To me, you can never go wrong when you combine honey with anything. I mean right? Think about it, what’s one thing honey doesn’t go well with? Bon Appetit explores this idea in their At the Market section focused on the lucious, good for you nectar from our gentle bee friends. I have to give mad props to the Bon Appetit staff for the amazing recipes they have in this section. I’ve done two other rock star recipes from the past two issues (see here and here) and this Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata was simply awesome as well.
I marinated the pork in the morning since we would be out all day on Lake Travis. Let’s let that sink in shall we? Go ahead, I”ll wait………..we had our first day on the lake on January 30th! It was so beautiful here yesterday and sitting on a boat chatting and relaxing with friends was a great way to end the weekend. I guess we need to celebrate the warm weather since it’s going to be in the low 20s later on this week, with the possibility of snow. An 80 degree day and then a few days later a chance of snow. Whoa-k. I won’t get into how that’s a tad odd, even for the ever changing Texas weather.
Back to the pork people. After searing the two tenderloins and placing in the oven, I made the gremolata and then moved on to the salad I chose as a side dish: Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette. OUTSTANDING. There I got that out of my system. This is originally an entree salad but I lowered the amount to keep it as a simple side. We loved, loved this salad. It’s super easy to put together and the dates, walnuts and bacon all played quite nicely together. I didn’t have walnut oil (who does?) and couldn’t find escarole (what gives Austin?) so I just used olive oil and fresh arugula for the greens; still freaking delicious. We loved the pork and you really tasted the full honey flavor in every bite. Plus the reduced sauce and gremolata on top made the pork sing such a pretty song. We have leftovers today and I can’t wait for lunch time to get here so I can inhale the rest of the pork.
Both big winners in our house, I hope they will be in yours too.
So on to what you should be making tonight or this week for sure is homemade pici. We had a little ladies’ dinner at my friend Kari’s house and she’s been to Italy not once but twice. Mmm hmmm, next time she better pack moi in her suitcase. Her food tales alone make my mouth water. Since she’s returned, we’ve been able to have a little Italy in Austin, including this homemade Pici and Bolognese Sauce. For me, rolling Pici requires me to use a section of my brain that I don’t think is actually functional. Kari made it look as simple as breathing and I made it look as easy as neurosurgery…not good poodles. I sucked at it completely, but don’t let my lack of brain cells or motor skills deter you. This was super fun to do as a group plus it’s homemade pasta people, it just tastes that much better. For the full pici making process and recipe, you can visit the Cretaiole website and then be a sad panda that you are not actually at Cretaiole rigt now. Kari also shared her bolognese recipe which is so superb. Mangia!
6 to 8 ounces (150-200 g) ground beef – it shouldn’t be too lean, or the sugo will be dry
2 ounces (50 g) pancetta, minced (optional; if you omit it increase the beef)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
A quarter of a medium-sized onion, minced
A half a carrot, minced
A six-inch stalk of celery, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup water (I used fresh tomatoes, quartered them, quickly scraped the “goo” (seeds) out of each quarter and cooked them in a pot with some garlic until they were soft and mashed.)
Beef broth (If you don’t have any, dissolve half a bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water)
A pinch of salt
A pound (500 g) of pasta.
If you omit the pancetta you will want the full 8 ounces of meat. Mince the pancetta and the vegetables, and sauté them in a casserole or Dutch oven with the oil. When the onion is golden, add the ground meat and continue cooking till it’s browned. Stir in the wine and let the sauce simmer till the wine has evaporated, then add the tomatoes, a ladle of broth, and check the seasoning. Continue simmering over a very low flame for about two hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more broth if the sugo looks like it’s drying out. (I ended up using the entire 2 cups of broth to make sure it didn’t dry out over the 5 of so hours I simmered it) The sugo will improve steadily as it cooks, and if you have the time simmer it longer – Artusi suggests it be simmered for six hours, adding boiling water or broth as necessary. When it is done it should be rich and thick. This meat sauce will serve about six as the topping for a first course of pasta or gnocchi, or about four if served over pasta with a tossed salad on the side; in either case serve it with grated Parmigiano.
Everything I’ve tested and tasted this week has been pretty good but not really C.I.T.L material if you know what I mean – until last night. I spotted this Sausage and Caramalized Onion Bread Pudding when it came out in October 2009 and then it got lost in the recipe shuffle. I revisited last week and decided to put on my menu plan or forever hold my peace. Good things come to those who wait!
This was so yummy and savory and bread puddingy. We gobbled up one piece, both went back for seconds and had it for lunch today too. The only addition I made was a little fresh thyme since I had some handy and I love adding fresh herbs whenever I can. Moving on to the salad I chose to accompany the fantastic bread pudding. The name is quite unique: Hotel Russel Erskine Salad. Turns out, Russel Erskine was a businessman from Huntsville, Alabama and was the president of Studebaker motor cars for several years. The Hotel Russel Erskine building is still in Hunstville, but is now an aparment complex. Sigh, that makes me think of the beautiful Plaza Hotel in New York City. I digress. This dressing, served at Hotel Russel Erskine, is a funky combo of flavors THAT ROCKS. Hoseradish, sweet paprika, dry mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. This reminded me of a typical French dressing but was much thinner and lighter in flavor; perfect for the watercress. I highly recommend both of these!
So, I decided to give ALL of the food magazines in the universe love this week. I’m so lying, not really all because all would be crazy but I did manage to encompass Food and Wine, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Everyday Food and one of my favorite recipes from the National Mango Board (my former client!). That’s a lot of different food magazines and recipes in less than one week and I think our kitchen is already tip toeing away from me as I type this… it knows what’s coming.
I’m so excited about the pizza tonight that I wish tonight would get here right now. It’s 10:00 a.m., this is going to be a long day isn’t it?
I had been eyeing this gentle little casserole since the magazine hit my hot little hands and I finally got around to it this week. This is one of Cooking Light’s recipe makeovers and let’s take a look at the “Old Way” vs “Our Way” shall we?
1,084 calories per serving
28 grams saturated fat
2,075 milligrams sodium
Greasy, processed ground beef
Beans: Fried and fried again
A pound of cheese
331 calories per serving
6.1 grams saturated fat
535 milligrams sodium
Skinless, boneless chicken breast
Veggies: lightly seasoned and sautéed
A hearty sprinkle of Jack cheese and feta
I always wonder where their “Old Way” inspiration comes from so I can STEER CLEAR of it. 1,084 calories? That’s just insane and makes my teeth itch. This sucker is chock full of veggies but you don’t really notice it since they are cooked in with the chicken and enchilada sauce. Good one for the kids eh?! The two cheeses are just enough to get your ooey, gooey cheese fix and the flavors all worked well together. One thing I would recommend is either double the amount of homemade salsa you make since there didn’t seem to be enough to include like the recipe calls for or just purchase a store bought fire-roasted salsa and save yourself the time. Overall this is a good solid dish and awesome as leftovers the next day. I do have to say this Mexican inspired pie recipe, although not as healthy as the above, is still to this day my absolute favorite.
January 15, 2010 will be on of my favorite days of all time because it’s the day that David walked into my life. Neither of us were looking for any sort of potential partner, in fact I was against the idea before I met David, but then a mutual friend saw the potential and introduced us immediately. For the next few hours, we sat and talked and talked, something we are still very good at by the way. I owe our dear friend a lot for making the introduction and now one year later here we are. Just goes to show that life can you throw you very amazing curve balls – always embrace them lambs.
I’ve made the Beef Short Ribs before so I knew this would be a huge win with David. I still don’t have a food mill but ran the sauce through the food processor and reheated as necessary. The potato gratin was creamy, bacony and so full of delicious flavor; a perfect complement to the ribs. After the ribs, chard and potatoes the pudding was a delightful, bright and not-too-sweet ending to a perfect anniversary meal. Paired with a 2002 Silver Oak Cab? Perfection all around and David loved all of it.
Even if it’s not a special occasion this meal would be a great Sunday night supper or something to impress guests at a dinner party. One year down and hopefully many, many more to go right David?
More Cooking Light recipes this week and then I’m moving on to the new Food and Wine and Everyday Food. I’ll let you know how these go and coming up, a review of our perfect one-year anniversary meal. Awwww.
As I was thumbing through the new Cooking Light, I kept coming back to this Vegetarian Country Captainrecipe due to it’s unique combination of ingredients: curry, mango chutney, heavy cream, cauliflower, edamame, and a Granny Smith apple? My brain kept trying to figure out just how these would all taste together and finally intrigue got the best of me. Two cheers for intrigue. We LOVED this. It is an Emily and David favorite hands down.
OK back to what the heck a Country Captain is exactly. According to Cooking Light: Traditionally, Country Captain is a mild chicken stew seasoned with curry powder. Myth has it that a British sea captain working in the spice trade introduced this classic, comforting dish to the southern U.S. in the 19th century. Here, we’ve replaced chicken with edamame and cauliflower for a version loaded with vegetables to help you meet your daily produce goals. For a more in-depth history of this very popular Lowcountry dish (FDR adored it!), read more here. If anyone has favorite Country Captain recipes please share in the comments as I’m dying to make more versions of this.
This was so easy to put together and the layers of flavor were insanely delicious. I loved how all the ingredients played off each other and it is really filling to boot. For the love y’all, make this right now! One note, if you are working off of the magazine do not pay attention to the photo above the recipe. It’s the wrong image and I saw on their website that Cooking Light is aware of the error. As I was making this I kept scratching my head and worrying because mine was looking nothing like the beauty shot. Lo and behold I flipped to the page ahead and put two and two together. Whew, that photo DID look like this….
This was an odd dish when I first saw it. “Where’s the sauce?” I said out loud as I was adding it to my menu plan. “Where’s the sauce?” David asked while I was making it. I’ll tell you where the sauce is. It’s in the super inventive breadcrumbs and soft gooey egg! Nom, nom, nom *buries head into bowl of pasta and barely comes up for air*. This seemed like a pretty simple dish to make but I don’t know if it was because I was tired (NO SUN DUE TO ARTIC CHILL) or that you’ve got three seperate things going on, the boiled egg, the pasta and making the breadcrumbs. Yeah, that’s not that hard, I was tired.
This was delicious and it was my first time making a soft-boiled egg. Hard boiled, sure. Soft boiled? Where the heck as this been my whole life? It’s just like a poached egg but with the exterior of a hard-boiled. News flash to me since David mentioned he’s been making these for quite some time. We loved all of the flavors together and don’t omit the goat cheese, it was a perfect addition to the dish. I would highly, highly recommend finishing this off with your favorite olive oil. We thought without this addition, even with the egg and breadcrumbs, that it could have turned out to be a little dry. Nice little pasta for a weeknight meal. Just don’t make it when you’re a tired panda and you will be just fine.