July, 2004

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Mexi-Italian Zucchini Mozzarella Casserole
Jul 30th, 2004

Now I give you the Mexi-Italian Zucchini Mozarrella Casserole, as dreamed up by yours truly in a moment of panic. One of my 'you can cook it in your sleep' dishes is a Mexi-casserole with corn tortillas, black beans, cheese, salsa, and ground turkey. It's not fancy, but it's good and makes enough for lunch leftovers. So earlier this week I thought I would make a vegetarian variation substituting zucchini and corn for the ground turkey, as we had lots of the former and none of the latter. So I was happily sauteing the zucchini and starting to assemble the casserole when I realized I had no black beans either. So, out of the original ingredients required, I had on hand corn tortillas, and maybe some cheese. Although it really wasn't the right kind.

But I did not cry, nor did I order pizza. I was strong, resolute, and just started throwing random crap from my cupboards into the casserole. Thus was born the amazing (and actually quite tasty) Mexi-Italian Zucchini Mozzarella Casserole.

It's a mish-mash middle America type dish, but after eating it for one dinner and two lunches, I give it two thumbs up on the comfort food scale. As expected, Ian thought it was fabulous and Jay thought it was terrifying. I believe he had lemonade for dinner.


Mexi-Italian Zucchini Mozzarella Casserole

2 medium zucchini
1 small sweet onion
1 tsp oregano and some onion powder
Corn tortillas
Tomato sauce
1 clove garlic
Basil
1 cup or so frozen corn
1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed

Topping
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Oregano


Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and then chop into thin half moon slices. Chop the onion. Heat some oil over medium-high heat and saute the vegetables. Sprinkle with onion powder and oregano at some point. Cook until soft.

Meanwhile, spray a casserole pan with cooking spray and arrange the corn tortillas to overlap and cover the bottom. Brush the tortillas with tomato sauce. If you have a spare 4 year old, he or she will be glad to help paint the tomato sauce over the tortillas. You just might have trouble getting them to stop. Sprinkle the tomato sauce with minced garlic and basil.

When the veggies are done, add them to the casserole and top with the corn (still frozen is fine). Add your small white beans. Then grate the fresh mozzarella and sprinkle over top.

Pulse leftover french bread in a food processor, or somehow come up with a half a cup or so of bread crumbs. Add the parmesan cheese and oregano to the crumbs in the food processor and whizz around. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the casserole.

Put the casserole in the oven and cook till done. I don't know, I didn't time it, but probably 15 or 20 minutes. Its done when the mozzarella is melty and the crumb topping is crispy.

-Kymm
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Soy Ginger Salmon
Jul 27th, 2004

Last Friday I made the best fish I've made so far in my not so long history of cooking fish. And surprisingly it was my own recipe, not much of one really, but I think in some areas simplicity is best. Apparently grilling salmon is one of those areas. Jim fired up our rusting Weber bucket grill and propped a brick under the leg that's two inches shorter than the others because it just crumbled away and causes the grill to list dangerously and drunkenly and therefore necesitates the brick.... We were grilling salmon and chicken and boiling up some corn. The chicken was fairly dry and boring, the corn was past its prime and we didn't end up eating it, but the salmon was good, really good.

While the grill was heating up I defrosted a large fillet and used a knife to score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern. This allows the skin to lay flat on the grill and not curl up which causes uneven heating. Then I rubbed the salmon on both sides with a bit of sesame oil. I laid it skin side down in a pan and sprinkled one minced garlic clove over the top, pressing the garlic into the flesh and rubbing it around a bit (oooohhh, that sounds kind of dirty - the food page is gettin' kinky). Then I peeled and sliced some ginger and lemon grass and sprinkled them over the top. A drizzle of soy sauce finished off the marinade, just enough to wet the fillet, but not enough to wash away the other ingredients. Then I prepared a quick sauce of soy, sesame oil, minced garlic, and scallions - a few of which got sprinkled on the salmon as well. I made up a plate of baby spinach greens and watercress to lay the cooked fillet on, and by that time the grill was ready.

The salmon went on the grill skin side down over a charcoal fire with some mesquite mixed in. Jim put the lid on and let it cook for somewhere around 5 to 8 minutes, until the fish was opaque all the way through (don't turn the fish over). When it was done I slid it onto the prepared plate on top of the greens and drizzled the prepared soy sesame sauce over the whole thing. It was really miraculously good. The salty and tangy soy marinade brought out the sweetness of the fish and the garlic, lemongrass, and scallions on top of the fish were tender. And the salmon was infused with a delicate smoky flavor.

The inspiration for this recipe, if I can use such a lofty term, was an interview with Mark Bittman on NPR that I listened to on the way home. Mark Bittman does The Minimalist column in the New York Times and is the author of, among other things, How to Cook Everything, one of the cookbooks I recommended way downthread. He was expounding on his theory that most time spent marinating meat and fish is a waste of time. The marinade is never going to penetrate into the meat beyond an eighth of an inch or so of the surface, and as far as tenderizing the meat goes, the most you're going to achieve is urning the outer layer into mush. So he recommends simple quick marinades (definitely no longer than 30 minutes if that) or spice rubs for before the meat goes on the grill and then a sauce or paste applied once the food comes off the heat. So I used that as my guide for the salmon, and I just have to give props to Mark Bittman, it was definitely the best fish I've ever made.


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Cookbook review and recipe
Jul 23rd, 2004

One of my favorite cookbooks is The Encyclopedia of Sauces for Your Pasta by Charles A. Bellissino. I bought it for four dollars at a resale store in Sonoma years ago, and for a long time I thought it might be a self-published book, because really, it's that ugly. It's a large sized paperback with the title printed in red, green, and black (Italian flag colors I guess) and some bright blue thrown in on the binding for good measure. The introductory information is laid out in all caps, and the recipes themselves have a funky little Loved It/Hated It/Didn't Like It But Will Serve It To Company checkbox at the top. So layout wise it's a nightmare. But as a cookbook it rocks. The book is over 500 pages and has any kind of pasta sauce you can imagine (as long as it's Italian). Most of the recipes are quick and easy, and marked as such, and every one I've tried I have loved. Charles A. taught me how to peel and seed tomatoes for uncooked tomato sauces and showed me how much of a difference it makes. He taught me about the different types of pasta and which ones can be substituted for another. Charles A. is a good man who really likes his pasta.

I don't use the cookbook all that often because I don't cook pasta much these days, but when I do I reach for the ugliest book on my bookshelf and know it will treat me right.

So last night I made pasta with Onion Sauce #3. This is a great recipe to make this time of year because sweet onions are in season. If you can find some Walla Walla Sweets or some Vidalias you're in business. If not, don't bother making this recipe, I really do think it needs the sweet onions. Luckily for me, the produce market down the street has bins of wonderful Walla Walla Sweets right now for some insanely low price.

This sauce is best (according to Charles A.) over medium tube types of noodles (rigatoni, ziti, etc.) or string types, both hollow and solid (cappelini, spaghetti, etc.). I used ziti.

It's simple, but the taste is really phenomenal, salty and sweet and chewey. Give it a try some day. Charles A. would want you to.


Onion Sauce #3

3 sweet onions, peeled and vertically sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup grated parmesiano reggiano cheese
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste


This sauce is best over medium tube types of noodles (rigatoni, ziti, etc.) or string types, both hollow and solid (cappelini, spaghetti, etc.). I used ziti.

This is from memory, but I don't think I'm forgetting anything. Cook the onions until translucent over low heat in the olive oil, salting during cooking (which prevents them from browning, did ya know that?). Toss the cooked pasta with the butter (I used less than the 3 tbsp called for, just enough to make the noodles buttery), then toss again with the parmesan and black pepper, and finally toss a third time with the cooked onions. Serve immediately.

-Charles A. Bellissino, The Encyclopedia of Sauces for your Pasta
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The yummiest sandwich ever
Jul 22nd, 2004

The yummiest sandwich ever was consumed by me this weekend. On Saturday I noticed that I had 3 big red bell peppers left in the fridge and they wouldn't last much longer. So I threw them in the oven to roast. I was just talking about roasted red peppers with my mom and she admitted she had never roasted a pepper herself and had always been somewhat intimidated to do so. And then last week I read a very accomplished food blogger admitting to the same thing. So apparently some people have a pepper roasting phobia. Fear not, it is one of the simplest things you can do in the kitchen.

To roast peppers you need to cover a baking pan with foil, spray it with cooking spray, put the peppers on the pan and toss in the oven at around 400F. Every 15 minutes or so turn the peppers with tongs so they get blackened and blistered on all sides. When you've hit all sides and pretty much collapsed they're done. Take them out and put them in a paper bag or a bowl covered with a kitchen towel. This steams the peppers and allows their skins to come off easily. When they're cool enough to handle, pull off the skins, core and seed the peppers, and cut the flesh into long strips.

Now if you want to make the yummiest sandwich in the world, the next thing you should do is put the pepper strips into a tupperware and throw in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and a sprinkling of sea salt. I guess you put in about 3 parts oil to one part vinegar, just enough to barely cover the peppers. Then you put the sealed tupperware in your fridge and wait. It's hard to wait, as these taste good pretty much immediately. But they taste really good the next day, and even better the day after that. I wouldn't know how they taste past that as I've never made it that far. When you've reached your breaking point, pull out some marinated pepper strips and chop them on a green salad with feta and some of the marinade for a dressing, use them in an omelette, or use them in a sandwich. Like for example...


The Yummiest Sandwich Ever
serves 1

2 slices Provence bread or any good French bread
a smear of feta cheese on one slice of bread
1 or 2 slices of good deli ham
a few leaves watercress, arugula, or basil (or a combination of the three)
a few marinated sweet pepper strips and a dribble of the oil


Assemble the ingredients and pack in your lunch bag. Leave it in the fridge at work for several hours so the flavors have time to meld together. Scarf it down at exactly noon because you can't wait any more.


-Kymm
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Shrimp, Corn, and Scallion Pancakes
Jul 19th, 2004

Speaking of guacamole, do you know what goes really well with quacamole? Shrimp, Corn, and Scallion Pancakes with Basil and Mint that's what. These make small rich pancakes that are perfect for spreading with a layer of guacamole and eating with a spicy mix of greens for a tapas-like meal. There is a fair amount of chopped plant matter in the pancakes, which I thought might be off-putting, but the herbs cook with the heat and aren't noticeable when you bite into the pancake. In fact, I've been throwing around ideas of how to make their taste come through a bit more. Whisking half of the herbs with the feta in a food processor and leaving the rest roughly chopped might bring out the taste.

This recipe made enough for two dinners and a bag left over for the freezer.


Shrimp, Corn, and Scallion Pancakes with Basil and Mint

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
tsp coarse-grained salt
1 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups fresh corn kernels (3-4 ears)
pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into small pieces
4 scallions, finely chopped
cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil
cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil or olive oil spray


In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg, corn, shrimp, scallions, basil, mint, and feta. Using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Spoon as many cup servings of batter into pan as you can without causing them to overlap. Cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining
batter. Serve immediately.

-Kathleen Daelemans, Getting Thin and Loving Food
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Guacamole
Jul 15th, 2004

Last night I made black beans and guacamole to go with our leftover roast chicken. I've long been a huge guacamole fan - french fries with a side of guacamole and cheese quesadillas with guac were staples of my oh-so-healthy vegetarian diet in college. But until recently I haven't been able to make truly great guacamole. Turns out, the problem was I was putting too much stuff in with the avocado. When it comes to a good guacamole, simplicity is best.

Then try not to embarrass yourself by licking the last bits out of the bowl like I did last night. Or go ahead and do it, but just don't be embarrassed.


Simple Delicious Guacamole

1 avocado
1 clove garlic
Lime juice (to taste)
Sea salt
Dash of hot sauce (I use Tapatio)


The real key is grinding your garlic and sea salt together to make a paste. So if you have a large enough mortar and pestle you can make the guacamole directly in there, if not, pick a sturdy bowl (metal is probably safest). Put the garlic clove and a sprinkling of sea salt in your mortar or bowl and pound it until you get a paste, or as close as you can get to it. You may need to add a bit more salt, as the coarse-grained sea salt helps grind up the garlic. Trust me, this step really makes a difference, it brings out the essential oils inside the garlic and the salt both serves as grinding agent and perks up the taste. Then smoosh in the avocado, squeeze in your lime juice to taste (I use probably half a cocktail lime), and add a few drops of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.


-Kymm
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Butterflied Roast Chicken
Jul 14th, 2004

Last week I was reading through Forever Summer, and she started going on about cutting the backbone out of the chicken, flattening it out, and roasting it for only 45 minutes. Well alrighty then, I guess it is a sign from our Lord, I must butterfly and roast a chicken.

Thankfully Nigella supplied more detailed instructions, so yesterday morning I dutifully placed my whole chicken breast down on a cutting board, grabbed my trusty kitchen shears, and started cutting along one side of the backbone. Much to my surprise, it worked quite easily. I cut along the other side of the backbone and out it came. Then I kind of pressed down on the chicken until it opened up and flattened out a bit. Voila, butterflied chicken. Still following Nigella's instructions I popped it into a large freezer ziplock bag along with the leaves pulled off the stems of two long rosemary sprigs, the juice of one lemon, the lemon halves I had just juiced, one onion cut into 8 pieces, and 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Then I halved 4 small Walla Walla sweet onions and 4 small new potatoes and put them in another freezer bag along with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Both freezer bags went into the fridge and I went off to work.

I had to go to a meeting at 7:00 that evening, so Jim finished up the cooking in order to have dinner waiting for me when I got home. I called him about an hour before I got home and had him take the chicken out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for 15 minutes or so to bring it to room temperature, while preheating the oven to 425. Then all he had to do was dump the contents of the two freezer bags onto a foil-lined cookie sheet with the chicken lying skin side up and flattened slightly. Nigella wants you to add some sea salt, pepper, and one whole rosemary sprig to the chicken at that point, but Jim happily ignored all that and the results were just fine. The chicken and veggies roasted for 45 minutes, and came out crisp and juicy and cooked just right. The onions were especially nice, sweet and meltingly tender.

So butterflying a chicken turns out to be a good option if you want to have a roast chicken on a weeknight, as the fast cooking time makes it possible. You don't have to mess about with the marinade if you don't want to, although it was really tasty. Just rub some salt and pepper under the skin of the chicken before popping it in the oven and toss the veggies with oil and you're good to go. But if you have time to do the whole thing, give it a try, the rosemary and lemon are quite nice. You can even prepare the marinated chicken the night before if you don't actually want to be terminally late to work in the morning like me. Serve with a tossed green salad.


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Salmon marinated in Pomegranate Molasses
Jul 14th, 2004

Thanks Allison, that gives me hope that maybe one day I'll get that crockpot out of the box.

In other news, I'm gradually working my way through my fear of buying and cooking fish. I bought a whole fish yesterday. Now granted, I had the fish guy fillet the fish and wrap it all up in butcher paper, so really there was no difference once I got home from just buying a bunch of fillets. But it's the principle of the thing. For some reason I find fish counters horribly intimidating. And I was able to actually order a whole fish (fresh Sockeye Salmon for $3.99 a pound!), pick out which one I wanted, ask for it to be filleted, and somewhat knowledgeably reject the collar and backbone (they're for if you want to make fish stock). All without crying, looking embarrassed, or falling back on claims of incompetence in order to get the fish guy to make the decisions. Success! And I managed to hack up the salmon into meal-sized portions, so now there are 3 little happy packages of salmon in the freezer.

The 4th package was turned into Pomegranate Molasses Marinated Salmon and eaten with corn on the cob and an asian-ish cabbage, snap pea, and cucumber salad. The Sockeye salmon is truly a gorgeous color, not dull and pink, but a bright, reddish, raw hue. I think part of my historical aversion to salmon stems from the countless dull pink fish, roasted whole with the ubiquitous lemon and onion slices that were featured in every large barbeque I attended as a child growing up in Oregon. They just tasted and looked bland. And fishy. Yuck.

The Pomegranate Molasses was the fruit of a recent trip down to The Souk, a mid-eastern grocery importer located in the Pike Place Market. It's a tiny, dim little store with a tangy incense-like smell and shelves piled deep with interesting bottles. I could have stayed there quite happily for some time, but the boys were with me, so I grabbed what I was looking for, Pomegranate Molasses and rose water, and left. I'll definitely go back. The rose water is for a future attempt at making mamouls, the date stuffed cookies that I fell in love with at Caprice. Layla, the co-owner and chef at the Lebanese-French cafe I waitressed at in Redlands, made the best desserts, and I've never again had a mamoul like she made. So I've gathered a half dozen or so recipes and when I'm feeling ambitious I'll attempt to recreate the magic mamoul.

For now though, pomegranate molasses salmon could not be easier. Mix 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses, 1/3 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a ziplock freezer bag. Either cut up your fish for kebabs, or slide in the whole fillet as I did. Seal the bag and squoosh the fish around until it is all covered with the marinade and store in the fridge for at least an hour. Then either thread the fish onto moistened bamboo skewers for the grill, or put the contents of the freezer bag in an appropriate sized baking dish sprayed with oil and bake in a 450F oven until its done.

The pomegranate molasses has a tangy sweet-sour taste that's a little odd all on it's own, but is great mixed with the honey and soy and cooked till the fish caramelizes a bit on the edges. When I opened the oven to check on the salmon, Jim called out from the other room, wanting to know what smelled like blueberry muffins. I served my fillets over a bed of baby arugula with minced green onions on top, and the contrast of the green and salmon colors was beautiful. I liked it, Ian liked it, Jim allowed that it was moist and not fishy, and Jay ate corn for dinner.


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Zucchini Bread
Jul 8th, 2004

Yesterday my boss hosted a barbeque for our department. There are a lot of kids around the same age as mine, and her backyard was a kid paradise, so the boys had a great time. Unfortunately the weather wasn't very nice, but the food was yummy. We made grilled pizzas using fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe's. The pizza dough was quite good, I'll have to try it at home some time. People brought many different kinds of toppings, and everyone made up their favorite combination, slid it on their humongo grill on pizza pans, and then shared slices. It was a great idea for a barbeque party. There were also some good salads and desserts. I had vaguely promised to bring something chocolatey, but as Wednesday snuck up on me somehow, I ended up having to make do with what I had on hand Wednesday morning. And due to a duplicate zucchini-buying incident, that happened to be zucchini. And lots of it.

I found this zucchini bread recipe online and the ginger and lemon zest sounded interesting. The results were quite good, although the loaf didn't really rise very much. I'd be interested in the outcome if anyone else makes it, as I'm not sure if my baking powder has lost its oomph, or if the recipe just isn't meant to rise. Anyway, it makes a dense, moist loaf that tastes more of spice cake than zucchini.

I followed the recipe as is except for substituting pecans for the walnuts, as pecans were what I had on hand.


Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts [or pecans]


Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add oil, eggs, lemon juice and peel, shredded zucchini, and chopped walnuts. Stir to blend. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool zucchini bread in pan on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn zucchini bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.

-online somewhere
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Ziti with Spicy Peanut Shrimp
Jul 7th, 2004

Here's a really good, easy recipe that I got from the blog An Invitation to the Barbecue. The author tweaked it a bit, but the original recipe is from Cooking Light.

Anyway, I usually don't like recipes that substitute Italian pasta for Asian noodles - if they recommend using spaghetti for cold sesame noodles instead of rice noodles, I'm out of there. That's just nasty - but this is good. I think the round tube pastas have a bit more chewiness to them that matches up well with the fairly dry sauce. I served this with young zucchini, sliced in matchsticks, and sauteed in a bit of oil.

Also, I was a bit hesitant about the veggies in this dish - carrots, onions, spinach - but really, they're key. Just be sure to cut the carrots into really small matchsticks, and they provide a nice amount of sweetness and crunch. And the spinach soaks up the spicy sauce to an amazing degree. Some chopped cilantro and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top before serving aren't a bad idea either.


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Cabbages, cabbages
Jul 6th, 2004

I mentioned a while back that my parents gifted me with a ten ton cabbage on Father's Day. So from time to time in the past few weeks I've been manfully (womanfully?) wrestling the cabbage from its refrigerated resting place, hacking off a pound or two, and then stuffing it back in the fridge. In so doing I have managed to use only half of this monstrous vegetable. But I have managed to cook cabbage in several different ways and I think I have a winner to share with you.

I got the cooking method from How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson (not the Baywatch one fortunately). She suggests a combined steam/saute method for cooking veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. This method wouldn't work very well with veggies with a high water content like bell peppers and zucchini, but for the others the basic recipe is:

1 pound of vegetable, sliced appropiately
1 tablespoon of oil (butter for some, olive oil for others)
1/3 cup of water
an aromatic of some sort (garlic, spices, etc.)

You put all these things in a covered pan over medium-high heat, and cook for about 5 or 6 minutes until the water is mostly evaporated and the veggie is steamed, then you take off the lid and the veggie sautes in the oil that remains for a few minutes (some stirring wouldn't hurt at this point).

Anyway, I have tried both broccoli and cabbage cooked this way and they both turned out well, although if you have a crappy pan like mine, you might want to lower the heat and/or up the water. I thought her water amount was just way off as I needed twice that amount, but then I tried the same recipe using one of my mom's expensive heavy bottomed pans and 1/3 of a cup of water worked perfectly. So assess the state of your cookware and proceed accordingly.

Anyway, for broccoli use 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and some red pepper flakes to taste. For cabbage, the author suggested fennel seeds, but I don't like 'em, so I used one tablespoon of butter (or Smart Balance), and one teaspoon Garam Masala. Garam Masala is an aromatic Indian spice blend often used in curry recipes. It's pretty widely available in supermarkets these days, but if you can't find any you could substitute Indian curry powder, although the end result won't be quite as sweet. But either way you should try it, as cabbage cooked this way is really good.


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Seared Pork Tenderloin with Quick Fruit Chutney
Jul 1st, 2004

I have been in a cooking slump this week. Sure, food of some sort gets on the table, but it's mainly just recipes I can make in my sleep. Nuttin fancy. But happily, I have a backlog of things I've made in the past few weeks that I haven't posted about. And I've got some good stuff picked out for next week, after a 4th of July break at the House of Atkins (previously known as my parents place).

So today we talk chutney. I like a good fruit chutney - I guess the difference between a chutney and a salsa, would be the sweet and sour in a chutney, and maybe that the chutney is cooked? Of course you can have a mango salsa that has sweet mango and sour lime juice in it, but it doesn't have the syrupy sweet sour vinegar taste that chutney has. Although frankly, I think the line is blurry. Chutney, salsa, slasa, it's all good.

Anyway, for this recipe I recommend serving it with egg noodles or a barley pilaf and steamed or roasted cauliflower. There are many possibilities for the fresh/dried fruit used in the recipe. Just make sure you have 1 and 1/2 cups of fruit plus the apple and you can basically use whatever you want. I used fresh cherries, apricots (both fresh and dried), dried cranberries, and prunes (or rather dried plums as they now prefer to be called).

If you don't already buy pork tenderloins, you should. They're yummy, super low in fat, and easy to cook. Buy 'em when they're on sale and toss 'em in the freezer.


Seared Pork Tenderloin with Quick Fruit Chutney

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 8 pieces, and lightly pounded
Coarse-grained salt and cracked black pepper
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
cup apple cider
cup cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
tsp crushed red pepper
1 cinammon stick
cup frozen or fresh cranberries
cup dried apricots
cup dried prunes
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest


Preheat oven to 250. Season pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan until hot
but not smoking. Add pork and cook, turning once, until golden brown and
cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to an ovenproof platter.
Hold in oven while you prepare chutney.

Add onion to pan and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 3 to 4
minutes. Increase heat to high and add apple cider, vinegar, sugar, crushed
red pepper, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Add cranberries, apricots,
and prunes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add apple and cook until sauce is slightly
thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add orange zest and cook for 1 minute more. Discard
cinnamon stick.

Divide pork among four plates. Pour chutney over pork and serve.

-Kathleen Daelemans, Getting Thin and Loving Food
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