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Monday, March 29 2010
Monday, March 22 2010
A friend recently described his frustration with his latest cooking endeavors: On his dinner menu were vegetable curry and baked sea bass with polenta and spinach; two dishes he once watched a friend make. However, his concoctions were overcooked, under salted, and cold. Now, I wasn't there to taste his final product so for all I know, these dishes were delectable.
It's true that we tend to be our harshest critics, but for the sake of helping out a friend, I have to assume that there was some truth to his "I failed miserably on everything; I would've sent it back at a restaurant” statement.
This friend doesn't consider himself a "master chef," but he's not completely clueless in the kitchen either. He chose two advanced dishes to make because he loves a challenge. He needed some encouragement, so I e-mailed three manageable recipes from the Epicurious Quick & Easy section. The Spice Rubbed Steak with White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes, Easy Chicken Masala and a Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots. Hopefully these recipes will astonish even the harshest of critics.
Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots
Bon Appétit | January 2010
by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Pear nectar gives the sauce a sweet, luscious finish.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Mix oil, garlic, and chopped thyme in small bowl. Rub mixture over pork, shallots, and pears. Heat large ovenproof nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add pork and shallots; brown on all sides, turning, about 7 minutes. Transfer shallots to platter. Transfer pork to baking sheet (do not clean skillet). Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 145°F, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add pears to same skillet and cook over medium-high heat until brown on cut side, turning once or twice, about 4 minutes. Transfer pears to platter (do not clean skillet).
Mix butter and flour in small cup. Add broth, pear nectar, and butter mixture to same skillet; boil until sauce thickens, scraping up browned bits, about 7 minutes.
Slice pork; arrange on platter. Surround with pears and shallots. Drizzle sauce over pork. Garnish with thyme sprigs.
Wednesday, March 10 2010
St Patrick's Day, celebrated on March 17th, is a day full of Irish customs. From green bread to Guinness, there are many items you can serve if you're having a party. Here are a few ideas:
Most of the time, you will find an array of green items on the menu along with traditional Irish fare. Baked goods in particular lend themselves to being dyed green. To start off a menu you will need some traditional Irish beverages from Bailey's Original Irish Cream to Irish coffee, and on to Irish Whisky. From the drinks you will move to Irish Breads including Irish Spice Bread, Irish Soda Bread, and Irish Wheaten Bread. The Irish dinners may include baked stuffed herring, Irish sausages, beef in Guinness, Irish stew and many other types of delicious food.
For a typical Irish stew you will need 2 pounds of lamb, 8 medium potatoes sliced and peeled, 3 Spanish onions, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 2 cups water, salt and pepper to taste. Like any stew you will combine the ingredients in to a large pot with water and cook about an hour and a half.
Irish Scones are another great addition to the menu. You will need 1 cup of flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ pound of butter softened, 2 ounces sugar, 1 egg, 2 ounces milk, and fruit or nuts to add to the scones. Mix the ingredients together with the dry goods mixed separately, and then added slowly to the egg mixture. Then place the scones in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees, making sure the scones are light brown when they come out. Serve them with butter, cream, jelly, honey or marmalade.
Whatever you choose to serve on St Patrick's Day, traditional yet simple food often works best. That way, instead of being caught up worrying about the catering, you'll be kicking up your heels with your guests.
Tuesday, March 09 2010
Make These Easter Treats Your Easter Feast!
Easter Day and the Easter recipes we choose to cook play an important role in our lives.
Easter is about life; it's about springtime and welcoming back the flowers and birds; it's about a warmer sun on our backs and a renewed faith in all the good we want and believe in for everyone. Easter is a day to be with family. Easter is about love.
Yes, some people will think about new suits and new dresses and as a time for chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and colored eggs. Certainly a number of children will. But for me, Easter is about being with family and friends and enjoying a great meal with them.
I recently saw a statistic that says, despite the fact that the better restaurants seem packed with people on Easter, only 35 per cent of Americans go out for their Easter meal. That means 65 per cent of us either stay at home and cook or we are the guests of relatives who are doing so.
I will be cooking and preparing Easter dinner at my house this year for the first time in 24 years! I finally have a fully trained, very competent staff at my restaurant. They will handle everything at the business, allowing me to cook for my family, relatives and friends. I consider this a great honor, not a burden. This is one of the things I do best, and I enjoy it!
One of the most interesting things about Easter is that it is somewhat of a "melting pot" holiday, with traditions from many cultures and religions. But there is no doubt about it, food plays a big part of celebrations in every culture.
Not sure what to serve for Easter dinner? The recipes on this page are traditional Easter recipes, or would make good components to an Easter dinner. But don't stop your recipe search here on this page. This is only a sampling of what you will find on my website.
Ham is a traditional main course at this time of year, so I have included a wonderful ham recipe here, along with a secret restaurant appetizer recipe, a starch and vegetable to accompany the ham and a recipe for dessert - a fabulous Triple Chocolate And Vanilla Cheesecake.
But on my website I have many other Easter recipes from which to choose. Mix and match components of these menus or other recipes on the website to create your own perfect Easter dinner.
This Crab Artichoke Dip Appetizer is the all-time best selling appetizer at my restaurant, despite the fact that crab is expensive. The combination of ingredients is what drives the price but it is so good my restaurant guests buy it frequently. They have asked me for this crab recipe many times and, until now, it has always been one of my secret restaurant recipes.
Hot Crab Artichoke Recipe For 8-10
Preparation time: 15 minutesIngredients:
Serve with thinly sliced French bread and/or artisan crackers
Apricot Glazed Ham Recipe
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours. Serves 15.Ingredients:
Basic Scalloped Potatoes
Preparation time: 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.Ingredients:
Fresh Green Bean Recipe
Preparation time: 5 minutes (once your Dill Butter is prepared). Serves 4.Ingredients:
Dill Butter Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes. Makes enough for bean recipe above.Ingredients:
Triple Chocolate And Vanilla Cheesecake
Favorite Restaurant Dessert Recipe For Home Cooks
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Serves 12.Ingredients For Crust:
Enjoy your Easter recipes and the company of those you share them with! Cultivate the love!
Wednesday, March 03 2010
Eating right on a budget can be a challenge, but it's certainly not impossible. Consider this your cheat sheet to the 5 inexpensive foods you should eat everyday for optimum health.
#1 Leafy greens
Medical experts call them one of nature's miracle foods. Leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are high in nutrients like folate and vitamins A and C that can lower your risk of cancer. Just one cup of dark, leafy greens a day could also prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.
Many nutritionists recommend nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts because they're high in natural fiber. Fiber slows your digestive process, keeping hunger and unhealthy mid-afternoon snacks at bay. Goodbye vending machine runs!
Studies show that consuming onions on a regular basis may reduce symptoms of asthma and the risk of developing stomach cancer. Add them to soups and stir-fry, and just remember -- the stronger the onion, the greater the health benefit.
#4 Whole grains
Refined grains, like white rice and pasta, have lost 90% of their nutritional value through the refining process. As if that weren't reason enough to choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole oats, a recent study showed that a diet rich in whole grains actually flattens your belly by reducing fat storage in your lower abdominal region.
Making yogurt part of your daily eating routine can improve your digestion -- if you're buying the right stuff. Check that the label lists "active cultures" to make sure you're getting healthy probiotics, and pick a yogurt rich in vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.
Thanks for watching Real-Life Makeover! Tune in next week with more simple solutions to enrich your life.
Monday, March 01 2010
We have pasta night once a week (at least) at my house. There are lots of reasons why pasta makes it on our weekly dinner rotation—perhaps the best reason is that it’s fast. While I do love to cook, I have a 30-minute rule during the week: if a recipe won’t be ready in 30 minutes, I won’t make it! I save longer, more complicated recipes for the weekend, when I have more time to enjoy the process. The other reason I love pasta is its versatility. It’s a great way to enjoy traditional Italian sauces, but pasta also shines in Asian dishes, with untraditional toppings and more.
Here are 5 of my favorite pasta recipes, ready in 30 minutes (or less!).
Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta (recipe follows)—Here’s a way to use the “power vegetables” sweet potato and red bell pepper in a satisfying vegetarian pasta dish full of fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese. Any fresh herbs you have on hand, such as basil, oregano, sorrel or chives, can be substituted for the tarragon. Serve with a garden salad.
Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo—Sun-dried tomatoes and Romano cheese pack a flavorful punch along with the tantalizing aroma of fresh marjoram in this rustic Italian-inspired dish. Serve with sautéed fresh spinach or steamed broccolini.
Fusilli with Italian Sausage & Arugula—A whole teaspoon of black pepper along with a small amount of Italian turkey sausage deliver a piquant flavor without adding too much in the way of saturated fat and calories in this quick pasta dish. For maximum taste, use a high-quality cheese. Bonus: This one’s just for two.
Hoisin Beef & Edamame Noodles—Sweet hoisin sauce and tangy lime juice balance perfectly in this quick, colorful, Asian-inspired noodle dish. Make it a meal: Dress a cucumber salad with toasted sesame oil and lime juice and enjoy a cup of jasmine green tea.
No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese—Not only is this ultra-creamy version of mac-and-cheese nearly as fast as the boxed variety, but your family will be able to pronounce every ingredient. If they aren’t broccoli fans, substitute a frozen vegetable of your choice.
Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta
Here’s a way to use the “power vegetables” sweet potato and red bell pepper in a satisfying vegetarian pasta dish full of fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese. Any fresh herbs you have on hand, such as basil, oregano, sorrel or chives, can be substituted for the tarragon. Serve with a garden salad.
8 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions.
Makes 4 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.