! The parsley just didn't cut the white. It was tasty, and the pork super tender. The book recommended that you serve this with mashed potatoes...TOO MUCH WHITE! And that would probably be too rich.


Capital Hill Landmark...

Eastern Market destroyed by Fire!!!!

This is tragic event for the families that work there and the neighborhood, but knowing those folks it will be has to be!

Image source.

UPDATE: News Channel 7 is saying 1/2 the building is damaged and the whole building is unusable.
UPDATE: "Not a total loss." WTOP.
UPDATE: "What we've lost."
UDPATE: $20-40 million in damages, Mayor vows to rebuild, plans to close 7th street to allow vendors to operate on Saturday. WTOP. Next step, is the building safe for cleaning/repair crews?
UPDATE: "For it's neighbors, a stock of wares money can't buy." Washington Post
UPDATE: Historic Georgetown Library destroyed by fire the same day as Eastern Market. Washington Post.
UPDATE: Market to reopen in 18-24 months. Flea Market to go on as always. WTOP


Make a donation in support of the vendors and families affected by this horrible event!
Capital Hill Community Foundation

UPDATE: Images from WTOP

More about Eastern Market.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Irish Spirits

So meaty...easy and rich...all you need is about three hours to let dinner do it's own thing!

Tonight's dinner was from page 51 of...

The Irish Spirit
Recipes inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland by Margaret M. Johnson

Medieval Stew with Stout

Serves 6 as a main course

2 TB canola oil
2 lbs, lean beef, 1 inch cubes
3 large onions, sliced
1/4 cup flour
4 stalks celery, thickly sliced
8 cups beef stock or broth
1 cup stout (Guinness)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 TB tomato puree
Salt and pepper
8 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 TB minced flat leaf parsley
Boiled potatoes for serving

In a stockpot of dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Work in batches until all the beef is browned. (Don't crowd the pot or the meat will steam instead of brown).

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add the flour and stir to coat the onions. Return the meat to the pot and add the celery, stock/broth, stout, caraway seeds, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is nearly tender. Add the carrots and cook for 30-40 minutes longer, or until the meat and carrots are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve hot!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Much Better

This was much better than last night's dinner...

Fusilli Pasta

Fusilli with Red Sauce.

I love that the sauce takes less time to make than the time it takes the pasta to boil!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Danger Danger! This Sucked! Failure Failure!

It was supposed to be Sauteed Scallops with a white wine & saffron sauce...Awful.

What did we have for dinner?

I don't know what went wrong...the wine was fine. The scallops weren't bad/old/stale, but their texture was mushy...the sauce was awful. Too much saffron? I'm a little baffled. Well, let's chalk this up as experience.


Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I have a new blog crush! I visit regularly and there are always new recipes and treats posted! I don't know how I first came across Culinary in the Country, but I've been bookmarking and filing away recipes to try at a later time. The first recipe I made was a hit! So why not try one of the sweet treats.

I'm surprised how quickly these treats were assembled. It took me longer to do the dishes than it did for me to get this all moving along. After a cooling for an hour, we snuck a taste...YUM...after sitting and resting over night...I liked them even better! I brought most of the bars to work and they were eaten up in minutes! Score!!! Thanks Joe.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Recipe at Culinary in the Country

The recipe called for mini Peanut Butter mini, chocolate chip size, not minature. Since I couldn't find the mini's, I went with the minature's and cut them in quarters.

The shortbread crust.

The condensed milk and peanut butter chip mixture...OH!!! I just realized I forgot the vanilla!!! Ooops...I put a little vanilla in the shortbread, so it's there, just not in that mix...oops!

The final creation before it's time in the hot box.

My treats are done! And they were delicious.
PS: I used the recycleable aluminum pan...great for bringing to work; it doesn't have to come home!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baked "ham" and potatoes

I wanted ham today...good ham...sadly Giant didn't have good ham, so I bought a Turkey "Ham" Loaf...not bad, but I'd have preferred the real deal. I threw it in the oven for awhile, made some carmelized onion marmalade for it and some potato 'hash' as a side.

The Potato Hash wasn't too bad. One large sweet potato cut into large cubes. Two small white potatoes cut into large cubes. Some olive oil in a large pan. Season with salt and pepper. Later add a teaspoon of cajun seasoning, hot sauce (to taste) and a TB of butter. Saute until tender. Oh, and about a teaspoon of dried oregano. Good. Filling. Make sure to use plenty of salt, taters need it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Well that was good

Surprisingly easy and super fast! Took the chops out, very little drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper, threw them on the HOT grill pan. Some Sylvia's BBQ Sauce, flip, sauce, flip, sauce, flip. The extra flipping, not necessary normally, but I wanted to try to get the sauce to carmelize a wee bit.

Since the grill pan was rip roaring hot, I took some asparagus, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and onto the grill. When it just finishes cooking, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. Serve and enjoy. Little secret...I don't like vegetables...oh wait, you knew that. But this way of cooking the asparagus could probably get the most picky child to enjoy it. Yum lemon and grill! In total, dinner took maybe 10 minutes.

Last week I hit up Whole Foods and the Sommelatrix for some wine! I walked away with several bottles of vino and a four pack of sparklers! FUN. Everyone should have a can of sparkling wine with dinner.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


As promised, Hollandaise Sauce and Eggs Benedict!

Hollandaise Sauce
for about 1 1/2 cups

3 egg yolks
big pinch of salt
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB water
2 TB cold unsalted butter
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and hot
more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk in a stainless steel saucepan for a minute or two until they thicken lightly and turn lemon-colored. Whisk in a pinch of salt, lemon juice and water. Add 1 TB cold butter. Set over moderately low heat and whisk continuously at moderate speed, removing from heat now and then to make sure the yolks aren't cooking too fast. When they cling to the wires of the whisk and you can see the bottom of the pan between strokes, remove from heat and stir in the second TB of cold butter until incorporated.

Start beating in the melted butter by little driblets at first (use a 1/2 tsp measure to help control the addition), until a good 1/2 cup of the sauce has thickened, then add it a little more quickly as the sauce thickens into a heavy cream. Taste and correct seasoning.

To assemble Eggs Benedict:
~Toast English Muffin. Brush with melted butter.
~Warm slices of ham or Canadian bacon, place on muffin halves.
~Poach eggs in LOTS of water, which you should add a TB or two of white wine vinegar
~After eggs sets, remove with slotted spoon, allow water to drain, place on ham slices.
~Spoon over the rich, delicious sauce!

Poaching the ivory and sunshine orbs.

Assembled Eggs Benedict.

The carnage...sweet sweet carnage!

Julia's Troubleshooting Tips:
If you have added the butter too fast for the egg yolks to digest it, or if you've kept the sauce over heat for too long, it can thin out or seperate. To bring it back to its creamy state, whisk briefly to blend, and dip a TB full of the sauce into a bowl. Whisk in a TB of lemon juice and whisk vigorously until creamy. Then whisk in very little driblets of the turned sauce at first, not adding more until the previous addition has creamed and the sauce begins to reconstitute.

It's easier to hold a sauce that doesn't have it's full holding of butter. Set near a warm place and prior to serving whisk in additional warm butter.

If the sauce is too thick, thin by whisking in a TB of warm water or lemon juice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fun Wines

These are both fun wines...along with their older brother RED TRUCK.

A white blend, very easy to drink.

A rounded, soft Sauvignon. A little off against asparagus, but really good with eggs benedict and great on its own.

Both under $10.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eggs Benedict

Hollandaise Sauce.

Praise Julia Child--Hey Pope Benedict--make her a Saint already!!!
*get it--benedict*

(stay tuned for the recipe.)

*I try to be funny...I'm sorry.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Soup on the rainy day

I made soup for dinner. This wasn't the plan. The plan really was to eat frozen pizza; but when I got to Giant to buy some ingredients to bake some sweet treats, they didn't have what I needed, so I got upset and decided I had to make something tonight...I'm weird.

The soup...broth, thin pieces of pork, onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, bean sprouts, chili sauce, lime juice, soy and fish sauces. All poured over noodles. Yum!!!

These are the noodles...I found them at Giant and thought they would be fun to try.

I made the broth with a pork boullion cube, garlic clove and some chunks of ginger. After simmering for a bit, I strained out the ginger and garlic. In a small pan, a wee touch of olive oil started cooking the onions, carrots and jalapeno. Then added a few dashes of the sauces. Let that go a minute. Pour in some broth and add the pork. Simmer until the pork is cooked. Squeeze some lime juice over the top.

When the noodles are done, place in a large bowl, add the cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts. Pour over the broth and tender veg! Tasty, healthy and easy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fruity Fried Rice

The short story for dinner tonight. J-lo wanted pineapple. Mmmm??? I happened to be chatting with the Vampire Slayer in Oregon at the time and I asked her about her Pineapple Fried Rice. First...I don't know...I guess there was an outbreak of vampires in beaverland, so she had to leave me. Umpf! Second...pineapple fried rice? The Vampire Slayer was always talking about it and craving it, so I heard about it, but never saw it or tasted it, but I trust her, so here goes.

The recipe she gave me was really basic. I've played around a bit and have added some things.

Pineapple Fried Rice
serves 2-3

3-4 TB vegetable or peanut oil
Pork or Shrimp or Chicken (optional, see note)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Chinese Five Spice blend
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 cup fresh pineapple, 1/4 inch dice (& juice)
1/4 cup diced green/spring onion
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium
Day old rice, about 3-4 cups
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
Next time: A handful of Bean Sprouts

Make sure all your ingredients are prepared and ready to go. This will move fast, just a few minutes.

Add the Chinese Five Spice blend and salt to the pork, toss to coat.

Heat your largest skillet or wok over high heat. When super hot, add the oil. Give it a moment to shimmer, add the meat. Stir for a brief minute, the meat will start to cook.

Add the onions, stir until softened, about a minute. Add the carrot, saute for a minute. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant.

Add the pineapple and it's juice, stir to incorporate and heat through. Add the green onions, fish, soy and hot sauces.

Add the rice and stir to fully incorporate. Give a minute or two to absorb the flavors in your pan.

Stir in the cilantro.

Serve Hot.

NOTE: The meat is optional. I was able to get a pack of three thin pork chops. I removed all the fat and sliced thinnly. I would also do the same thing with chicken. If I went with shrimp, I'd clean up and cut in half or smaller bites. If I had shrimp, I'd add them after the carrots, as they will only take a moment to cook.

Oops...I just realized that Ms. Slayer said to add an egg...oops. Maybe next time.

My rice was not day old. So I cooked up a double batch in the rice cooker when I got home. When it was done, I let it steam out for a minute, the spread it out on the pan (sprayed lightly with cooking spray so it didn't stick), the threw it in a warm (300) oven for ten minutes. I think this set the rice up to soak up a little more flavor.

(stupid blogger broke--1 picture missing)

The pork & spices cooking with the onions.

Add carrots, garlic and ginger.

Add the pineapple and some of it's juice.

Green onions and sauces.



Delicious! It tastes like more!!! And I had another plate full. So much for leftovers for lunch. By taking a few minutes to prepare the ingredients, your dinner will be done in minutes...really, just a few minutes.

Thanks Slayer--we miss you!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

After that weekend you need veggies

After we returned from our amazing NYC weekend and all the great food, it's time for something related to veggies. While vegetating in the chair and playing couch potato, we caught this Sunday's episode of Nigella and she was making Temple to make your body feel like the temple that it is. And a weekend of foodie indulgence requires some temple renovations.

This dish was oddly appealing to me on TV and I had no idea what I would think of it in person...let's see...

Vietnamese Mint Salad
Recipe from Nigella Lawson
Yield: 2 to 4 servings

1 Thai chile, seeded and minced
1 large garlic clove, peeled, minced
1 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 TB lime juice
1 1/2 TB fish sauce
1 1/2 TB vegetable oil
1/2 medium red onion, finely sliced
Freshly grated black pepper
7 to 8 oz white cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrot, shredded, julienned, or grated
1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded, or cut into fine strips (optional)
1 bunch mint, plus extra for garnish, leaves roughly chopped
1-2 TB toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, stirring with spoon, combine the chile, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, onion, and black pepper, set aside for 1/2 hour. In a large bowl combine cabbage, carrot, chicken breast, and mint, tossing with tongs. Pour cabbage mixture over the dressing, tossing with tongs, slowly and patiently so everything is coated. Add salt, to taste. Serve on a flat plate with sesame seeds and mint for garnish.

So there you have it. I ate a plate of vegetables. Nigella's recipe is actually Vietnamese Chicken and Mint Salad, for the purpose of this blog and to give some more vegetal variety, I'm going to just call this Vietnamese Mint Salad, putting the chicken as an optional ingredient. You can see there was a little chicken in there. We really enjoyed this salad. I prefer this more as a side salad instead of as an entree salad which we did tonight. I added the sesame seeds at the last minute. I used red onion instead of a yellow onion. Little color and a more palatable onion. I also added a second carrot. I might add a third carrot next time, I like carrots. And maybe...maybe use napa cabbage next time? Of course Giant didn't have Thai chiles, so one jalapeno worked for us. And PS, if you don't have fresh mint...don't bother!!! Vital!!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Holiday Weekend Pilgrimage

We took a holy pilgrimage this weekend. No, not the The Way of St. James or the Hajj or Mount Kailash. No, we traversed the wild, crazy streets of midtown Manhattan and boarded the northbound train to Harlem! We took a visit to the Queen of Soul Food; Ms. Sylvia Woods and her temple, Sylvia's.

Since it's founding in 1962, Ms. Sylvia has been serving up some of the best soul food this side of Heaven.

We were greeted at our table by a basket of the best corn bread I think I've ever had. Really, some of the best I HAVE EVER HAD.

I ordered Fried Chicken, Mac 'n' Cheese and Candied Yams. OMG! The chicken was in line with a type of chicken we had a in Wisconsin a lot, 'broasted.' Broasted is a sort of blending or roasting and broiler. Divine! The mac'n'cheese. To die for. One of the top 3 I've had from a restaurant. The yams! WOW.

J-lo had the chicken as well and the collard greens and black-eyed peas. I don't care for greens, so no comment from me. I tried the peas, again, not a fan, but J-lo lurved them.

The Kara had the ribs, collard greens and Tomato Okra Gumbo. Ribs...So meaty and chewy and the sauce was...lip much flavor and not all sugary or vinegary! The Gumbo...surprisingly good. I don't know if I could handle a whole bowl of it, but really good.

Of course, we had to have dessert. Red Velvet Cake. Mmmm. So rich and tasty. A little moist. Great icing.

Peach cobbler. Sweet. Really sweet. Good flavor, but mostly from nutmeg and cinnamon. Not very peachy though. Not fresh peaches either. But still tasty. More of a few small bites instead of a full serving.

Sweet Potato pie and I shut my mouth. Light. Rich. Creamy. Amazing!

OK, when I go again...cuz there will be an "again"...I will have a major fight with myself to determine if I should do ribs or chicken...or maybe the fried pork chops...or something "smothered." I would stick with my sides, candied yams and mac'n'cheese. Dessert...either the sweet potato pie or maybe I'll try the banana pudding I kept seeing people order.

And you know what was awesome...Ms. Sylvia was there...she was spending a lot of time sitting near the entrance, but she was also working! Good For HER!

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