Monday, June 29, 2009

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Two Salads

Tonight I made a Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Garlic-Orange Vinaigrette, Curried Couscous Salad, and an Arugula Salad with Red Grapes and Sunflower Seeds. The combination of colors, textures and flavors was outstanding.

I had made the salads earlier in the day, so about an hour before dinner, I poured the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock, added the pork and let it marinate for an hour or so. Then I grilled it for about 15 minutes and dinner was ready.

As an added bonus, the kiddos are off to camp, so I didn't have to worry about who won't eat scallions, who's a vegetarian this week and whether we'd have additional bodies at the dinner table, all of which tend to derail my plans faster than you can say "teenagers."

If anyone wants the salad recipes, let me know, and I'll post them.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Garlic-Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 3

2 T. orange juice
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 lb. pork tenderlion
2 T. orange juice
1 T. olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
salt and pepper

Combine first 6 ingredients (orange juice through pork) in a large ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in blender or the cup of an immersion blender, combine vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Oil grill racks and grill pork for 3-4 minutes on each side, for a total of 12 - 20 minutes, or until pork is 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Let pork rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve pork drizzled with Garlic-Orange Vinaigrette.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beef Sliders, Act 1

I won't claim this is an original idea, but I had to post this recipe because of the amazing response I got from my family. I was testing this out for a party I'm doing, and before you could say "action" the family was in the kitchen, asking for a taste.
Act 1
(setting: kitchen, Anywhere, USA. Mother cooking, Darling Daughter at kitchen table talking. Teenage Son enters from stage left.)
TS: "What smells so good?"
Me: "Beef sliders."
TS: "I thought you said we could have pizza for dinner."
Me: "You can. I'm just testing this out. You can have this for lunch tomorrow."
(TS looks longingly at burgers, but sticks with his resolve not to eat his mother's cooking 3 days in a row and leaves the room.)
Darling Daughter: "Can I have one now?"
Me: "Sure. You can tell me how they are."
(Husband enters, stage left)
Husband: "Did you say 'Sliders'?"
Me: "Yes. Help yourself."
Husband: "Don't mind if I do."
(Silence. only chewing is heard)
DD: "Can I have another?"
Me: "You can have them for dinner later if you want, instead of pizza."
DD: "OK" (walks offstage)
Husband: "I'll have them for dinner, too."
(curtain closes)


Beef Sliders
Makes 24 sliders

1/2 cup dried onion flakes
2 pounds ground beef (at least 10% fat; 20% if you dare)
1/2 t. salt
freshly ground pepper
shredded cheddar cheese, if desired
24 dinner rolls
condiments of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Evenly spread dried onion on bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Gently pat the ground beef on top of the onion flakes to form one large patty. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and blot top of burger with paper towels to remove some grease. Top with cheese, if desired, and return to oven for 5 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Drain grease by tipping pan and pouring most of the grease out from one of the corners of the pan.
Cut burger into 24 portions (6x4). Place miniature burgers on dinner rolls and top with condiments of your choice.

This recipe comes from fellow bloggers Dinners for a Year and Beyond and Big Red Kitchen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Salad days

It's fun to eat your greens when you mix things up a bit. Instead of a boring old salad, how about some mache (pronounced "mosh," which the kids think is hysterical), a little walnut-crusted goat cheese, and a drizzle of white balsamic vinaigrette? Tracy Harrison, owner of Purpose LLC, recently told me that salad greens + dressing is an optimal combination, because the fat in the dressing helps you to absorb the fat-soluable vitamins in the greens. So don't skimp on the dressing!

Mache with Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mache (I found a nice box at Whole Foods; use about 1 cup per person)
Chopped walnuts (about 1 T. per goat cheese round)
Mild Goat Cheese (about 2 T. per round)
optional: sliced or shredded carrots, berries
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
salt and pepper

Arrange greens in a bowl. Add carrots or berries if using.

Slice goat cheese into rounds and roll in chopped walnuts. For an extra-delicious treat, place the goat cheese in the oven for a few minutes while you prepare the dressing, to get it warm and soft.

Make the dressing by placing all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or the cup of an immersion blender and processing until smooth.

Place the warm goat cheese on top of the greens and drizzle with dressing. Eat.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Love at first bite

Imagine my surprise when I dug into my Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse just now and the first spoonful came out shaped like a heart. I guess that's because I LOVE this dessert. Besides being airy and delicious, this mousse is and easy-peasy to make, and it satisfies my creamy-chocolatey craving like nobody's business.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse
Serves 6

1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1 1/2 cups all-natural semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces silken tofu
1/4 cup amaretto
fine-grain sea salt

Measure the soy milk in a glass measuring cup and then place in microwave for 1 minute on High.

Measure chocolate chips into a microwave-safe glass bowl and nuke for 3 minutes at 50% power. Stir. Chocolate should be melted.

Place soy milk and melted chocolate chips in blender. Add tofu and puree until smooth. Add amaretto and sea salt and blend until combined. Pour mousse into 6 individual serving dishes. Let chill in refrigerator at least 1 1/2 hours. Mousse will set up as it cools.

Adapted from "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson.

Eat your veggies!

Now that everything seems to be in season (well, almost everything), it's easy to incorporate lots of fresh, interesting vegetables in your meals. If you find yourself serving the same old vegetables day in and day out, shake things up a bit this summer. Visit a farm stand or farmer's market and pick up something fresh and vibrant.

This morning I homed in on a hefty bunch of organic carrots and a couple of zucchini as well as some fresh basil and thyme. I knew I'd be strapped for time (we attended a birthday party in New Hampshire this afternoon), so when I got home, I used two easy methods to get the vegetables cooked: oven roasting and sauteeing. In less than 30 minutes, I sliced and oven-roasted the carrots with some olive oil and fresh thyme (425 degrees). While they were in the oven, I shredded the zucchini and sauteed it in a bit of butter with garlic. When it was softened up, I topped it with fresh basil, sea salt, pepper and lemon zest. Meanwhile, I had a pot of quinoa cooking. Side dishes are done, no recipes required.