Monthly Archives: July 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Herbs.


One of the best parts of visiting family, is not only getting to visit and talk and visit and talk, but the food.  All my family are  great cooks, and I get to try a lot of new foods usually when I visit.
My last visit with them was pre-blog days, so while I enjoyed the food, I didn’t really pay as much attention to the recipes.  I did take home some recipes the last time.

100_8560

This time however, I was a bit obnoxious with my picture-taking.

Not really, cause they know I’m a little nuts about food and preparing and eating and …

One night for dinner my sister prepared a really simple, and oh so delicious meal.  She took a pork tenderloin and laid on its side.  Cut a large slit in the side,making a pocket and stuffed that with a few chopped fresh herbs from her garden.  Just some oregano and parsley.

She then sautéed it in a pan, just to brown it, and put it into the oven at 425 deg. for about 25 minutes.

100_8555

Took it out, made a little pan gravy from the sauté pan and the pan she cooked it on in the oven.

And we had it for dinner.   She  served it with some green beans and cauliflower that she’d cooked together as well as new potatoes and a chunk of crusty bread.

100_8557
I was in heaven I tell you.   And I’m heading to the big city in a couple of days and I’m picking up a couple of Pork Tenderloins so I can recreate the meal.

I guess I probably need beans and cauliflower and new potatoes and bread as well.

I’ll share all how I did it when I make it.

Enchilada Chicken Rollups


I made these recently as an assignment for a recipe club I belong to.     They sounded like something I could make and bring to the group I meet with most Friday nights.

I had to bake some chicken breasts anyway, so this seemed like a no-brainer to me.

My inspiration came from here  Rebekah’s Family Food and Fun blog.
I did adapt this just a smidge, but didn’t stray too far.   I upped the spices, cause I do like my spice,  and I had a shallot in the cupboard and wanted to add half of it to the recipe.

Recipe: 

1 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can also use a cooked rotisserie chicken, make it easy on yourself)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese, can also use any blend of cheese you like.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. chili powder (make it a quality chili powder, you can taste the difference)
1 tsp. cumin (recipe called for 1/2 tsp.)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste ( I don’t add salt, there is enough in the Rotel)
Handful of cilantro, chopped  (I went out in my little garden and picked some fresh)

3 green onions, chopped
1/2 shallot, finely minced (I liked the color contrast)
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained well (I used Rotel)
6-8 soft taco sized tortillas

Directions:

Bake some chicken breasts or roast a whole chicken or get a rotisserie chicken.  Chop up the equivalent of a large chicken breast, about 1 1/2 cups.

In the meantime, combine all the remaining ingredients except tortillas in a large mixing bowl.  Mix until well blended.  I used my Kitchen Aid.   (I knew a vegetarian friend would be joining us, so I took out enough of the filling for one tortilla before adding the chicken, so she could enjoy this as well)

Add the chicken to the filling mixture and stir well to incorporate.

Spread a thin layer of the filling mixture over a tortilla,

leaving a small border clear around the edge.  Roll the tortilla up tightly into a spiral.

Place the rolled up tortilla on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into 1 to 1½-inch thick segments.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve chilled or at room temperature.

These disappeared in short order, and I think this is a recipe I will probably make again.
I keep most of the ingredients on hand anyway, gee who doesn’t keep a couple or three packages of cream cheese in their fridge?    Just kidding.
I will up the spice component a little more though, but for the most part I liked them.

Low Country Boil for a crowd.


I love a good Low Country Boil, and so do a lot of people.  It’s really a very simple dish, but oh, so flavourful, and easy to make.   If you have a large enough pot that is.  I do, mainly cause I got a huge stock pot from my DH for Christmas one year.  I asked for a large stock pot, and when asked how big I wanted it, I said very big.  And I got it.  I didn’t realize pots came in extra-large gigantic size.   OK, so it’s only a 20 quart pot, but still…

I was visiting family a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to make them a typical southern dish.  I knew they didn’t have Collard Greens up there, so couldn’t make them a good greens and cornbread meal.  And I was not about to schlep up some frozen greens with me.
Can you imagine the mess in your suitcase as they melt?  Never mind that they would probably refreeze when the plane gets up to 30,000 feet, but on the ground they’d just melt again.
Sorry, got sidetracked there.

I decided a Low Country Boil would probably be something they would enjoy, and I was pretty certain they’d never had one.    And best of all, I knew I could get all the ingredients there.  Well, with one exception, I wasn’t too sure about getting Old Bay Seasoning, so I brought a tin with me.  Which was a good thing, cause only one store had it, and that was what we call a sample tin down here.
I prepare for my cooking adventures.  In fact I think that was one of my Girl Guide motto’s, Be Prepared.  hmmm, gotta go check that one out.  Later.

My sister also let me take over her kitchen, and gee, she had a lovely large stock pot, which I filled to the brim.

I was feeding 14 people, so I prepared accordingly, and when a couple of people weren’t able to make it, we ended up with some leftovers, but leftovers are always good.  (I had some for breakfast the next day).

I’m going to tell you how much of each item I cooked, but please don’t be put off by the quantity, cause if you make this, you’ll scale it up or down according to how many people you feed.

5 lbs. small new potatoes or red potatoes.  Don’t use Russet or any mealy potato, it will just cook out to moosh or mush.
3 lbs. link smoked sausage, cut into thirds.  Use your favourite brand here.  And if you happen to have some lovely garlic sausage, throw that in.  It really goes well in here.
8 ears fresh corn, cut into thirds, or enough so each person gets at least one.
3 lbs. Shrimp, fresh or frozen, doesn’t matter.  If you prefer it shelled and deveined, go for it, again, does not matter.
1/2-3/4 cups Old Bay Seasoning (you can cut this down, but this is supposed to be a spicy dish.)
1-2 lemons, cut in half.
2-4 garlic cloves, optional
1-2 lbs. Crab (I didn’t have any, but you can add this if you like.

 

 

Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and sausages, about half way up the pot or a little more,  add the Old Bay Seasoning, the halved lemons and bring to a boil.
Cook until the potatoes are just almost done, and add the corn.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, and then add the uncooked shrimp.   I added the shrimp on top, and then stirred them in a little, just wanted to make sure they cooked.

 

Cook another 2-3 minutes and scoop out the shrimp when they’re cooked, set them aside for just a minute while you scoop out the rest of that luscious boil, and place on either a long flat platter, or dump the drained goodies on some newspaper spread out on a table outside. It’s kinda traditional to do that in the south.

The shrimp were cooked to perfection, the potatoes were done and the corn, well, let me put it like this, you don’t need butter when you cook them in some Old Bay.

We also served some crusty bread alongside, just cause.

Add the cooked shrimp on top and tell everyone to dig in.   You can eat this with your hands, but it gets kinda messy.  Just make sure you’ve got lots of napkins or Southern Style napkins handy.  Southern Style napkins would be that roll of paper towel.
We actually had two big platters and we all had more than enough to eat.

As you can see from this platter.   In retrospect, I guess we could have had less potatoes, but hey, when you’re cooking for a crowd, you want everyone to have enough to eat.

The next day I had some of the potatoes and sausage fried up for breakfast and we also took a good helping over to friends of my parents who also got to try some.

We did have dessert as well.    I made a Banana Pudding which is kind of a southern staple as well.    But I’ll share the how and where and when of that on another post.

Visiting and eating and having fun…


You may have noticed I’ve not been posting as much the past couple of weeks.
You didn’t?
I guess I covered my tracks pretty well.
I’ve visited family, eating, visiting some more, eating some more and now I’m home.
About time too, I tell you. Since when we get together we love to visit and share meals.
My clothes were getting a little tight.
All of my sibs are great cooks, which can present a problem, nah.
I had fun introducing them all to a Low Country Boil, along with some Cheese Grits and my Tomatillo Cheese grits, and a corn/tomato/okra dish. I’ll tell you all about that in another post, how to do a Low Country Boil, that is. I also made a Banana Pudding for dessert. Again, that will be a whole nother post.
I ate out a few times, for lunch actually. For today, I’ll just share some pictures of the food I enjoyed. I’ll share my dinner pictures later, don’t want you to drool too much on the keyboard.
Had this fabulous chicken sandwich at Just Jakes, I do love sweet hot Chile Sauce. They served this chicken patty on a bed of coleslaw on a Ciabatta Bun.  The bun was wonderful, and the salad served with it was really good as well, you can see it at the back there.  They also have a great choice of vegetarian and celiac friendly meals.  And they also brew their own beer.  I saw a porter being served at another table, and I want to try it the next time I’m there.
My sisters and I went out for Sushi one day, and it was also very good, they served it in a Bento Box, with a selection of veggies and a shrimp in a Tempura Batter. I need to practice making good Tempura. Really I do.   I think it would be a great Tapas dish, hmmm.   And the Sushi was good.   The meal also started with Miso Soup, and I think I’m in love with that as well.  Pardon the poor quality of the pictures, I took them with my phone and the camera in it is, well, let me just say it’s lacking.

 

 If I remember correctly the Sushi was Salmon and Halibut.   And it was good.
We were a little too early to pick up my great-niece at camp one day, so my older sister and I popped into the Crofton Hotel for lunch. She said it was a great place for lunch and she was right. I had fun reading the menu, and then I saw it.
Poutine.
I’ve wanted to try it, I mean I knew how good Fries and Gravy were, but adding some cheese to it, that takes it over the top and back again. I ordered it off of the Appetizer menu, and when it came out, was a tad surprised at how big the dish was. But with a little help, we made a good inroads on it. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I’m 3500 miles away from it, cause I think I could get into trouble.

I don’t know if you can see the steam coming from it, but I burnt my tongue on one of the fries.  Which is a good thing.   I hate cold fries.    I’m still dreaming about this.  My sister had the Calamari, but she still snuck a few of my fries.  Personally, I think it could have fed a couple more people, there was so much.  But I’m not complaining.

 So, if you’re in Crofton, B.C.  Check this place out.  You can even sit outside and watch the harbour.
We really didn’t eat all the time, but my last lunch out with family, we had taken a lovely long drive, my BIL drove through areas familar and not and we ended up in Chemainus for lunch. I’d expressed an interest in Fish and Chips, and they took me to the Harbourside Cafe.
I didn’t get Fish and Chips though.
The special of the day was Curry Chicken. It was offered served up on rice or coleslaw or french fries. My sister ordered hers with half rice and half coleslaw. So, I copied her. Thought it was a kinda strange combo, but, when in Rome.
I ate all the chicken and most of the coleslaw. And it was good. And this isn’t a real authentic curry, one might say it’s Canadian style curry. Basically, it’s a lovely curry sauce served over breaded deep-fried chicken. I’ve decided I need to experiment with trying to replicate that sauce.  Soon.
And I did get my Fish and Chips, well, I passed on the Chips, but I did get a nice piece of cod at Flynn’s Fish’n Chips in Mill Bay. An old school friend of mine and her husband own and run this little place (shameless plug here). I’d hoped to visit with her a bit, but our schedules didn’t mesh too good this trip.

 

My last meal out was Liver and Onions, not a meal I get to enjoy often, but boy when I can get it, I love it.  Again the pictures aren’t great, but the food was.  My phone camera just isn’t that good. But…
I had a lovely Porter with the liver and it was good.   I guess I should tell you where.  A little place called Dave’s Diner in Seattle.   I’ve actually eaten there a lot, cause it’s usually just down the road from my hotel, and haven’t had a bad meal there yet.   The decor is really fun, check out all the old license plates hanging on the walls.
I’ll tell you about some of the other great meals I got to enjoy, and share a few more recipes as well later on.
I’m so stoked, I learned how to make a killer, as in vampire killer, Caesar Salad dressing, with loads and loads of garlic. Gotta go now and get away from food thoughts, I’m making myself hungry, and I just ate not too long ago.

Well, gotta go and get some more chores done and start planning my meals for the next week.   I’m back in my kitchen again.

Sweet and Spice Wings #4


I’m still trying to get it right.  And until I do, I or my guests will just have to keep eating my attempts.
I’m talking about my sweet and spicy wings.  
I made some for Tapas last weekend, and they were closer to my vision of the taste I’m trying for.   Or at least the taste I remember from a few years back.  I’d gone out for Chinese food with one of my sisters and while the rest of the food we had was  meh, ok, I fell in love with the wings.   They were sweet, tangy, fruity and slightly hot.
Awhile ago I decided I wanted to try recreating those wings, so I started tinkering, and twiddling and playing around with wings trying to get it right.

This is attempt number 4, if you’re counting.  And each time I get a little closer to the taste I’m striving for.

First off, I cut the chicken wings into drums and flats and laid them out on a shallow, rimmed baking platter

I made a gastrique out of blackberry jelly and rice wine vinegar, added Oyster Sauce, some of the Ken’s Soy Ginger salad dressing I had in the fridge, about a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger from the frozen ginger root I keep in the freezer, sesame seed oil and more soy sauce.  Tasted it , then added a couple of minced garlic cloves.  Heated all that together until the garlic surrendered some of its garlickyness.   Then I threw in a couple of Thai Chile peppers and a few red pepper flakes.   I heated them up, let the cook just a tad, then tasted it again.   It was a little too twangy, so I added some local honey, and tasted it again.  And this time, it was about right.  I set the sauce aside while I cooked the chicken wings.

Here’s the full recipe:
2 lbs, wings, flats and drums
1/2 cup Blackberry Jelly
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
2-3 teaspoons honey, to taste
2-3 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup Ken’s Soy and Ginger Dressing
1 Tbsp grated ginger (from that piece of frozen ginger you have hiding in the freezer)
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1-2 Thai Chile Peppers
Sesame Seeds (optional)

Lay the chicken out in a single layer in a shallow rimmed baking pan.   Cook in a 350 deg. oven for 30 minutes.

While they are baking, prepare the sauce, by combining all the ingredients apart from the chicken and sesame seeds, in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, and take off the heat.

This is the local honey I used, it is Gallflower honey and was very good.

Pour a little of the sauce over the wings, or just brush them with the sauce and return to the oven.

I then turned the oven down to 250 degrees, and let the wings cook low and slow for about 20 minutes, basted them again, let them cook for another 20 minutes,

then did a final baste and turned the oven up to 450 degrees for a final 10 minutes or so.  You do need to monitor them at this point, but this will let you get a nice glaze on the wings.

Pulled them out of the oven, and then started taking pictures.

Well, I did sample a couple, had to make sure they were edible.  And they were.

I also decided they needed to be pynt up a little so I went out and raided the cilantro plant.

And there it is for attempt number 4.
Almost sounds like a song title, hmmm….