Archive for June, 2009

Cool Oreo Mint Ice Cream

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

David’s favorite treat at Dairy Queen is the Mint Oreo Blizzard. And who doesn’t like those Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies? It’s really kind of surprising that it took us this long to make this Mint Oreo Ice Cream from the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Book. As expected, it was delicious.

You know, from time to time, I toy with the idea of picking up another book of ice cream recipes, but I’ve just been so happy with this one, I don’t ever really see the need. The Ben & Jerry’s ones have been great every time.

mint oreo ice cream

Cool Oreo Mint Ice Cream
Adapted from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

  • 12-15 coursely chopped Oreo cookies
  • 2 large or extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the peppermint extract and blend again.

2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker. Add while the mixer is on the low setting, then turn it up to high.

3. Once the ice cream has stiffened (about 2-3 minutes before it is done) add the chopped cookies and continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.

When it’s done in the ice cream machine, the ice cream will be the consistency of soft-serve. Freeze for at least two hours for a solid, scoopable ice cream.

Note: The recipe above makes a white, vanilla-looking ice cream. I added a few drops of green food coloring to make it look more minty. 🙂

Pork Wellington

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

And pork week continues…

The so-called “Pork Week” actually began on Sunday afternoon, watching an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats called Tender is the Pork. Part of the reason we bought the giant pork loin at Costco later that afternoon was that this recipe had caught my eye while watching the show. Pork Wellington is a new spin on Beef Wellington, which is made with rich beef tenderloin and mushroom paste wrapped in flaky puff pastry. I’ve never had Beef Wellington before, because anywhere that would serve it doesn’t care at all how “well done” I’d like my beef tenderloin–it’s always going to come out relatively rare. Pork tenderloin, however, is a whole different story.

This recipe incorporates apples and mustard, two classic pork companions, along with fresh herbs to create a whole new kind of “Wellington,” with tasty, juicy pork wrapped in delicate, flaky pastry.

IMG_2073

Alton Brown’s Pork Wellington
Adapted from Good Eats

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-ounce dried apple rings
  • 1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
  • 4 1/2 ounces thinly slice prosciutto ham
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed completely
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F.

2. Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the apple rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.

3. Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin. Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, creating 2 separate pieces. Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same size at the ends.

4. Lay out a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper on the counter and arrange the pieces of prosciutto in the center, overlapping them enough to create solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin. Top with a second piece of parchment, and using a rolling pin, roll over the prosciutto to help adhere the pieces to each other. Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the prosciutto with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the tenderloin down the middle of the prosciutto. Spread the dried apples in between the 2 pieces of tenderloin and push back together so the apples are held between them. Using the parchment paper to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to completely enclose in a package.

5. Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the pastry to 12 by 14 inches. Spread the mustard thinly in the center of pastry and lay the prosciutto wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry on the mustard. Fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, then roll to completely enclose, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal. Turn the tenderloin over so the side of the tenderloin with the double thickness of pastry is underneath. Pinch the ends of the pastry to seal.

6. Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash. Place the tenderloin on a parchment lined half sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F.

7. Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: One of the greatest things about this recipe was how SIMPLE it was. It looks complicated. It looks fancy. In reality, it took 10-15 minutes to prep, and just 30 minutes in the oven. I’d recommend it for entertaining too, as it can be prepped ahead and just cooked quickly right before dinner. Of course, with such little fuss, it’s awesome for a weeknight dinner, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-ounce dried apple rings
  • 1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
  • 4 1/2 ounces thinly slice prosciutto ham
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed completely
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Directions

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F.

Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the apple rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.

Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin. Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, creating 2 separate pieces. Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same size at the ends.

Lay out a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper on the counter and arrange the pieces of prosciutto in the center, overlapping them enough to create solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin. Top with a second piece of parchment, and using a rolling pin, roll over the prosciutto to help adhere the pieces to each other. Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the prosciutto with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the tenderloin down the middle of the prosciutto. Spread the dried apples in between the 2 pieces of tenderloin and push back together so the apples are held between them. Using the parchment paper to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to completely enclose in a package.

Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the pastry to 12 by 14 inches. Spread the mustard thinly in the center of pastry and lay the prosciutto wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry on the mustard. Fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, then roll to completely enclose, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal. Turn the tenderloin over so the side of the tenderloin with the double thickness of pastry is underneath. Pinch the ends of the pastry to seal.

Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash. Place the tenderloin on a parchment lined half sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

You’re going to be seeing a few different pork recipes coming up. That’s because David and I bought a giant (over 6 pound) pork loin at Costco. It was very reasonably priced, and we bought it, intending to butcher it into loin chops and freeze them or something. Instead, we just ate pork for dinner for about a week straight.

You’d think that would’ve gotten old, but really, it was delicious. I ended up making Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, which you’ll see here, but also Roasted Pork, Pork Wellington, and Stuffed Pork Chops. I almost snuck pork into the risotto we had one night, but I decided to go with our more traditional grilled chicken at the last minute.

These pork tenderloin sandwiches are very tasty. If you’ve never had one, you’re definitely missing out. It’s pork, pounded thin, breaded and fried. You serve them on a bun, like burgers, and while some people top them with anything you might put on a burger for me, the only thing that belongs on a pork tenderloin sandwich is mustard and pickles.

IMG_2071

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

  • 1 pound pork loin or pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into four thick slices.
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bisquick
  • 1/2 cup coarsely-crushed saltine crackers
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • large sandwich buns for serving
  • 1 tablespoon butter

1. Pound out each piece of pork with meat mallet until it is very thin. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick. It will be larger around than the bun you eat it on–that’s how it should be.

2. Place flour in a shallow bowl, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. In a second shallow dish, lightly beat the two eggs. In a third shallow dish, mix together the bisquick and cracker crumbs. The crackers should be broken up, but not completely turned to dust.

3. Bread each pork tenderloin piece on all sides by dredging in flour, dipping in egg, and then in the bisquick/cracker crumbs mixture. You may have to press to get some of the cracker crumbs to stick–that’s okay.

4. In a large cast-iron skillet, preheat about an inch and a half of vegetable oil. It should be hot enough that if you put your hand close to the pan, you can feel the heat radiating off of the surface of the oil, and the surface will start to shimmer ever so slightly. When the oil is ready, place the tenderloin pieces in a single layer in the skillet, and fry until they are golden and crispy, turning once about halfway through. Because the pork is pounded out so thin, this only takes about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove to a platter lined with paper towels.

5. While the pork tenderloin pieces are cooking, spread a little bit of butter over each half of the sandwich buns. On a griddle or in a large flat-bottomed skillet, grill the sandwhich bun halves over medium high heat until they are warm and toasted.

6. Serve each pork tenderloin piece on a grilled sandwich bun, with whatever burger fixings you like. Personally, mustard and pickles works just fine for me, but some people go all out with ketchup-mustard-pickles-lettuce-tomato-onion-mayo…Do what you like!

Smashed-Down Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

This is one of those recipes that’s so bad for you, you know it’s going to be amazing. It’s a fried potato side dish from Guy Fieri, topped with crispy bacon, shredded Parmesan cheese, and a tangy sour cream topping. The best part is that it starts with whole baby yukon gold potatoes, which are boiled and then smashed down into the best of both worlds: a flat potato that crisps up all around the edges, but with a smooth, creamy, almost mashed-potato texture at the center.

Smashed-Down Potatoes with Bacon & Cheese
Adapted from Guy’s Big Bite

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 pounds baby Yukon potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan (freshly grated, no green cans!)

In small mixing bowl combine sour cream, mustard, and white wine. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In large stock pot cover potatoes with water and add 2 tablespoons salt. Set heat on high and boil until fork tender.

In a large saute pan over medium heat cook bacon and saute onions until caramelized. Transfer bacon and onions from pan on to a paper towel to absorb grease. Distribute evenly on a platter and keep warm. Leave remaining fat in pan.

When potatoes are fork tender, drain, and with a clean kitchen towel, palm smash the hot potatoes to approximately 1/3-inch thick.

Reheat fat in saute pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat to oil medium heat and place potatoes in oil. Season with salt and pepper and brown on both sides, then transfer to onion and bacon platter. Repeat, adding more oil, until all potatoes are cooked crispy.

Top potatoes with Parmesan and then with sour cream mixture.

Note: Be sure to keep an eye on the potatoes–I didn’t have any trouble the first time I made this recipe, but this time, I think I let them go a little too long. These had a tendancy to start to crumble when I smashed them, which made it harder to fry the smashed-down potatoes intact.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Turns out, I won’t have much time for blogging tonight. I’m going to dinner (here) and a movie (Up!) with some friends in celebration of my birthday. Yay birthdays!

I’ve even gotten a few presents already, including a couple that I’m sure you’ll be seeing around here:

Rachael Ray’s 365 30 Minute Meals: No Repeats

rayray

and

The Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, which is so adorable I can’t stand it!

green-eggs-ham-cookbook

With that, I’m off to celebrate my birthday, but I’ll be back tomorrow with a tasty potato recipe. Stay tuned.

French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I’ve had my eye on this recipe since I first got the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook for Christmas. I think I even pointed it out to David while I was skimming through it around the Christmas tree at Grandma’s house.

Looking for something to make on a lazy Saturday, I flipped through Back to Basics and noticed this recipe right away. I was surprised I’d never gotten around to making it, because really, it was one of the first recipes I earmarked in this book.

When it came time, though, I ended up skipping the whole steak part. We had some good quality New York Strip steaks on hand, so I didn’t feel justified going out and buying the hanger steaks that the original recipe calls for. Plus, we don’t have a grill at our apartment (yet, anyway). So basically, I borrowed Ina Garten’s recipe for Provencal Butter to melt over the steaks, and stuck with our usual method for cooking steaks: Alton Brown’s, shown in this post.

Even so, I have to say that I was impressed. Dave and I were both unsure about the butter on steak thing. I know it’s traditional, I know it’s common, and I know people like it, but it just never sounded that great to me. I’ve been converted. This herb butter brought such great flavor to the steak. When you sliced into the meat, the butter just melted down into every piece. It was really fantastic.

I also got to use my herbes de Provence from The Spice House!

steak

Barefoot Contessa’s French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook

For the butter:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

For the steaks:

  • 4 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • kosher salt and coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 hanger steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each

For the butter, put the garlic, capers, chives, thyme, zest, and pepper in the small bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until completely mixed. Transfer butter mixture to a piece of parchment and roll it into a log, twisting the ends (like an old-timey piece of candy). Store in the refrigerator.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill.

Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle each one with herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to take the chill off of the meat.

When the grill is hot, grill the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Place the steaks on a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the meat crosswise diagonally and serve hot with one or two pats of the prepared butter on top.

Note: I’m sure this was not the last time that I’ll make an herb butter like this. We used the leftover butter on baked potatoes, crackers, and slices of bread–it was very versatile. I can imagine 100 different flavor combinations, too!


French Toast & Green Beans (Not Together)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I’ve got a couple of new photos up over at Photograzing.

In the future, you can check out my Photograzing contributions by clicking on the “Photograzing” link at the top right corner of the blog (right under the whisk!). It’ll take you straight to my Photograzing profile, which shows not only what pictures I’ve contributed, but what pictures I’m favoriting and commenting on. Think of it as a sneak preview of things I might be making soon! 😉

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Oddly enough, I am in love with sweet potato fries. I don’t know when it happened, really. I can’t stand the Thanksgiving marshmallow monstrosity casserole, and I have never been tempted by the football sized baked sweet potatoes they serve at steak house restaurants. But sweet potato fries are a whole different story.

There’s a bar across the street from us that has great sweet potato fries, and in general, I’m excited whenever I come across them on a menu. Finally, I decided to make my own. We seldom deep fry things around here, so I opted for a baked version.

They turned out pretty well, though a touch too dark (oops!). If you like french fries, I don’t know why you wouldn’t like sweet potato fries. They’ve got the same crispy texture but tend to have a lot more flavor. Sweet potatoes are also better for you than regular white potatoes, with more fiber and more vitamins. Plus, french fries are such old news…sweet potato fries even look cooler!

sweet-potato-fries

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

  • 1 1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled (2 medium potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • hot sauce, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon, and they had just the right amount of heat for me)
  • extra salt, for seasoning
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into and toss with the oil, adobo seasoning, cinnamon, and hot sauce. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until the “fries” are tender and crisp, about 40 minutes.

3. Season with additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.

Note: I’m kind of a whimp when it comes to hot sauce, so you could certainly add more if that’s what you like. I wasn’t going for something very spicy, just a little bit of heat to balance the sweetness, and that’s what I got. The cinnamon is just for little something extra–it brings out a little bit of the sweetness in the potatoes without being overpowering. I normally use cumin in my spice blend for sweet potatoes, but the adobo seasoning added the perfect amount of salt and in addition to the smoky cumin flavor.

Burg’s French Toast

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

When I wrote about Molly Wizenberg’s new book, A Homemade Life, I mentioned that reading the book inspired me to get into the kitchen immediately and start cooking. There’s no better example of that than the Saturday morning that I hopped out of bed, where I was spending a lazy morning reading, to make Burg’s French Toast.

For the most part, this is a basic french toast recipe. Nothing special in the ingredients list anyhow. The difference comes in the cooking method–this french toast is fried in oil, almost deep fried, which gives it a crispy coating, while keeping the inside a soft, almost custard-like filling. It was delicious.

The results reminded me of Alton Brown’s french toast, but with much less fuss. AB suggests starting it in a skillet, then baking it in the oven to get the crispy outside/soft inside. This was much easier.

Burg’s French Toast
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • canola or other flavorless oil, for frying
  • 6 to 8 slices of day-old bread, cut on the diagonal, about 3/4″ thick.
  • Pure maple syrup, for serving

1. In a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk the eggs with milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg until blended.

2. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until you can feel warmth radiating from it. The oil is ready when a drop of the egg mixture flicked gently into the pan sizzles on contact.

3. Meanwhile, once the oil is ready, put two or three slices of bread into the egg mixture, allowing each side to soak for between 30 seconds and a minute. They should be heavy, but not falling apart.

4. Carefully place the soaked bread slices into the oil. They will sizzle, and oil will bubble up around the edges. The toast cooks very quickly, so keep an eye on them, flipping them every one or two minutes.

5. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel and allow to sit for a minute or two before serving. Repeat with the remaining bread. Serve french toast hot with pure maple syrup.

Note: Molly recommends using “French Bread” with a soft, light crumb and thin crisp crust. And for half of the french toast, that’s exactly what I used. But for the other half, I used leftover (slightly stale) hamburger buns. I used a bread knife to very lightly trim the crusty top and bottoms off of the bun, and it worked surprisingly well.

I’m also indebted to Leah’s parents, who sent her real Maple syrup from their own trees, and to Leah, for being kind enough to share it!

June is National Candy Month

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Happy June 1st, everyone!

Apparently, June is National Candy Month.

It’s also National Seafood Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Dairy Month, and National Iced Tea Month. Oh, and National Don’t Eat Cheese After Noon Month, but I say eat cheese whenever you like, so we won’t be celebrating that particular “holiday” around my place.

I was surprised to see that June was National Candy Month–I would have expected October, because of all that Halloween candy.

halloween-candy

Or even Christmas or Easter which are big candy holidays.

christmas-candy easter-candy

Of course, June is a big wedding month, and thinking back to this time last year, when we were getting everything ready for our August wedding, Candy was a pretty big focus of mine. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t all that concerned with, as far as details went. I let my girls pick their own dresses and shoes, for instance. And I didn’t even bother with programs. We chose basic DIY centerpieces. But the candy buffet really caught my imagination.

The basic idea is a table full of different kinds of candy, in all different containers. Guests are given a bag or box to fill up, and then can grab whatever they like. It sounds simple, but I had a very specific image in mind–and I acheived it.

I wanted it to be pretty, but also striking. Though we had more candy than we needed, I wanted the candy itself to make a statement–to be kind of overwhelming. An elegant sort of Willy Wonka corner at the wedding. Oh, and I wanted it to match our colors, that is, to be all blue and white.

And it was. I stacked a table full of anything blue and/or white I could find. Lindt dark chocolate truffles and solid Lindt milk chocolate blossoms. Blue gummy bears, and blue gummy fish and blue and white gummy sharks. Jelly Belly jelly beans in Blue Raspberry, Blueberry, and  Coconut. White chocolate covered raisins. White chocolate covered pretzels. Blue and white Whirly Pops. A bouquet of Blue Raspberry blow pops. Rice Krispies Treats and blue Peeps and twelve pounds of Blue Raspberry Twizzlers. Salt-water taffy in vanilla and blueberry and blue raspberry. White heart-shaped mints. Blue & white Giant Pixie Sticks. Blue-raspberry Bubble Tape for the kids. Blue sour-patch kids. Vanilla Tootsie Rolls (in the blue and white wrappers, of course!). Island Fruit Punch Laffy Taffy (it comes wrapped in blue, for some reason). Hershey’s Truffles and Almond Joy bars. Blue lollipops shaped like flowers. White rock candy.

teris-buffet

teris-buffet2

Yes, it was expensive. And yes, it was time consuming. But I still say it was worth it, even if all I have to show for it is two pictures taken by the photographer while everyone was already attacking the table (it’s showing some signs of plunder in the pictures, for sure). I still get complimented on the candy buffet at family gatherings. Everyone enjoyed it, and that’s what it was all about.

So as you can imagine, compared to last June, candy hardly even exists to me these days. I don’t think I’ll ever have to think about candy quite so much ever again.

I’d like to finish this up with two polls. First, if you happened to be at my wedding last year, what was your favorite part of the candy buffet?

What was your favorite part of Teri & Dave's Candy Buffet?

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Second, (for everyone, not just people who weren’t at the wedding) what’s your favorite kind of candy?

What's your favorite kind of candy?

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