Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

I love the smoky heat of chipotle peppers.  I love chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and I love dried chipotle powder.  I can’t seem to get enough of them, and I will soon be sharing more recipes to prove it!  I’m afraid you’ll be sick of hearing about chipotle peppers before I’m finished. 

I’m not sure I can say I love pork tenderloins, but they are convenient for weeknight meals. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy pork tenderloins, but like chicken breasts I got tired of how I fixed them.   This rub was just what I needed to enjoy pork tenderloin again.   The rub was delicious on its own, but I added the apple jelly glaze to intensify the sweet and spicy combination of the rub.  My family enjoyed this pork tenderloin for dinner too.  Always a plus!

I had forgotten how easy and quick pork tenderloin is to make for a weeknight dinner.  Do you have a good pork tenderloin recipe?  Let me know.  I’d like to expand my pork tenderloin repertoire

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin
click here for a printable version of the recipe.

2 pork tenderloins.

2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons chipotle powder, separated
1 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup apple jelly

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high.

Mix together the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, paprika, coriander, garlic salt and kosher salt.  Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork tenderloins. 

Heat the apple jelly until it becomes smooth, and add ½ teaspoon chipotle powder.

Place the pork tenderloins on the grill.  Grill the pork for 15-18 minutes or until you get a temperature of 155°F, turning the pork often.  In the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking, brush on the apple jelly mixture.  Take off the heat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baked Oatmeal with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

My baby turned 10 last week, and he wanted a sleepover birthday party.  At first I was reluctant, but my daughter had a slumber party for her 10th birthday, so I could hardly refuse to let my son have one.  I don’t know what I was worried about.  Actually, I know exactly what I was worried about.  My daughter’s sleepover was fraught with crafts and drama, and I just didn’t know how a boy’s party would shake out.  Boy’s parties are much easier than girl’s parties!  The boys came over ate pizza, played hide-and-seek and watched Avatar.  They did stay up too late, but that’s what a sleepover is for, after all.   In the morning they ate breakfast, and went back to playing hide-and-seek.  This was my son’s best party yet…

I know what you’re thinking.  Did she actually serve Baked Oatmeal with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote to a bunch of 10-year-old boys?  No, I made waffles, but I wanted to serve this, if only so I could have it again.  I love strawberries and rhubarb together, and the compote with its sweet tart flavors, was absolutely delicious.  The oatmeal was no slouch in the flavor department either.  The cinnamon and vanilla add a sweetness that enabled me to keep the sugar to a minimum.  I added a tablespoon of maple syrup to a cup of Greek yogurt to top the oatmeal and fruit.  I loved this breakfast, and I want this again now!

Baked Oatmeal with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
Click Here for a Printable Recipe
2 cups steel cut oats
2 quarts water
2 cups milk (I used fat free, but you could use whatever you have on hand)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt

Soak the oats overnight in the 2 quarts of water. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F, and grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Drain the oats and pour them into a large bowl.  In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks, and mix into the oats.  Add the milk, brown sugar, canola oil, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and salt.  Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

Serve with strawberry rhubarb compote and top with yogurt.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 lb Rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
1 lb Strawberries, hulled and quartered
¼ to ½ cup vanilla sugar (I store some sugar with vanilla pods to give the sugar a vanilla flavor.)
juice from 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix together the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and orange zest, and place in a non-reactive baking dish and cover.  Bake for 10 minutes, and then add the strawberries.  Cook uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and the syrup is bubbling.  Serve with ice cream or over baked oatmeal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grilled Herb Chicken with Vinaigrette

With all the rain we’ve been having this year, the garden is looking especially green and beautiful, and my herb garden is no exception.  I have a plethora of oregano, thyme and rosemary.  I suppose I could dry the herbs or freeze them, but their fragrant leaves call to me to use them fresh.  I think I’ve hit on a good way to use my fresh herbs.   Grilled Herbed Chicken with Vinaigrette is fresh and flavorful, and tastes like spring. 

I used a mixture of thighs and breasts since that is what I had on hand.  My husband was late coming home from work on Sunday, so I had to grill these babies myself.  I think I did a good job, but don’t tell Les I said so.  He is the “grill master” in this family!

Grilled Herb Chicken with Vinaigrette

6 Boneless skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or a mixture)
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
Juice from 2 lemons, separated
4 Tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon, tequila or dry white wine
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt, separated

In a small bowl, combine the oregano, juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, rosemary, tequila or wine, garlic, lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the marinade mixture, and place it in a small bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of the remaining lemon and ½ teaspoon salt.  Set the vinaigrette aside.

Place chicken in a non-reactive baking dish, and poke the chicken all over with a fork.   Pour the marinade over the chicken and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.  Preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve whole or sliced with the vinaigrette spooned over the top.

Click here for a printable version of Grilled Herb Chicken with Vinaigrette

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Olives

I’ve been branching out in the world of vegetables lately.  I have always eaten and enjoyed my veggies (with the exception of brussel sprouts), but I am uninspired when it comes to cooking vegetables.  My instinct is to smoother vegetables in cheese sauce or mayonnaise (Thanks, Mom!).  My health conscience mind shies away from these treatments.  So, I struggle to get tasty vegetables on the table.  I usually resort to serving salad.

I want my kids to grow up loving vegetables.  I have high hopes for my daughter.  She tried brussel sprouts at a recent dinner party we attended, and she liked them!  Les and I shook our heads in awe and confusion (he feels the same way about brussel sprouts as I do).  I have also been able to get my son to eat cabbage and swiss chard, but I still need to offer more variety.

When I saw this recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Olives in Cooking Light, I thought I had it made!  My son loves anything with olives, and I thought my daughter would enjoy the flavors.  I couldn’t wait to try this vegetable recipe.

I love the tart and spicy flavors of the red pepper, olives and lemon juice.  The flavors paired well with the cauliflower adding a brightness that was delicious.  I didn’t love the chickpeas in this dish.  After roasting in the oven for 20 minutes, the chickpeas were rubbery and dry.  I love chickpeas for their plump texture and nutty flavor, but that was lost in the roasting.  That being said, I will still make Roasted Cauliflower again, but I will wait to add the chickpeas until the end, so they can heat up without drying out.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Olives
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
24 Spanish olive, sliced in half
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Juice from one lemon
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Combine the cauliflower, olives and garlic on a sheet pan.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and salt, and drizzle with the olive oil.  Toss well to coat.  Bake the cauliflower mixture for 18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned and crisp tender and the chickpeas are warm.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley and serve.  Serves 6.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Slaw

I'm sorry I haven’t posted in over a week, but we took a quick trip to Lake Tahoe.  My son has been begging us for a snowboarding trip for months, but with all of our busy schedules, this was the first opportunity we had to get away.  It was a beautiful spring weekend in the snow, but I’m a little behind this week.  I have piles of laundry waiting to be folded, and I had to make a quick trip to the store after work since my cupboards were bare.  I needed something easy and quick to make for dinner, so I chose Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Slaw.  

I don’t usually re-post recipes, but Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Slaw has become a family favorite, and I’ve tweaked the cilantro slaw enough, I wanted to share my new recipe.   This is one of my go-to dinner recipes when I know I’m going to be busy.  But, the best thing about these tacos is the kids love them.  When the kids find out we are having Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Slaw they are thrilled, and I’m thrilled my son is eating cabbage and enjoying it!  

Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appétit  
2 14-ounce cans black beans
½ teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons canola oil
12 6-inch corn tortillas

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Place the black beans and cumin in a bowl and partially mash. Brush oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Place two or three tortillas in skillet. Add ¼ cup of bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla, and cook one minute. Fold in half and cook about one minute on each side or until golden brown. Fill tacos with feta cheese and Cilantro Slaw.

Cilantro Slaw
1 16-ounce bag of coleslaw mix (I use the ready made coleslaw mix for convenience, but you could thinly slice a head of cabbage)
6 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon salt

Place coleslaw mix, onions and cilantro in a large bowl, set aside.  In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, limejuice, jalapeño and salt until smooth and creamy.  Pour the mayonnaise mixture into the coleslaw and mix well.

Click here for a printable version of the recipe.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Popcorn Balls

My son has been bringing home cookbooks from his school’s library lately.  He isn’t much into reading. (I’m sure this is fairly normal for a 9-year-old boy, though the rest of the family doesn’t understand since we are all voracious readers.  Maybe he will grow to love reading.)  He brings home the cookbooks, and wants to cook with me.  I love this!  I promised to make candy with him last weekend. 

It was a beautiful weekend in northern California, so we spent most of Saturday gardening.  On Sunday we squeezed in some time to make popcorn balls.  Les and my son popped the popcorn, and then my son and I made the candy syrup to coat the popcorn.  This is a really simple recipe.  Just make sure the candy is cool enough before you handle the coated popcorn.  The candy stays hot on the bottom of the pan (don’t ask how I know!).

The popcorn balls are sweet and delicious, and the kids loved taking them to school for a snack.

Popcorn Balls

Adapted from Candy (I forgot to write down the authors before my son took the book back to the library.)
(For a printable version of this recipe click here.)
12 cups popped popcorn
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup dark corn syrup
½ cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter for your hands

Pop the popcorn ahead of time place on a baking sheet, and keep it warm in a low oven.   I popped the popcorn in our popcorn popper, and didn’t add salt.

Combine the sugars, corn syrups, butter, water, vinegar and salt in a large saucepan, and cook covered over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Cook the mixture over medium high heat to 250°F using a candy thermometer to determine the temperature.  Take the pan off the heat, and add the vanilla.

Remove the popcorn from the oven and pour the candy mixture evenly over the popcorn.  Stir until the popcorn is coated. 

When the popcorn is cool enough to handle (The candy is very hot, make sure you cool it enough before you handle it!) coat your hands with butter, and shape the popcorn into balls.  Store the popcorn balls wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.  Makes 12 to 15 popcorn balls.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

I don’t know about you, but in a couple of days I’m going to have more hardboiled eggs than I’ll know what to do with.    In past years, I’ve made deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.  This year I decided to be proactive and try a different deviled egg recipe. 

I had a couple of chipotle peppers leftover from my Orange Chipotle Glaze, and I love the smoky spicy flavors of the pepper, so I decided to experiment with them in deviled eggs.  I added the cumin to add a little complexity to the pepper and egg mixture.   The chipotle adds a little heat right at the end, but the eggs weren’t too spicy.

I loved these deviled eggs, but Les and my daughter were ambivalent.  They are both more traditionalists when it comes to deviled eggs.  If you are looking for something different to try with your hardboiled eggs, try Chipotle Deviled Eggs.  

If you have ideas for hardboiled eggs, please let me know.

Chipotle Deviled Eggs
6 eggs, hardboiled
3 to 4 tablespoons of Mayonnaise
½ chipotle pepper in adobe, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Peel the eggs.  Cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the yolks into a small bowl.  Break up the yolks with a fork.   Mix in the mayonnaise until the yolks are creamy, and add the chipotle pepper, cumin and salt.  Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.  I spooned the yolk mixture into a zipper bag, and then I cut a small hole in one of the corners, so I could squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg whites.  Makes 12 deviled eggs.


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