Posted tagged ‘Cooking’

Spinach and mushroom pinwheels, pork tenderloin with herbed breadcrumb crust, baked butternut squash, and strawberry blueberry pie

December 31, 2010

Leftover pork

Leftover pie

The dishes listed in this post’s title are just a few of the recipes I’ve recently tried out; they’ve all served me very well! I was invited to a friend’s going away party several weeks ago, and wanted to make a creative appetizer containing some veggies. I stumbled upon this spinach and mushroom pinwheel recipe from allrecipes.com (I really love this site!).

The recipe itself is very easy, though you need to start making the pinwheels several hours before your event. That’s because you need to chill the dough for 3o to 60 minutes, and then chill it for another hour once it’s been covered with the spinach/onion/mushroom/flour/oregano/salt/lemon juice/garlic powder/Parmesan cheese paste, and rolled up.

I made the pork tenderloin, squash and pie for a Christmas dinner. The pork was AMAZING. I was all worried about making a meat dish, since meat can end up too dry or just plain bland. Well, I found this wonderful recipe on epicurious.com.

Basically you buy three pounds-worth of pork tenderloin (typically two tenderloins), trim the exterior fat, and then prepare a breadcrumb mixture. Then, you roll the pork in egg followed by the breadcrumb mixture, brown the outside of the pork in a pan for five minutes, and bake the pork until it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit (for me this took about 55 minutes, but I had 3.4 pounds of pork).

The breadcrumb mixture contains crumbs from fresh French bread (I used a blender to make the crumbs), fresh chopped parsley, fresh chopped rosemary, and crumbled bay leaves. Deliciousness! The meat was so tender and tasty.

And the baked butternut squash (from cooks.com) just melted in our mouths (and kind of tasted like candy…in a good way). I chopped up the squash into little squares and covered it with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Then I baked it for about an hour (15 more minutes than the recipe recommends).

The strawberry blueberry pie was sort of my own creation. I based it largely upon this allrecipes.com three berry pie recipe. Because I didn’t have raspberries I added one cup more strawberries and one cup more blueberries. That worked out fabulously. The recipe was sooooo easy. Obviously the blueberries didn’t need to be chopped, and the strawberries only needed to be halved. I mixed them up with some sugar and cornstarch and voila!, the filling was made. I didn’t bother making my own crust so that part was super-easy as well (though I’d love to find a good pie crust recipe one of these days).

I baked the pie for about an hour (with foil over the crust for the first half), and the thing was done.

Cut up bacon into small pieces before cooking it

December 4, 2010

Sometimes I like to add bacon to my vegetable dishes for the delicious flavor it adds. I was at the gym the other day, watching Down Home with the Neelys. Gina Neely suggested people cut up their bacon into small pieces before cooking it in a pan. That way, she said, it cooks more evenly/is easier to cook. I tried it today, and she was quite right!

Another indication processed foods are no good

January 25, 2010

Check out this recent article from Reuters about salt content in processed foods.

It really makes me mad to think about how incorporated processed foods are into our culture. It really stinks that people didn’t more seriously question processed foods when they were invented.

Processed foods eventually became such an accepted part of our society that people pretty much took it for granted they were OK. Luckily, in recent years a lot has been written about their negative impact.

I try my best to just each food made from scratch. It’s hard, being busy and all, but I think it’s worth it. If I have no time to cook I’ll just throw together random unprocessed food for lunch, like broccoli, carrots, nuts, yogurt, an apple, and cheese.

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Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagoceli/207850721

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“Julie and Julia” sort of cheesy

January 21, 2010

I finished the movie the other day, and wasn’t a huge fan. I mean, it was entertaining and Meryl Streep did a great job as Julia. But I thought that Julie’s character was pretty annoying. She was a little too obsessive and whiny.

But additionally I thought a lot of her lines were rather contrived. One particular scene sticks out in my mind. She keeps questioning what she should should blog about. She wonders what her passion is. She is saying all this right after she made it clear she loves to cook. I thought it was a little unrealistic she’d have no idea what to blog about.