Posts tagged with dinner:
Here is the recipe for the Grilled Herb-Marinated Pork Loin which I mentioned in my previous post. I had a request from a faithful fan for it, so here we go…
It is a recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, but she does it with pork tenderloin, which I have done in the past and blogged, back in 2013, if I’m not mistaken. ( Check the archives, and you should find it).
However, this time I was making a 3 pound pork loin instead of several 1 pound tenderloins. The tenderloins will cook faster, but be careful not to overcook them. (The photo above is a previous one of the tenderloins…didn’t get a shot of the pork loin on the grill this time)
With the pork loin you can get a better char without worrying about overcooking it and finish it off on indirect heat.
Whether you are preparing the tenderloins or the larger pork loin the key to this dish is the marinade.
It is loaded with fresh herbs… thyme, rosemary, marjoram, (your choice), lots of garlic, fresh lemon zest and juice, kosher salt and pepper.
Marinating it overnight is preferable if possible.
Grilled Herb-Marinated Pork Loin (adapted from Grilled Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin (Ina Garten, Back to Basics)
zest of 1 grated lemon
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil (plus more to brush the grill)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves or more)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
fresh ground black pepper
0ne 3 pound pork loin (tied with kitchen twine in several places to keep it compact)
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork and turn to coat with the marinade.
Squeeze the air out of the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator on a plate overnight, or at least 3 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill to high. Be sure to brush the grill with some oil to prevent the pork from sticking.
Remove the pork loin from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave herbs clinging to the meat.
Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper before placing on the hot grill.
Sear the pork turning to brown all sides with a nice char. This could take about 20 minutes.
Then reduce the heat to about 350 degrees, and cook on indirect heat until the thickest part of the loin reaches about 140 degrees, another 20 minutes or so.
Transfer the pork to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let rest for at 10-15 minutes so juices can reabsorb.
Carve in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. The thickest part will be pink; this is just fine! The thinnest parts will be more well done.
Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature with the juices that collect on the platter.
Note: I like to serve the pork with sauteed apples.
I simply peel and thickly slice some good tasting apples such as Braeburn or Gala, in a little butter on medium high heat. Sprinkle some sugar on them, and turn occasionally until they begin to caramelize. Squeeze a little lemon juice on them and serve with the pork.
For the carrots…peel them leaving them whole, and cut the stems. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.
Roast in a preheated oven at 425 degrees, turning after about 15 minutes to prevent sticking. Roast another 10 -15 minutes til tender, but not over cooked.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
This is a quick dinner for those nights when you don’t know what to make, you are hungry, and you don’t want to fuss.
My husband had a meeting to attend a couple of evenings ago so I was dining solo.
Since he has been watching his carbs lately, and I have been hungry for pasta, but not wanting to sabotage his efforts, this was my moment.
So I decided Ruth Reichl’s recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara met all my requirements for my dinner.
It is super quick to make. I had all the ingredients on hand except for the spaghetti, but linguini filled in nicely, and cleanup time is minimal.
And Ruth Reichl would never steer you wrong. Here is her recipe in her own words…
Contrary to the recipe so often used in restaurants, real carbonara contains no cream. The real thing also uses guanciale, cured pork jowl, but to be honest, I like bacon better. I think of this as bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. It’s the perfect last minute dinner, and I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t like it.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon (I prefer Nueske’s)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is boiling, throw the spaghetti in. Most dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook,and you can make the sauce in that time.
Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Put them in a skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook; if they get too crisp they won’t meld with the pasta. Meanwhile, break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in, and beat them with a fork. Add some grindings of pepper.
Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. If it looks like too much to you, discard some, but you’re going to toss the bacon with most of its fat into the pasta. When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon with its fat, toss again, add cheese and serve.
A few notes: I used thickly sliced applewood smoked bacon, and my favorite Pecorino Romano cheese.
Friends of ours from LA spent Memorial Day Weekend with us. I have known her since we were kids living in St. Louis. She and I have mutual cousins in common…their dad was her mom’s brother while their mom was my dad’s sister…got that?????
No matter…the important thing is that through the years of my sister and I visiting our cousins while she and her sister were visiting their cousins we became close friends.
She and I were the same age and our sisters were the same age setting the stage for a friendly foursome.
When my family moved from St. Louis to Pennsylvania my sister and I continued to visit them each summer by train for several weeks throughout much of our teenage years.
Fast forward many years of not seeing each other, and miraculously we find ourselves now living in the central coast of California while she and her husband have been living for years in Los Angeles…we reconnected when my older son moved to LA to begin his career 17 years ago, getting together whenever we visited.
What we didn’t know then is that we would actually be living here one day with just a 3 hour drive between us!
Well, maybe not 3 hours on a holiday weekend, but we won’t get into that! Hopefully, the grilled Tuscan brick chicken and glazed fudge cake awaiting them made up for that!!!
We crammed a lot into 3 days, not the least of which evolved around what else, but eating!
We were so busy that I kept forgetting to snap photos so the best I could rustle up is the photo above of these luscious New York Strip steaks my husband grilled one evening for dinner, and the salad that accompanied them.
The 1 and 1/2 inch steaks were perfectly seared on the outside, yet rosy pink in the middle.
He tried a new technique which had to do with getting the gas grill super hot, and initially turning them very often, about 1 and 1/2 minutes per side with the grill closed until they formed that nice crust you can see in the photo above.
Then with the grill lid open he continued cooking and and turning them until the internal temp reached about 120 degrees. Covered lightly with foil and let to rest for about 15 minutes they reached an internal temp of about 135 to 140 degrees. Perfection!
On Saturday morning we stopped by the Central Coast Succulent and Cactus Society’s annual show which was being held in a large community center in downtown San Luis Obispo.
There we saw an amazing display of countless award winning plants…
From there we headed north to the Paso Robles Artsfest.
Here’s some info on the event…
The Paso Robles Festival of the Arts has changed its name and is effectively “upping its game” for 2014 with a list of new features designed with art lovers and county visitors in mind. Now dubbed “Paso Artsfest,” the largest free art event in San Luis Obispo County has a week’s worth of activities planned for artists, visitors and county residents in addition to the much-beloved main event that takes place the Saturday of every Memorial Day weekend in the Paso Robles downtown City Park. “With all of the fantastic press Paso Robles has been getting lately, this is the perfect time for our art festival to reach out to potential visitors who appreciate wine, food, art and beautiful scenery,” states Barbara Partridge, Paso Artsfest chairwoman. “We know that people are coming here on vacation for Memorial Day weekend, we are offering them the opportunity to make the arts part of their experience in a much bigger way than ever before.
The day features an Outdoor Fine Art Show & Sale, a Wet Painting Sale & Auction, hands-on interactive art experiences all over the park, exciting musical guests, dance performances and a full day’s worth of entertaining and artistic surprises. This event is free to the public.
When it was time for lunch we ate at a lovely Parisian bistro that had been recommended to me that was across the street called Bistro Laurent.
That evening we dined again at what is quickly becoming one of our favorite Italian restarurants in downtown SLO, Buona Tavola, specializing in Northern Italian cuisine.
Each meal begins with their complementary olive tapenade and delicious homemade bread! You can even buy it there or at the local farmer’s markets.
or their house-made salami and sausages are also available…
On Sunday my girlfriend and I walked off some of that wonderful bread and gelato from the night before and went walking on some of the spectacular trails that surround San Luis Obispo, while my husband took her husband in search of a running trail, and later a couple of slices of pizza, and a ballgame on tv.
Here are some great photos and info I found online for the trails we walked..Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
The city of Cambria is located on Highway One at the north end of San Luis Obispo County, and has earned the nickname “Gateway to the Big Sur Coast.” Like that stunning area to the north, Cambria has its own beautiful waterfront. Explore sandy beaches and rocky tide pools on a 2.85-mile round trip hike down Moonstone Beach Boardwalk, crossing a pristine beach that is preserved by Hearst San Simeon State Park. There is only 40 feet of elevation change over the level and easy trail, so you are free to set out in flip-flops or tennis shoes. Explore tide pools or walk across the sand on Moonstone Beach to add variety to this beautiful oceanfront stroll.
You can start the boardwalk from free parking areas at either end (or in the middle). To discover the ocean views, start from the south end of the trail, just off Highway One near the beginning of Moonstone Beach Drive. Hike northwest beneath pines along Santa Rosa Creek. After 0.2 miles, you will spot a pool of water at the mouth of the creek, separated from the ocean by a line of sand. The wooden boardwalk progresses alongside the estuary where you can spot ducks and snowy egrets.
Seals at the tide pools
While hiking Moonstone Beach Boardwalk, you will pass several side access trail, but the main route is obvious. There are benches along the way where you can linger to admire the scenery. The boardwalk runs parallel to Moonstone Beach Drive, which is lined on the inland side by restaurants and hotels.
Harmony Headlands State Park is located 2.6 miles south of Harmony, along the west side of Highway One in the beautiful coastal area of Central California. This area has a Mediterranean climate consisting of warm dry summers and cool wet winters. Its proximity to the ocean also results in thick coastal fogs which help to moderate the temperatures. The constant winds and salt spray result in vegetation tolerant of these conditions. The flat coastal terraces, valleys and steep coastal bluffs are predominately home to grasslands and coastal scrub containing plants such as a San Luis Obispo morning glory, California buttercup, yarrow and lupine. In the spring, flowering grasses can be seen in profusion.
This area contains diverse and unique habitats supporting rare, endangered and sensitive plant and animal species. Along the rocky outcrops, lichen, ferns and Indian paintbrush are scattered throughout the grasslands. In the fresh water habitats of wetlands, riparian corridors and ponds, willows, rushes and cattails can be seen. Along the intertidal areas, sea mammals can be seen and heard. Overhead seabirds and shorebirds soar. Making their way through their grassland homes, California ground squirrels, brush rabbits, skunks, coyote, mule deer and raccoons are among the residents.
This area also provides a home for the endangered California red-legged frog and the southwestern pond turtle. Many sensitive species also reside here including brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants and white-tailed kites.
Harmony Headlands State Park features a two-mile long Headlands Trail that departs from the parking lot and provides breathtaking ocean views west to the marine terrace grasslands. Nature lovers, hikers, photographers, artists and bird watchers will all find this walk a rewarding and memorable experience.
Note: We actually didn’t make it to the ocean this time. We were close when we met up with a couple of hikers who were on their way back, and told us to be careful of the snake that had crossed their path. With that news, we looked at each other, and both agreed it was getting late and we will finish the trail next time! Yikes!!!
After breakfast the next morning at Louisa’s, a great diner type place walking distance from our home, our friends packed up and headed back to LA, but not before picking up a tri-tip sandwch to go for the trip back!
After all, one can’t visit San Luis Obispo, and not have tri-tip!
Is it a side dish to go with the brisket or is it a work of art?
The answer is it could be both. These roasted carrots began as beautiful bunches of orange, purple, and pale yellow organic carrots with their stems intact that I bought at the local farmer’s market.
Along with a couple of fennel bulbs and a white and purple onion they became the lovely side dish served alongside my brisket at our recent Seder.
After peeling them, and leaving the stems on as many as possible, I tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
The sliced fennel and onion wedges were also tossed with some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before I spread them all out on a couple rimmed baking sheets and placed them in a 425 degree oven.
After about 15 to 20 minutes toss them around a bit on the sheets to prevent sticking, switch trays from top to bottom and bottom to top, and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes until they begin to caramelize.
Serve on a platter hot, warm or even room temperature. Delicious!
Moving to a new home especially when it is far from your old home brings with it many firsts. And we recently had some new friends over for our first dinner party here.
For me, setting the table for a special dinner is fun. I love to mix and match and see how I can reinvent items by using them in a different way, sometimes with something new added to the mix.
My Provencal tablecloth designed with olive branches which I have had for years was perfect for my Greek themed dinner.
I had picked up the napkins on sale at Anthropology recently, knowing one day they would come in handy. I can’t resist a really good buy!
The salad plates were part of a very old set of dishes which belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and I love the contrast between those and my contemporary white everyday dishes.
I kept it simple with three small glass bud vases each filled with a couple of olive branches plucked from my newly planted olive shrub on the deck.
I lined them down the center of the table, and five clear glass votives holding white candles illuminated the table.
There is nothing that makes a table look prettier than candlelight, and I regret not taking a photo once they were lit.
The menu included some of my favorite Greek dishes.
We enjoyed appetizers on the deck.
Homemade tabbouleh , a red pepper, eggplant and garlic spread from Trader Joe’s, assorted olives, and Marcona almonds kept us happy til dinner was ready. Tabbouleh recipe to follow on an upcoming blog.
A delicious Greek salad was brought by one of our guests.
After which we dined on my Greek Chicken and Potatoes, grilled lamb chops, Greek Style Green Beans with Tomatoes. Homemade Tzatziki with grilled pita rounded out our meal.
You can find most of these recipes on my Greek Dinner post, with the exception of the Tzatziki recipe so here it is…
Tzatziki- Cucumber Yogurt Dip (adapted from Lynn Livanos Athan, About.com Guide)
Cool and creamy, this tangy cucumber dip flavored with garlic is the perfect complement to grilled meats and vegetables. It can be served on the side with warm pita bread triangles for dipping, and is also used as a condiment for souvlaki.
3 -4 garlic cloves, minced finely
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
2-3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced (I prefer Persian cucumbers)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well until combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill.
Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill just before serving.
Recipe can be doubled or tripled if you wish.
For dessert, knowing that carrot cake was a favorite of some of our guests, I parted from the Greek theme, and baked a good old-fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting which was a real hit!
You can find the recipe here.
When the evening was over everyone went home with a full belly, a goody bag of Tzatziki , and an extra slice of cake.
I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Another Saint Patrick’s Day, and another corned beef dinner. This is my favorite way to make corned beef. It is simple, but it does take time so plan accordingly. I didn’t, so we ate late this evening, but every bite was worth it.
Glazed Corned Beef
one 4 to 5 pound corned beef brisket (with juices)
Fill a large pot or Dutch oven with cold water. Place the corned beef with all its’ juices and pickling spices in the pot.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, about 180 degrees. The key to a great corned beef is that it needs to cook low and slow. Cover with a lid partially, and continue to cook at a simmer til fork tender, approximately 90 minutes per pound. So a 4 pound brisket will take about 6 hours.
While the corned beef is cooking prepare this sweet mustard glaze…
In a small bowl, blend together:
1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard (Country Dijon)
1 tablespoon regular Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (depending how sweet you like it)
1-2 tablespoons honey (I used a wild sage honey, my favorite local honey I have been getting at the Farmer’s Market)
When the corned beef is tender carefully lift it from the pot, draining the excess liquid, and place it fatty side up on a rack in a roasting pan.
Spread the mustard glaze evenly over the fat.
Place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about a half an hour or until the glaze is bubbling a bit.
Remove from oven and carve into thick slices cutting against the grain.
Serve with roasted cabbage, carrots and new potatoes.
Toss carrots, cabbage wedges, and small new potatoes in extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet with rimmed edges.
Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 -20 minutes. Turn, and cook another 15 minutes or til browned on edges, and tender.
Insteadof the traditional way of cooking the vegetables in that fatty broth that you cooked the corned beef in, roasting them is a delicious alternative which will allow you to have that extra slice of corned beef!
For the past couple of weeks I have been more or less housebound. An awful cold/bronchitis not only has kept me in the house, but has kept me out of the kitchen as well.
The return of my taste buds, and my desire to get in the kitchen and make up for lost time are the best indicators that I am on the road to recovery.
Losing the ability to taste is one of those things we take for granted until we are reminded by a bad cold or flu what it is like to be without them.
So I was excited today to spend some time rambling around my still new to me kitchen cooking and tasting as I went along.
I made a turkey pot pie with some leftover turkey breast, and was able to use up that extra piece of puff pastry that was in the freezer as the topping.
There always seems to be carrots, celery, and onions in the fridge so that along with some frozen corn and peas all went into the filling for the pot pie.
A roux of butter and flour thickened some store bought chicken stock. I added a bit of home made turkey gravy from the freezer for some turkey flavor, and ended up with a delicious sauce to envelop the pieces of turkey and veggies.
Although I was hoping to serve the potpie for dinner the smell was so intoxicating my husband and I decided to have it for lunch.
That turned out to be a really good decision!
Turkey Pot Pie (makes one 9x13 pan)
1 tablespoon water
5-6 cups cooked turkey, cut into large dice
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons of turkey gravy, optional
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unbleached flour
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 of a 17.3 oz package (1 sheet) of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed according to pkg directions
2 -3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and thyme
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat the egg and water in a small bowl to make the egg wash.
Saute the diced carrots, celery and onions in the 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a large skillet on medium heat til somewhat translucent.
Add the turkey to the veggies in the skillet. Turn the heat off.
In a 2 quart saucepan heat the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
Add the 1/2 cup flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
Gradually stir in the chicken broth /stock.
Continue cooking until the mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the optional gravy to the mixture if using.
Pour over the turkey and vegetables.
Pour the mixture into a 13x9 inch baking pan.
Unfold the pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the pastry into a 13x9 inch rectangle, and gently place over the filling, sealing the edges around the rim of the pan.
Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs on top.
Cut several silts in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling hot.
Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting.
The calendar reads November, daylight savings time has ended, and there is an appropriate chill in the air, all facts confirming we have entered the pre-holiday season.
First up will be Thanksgiving which will arrive this year just a week from this Thursday!
And if that is not enough, this year Hanukkah arrives especially early, with the lighting of the first candle on the menorah taking place the evening before Thanksgiving.
Normally, by now I would have been happily immersed in holiday planning, but this year that planning was to occur in my new home, the cooking in my new kitchen, and the dining around our new dining table.
Now I’m not saying it won’t happen, I’m just saying…we are not there yet.
So we are anxiously awaiting our final walk through, or should I say run through, so we can get the keys, arrange the move in date, unpack the kitchen (kinda) and sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner with our children in our new home here in downtown San Luis Obispo!
Keep your fingers crossed. You will know almost as soon as I do !
In the meantime we are still enjoying life in our studio apartment, and I have managed to continue to prepare meals for us most of the time.
Here are a few of the dinners I have made lately.
While my current kitchen is well equipped with the basics it is compact and lends itself to simpler meals.
Many of them are dishes from my blog which I made in my east coast kitchen, with one big difference…there I could spread out, here, not so much.
So, as with life we make adjustments. And I have.
There are the Pan Fried Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples…
Season the chops generously with kosher salt, pepper, and some minced fresh rosemary. Bring the chops to room temperature before browning both sides in a pan on the stovetop in a small amount of olive oil and a bit of butter.
To the same pan I add thick slices of peeled apples (which have macerated a bit in a little sugar and lemon juice).
Continue to cook them in the pan with the chops on moderate heat, and they will soak up the yummy juices. Continue cooking til they begin to caramelize, but are not mushy, and they will be a stellar accompaniment to the pork chops.
With just 3 russet potatoes I made a quick rendition of mashed potatoes, substituting some of the pan juices from the pork and apples for gravy.
Then there was the Chicken Tenders Parmesan…
…using chicken tenders instead of boneless breasts the breading process was quicker and took up less room.
I made a quick tomato sauce with some good quality canned tomatoes. I simply mashed them with a fork and potato masher since there is no food processor or blender here.
I added the tomatoes to some sauteed onions, garlic, and oregano, added a splash of white wine, and cooked slowly til thickened.
For the breading:
1st…dredge lightly in flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2nd..dip in lightly beaten egg
3rd…dip in Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) to which you have added grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese. Press gently so crumbs adhere.
Note: For more detailed directions on breading and frying see blog post on Chicken Milanese.
When ready to serve, spoon some tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, as well as on top of each piece of chicken, and sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle some extra Pecorino on top. Return to oven and remove when cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through.
Serve with pasta and some extra sauce.
I also made the Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes…
This is a one pan dish if you have prepared the roasted tomatoes in advance. There will be enough roasted tomatoes left to use for some other meals… as a sauce for pizza, bruschetta, or pasta.
I’ve previously posted the recipe for it here.
A couple nights ago was Yom Kippur Eve on the Jewish calendar.
Yom Kippur literally means “Day of Atonement.” It is traditionally a day devoted to repenting and reflecting on one’s sins committed in the past year.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the 10 day period that begins with the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah. It is a time of introspection and a day of fasting.
As a result the dinner the evening before has special significance and the meal usually consists of traditional holiday foods.
We were on the east coast this year during Rosh Hashanah so we were fortunate to have a holiday dinner with our aunt whose home we stayed at that evening before leaving for the wedding a few days later.
It was a lovely dinner and while we were happy and grateful to be among family, the holiday seems very different to us this year.
Having moved to the west coast, but still not settled in our home, and having been back on the east coast again, but not in the home we celebrated the holidays in for the past 25 years, was especially bittersweet.
For me, shopping and cooking for the Jewish holidays has always been an important part of the New Year.
The smells, sights and sounds that occur within those hallowed walls of the kitchen are part of me…from growing up watching my dear mother in her kitchen (my mom is always so close to my heart, but even more so at this time of the year), and then from a lifetime of preparing meals for the holidays in my own kitchen in our various homes.
So now that we were back in SLO for Yom Kippur, and challenging as my current kitchen is for preparing a holiday meal, I couldn’t wait to begin.
It was just a Yom Kippur Eve Dinner for Two, but as I was cooking that afternoon, all the holiday smells, sights and sounds that I remember were in full force, and as I prepared recipes from my mother, and my husband’s grandmother I felt the warmth and love that is tradition.
With the limited kitchen equipment in mind I chose the following menu:
Bottle of Chardonnay (complements of the owner of our rental, which we found in our fridge upon our return from our trip)
Freshly baked challah (not by me, and thanks to my husband for finding one) drizzled with honey symbolic of our wish for a sweet year ahead
Store-bought gefilte fish with crudités
(Memories of my grandmother’s homemade gefilte fish… watching her chop the fish in her wooden bowl)
Roast turkey breast for me (leftovers for sandwiches for the week) and 2 turkey drumsticks for my husband
Mom’s Apple Noodle Kugel (instead of the regular egg noodles I substituted a package of TJ’s pappardelle egg noodles that I already had, and they worked perfectly)
Baby Carrots in a Buttery Brown Sugar Glaze
Mom Min’s Farfel with Mushrooms and Onions (recipe below)
Jelled Cranberry Sauce
And for dessert…
A variation of my Mom’s Passover Lemon Sponge Cake served with nectarine slices
Mom Min’s Farfel with Mushrooms and Onions (my version of what we remember)
One 12 ounce package of Manischewitz Barley Shaped Egg Noodles
8 ounces fresh white button mushrooms, chopped
Half of a large sweet onion, diced
2- 3 tablespoons salted butter
About 2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Cook Farfel according to package directions, not more than 8 minutes.
In a medium skillet sauté diced onions in the butter till translucent.
Add the chopped mushrooms, and cook til browned a bit.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add chicken broth and stir well.
Add the mushroom and onion mixture to the drained Farfel.
Cover and keep warm on top of the stove or put in a buttered covered casserole in a 325 degree oven to keep warm.
When ready to serve add some gravy and stir to combine.
A few notes about the Lemon Sponge Cake…
Since I didn’t have a tube pan here, but did have a layer cake pan that is what I used.
I also used flour instead of the potato starch I prefer.
Both of those changes produced a more dense cake than the lighter version baked in a 10 inch tube pan, but truly delicious nonetheless.
Without an electric mixer here I had to whip the egg whites, which are the only leavening agent in this batter,with a wire whisk.
When I first came home from shopping I had to look around to see if there even was a whisk here. There was, but far from a professional one so I knew I would have to be careful not to break it.
With all the desserts I have made over the years I had never whisked egg whites by hand… with the Kitchen Aid within easy reach, why would I?
All I can say is I have a new respect for chefs who seemingly can easily whip that gelatinous mixture into stiff peaks before your very eyes.
Those who know me know I will persevere when the going gets tough, and though my arms were telling me to stop I refused to quit until those snow white peaks surfaced.
And finally they did! And I was never so proud! And I did it with the handicap of a flimsy whisk and a plastic bowl!
So I pulled together a wonderful holiday meal for us, and at the same time was able to master a new culinary skill!
Happy and Healthy New Year to all!
If you think I have my hands full with moving in less than 3 weeks and all that there is to do, how about we add to the scenario that my husband had spinal surgery last week?
No, I am not kidding. In actuality, we are very fortunate. He has been suffering for several years now with leg pain that was masquerading as other diagnoses which it turned out not to be.
Recently our path finally led us to the true source of his problem, as well as the neurosurgeon who could fix it.
Once the diagnosis was clear, ( thanks to our internist’s continual efforts to lead us to the correct diagnosis by referring us to the orthopedist who referred us to the physiatrist (rehabilitation physician) who referred us to the fantastic neurosurgeon), it was inside a week from consult to the successful outpatient surgery performed only 5 days ago!
We are so grateful to all involved who made this happen, and in such a small window of time before our scheduled move.
We had truly feared as my husband’s condition was suddenly increasingly worsening that our hopes and dreams of hiking, biking, and being active in our new home on the west coast might be just that, a dream.
But with the events of last week we can now look forward, (with some time for him to build himself up to almost the athlete he once was), to that dream coming true.
And while he is recovering from the surgery, I am trying to pick up the slack in the packing department as our moving day is quickly approaching. And since he is not to lift, bend or twist…there will be no more packing for him!
He will, however be able to supervise me so that should make up for some of his discontent !
But as always, we have to eat! So I have been making simple meals that require very little prep time, such as the Grilled Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin in the photo above.
This is a recipe from Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, featured in her Back To Basics cookbook. All my cookbooks are packed, but I have been making this for quite some time now.
It is a favorite of mine for the summer on the grill. Other than the time spent marinating in the herbs, garlic and lemon juice, it requires little cooking time. Leftovers make great cold sandwiches.
As long as I had the grill hot, I sliced a couple of Russet potatoes in wedges, tossed them with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper, and grilled them while the pork was cooking.
Grilled Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin (Ina Garten, Back to Basics)
zest of 1 grated lemon
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil (plus more to brush the grill)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 pork tenderloins (approx 1 lb each)
fresh ground black pepper
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade.
Squeeze the air out of the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 3 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill. Be sure to brush the grill with some oil to prevent the pork from sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave herbs clinging to the meat.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then grill, turning a few times to brown all sides, for 15-25 minutes-until the meat registers about 137 degrees at the thickest part.
Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.
Carve in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. The thickest part will be pink; this is just fine! The thinnest parts will be well done.
Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature with the juices that collect on the platter.