Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mermaid Parade 2012!

What a freaking BLAST! This is my favorite event of the year and this year did not disappoint! The weather was very hot and people came out in droves! it was so much fun! I even placed third in the best sea creature costume for my mermaid interpretation of a lion fish! HOLY COW! I can't wait until next year but I an stumped at how to top this costume! Good thing I have all year to think about it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

CSA Creativity

So, this year I decided to buy a share at a local CSA farm. I have wanted to do this for a while and, since this particular farm let me purchase a full share in two easy payments rather then shelling out everything at once, I could finally swing it. The shares aren't cheap but when you consider that you are getting fresh organic produce all summer long it really is a good deal (Provided mother nature cooperates). It is also a great way to support your local farms. This being springtime in New England, I am getting a LOT of greens in our share. More than Husband and I could EVER dream of eating. Thankfully, Mom is right down the street and happy to lend a stomach! Our first weeks share had a bag of spinach and some beautiful rainbow chard in it. Now, I know I like spinach but I have to admit, I never ate chard before. So, for an introductory dish, I decided I would put it in quiche with some bacon and garlic. Seriously, what would NOT taste good in that! My instincts served me proper too because, man, was that the best quiche I ever ate! I made one for Mom too and she devoured it. Trust me, if she didn't like it she would say so. LOL! I sort of followed Thomas Keller's quiche recipe but opted for a refrigerated pie crust as opposed to making one from scratch. Yes, pie crust is simple to make but, you know what, I SUCK AT IT! Even after taking a pie making class I just don't make it enough to have it mastered. Plus, I didn't feel like fucking around with dough. Not when I just finished a 10 hour work day and there is some in a box in the refrigerator waiting for me. If you want to make pie crust then by all means do so, but this tastes just fine with a little help from the Pillsbury dough boy - just sayin'.

Bacon, Chard and Spinach Quiche

2 pie crusts (home made or pre made)

1/2 lb bacon, cut into lardons
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large handfuls of spinach and chard (Mixed), chopped rough, large stems removed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 C white wine

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

6 large eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

6 gratings fresh nutmeg

3/4 cup grated  Gruyere cheese

Prebake pie crust until lightly browned. Let cool.

In large saute pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Drain all but 2 Tbs fat from saute pan.
Add shallots and garlic to pan and saute until soft.
Add spinach/chard mix. saute
Add wine and wilt greens and deglaze pan. Remove from heat when greens are soft.

Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until scalded (meaning a skin begins to form on the surface). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.

Put eggs, milk and cream teaspoons salt, pepper and nutmeg in a blender and blend on low speed about 5 seconds to mix thoroughly, then increase the speed to high and blend until the batter is light and foamy, about 30 seconds.

Scatter half of the bacon on bottom of pie crusts, top with greens and 1/2 of Gruyere. pour egg mixture over and then add remaining bacon and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until set in center. Let cool and enjoy!

I had a LOT of egg custard left over so I baked it into mini crustless cheese quiches using silicone baking cups. YUM!

Friday, June 1, 2012

On a Roll!

Well if you thought this post was going to be about rolls, or bread or baking, I am sorry to disappoint you. What I mean by on a roll is, "Look how many posts I have gotten done lately!!! And with pictures, even!" I really am on a roll this week blogwise and I have to admit it feels good. Today I get my first CSA share so you can expect me to be coming up with a lot of new stuff as the fresh produce comes in each week. This week the share is a lot of greens so don't expect too much with that but I will try to do a few different things if I can. Now on to last night's dinner! Fried pork tenderloins in a honey garlic sauce. YUM! It was something of a production to prepare what with all of the pounding and breading and frying. It also left my kitchen in greater disarray than most dinners I prepare. I don't even remember the last time I fried anything so this was something of a treat, if not a little heavy in the belly. Since the heat has been unbearable this week, yesterdays reprise made for a good day to fry without turning the kitchen into an unbearable inferno. I really liked this dish and I think in the future I will use it with chicken that I bake or grill (breading optional) rather than fry. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Crunchy Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin
Cut tenderloin into pieces and place 1 piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even 1/2 inch thickness.

Sift together:

2 cup flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground sage
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Make an egg wash by whisking together:

4 eggs
8 tbsp water

Season the pounded pork fillets with salt and pepper, then dip the meat in the flour and spice mixture. Dip the pork into the eggwash and then a final time into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature here so that the pork does not brown too quickly.

Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before pouring the Honey Garlic Sauce over the cooked fillets.
Honey Garlic Sauce

In a medium saucepan add:

2 tbsp olive oil
3 – 4 cloves minced garlic

Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but do not let it brown. Add:

1 cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper

Simmer together for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Watch this carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot very easily.