Really Eating

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on October 21, 2011

This was my first experience with pork tenderloin. I had always seen it in the grocery store and mentioned here and there in recipes, but I finally made the leap! I caught it on sale for $3.99/lb and dug through old recipes to figure out what to do with it.

Most of the pork tenderloin recipes I see mention that they’re ~1.5 lb and I was surprised to see that the package I bought weighed in at ~3lb! I then proceeded to double the recipe ingredients, only to find later that when I actually opened up the tenderloin, there were two in my package! Well, into the freezer the extra went.

Overall pleased with the dish. The cut is very lean, but yet moist. I wish my instant read thermometer was working (ordered a new one today) because I think I slightly overcooked the pork. We didn’t love love love the seasoning so I’m going to look around for an alternative way to cook the second tenderloin now in my freezer.

Other than pseudo-doubling the recipe, I followed the basic guidelines I found in Real Simple.

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Pank0)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (I assume you can use dried, but use half as much)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

In a large plate (or shallow bowl) combine the first four ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Rub the pork with the olive oil, coat with bread crumb mixture, then place on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered mine with foil and lightly oiled it to ease clean-up).

Roast til cooked through, approximately 20-30 minutes. If my thermometer was working, I would have pulled it out at 145 degrees (so should you!).

Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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My Slow Cooker Phase

Posted in Equipment, Personal by Bethany on May 3, 2011

When I was putting together our wedding registries, I spent a lot of time contemplating which kitchen appliances I wanted and/or which I would use. I knew that if I registered for too many, I’d I ended up with appliances still in the box and appliances that sat on the counter wasting precious space. With the input of a few married friends and a lot of Amazon reviews, I ended up registering for a Cuisinart food processor (love), a Kitchenaid stand mixer (still in the box), Cuisinart coffee maker (great, but don’t use it often), Cuisinart toaster oven (we use it almost every day), a Magic Bullet and a Crock Pot slow cooker. As you can tell by the title, this entry is about my slow cooker and how it transitioned from new-in-the-box to the kitchen counter.

(As a side note, the only appliance I wish I had requested was an immersion blender, but oh well!)

I registered for a slow cooker because a few of my married friends had said that it was a “working woman’s best friend” and a “must have”. I took their advice and registered for (and received) the Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6 ½ Quart model. After doing some research online, I determined that I wanted a slow cooker that had a removable ceramic insert (to make cleaning easier and versatility), a glass lid (for visibility), a large capacity (go big or go home), and handles. This model does everything I want and so far, I have no complaints. The only feature I do miss is being able to program the start time instead of having to start it right away.

Anyway, the reason I took my slow cooker out of its box was because my husband really missed a recipe I made somewhat often before I started working full-time. It was a recipe that required being cooked in the oven for hours and hours and hours—something I was no longer able to do since I wasn’t home during the days. I unpacked the slow cooker, cleaned it, and then it sat on my counter for a few days. Ironically, I have yet to make that recipe in question (and it’s still on my “to write about” list for Really Eating).

I don’t remember what it was that pushed me over the edge, but I finally opened up the little recipe book that came with the slow cooker and made America’s Favorite Pot Roast because the ingredients were super simple and I wanted to give pot roast another try (more details on our less-than-ideal pot roast attempts another time). While we didn’t love the actual recipe, I was so enthralled with the slow cooker that I asked for more recipes on Facebook and ended up at Crockpot 365. The premise of the blog was that the owner, Stephanie, committed to using her crock pot every day in 2008… and did! I started from the very beginning and started combing through (and saving) a number of recipes, which led to more and more slow cooker recipes in my weekly meal plans.

I’m excited about posting some of our favorites so far, and will continue to do so as we try new things. One of my informal new years resolutions for 2011 was to try something new each week- either an ingredient or recipe or both. I don’t know if I’ve been successful because I haven’t been keeping meticulous track of our meals, but I do know that the slow cooker is helping me try new things on a regular basis, and that’s always a good thing.

Butter Roasted Cauliflower

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on April 6, 2011

Cauliflower is one of the vegetables I never liked. I was often faced with cauliflower at Yoshinoya where it’d sit next to my broccoli, tasteless and utterly unappetizing. I’m not sure why it is so often boiled or steamed beyond recognition, but I recently convinced myself to buy some at the farmers market and am happy I did.

One of my cookbooks (I think it was Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, which is one of THE BEST cookbooks out there… it’s been called “The Joy of Cooking” for our generation) … totally forgot where I was going with that. Oh yes. Cauliflower. From what I remember, Bittman recommends buying cauliflower wrapped in plastic without any brown spots visible on the pretty white florets, and with the green leaves tight around it. I found some that fit the bill at came home to look for a recipe.

I wanted to try something that would make it yummy, but allow the real flavors of cauliflower to come through, and this Smitten Kitchen adapted recipe by Joy the Baker did just that.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  pound cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped (I drained mine first to lighten the taste)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

In a roasting dish, toss together cauliflower with capers, garlic, oil and about 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Top with butter cubes and red pepper flakes.

Roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and delicious, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and toss hot cauliflower with lemon and fresh parsley.

Enjoy immediately with crusty bread to sop up the butter juices.

Apricot Chicken

Posted in Recipe Fail, Recipes by Bethany on April 6, 2011

Over the summer, the markets were inundated with yummy yellow and white peaches and nectarines. I’d often get too greedy (or ambitious, if you want a positive spin) at the market and come home with way too much produce for two of us, especially since I’m the only one who really loves eating produce all day long.

This timely recipe popped into my Google Reader mid-July and I finally put it to the test closer to the end of the month. Why the delay? Well, I didn’t have apricots in the house and strangely enough, I don’t really ever buy them. I don’t think I dislike them at all, but I just never found myself attracted to them. I asked Elise (the main blogger at Simply Recipes) if I could use peaches and she suggested I use yellow, so I proceeded with that.

If you haven’t noticed already, this is another Recipe Fail post, so I’ll post the actual list of ingredients and directions found on the original recipe and try to dissect why it was a Fail. A quick disclaimer- I can only blame myself for Recipe Fails. I’m pretty sure most food bloggers only post recipes they’ve tried and love, but I go ahead and alter something (sigh), yielding a sad, far-from-perfect result.

Actually, now that I think back, I’m not sure if this is a PURE recipe fail. I didn’t mind the chicken, but the sauce wasn’t quite right… it had kind of a Chinese taste to it, and I’m not exactly sure if that’s what it was supposed to taste like (based on the comments).

I’d be willing to try it again in the summer with actual apricots instead of peaches and will let you know how it goes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds apricots, roughly chopped, pits removed and discarded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (can sub olive oil)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce (you can add more if you like)
  • Black pepper

Directions

Place the chopped apricots in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and the vinegar. Let sit while you brown the chicken in the next step.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the pan, without crowding the pan, and brown them on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle salt over it. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. As the onion cooks and releases moisture, use a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the browned bits from the chicken (called fond) from the bottom of the pan.

Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium.

Put about 2/3 of the apricots, along with any juice they have given up, into a blender and blend into a purée. Pour the purée into the pan with the chicken stock and onions.

Add the cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco and taste. You may need to add some salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 10-20 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, put the chicken and the remaining apricot pieces into the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with rice.

Classic Baked Chicken

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on April 5, 2011

I knew I had to try this recipe when I read this: “This baked chicken recipe is one of those recipes that every home cook should have in their repertoire.” I’m a home cook, right? I’m not much of one, but I definitely cook and at home, so that meant I had to try this.

It’s as easy as it sounds. The original recipe includes instructions for how to make gravy after the chicken’s done, but I’ve never been determined/courageous enough to try that part of the recipe. I’ve made it with a handful of different chicken parts (cut up chicken, thighs-only, drumsticks- all bone-in) and it always turns out delicious.

Note: It’s one of those recipes where having an instant-read thermometer is super helpful because certain parts of the chicken cook faster/slower and you don’t want to end up with some pieces overcooked and others still pink.

As a sidenote- I was always a little wary of chicken with bones in it and/or skin; I think I only cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts for much of my time in college. While yes, white meat is “healthier,” I now better understand how chicken cooks differently on the bone, how it changes the flavor, and how it costs much less at the grocery store. Seriously! I rarely see boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1/pound, but you’ll find drumsticks, thighs, and legs for $1 or less somewhat frequently.

Ingredients

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken (6 thighs, 8 drumsticks, or whatever you want)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse chicken pieces in water and pat dry with paper towels. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil (I used a rimmed baking sheet). Rub some olive oil over all of the chicken pieces in the roasting pan. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the pieces skin-side up in the roasting pan so the largest pieces are in the center (the breasts) and there is a little room between pieces so they aren’t crowded in the pan.

Cook for 30 minutes at 400°F. Then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for 10-30 minutes more (approximately 14 to 15 minutes per pound total cooking time) until juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165°F and the thighs 170°.

Remove roasting pan from oven. Remove chicken from roasting pan to a serving plate. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Refer to the original recipe for instructions on how to make gravy with the drippings/oils/yummy goodness.

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