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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

tired of potato salad

I know summer officially ended a couple days ago, but I think we have a couple more weeks of barbecue weather. Traditionally, we have sides like potato salad and cole slaw with burgers and other grilled meats, but sometimes a new dish is pleasant.

We got this recipe from Kaytie's grandmother, and we've enjoyed it for several years now.

Radish Salad

1 bag or bunch of radishes
lots of salt
3 green onions
about 1/4 cup vinaigrette

Cut the green tops off of the radishes and rinse the radishes well. Scrub the dirt off.

Slice the radishes so thin that they are transparent. (Though I have done this with a knife, a mandoline makes this job much easier and faster.)

Place the sliced radishes in a bowl in very thin layers, salting generously between each layer. The salt gets the heat out of the radishes. (I'm not sure what that means, but that's what Kaytie's grandmother says, and I know that the radishes are much more palatable once they've been salted.) Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours.

Dump the radish slices in a colander and rinse well. The salt has done its job and must be washed away.

Slice the green onions and put them in a bowl with the radishes and enough vinaigrette to cover. We use a balsamic vinaigrette from the grocery store, but you can certainly make your own.

Mix and serve.

NOTE: Once the dressing is added, the radishes will begin to turn pink. I'd wait to dress the radishes until right before you serve it. Alternatively, you can let the dressed salad sit overnight and serve a bright pink salad the next day.

P. S. I know there are too many pictures in this post. I don't care.

Friday, September 25, 2009

i'm a believer

I've never been impressed by asparagus. (Except in Veggie Tales...) I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when I tasted some asparagus at a potluck thrown by Kaytie's coworkers. It was lemony and crisp. I loved it.

I wanted to give it a try as a side next to some roasted pork tenderloin. It was great - had a nice acidity that set off the pork's sweet balsamic reduction.

Blanched Asparagus with Toasted Almonds

1 bunch of asparagus

juice of 1 lemon

1-2 Tbs butter

slivered almonds

Toast the almonds. I spread them on a small baking sheet and heated them in the toaster oven. Kaytie prefers to toast nuts in a skillet on the stove. Either way, KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. As soon as they start to brown, remove from heat.

Slice the tough bottom ends off the asparagus stalks.

Fill a large skillet with salted water. Bring to a boil.

Drop in all of the asparagus. Simmer until just fork tender (about 3 minutes).

Drain. Return the asparagus to the hot skillet and toss with the butter and lemon juice.

Top with toasted almonds and serve ASAP.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

back in the saddle

There are a lot of projects going on at our new house. (Maybe we'll finish them all by 2012...) Sometimes, my friends volunteer to help with the work. Most of the time, when they hear what I need, they find an excuse to avoid it. Caleb, on the other hand, followed through on his promise to help me put up my metal storage shed. In the rain.

In return, I cooked dinner, and Tallie and Kaytie joined us. Sunday supper lives again! I'd forgotten how great it is to cook a real meal; we've been eating a lot of beans & rice, sandwiches, and take out. I'd also forgotten how much I like to feed people.

I roasted some sweet potatoes and blanched some asparagus (recipe to follow) to go with a roasted pork tenderloin. It was great!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin
(feeds 4-5)

2 pork tenderloins
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 ground chipotle pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
garlic salt

Rinse the tenderloins and trim off the fat and silver skin. Place them in a glass bowl.

Dump the other ingredients (except the garlic salt) in the bowl, too. Goosh everything around so the pork is covered in the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for 8-10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle the pork with garlic salt. Sear the pork in the skillet, about 30 seconds or a minute on each side. (I used a skillet with low sides, and the splattering oil caught on fire. It was awesome.)

Put the pork in the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes. I used a remote probe thermometer and took the meat out when the internal temperature was 150-155 degrees.

Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing. While the meat is resting, make the...

Mustard Balsamic Reduction

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey

Whisk everything together in a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by about half.

Slice the pork into medallions and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.