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Pork tenderloin and grilled vegetable salad

I was watching the food network this morning and Bobby Flay was cooking up something that looked delicious. It was a Pork Tenderloin Gyro and a Grilled Vegetable Couscous salad. I thought it looked good so I made a list of supplies and went to the store. Unfortunately, my regular grocery store was closed because the power was out 😦 I had to hit up the Albertsons nearby. Not only did I pay more than I thought was necessary but I also ended up with sub-par produce.

I have never made pork tenderloin before and it is one of those things that I was unsure about trying. I know that everyone eats their pork at medium rare now but seeing it that way always freaks me out. When I was a kid, pork was cooked until it was white. I consulted the newly updated USDA website and they did indeed say that pork tenderloin can be cooked to 145F safely. With my thermometer in hand, I started my first pork tenderloin meal.

The recipes can be found here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pork-gyros-with-yogurt-tomato-sauce-recipe/index.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/toasted-israeli-couscous-salad-with-grilled-summer-vegetables-recipe/index.html

It turns out that I followed the wrong recipe for the couscous salad. I watched the Mediterranean episode this morning. When I did the search on the iPad for the recipes, I just searched for “grilled vegetable couscous.” He made a couscous grilled vegetable salad with lemon-balsamic vinaigrette but I made the recipe above. LOL @ not paying attention when doing a search. (I wondered why I remembered a shallot being in the dressing but it wasn’t on the list. I bought one anyway in case I had just missed it. Now I have a spare shallot!)

Couscous:


Pork Tenderloin:

Yogurt-Tomato sauce:

The Whole Meal:

I grabbed Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon for the “dry red wine.” I am not a drinker at all but I know the merits of red wine in a marinade. I consulted Google for an article about a dry red wine and the first one recommended was a Cabernet. I decided to grab the Cupcake Vineyards one because I liked the name. Apparently, it is pretty good (according to Carter, who had a small glass after dinner). yay red wine!

The yogurt sauce was interesting to make. It had the essence of tzatziki sauce but with different hints of flavor from the capers and tomatoes. We chose to use baby spinach in the gyro to make it even more healthy.

Since I had never made couscous, I bought two 10oz boxes. The recipe said a pound of it so I thought I would need both. When I got home, I read the instructions on the box and it said that one box is 5 servings. I used one box and only the 2 cups of stock (The store didn’t have low sodium vegetable stock, so I used low sodium chicken stock instead.) instead of the stock and water.

All in all, I think it came out pretty good. I would have liked to have marinated the pork for longer than the 4 hours the recipe calls for. It had a good flavor but overnight would have been so much better. It easily fed 5 people with at least half of one of the tenderloins leftover. (I am thinking of doing a pork fried rice with the leftovers.) I really liked the couscous. I couldn’t find the Israeli one at the store but the small one was tasty anyway. I was a little worried that I had undercooked the pork but according to a million websites, I was right on target at 144-145F. The half we didn’t eat was slightly pinker than I would like it to be so when I eat the leftovers, I will just heat it up a little.

I took half the meal to my MIL’s house so she wouldn’t have to struggle with cooking tonight with her injured hand. They haven’t called to tell me if they liked it or not. Carter said he just isn’t a fan of pork but he really liked the yogurt-tomato sauce and also the couscous. I think if I had marinated the pork for longer, it would have had better flavor. I might try it again with chicken instead though. I don’t know if that would be weird with red wine.

I am going to go enjoy some of the new Jell-o that I found and also possibly some snickerdoodles from last night’s baking spree! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Easter cupcakes

I offered to make cupcakes for the guys at Halliburton plus the guys out at the rig that Carter is currently working with.  I told him to just pick whichever ones he wants out of the books and I will make them tomorrow and Friday for him.  Since Friday is his birthday and its kind of sad that he has to work,  I figured this would  be a nice thing to do for it.

I have started gathering my supplies for this endeavor. I have never tried to make these fancy cupcakes in two batches before but it can’t be that hard, right?! I have made these particular Garden Party cupcakes before but I had Carter’s help with them. I don’t remember them being that hard to make, just that they took a bunch of time. I have set aside the entire day tomorrow (Thursday) to work on them. I went to CVS Pharmacy to get most of the candies. They have the best selection by far. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds were found at Cost Plus World Market. The only thing I couldn’t find today were the Kellogg’s Green Fruit Streamers. I have a sad feeling that they don’t make them anymore. Fresh and Easy had most of what I needed besides the candy. Albertson’s was my last stop for a few odds and ends.

Everything:

Closeup of the various candies:

Progress update tomorrow! So today I noticed that I didn’t have any white taffy. The AirHeads I had were all colored and I didn’t pick up any mystery flavored ones yesterday while I was out. I figured Albertson’s would have at least the loose ones. I was wrong. I tried RiteAid and CVS as well and no one had any. I bought a bag of Tootsie Rolls that I thought were white but they turned out to not be. I just dipped the red radishes into white chocolate instead and that worked out really well.

I started getting everything set up and counted out after I baked the cupcakes this afternoon.

I doubled the amount of corn flakes the recipe called for. That was not necessary.

Doubled the amounts of all the candies needed as well.

I started with the signs. Thats 8 pieces of Cinnamon Graham Crackers for two sets of the cupcakes. On the side of the cutting board, you can see that I have already shaped the gum pieces to the best of my ability. I don’t recommend using WinterFresh gum because it was very brittle. Something softer is much better.

Once the signs were chilling in the fridge, it was time to make the colored frosting and get all the bags ready to go. I doubled the recipe for each of the required colors. This was completely unnecessary and I ended up throwing away most of it 😦 The regular recipe makes more than enough to do two sets of the cupcakes.

Once the signs are solid, it is time to write/draw on them with frosting.

Shovels are done as well!

With the signs finished, I worked on frosting the cupcakes. I used Double Stuf Chocolate Creme Oreos for the topping. I used pretty much the entire bag for all 48 cupcakes. I think next time I will stick with the Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies. The creme filling in the Oreos was a little messier than I would have liked but of course, they taste better.

The lettuce was an interesting project. I wanted to use the green frosting in the bag after I made the lettuce. I decided to just take some out of the top of the bag. Next time, I will definitely remember to leave some green out of the bag to melt and pour over the corn flakes. This was another portion of the instructions that just didn’t need to be doubled. I had way too much leftover.

After I cleaned up a bit, I started working with the candies. Unfortunately, there were cookie crumbs everywhere, even though I wiped everything down. I just went with it because by this time I had been working for 2.5 hours already and hadn’t started the hardest part yet 😛 I used the good green candy (Jolly Rancher Chews) for the lettuce centers at first. Later I traded them out for Green AirHeads because the Jolly Rancher Chews look much better as the pea pods.

The bowl at the top right of the cutting board was used to heat the Jolly Rancher Chews for 10 seconds at a time in the microwave to make them easier to mold. My hands were super sore after this and I highly recommend keeping the candies warm to keep them soft. Also, use a silpat or parchment paper so they don’t stick to whatever you are rolling them on.

Starting on the red radishes. As I said earlier, I didn’t have any white candy to work with so white chocolate was the answer. I think they still came out awesome.

Working on carrots. I think the orange AirHeads were easier to work with than the orange Starbursts. Both look good though. The recipe is easier to follow if you use the Starbursts because that is what they recommend. Once I shaped the small and large carrots, I coated them in cinnamon to make them look dirty.

I used a pair of kitchen shears to cut some of the green chews into strips for the tops of the carrots. Once I got enough, I rolled them to make them smooth.

The last of the green chews went to make pea pods. These are probably my favorite of all the candy vegetables because they are so darn cute!

Completed. I am hoping to have them in baskets tomorrow but if I can’t find it, the cookie sheets will have to do!

I enjoyed making these but they were a lot more work than I remembered them being. I think the key to something like this is to have someone helping you shape the candies into veggies. That is the most time consuming and also the most difficult part. It is also the most rewarding when people see them 😀 They are definitely worth the time and effort that you put into them 😀 I will add everyone’s reactions to this post tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in The Bakery!

 

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Chard and Beans

I did two new things tonight. One I found on my new iPad while searching around for recipes to use my abundance of greens I have gotten from the CSA. It is called chard and white bean stew. I followed the recipe pretty closely. I don’t like wine so I just used chicken stock instead of wine. I served it over rice in a bowl with garlic toast on the side. It came out amazing and the fresh vegetables in it were just amazing. I used up the last of the carrots I got in my box last week and the Swiss Chard I got in the box this week. I used some kidney beans as well as white beans because, well I didn’t have two cans of white beans in the house! Today was a fun day watching movies and making soup.

Chard and white bean stew Adapted from Smitten Kitchen!
1 pound Swiss chard, stems removed and cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
1 can tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp dry basil
1 pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:
Put a medium pot of salted water on to boil. Chop the swiss chard after cleaning it and cook for 1 minute in the salted boiling water. When a minute is up, dump the swiss chard into a colander and let it drain and cool while you make the rest of the stew.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic to the pan. While this is cooking down, open the cans of beans and stock and tomatoes to get them ready to go into the stew. Rinse the beans under cool water. When the onion mixture is sweated down (about 15 minutes) add the chicken stock. I let it cook for a few minutes then added the beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, basil, and red pepper flakes. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 20-25 minutes (I put the rice in the rice cooker on quick cook at this point and just cooked the stew until the timer went off on the rice cooker.) After the time has passed, give the swiss chard a squeeze to get rid of the rest of the water, and add it to the stew. Cook for about 5 minutes more and serve over the cooked rice and top with some parmesan cheese. I made some garlic toast to go with it as well. I didn’t top it with Sherry vinegar as in the original recipe but the poached egg looks like it would be good. I am going to try that tomorrow.

Her photos came out much prettier than mine but I was working on getting awesome photos of the cupcakes and I was starving so I just got one quick photo of the stew.

I am going to write up the cupcakes as a separate post because it is going to be super long and involved.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Refrigerator cleaner

I made some minestrone soup the other day so I had a bunch of leftover vegetables. I chopped half an onion and a clove of garlic. I sauteed it in some olive oil, very little til it was translucent. Then I added one zucchini, cut in half then chopped into half moon shapes. I cut about 1/4 of an inch off a head of cabbage and then cut that in half and chopped it and added it to the pan. then I added some salt and pepper and szechuan seasoning mix. It needed something orange or red and I didn’t want to add tomatoes so I grated some carrot into it as well. Then I decided it needed a sauce. I put a heaping tsp of Hoisin Sauce, tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce, and a dash of rice wine vinegar. I cooked this all down on low until the angel hair pasta was done cooking. It was so good but I would add the pasta to the sauce pan and cook it for a minute or two with the sauce before plating next time for sure.

No awesome pics of this one tho, I ate it too fast for fancy camera pictures. maybe next time!

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2009 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Garden Party

We are having a yard sale tomorrow so I thought it would be cute to make a set of garden party cupcakes and put them in a basket for the ladies. They came out adorable but were a ton of work. Totally worth it tho. Carter and I worked for 5 hours making the little veggies out of various types of candies.

Giant mess!

Lettuce Leaves!

Signs!

Radishes

Garden!

The basket they are in is an adorable basket that one of the ladies was selling at our yard sale. I snatched it up and the cupcakes fit in there perfectly!

Candies we used in the making of the veggies (the cupcakes were just yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting):
Orange Starburst
Green Jolly Rancher fruit chews
Red Jolly Rancher fruit chews
green and yellow candy streamers
green M&Ms
candy coated sunflower seeds
gum
corn flakes
white airhead
pretzels
white melting chocolate (tinted yellow because thats what I had on hand)
ground up Famous Wafers (for the dirt on top)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2009 in The Bakery!

 

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