Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pork Tenderloin in Apple Cider Reduction with Apples | Spinach

This was delicious!

The recipe for this delicious seasonal meal last night was found here at the Food Network website:

The only thing I did differently was that I added apple slices (from one Gala apple and one Granny Smith apple because it's what I had) to the reduction during the last few minutes, just enough to soften the apple slices a little. They were a nice touch! 

Baby spinach made a nice side dish. The sauce in the recipe turned out thin but it made a nice dressing for the baby spinach. I served the pork and apples over the spinach and the heat from the pork, apples, and sauce wilted some leaves a little, some stayed crunchy. Just perfect. Although, I didn't think there was enough sauce for three of us. Next time, I'd reduce the sauce less (or make more?) so there'd be more sauce to dress the spinach and pork. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Haricot Verts With Walnuts And Caramelized Onions

Great idea for the holidays or anytime! 

Fresh and easy!

Roast haricot verts (usually available around Thanksgiving) or green beans that have been coated with a little extra virgin olive oil at 400 degrees for a few minutes, until they start turning brown on the ends. While they roast, warm about two cups of chopped walnuts (or almonds) in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from pan and then start caramelizing the onions (in the same pan to save dishes) that have been thinly sliced. Caramelizing onions takes time, about 20 minutes, but is easy to make. Patience is required and I find it easier when I'm in the kitchen doing other tasks anyway. For a pack of haricot verts, I used two large sweet onions. Cooking directions for roasting, heating nuts, and caramelizing can be found on the internet.

Leftover Idea
A few days after Thanksgiving, I used the leftover haricot verts and shrimp we had had as an appetizer in this pasta dish. So simple! While linguine or fettuccine cooks, reheat haricot verts (or green beans) in about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (depending on how much is leftover!) and some chopped garlic. Add about 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup leftover turkey stock (I had made turkey stock from the bones) and keep warm on low heat until the pasta is done. Mix with the pasta then add the shrimp (I removed the tails to make it easy to eat), and add a ladle full of the pasta water. The shrimp has already been cooked so it only needs to be warmed from the heat in the mixture. Top with freshly ground pepper and a little salt if needed. I would have added chopped fresh parsley if I had some. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quick Zucchini Relish

We are still harvesting zucchini from our garden and the plants look strong! They usually look pretty tired by September. Bored with the usual zucchini dishes and baked goods, I decided to make a relish. I'll shred and freeze the rest of the zucchini for baking in the future.

Quick Zucchini Relish

Shred one large zucchini (the kind you find hiding under zucchini leaves in your garden that grew and grew and grew!) and mince one large shallot and place in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar), one tablespoon honey, salt and pepper to taste. Place mixture in a covered container in the fridge for about one hour to let the flavor develop before eating. Store in the fridge for about one week. Add the relish to anything you think will taste good with it!

On Labor Day, we enjoyed the zucchini relish with organic grilled hot dogs, whole wheat buns, garden salad, and potato salad.

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For the potato salad, I baked chopped potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees, instead of boiling them, with extra virgin olive oil, Herbs de Provence (I just love these herbs on potatoes), some fresh rosemary from our garden, and a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper. After the potatoes cooled, I removed the rosemary stems, pulled off some leaves and broke them up, sprinkling pieces of rosemary over the potatoes. I added a little more extra virgin olive oil and then a little white balsamic vinegar to taste.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Breakfast Tomatoes: Toast, Egg Sandwich

Garden tomato with extra virgin olive oil on toasted rosemary bread.

Garden tomato, extra virgin olive oil, toasted multigrain gluten-free bread, fresh ground pepper.

Garden tomato on toast with local mozzarella balls and freshly ground pepper.

Egg, garden tomato, and ham sandwich.

A day's harvest.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Garden Fresh Relish

This relish, made from some of my garden tomatoes, zucchinis, and parsley, was easy to make and delicious.

For this fresh summer garden relish, I diced two small tomatoes, two small zucchinis, and one orange bell pepper. The vegetables were tossed with a little extra virgin olive oil, a few sprinkles of white balsamic vinegar, juice from half a lemon, a pinch of sea salt, a little freshly ground pepper, and some chopped Italian parsley. The vinegar and seasonings were all added to taste. 

The relish was great on top of an open faced grilled local* beef burger on a grilled portabella mushroom.

Oh, and this book, Second Nature, by Michael Pollan, is very good reading. Especially by the garden!

For another meal, organic hot dogs, I freshened up the relish a bit with two small diced shallots and one diced celery stalk. We added some spicy ground mustard after I took this photo and that finished off these dogs with a zing!

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*The local beef is from Matthieu's Custom Cuttings, Vermont.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


More zucchini magic!


Here's an easy busy week day family style way of making this classic French dish without loosing the bold flavors.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (your choice), roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, or 1 red and 1 yellow for color
2-3 garlic cloves, depending on size and flavor you want, minced
2 medium zucchinis or 1 large, cubed 
1 regular box of medium sized mushrooms, halved 
1 medium eggplant, cubed the same size as the zucchini (peeling the eggplant is optional) 
1 25 oz. jar of organic marinara sauce (I prefer to use jarred sauces over canned tomatoes 
     when possible)
1 cup low-sodium organic vegetable stock (or organic low-sodium chicken stock)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon marjoram, dried (or fresh if you have some)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine

Peel and cut eggplant (peeling is optional), cube, and lightly salt. Place eggplant in a paper towel lined colander to draw bitters. Heat a stock pot over medium heat (I used a heavy cast iron pot for this recipe) and sprinkle in a little extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the bottom and sauté onions and bell peppers a few minutes until onions are tender and peppers are just starting to soften. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté just a few more minutes (not allowing the zucchini to get mushy). Pat down the eggplant and add to the pot. Add the marinara sauce and remaining ingredients. Simmer about 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the eggplant is slightly tender but, again, not mushy. Remove bay leaves before serving.

I served the ratatouille with gluten-free pappardelle, for some of us. And for the others who like bread, some nice rustic whole grain . . . 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rogue Island, Flavors of Rhode Island

Rogue Island

Located in downtown Providence in the historic and architecturally interesting Arcade.

Lots of great local food and drinks. 

We shared appetizers. 
The Charcuterie Board and the Berkshire Bourbon Pork Sliders were excellent. 
And the Warm House Made Pretzel Bits with Mustard Dip, well, wow!

My daughter loved the flavorful House Made Pappardelle with Clams.
She also loved the Shirley Temple made with local Yacht Club ginger ale.

And craft beer.

Casual, rustic atmosphere. 

We were there early in the evening and it was quiet until we left.

Can't wait to go again!

For another virtual visit of the Rogue Island, click here:
But I strongly suggest you visit in person!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fresh Summer Zucchini Frittata

This is a lovely frittata with a beautiful presentation. 

These open zucchini flowers that I cut from my garden this morning were used in the frittata.

After washing the flowers, I gently shook off the water, pinched out the stamen, split the petals, and laid them on a towel to dry while preparing the other ingredients.

After mixing eggs with whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, I sautéed two small diced zucchinis for a few minutes (in a non-stick pan) with a small minced shallot in a little extra virgin olive oil.

I gently poured the egg mixture into the pan with the sautéed zucchini and shallot, trying not to disturb them, and topped the mixture with the pretty zucchini flower petals.

I covered the pan with foil, finished cooking on medium/low-medium heat until done (firm in the middle), and slid the finished frittata onto a glass serving plate. We enjoyed the frittata with some Vermont bacon. Or some nice crusty toast rubbed with a garlic bulb and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil would be a nice side.

I followed the recipe in my Extra Virgin cookbook, but it can also be found here:

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For a lactose-free and milk protein-free version for me: I used organic vanilla soy milk (I think soy milk with vanilla tastes more like milk) in place of whole milk and Go Veggie casein- and lactose-free (and non-GMO) Grated Parmesan Style Topping. As much as I dislike using processed food, this is one of only a few cheese substitutes I'll use. When using Go Veggie, I use a little less than the portion called for since the flavor can be overwhelming. And, of course, the frittata would taste fine without cheese or cheese substitute.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Baked Beet Chips With Guacamole

Here's a great snack idea from the Extra Virgin cookbook or show. I first saw this on their cooking show, also called Extra Virgin, and it sounded so good and easy I wanted to make it for my family. Plus, I was impressed that they made this for their daughter's birthday party -- beet chips for kids!

I chose yellow beets because I thought they'd look more like potato chips, which would make my family more open to trying them. Plus I think their flavor is more mild (less "dirt" like as they say!) and sweeter than red beets.

I used three beets, rather than the amount called for in the recipe, because it was just the four of us. I adjusted the extra virgin olive oil amount accordingly. After the first batch, I found that there was too much extra virgin olive oil to achieve full crispness so I wiped some off the beets before cooking the next batch. Next time, I'd use only enough oil to lightly coat the beets. It also took some adjustments in oven temp and cooking time to get the right amount of crispness (everyone's oven is different!), but worth it. Their were some burnt spots, but tasted fine. They are tricky to make, but now that I know what I'm doing I'll be more successful. I have to say, though, the beets honestly tasted really good raw!

The recipe for this delicious healthful beet snack can be found in their Extra Virgin cookbook or here:

I used my own guacamole recipe, which is simple. I vary my recipe often, but this time I made it with two avocados smashed with one small garlic clove, minced, and one small shallot, minced, a pinch of sea salt and a little freshly ground pepper. 

Sometimes I add cilantro or parsley to my guacamole. I like to use only a small amount of garlic so it doesn't overwhelm the avocado flavor. Sometimes I don't use garlic. And sometimes I like to add a few chopped organic grape tomatoes. I love to use a small shallot because it's mild and, again, it doesn't overwhelm the avocado flavor. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dragon Fruit And Orange Cocktail

Dragon fruit isn't local food here, but I just had to give it try when I saw this funky looking fruit in the grocery store.

The flavor was much like a kiwi. After looking up recipes, many were salads, we decided to make a nice refreshing drink and cocktail.

My daughter loved it without the alcohol. I had mine with rum.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Potato Crust Frittata

Frittatas are crustless but there were just a couple of potatoes left in the potato bowl that were getting soft so it was time to make something with them or they'd end up in the compost bin. So rather than cook them separately for, maybe, breakfast potatoes or hash, I decided to use them in the frittata as a crust.

I thinly sliced the potatoes with a mandolin, tossed them in extra virgin olive oil and some Italian seasoning, and roasted them at 400 degrees until cooked through but not too soft, just a few minutes. (I always preheat the cooking sheet when roasting potatoes to prevent them from sticking.) 

While the potatoes cooked, I whisked 12 local eggs in a bowl, sautéed some savory local breakfast sausage in the same cast iron skillet that the frittata would be baked in, and chopped the left over roasted peppers, onions, and garlic from a previous meal, which amounted to about one cup. The chopped vegetables were then added to the whisked eggs.

When all the ingredients were ready, I first layered the potatoes and then the sausage on the bottom of a 12 inch cast iron skillet that was first prepared with a little extra virgin olive oil. The egg mixture was poured in slowly so it wouldn't disturb the potatoes and sausage. 

The entire frittata baked in the oven at 350 degrees until it was firm in the center. I didn't pre-cook the frittata over the stovetop because of the potato crust.

So, this is a great way to use up leftovers and a general idea of what I did. There are many precise, simple, time-saving frittata recipes available on the internet. Try a frittata for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner sometime! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Salad Days

The warmer weather has us thinking about eating lighter meals. 
Salad days are here! 

Anything Goes Salad
My daughter and I were driving home from running errands the other day and we wanted to avoid making one last stop at the grocery store. So we thought about what was in the fridge and decided we had enough food to make a fun salad for dinner.

When we got home, we made a spread with baby lettuces, corn, chopped cucumbers, sliced avocado, grape tomatoes, strawberries that we mixed with a little white balsamic vinegar and agave nectar (honey would be fine), and leftover grilled chicken breast that we sliced. After we assembled our salads, we added some nice locally made Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette by D.E. Vine Foods. 

Deviled Egg Salad With Avocado  
For this salad, I just mixed six boiled eggs with a little extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon), Dijon mustard to taste (about 1 teaspoon), a little fresh ground pepper, two slices of chopped bacon (optional - I was using up our leftovers). Then I dropped a couple of spoonfuls over some baby lettuces and sliced avocado. I made the croutons by toasting the leftover ciabatta bread we had with our sausage and bean dinner the other night. For the dressing, I simply sprinkled a little extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar over the top and freshly ground pepper. 

Avocado: cut open and slice just before serving so they don't turn brown or coat with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.

Corn: to avoid GMO corn I look for organic corn. Organic corn on the cob is difficult to find so I usually buy organic frozen corn in a bag, rather than corn in a can to also avoid possible BHT in canned goods. Sometimes it's difficult to avoid canned goods as in tomatoes and beans, but avoiding canned goods whenever possible is a good thing. I recently found jarred tomatoes at Trader Joe's but when I went back they didn't have any more in stock. I'll keep looking or jar some myself this summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sausage and Cannellini Beans

I'm not one to get starstruck and don't watch television often but a few weeks ago (yes, just recently) I discovered the cooking show, Extra Virgin, and became an instant fan.

Given my fondness for the food prepared so lovingly on Extra Virgin, I wanted the cookbook also named, Extra Virgin, that was about to be released and reserved a copy. It arrived a day or two after its release on May 6th and this is the first dish I've made from the cookbook.

This dish, simply named, "Sausage And Beans" (salsiccie e fagioli) in the cookbook, was a hit with my family. I chose this recipe because my daughter loves Cannellini beans as does my son but he loves tomato sauce and meat even more. So this dish was perfect. I served it with toasted ciabatta to soak up some of the sauce. We placed a toast on our plates and ladled heaps of beans, red sauce, and sausage over the top. Delicious and flavorful!

Rather than the eight sausages called for in the recipe, I had a rope of sausage on hand which I cut into pieces before cooking, the reason the ends of the sausage look funky. Next time, I'll cook the rope sausage whole and slice after it's cooked or I'll buy individual sausages and keep the sausages whole for a nicer presentation.

Roasted carrots and red peppers was a nice side dish. To make week night dinners quick and easy I often roast vegetables in the oven while I'm preparing the main dish on the stovetop.

The recipe for Sausage and Beans can be found on the Cooking Channel website. It's a little different from the cookbook but sounds just as delicious.