Ina’s Herb-Marinated Loin of Pork

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Served for Christmas Lunch this year with Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad and Baked Apple Pancakes.  It’s from Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics” cookbook. So delicious and so easy!

Ingredients

3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp minced Garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh Rosemary (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
3 Pork Tenderloins (about 3 lbs.)

Combine everything (including 2 tsp salt in a 1 gallon ziploc bag. Mix really well. Add the pork tenderloins and coat with marinade. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven 400. Remove the pork tenderloins from the bag, letting excess liquids run off but keeping herby stuff on the meat. Place on a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit for another 10 minutes. Cut against the grain in 1/2″ slices.

The kids suggested that next time, I try a reverse sear on this, cooking it at 400 for 25-30 minutes and then broiling it for the last 5 minutes, to get a darker outer color. As long as you hit 145 degrees, either way is great.

Ina actually grills hers – for 15 to 25 minutes turning to brown all sides, until meat hits 137 degrees. Then she covers with foil and lets sit for 10 minutes.  Winter in Nebraska made grilling a no go – but even roasted, it was so delicious and easy!

I look forward to trying this marinade with boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breasts.

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

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Image courtesy of Joanna Kosinska – Unsplash

Someone brought this dip to Thanksgiving and we all loved it.  So I found a recipe and made it for a get-together with friends last night.  It is crazy easy, looks pretty on a plate and is difficult to leave alone!  (Based on a recipe from SnackinginSneakers.com but with a few changes.) Quite a few recipes called for twice as much sugar but this one was sweet enough.

Ingredients

12 oz fresh cranberries (one bag)
1 large jalapeno, quartered and chopped with stem, seeds and ribs removed
4 medium green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of Kosher Salt

Two 14 oz. pkgs cream cheese or vegan cream cheese

Add cranberries, jalapeno and green onions to a food processor. Buzz a couple of times until you no longer see large chunks of  cranberries.

Add everything else and buzz for 30 more seconds. Turn out into a medium bowl and stir gently for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved.

Let sit for 30 minutes. Dump into a strainer and let excess liquid drain away for 5 minutes or so. It doesn’t need to be completely dry – just don’t want liquid running all over the serving platter.

Open foil surrounding each brick of cheese and slice horizontally into two thin layers. (You may not need all of it depending on the size of your platter.)

On a large white platter, arrange cheese to form a long, flat rectangle in the center. Neaten up the corners and edges and smooth the top with a knife. (You can stop at this point, cover the platter with cream cheese and hold it until you’re ready to serve.)

To serve, scoop the cranberry mix over the center top of the cheese and gently nudge it so it just sort of spills over the edges of the cheese. If you’ve saved a couple of cranberries and some Cilantro, you can add a few to the top.

If you’ve dashed off from home and left those behind, it’s still very festive looking.

Serve with a nice wheat cracker.

Also fantastic with leftover chicken or turkey in a sandwich.

Shrimp with Orzo, Tomatoes, Dill, Lemon and Feta

Great dish for supper last night! I found the original recipe here, but made some changes:  I swapped out celery for fennel, lemon juice for lemon zest and dried dill instead of fresh, because it’s what I had.  It was supposed to also be baked for 8 minutes at 450, but it cooked just fine right on the stove.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb shrimp, peeled
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups celery, in bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1⁄8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1⁄2 lb orzo pasta
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup pitted kalamata olive, halved if large (small is fine intact)
1 1/2 Tbsp dried dill weed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2⁄3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
5 ounces feta, coarsely crumbled, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Dry shrimp with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add shrimp and cook 1 1/2 minutes per side, turning once. Remove to a plate, and turn heat down to medium.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to pan, and add celery, garlic, chili flakes, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.  Stir in white wine and let reduce for a minute or so.

Add orzo, garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, olives, dill, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add chicken broth, stir again and return shrimp to skillet.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.  Cook for 8 or 9 minutes until Orzo is cooked to al dente. If it seems to be getting too dry, add a little more chicken broth. Check seasonings.

Serve immediately, with feta sprinkled on.

Note:  you may want to cut the tomatoes in half, as they got very, very hot and kind of exploded into tomato napalm in our mouths.

Autumn Soup – a Very Reliable Form of Soup

My mom, Marilyn Hunter used to make Autumn Soup from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook and we loved it.  It was a pretty simple soup – but filling and delish.  I was pleased years later when I came across a reference to this soup while reading “A Girl Named Zippy” which is a wonderful autobiography by Haven Kimmel.

Haven grew up in Mooreland, Indiana and approached life with an irrepressible spirit.  She mentions that her friend’s mother made Autumn Soup, which she called “a very reliable form of soup.”  So if you get a chance, order the book, read it and make Autumn Soup to celebrate Marilyn, Haven Kimmel and reliable food!

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups water
1 cup each chopped carrots and celery
1 cup diced potatoes (peel first if needed)
2 tsp salt
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
2 fresh tomatoes, diced

Heal oil in a dutch oven. Add ground beef and brown. Add onions and cook stirring frequently for several minutes. Add all other ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes. Check seasoning and serve.

Note: The original recipe called for six fresh tomatoes completely intact added to the pot. Each bowl would get a giant tomato smack in the middle of the bowl, but my Mom never made it like that, and six diced tomatoes would just be too much.

 

Cajun-Roasted Cauliflower

cauliflowerFor a recent party, we served Po’Boys and for my vegan friends I made them with Cajun-roasted Cauliflower. It was crazy easy and makes a wonderful sandwich.

4 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Emeril’s Rustic Rub (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix oil and Rub in a large bowl. If you like things really spicy add 1/2 tsp more of Rub, but generally 1 tsp Rub is plenty.

Add cauliflower and toss well to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake 25 – 30 minutes tossing occasionally. You want the edges of the cauliflower to start browning up. Serve immediately.

Emeril’s Rustic Rub (From Louisiana Real and Rustic Cookbook)

8 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp onion powder
2 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme

Blend well and store in an airtight jar. Will keep for a couple of months.

Apple Upside Down Cake

applesI love Fall, when apples are abundant! We always buy way too many, but upside down cake (who doesn’t love upside down cakes?) is a wonderful way to use them up. This recipe,  which  came in the mail from a clever local realtor, is dead easy and not overly sweet. I had Gala apples so I used those, but you could use almost any apple.

Caramel Base
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp Cinnamon

4 large apples, peeled and sliced
6 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt

Cake
6 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup milk.

In a skillet, heat caramel base ingredients together for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until slightly thickened.  Pour into a quiche pan. Rinse and wipe out skillet and add butter, apples and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and spread evenly over the caramel in the quiche pan.

Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla and eggs. Blend dry ingredients and add by a third at a time, alternating with milk beating well after each addition.  Pour batter over the apples and bake for 35 minutes at 350.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes and flip onto a large platter.  Enjoy warm as is, or with a scoop of ice cream. Delish!

Spinach & Cheese Quiche

We had a full house in August, and for brunch one Sunday morning, I decided to make quiche. But I needed a hearty vegetarian version, as some of our guests don’t eat meat. This one was quick, delish and disappeared in no time!

I’ve posted a spinach and cheese quiche previously, but this one is a little different, and uses a lot more spinach and cheese.  (Whenever possible, I like to double or even triple the normal amount of vegetables in a dish, without compromising on the flavor.)

If you have the time, you can make a home-made pie crust, adding some of the same seasonings that are in the quiche, but a pre-made crust is so much quicker.

1 Pre-made pie crust, thawed

5 eggs
1 cup milk
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (a microplane makes it super easy!)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2-3 cups of sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Lay pie crust in a quiche pan and set aside. (It will be too small, but that’s fine.)

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

In a large frying pan, melt butter. Add onion and saute until translucent and slightly golden. Add garlic and saute a couple of minutes more. Start adding spinach by handfuls, stirring as it wilts.

Scoop onion/spinach mixture into crust and smooth out in a fairly even layer. Sprinkle cheese over spinach. Carefully pour egg mixture over the spinach and cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes. Check to see if done by wiggling the dish slightly. If it is still “sloshy” in the middle leave in a few more minutes. It will continue solidifying as it cools.

Let cool 10 minutes and then serve.

Note: if I’d had them, I’d have sauteed and added a package of sliced mushrooms.  You can also try a different cheese – Gruyere or even part Gruyere would be delicious.  And you can use almost any vegetable, but make sure to dry it out through sauteing, or squeezing liquid out so it doesn’t dilute the egg mixture.

Enjoy!