Friday, January 14, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard Sauce

From Noble Pig

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 lb pork tenderloin
Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 Tablespoons honey
1-1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1.  In a small bowl combine Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil and minced garlic.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside on the counter for a few hours, allowing the flavors to meld together.

2.  Remove the silver skin, if any, from the pork tenderloin and season the meat with salt and freshly ground pepper.

3.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the pork tenderloin and sear the meat on all sides.  Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloin and place the skillet into the oven.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes (times will vary depending on the size of the tenderloin) or until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees (medium).  Remove from oven, cover and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

4.  Heat the sauce in a small saucepan or in the microwave until warmed.  Pour the sauce over sliced pork and serve.

*Pork tenderloin is my new favorite meal.  I've always loved pork, but this meat is so good!  My oven was actually occupied so I cooked this on the grill and was in heaven.  The honey mustard sauce was good (I enjoyed it), but my children and husband like the meat just as well without any sauce.  Whenever this cut of meat is on sale, I will definitely be purchasing it!  A great meal served with potatoes.

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Reese's Peanut Butter Chips package
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c margarine, softened
3/4 c shortening
2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 package Reese's Peanut Butter chips (1 2/3 c)

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Stir together flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.
3.  Beat margarine, shortening, and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in peanut butter chips.
4.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes (do not overbake, cookies will be soft).  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

*These are very soft.  If you like cocoa and peanut butter chips, you'll like these.

Apple Pie

From Janet

2 T tapioca
5 to 6 Rome Beauty apples, including 1 green apple (I used 3 Braeburns and 2 golden delicious, that's what I had on hand and they tasted great, next time I'll add 1 or 2 more)
lemon juice
1 c sugar
1 t nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
2 t butter on top (I'm sure I was more generous than this)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Prepare pie crust.  Poke holes in bottom of crust.  Sprinkle with tapioca.
3.  Slice, peel, and core apples.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and put into uncooked crust.  The apples will shrink down during cooking so pile them in.
4.  Mix sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon together.  Sprinkle over apples.
5.  Dot top of apples with butter.
6.  Cover pie with top of crust.  Roll over edges and crease together.  Make slits if no holes are present in top of crust.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
7.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 min then 350 degrees for 40 min.

*When my husband and I were dating, he helped me make a couple of apple pies to take to a big extended family Thanksgiving dinner.  This was the first time he had met my parents or anyone else in my family.  Trying to be impressive, I glazed the pie with a mix of egg whites and water, but the egg got away from me and went into the pie.  My husband was such a great sport, he made sure that he got that slice at the dinner and acted like it was the best pie he ever tasted.  That was a fun day to remember.  Last night I surprised him by making pie for no special reason.  As our three children sat at the bar eating their pie and ice cream, we sat at the table enjoying ours.  Our kids were telling each other, "Our mom is the best cook ever," and my husband told me, "This is exactly how I pictured us 8 years ago the first time you made me pie."  It was just one of those great days.  I hope your pie day is as unforgettable!

Grandma Jennie’s Never Fail Pie Crust

5 c flour
2 c shortening
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
1 T vinegar
 enough water to make 1 cup

1.  Mix together flour, shortening, and salt.  I like to use a knife and pastry cutter to "cut" in the shortening.  The mixture should resemble course crumbles, about the size of a pea or smaller.  See picture.
2.  In a cup, mix egg  with vinegar, then finish filling cup with cold water.
3.  Make a well in the flour mixture, then pour in water mixture and incorporate.  Knead lightly.
4.  Separate dough into 5 pieces.  Roll out on lightly floured surface and put into pie shells.  Bake according to pie directions. Makes 5 one sided pies.

*Just a hint, chill your ingredients and keep the pie dough cool while not working with it.  This pie crust always turns out light and flaky.  Love it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best Brownies

So about 8 years ago when my younger sister went off to college, I made her a couple of recipe index cards to take with her.  Included among those cards was one for these brownies.  Leave it to me to give it to her and forget about them.  A few years later she was raving about my brownies--I didn't know what she was talking about--then I made these and was reminded, yum.  If you have a New Year's resolution to cut down on sweets--this one is for you, it only makes a 8x8 pan (that's got to be less calories than a 9x13 inch pan!).  Perfect! These brownies always turn out and are the best brownies I've made in the last few months.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes 16 servings

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2/  In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla.  Beat in cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder.  Spread batter into prepared pan.
3.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Do not overcook.

So lovely even before the frosting.
3 T butter
3 T cocoa
1 T honey
1 t vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Combine all ingredients, may add 2-3 t milk if needed to pull them all together.  Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Marinated Grill Shrimp

From allrecipes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
2.  Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
3.  Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

We had fun with this, very tasty on their own or mixed with a salad--my husband thought they would be perfect in Alfredo sauce.

Grilled Flatbread with Ricotta Cheese, Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Roasted Garlic Oil

Adapted from foodnetwork
1/4 cup olive oil (I used about 3 tablespoons)
6 cloves roasted garlic (see home from this recipe)
1 recipe Flatbread, (see below)
1 8-ounce container ricotta cheese, drained
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced
2 T fresh basil
2 T Parmesan cheese (optional)

1.  Place oil and roasted garlic in blender and blend until smooth.  Strain.  (I followed these directions, though next time I think I save myself having to clean my blender and just break up the garlic and mix with the oil--seems to make sense if you don't mind a few pieces of garlic on your bread).
2.  Divide the dough in 4 parts.  Flatten flatbread dough, gently press into a large rectangle, brush liberally with olive oil, and throw on grill.  Grill on first side until golden brown then lightly on other side.  Remove from grill.  On the side more cooked, spread the ricotta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, scatter tomatoes over, drizzle with roasted garlic oil, and garnish with basil, Parmesan, and more freshly ground pepper.  (The original recipe did not cook the toppings, but I love cooked tomatoes, so this is how I chose to do it--very good).
3.  Return to grill to warm through.  Serve immediately.  

Flatbread Directions:
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil, plus more for bowl

1.  Mix water and yeast in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to proof.  Gradually pour in 2 cups of the flour and stir to incorporate.  Mix for about 1 minute to form a sponge.  Let stand, covered, for at least an hour.
2.  Put sponge in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the dough hook, add the salt and oil, then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a dough.  Remove from bowl and knead.  Place in a clean oiled bowl and let rise, slowly, about 2 1/2 hours.  Divide dough into 4 balls, if desired, let rise again for 1/2 hour, and then roll out as desire.
Yield: 4 individual flatbreads or 1 large flatbread.

So my husband surprised me with a grill for Christmas--yes, it is for me, I've wanted one for years!  Despite the cold, we've been out there using it and loving it!  Everything tastes so good on the grill!  I had some ricotta cheese that I wanted to use so when I found this recipe, I just had to give it a whirl.  So good!  A few notes--the toppings as written covered only 2 of the 4 flatbread doughs (maybe I top a bit too generously), so we made pizza with just some basic ingredients we had on hand.  I didn't list any grilling times because I'm still learning and each grill can be so different.  I was very impressed that the dough cooked through without being too crisp, just watch it.  To warm the ricotta/tomato mixture, I put in on the upper shelf of the grill and let it cook for about 5 minutes.  I'll definitely being doing this again.  The pizza was great, the flatbread was amazing--try it with some balsamic vinegar.  We were in heaven.

Beef and Onion Stew

From allrecipes
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
all-purpose flour
1/4 c butter or margarine
3 cups diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 c beef broth
2 T cider vinegar
1 T tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 t salt (optional)
1 t lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 t dried thyme
cooked rice or noodles

Dredge meat in flour; brown in butter in Dutch oven or large skillet.  Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, tomato paste and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over rice or noodles.

A simple recipe, my 2 year old love it!