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Archive for September, 2010

Pork medallions with mustard sauce

I have a new favorite pork tenderloin recipe, and it’s pork medallions coated in a creamy mustard onion sauce. I took 1 tenderloin, cut it into 6 pieces and gave them a couple of whacks to thin them out some. They spent 1 1/2 hours ish swimming in a brine of 1 gallon of water, 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar, more or less. Did I mention I’m a brine junkie? It’s hard to like white meat not injected full of salt when you know how good it tastes and how tender it makes the meat.

Anyway, I coated the rinsed and dried the pork medallions with a flour/salt/pepper/cayenne mix. The cayenne didn’t really come through, but I like to pretend it made a difference. Once I got to that point, I pretty much followed the recipe to the tee. I subbed the leeks for 1/2 of a huge onion, thinly sliced. I used my homemade chicken stock and my homemade sour cream.

I thought that when I added the sour cream, it messed up of the texture of the sauce a little. But when I put the sauce into the pan I sauteed the pork in, it cooked down and there was no issue. I added a little cornstarch but it’s really not necessary.

Pork Medallions with Mustard Chive Sauce

Serves 3


  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only, about 2 med.)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 (1 lb) pork tenderloins, each cut crosswise into 6 slices
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided


  1. Melt 1T butter with 1T olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Add leeks and cook until beginning to turn golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth, wine and garlic.
  4. Boil until mixture has reduced to 1 2/3 cups, about 4 minutes.
  5. Whisk in sour cream and mustard. (The sauce can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.).
  6. Melt 1T butter with 1T oil in another large skillet over med-high heat.
  7. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
  8. Saute until browned and cooked.
  9. Transfer pork to platter.
  10. Add sauce to skillet, simmer sauce over med heat until slighly thickened, scraping up any browned bits, about 2 minutes.
  11. Stir in chopped chives.
  12. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  13. Return pork to skillet.
  14. Cover and cook over med.
  15. Heat until just rewarmed,stirring frequently.
  16. Sprinkle with additional chives and serve.

Rotisserie style chicken

Calling this rotisserrie chicken is almost an insult. It was so packed full of flavor all of the way through and it was very moist and juicy. I’m glad, because I spent almost two days prepping this chicken! I knew I wanted to cook it Tuesday night, so Monday morning I soaked the chicken in a brine. Monday night I rinsed off the brine, wiped the chicken dry, and rubbed a great seasoning mix on the skin, inside the cavity, and on the skin. I stuffed the chicken with some quartered onion, garlic cloves, and half of a lemon. I also added some lemon zest to the rub. The chicken hung out until 3 o’clock, which is when I popped it into the oven. I expected it to take maybe 4 hours, but at 6 the internal temperature was in the 170s. Luckily, the chicken didn’t dry out. My chicken was a little over 4 lbs and it was soaked in a brine, so that explains the shortened cooking time. Also, I poured some white wine (maybe 1/2 cup) in the bottom of the roasting pan.  I used that to baste until the chicken starting releasing it’s own juices, around the 1 1/2 hour mark. I didn’t even care how the skin turned out, because we don’t really eat that part.

I rested the chicken upside down for a while. That’s a tip I get from Alex’s Day Off, and it makes the juices flow back into the breast. I also spooned the pan juices over the carved (ok, butchered) chicken. When I get a roasting pan, it would have been the perfect amount of juice to make a killer gravy.

Since I brined the chicken, I cut the salt in the rub by 1/2. I also used the full amount of rub on 1 chicken. I used half regular paprika, half smoked paprika, and next time I could increase the cayenne. I left out the white pepper.

Roast Sticky Chicken – Rotisserie Style (All Recipes, but it’s also on Food.com)

Jacob and I ate a little less than 1/2 of our bird


  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 (4 pound) whole chicken


  1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  3. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Here is the chicken brine I used. I didn’t use the full amount of anything, and I just used a splash of oil. Between this brine and Kittencal’s buttermilk brine, I will never cook plain chicken again! I found other brines with herbs, but I’m not sure the flavor would come through that well. I’d rather add the herbs later.

Simple Chicken Brine (All Recipes)


  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Pour the warm water into a container that is twice the volume of the water. Pour in the salt, sugar, soy sauce, and olive oil. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
  2. To use, place chicken in the brine, cover, and refrigerate two hours for skinless breasts, 4 hours for bone-in pieces, and 4 hours to overnight for whole chickens. Drain and pat the chicken dry before cooking. One gallon of brine is enough for 6 pounds of whole chicken or bone-in chicken pieces, and up to 10 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

Maple mustard pork

The sauce for this was really good. I marinated pork tenderloin in the sauce overnight, but I don’t think it really penetrated the meat that well. The pork tasted really good though, because I basted it frequently and I browned the pork then finished it in the oven. I heated up he leftover marinade I didn’t use to thicken it so I could use it as a sauce. My only change to the sauce was to add a little bit of hot sauce.

Pork with Maple and Mustard Glaze Sauce (All Recipes)


  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Stir together the maple syrup, mustard vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place pork roast in a shallow roasting pan. Spread glaze evenly over pork roast.
  3. Roast pork in the preheated oven uncovered, until internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), about 1 hour. Remove from oven, and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve. (I cook until 140, the oven temp was 425. It took about 20 minutes after browning. I might try browning for a little longer next time.)

Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve never had Shepherd’s Pie, and I’d never even heard of it until one today when I was searching for ground beef recipes. But I really wanted to try it, because how can meat, sauce, and cheesy mashed potatoes be bad? It was actually really good. It didn’t blow my mind away, but it was really tasty. I would add peas next time for the color more than anything. The worchestershire is a really strong flavor, and the tomato paste adds a sweetness. I used my food mill to make the mashed potatoes, which makes them smoother than I could ever do by hand-mashing. I used 1 big potato, a splash or two of milk, 1 tbsp butter, and S&P. I topped with smoked gouda cheese, which tasted good but didn’t really melt and get bubbly. Another option would be to stir the cheese into the potatoes.

This is a pretty good meal, but I would maybe try a different version just because it’s not crazy exciting. Crepes of Wrath has a different version that’s probably not traditional, but it sounds good. It has wine and canned diced tomatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie (Emeril, with inspiration from Mummy Boone and Proper English Cottage Pie)

Serves 4-6 (1/2 of the recipe was 3 big servings for us)


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 pound chopped lamb shoulder or lamb fillet
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups lamb or beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar, grated


Lightly grease a 6-cup baking dish and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the lamb and cook until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until their liquid is almost all gone, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until starting to color, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with salted water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and return to the pot. Over low heat, mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and nutmeg, and mash to incorporate. Add the heavy cream and mix well. Remove from the heat.

Remove the pot with the meat from the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Spoon into the prepared dish and top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake until browned and bubbly on top, 10 to 15 minutes. (Mine baked 20.) Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

King arthur big white sandwich bread

I got the sudden urge to make a sandwich bread last night, for no reason at all except for I hadn’t made one in a while. I chose a bread made in a 9X5 pan that wasn’t full of butter like other white breads. This one promised to be thinly slice-able and perfect for every type of sandwich. I was a little nervous because I’d been having problems with the size and rise of my last few loaf breads. This one actually rose a tiny bit too fast for me, so I had some bubbly crust issues. Also, I rubbed the top with Land of Lakes butter spread, which I can probably skip next time. And it still didn’t spring up in the oven like the pictures indicated. Other than that, the bread was everything it was promised to be. It tasted good, wasn’t crumbly, and I can slice it really thin. This bread is going to last me a long time, because it’s so big. It made a delicious grilled cheese today. I used cheddar, mozzarella (the stick kind!), a little mayo, and some roma tomatoes.

King Arthur’s Classic White Sandwich Bread


  • 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey (I subbed sugar because I’m currently out of honey)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules
  • *Use the lesser amount in summer or humid climates; the greater amount in winter or drier climates.


1) Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed, and mix and knead — by hand, or using a stand mixer — to make a smooth dough. It won’t be particularly soft nor stiff; it should be smooth and feel bouncy and elastic under your hands.
2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or large (8-cup) measuring cup. Cover it, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it’s become quite puffy, though not necessarily doubled in size.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a fat 9″ log. Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
4) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it’s crowned 1″ to 1 1/2″ over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
5) Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, till it’s golden brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read 195°F to 200°F.
6) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.
Yield: 1 large loaf, about 18 servings.

Alfredo sauce

I don’t eat alfredo sauce often, because it’s so fatty and rich. But this recipe is totally delicious, and low-fat! It was really easy to make and it will become a permanent substitution for me. It was nice and creamy and it reheated really well, no lumps. Some great additions would be a pinch of cayenne or some pesto. Today I added chopped tomatoes. I meant to make shrimp alfredo, but the fresh shrimp I bought yesterday smelled kind of funny. So that would be something to try again in the future! I would love to use this sauce to make alfredo pizza.

I made 1/2 of this sauce to serve Jacob and myself.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (Our Best Bites)


2 C low-fat milk
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese


Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender.

Process until smooth and set aside.

In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Stand above the pan (but not close enough to scald your face) and inhale. Ahhh…butter and garlic. Okay, now get cooking again. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don’t want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly.

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Fried mozzarella sticks

Yumm…making my own fried cheese sticks was totally worth getting my hands messy and gross. I tried using a fork and the whole wet hand/dry hand thing, which actually works pretty good. But after a while I was bored of breading and wanted to be done faster, so I just dove right in. It might actually be better to use your hands because it’s important that all of the cheese stick is breaded. These were much better than frozen, and even better than some restaurant cheese sticks I can think of. I adapted Pioneer Woman’s recipe a little because I wanted to add a little extra flavor. They were so good that I didn’t want to dip them in my homemade pizza sauce. They both had lots of seasonings and fought with each other. Next time one of them needs to be a little bit simpler. What a weird thing for me to say, haha.

A lot of my cheese sticks leaked cheese a little, either because I didn’t bread them perfectly or because I only froze for the minimum of 20 minutes. It’s ok though, I ate them just the same! Jacob and I ate all but 3 of these. It says it serves 4 but not in this apartment

Panko Mozzarella Sticks


  • 8 pieces String Cheese, Removed From Wrappers (I used Sargento)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour (I added some cornstarch)
  • 1 whole Eggs (I needed two)
  • 1 tablespoon, 1-½ teaspoon Milk
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1-½ teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes (I used lots of seasonings…basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, and a little red pepper flakes. I might try adding some garlic powder also)
  • S&P
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • Marinara Sauce, For Dipping

Preparation Instructions

Slice string cheese pieces in half, for a total of 32 pieces.

Place flour in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk.

In another separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with parsley flakes.

TO ASSEMBLE: One by one, roll mozzarella sticks in flour, then dunk in egg/milk mixture, then place in panko crumbs. Use your hand to sweep crumbs all over the mozzarella stick. Gently remove and place on a tray or cookie sheet. Repeat until all mozzarella sticks are coated. (I double dipped, going back in the egg and bread crumbs a second time.)

***Place tray in freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to flash freeze.***

TO COOK: Heat 1 1/2 inches canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mozzarella sticks 8 at a time. Watch closely and turn over to evenly brown, cooking less than 2 minutes. Do not allow cheese to bubble and leak.

Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.