Friday, July 30, 2010

The Quintessential Summer Meal: The Hot Dog

Sure. I know what you're thinking. You're like hot dogs? Seriously? Hot Dogs? And I say, yes, hot dogs. I know if you peruse down the ingredient list on the side of a hot dog package, it may be alarming (and quite disgusting, to some), but to me... hot dogs scream summer. They remind me of childhood, when all it took was a ketchup smeared piece of meat in a bun of bread to keep me happy. Nowadays... it'll take a lot more than that to keep me overjoyed. (Andy knows this fact more than anyone) But anyway, the hot dog is a lot like me. It's simple. It's a crowd pleaser. And sometimes it likes to get fancied up. Like in this case. The fully dressed hot dog.


Hot dogs
Hot dog buns
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced pickles
Shredded cheddar cheese
(And practically anything else you want to throw on there)

There's not really a recipe here. Just grill the hot dogs until they're done, toast the buns, and throw on whatever tickles your fancy. And then enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pasta Carbonara w/ Green Beans

My garden is in full swing. I'm almost ready to pick my second round of green beans and my corn is nicely coming along. And yesterday, I almost squealed at the fact that a small cherry tomato blossom was protruding a baby cherry tomato. And here I thought that my cherry tomatoes would never grow. It's funny that seeing my garden grow can just make me happy regardless of the direction my day went.

I made this pasta carbonara a few weeks ago with my first batch of green beans and it was definitely a delicious way to use up the beans. I love the comfort of pasta and how simply they normally come together. Give me some cream, some pasta, and a few veggies, and I'm happy. And yeah, the bacon is always welcome to the party, but if you wanna keep it meat-free, the pasta and veggies stand well on their own.

Adapted from Rocco Dispirito's "Now Eat THIS!" - 'Spaghetti Carbonara'

8 oz. thin spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions for al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet under high heat. Add olive oil, onions, and green beans. Season with salt and pepper and saute for about 5-6 minutes, or until onion starts to soften.

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk the cream and eggs. Set aside.

Add the chopped bacon and the cooked pasta to the skillet.

Mix well. Remove from heat and add in cream/egg mixture. Let the residual heat slowly thicken the sauce. Stir in both cheeses and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve right away with cheesy garlic bread!

This was great for 2 reasons. #1: It was really quick to whip up, I'd say no longer than 30 minutes. #2: It allowed me to use my own grown produce and there's no better feeling in the world than that. Enjoy!

Spaghetti on Foodista

Monday, July 26, 2010

Foodie Fights - Battle Apple/Beer

Well, my vacation is finally over. As I dread going back to work today, I can say that although it went super fast, we did a lot of things and had a lot of fun. The weekend was especially jam-packed. We went to King's Island on Saturday, from which my sun-burnt back and face is still recovering. And then we saw the Avett Brothers, Zac Brown Band (whom I don't quite care for), and Dave Matthews Band at HullabaLOU at Churchill Downs on Sunday. So all in all, a good vacation.

And despite the busy weekend, I still had time to compete in this week's Foodie Fights, battle Apple and Beer. You'd think that combining the two would be an easy task. Yeah I could just make an apple pie, or cobbler, or something like that. But no, my brain had to think all wacky and inventive. Yes, I like pies with apples, so I started from there. But what about the beer? All I could think about was Beer Can Chicken... so what does my crazy ass do? I make a pseudo-beer can chicken apple pie with New Castle whip cream.

Ingredients for Marinade:

4 chicken drumsticks
salt, to taste
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup beer (I used New Castle)

Ingredients for Pastry Shell:

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Ingredients for pie filling:

1 Granny Smith apple, diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup beer

For the marinade, in a small bowl, combine the apple, vinegar, and lemon juice. Puree with a hand blender until you reach a smooth, yet slightly chunky consistency. Add in brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and beer. Mix well.

Season drumsticks generously with salt and set in shallow dish. Pour marinade mixture over top, cover, and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, you can make your pastry dough. I used a simple cream cheese pastry recipe. Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add in flour mixture until dough forms. Form into a flat circle and keep chilled in fridge until ready to use.

Heat a grill to medium high heat and grill drumsticks until cooked throughout, about 15-20 minutes. Let chicken cool slightly and shred. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add diced apples and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved and slowly add in beer.

Mix in chicken and stir until liquid is almost evaporated. Set mixture aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Roll out your pastry dough on a floured surface. Place carefully in pie pan and trim edges accordingly. You can use the scraps to do sort of a "lazy lattice" like I did. Sprinkle shell with brown sugar and add a few slats of unsalted butter, if desired. Bake just the shell for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's a nice golden brown. Add in the filling and top with lattice, if desired, and bake for another 30 minutes.

While the pie is baking, you can make your New Castle whip cream. (these mini-kegs are popping up all over the place for all sorts of beers, beer companies should have thought about this/marketed them more a long time ago!)

Just combine 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup New Castle beer, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Use whisk attachment on your hand blender and whip until peaks form. Store in fridge until ready to use.

Let pie cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and top with a dollop of the whip cream!

I must say, this was an odd one for me to compete in. You can definitely sense the flavors of the apple and beer throughout the pie. It's a different flavor, and maybe with a different protein (say... pork, because pork goes really well with apples) it could have been a knockout with anyone. But the chicken and apples, I think is more of an acquired taste. The New Castle whip cream was just off the chain, and I think I'll be eating out of that bowl for a long time. Good luck to the rest of my competitors and if you see fit, feel free to vote on Tuesday at Foodie Fights!

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Potatoes

As our vacation is rapidly coming to a close, it always seems like the weeks away from work, school, other obligations, etc... are the ones that go the quickest.

Such a sad fact of life, but one we all have to live with. I guess it really rings true that "time flies when you're having fun".

Fun is definitely what we've been having. (FYI, this is totally Andy's first ever blog appearance! I figure he might as well be put on here, because the blog is basically about him, kinda sorta!)

Andy and I have been getting to spend a lot of time with eachother, without having to work around our differing work/school schedules. Yesterday we went down to Slade, KY and visited Red River Gorge.

It's absolutely beautiful down there. And we almost didn't get there. Andy decided that he would try to remember how to get there without a map, and let's take into consideration he hadn't been down to the Gorge in about 10+ years.

Yeah, you can see where this is going. We ended up taking an exit nowhere near where we were supposed to be, which led us to taking an impromptu tour of the Kentucky amish and redneck country for about 45 minutes before we ended up back on the highway. Yeah... I was not amused.

But through hell and high water, we arrived at our destination, later than we had hoped, but still in one piece and without any reenactment of the movie Wrong Turn.

Albeit, I'm not a very outdoorsy kind of person, but I enjoyed myself. We went hiking (and I'm very surprised I'm not sore all over today), sightseeing, took pictures of various things, etc.

It was a good trip and I wish we could have the time to do more of that kind of stuff with each other, but for right now, we'll take it when we can.

Here's just a simple new/red potato recipe for today... we've got tons of potatoes coming in every week in our CSA, so I've been trying to figure out ways of using them up!


5 new potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, quartered
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until well coated. Transfer to a roasting dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Serve whole, mashed, sliced, however you like your potato. I prefer to eat them slowly while they are whole.

With simple ingredients, simple technique, this dish is definitely full of flavor and an easy side to whip up on a busy day! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Salmon BLT's

Sometimes the simplest things in life are some of the best. I have this ongoing suspicion that the city of Louisville is against me and finding trout. Every time I set out to cook trout for dinner, I can't find it anywhere. Not at Whole Foods, not at Kroger, not anywhere! And so yesterday was no exception, but we decided to with some Sockeye Salmon instead. And honestly, I think it was meant to be. Because these sandwiches were delicious, simple, and made me forget all about my trout woes. And plus, I'm on vacation so I couldn't stress about it too much!

Adapted from Food & Wine's June 2010 issue - "Grilled-Trout BLT"

4 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted
2 6 oz. salmon fillets, skin on
3 scallions, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon capers
small handful italian parsley, chopped
juice from 1 lemon
zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
6 slices habanero bacon (this was apparently a quick seller at Whole Foods and I HIGHLY recommend it if it's available), cooked
2 thick slices of tomato
2 large leaves of lettuce

Start by making your lemon-caper mayo. In a bowl of a food processor, combine scallions, capers, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and mayonnaise. Pulse a few times until everything is combined well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to small bowl.

Light a charcoal grill under medium high heat. Rub small amount of olive oil onto salmon fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Spread desired amount of lemon mayo on salmon fillets. Grill salmon fillets, skin side down first, on direct heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.

To assemble sandwiches, place a good amount of leftover lemon mayo onto bottom slice of toast. Place lettuce leaf atop mayo and add salmon fillet. Top with tomato and 3 sliced of bacon. Close sandwich with remaining piece of toast and enjoy!

I found it really hard not to like this sandwich. Who knows, it could have turned out worse with the actual trout? We'll never know will we? But what I do know, is that salmon saved the day and made these a permanent sandwich in the sandwich rotation! Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicken Ranch Quesadillas

Quesadillas are just one of those things that you can whip up real quick any day of the week. They're versatile and such a good way to use up leftovers. I definitely love making them in the summer because of the wide array of seasonal vegetables available really help get these babies stuffed full!

We're still enjoying our vacation, only our 3rd day in, and I'm sure the week will fly by fast, but let's not think about that too much!


2-3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, diced
shredded cheddar cheese
ranch dressing
flour tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream, optional
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet and add chicken. Cook until chicken is white throughout, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet under medium high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and saute until starting to soften, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Without wiping pan, add tortilla. (You can add more butter if needed) Start assembling quesadillas by placing a layer of shredded cheese, onion/pepper mixture, tomatoes, chicken, salsa, ranch dressing, and another layer of cheese. Yeah, these things are loaded. And you can practically add as much or as little of everything that you want. Cook until tortilla is starting to brown and cheese is starting to melt. Carefully flip over (you may want to have a plate handy for this), and cook until other side is nice and golden brown and cheese is fully melted.

Cut into quarters with a pizza cutter and serve with salsa, sour cream, and ranch dressing on the side.

I can never finish a whole quesadilla when I make them. I can definitely eat 2 large pieces and be satisfied, so you're guaranteed to have plenty of leftovers for lunches/dinners for the rest of the week! Enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Salmon Hash

Well, I just have to get through one more work day and I'll be plummeted into stay-cation bliss. Yup, that's right, I said stay-cation. Sometimes, just a vacation off of work is good enough. We don't need to go anywhere or do anything, we just need a break from the stress. Although we do have a few mini-trips to go on, (i.e. driving up to Indianapolis on Monday to have dinner with Andy's parents and some possible sight-seeing, and Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN for some childish fun, maybe a day or two of some hiking up at the Gorge), it's mostly going to be some time to relax at home with the dogs. What could be better?

This past weekend I made this Salmon Hash and it was pretty awesome. Hearty, delicious, unique. Definitely some comfort food. And the glaze for the salmon is my new favorite topping because it's seriously out of this world.

Adapted from Food & Wine's June 2010 issue - 'Salmon, Bacon, & Potato Hash'

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 6 oz. salmon fillets, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for rubbing
salt and pepper to taste
5 medium red potatoes
4 thick slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
2-3 fried eggs

To prepare the salmon glaze, in a small bowl, mix together Dijon mustard, horseradish sauce, and honey until well combined.

Rub olive oil on both sides of salmon fillets and season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill under medium high heat and grill salmon, skin side down, for about 3 minutes. Turn then grill for an additional 3 minutes, until salmon is almost cooked through. Turn salmon and spread glaze on top. Let heat for about 30 seconds and turn once more. Glaze that side of salmon and grill for about 30 seconds longer. (At this point, the salmon is perfect to eat as is also!) Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.

To prepare the hash, in a large pot of salted water, bring the potatoes to a boil. Bring heat to medium high and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until they are starting to become tender. Drain the water and carefully peel the potatoes (I would use a napkin to hold the potatoes because those suckers are gonna be hot!). Cut the potatoes into a small dice and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until starting to crisp, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a napkin-lined plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to same large skillet used for bacon. Add the diced potatoes and cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, or until they are starting to brown. Cover the skillet and let cook under low heat for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

Add onions and apples to potatoes. Cover and cook for about 7-10 more minutes, or until apples start to become tender. Quickly chop the salmon into decent sized pieces and stir into mixture. Cover and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes, or until salmon is warmed. Stir in bacon and remaining glaze if you have some left over. Season with salt and pepper, if needed and serve with a fried egg on top!

The key here is totally the fried egg. It just sets it off, because the yolk runs into the hash and there's nothing more pleasing to me than a runny yolk! Call me weird, but this is just damn good! Enjoy and have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1 Year Anniversary! & Jerk Chicken & Mango Kabobs

I'm pretty excited today, because My Fiance Likes It, So It Must Be Good has turned 1! Honestly, when I started this blog, I didn't think I would last more than a couple months. I thought I would eventually get bored with it and move on to some other hobby. But no... this blog is practically my savior. It relieves my stress to write a blog entry up, it makes me happy to see people comment on my recipes and photos, and my photos... wow have they improved. Still not stellar food magazine material, but hey, if you look at my first couple of entries ever... I've come a long way. I've learned so much in the past year, I've grown as a person, I've become engaged (woohoo!), and I'm hoping that there's more anniversaries to come and I hope you guys help me celebrate them by still sticking around!

Also, I just came back from picking up this week's CSA and this is what we ended up with:

- another lb. of potatoes (good b/c I think they're one of the easiest side dishes ever)
- another watermelon
- another bunch of basil
- head of red cabbage
- 1 lb. peaches
- 1 & 1/5 lbs. tomatoes (I got one really large one and a little guy)

Looking forward to figuring out what to do with that bunch of stuff (sorry no picture, but Andy took my camera to work)... any suggestions?

And for today's recipe, I've got a zesty little kabob. I've been doing a lot of jerk chicken and kabobs, so inevitably it's not surprise that today is the best of both worlds, jerk chicken kabobs. They come together easy, are smoky from the grill, and go quick once they hit the plate!


juice from 2 limes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips or cubes
2 mangoes, cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

In a large plastic resealable bag, combine lime juice, cayenne pepper, thyme, allspice, salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, jalapeno, olive oil, and cinnamon. Seal bag and squish together to mix everything up. Add chicken thighs and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Light a grill under medium high heat. Put skewers together by alternating, chicken, mangoes, and red bell pepper.

Grill for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken chunks, and allowing chicken to become cooked throughout. Serve with fresh pineapple!

This was pretty good. Not my best jerk chicken marinade, but still a winner. The combination of the spicy chicken and the cooling sensation of the mangoes go really well together! Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flaky Fish Sandwich

How was everyone's weekend? Ours was pretty great, especially considering I had the whole weekend off, and that we only have one more week to go before our vacation week begins. It's more of a stay-cation... but it's a much needed vacation off from work. Hopefully we'll get some things done around the house and I think we're planning on making a couple short out of town trips.

We went to a wedding this weekend and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was one of those outdoor, backyard weddings... except it was at a multi-million dollar mansion and the backyard was more like "grounds". But it was absolutely stunning. Kind of made me want a backyard wedding... it would be easier for one... lower on the budget, it would be different. The plans will come together eventually and our day will be special regardless, but that wedding just put into perspective the amount of planning, money, effort that goes into an event like that.

Anyway, a few weeks back, a pharmacist I work with had given us some bass that his family had caught and we didn't quite know what to do with it. Then I saw a great recipe from some fish sandwiches and knew that it would be the perfect match. I also received these Nature's Pride buns from Foodbuzz and thought I'd give them a shot in these sandwiches.

Adapted from Food & Wine's June 2010 issue - 'Crispy Fish Sandwiches w/ Herb Remoulade'

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup fromage blanc
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2-3 small Sweet Gherkins, minced
small handful italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 to 1 lb. small bass fillets
lettuce and sliced tomatoes, for serving

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil under medium high heat. Turn heat down to medium and add the panko and toast for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn off the heat and add the old bay seasoning and stir until well incorporated. Transfer the seasoned panko to a plate and set aside.

To make the remoulade (which is similar to a tartar sauce), mix the fromage blanc, mustard, lemon juice, tabasco sweet gherkins, parsley, and tarragon in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and store in fridge until needed.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add remaining olive oil. Season bass fillets with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until white throughout, about 2-4 minutes per side, depending on the size of your fillets. Ours were really small, so it was more on the 2 minute side. Place finished fillets on a plate until you're ready to assemble your sandwiches.

To put together the sandwich, toast the buns and smear one side with a good amount of remoulade. Place some lettuce and a sliced tomato on the other bun. Press each fillet carefully into the panko and transfer to the toasted bun atop the lettuce and tomato. Close sandwich and eat!

I liked the way the fish was breaded in this recipe. It was just enough seasoning to add some depth of flavor to the dish. It wasn't greasy like a normal fried fish sandwich is, and the fish was flaky and fresh. The buns were perfectly sweet and made for a great sandwich. Enjoy!

And let's not forget what I've done with the rest of my CSA items this past weekend: Watermelon Basil Sorbet, Fresh Bruschetta, Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

Watermelon Basil Sorbet Ingredients:

1/2 sweet beauty watermelon (about 2-3 cups), chunked and seeds removed
about 10 fresh basil leaves, minced
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons mango vodka
3/4 cup simple syrup
kosher salt for garnish

Place watermelon and basil in a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined. Transfer to a medium bowl and add lime and vodka. Mix well and carefully add simple syrup (basically an equal portion of both sugar and water brought to a boil and allowed to cool). Place mixture in ice cream maker and continue according to machine directions. Serve with a slice of watermelon and a small pinch of salt.

Fresh Bruschetta Ingredients:

1 hot dog bun, flattened and toasted (yes, I said hot dog bun lol)
7 to 10 gourmet cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of olive oil. Serve on top of toasted hot dog bun. (it's all the bread I had in the pantry, hehe)

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail Ingredients:

1-2 cups watermelon, chunked and seeded
2 shots mango vodka
1 tablespoon sugar

In a large cup or bowl, puree watermelon with hand blender. Strain watermelon juice into another glass or bowl. Add 1-2 shots vodka (I went for 2 because hey, it was sunday) and mix in sugar. Shake or stir and pour over ice in a tall glass!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Caribbean Jerk Pork Loin w/ Pineapple Jicama Salsa

I know I seem to be saying this every Friday... but seriously, TGIF! It's been a rough couple of days at work and I'm just thankful I have the entire weekend off. I'm stuck with the big decision of picking where we're going to eat tonight, and it's a toss up between some Indian, Thai, or just good ol' comfort food. You guys wanna weigh in?

The weather has cooled off a bit due to the rain, so for once, it's not a billion degrees outside. I love this pork loin marinade because even though it has habanero peppers in it, it's not excessively hot. It's pretty much a perfect heat, and with the addition of the pineapple and jicama, you get a cool and refreshing bite to ward off the heat.

Adapted from Food & Wine's June 2010 issue - "Jerk Pork Tenderloin w/ Pineapple Salsa"

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2-3 scallions, sliced thinly and divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 habanero chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon soy sauce
juice from 2 lemons, divided
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 pork tenderloins (about 1-2 lbs each)
1 small onion, chopped
15 oz. can pineapple chunks, 2 tablespoons juice reserved
1 small jicama, peeled and diced
small handful cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

To prepare the marinade for the pork, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 1-2 sliced scallions, garlic, chiles, soy sauce, 1/2 of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, allspice, salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and ginger in a food processor. Pulse until you reach a somewhat smooth texture. (it's okay if it's a little chunky) Pour the marinade in a large plastic freezer bag and add the pork loins. Turn them to coat and then seal the bag, rolling it into a tight cylinder. Place in a medium bowl (to prevent leaking) and let marinate in fridge for about 6 to 8 hours.

Light a grill under medium high heat. Take the pork out of the marinade and brush with remaining tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the pork over indirect heat until internal temperature is about 135 F, about 20-30 minutes, depending on your grill. Let rest on cutting board for about 10 minutes, then slice into thin medallions.

While you're waiting for the pork to rest, you can quickly whip up the pineapple jicama salsa. In a medium bowl, combine the onion and the remaining lemon juice. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes so the onion can soak up the lemon flavor. Add in the pineapple, pineapple juice, jicama, cilantro, remaining brown sugar, jalapeno, and remaining scallions. Toss quickly and serve with sliced pork.

I'll have to tell you this was one of the best ways that I've ever prepared pork tenderloin. The marinade is flavorful, but not overpowering. The tenderloin had a nice exterior crust, but was still moist and tender on the inside. The pineapple jicama salsa was cool and refreshing and paired exceptionally well with the tenderloin. Enjoy!

P.S. - I've been busy with my CSA goodies, making these quick parmesan skillet potatoes and these carrot and beet cakes...

Parmesan Potatoes Ingredients:

2 medium red potatoes, sliced thinly
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add oil. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add in potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Fry in skillet until potatoes are starting to soften. Add in parmesan cheese and fry for about 2-5 minutes longer, allowing the cheese to melt and brown. Serve right away!

Carrot & Beet Cakes Ingredients: (I've been trying to be a little more "artsty" with my photos, hehe)

2 small carrots, peeled and shredded
2 medium beets, peeled and shredded
1 egg
1 egg white
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for butter until well incorporated.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and melt butter. Using a large spoon or ladle, spoon a large amount of "batter" onto the skillet and continue doing so until pan is full. I found that 3 cakes fit perfectly for each batch. The batter doesn't make a lot of cakes, so 2 batches would probably be it, depending on how big you make the cakes.

Fry each cake for about 4-5 minutes per side and serve right away as well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quick Stir Fry & CSA Pick Up #1

Ok, seriously. I would have never dreamed of being as excited about vegetables as I am right now. Today was our first CSA pick up, and I feel like it's Christmas. Why have we not done this before now?! Why doesn't the general public know more about these?! I guess that's the beauty of it, it's not commercialized and it's used by people who really care for and appreciate it. I feel lucky. I mean, look at our goods for this week...

This is what we ended up with...

2 lbs. potatoes
1 lb. beets
one bunch of basil (this is more basil than I know what to do with in one week)
a multi-colored array of cute little cherry tomatoes
one sweet beauty watermelon
one head of garlic

You better believe I'll be making use out of these in the next week, until the next batch of goodies comes along! My task for this week, according to Andy, is to get him to like beets (because as of right now, he's not too big of a fan)... any suggestions/recipes you guys know of to make him a converter???

And I don't have much time because I've actually got a volleyball tournament tonight so I'll make this a quick stir fry recipe...


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 bottle Caribbean Jerk marinade
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
2 small yellow squash, sliced
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
juice from 1 lime

In a medium bowl, combine chicken and marinade. Let sit in fridge for about 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter under medium high heat, and add the garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant and then add in the chicken pieces. Heat chicken until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover.

Heat remaining tablespoon of butter and add carrot, squash, bell pepper, and onion. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, you want the vegetables softened a little, but still with a crunch/bite to them.

Stir back in the chicken, add lime juice, and stir fry for about 2 minutes longer.

We served this with some simple red rice.

This was absolutely delicious. The vegetables were plentiful and the chicken was flavorful. The shortcut of using a pre-made marinade cuts down on time when you're in need of a quick fix. Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fried Pork & Potato Balls

How was everyone's 4th of July? Ours was spent with friends, and it was quite a nice evening. For once, we didn't have to do the cooking... although I did bring a dessert (some Oreo Cheesecake bars, recipe found here). We had some burgers and they were pretty fantastic... I'd never seen this done before, but Jason, the grillmaster, had marinated the burgers in a "special" sauce for a little while before grilling them. Maybe I'm just before the times, but I've always just packed a burger with spices and then grilled them then and there... but after seeing him do that, and tasting the flavor that exuded from these burgers... I may have to give that technique a whirl.

And check out this green bell pepper. Just simple sitting on a grill, blistering up in all it's glory. Simple things like that put a smile on my face.

Well, these fried pork and potato balls would make a good appetizer, but it's also one of those, "under construction" recipes. It could definitely use some improvement on the flavor, or maybe my palate wasn't feeling it that day... but worth a try either way.

adapted from Momofuku For 2's blog

2 cups garlic mashed potatoes
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup button mushrooms, diced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
2 tablespoons flour
1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the ground pork, shallot, mushrooms, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chinese 5 spice.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook pork mixture until browned and broken up. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.

Once the pork mixture is cooled, mix in with mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Shape the mixture into small to medium sized balls, about 1 to 1 & 1/2 inch in diameter should be fine. Dip each ball into the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip in eggs, and roll in panko.

Heat a large dutch oven under medium high heat and fill with about 3 inches of oil. When temperature is about 350 F, start heating balls in batches, about 5 balls per batch should do it. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes or so, and drain on paper towels.

Serve with sriracha sauce!

Like I said, these could definitely use some tweaking, but overall, they were interesting and different. The mashed potato mixture was fine to eat by itself, so maybe the frying is where it went awry... who knows. Enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cheesy Beefy Potato Soup

First of all... I just want to say, I am so glad to be off work today. It was an absolute madhouse. From crazy customers, to irate individuals, and just a damn busy day... it feels so nice to pop open a Stella and write this blog.

We've all seen those "munchie-themed" movies/tv shows like Half-Baked, or Harold & Kumar, or practically any Dave Chappelle skit, but I was reading an article from about a little bakery/shop that provides a "gourmet" look at munchies. Yeah, the menu looked pretty tasty, with things like cheddar jalapeno muffins, Ghiradelli triple-chocolate lavender brownies, pissaliere, and a roasted sun-dried tomato soup. So what's so different about this place? Well, it uses something called "cannabutter"... which is basically melted butter, water, and crushed marijuana mixed together, then allowed to harden. Yeah... a sophisticated pot head's dream right? Well... turns out, even though they've legalized medical marijuana out in California (where the shop is located), some laws haven't been made to allow this sort of thing to keep going on, so the shop is going to have to close down by next Wednesday.

Minus the whole marijuana theme, the actual menu sounds pretty tasty, even without using the illegal goods. Might have to try whipping up my next batch of brownies with a hint of lavender.

Anyway... this potato soup is probably one of the best I've ever had. It's perfectly cheesy, loaded with potatoes, and has that perfect hint of jalapeno and bacon that just set it off!


8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup flour
5 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 lb. ground beef
3 cups chicken broth
1 can beer (I just used some Miller Lite I had in the fridge, nothing fancy)
1 teaspoon parsley
1 & 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup jarred jalapenos, diced
1-2 tablespoons liquid from jalapenos
5 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped

In a medium bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the flour and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes. Salt well and simmer until soft, about 8-10 minutes (Yukon Golds are pretty soft for a potato to begin with so it shouldn't take long). Drain pot to remove water and return potatoes.

In a large skillet, melt butter under medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook until vegetables have started to soften, about 5 minutes or so. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Strain any fat, if needed. Pour mixture in pot with potatoes.

Add in chicken broth, beer, and parsley and bring heat to about medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add milk and heavy cream. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes, and be careful not to let soup come to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in cheese until it is all melted. Stir in sour cream and jalapeno juice. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Ladle soup into deep bowls and top with chopped jalapenos and chopped bacon.

Like I said, this is one of THE best potato soups I've ever had. I know a lady named Rhonda that makes a hell of a potato soup also, so I can't say it tops hers, but it gives it some stiff competition. Enjoy!


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