Recipes

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Crumbled Goat Cheese and Blistered Tomatoes {recipe}

Posted on May 29, 2014 | 1 comment

Ohhhh pork.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

Barbecue.

Tenderloin.

Barbecue.

Barbecue.

Wait.  Did I mention barbecue?

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Crumbled Goat Cheese and Blistered Tomatoes 4

Seriously, though.  Pork tenderloin is a super simple, oober delicious and versatile cut of meat.  My all-time favorite tenderloin recipe is my Sweet Chili Pork Tenderloin.  Roasting the pork in the oven is so simple (arguably fool-proof), I decided to use the same approach for this recipe, which utilizes some of those sweet summer tomatoes starting to pop up in the markets.

This is the first of five pork recipes I’ll be creating for the North Carolina Pork Council Blogging Network in 2014.  Did you even know there was such a thing?  Admittedly, I did not, but when the Pork Council comes a knockin on your inbox,  you say YES, PLEASE.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Crumbled Goat Cheese and Blistered Tomatoes

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Tangy Tomato Bourbon BBQ Sauce {recipe}

Posted on May 19, 2014 | 1 comment

My passion for barbecue was discovered late in life, at the ripe age of 26, at the very same time and the very same instant I discovered my soulmate of the meat variety.  PORK.  Thank you Charlotte, for introducing this Ohio girl to your precious piggy bounty, abundant sauces, and deep-rooted opinions on all things ‘cue.

Though it greatly annoys  me when a recipes calls for two cups of “your favorite barbecue sauce,” I’ve never attempted to make my own before now.  It’s something I’ve left to the professionals (aka Midwood Smokehouse, my favorite barbecue joint in town).  I favor BBQ sauces that are heavy on the vinegar (that’s eastern NC style for you BBQ neophytes), but I’m also coming around to the sweeter, ketchup-based sauces.  So this recipe, my first ever BBQ sauce, is a mash-up of the two, a combo that’s united with a heavy hand of Four Roses Bourbon.  Bourbon and barbecue?  Puh-lease.  tangy tomato bourbon barbecue

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120 Calorie Cheddar-Kale Scones {recipe}

Posted on Mar 9, 2014 | 3 comments

So, kale.  It gets lots of buzz in the health food world, and it should.  It’s loaded with calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, anti-cancer carotenoids and flavonoids, and it’s been shown to help lower cholesterol.  But, uh, it’s kale, and people aren’t always sure what the heck to do with it.  The good news is the options are vast:  make a salad with a warm vinaigrette, add a bagful to soup or stew, wilt it down with garlic and serve it as a side , throw it in your frittata or fruit smoothie (seriously!), add it to pasta, or make a kale and caramelized onion grilled cheese, if you please.  

A few weeks back, I got an email asking me to make my 2014 the year to KALE UP.  I’m down for healthy food challenges, so I checked out the KALE UP site, to see what this campaign was all about.  Their first blog post introduces kale as your “new friend with benefits” and explains the year to “kale up” means finding easy ways to get kale in your daily life.

I suggest we all start with these 120 calorie savory cheddar-kale scones–they’re a tasty way to score some kale points for the day.

Cheddar-Kale Scones 4

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Pasta Bolognese {recipe}

Posted on Feb 13, 2014 | 2 comments

It is with great remorse that I recall how late bolognese entered my life.  Yes, there was a time when “bolognese” just sounded too fancy, too French, for my liking.  But if there’s one way to get me to eat something, it’s slipping it into lasagna, right there between the layers of pasta and creamy cheese.  And for this very thing, I say THANK YOU to Papa Joe’s (one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Akron, Ohio) for their bechamel lasagna with bolognese.  It was love at first bite, as they say.

For the record, bolognese is not French.  It is, in fact, a hearty Italian meat sauce.  I’ve come so far.

bolognese

I succumbed to eating bolognese without much arm twisting, but I didn’t attempt to cook the sauce myself until I sat in on a cooking class with my friend Keia (her blog:  Ink and Fork) at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen at the Atherton Market this fall.

Here’s the deal.  This sauce takes time.  The more time you put into the sauce, letting it gently simmer on the stove, the richer the flavors will be.  The good news is the sauce gives you an excuse to open a nice bottle of red wine (as if you needed an excuse…), and you, lovely chef, can enjoy the remainder of that bottle while the sauce slowly cooks down.  It’s precisely the sort of relaxing kitchen moment I crave.

bolognese 4

This sauces freezes well, and even if you double the recipe, you’ll still have plenty of wine to drink, so go for it, friend.  For my bolognese, I like a medium to full-bodied dry red wine, like the Alamos Malbec I used in this batch.  Whatever varietal you choose, make sure to pick a wine you’d actually enjoy drinking.  Which is exactly what I did with the rest of my Malbec…  This one is going into my regular rotation!

alamos malbec bolognese bolognese 2bolognese 5

Bolognese from Chef Alyssa

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen — Healthy & Sustainable cooking classes
If you’re looking for a fun date night or girls night out, check out Chef Alyssa’s cooking classes.  Chef Alyssa does an awesome job of breaking down intimidating recipes into easy, step-by-step chunks.  Keia and I had a great time in the class, and this bolognese recipe is one I’ll be making for years to come.  Check out the class schedule here.

Chef Alyssa

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 3/4 of a cup)
  • 2 ounces thinly slice pancetta (I used 3 ounces of smokey bacon)
  • 8 ounces ground beef (I used 90% lean)
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine (I highly recommend Alamos Malbec)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 pound pasta of choice (I used fettuccine)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a heavy pot over (or large saute pan) medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots and saute until soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Add beef and pancetta (or bacon); saute, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine and balsamic and boil for 2 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits.

Add the stock and tomato paste. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Finish sauce by adding the milk, then bring to a simmer until absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Transfer the sauce to a large saute pan.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cupful of the pasta water, and add the pasta to the bolognese sauce. Turn heat to medium-high, toss to coat.  If the sauce is too thick, add a few splashes of the pasta water to loosen it up.  Top with parmesan and parsley before serving.

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Cheesy Marsala-Glazed Meatloaf {recipe}

Posted on Nov 26, 2013 | 4 comments

Marsala Glazed Meatloaf v2

When I was a kid, I loved ketchup-and-cheese sandwiches.  I’m not talking about grilled cheesy goodness dunked in ketchup, here; this was two pieces of Home Pride, a single slice of Kraft American, and a heavy-handed squiggle of Heinz 57.  I was obsessed with ketchup.  Ketchup made everything better.  Although both parents deny preparing said ketchup-and-cheese sandwiches for us kids and my sister says the thought of such a sandwich “makes her want to hurk,” there’s no denying that ketchup was the star ingredient in my mom’s meatloaf.  I was, of course, meatloaf’s number one fan.  Just the word “meatloaf” takes me back to those days, standing in the kitchen, watching my mom transform a mound of ground beef into a perfect oval with rapid two-handed pats before she iced the whole thing with ketchup and tossed it into the oven.  It killed me that meatloaf took so long to cook.  An hour?!  Really, Mom?  And then, as we (finally) sat down to eat, I’d silently start hoping for leftovers, because the only thing better than Mom’s meatloaf was a cold, leftover meatloaf-and-ketchup sandwich the next day.

Marsala Glazed Meatloaf

Now that I’m all old and mature, my ketchup-and-cheese sandwich has been upgraded to a crusty baguette with hunks of gooey brie, and a taste for wine has replaced my craving for all things ketchup.  And meatloaf?  Well, I still love it, and this cheesy Marsala-glazed meatloaf recipe puts a classy spin on the nostalgic meal.  It’s still got ketchup (as all good meatloaves do), but this one has hunks of gooey, white cheddar cheese and is dressed with a sweet wine glaze.  It tastes indulgent and traditional all at once, and it’s a dinner both kids and adults will enjoy.

Marsala Glazed Meatloaf - 3 v2

Dry Marsala wine is fantastic in this recipe (I used Colombo Fine Dry Marsala Wine, which has hints of vanilla and raisin).  The meatloaf can be prepared a day ahead and stored covered in the fridge for a hearty, low-stress meal the next day.

Marsala Glazed Meatloaf - 5

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Snack Bars {recipe video}

Posted on Jun 13, 2013 | 2 comments

Remember that super fun video recipe project I’ve been telling  ya’ll about?  Well, one of the four videos we shot was for a recipe I specially developed for Tropical Foods.  To get my creative juices flowing, Tropical Foods hooked me up with a sack full of their bold nut mixes.  After trying them all, the PB&J mix stole my heart.  PB&J triggers feelings of nostalgia for most of us, but the funny thing is, I didn’t eat it much as a kid.  In fact, I went through a rebellious phase during which I vehemently swore I didn’t like the taste of PB&J.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was lying through my teeth in hopes of getting something toasty, like a hot grilled cheese or tuna melt, for lunch instead.  Sometime in college, I rediscovered the pure pleasure of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I’ve been making up for lost time ever since.

Hope you enjoy my recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack bars!  I know my Guinea pig coworkers did!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Snack Bars Recipe PDF

Make sure you enter the Tropical Foods Bold giveaway below!  Three winners will receive one bag of each of the following How Bold Can You Go mixes:

Honey Roasted Buffalo Nuts
Ranch Buffalo Nuts
Blue Cheese Buffalo Nuts
Sweet Heat
Cajun Harvest
PB&J Mix
Mango Tango
Sienna Cream Crunch

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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