Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Asian Inspired Pork Roast

Last night was another dinner based on what was in the freezer. This time it was a pork loin roast. I great hunk of lean pork waiting to be roasted up. I started with one idea in my head, but by the time I actually was ready to begin, I went another direction.

I seasoned the pork with a dry rub of Asian 5 Spice, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Salt & Pepper. I seared the pork loin in a pan with olive oil, about 5 minutes each on the top and bottom and another minute or two on the sides. I placed the pork in a small roasting pan. I tossed 1 small, diced onion in the same pan I seared the meat in. Saute until translucent. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves. I deglazed the pan with 1/4 cup of dry sherry. To that I stirred in 3 hefty tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce and 1 tablespoon of Srirachi hot sauce. Pour in about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Stir and pour over the pork loin. Roast in a 325 degree oven for about an hour, until the meat has an internal temperature of 140 degrees. If you think about, every 15 minutes or so, you can baste the meat with the sauce in the pan. Remove from the oven and cover with foil for at least 10 minutes to let the meat rest and the juices redistribute. Slice and serve hot with the sauce from the pan.

Fresh from the oven. Great color!

This pork loin was incredibly lean and super tasty. I'm not sure I had the balance of flavors exactly right. The hot spice and redolent spices of the Asian 5 Spice were most prominent, not allowing for any of the subtler flavors to shine through. That's ok. It was still very good.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Last night was a night of "use up what's in the freezer/fridge." I had some chicken in the freezer. Stale bread in the cupboard. Carrots in the fridge and a bag of potatoes that were starting to sprout. I decided to make a quick stuffing of the bread-cut in the cubes and tossed in the oven to crisp up. Once crunchy, I mixed with some broth, sauted shallots, butter and herbs. This was stuffed into a split open chicken breast which I then seared in a little butter until browned, then into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I basted with a little bit of white wine I was drinking. I tossed some carrots in a little butter and roasted for about 20 minutes as well. And mashed potatoes! Right at the end, I used tossed some shallots in the pan the chicken was seared in and made a quick pan sauce with some more wine and broth. Spoon over the chicken and potatoes. Yum. I felt like I was going to die I was so stuffed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Snack Break

Pretty much my favorite breakfast/snack, period.

English muffin--extra toasty, Super crunchy Skippy peanut butter, sliced banana and either Tupelo Honey or Orange Blossom Honey.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Healthier Chicken Parm

I really liked this. I first experimented with this a few weeks ago. Instead of frying breaded chicken cutlets in oil, I put them on the grill pan. It worked! The flavor is good. The texture is crispy, but light. And most of all, the chicken doesn't feel heavy, oily or otherwise weighed down my oil. Don't get me wrong, I love some fried goodness, but I wanted to try a healthier alternative. Let's get started.

A Lighter Chicken Parmesan

To get started, you need to prep your coating for the chicken. Use large plates or pans to help with preventing too much mess. You need three plates. Plate 1: seasoned flour. I use regular white flour, plus salt, pepper, ground oregano, garlic powder and some cayenne pepper. This will dry the chicken and give the coating something to stick to! Plate 2: eggs, whisked with a wee touch of water. The egg needs to stick to the flour. In turn, the eggs helps the outer coating to stick. Plate 3: the breading. For this application, I used two types of bread crumbs. Traditional plain breadcrumbs and Japanese-style Panko breadcrumbs. I did this for one reason; since I'm not frying these in oil, I want to make the coating as crunchy as possible. The panko help with that. Since panko are more expensive than regular, I used a mix to help spread the wealth as it were. Season the breadcrumbs with a variety of herbs; an Italian blend or use basil, parsley, thyme, savory, oregano. Or use something completely different, whatever you like.

To coat the chicken, pat them dry with a paper towel, dip in the flour and coat all sides, dip in the egg and coat all sides then dip into the breadcrumbs and press down on all sides to get a nice hearty coating on the chicken.

Now to cooking. I used a grill pan. No oil, just get the grill pan nice and hot over a medium-high flame. Gently lay the coated chicken cutlets on the pan and cook for a few minutes per side. Lift gently to take a peak on the underside. You're going to start to see grill marks and a nice golden color.

The first side is done. Finish the next side. In this particular instance, I wasn't concerned about the chicken being cooked through as it was going to go in the oven for up to 10 minutes, and will finish cooking there. If you are not using the oven, lower the heat and let the chicken cook an extra few minutes per side to cook all the way through. You need to lower the heat or you will end up with scorched coating and a raw interior.

When the chicken was browned, I placed on a baking sheet and spooned on some leftover red sauce from the other night, and sprinkled on the parm.

Place some mozzarella cheese on top and place in the oven. I did about 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree oven to finish cooking the chicken and melt the cheese. For the last 2-3 minutes I put the chicken under the broiler to make the cheese bubbly and golden brown. If you really want to make this a lighter, healthier chicken parm, use less cheese, use a fat free cheese, whatever you like. I happened to have the grocery store, part skim mozz. It was good. If I was being decadent, I would have gotten some fresh mozz and used that. All good. Use what you like.

Wonderful! Flavor and texture are wonderful. You still get the cheese goodness, but with a lighter tasting, extra-crunchy chicken. Yeah!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chocolate Stout

I had no idea what I wanted to make for dinner. Well, I did, but I just wasn't feeling it. I knew I was having a pork tenderloin. It was sitting in front of me, waiting for something to happen. I was staring into my spice cabinet waiting for my muse to speak to me. I started grabbing things. Paprika, Chimayo Chile powder, Cayenne Chile powder, Oregano, Salt, Pepper. Some Adobo seasoning. I dumped quantities of each into a bowl, mixed and dumped it on the pork tenderloin. Well, I guess that's that. Into a hot pan, with olive oil it went. Sear sear sear. Into a roasting pan. Well, for giggles, lets toss some shallots into the frying pan and to deglaze...what to deglaze with. Hey! Why not some of the Rogue Chocolate Stout that I'm drinking. Whooosh! Scrap up the bits, stir in some tomato paste. Pour over the tenderloin and dump into an oven. 325 minutes for 30 minutes, basting once or twice. Remove from the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve with the rest of the basting liquid.

Rogue Chocolate Stout Pork Tenderloin

It was delicious. Spicy with a hint of cocoa.

The flavor reminded me of a lighter version, a brothier version of a mole sauce. Dark, cocoa, coffee, chiles. Very nice. I served with sauted peppers, onions, jalapenos and some grilled corn tortillas and a glass of Rogue Chocolate Stout. A very nice meal.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Re-visiting CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza night last night. We don't have a regular pizza night, but we should! It was delicious and the dough is darn easy. Speaking of dough, I use a recipe for this pizza that calls for only a 30 minute rise period and it's good. Certainly not the best, but good. I did do one thing differently last night. I wanted to try to make the dough a honey-wheat version, instead of all white flour. It worked really well, I think I got a good combo of ingredients down. Let continue...

Here's the starter for the dough. Yeast, warm water, and something sweet. The recipe calls for sugar, I used 2 teaspoons of honey. Let that sit for a minute or two, then you can start to add the other ingredients, including 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add your flour and salt. I substituted in a half of a cup of whole wheat flour, with the white flour. I found this combination just right, for me, of whole wheat nutty flavor and still a good texture for kneading. The recipe is in this post for Deep Dish Pizza.

Once the dough pulls together, I give it a little coating of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and start to roll out. I can't twirl my dough, so I actually roll it out with a pin. I was able to get this dough down nice and thin. I folded it up and transferred it to a sheet of parchment paper. Thought that would be a good idea, but not! To bake the pizza properly, you'll want to put it on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. Parchment paper isn't designed to be used a temperatures that high. Although it didn't bust into flames, I certainly charred up and got very crispy! So, lesson learned, roll out the dough, then transfer to a cornmeal lined baking sheet for easy transfer to the oven and baking stone. Note to self: I need to clean my baking stone, there is some dough that is completely baked on.

Start topping your pizza. In this instance, we did the BBQ Chicken Pizza we did a few weeks ago that was a huge hit. The sauce is BBQ sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, then pieces of cooked, bbq'ed chicken. Tomatoes and red onions. Give a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bake in a 500 degree oven for 12-17 minutes--depending on how thin your crust is. The last time, the dough wasn't as thing and it took longer. Last night, the crust was thinner and only took about 12-15 minutes.

Let the pizza rest for a minute on your cutting board, slice it and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro. Very tasty!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meatballs and Ziti

Last night's dinner was meatballs and spaghetti...except I didn't have enough it was meatballs and ziti. The meatballs were great. The sauce was alright. Combined, all good. Let's get started. I roughly followed this recipe.

Ew, gross. Raw meat. Sorry veggie friends. But to make meatballs, you need some meat. I used a pound of "meatloaf" mix from the store...ground beef, veal and pork. This provides the best flavor, over straight beef or pork. I'm not fond of veal, so let's pretend it's not there. To the ground meat, I added one egg, a small handful of chopped parsley, a piece of sandwich bread that had been soaked in milk and one small/medium onion, finely diced and sauted in olive oil until caramelized, with basil and oregano (dried). Not pictured, is 1/4-1/2 cup of grated parm. Squige this all together until very well combined. Scoop the mixture out and shape into hearty ping pong sized balls. One thing I tried last night and may not be necessary...I then dredged the uncooked meatballs in seasoned flour, I was hoping for an extra crusty meatball. I don't think it made a difference, except in the mess that had to be cleaned up afterwards.

Saute the meatballs in olive oil until dark and crispy on the outside. Don't worry if the don't cook through. They will simmer in sauce later. So, pull the meatballs to a pull and start a sauce. You can make any red sauce you like. For this meal, I did one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and some more dried herbs. Oh, and a few smashed cloves of garlic. Add the meatballs back to the pan and simmer over low heat for an hour or so.

Toss cooked pasta with the sauce and plate up with a few meatballs per person. This batch made 22-24 meatballs. If you want, you can freeze the leftover meatballs and sauce for a later meal. We just packaged the leftovers up for lunch.

With dinner last night, we had a glass of the Biltmore Estate's Pinot Noir. Very tasty! We must have liked it at the tasting we attended in Asheville, NC in December, since we bought two bottles. We forgot how much we enjoyed it. A great spicy, jammy flavor with a light body. It paired nicely with meatballs and sauce.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This is chicken( & fried yuca). It is delicious!

New to our neck of the woods is a blink and you'll miss it restaurant. Chicken Delicious in Bladensburg, MD (on Hwy 450/Annapolis Road & Edmonston Road) in a strip mall with a Blockbuster and several small, independently owned shops. After multiple failed attempts to get the goods (either they were closed or SOLD OUT of chicken), we finally got some. A whole Peruvian-style (I think?) rotisserie chicken and two sides. Something like $14 bucks. Enough to feed two very hungry boys, leaving a little extra. Wonderful! We have since been back several times and are putting this to the top of our favorites, espcially for a quick local meal. The chicken is perfectly cooked. Delightfully seasoned and juicy. The sides can be hit or miss, but don't skip the fried yuca, ask to have it cooked extra crispy! The fries are fine, beans ok, plaintains weren't that good. We have also had the carne asada and that was pretty tasty too. There are only a few other items on the menu, including one or two sandwich options I think. But really, go for the chicken.

But my's the tiny little cups of sauce you get for the chicken. One is a garlic aioli. I'm not very fond of that. But the little green cup of zippy sauce is wonderful. Refreshing, spicy, bright, tangy, all the good stuff...oh and a touch spicy! Dunk it or pour it on your chicken. I like to dip the yuca in as well.

This is some great take-out. We haven't eaten in, but there are tables and TVs to occupy your time.

The only thing they could do to improve their service...offer delivery and beer!

Chicken Delicious
Bladensburg, MD

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cocktails and Dinner

Last night's dinner started with a Manhattan. Delicious. I think I've found the right blend for me.

Maker's Mark Manhattan
3 parts Maker's Mark
1/2 part sweet vermouth
1-2 shakes of bitters

Add all the ingredients, over ice, in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for a count of 5. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

You'll notice there is no cherry in my cocktail. I had to throw the ones out I had...they were bad.

Now dinner. This was Pork Medallions with an orange sauce, served over orzo. Simple, fast and pretty tasty. I wish I'd had a vegetable to go with it, but alas, I forgot to get something. The pork tenderloin is cut into round medallions, dusted with seasoned flour and placed into a hot pan to sear on both sides and cooked through; 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the pork to a plate. Add a TB of olive oil, if your pan is dry. Add 1 diced shallot and saute until soft. Pour in about 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed OJ. Simmer until reduced and slightly thickened. Add some lemon juice if you have and few capers. Chopped parsley for garnish. Stir, spoon over the pork and serve hot.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stiry Fry

A nice spicy stir fry for dinner last night.

First, I cooked the beef and moved that to a plate while I worked on the veg. Onions, peppers and carrots in a wee touch of oil. Highest heat my stove can handle. Move fast. Have all your ingredients ready! When they are soft, add the garlic, ginger and hot pepper flakes. Almost immediately--to prevent scorching--add the liquid; soy sauce and water.

Add some brown sugar to sweeten the sauce and simmer for a minute.

Return the cooked strips of beef to the sauce and simmer for another minute or so. There is a light corn starch coating on the beef, which in turn helps to thicken the sauce. Serve hot, over rice.

Recipe here:
Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

Thursday, May 13, 2010


CHEERS! A tiny bit of a delayed celebration. Over the weekend, May 9, Eat With Me turned 5 years old. Yippee.

Sadly the past 6-9 months have really been slow for me. I still enjoy working on the blog, finding new recipes and certainly still love cooking. But I've been soooo tired. I'm going to keep going and see what I can do to improve my production schedule! I need to find my muse; I think she went on vacation and got lost on her way home. If you see her, tell her to get her butt back here!

"Kira? KIRA!!!??? Come Back! Zeus didn't mean to be a jerk."

In other news, last night we kicked it old school with Tater Tot Casserole.

The big difference though??? Instead of using the traditional can of "Cream of ____" soup, I made a my own roux based sauce and it was delicious!

1. Brown ground beef and 1 medium, diced, onion.
2. When cooked, drain off excess fat.
3. Season with salt, pepper and other spices you like. Add 3 TB of butter.
4. Add 3 TB of flour. Stir and cook for one minute.
5. Add one cup of broth (beef, chicken or combo of both). Stir and simmer.
6. Add 1-2 cups of frozen green beans or other veg (carrots, corn, etc.)
7. Dump into a baking dish, top with frozen potato tots.
8. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Dump on some shredded cheese, if you like. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
9. Serve piping hot.


I have a menu planned for the next 7 out of 8 days. Hopefully that means a good solid weeks worth of blog posts! Thanks for sticking with me for the past five years. It's been a lot of fun and I'm really proud of how far I've come with my cooking skills! And frankly, if I wasn't willing to learn to cook, I'd probably be eating the same five, boring things, instead of branching out and trying new recipes, new ingredients and new processes!

Thursday, May 06, 2010


A yummy, quick dinner! Fresh pesto. Store bough tortellini, sauted peppers and some chicken. Toss to coat and enjoy. The interesting thing. I totally forgot about pine nuts for the pesto. So I used slivered almonds. Worked great! And cheaper!!!