Saturday, November 30, 2013

pom-lemon fizz

Pom-Lemon Fizz
In a fluted glass, combine 2 parts chilled vodka & one part chilled pomegranate juice. Top with sparkling lemonade and garnish with a lemon slice. Make sure all ingredients are well-chilled. This is a very pretty holiday cocktail. Sweet and fizzy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"I've never done this with a girl here before."

Vance was on vacation last week, although it certainly didn't feel like it! He had been studying for a big exam and writing a grant proposal. Not the relaxing week he had hoped for (and needed), but we celebrated Thursday with a great pork dinner. When we hit the hay the night before his test, we were drifting off when he said, "I've never gone to sleep with a girl in my bed the night before a big exam." I assured him that I would be no bother and we zonked out.
Pork tenderloin is a serious go-to in my culinary repertoire. Marinate, sear, roast, rest, slice - it is ready fast and can be fixed in a variety of ways, plus leftover pork is great.
Maple-Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Braised Red Cabbage & Sweet Potato-Kohlrabi Mash
2-3 small kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peel and cubed
small or half of a large crisp apple, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss kohlrabi, sweet potato and apple cubes in a bit of EVOO with a generous amount of S&P. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for20 minutes - turning after 10 to ensure all sides bake well. When tender, place in a large bowl of food processor with butter and cinnamon. Pulse until everything is mashed to the consistency of your liking.
Maple-Dijon Pork
Prepare marinade - this recipe makes about 12 or so ounces. I used some for the pork marinade, and jarred the rest for salad dressing.
In blender, combine:
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup good maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
generous amount of Kosher salt
ground black pepper
1/2 cup EVOO (adding slowing while blending or periodically to create emulsion)
In shallow baking dish, pour some marinade over two pork tenderloins (with some additional S&P). Ensure all pork is covered and marinate overnight. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast pork for about 15 to 18 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and slice thinly.
 Pork & Vegetable Spring Rolls
I wanted to use up leftover pork on Sunday so I made some delicious spring rolls with dipping sauce. Great recipe on Macheesmo - directions on spring rolls wrapping too. I added some fish sauce, soy sauce and a jalapeno pepper to the peanut dipping sauce - needed a bigger kick of flavor.
Leftover pork tenderloin is great for pork fried rice, Cuban sandwiches -- or just eating cold with some cheese - yum! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

frankly, Scarlett...

The Scarlett O'Hara
Fill cocktail glass with ice. Add about 1-2 shots of Southern Comfort, top with cranberry juice. 
Squeeze in a wedge of lime. Stir - sip like a Southern lady.

Monday, November 18, 2013


In true chilly weather spirit, I made a few comforting dishes this weekend. And Vance worked almost all weekend - so I cooked, and cooked some more, and then a little bit more.
sausage & spinach ziti
10 ounces cooked rigatoni or penne
6 ounces baby spinach
6 ounces mozzarella, shredded
4-5 links Italian sausage (hot or mild), removed from casings
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces chopped tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup pesto
bit of EVOO
In a heavy bottom pan, heat EVOO and sauté onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, add sausage - breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook sausage for about 10 minutes then add tomatoes and juice and pesto - mix well. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
In a large bowl, toss pasta, about half to three quarters of both cheese and spinach. Add tomato-sausage mixture and mix with pasta. Pour into a prepared baking dish and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees. 
sausage, kale & white bean soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces pancetta, small cubes
small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 fresh thyme sprigs, whole
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 head Swiss chard, (about 1 pound) trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
2-15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes w/basil, garlic and oregano (with juice, preferably no salt added)
5 cups chicken or pork broth
3 sausages, pan-cooked or grilled and chopped – I used Bratwursts and roasted 
them for about 10 minutes at 475 degrees
 S&P to taste
Heat EVOO and sauté pancetta for about 8 minutes until browned - remove from the pan, reserving fat in pan. Add onion, garlic, thyme and red pepper - sauté for about 10 minutes. When onion is translucent, add Swiss chard, tomatoes, beans, broth and sliced sausages. Bring to a light boil and then reduce to simmer for about 25 minutes.  
Stir in pancetta and S&P. 
These dishes are heart and pair very well with a simple salad and a crusty roll.
Enjoy your snausage!

Monday, November 11, 2013

waiting for the right weekend

This weekend was dedicated to work as we had visiting students on campus Friday and Saturday. Lots of smiling, talking, moving crowds of people...basically being on. By Sunday, I was looking forward to some quiet cooking time to make a dish that has been on my list all fall - pumpkin, honey, sage risotto. With goat cheese - ahhh-mazing. This was the right weekend to make a very hearty comforting dinner!
1&1/4 cups Aborrio rice
knob of ginger, peeled and grated
small onion, chopped well
 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, simmering
3/4 cup white wine
half can of packed pumpkin (or about 6 ounces)
2 pound Golden Nugget Squash (sometimes called Oriental Pumpkin)
2-3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons EVOO for squash
1-2 tablespoons EVOO for rice
1-2 tablespoons butter for rice
2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 ounces soft goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Using a sharp knife, carefully peel off skin. Chop pumpkin into small even cubes. Toss with 2 tablespoons EVOO and S&P. Assemble in an even layer on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes. Remove and slightly toss, drizzle honey over pumpkin and return to oven for another 15 minutes. 
While pumpkin is roasting, place stock and packed pumpkin in a sauce pan over medium-low heat - warm until simmering. Place EVOO and butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When melted, add onion and ginger - sautee for about 10 minutes. Add rice and continue to cook for another few minutes (adding a bit more EVOO if needed to prevent sticking). Pour in white wine (save some for yourself too - obviously), stir well. When wine is almost absorbed, begin adding pumpkin stock to the rice mixture, one large ladle-full at a time, continuing to stir. You will keep adding stock for about 25 minutes - always lots of stirring with risotto! When rice is at a good consistency, turn off heat. Add in a generous amount of Kosher salt and some ground pepper. Stir in goat cheese and sage. Gently fold in about half of the roasted pumpkin and reserve some to place on top of plated risotto. Taste for seasoning. Plate risotto, top with roasted pumpkin cubes and serve with fall salad (perhaps walnuts, dried cranberries & apple).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ginger - pear - sage

Ginger-Sage Pear Cocktail
pear juice (can typically be found in organic area of the grocery)
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peel and rough chopped
small handful of sage leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a sauce pan, add sugar and water and stir over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved, add sage and ginger. Simmer for about 10 minutes and then allow simple syrup to cool with sage and ginger still in mixture. In a shaker with ice, add equal parts of vodka and pear juice (about 3-4 shots of each). When syrup has cooled, pour a bit in shaker. Shake well and serve over ice with a slice of red pear. Makes 2 cocktails. You will likely need to repeat because this drink is delicious.
Fresh sage from the garden of Mary Clark.