The Wife Teamed Up w/ @MarthaStewart (well, her recicpe anyway)

This incredible pound cake with Maple Glaze is a joint venture between my wife (the baker) and Martha Stewart.  She followed the recipe with the exception of substituting the almond extract for 3/4 tsp of lemon flavoring and skipping the lemon extract.  If you make it, you’ll find a way to justify it as a breakfast, snack, and dessert for each other meal.


Guest baker: Candied ginger cookies with lemon glaze (via Baker’s Notebook)

My wife is the guest baker mentioned below and I can attest to the wonderful-ness of these cookies; I couldn’t stop eating them.

Guest baker: Candied ginger cookies with lemon glaze As promised, I wanted to share the other cookies we enjoyed this holiday season, courtesy of my baking-apprentice-turned-expert sister.  She selected these cookies and baked them pretty much entirely herself; my supervisory role was limited to reading the ingredients, which I couldn't even manage to do properly.  So, I can't claim any credit for the success of these cookies, but I will say that they disappeared the fastest at our holiday gatherin … Read More

via Baker's Notebook

Two Recent Favorites from Trader Joe’s

We’ve had some late nights over the last few months and Trader Joe’s has been major league clutch.  For dinner, in the frozen section, we found the duo of quinoa.  This vegetarian product combines red and white quinoa and some veggies with a low sodium, yet very flavorful spice combination.  Just add water to the pot, add the bag of goodies and cook for 7 minutes.  I like to add a browned low-fat meat like organic ground turkey or beef to increase the protein level.

On the breakfast front is my new favorite – the apple smoked (what is apple smoked exactly?  It seems like a marketing gimmick), thick-cut, nitrate free bacon.  I recently started baking this rather than pan-frying it and found that it holds the flavor better and is less fatty.  Set the oven to 375 and (if you have a convection oven use the convection setting) cook for 10 minutes, flip the bacon, and cook for another 5-7.  Take it out and drain on a plate/paper towel as you would normally.

Lentil Walnut Burgers – Hearty AND Vegetarian (tastes good too)

My sister-in-law turned me on to the Everyday Food cookbook (thanks Kelly!) and this recipe is from that.  I made it and followed it to the ‘T’.  This has flavors reminiscent of falafel and while we ate it sans-bread, it would have gone nicely in a pita or on a soft roll as well.  We really enjoyed it tonight and beer from our sampler packs, courtesy of Shiner and Magic Hat went well with it.  Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Lentil-Walnut Burgers:

3/4 cup toasted walnuts, cooled

1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 cup lentils, cooked, drained, and cooled

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large egg

Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce:

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Lentil-Walnut Burgers

1. In a food processor, combine walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until finely ground. Add lentils and 1 tablespoon oil; pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils should remain whole).

2. In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add lentil mixture; mix well. Divide into 4 equal-size parts; roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hand into 3/4-inch-thick patties.

3. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Yogurt Cilantro Sauce

1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, cilantro, and lemon; season with salt and pepper.

Great Tomatoes in Phila (only on Saturdays) @FarmToCity

If you’re in the Rittenhouse vicinity on a Saturday in the Spring, Summer, or Fall, make sure to stop by the square as there are some great vendors (meats, cheese, fruit, mushrooms, etc.).  They are all wonderful, but if you can only pick one or have a hankering for great Tomatoes, visit the guy selling tomatoes there and pick your own from the many available.  I also bought a tiny basil plant from him 2 weeks ago and it’s already doubled in size.

I usually serve the tomatoes sliced with a balsamic drizzle, a bit of fresh ground pink salt, and a little fresh ground pepper.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce (30 minutes total, easy, healthy)

Just a basic homemade dish with some fresh basil from my ‘garden’.  It’s not much of a garden, more of a rectangular pot with a basil and mint plant in it.  But when you live in the city, it’s a garden.  This is a basic, healthy dish that comes together in 30mins.

Directions:  Heat up a large skillet/pan with a lid with some olive oil and take the pork tenderloin (about a pound) out of the frig and season all over with salt and pepper.  Once the oil is nice and hot (and your exhaust fan is on), add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides, turning frequently.  After each side is browned, turn the heat to med-low and cover for 20mins.  After 20mins, the pork should be at about 150 degrees.  Take it out and rest it on a plate.

Take about 3 tablespoons of brown/deli mustard and 2 tablespoons of dijon and about a half cup of lowfat sour cream and add it to the pan.  If you have it, you can also add 3 leaves of fresh chopped basil (I had it in the ‘garden’) as well.  Do not boil the sauce, but stir to combine.  Slice the pork and add it back to the pan to coat each piece in the sauce mixture…enjoy!

Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin: Just Like the Pros Do It, But at Home

I love the smoky bbq taste and sweet/hot combination that generally only arises from bbq, smoking, and long cooking times.  However, I’ve cemented that flavor profile with the following dry rub that delivers similar results in under an hour:

  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tsp Decaffeinated Coffee (ground for drip), preferable Cafe Du Monde as the chicory adds great flavor

Mix all of these together and then spread generously over a pork tenderloin (or another meat product for that matter).  Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cook the meat in the oven for about 20 mins or until an instant read thermometer is 140 degrees.  Take it out and let it rest for 5-10 mins before cutting.

This doesn’t need any sauce as the meat will be juicy and the coating provides a great all around flavor.

Local Lamb Chops & Mushrooms from the Rittenhouse Market @FarmToCity

It’s really amazing how buying local food is both good for the soul and the taste buds.  I stopped at the Rittenhouse Market yesterday (http://www.farmtocity.org/FarmersMarkets.asp) and got the following:

-New York Strip & Baby Spinach from Rineer Family Farm (PA)

-Lamb Chops from Cherry Grove Farm (NJ)

-Mushrooms…from Kennett Square

As Ian from Cherry Grove farm recommended, I marinated the lamb chops in a soy sauce mixture.  I added brown mustard, sesame oil, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper to the soy and let it soak (for you deadliest catch fans) for 4 hours.  Brought it to room temp before cooking under a hot broiler for 4 minutes per side.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes before service.  Just plain awesome.  I only wish the chops were larger or that I bought more.

For the mushrooms, I bought 2 small boxes: shitake and crimini.  I like to chop them up and saute with a bit of olive oil, garlic, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper for about 15-20 mins until most of the water is out of the ‘shroom and the flavor concentrates.  These local fungi were picked/cut at 4:30am the same day, so they couldn’t have been any fresher.

Meals like this inspire me to join a CSA, so maybe I finally will.

Whole Wheat Sourdough @wholefoods

If you’re like me and love sourdough bread, but don’t buy it because it’s not a whole grain, this is what you’ve been looking for.  In the bakery section at Whole Foods, they bake a whole wheat sourdough that really rocks.  Today, with their house roasted turkey, Jarelsberg lite cheese, a little honey dijon, and two slices of this bread, I had one of the best brown bag lunches.  This week, I will feel like I’m eating like a king and will be healthy all the while.