This month’s At the Market section of the January Bon Appetit focuses on Miso. To be honest, I only know miso from the traditional soup you get at Japanese restaurants, so I was very intrigued to learn more about the mysterious miso. First, what the heck is it exactly? According to Bon Appetit: Miso is fermented paste with a bold, salty flavor. Most of the miso sold in the U.S. is made from soybeans and rice or barley, but it can also be made from brown rice, millet, garbanzo beans, and other beans. It’s also a source of Umami or Savory, aka the fifth flavor, along with Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter. We tried naming the four last night and it was like listing the seven dwarfs, you always manage to forget one no matter how easy it is! If you want an in-depth look at what Umami is, check out the UMAMI Information Center (UIC). Hi yeah, UIC? If you ever need a taste-tester call me, mean it! Also, miso comes in three colors on a range of taste intensity from mellow white, a little bit stronger yellow and the kapow version, red. Naturally, I gravitated towards the red version.
This Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze was well, just genius. You can find miso here in Austin at Whole Foods Market and I got mine for $8. A little pricey but considering the fact that it lasts up to a year in the fridge and now I would like to dollop it on my cereal, I consider it a good investment. I loved the flavors of the sauce: apricot preserves, red miso, Champagne vinegar, orange peel and garlic clove. You slather it on the tenderloin, roast, roast, roast, slather, slather, roast, roast and then let the tenderloin set. While the juices redistribute, you finish off the sauce with simple chicken broth to give it a silky texture and pour all over your pork. I took one bite and might have let out an expletive. This was heavenly and so simple to make. I served on the side with some garlic and soy sauce wok-seared baby bok choy. See, see, I’m still being healthy!
I realize purchasing miso might steer you clear of this dish but lambs, have I ever led you down the wrong path? Oy, I hope not. If you are up for something adventurous give this dish the chance it deserves. I for one know I’m going to experiment more with my red miso. Maybe next time, salmon!
Or as I like to call it, the kitchen sink salad. Lambs, this has a SERIOUS ingredient list- 22 to be exact. The only reason why I was even pondering giving it a try is because it comes from the kitchen of one of my chef super poodles, Susan Feniger!This little beaut of a salad graces the January cover of Bon Appetit and is the centerpiece for their healthy eating focus.
This salad requires a few unique ingredients so spots where you see Sparkled Unicorn Horns OR you can use light brown sugar or Fluffy Clouds from a 78 degree sky OR you can use red radishes, I always went with the latter. I’m being mean I know, but seriously who wants to go find palm sugar and keffir lime leaves? I sometimes don’t mind for a recipe, but typically if I’ve got cost-effective but still tasty alternative that doesn’t make me go all over Austin then I’m down.
Let’s get to the marinade shall we? AMAZING. Amazing. Amazing. That is all. I will use this for marinating chicken whenever I can. Wow. Granted there is lemongrass in it which can sometimes be hard to find but hey, it’s worth it.
Second, the salad. It was good. The dressing was spicy, sweet and easy to make. And this dish had a flotilla of vegetables. I swear lambs I felt my whole body getting healthier while eating this, just look you’ve got: cabbage, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, green beans, cucumbers etc, etc. You know what my inner Emily said when I read this recipe? “I seriously should think about purchasing a Slap Chop before I do this.” To be honest it wasn’t that bad and the chicken didn’t take too long. My goodness, I’m still thinking about how amazing that chicken was.
Overall, I would definitely make the chicken (you are saying “no crap Emily, really?” aren’t you?) and then pile on top of whatever salad vegetable goodies you have floating around the kitchen!
After whirlwind Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, my brain was fried, my body was tired and my ability to cook was kaput. But I did want to start 2011 off right with a healthy dish…so of course I chose one with bacon in it. To be fair it’s center cut bacon which is a healthier alternative, but the delicious pork product in the Garbanzo Beans and Greens recipe from Cooking Light wasn’t the only thing it had going for it. The dish is a part of their Budget Cooking section that averages out to $1.75 per serving that yields four total. This recipe also looked super easy plus it fits into Cooking Light’s new Healthy Habits initiative that ensures you get a load of veggies. For the total win right?
Thank goodness for this recipe. It was everything I wanted/needed and was quite delicious. I’ve proclaimed my obsession with kale before and this has loads of it…YAY! What I truly loved was the Greek yogurt you place in the soup at the end. It gave it just the right silky and creamy texture that balanced out the soup perfectly. Plus, there’s bacon in it. Bacon.
If you are a fan of the Cooking Inside the Lines Facebook page, you might have seen my grumblings with the Slow Cooker recipes section from Food and Wine. I tried the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce and Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stewand let’s just say former was bland and blah and the latter was simply inedible. It’s rare that I try recipes that we actually can’t even think to stomach to eat. To me these were just poor by recipe design and seemed to lack a lot of flavor – and in a slow cooker to boot…ouch! When I saw that I had chosen yet another one of the recipes from this section, Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta, I almost decided to not even try. But, since I like to stick to my menu plan I forged ahead. Well thank goodness that I did lambs because this was delicious! YAY!
What I think worked for this recipe, compared to the others, was you seared the shanks before putting them in the slow cooker and finished it of with fresh ingredients such as dill and more lemon juice to freshen it up. A word to the wise, since you place whole lemon slices in the slow cooker they take on a preserved lemon taste. I’m kind of fan of this flavor, David likes it better, but we both agree that it can be polarizing. We would recommend to remove unless you and your fellow diners lurve preserved lemons. I served this on top of orzo and sauteed fresh spinach with garlic that was finished off with a little red wine vinegar. Also, if you think you are not a lamb fan, shanks are an easy way to turn non-believers into believers. They.are.delicious. I also like this dish because it was hearty enough for a cold winter night but had a certain brightness to it with the fresh dill, lemon and feta; a little bit of spring in your winter dish.
Oooh lambs, we are getting to my favorite time of year – the holidays! In fact, each year the city of Austin puts on the Trail of Lightsand the Zilker Christmas Tree. Sadly (due to budget issues) the Trail of Lights did not happen but the tree, thank goodness, is up. A brief history for you from the Nile Guide:
For more than 35 years, one of the tallest man-made trees in the country lights up the holidays in Austin. The 175-foot Christmas tree, decked out in nearly 4000 twinkling lights, is lit every night from early December to the end of the year. It is tradition to stand in the center and spin around with your loved ones underneath the tree for a fantastic light show. Be careful, as you will find many people twirling in circles. The lighting takes place in Zilker Park.
Since we live in the Zilker vicinity, our friend Kari had the great idea for a small holiday get together for some food, hot chocolate and a visit to the tree. Here is her photo from her twirling underneath the tree. I also took my first ever spin with David. Warning, you will get dizzy but there was something magical and yes, a little touching to see all of our fellow Austinites whirling and twirling under the tree.
But what to make for such a festive occasion? I decided to make this All-American Chili and Mexican Hot Chocolate from Cooking Light. Who doesn’t love chili and hot chocolate!? No one I care to know. I made the chili the day before, because even as Cooking Light says, chili is even better the next day. I really liked this recipe and the perfect chili-ness of it all. Beans, two kinds of meat, veggies and oh yeah, a spicy kick. One thing I changed was instead of ground sirloin, I cut a sirloin steak into small cubes and browned along with the sausage since I tend to like big chunks of beefy mcbeef in my chili. Also, this thing had a KICK. When I tasted it the day before the spiciness was right on, but the next day? Yowza. I would recommend if you are making this to be enjoyed a few days after making, to either deseed the jalapeno or lower the chili powder level if you have a spicy-sensitive group. However, I was getting great reviews from the table so maybe I’ve become a spice-pansy.
Kari, who just got back from Italy, also made awesome Cauliflower Fritters and homemade bread. Maybe if y’all apply enough pressure here she will give me the recipe as these were molto buono! UPDATE, Kari gave us the recipe, see below. Also Lex, being the awesome chef that she is, did some kind of delicious wicked voodoo with Kari’s leftover bell peppers from the farmer’s market. I asked her what she did and all she could say is “magic Aunt Moey!”. She’s so kin to me.
On to the Mexican Hot Chocolate. We loved it. It was simple, chocolatey, spicy and the perfect beverage to take with us down to the tree. And if you want to add a little Bailey’s we would highly recommend it 😉 Overall, the gang loved all the yummy dishes and beverages but isn’t that what food does? It brings us all together to share stories, laugh, and appreciate the time we have with our good friends and family; especially this time of year. Not to get all sentimental but my life has changed in so many ways this past year, from David being in my life, new amazing friends, and my wonderful niece and her significant other moving to Austin. I couldn’t be more grateful and can’t help but look back over this year and grin from ear-to-ear. In fact, I kind of feel like this…http://en.vidivodo.com/210589/hugh-grant-dance#videoalt
Here are some more pics from our fun holiday evening AND we survived our first dinner party with the new countertops. Digital high five!
Recipe by Maria Jewitt in Rogliano, Italy
4 oz/Tbsp white flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 Pt liquid (half water, half milk, or whatever you have)
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove, diced
Several Tbsp vegetable or canola
Veggies – You can use Cauliflower, brocolli, corn, potato, squash; the more veggies you use, the more fritters you will make. For 6 people, I doubled the recipe and added a whole (small) head of cauliflower.
Mix flour and salt in medium sized bowl. Make a dip in the dry mixture and add egg, mixing together with a fork. Slowly add milk/water mixture – you may not need all of the liquid, it will depend on the size of the egg. The batter should be fairly runny and come off the fork easily. Add diced garlic, shredded parmesean and chopped parsely. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cook vegetables until soft while batter rests. Tear (do not cut) into bite sized pieces. Fold veggies into batter. Heat vegetable or canola oil in a medium sized pan – add enough oil so that you will be able to shallow fry the fritters. When oil is hot, add a spoonful of batter in available areas in the pan. Once they start to cook, you should be able to push them closer together and add more batter to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper plate. Serve hot.
Soup and bread – two food soul mates. I for one know I don’t like a yummy bowl of soup without some delicious crusty bread. Now kick that up a notch with this Tuscan version of soup known as Ribollita or in Italian Reboiled that has delicious crusty bread in it. Yep…IN IT. I’ve never heard of this soup but when I saw it in the Cooking LightNovember issue I thought I would save it for a cold, blustery day. Well, it’s here, right now actually, swishing the trees outside our windows and is very brisk indeed. A Ribollita is nothing fancy, just vegetable scraps and day-old bread but it does take time to make – three days from what I could find in my research. This one only took a few hours for chopping, baking, and of course building the soup so eh, that’s not so bad.
Y’all, this soup was super gentle. The flavors of the kale, tomatoes, beans, carrots, potatoes, yadda, yadda, yadda and yes, my delicious bread made this SUPER hearty. This bad boy is packed with good-for-youness and it’s vegetarian. We loved this for a gentle lunch on such a cold, windy day. Tonight, it’s Scallops with Green Tea Cream if I actually get around to making them this time. I swear, aliens are going to abduct me to ensure I don’t. More on this issue later and oh! if you haven’t yet, be sure to become a fan of Cooking Inside the Lines onFacebook today. Warm reboiled hugs.
I earmarked these subs a while ago in the September issue of Food & Wine because I adore Ratatouille (sans eggplant) and I love the idea of this timeless dish combined with tangy goat cheese all on toasty bread. More on the recipe’s creator Chef Matt Neal in Food & Wine:
Matt Neal had never made ratatouille before he opened Neal’s Deli. He took the recipe from his father, the legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, and used it as the basis for his own version. Neal cooks the key ingredients—eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion—separately. “That way, I can make sure each vegetable cooks exactly how I want it; plus they won’t steam in a big group all together,” he says. “Customers request this sandwich all summer long, but we wait until the ingredients are available at the farmers’ market before we serve it.”
I omitted the eggplant because we both think it’s disgusting – yes disgusting and it’s quite nice to have someone share that same disgust with you since so many people love eggplant. Otherwise, I followed the recipe’s instructions to the letter and it went by much, much quicker than I thought given you have to cook all of the vegetables individually.
I really can’t say much more about these except that they were absolutely delicious, full of flavor and as a bonus perfect for a meatless Monday meal. After ACL Festival weekend, this was a great transition dish to move back into a healthy diet.
As a sidenote, ACL? Wow. I had an absolute BLAST. While Muse was mind-blowingly good my choice for best show was definitely Deadmau5. Lambs, he was a super poodle, put on a fantastic show and the crowd was waaaaay into it. I highly recommend checking him out if you haven’t yet. Oh, and The National, one of my all-time favorites, was exactly how I thought they would be…absolutely incredible. Thank goodness I finally got to see them live!
I do love me some gazpacho lambs. Something about the aroma and all the flavors chilled together make it a perfect soup. We had tropical storm Hermine making out with Central Texas earlier this week so I was happy at the notion of making a simple and comforting soup to watch as the rain and thunderclouds passed by.
I chose this Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherrycreated by Chef José Andrés in the new Bon Appetit (let’s talk about the cover burger recipe later poodles WOW right?). I don’t think anything could be as easy as chopping up tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumber, blending in a food processor and chilling. Two notes, I ran out of fresh garlic (yeah that’s weird I know) so I used two tablespoons of garlic powder and didn’t have sherry (that’s not weird I don’t think?) so just used the sherry wine vinegar.
I made all of the garnishes – easy peasy – and bam, some really, really good gazpacho on the table and awesome leftovers. I served this with some simple cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto and black pepper sprinkled on top.
The rain kept going but sadly our gazpacho experience didn’t last long. Make this for a simple, quick and delicious meal at home and enjoy for lunch the next day!
Well, well, well Cooking Light look who just took the coveted (shhhh…in my head it is coveted) winner of the cover recipe smackdown away from my favoritegrilled cheese/short rib goodness. The Maple-Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree, created by none either than the lovely Ellie Krieger, was so excellent the only thing left on the plate were our finger smears and pork chop bones.
After a conversation with Lex about this “situation” we both felt that this recipe won due to a few things:
While decadence is always a good thing, this recipe felt decadent without adding a lot to our bums unlike a grilled cheese sandwich. It was full of delicious flavors and good for you goodness like butternut squash. I could eat that sauce on almost anything. Two low-fat points for pork.
The grilled cheese was easy to prepare but if you think about it, it’s also a sandwich and that can be a lot of work – for some – to make a sandwich. Point deduction grilled cheese.
This came together in a New York minute and utilized many pantry staples, except frozen butternut squash which I found at Whole Foods Market. Point addition.
This dish just plain rocked, so there. Point for pork.
That sauce, oh dear that sauce! I think we’ve confirmed plenty of times here I’m a sucker for sauces. Five points for sauce.
I would like to clarify that I do not hold tight to these standards when judging all cover recipes, but when it came down to a game time decision the comments mentioned above helped the pork chop dish beat the grilled cheese by thismuch. Don’t get me wrong little lambs that grilled cheese will live on in my heart like Leonardo DiCaprio does but you’ve got to give the pork chops recipe a try. Heck make both and let us know if we are dead wrong!
I could not find the recipe online (come on people!) so you can find it below.
Maple-Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree
Cooking Light, March 2010
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but with a slight blush in the center. Remove from pan; keep warm.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add butter to pan, swirling pan to coat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add broth; bring to boil, and cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard, syrup, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Return pork to pan. Cook pork 1 minute on each side or until thoroughly heated (be careful not to overcook pork). Serve pork with sauce. Garnish each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley.
1. Place broth and squash in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add butter and remaining ingredients*; stir until well combined.
* We added a smidge of heavy cream to give this a little more body.
So it was a gorgeous day in Austin and Lex and me enjoyed the beautiful 80 degree weather for most of the day, but got back this afternoon and banged out not two, not three but four delicious recipes all from Food & Wine magazine.Warm Winter-Vegetable SaladandZucchini-and-Watercress Soup. After tasting both we were quite impressed but a full review is to come later lambies.
For dinner, we made these – what I thought were – awesome Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos with Mango-Tomato Salsa. The turkey for the tacos was pretty simple and we knew this would be delicious once we opened the lid with the simmering turkey and aromatics and got quite hungry. The salsa was a basic dump and pour (as it usually is) but Lex hates chunky salsa so we decided to dump it all in the food processor and give her a whirl until it was nice and pureed. I really liked these tacos with the salsa but if you are not a big fan of cinnamon (like Lex is) then it might be a little too overpowering for some. I loved them however so I say go for it!