Pork Tenderloin With Grapes & Beans

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I've obviously developed a love of cooking savory foods with grapes in the mix. I came across a Food & Wine recipe for Pork With Grapes and knew I had to give it a whirl.

Instead of chops, I sliced a gorgeous pork tenderloin into medallions. I browned them all on both sides in a skillet and then tossed into a 350 degree oven to cook through.

Into the same skillet, I added 1/2 white onion minced and my red grapes. I skipped the sugar, but I added the vinegar, then the wine, then the stock according to the F&W recipe (although I used chardonnay instead of "fruity red" because I had a bottle open). Right toward the end, I added in a can of drained canellini beans to add some heft. Then I added the pork back into the sauce to soak up the deliciousness.

Served over leftovers of a scrumptious squash puree that J had whipped up the night before. He caramelized onions with chili flakes, roasted acorn squash with salt pepper and garam masala, then blended both once cooked with a touch of olive oil. It was light and fluffy and sweet with a hint of spice from the garam masala and chili flakes.

This was a hit! The sweet and tart flavors of the grapes and vinegar were perfect with the roasted pork and creamy beans. I could also see this being even better if I'd reduced the sauce down to half to concentrate all of the flavors. This is

Coconut Curry Chicken #MadeWithChobani

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last week, I noticed a hashtag floating around my Pinterest and Twitter worlds -- #MadeWithChobani. After taking a look through the Chobani tumblr and some other blogger websites featuring their Chobani-made recipes, I was totally inspired to hop on board and come up with my own! Perusing the Chobani website, I spotted the coconut-flavored blend. Since I've found great flavor success with coconut milk, shouldn't coconut-flavored yogurt be as big a win?

Oh yes, friends and readers. This is a HUGE flavor win.

I was loosely inspired by Queen Ina Garten's lamb kebab marinade. Yogurt as a marinade for meat makes it extra juicy and tender, plus a few other aromatics and tasty spices give you a knock out flavor profile.

I went with chicken thighs for a few reasons. First, they're really tender and flavorful - there is nothing worse than a grainy, dried out chicken breast. Second, they were super cheap the day I went shopping for this meal. I found 6 skinless, bone-in thighs (total weight 1.4 lb) for about $5. I made a Chobani-based marinade of the following:

6 bone-in skinless thighs (1.4 lb by weight)
Juice of one lime
1 T ginger, minced (about one inch of a knob)
1 container (150 g) 2% coconut Chobani
1 T parsley, minced (optional)
4 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced (shallots or chives would also work)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 T canola oil

I mixed all of the marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and, after rinsing the chicken and taking off any excess fat, added those to the mix as well. I prepped these in advance by a full 24 hours -- if you don't have that much time, I'd recommend you marinate for at least an hour.

I baked my chicken at 375° for about 25 minutes until cooked through. I checked around the 20-minute mark, but trusted my digital meat thermometer - once it registered 160° or so, they came out of the oven. I laud this tool on this blog regularly and totally recommend adding one to your kitchen toolkit!

I served the chicken with a broccoli radish slaw, also prepared with Chobani. The recipe is as follows:

One head broccoli
One bunch radishes (about 8 total)
2 T lemon juice
2 T canola oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 container (150 g) 0% plain Chobani
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Use the shredding disc of a food processor (or a box grater if you want an arm workout) to shred all broccoli and radishes. Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine (I like to shake in a covered bowl, which is also a great arm workout) and season to taste with salt and pepper, then refrigerate until ready.

This chicken is positively dynamite. It was soooooOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOOOO good. I know that isn't an accurate description, but from someone who does not consider coconut a go-to flavor, this meal blew my own expectations out of the water and will definitely go into our regular rotation. The marinade has the brightness of the ginger and the lime juice, a sweetness from the coconut yogurt, and the perfect amount of smoky heat from the curry powder. It had the flavors of some of my favorite Indian or Thai dishes that use coconut milk as the base, but using the yogurt is a way to up the ante protein-wise.

My tummy (and my husband's!) are so glad that I jumped on board with this challenge!

For those who might like alternatives to the above:

  • Chicken breasts/tenderloins instead of thighs will totally work. I'd suggest you cut them into 1" pieces so the marinade has more surface area to flavor. This marinade would also be delicious on shrimp!
  • Parsley is totally optional. You can leave it out entirely or replace with your favorite fresh green herb like cilantro or mint. If you don't have any fresh herbs on hand, you could certainly sub in your favorite dried herbs as well.
  • Curry scares some people. In large doses, it can be too much, but in small doses it is really a lovely flavor addition. If you're anti-curry, try chili powder or paprika. If you're pro-spiciness, definitely try upping the amount of curry powder, or add in cayenne.
  • The slaw can be done with any sturdy vegetables that shred easily. Carrots would be great, and I am a huge fan of Brussels sprouts as slaw.

Disclaimer: I purchased all Chobani products with my own money. The recipe is my own creation. I didn't receive any incentive to write a Chobani-focused article other than I like a good challenge and yogurt is tasty!

Harissa Cauliflower Shakshouka

Friday, December 5, 2014

Two of my favorite people are getting married next year and we celebrated their engagement the weekend before Thanksgiving. The party was so chic and festive and full of love... and very heavy-handed pours. The next day, I was reminded that I'm almost 30 and not actually 22. I forced myself out of bed around 11 am, brewed some coffee, and surveyed the refrigerator.

Earlier that week, I made Naturally Ella's Harissa Lentils & Cauliflower and had tons of leftovers. I heated some up in a skillet with a lid. Once the sauce started to bubble, I poured four eggs into the pan and popped the top on.

We were so extraordinarily hungover and this meal was life-giving. There was protein in the eggs and lentils, solid nutritional value from the cruciferous veg and tomato-filled sauce, and the eye-opening spice of the homemade harissa got the blood flowing. With some nice crunchy toast on the side, this “add an egg to leftovers” breakfast was wholly restorative. I may have to enlist J's expertise the morning after the bachelorette party...

Antipasto Meatballs

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's December! Where has this year gone!? I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations last week. Now, we head into one of the best times of year -- Holiday Party Snack Food Season. I'm heading to celebrate with my beloved book club girls this evening with snacks in hand (recipe to come!) but also wanted to share this meatball recipe I whipped up a week or two ago for dinner. I know they would be absolutely smashing at a holiday fĂȘte, especially if you roll them out very small.

- one pound ground turkey (I like 93%/7%)
- one large egg
- 1 12-14 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
- 6 (or more!) sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 6 - 10 pitted cured black olives (kalamata would also be delicious)
- unseasoned breadcrumbs

I mixed all of the ingredients together and, as is my way, I could not tell you the amount of breadcrumbs. Its always something I eyeball and determine "ready" based on look and feel. I will try to be better about this in the future!

I tried searing a few in a pan before baking them through, but they started to fall apart when I attempted to turn or move them. I'd encourage you to entirely skip searing them and simply throw them into a 350 oven and bake until fully cooked.

I served them over risotto with about a pound of arugula wilted in at the end. The creamy risotto and the bitter arugula were perfect counterbalances to the bright, briny flavors in the meatballs. I ate some leftovers the next day and added some crumbled feta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar - it was even better with those sweet and tangy additions. Were I to make these as an appetizer, I'd certainly look to a balsamic vinegar-inspired sauce or reduction to go with them. Enjoy!

Bagna Cauda French Beans & Tilapia

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So many happy family memories are tied to food. Boeuf bourgignon reminds me of the no-kids-allowed dinner parties my parents would throw, the rich scent wafting upstairs as the grown ups chuckled around the dining table. Serving brownies instead of cake at my brother's birthdays because they are his all-time favorite. My sister and I shucking corn on my grandparents' back deck in summers as my grandfather fired up the grill for swordfish steaks, my grandmother mixing up the most perfect sauce for the fish. It's an old secret family recipe. I do not remember an occasion growing up where fish was served without this sauce on the table.

I was having a nostalgic day last week thinking about Thanksgiving and essentially planned dinner around The Family Sauce. I gave J a short shopping list: tilapia and French beans. I loved my grandmother dearly, but she was absolutely dreadful at preparing green beans - they were always mushy and overcooked. Still, these were created in her honor.

I preheated the oven to 350° and prepared two baking sheets with tin foil. On one, I placed the two fillets of tilapia (about a pound total), drizzled a little olive oil on top, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and some ground coriander. On the other, I tossed the French beans and a sliced shallot in a touch of oil and laid them out flat.

Both went into the oven for 15 minutes. Around minute 10, I started the bagna cauda (anchovy butter) for the beans. I put 3 anchovy fillets, two tablespoons of unsalted butter, and a shake or two of crushed red pepper into a deep sauce pan. The butter and anchovies melted together as I stirred and the whole kitchen was overpowered with a rich, salty aroma. When the melted butter mixture starts to slightly darken in color, remove the pan from heat. At this point (about minute 13), I took the beans out of the oven and tossed them to cover with the bagna cauda.

The legendary family sauce? It's ketchup and mayonnaise. Mixed together. That is is and it is perfect, especially on a light flaky fish like the tilapia. The simply seasoned fish, the ultra retro sauce, and the easy-but-fancy beans all made for a filling and flavorful weeknight meal in under 30 minutes.
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