Sex in the Kitchen

One girl's ongoing quest to eradicate food apathy and live a more sensual life.


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Recipe: Steak! The Meat In My Mouth

Greetings from my sister’s dining room table!

I’m traveling this week so I haven’t had an opportunity to cook but I do have updates from the past couple weeks and recipes to share.

As the year progresses I must start delving into further uncharted “meat territory.” You’ve watched me go through the rounds with turkey, chicken and pork all BONELESS. I’ve pushed the boundaries of my squeamishness by peeling and deveining shrimp.

No problem.

So what’s next?

Enter cute guy, stage left.

A couple weeks ago I met the smokin’ hot Michael and we bonded instantly over many beers and good conversation. Michael is, I have come to know, a very picky eater (he denies it), but he does happen to be into all kinds of foods that still terrify me. With that, I was hooked.

He was craving chicken wings and asked if I’d like to share a basket. I explained I’ve never eaten wings and went into the whole “no meat on the bone” explanation that always elicits dirty remarks from the men.

Naturally, Michael expressed his surprise, but he also kindly offered to take the chicken off the bones for me to eat. It was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever gotten particularly since I’d only just met him.

When I first started this project I suspected at some point I’d experience something to make me throw up in the sink. This is the closest I’ve come so far. I bit into the chicken and discovered what I can only assume was the tendon that runs down between the muscles and connects the bones.

Oh nonononononono!!

My vegetarian instincts kicked in as did my gag reflex. Shaking my head, I pulled the chicken piece out of my mouth and shoved it into a napkin. Not wanting to offend and because it’s my natural defense mechanism I started laughing uncontrollably.

Lesson learned? There are some things I’m NOT ready for. I am pleased to report Michael didn’t appear to be offended and we continue to hang out.

In other news, I’ve eaten my first steak!

Okay, all in all still not the most appetizing experience, but I can see how, with a little work, it could become something I like.

My parents have a box of frozen new york strip steaks in their freezer and my mother decided it was time for me to branch out. Being the ever compliant daughter I looked up “how to cook new york strip.” Apparently it’s pretty simple. Grill it, pan fry it, broil or roast it as long as you don’t over cook it.

I didn’t bother to look up marinade recipes since I wanted to try to eat the steak and taste the meat flavor. I also read that when seasoning this particular cut of beef it’s best not to use salt it because it will pull the moisture out of the steak and leave it dry.

Interesting…

Although I decided I was brave enough to cook and try to eat this steak there would be no guarantee I’d enjoy it. Finding frozen pre-cooked shrimp in the freezer I decided I’d make a surf and turf so I’d have something else to eat if if went south. Kickin’ it old school comfort food style I also decided on “meat and potatoes” style dinner and set about the business of finding a recipe.

I found everything I needed with the Neely’s.

First, instead of potatoes I decided on smashed cauliflower to make things more interesting. I love their unique flavor. My immersion blender that the Neely’s recommend happens to be in storage so I ladled the cauliflower mixture into an actual blender which was messy but effective. In hindsight I should have done it in smaller batches to ensure a super smooth and creamy finish but I’m not stressing it. The consistency was good and the flavor was spot on to my expectation.

I decided to grill the steaks because, c’mon, what doesn’t taste best cooked over a grill? Nothing, that’s right. So I brushed each side of the steak with olive oil and seasoned with pepper alone.

I cooked the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side unsure of the outcome, but it turns out this was right. However…the meat itself was just kind of bad according to my mother. I felt terrible as though I’d ruined them, but she assured me I had nothing to do with it. I managed to find a few nice pink center bites that tasted delicious and melted in my mouth just the way I’d hoped. Frankly, the rest of it left a lot to be desired. Honestly, I think it was because the steak was frozen too long, and from a box. I mean, get a butcher, ya know?

I did learn that apparently, I enjoy my steak rare.

I filled Michael in on my experience. Evidently at some point in the future he’s taking me out for steak so I can try it properly. He’s from Texas, I’m going to trust that he knows a thing or two about eating cows. At any rate, I look forward to it.

Note: I removed the tails from the frozen shrimp and chopped them into about 4 pieces. If I make the shrimp butter again I think I’ll dice it much smaller instead of leaving it in bigger chunks.

Neely’s Surf and Turf

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 4 (10-ounce) New York strip steaks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish

Directions

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Over medium heat melt butter in a heavy bottomed saute pan. Add the chopped shrimp, and salt and pepper, to taste and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and continue to saute until shrimp is bright pink and opaque. Stir in the white wine and cook until dissolved. Season with cayenne pepper. Remove the shrimp mixture to a glass bowl and let cool. Once cooled, add 2 sticks of butter and fold together to combine.

Season the steaks with salt and black pepper on both sides.

Grill the steaks until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to serving plates and let rest for a few minutes.

Serve the steaks with a large dollop of shrimp butter on top and sprinkled with chives

——

Mashed Cauliflower and Cheese

  • 1 large head cauliflower, finely chopped (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

Directions

Add the cauliflower to a medium-sized saucepan along with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the milk and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Mix in the cheese and taste for seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with sour cream and chives.

Filed under Recipe Steak Mashed Cauliflower Surf & Turf

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Recipe: Risotto Shrimp & Pear Salad = Death by Bliss

Hello my kittens.

Please forgive my absence, I promise I have been cooking but honestly I’ve gotten wrapped up in some, well, unemployment stress.

If you’ve been following me you know I was laid off from my job last July.

I didn’t particularly like the job. It wasn’t engaging, I was bored with the daily repetition of irrelevant busy work, and I was probably being overpaid to surf the web and listen to my Pandora stations. So I’ve been trying to see this time as a blessing rather than a curse and using it as an opportunity to reconnect with myself and the people/places/things that are important to me.

BUT…I just reached the 6 month mark and ended up in the employment office twice in two weeks for an eligibility hearing and a renewal meeting. I’m 4 months behind on car payments and living with my parents and if I wanted to move away or even just out of the house, my funds have become too depleted to do so…enter panic mode.

So I haven’t been writing, or rather, I’ve been re-writing and editing resumes and applying for jobs that might or might not make me happy or miserable. Sometimes the jobs are in the geographies I have targeted, sometimes they’re not. I’ve been secretly crying alone in my room missing my friends and missing my freedom and basically losing it.

Here’s the thing: In the process I’ve been ignoring things that actually do make me happy. I haven’t been writing which I promised myself I would do even if it wasn’t about food because it always serves to ease my troubled mind. The fact that I have been cooking and haven’t been writing, upon reflection, is just silly.

In fact, I’ve recently made my very favorite meal of the year twice in the past few weeks. Not only have I been doing a disservice to myself holding this in, but I’ve deprived you of a toooooooooootally amazing and simple (albeit labor intensive) dinner that will stun your loved ones into submission.

The coveted dinner of Risotto Shrimp made its second appearance for this past Saturday’s dinner when my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Jeff were in town.

I love these people.

They’re not my real aunt and uncle but rather best friends of my parents from before I was born. I’ve totally missed them. They are supremely kick-ass people.

My mother commissioned me to be in charge of food for Saturday because she knows not only do I love to cook, but I aim to please and it would let my father and her spend quality time with their friends instead of hanging out working in the kitchen. I was more than happy to do it.

For lunch, I grilled “$20 Burgers.” If you’re new to the blog, go back a few pages and see my 2nd ever post.

These burgers will kick you in the pants.

Every time I make them everyone let’s out an “Oooooh my god these are sooooo goooooooood.” They must immediately know what’s in them. I happily hand over the recipe.

I also made mac & cheese that made everyone at the table swoon. My father said it was just like his mother’s macaroni and cheese. It’s not a recipe I originated, but every time he says something like that my little daughterly heart swells with pride. I’m not going to post the recipe here because I want to focus on the dinner meal, but if you’d like the recipe please let me know and I’ll make another post about it for you.

I also baked my Rum Cake and attempted to duplicate the Olive Oil Pound Cake that Allen and I ate in Charleston recently. It wasn’t bad by any stretch but it was NOT what we ate so I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

No biggie…I swear it will be done.

But let’s get to the fucking magic already, right?

You know by now I’m good with eating sea food. I’ll need to figure out cleaning fish at some point, but as far as handling and cooking this was something I was certain I could conquer early in the game. So I thought, sure, peeling and de-veining shrimp might be a little weird but no real problem.

Woooowsers was I wrong. These little suckers are seriously nasty inside!!

It didn’t take long for me to get over my disgust, but it also didn’t take long for me to decide this is not something I’d like to do very often. That said, I guess you could cheat and just make this with a bag of peeled and de-veined frozen shrimp but if you can do it with the fresh stuff it’s so bloody worth it.

The risotto is so creamy and spicy and savory, then the shrimp melts in your mouth like so much bliss.

I put this with a pear and spinach salad that was a sweet contrast to the risotto. For a dish that took about 60 seconds to assemble it tasted like it was considerably more effort. Put it together while you’re waiting for the risotto to absorb stock.

If you can get your shrimp all cleaned up ahead of time and everything is ready to go this should take about 30-35 minutes and will taste like you slaved in the kitchen all day.

Note: The first time I made this recipe I used 1 lb. of shrimp as indicated and it just wasn’t enough, but we love shrimp. The 2nd time around I used 1.5 lbs. and it was more appropriate.

Also, when Anne Burrell makes her risotto, she put the saffron in the hot stock instead of adding it to the wine and rice. I also kept that stock heated in a pot on the stove throughout the process instead of these weird “microwave instructions” listed below. As long as it’s going to take the risotto to cook it seems to me like you’d have to keep sticking the stock in the microwave which I think would be a pain in the ass.

Finally, the original salad recipe calls for arugula but we already had spinach in the fridge and I couldn’t find arugula in the store. Not a problem.

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, threads, lightly crushed
  • 1 pound shrimp, medium, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup basil, fresh, chopped

Directions

  1. Pour the broth into a large measuring cup and microwave on High until very hot.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the outer shell is translucent, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine and saffron and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, 1–2 minutes.
  6. Add 1 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  7. Continue to add broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed before adding more, until the rice is just tender.
  8. Stir in the shrimp, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are just opaque in the center, 2–3 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

Serve at once.

——

Arugula Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pear halves, drained and sliced, reserve 2 tablespoons juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups baby arugala
  • 4 tablespoons Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons glazed pecans


Directions
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons reserved pear juice and olive oil and vinegar dressing. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add arugula and toss to coat.

Divide dressed arugula among 4 chilled salad plates. Top each salad with 4 pear slices, Gorgonzola, and pecans. Serve immediately.

Filed under Recipe Shrimp Risotto Salad Pear Favorite Dinner Yet

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Recipe: Chicken Piccata Pasta & Much, Much More…

I’ve been a busy girl this past week putting my hands on more meat than a hooker on a bender.

My married friends Tre & Sue asked if I would come out to their house to cook dinner for them on Tuesday and I told them I’d be thrilled. I’ve never been to their house so not knowing what kind of cookware I’d have at my disposal, decided to go with something simple but flavorful that would require only 1 large pot for pasta and a large pan for the chicken and sauce.

The fish piccata from a few weeks ago has made me think about all the different ways to get this delicious lemony sauce into another meal. Although I plan on making this with shrimp very soon and turkey tonight at the request of my mother, for Tre and Sue I decided on chicken because I found simple recipes by Rachel Ray and Giada.

I don’t know if this project is turning me into some kind of food snob but I didn’t really like either of their recipes when I read them and I look forward to putting together my own idealized version of this dish. I chose to use Rachel Ray's recipe based on my desired end result but it is not without its issues in my mind.

First, her recipe uses penne rigate pasta and so the sauce is thickened with flour to stand up to the texture. I just used a basic spaghetti noodle so the thickness of this sauce was a bit too much.

The Rachel Ray recipe also called for the chicken to be cut up and then cooked AND unlike other recipes I’ve read the chicken was not dredged in flour but rather, as I mention above, went straight into the sauce. Bleh, sorry Ms. Ray, but I’m just not into it.

So here’s what I’m thinking…

Dredge chicken first and don’t cut into pieces.

Reduce chicken broth to ½ cup and instead of adding flour simmer and reduce.

Get in there with a little lemon zest after pasta has been added to sauce pan to be coated but before serving.

Sue and Tre loved it and so I certainly wasn’t going to say anything but this wasn’t my best work. I showed up with a few extra treats I made ahead at home including store bought artisan bread and Beurre Maitre D`hotel which is a butter with lemon juice and parsley.

I cut the bread open then slathered it with the butter and put it under the broiler. Once it was lightly toasted (just 2-3 minutes) I rubbed the top of each half with a smashed piece of garlic.

Lemon butter with a hint of garlic? Hell yeah. It saved the day for me anyway.

As another little treat I brought a rum cake. Sue is pregnant with their second child and can’t drink right now. I figured a nice cake flavored with booze with none of the risk would be a welcome break. After dinner she cut herself the biggest slice I’ve ever seen.

It did my heart good.

Are you local to me in South Carolina? Want me to come cook dinner at your house? Hit me up, it’s pretty guaranteed to be a good time!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
  • Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add a tablespoon of EVOO and the chicken to the pan.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat.
  6. Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon EVOO and one tablespoon butter, the garlic and shallots to the skillet.
  7. Sauté garlic and shallots three minutes.
  8. Add flour and cook two minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid one minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce.
  9. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine.
  10. Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1-2 minutes.
  11. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste.
  12. Top with fresh snipped chives.

——

Beurre Maitre D`hotel

  • 1/4 pound Sweet butter
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice (amount may be doubled)
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper

Soften the sweet butter. Mix in fresh lemon juice, freshly minced parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Filed under Recipe Chicken Pasta Dinner Lemony Fresh

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Recipe: Apricot-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

    Heavens to Betsy, what a week!

    You might notice there’s a post missing from the middle of the week where ordinarily there would be an update about baking day. Well if you can imagine this, for the first time ever baking day was an unmitigated disaster. My aim was to make a pancake cupcake with maple-bacon buttercream frosting. I’d sent a recipe out to my friend Adam a week before and the pictures he came back with looked amazing. I was so thrilled to give it a try.

    However…

    As it turns out I sent him two different recipes. He used the batter recipe from one and the frosting recipe from the other. So as it turns out, he didn’t make pancake cupcakes. Oops!

    I’m not quite sure where I went wrong, but the cupcakes didn’t come out light and fluffy as you might think. They were a lot more like rubbery bricks of dough and they tasted like…eggs. It was simultaneously depressing and hilarious. My father stood in the kitchen and laughed with me as I unwrapped each one and threw them into the sink pretending they were cannonballs complete with explosion sound effects.

    I have a very vivid imaginary world.

    But in the real world, what went wrong?

    Typically when baking you want everything to be at room temperature. My suspicion is that the milk was too cold and the melted butter wasn’t cooled enough so chemistry did not work its magic. Alas…I found another batter recipe I believe will suit me better and I’ll try again before my next baking day even rolls around.

    To make up for the cupcake failure I went back to the meringue recipe I used to make the lemon meringue kisses a couple weeks ago and this time made them mint. Satisfaction guaranteed.

    But I’m supposed to be sharing Thursday dinner’s recipe here so let’s get to it!

    This little lovely is brought to you by none other than Martha Stewart. My friend Jessica recently declared that Martha Stewart’s new tag line should be “I just don’t give a fuck.” There’s a story. Want to know more? Hit me up, I’ll fill you in, it’s hilarious.

    Anyway, this was go damn good. Like, seriously juicy, melt in your mouth good. The apricot-mustard glaze is so simple it doesn’t seem like it could do anything to the flavor of the pork. Well I must be a cottonheadedninnymuggins to think such a thing.

    I was mistaken.

    As the song tells us, “’Tis a gift to be simple…”

    They weren’t lying.

    Sweet and spicy, tender and juicy…it was food erotica in my kitchen. Go get ya some.

    We made a Sesame Broccoli as a side although I didn’t really look at the recipe. It came off the Weight Watchers website. My mother read it to me while I was only half listening, but it turned out well. Saute about 2 cups of broccoli with sesame oil for 2 – 3 minutes. Add a handful of walnuts and saute for another minute. I’m a fan of anything low maintenance and tasty and this did the trick.

    Oh, one adjustment, I only cooked one pork tenderloin but made the same amount of sauce. So, if you end up making 2 as this recipe instructs, you should definitely make extra sauce for dipping because it’s just that yummy.

    ——

    Ingredients

    • 2 pork tenderloins (about 12 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 jar (10 to 12 ounces) apricot jam, (about 1 cup)
    • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

    Directions

    1. Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Rub pork with oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together jam and mustard. Cook over medium heat until jam melts, 3 to 4 minutes; remove from heat. Transfer half to a small bowl for brushing. Cover pan to keep remaining sauce warm.
    3. Remove pork from broiler; brush with reserved sauce. Continue broiling until pork is blackened in spots and registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes more.
    4. Cover pork loosely with foil; let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve drizzled with warm sauce.



    Filed under Recipe Pork Tenderloin Apricot Glaze Dessert Disaster

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    Recipe: Grilled Boneless Pork Chops, Marinated in Love

    It’s already well into the 70’s in February in South Carolina.

    A Yankee to my core, warmer temperatures in a month I still consider winter is not something I’m particularly keen on, but it does have its benefits. For example, I never have to take my super warm wool sweaters to the dry cleaners because I never wear wool sweaters anymore.

    Also, firing up the grill in February does not mean piling on layers of long sleeves, sweaters, coats, boots, long underwear, scarves, gloves, hats and ear-muffs…(although I really like all of these things and in another kind of post this line of talking could fall straight into the gutter).

    In long sleeves, but bare feet, I fired up the grill and cooked some incredible pork chops and on the side burner (my parents have a fancy grill) steamed broccoli. What a perfect idea! What’s more is that before this I hadn’t eaten a pork chop since I was….um, well I’m going to say before the age of fourteen twelve   ten   eight years old.

    I’ve mentioned my mother’s cooking being…uh, bad. The reason I haven’t eaten pork chops since I was in elementary school is that her pork chops were so over done and, I’m sorry to say, not seasoned in the slightest. I honestly used to wrap them up in a napkin and hide them around the house.  So this was SO EXCITING!

    I fucking love pork chops. If I go a little nuts for the pork loin or pork chops this month I’m really so sorry. This is just a whole new experience for me. I’m practically ready to deal with the bones even, I swear to you.

    You gotta try this marinade. I want to eat it on everything right now. My mother and I looked at each other and immediately said, “shrimp.”

    It’s so on bitches!

    Sides were SUPER simple and so very tasty.  This was the first time I’ve made mashed potatoes so oops they were a little too creamy and not quite “potatoey” enough but that’s inexperience rather than an incorrect recipe. They were totally killer and next time I just won’t let the potatoes break down when I’m mixing.

    Yummy lesson learned.

    The broccoli pictured is the same broccoli I made with Fish Piccata a few weeks ago minus red pepper flakes so I’m not posting the recipe here.

    Anywayyyy…you gotta marinade the chops for three hours so this might not be a mid-week meal but definitely do it up on the grill this weekend.

    ——

    Grilled Boneless Pork Chops

    • 2 lbs. boneless pork chops
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. chili sauce
    • 2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tbsp. salad oil
    • 1 tbsp. green onion
    • 1 tsp. curry powder

    Directions

    1. Combine all ingredients except meat in a medium bowl.
    2. Add meat to marinade; stir. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or more, stirring occasionally.
    3. Grill about 20 minutes over medium coals, basting meat frequently with reserved marinade.

    ——

    Cheddar and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

    • 3 pounds baking potatoes, russets
    • 3/4 cup half-and-half
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Cut potatoes into large chunks; rinse well.
    2. Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.
    3. Reduce heat and boil gently for about 20 minutes, until tender.
    4. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
    5. Add the half-and-half and butter; beat until smooth.
    6. Stir in shredded cheese and sliced green onions.
    7. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Filed under Recipe Grilled Boneless Pork Chops Cheddar and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

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    Recipe: Italian Turkey Roll Ups & Spinach Pesto Recipe

    I’ll confess, Thursday’s dinner, in spite of being successfully delicious, was a tiny bit of an afterthought and a way to ensure some things in our fridge didn’t go to waste. My mother had purchased turkey cutlets with the intention of making the pecan and cranberry recipe I made last month.

    Naturally I didn’t want to repeat a recipe on a cooking day so I improvised a recipe for Italian Turkey Rolls that would use up spinach and sage that was dying to be rescued from the edge of wilting.

    Originally, I wanted to make a broccoli pesto for an interesting flavor but we were running dangerously low on olive oil. Spinach has more water in it and would help the pesto loosen up better than broccoli and swapping one for the other was simple.

    We should all eat a lot more pesto in whatever variation we can find. Getting green foods into our diets becomes more and more difficult all the time and here’s a perfect way to eat them practically raw so none of the nutrients are lost. It’s so lovely.

    I also love pine nuts more then you might deem appropriate. I like to take a handful and shove them in my mouth so its really too full and chew them until my jaw is tired. It’s odd I realize, but it brings me a lot of joy.

    The turkey and the pesto over the pasta were both wonderful, simple and could be made and stored ahead of time. Incidentally both of these were adapted from other recipes I’ve seen so I don’t have links or citations for recipes. Even so, they’re around winners!

    Enjoy!

    ——

    Italian Turkey Roll Ups

    • 4 4oz. Turkey Breast Cutlets
    • Fresh Baby Spinach
    • 1½ oz. Sliced thin prosciutto
    • ¼ cup Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
    • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
    • ⅛ tsp. Salt
    • ⅛ tsp. Pepper
    • 2 tsp finely chopped Sage

    Directions

    1. Place each cutlet between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to ¼ inch thickness using a meat mallet.
    2. Sprinkle both sides of each cutlet with salt and peeper.
    3. Divide prosciutto into 4 equal portions and place 1 portion in the center of each cutlet.
    4. Sprinkle each portion with ½ tsp. sage then layer cheese and baby spinach.
    5. Roll up cutlets, jelly-roll fashion starting with narrow end.
    6. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
    7. Add cutlets to pan; cook 6 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, turning to brown all sides.

    ——

    Spinach & Basil Pesto Recipe

    • 1 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach
    • 1 Cup Fresh Basil
    • 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
    • 1/2 Cup Parmesan
    • 2/3 Cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Garlic Clove
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Directions

    1. Pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper.
    2. Add oil and blend to consistency.
    3. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Filed under Recipe Turkey Pesto

    4 notes

    Valentine’s Day: Food Erotica, The Smackdown

    As holidays go, Valentine’s Day has always been something I cannot grasp. Its agonizing pleas of “Be Mine”, “Will You Be My…?”, “Do You Love Me?”, “Do You Know How Much I…?” all come off with the desperation of a sixteen year-old girl.

    I love red and pink, but as February 14th approaches it starts to spread from one surface to the next like The Blob. It’s lacy, it’s full of hearts and cherubs and jewelery ads and mass consumerism and it’s all to celebrate something my usually Vulcan mind cannot process.

    Romance.

    For the better part of my life I’ve felt that, if you try to schmooze me, I’m 99% sure you’re trying to manipulate me into something I don’t want. Romance has always been like The Wizard of Oz. I’m infinitely more interested in the man behind the curtain than the smoke and mirrors and wonder.

    I have an overactive imagination.

    There is more than enough wonder going on in my mind.

    Unlike most people, I’ve always longed for the reality of someone who is not perfect. The cracks and flaws of my ideal loved one are embraced and appreciated and cherished and dare I say pointed out and paraded.

    It’s uncommon to the point of being unrealistic.

    He’s out there.

    I mean, seriously people, he’s not even imaginary. This dude exists, and he adores me.

    Life isn’t always perfect either though and logistically it was impossible for us to be together for the holiday. NEVER FEAR!! My friend Allen invited me down to Charleston,SC to spend the day wandering around town just hanging out and culminating in a dinner at Mercato for what is certainly among the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

    We took photos of the food, but in hind sight I wish I’d have taken additional pictures of the menu so I could give you a better idea of what exactly was happening in my mouth. I started with an Artisan Cheese Plate that included a cheese that was aged in wine. I’m a bit of a cheese junkie, it was a very intoxicating start.


    My main course was crab over ricotta tortellini. If you’ve seen the movie Going the Distance you know on their first date Drew Barrymore asks Justin Long what his favorite food is.

    Tortellini, he says (I’m paraphrasing).

    "How would you like to die?" she asks him.

    He respond, “Eating too much tortellini.”

    That’s me.

    I would eat tortellini until I had to throw up and then I’d come back and eat more tortellini. I can’t eat them all fast and inhale them either.

    I like to suck its outsides into my mouth to taste the salty, eggy, floury pasta. Then I have to shove my tongue into the cheesy filling. I’ll chew it a hundred times if that’s what it takes to break it down into its most basic elements before swallowing and repeating.

    This went beyond my usual experience. Serving tortellini with fresh crab is something I do not have words to express.

    It was sex straight out of the kitchen.

    I got food euphoria similar to the mental state immediately following orgasm. I was short of breath. My vision was actually blurry.

    I’m sure to the amusement of my friend Allen, I was barely able to carry on coherent conversation. It wasn’t even over yet.


    I’ll tell you, I ordered a dessert and Allen ordered a dessert and as precious as mine was I cannot remember what was in it besides Nutella and that it was topped with chocolate and strawberries. Allen, however, ordered the EVOO Pound Cake.


    It was so unlike anything I’ve ever eaten I had to wipe tears off of my cheeks. I’ll be spending a lot of time trying to recreate this cake. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It was topped with toasted rosemary.

    Toasted rosemary and the most perfect olive oil flavor you may have ever tasted.

    Magical.

    The End.

    Allen and I went out for drinks after that and I had a few glasses of my fave, Jack over ice. We stayed until last call and though I wasn’t drunk I was looking forward to getting back to the hotel. Earlier in the day we checked into a Hampton Inn with two queen size beds.

    Where I’m staying, with my parents in South Carolina, I don’t actually have a bed so I sleep on the floor or a twin size fold out couch. Sleeping in a Hampton Inn bed was like going to sleep in heaven. I put my body under those covers and rolled around enjoying the coolness and huge fluffy space to move around in and call my own for that night. I heard Allen laugh at me once but as far as I know, I was asleep in moments.

    Not being with my valentine made me sad, but eating mind altering food and sleeping in a bed and spending time with a friend did everything possible to make up for it.

    Maybe next year love…maybe next year.

    Filed under Food Apathy Erotica Valentine's Day Mercato

    0 notes

    Baking Day Tuesday Wednesday!! After my weekend excursions, baking day was delayed but there was a secondary method to my madness.  Today, I got paid for my baking for the first time.  I make a Rum Cake that is simply to die for and my friend Eli asked if he could buy one from me for his father’s birthday tomorrow.
If anyone else would like one, hit me up.  I’m ordering boxes for shipping.
Cakes will be $20 + shipping and are so worth it.

    Baking Day Tuesday Wednesday!! After my weekend excursions, baking day was delayed but there was a secondary method to my madness.  Today, I got paid for my baking for the first time.  I make a Rum Cake that is simply to die for and my friend Eli asked if he could buy one from me for his father’s birthday tomorrow.

    If anyone else would like one, hit me up.  I’m ordering boxes for shipping.

    Cakes will be $20 + shipping and are so worth it.

    3 notes

    Recipe: Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

    Well, well, hello sexy people!!

    I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seats wondering where I’d gotten to since I was meant to post last Thursday’s dinner DAYS ago.

    I’ll be honest with you.

    Mainly, I’ve been drunk (or hungover).

    Way too much wine.

    Way, WAY, WAY too much wine. Blame it on being single over Valentine’s Day weekend if you like, but from time to time friends call, fun circumstances present themselves and I love wine.

    These things simply happen.

    I’m sure you understand, but you don’t care do you? It didn’t lead to any racy or inappropriate endings so why don’t I just shut up?

    Very well.

    ——

    I’ve been trying to decide between A) bone-in poultry or B) boneless mammal. The debate being, am I more afraid of bones or imagining eating some little animal’s mother or father? I’m well aware of how insane this sounds…that said…

    Last week’s Thursday dinner was my first foray into the the realm of MAMMALS. I enjoy this word. Mmmmmaaaaaammmmmmmmaaaallll. Try it out.

    My mother already had the pork loin in the fridge and I already had cranberries and walnuts in the cupboard. I ran out for goat cheese, dates and sage and set to work.

    Oh, I also wrapped it in bacon as you can see in the pics but I’m not 100% the cook time was right. Though it was obviously cooked all the way though, I would hate for someone to get sick or even just plain not like it. I think it would’ve been much better of I’d seared it longer on each side, but that’s strictly speculation. You’ll still have to tie it up though, obviously, since it’s butterflied and stuffed.

    Truth? I didn’t get the icks at all. Not even for one second. I cut the meat out of its packaging and wiped it off. I butterflied it, put my hands all over it rubbing it down with oil, and wrapped a whole package of bacon around the thing all without batting an eye.

    I am completely fucking floored by this experience.

    While I was tying it up, it finally struck me and I started laughing like a maniac. My friends Sheryl and Dave have heard me laugh like this on more than one occasion and it scared the crap out of them the first time. It’s a laugh I give when I’m…I don’t know…in it, or maybe, overstimulated. It was beautiful.

    By the time it was on the table and we sat down to eat I could barely contain myself. After my first couple bites I put down my fork. I got pretty choked up. I can look at a calendar and tell you the first time I ate pork and liked it. It was in October 2010 and is both the first and last time I tried it. That’s how new this kind of experience is for me.

    Until Thursday…

    It was soooo juicy and tender and…meat.

    Beyond this, I am truly at a loss for words. It was emotional. Less than 6 weeks ago I couldn’t even look at this piece of meat when I opened the freezer. Now, because of something I made, I was sitting there at the table thinking it was one of the best things I’d ever eaten.

    What else can I say?

    Next time I’ll put more dates in the filling

    Ingredients:

    • 1 2-pound pork loin roast, butterflied
    • 5 ounces goat cheese
    • 3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
    • 2 dates, pits removed, chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh sage
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • kitchen twine
    • extra-virgin olive oil
    • salt
    • fresh cracked pepper

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    1. In medium bowl, mix goat cheese, cranberries, dates, sage, walnuts and kosher salt.
    2. Place mixture inside butterflied pork loin, close pork loin around the mixture.
    3. Use kitchen twine to tie and hold tight. Seal end with skewers, if desired. This will help hold the cheese mixture inside.
    4. Rub outside of tied pork loin with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
    5. Place seam side down in baking dish or pan.
    6. Place in oven and roast for approximately 6o minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
    7. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes, then cut the twine off and serve.

    (Source: theenchantedcook.blogspot.com)

    Filed under Recipe Dinner Pork Loin Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed