Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lamb Salad by Jake

While I do most of the cooking, my husband is a great cook. Things he cooks really well include: any meat on the grill, pizza, insanely hot salsa and gourmet salads.
Since I had to work on a Saturday, Jake was given the task of making dinner. It was super yummy gourmet salad.
Some notes about the ingredients-
The lamb is from a Mennonite-type farm in which the lambs eat real grass and roam about freely. So it is always very very good. We get it from Central Market here in Lancaster. If you can get natural lamb you should.
The cherry tomatoes are Sun Golds. They are sweeter than regular cherry tomatoes, and have a thinner skin. They are amazing, and you should go out and try to buy some NOW, before summer is over.
The amounts aren't exact here. I used enough lettuce for 2 people, probably 4 cups total. You can put on the olives and feta to taste. Jake says not to use too many olives, or the flavor will be too strong. He knows gourmet stuff like this. This serves 2 people.
Gourmet Lamb Salad
1 lamb shoulder steak
Dry red table wine
Arugula (rocket)
Some romaine or other favorite lettuce
4 green onions, sliced diagonally
1 cup of Sun Gold tomatoes
Kalamata Olives
Feta Cheese
Your favorite vinaigrette, homemade or store-bought.

Put the lamb steak in a skillet. Add enough red wine to simmer the steak in. (Amount isn't real crucial, since it is just to give the lamb flavor and it cooks off anyway.) Keep an eye on it as you get the salad ready and remember to flip it once, after about 7-8 minutes.
While it is cooking, slice the olives and green onions. Cut the Sun Golds in half. Wash the arugula and lettuce, and put on two plates. Sprinkle the onion, olives, and tomatoes on the lettuce. Crumble the feta and sprinkle on as well.
The lamb will take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Jake says to make sure it isn't overdone. You don't want tough lamb. You want pretty lamb, still a little pinkish inside.
Take the lamb out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice into nice little pieces and pile it on top of your salad.

Ooooooo. I felt like I was in a fancy restaurant. And it tasted great. The sweet tomatoes, the creamy salty cheese and the onion went together so well. So did the arugula. And listen. Liking and eating arugula isn't being elitist. Arugula is just good. It is a tasty tasty salad treat. So eat up!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cupcakes, potatoes and pasta: Blog about blogs

I have been reading more food blogs all the time now. I just made these cupcakes
LinkThey are blackberry cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese icing from Coconut and Lime. I made her recipe using mini cupcake pans I just got at Apron Strings, a cute cooking store in Lancaster City. One person who tasted these cupcakes said they were the best thing she's ever tasted! An exaggeration? I don't know but they were great. A good blackberry flavor. And cream cheese icing with fresh blackberry juice? You should probably make these soon.

One of my favorite blogs is Pioneer Woman. I found this blog by using Stumbleupon, and it "stumbled" onto a recipe, complete with gorgeous photos, for Crash Hot Potatoes. They looked so darn good I made a meal to go with these potatoes (Chicken legs marinated in spicy Jamaican Jerk sauce and corn on the cob, fyi.) My potatoes didn't get smashed a neatly and separate though. It was a tray full of potato bits and skins and hunks. But despite appearances, it was really good! I think I am in love with potatoes. Seriously. So check out that link if you want some tasty potatoes tonight. I also made her Farfalle with Zuchinni and oh boy, what a tasty pasta dish. I used some zuchinni, and some yellow summer squash. I actually liked the yellow squash better in it. The wine and cream sauce and fresh herbs make this a delicious dish.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spicy Pork Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin. If I want to make pork, 9 times out of ten I made tenderloin. I usually cook it in the oven or grill it. I have also made it for stir-fry. Sometime I would like to stuff it or butterfly it. Once I had a dinner party and made a pork tenderloin recipe from Under the Tuscan Sun, which has lovely Italian recipes in it. But I digress.

So here is what you need: a pork tenderloin, some seasoned salt (that is the Spike), ground mustard, chipotle chile powder, five-spice powder, garlic, red onion, and olive oil.

Here are the spices. I hate measuring when I'm not following recipes. The middle is seasoned salt, yellow is mustard, red is chipotle and the brownish is five spice. You can use a few teaspoons of each, I used a good amount of chipotle to make it spicy!
Smash a few garlic cloves with the side of your knife! It helps get your aggression out. Oh yeah and you can peel the papery skin off much much easier too.
Mix the spices and put them in a food processor with the garlic.

Chop your red onion and add it to the food processor. It looks so pretty!

Pour some extra virgin olive oil in there.

Blend it all up.

Put the pork tenderloin in a pan and pour the marinade on top. Spread it out evenly all over the tenderloin, and get the bottom too. Then stick a lid/silverfoil on and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.

After the pork has marinated for a while start up your grill. My husband is a firm believer of charcoal grilling, so that is what we use.( Especially since he does all the grilling.) It has such a nice smoky flavor. But use your gas grill if you must. Use a meat thermometer so you can see when it is done. It should be 160 degrees, so make sure you don't overcook. It doesn't take too long to cook.

Not the best picture...we were hungry! I served this with the Cheesy Sausage Potato Cups I had made earlier in the day, and some coleslaw.
It had a great spicy flavor, and the outside was nice and crisp, while it remained very moist and tender. I have to give my husband credit for the grilling, and myself the flavor credit! Ha

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Effie Ophelia Brunch

So today the husband and I decided to try a really cute looking restaurant that is in Lancaster City, very near to us. The menu emphasizes fresh and local food, so that piqued my interest. And the fact that it looks so darn CUTE! See above. Notice the large window-there is actually seating there, like being right out on the sidewalk. And below, notice cute pillows.

There is my iced coffee I started out with. You could pick what kind of sugar you wanted (I choose raw sugar of course) and they bring it out on a little dish! Fan-cay. And I of course dribble my cream on the table.

Effies has a Sunday brunch in the summer only. They use whatever fresh produce they can get their hands on. Many things on the menu used heirloom tomatoes, even a bloody mary mix with heirlooms. Local bacon and goat's cheese. And berries!

Berries, like in my blueberry and cream stuffed French Toast. My confession is that for a long time, I was not a French Toast person. Bread with a layer of milky-egg cooked on it? No thanks. But I will eat it if it is made well. And this was the best durn French Toast I ever had! They used hunks of real (i.e. not sandwich/Wonder) Italian bread, stuffed with cream cheese and whole, fresh blueberries. Then grilled so the outside was crisp, not a layer of milky-egg. With cream cheese and real maple syrup....I'm drooling and I just ate this today!

Close up of the magnificent French Toast. Ooh la la

And this is the husband's BLT with heirloom tomatoes, local bacon, lettuce, mayo on organic whole grain bread. With home fries made with white and purple fingerling potatoes. The picture is a little blurry, I was in a slight hurry to start eating! Note cute toothpicks in sandwich.

I have another food confession, I don't really like melon. Which includes cantelopes. I know, I'm weird I guess. But they had this cantelope granita for dessert which sounded light and refreshing on a summer day. So I thought I'd give it a shot. And I liked it! It came topped with frozen champagne grapes! I've never had a granita, and the texture is really interesting. Light and fluffy, not the texture of things you leave in your freezer too long, which I previously imagined.

I would highly, highly recommend you go here. The brunch entrees are about 8-12 dollars. I am pretty eager to try dinner here soon. It is a BYOB, and I also suggest getting a bottle of local wine from the Red Rose Wine Tasting room in the Hagar Mall near Central Market off of King Street.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cheesy Sausage Potato Cups with Yogurt Mustard Sauce

Today I entered this in an online contest for original recipes using dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt. This has cheddar cheese AND I'm sure it will win!
Hehe well I think it has a shot anyway. But if not, I still liked eating it a lot.

Directions: Preheat oven 450.
There are my beautiful potatoes, fresh from market this morning!
Scrub potatoes and cut in half.
Cut a small amount off ends so potatoes stand up straight! The more narrow cut off ends will be the ends they stand up on, to be cute little potato cups :)

Toss with a good glug of olive oil in a bowl, and stir in some salt and lots of pepper.

Arrange potatoes spaced out standing up straight on a baking tray.
They are nice and peppery.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes start to look lightly golden and roasted.
Here is my chipotle turkey sausage from the Turkey Lady at Central Market. The stand is actually called The Turkey Lady. They have tons of different types of turkey sausage, and this one sounded good today. Regular hot Italian sausage or chorizo would be good I think too. And the cute little bell peppers! They were too adorable so I had to get them. Regular bell peppers will work.

While the potatoes roast, cook the sausage link in a non-stick skillet, breaking up into small pieces.

Dice the pepper into small pieces.

Slice the green onion. Put the sliced, darker green tops in a bowl for garnishing the potato cups. You will cook the rest of the onion with the pepper.

Cook the white and light green parts of the green onion with the red pepper in a small skillet with some olive oil until soft.

Mix together with the sausage and let it cool a little.

Mix the cheddar cheese with the butter in a bowl with a fork. Stir cooled sausage-pepper mixture in with cheese.

When the potatoes are done, pull the tray out.

Using tongs and a melon baller, scoop out the inside flesh, making lots of little "potato cups".
I like the little cups! (If you haven't noticed.)
Save the scooped out potato flesh for later.

Fill each potato with the sausage/cheese mixture. If you want to put extra shredded cheese on top, you should!
Put oven temp down to 350, and slide tray back in for a little, just 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melty.
While they get melty, mix shallots, yogurt, and mustard along with some salt and pepper in a food processor.

Mix till combined. This will make a lot of sauce, but you can use the extra as a coleslaw dressing! Yum.

Put your potato cups on a platter, and spoon a little yogurt sauce on top of each one. Then throw on the green onion pieces. So these were really tasty. I loved the sauce with them...AND
I had extra sausage and cheese filling, so I mixed that with the potato flesh I scooped out. I put that mixture into 2 ramekins, and topped with a little extra cheddar. I baked that as a side dish for dinner! And I chopped cabbage, onion, carrots and used the extra yogurt sauce as a coleslaw dressing! So you really kinda get two side dishes as a by-product of this!
Ingredient List
Serves 4-6 as appetizers
9-10 new potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 link of spicy turkey sausage (or regular Italian sausage)
1 red bell pepper (0r a few cute red and orange mini peppers)
4 green onions
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 TBSP unsalted butter
12 oz plain yogurt (don't use non-fat)
1 TBSP deli mustard
1 shallot, roughly chopped

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tagliatelle with White Wine and Veggies

I wanted a light pasta dish last night, but couldn't find a recipe I liked anywhere. (Or at least one that didn't require me running out to buy ingredients I didn't have!)
So I made this one up, using the organic tagliatelle pasta I had bought at Wegman's (one of my favorite places!).
I think this dish would be good using whatever summer vegetables you have around. I usually have something to use up, since we get a share from an organic farm. This would also be good with fresh tomato, zuchinni, some basil.....whatever you like!

First, thinly slice one yellow summer squash, about 4-5 cloves of garlic, and chop one red onion. Start a large pot of water for the pasta.

Mmmmm garlic!Heat up some olive oil in a medium pot, and add the onions and garlic. Saute until soft.

Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine (I used Chardonnay) and about 2 TBSP of white wine vinegar, and 1/4 cup chicken broth/stock (or veggie broth if you want a vegetarian meal.) Add a little salt and lots of pepper. Let this simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Meanwhile, saute the squash in a small pan with olive oil.
Cut three TBSP of butter. (Yum)
Add butter to the onion-wine dealy. You can turn the heat off and mix it in until it melts. Taste and add some salt and pepper if needed.
Add a generous handful of arugula (or rocket whatever you call it) to the squash and cook just for a minute, until it wilts a little. I prefer mine to be not very wilty.
Oh yeah don't forget about the pasta! Cook according to package directions, and drain. You could also use different pasta here like linguini.
Put some pasta on a plate, then wine sauce, then squash and arugula, and top with some freshly grated parmesan cheese!

Eat with the rest of the wine.
Improvising pasta dishes is fun.

Stumble Upon Toolbar