Category Archives: Fruit

Recipe Retry

Let’s go back almost a year when I made this Chile-Dusted Pork Chops with Strawberries and Grits recipe and to date, has still been one of my favorites since I started this blog. With the multitude of cooking magazines, web sites and blogs I read almost every day it’s so tempting to keep trying new recipes without ever looking back. However when talking about successes and complete and utter recipe failures with David, I kept coming back to this dish, then, it became an obsession. Would it be as good as I had remembered? Could I recreate it again for two?

Well…it did lambs! Making this for two was twice as nice and we both really enjoyed it. I’m going to be doing these a little more often now so stay tuned for further updates on some of my favorite recipes of last year. Up next is the Cod with Mussels, Chorizo, Fried Croutons and Saffron Mayonnaise dish…

Pork and Peaches

Hello lambs! It’s a Christmas miracle as I cooked again this week! I’ve been thumbing through the new Cooking Light with all of the summer harvest bounty gracing the pages – this truly is one of my favorite food times of the year. The summer fruits section really piqued my interest and then when I saw this Brined Pork Tenderloin with Plum and Jicama Relish I had to give it a whirl. I mean it’s pork tenderloin and fruit, how can I go wrong?

After work I drove to Central Market and found everything on my list except for plums, which I was told I was about a week off but there were some lovely peaches I could pick-up if I was in a pinch. I happen to love peaches and was actually a little more excited about the dish than I would be with plums. For the win!

I got home and immediately placed the pork in the salty brine. As the pork did its thing I assembled the relish which was super easy and quite delicious at first taste. While I made the potato salad, which I’m not going to mention here because it was a bit of a disappointment, David walked up to the grill and cooked the pork. Who’s David? Well, the new (amazing, gentle and total foodie) guy in my life that I hope you can get to know better as my little blog continues on. :) I happily digress. So David cooked the pork on the grill and had to do a bit longer than originally called for, about 4-5 minutes, and then we let it rest.

We plated the pork with the relish on top and then the disappointing potato salad. Obviously the salad was “meh” but the pork was fantastic. The sweet and spicy relish complemented the salty, juicy pork perfectly. I have leftovers sitting in the fridge right now calling my name and can’t wait to dig in. This is an easy and delicious summer night meal and next time I will try it with plums darnit. Enjoy!

Say it with me now: Ata-ulf-o!

Yesterday we were working on a project for the National Mango Board that highlights the juicy, creamy Ataulfo variety and we had a few to spare here in the office. What is a mango-loving girl to do? Well! I was in the mood for a juicy pork tenderloin and lo-and-behold came across this Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Mango Sambal from Cooking Light.
I wanted to share what the Web site says about this recipe because after enjoying this delicious dish, I completely agree: Sambal is a generic name for any paste-like condiment made with chiles. Authentic versions tend to be extremely hot. This Malaysian-influenced mango sambal works well with the Southern-style barbeque spice rub. The vinegar gives the condiment a flavor that’s reminiscent of a North Carolina mop sauce.

This dish came together in no time and the sambal (which I’ve never made before) was a simple dump and pour like a fruit salsa. The spice rub on this was wicked. With the sweet brown sugar, spice from the chili powder and savory garlic and onion powder it rocked the tenderloin. Enjoy this any time of year with any kind of mango variety or try it with Ataulfos now!

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos from Food & Wine

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 Salad and Zucchini-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!

It’s Simple Really

It has been said on this blog tons of times, I love magazines and Real Simple has held an organized, gentle and special place in my heart for years now. Each issue is informative and inspirational and I keep them around for years to revisit say when I need to remind myself of the essential spring cleaning routine or the best way to pack a suitcase; I love their little “aha!” moments don’t you? I also wish I could afford the clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry they feature each month but I digress.

I always loved their food section because they had really simple recipes that never seemed to lack on flavor or originality…until a few years ago. I found myself reading the magazine from front-to-back but would skim the food sections because nothing tickled my fancy. Saddened was I to see that I was never inspired to try any of their recipes, until last month when a grilled cheese with fruit chutney recipe caught my eye. When I tested it, it tasted great. “Humph” I thought to myself “could I be falling in love all over again with Real Simple’s recipes or are they just playing games with my food loving heart?” Well there are no broken hearts here as I tested three new recipes from the January issue and they all gave me the old Real Simple razzle dazzle that I loved so long ago.

Coming back from traveling for the holidays, I was quite happy at my foresight to choose these three recipes that were super easy to execute and they all really rocked in their own way. The Skillet-Poached Huevos Rancheros for a late-lunch was awesome and reminds of the Tex-Mex version of the much loved Italian-style eggs baked in tomato sauce. Next, the Seared Tilapia with Mango and Watercress for dinner was YUM. The dressing on top of the tilapia mixed with the mango, spicy watercress and red onion was so simple but delicious. This will be a healthy, quick recipe I can turn to again and again. Finally, for lunch the next few days I made this Kale and White Bean Soup which was simple, delicious, and healthy and it features Kale. I love Kale. Can I please get a t-shirt or mug that says that?

Thanks Real Simple for the delicious recipes and I can’t wait to see your February issue! I couldn’t find any of the recipes online (sigh) so I posted all three below, who loves you?

Seared Tilapia with Watercress and Mango Salad

Real Simple, January 2010

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

4 tilapia fillets (about 1 1/4 pounds total), halved lengthwise
Kosher Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups of watercress (from 1 to 2 bunches), thick stems removed
1 mango, cut into small pieces
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Season the tilapia with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the tilapia and cook until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil and the remaining tilapia.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, ginger, crushed red pepper, the remaining 1/4 cup of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Divide the tilapia, watercress, mango, and onion among plates. Drizzle with dressing.

The Prettiest Guacamole in the Room

I have been testing, testing and testing away dear readers and sadly none of the recipes I’ve tried have made the cut to share with you…until tonight. I’m getting ready to head back to East Texas for Christmas so I chose super simple recipes the next few days because well it’s the holidays and my nightly meals shouldn’t be too much trouble this time of year.

I made this Mango Pomegranate Guacamole recipe tonight and to turn it into an entree, I layered baked tostadas with the guacamole, canned (and rinsed) black beans with a little bit of sour cream. What a simple, vegetarian, healthy and DELICIOUS dish. With the addition of mango and pomegranate, the textures and flavors bounced off each other very nicely and the colors made the guac pop. This is an amazing twist on guacamole and you could serve at a party, to your kids, or by yourself while watching Antiques Roadshow. I’ll admit it, I love Antiques Roadshow. I just saw an 18th Century North American Indian Burlwood Bowl get appraised for $40,000 – 60,000. It’s a bowl. That’s insane. And awesome.

My Super Slow-Roasted Sunday

Austin’s weather today was soupy, cold and gray or the perfect weather to slow-roast the heck out of my entire dinner! Cooking Light did a whole slow-roasting recipe smorgasbord and you can just tell the test kitchen staff had fun with these recipes. It makes me wonder if they slow-roasted a lot of things and if so what didn’t make it to the magazine pages? I have to say whatever fun they were having translated into some amazingly delicious recipes. Let’s go through this slowly shall we lambs?

Now it has been written on Cooking Inside the Lines before that I hate salmon. Not dislike or despise, hate, so what compelled me to try this Slow-Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon recipe? Well, it is in an instant favorite amongst Cooking Light staff, which I always trust, and the flavors of dill and brown sugar made me think it would cover up the salmony flavor that I’m not a fan of. Also, it mentioned that slow-roasting the fish gives it a velvety texture which is definitely what I need if I’m going to try salmon. The result? We have a winner! Now I’m not going to join the salmon cha-cha line but I might be intrigued to shake my hips with this recipe. The brown sugar and dill lended a beautiful flavor to the salmon and they were right, the texture was velvety and made it so much more enjoyable.

To accompany the salmon, I also made the Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes which, as they mention, brings out the natural sweetness of the plum tomatoes. As I was eating these on top of fresh watercress I thought these would be amazing on top of a pizza or food processed and used for a tomato sauce on top of pasta with Parmesan. I ate them on top of salad and they were delicious, delicious, delicous.

Finally, for dessert, I made the Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits. Through roasting, the grapes still retained their burst-y (yes that’s a word) texture and it does sweeten them overall. With this recipe they had me at Greek yogurt and honey which is one of my favorite combinations. With the crunchy, toasted walnuts in the layers of parfait you’ve got a perfect, crunchy, creamy, sweet, good-for-you dessert.

On a cooking note if you should desire to recreate this entire meal, I started curing the salmon this morning and then cooked the grapes and tomatoes at the same time and then simply removed when they were complete. Once the salmon was ready I cooked per the time instructed and placed the tomatoes and grapes in around 20 minutes or so at the end with the salmon to warm them up.
As a final side note (sorry for the long post but hey at least it’s about food and not calculus right?), I made a delicious Thai Coconut Lime-Soup with Chicken from Bon Appetit. Now I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves (who does?) or sake (gosh, but I should have that on standby always – tee hee hee) but I made this soup anyway to enjoy for lunch today and tomorrow and it was still awesome. I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go. Enjoy!
Thai Coconut-Lime Soup with Chicken
Bon Appetit, December 2009
8 First-Course Servings
2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 red Thai chilis or 2 red jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced into rings, seeded (I used jalapenos)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup sake
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used the low-fat version)
8 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut crosswise into thin strips (y’all I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Chopped green onions
Discard all but bottom 4 inches of lemongrass stalks. Peel off tough outer layers. Mince lemongrass. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until onion beings to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chilis and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add broth and sake; simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, lime juice and sugar; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer just until cooked through about 4 minutes.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro sprigs.

The Duke of Windsor Sandwich and Other Tales

Cooking magazines during the holiday season are a double-edged sword for me. While I love all of the holiday recipes, it’s also two months of issues so focused on holiday meals that the everyday meal recipes – aka the ones I use most – get pushed to the back burner. This light everyday meal coverage does give me time to turn to a few of my beloved cookbooks. One is my
Neiman Marcus cookbook and probably the one that I turn to the most. Given to me as a Christmas gift from my best friend since college The Boo, this cookbook is surprisingly filled with easy-to-make salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees and the store’s ever-famous Popovers. Thanks Boo! :)

One recipe that I love from this cookbook is the Duke of Windsor Sandwich. Originally created for a visit to Neiman Marcus by Edward, the Duke of Windsor, this sandwich is one of the strangest combinations for a sandwich I have encountered and one of the most delicious. Get this, it’s turkey, mango chutney, cheddar cheese spread and pineapple on bread. Isn’t that an odd sounding combination but oddly delicious sounding at the same time?

For the Big 12 Championship game last night I wanted something decadent, delicious and comforting that I could enjoy during what I thought was going to be a nice competitive football game, you know we would for sure win but still Nebraska would show up and give us a good game. However, I was not expecting to be questioning my faith and fanhood in the Longhorns or hurling pillows at my TV or offering the football gods my left big toe if we could just win. WHAT WAS THAT LONGHORNS? Sorry, I digress, thank goodness I had this sandwich to help me during what was one of the most stressful Longhorn football games ever. EVER. EVER.

I followed this recipe just like it calls for except, and I know you won’t be surprised, I added two strips of crispy Center Cut Bacon to this sandwich and it was an awesome addition. How could it not be? Seriously, try this sandwich, it is so unique and delicious I really think you are going to like it. And my recommendation to the Longhorns – pull yourself together!

The Duke of Windsor Sandwich
Neiman Marcus Cookbook (2003)
Serves 4

2 cans (8 ounces each) pineapple rings (8 rings), drained
8 slices of egg bread, brioche, sourdough, or your favorite bread (I used whole wheat but I can see this being really good on sourdough too)
½ cup of processed Cheddar cheese spread (such as Wispride brand), softened
4 tablespoons store-bought mango chutney (such as Major Grey’s brand)
1 pound smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray (or lightly oil it) and place the pineapple rings on the sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the rings are well dried and beginning to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool; keep the oven turned on.

Place the slices of bread on a clean work surface. Spread about two tablespoons of the cheese spread on four of the slices and one tablespoon of the chutney on the other four slices. Top the slices with the cheese spread and about 2 ounces of the sliced turkey, and then two roasted pineapple rings, and then another two ounces of turkey (and two slices of cooked bacon if you desire). Take the slices spread with the chutney and “close” the sandwiches, pressing gently to “seal” them.

Using a griddle, large sauté pan, or skillet, heat two tablespoons of the melted butter. Carefully place two of the sandwiches onto the griddle or into the pan and cook over medium heat for about three minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer the sandwiches to an ungreased baking sheet and repeat for the remaining sandwiches. Bake in the oven for about four minutes, until the cheese is melted and the turkey and pineapple are warmed through. Cut the sandwiches and transfer to serving plates.

Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam

So after a HUGE and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving meal courtesy of Mama Ingle (thanks Mom!) I really wanted to do something light and healthy, therefore I chose a sandwich jam-packed with Gruyere cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos, prosciutto, pickles, shredded pork and a homemade tomato jam. Yeah, light and healthy just like I said. this Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam recipe from Food and Wine magazine after eating everything in sight the past few days, but alas I did and I’m quite happy about my choice thank you very much.

I don’t know what the heck compelled me to try

This recipe looks more labor-intensive than it really is. It’s actually more “set it and forget it” than lots of steps that make you want to pull your hair out. You let the pork roast for four hours and make the homemade tomato jam that sits for about an hour at a low temperature. After the jam and pork were done, everything else assembled pretty quickly and then you simply grill the foil-wrapped sandwich which made the cheese melty and the bread nice and crispy. This sucker throws a flavor uppercut so prepare to be floored by how yummy everything is once it is grilled. I loved all of these flavors together and honestly was a little surprised that it all worked out as amazingly as it did.


Try making this on a lazy, football Sunday (ha I just came across this video when looking for fitting “Lazy Sunday” images) and you will have a tasty and unique sandwich for the Sunday night game. I served baked chips and fresh mango on the side. Also, I reserved the leftover tomato jam (since it’s just me) for a later use and the remaining pork I will use for lunch to place inside some corn tortillas with some light sour cream and fresh avocado. Love it!