Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grecian Pork Tenderloin

Another winner from is this delish pork recipe. It calls for 1 1/2 cups of fresh lime juice...holy lot of limes! I squeezed an entire bag of limes and only had 1 cup. That was plenty of juice for 2.5lbs of tenderloin so you can definitely decrease the amount of marinade from what the original recipe calls for. It's simple ingredients, marinated for a few hours, then cooked. The recipe says to grill it, but I just baked it and it was wonderful.

The meat was super tender from all the acidic lime juice, and it had a wonderful flavor. Highly recommend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

I got a new cookbook...just in time for Spring.

The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz is full of tasty looking recipes for ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, granitas, and various toppings and mix-ins. There are the usual suspects like chocolate, vanilla, peach and coffee but then there are some really unique ones such as avocado, olive oil, and lavender and honey. If you like making ice cream, you need this book!

Publix had Florida strawberries on sale that looked good, and I had some sour cream in the fridge I got for free using coupons last week, so we tried this one:

Unfortunately neither of us really cared for it, I think it was the sour cream. It was not very sweet, and while it didn't taste at all like sour cream it was definitely more tart than what we like. There's nothing at all wrong with the recipe though, it turned out perfectly so if you are a fan of not-too-sweet desserts, you may love this one. Me? I'll have my ice cream minus the sour cream please.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cake Success!

I tried the pound cake again (recipe from previous post) and baked it in the Razorback pan. It turned out great! The only problem with this pan is that the snout and tail sections get tough and overcooked in order to get the thickest middle part done. But that's the price you pay for a super cool Hog cake.
Honestly, the fallen-apart ugly cake from last time tasted better although this one is much more presentable. All in all, this recipe is a winner and you can do so much with it as far as mixing in chocolate chips, adding different glazes, etc.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Um...another cake flop

Sour Cream Pound Cake from

I'm not sure exactly what went wrong. Maybe I didn't adequately grease and flour the pan? The recipe actually calls for a loaf pan, so maybe that would have worked better. After I already had this one in the oven, I read the reviews on and a lot of people said they doubled the recipe to make it in a bundt pan. It was pretty short, so a double recipe would probably have fit perfectly. I only cooked it 40 min, not the 60 min that the recipe called for and it was done at 40 so start checking around 35 minutes or so.

So it looks crummy, but how does it taste? Holy sweet deliciousness, thank goodness I don't have gestational diabetes so I can eat this cake good!!!! I made a butterscotch glaze out of butter, sugar, a little water, and Buttershots butterscotch liquor (if I can't drink it, at least I can cook with it).

Maybe it's a good thing it didn't turn out pretty, now I will be forced not to take it in public but instead to keep it here and eat it know, wouldn't want to subject anyone else to ugly pound cake:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Day of the Steak and Cake Flop

I share my successes so I'll share my failures as well.

FAILURE #1 Steak in a cast iron skillet

I read these two sets of instructions for cooking perfect steaks in your cast iron skillets and thought it looked easy enough. You start it on the stove then move to the oven.

Where I went wrong: "always salt generously" it makes a great crust and a juicy steak--I guess I salted TOO generously because it turned out so salty I almost couldn't eat it, and I like salty food. I followed the advice to cook in the oven for 10 minutes and this was WAAAAY too long if you like your steak anything other than well done. So I took a beautiful filet mignon and made it taste like salty burned beef jerky, nice.

Another problem is the smoke. I mean, like A LOT of all the doors and it's still really smoky in the house an hour later lot of smoke. The recipe warns you that it will smoke, but I have to believe that this much smoke is not normal or nobody would cook steaks in the skillet ever. I wish I had taken a picture at it's worst so you could understand just how smoky it was.

FAILURE #2 vanilla cake with oreo buttercream

In theory this should have been gorgeous and delicious but, alas, that was not the case in my kitchen today.

White layer cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg whites, room temp.
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 9-in round pans. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg whites one at a time, mixing after each. Beat in vanilla.

2. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk in thirds. Mix but don't overbeat after each addition. You can do this part with a spatula instead of mixer.

3. Spread evenly into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Where I went wrong: My last couple of cakes have come out just a bit drier than I would like and I think it was from overbaking them, so naturally this one came out underbaked. I took them out at 25 minutes because they were pulling away from the edges slightly and the top kinda bounced back after I touched it. I guess it wasn't quite to that "spring back" stage that it should be because it is definitely a little batter-like still. Tastes good though:)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5-6 Tbs milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk to achieve desired consistency.

Where I went wrong: I think the powdered sugar/liquid ration is off in this recipe because the end result tasted way too powdered sugary and not enough buttercreamy. I think it needs less sugar and more butter. I added crushed up oreos to the icing, but the oreo chunks combined with the texture of the icing made it impossible to spread. The not-quite-done cake kept coming off in chunks because it would get stuck in the cement-like icing. Let's just say I'm really glad this was just a practice/for fun cake and not one I was taking anywhere because I would have had to start over. I still think the oreos can work, the just need to be pulverized in the food processor first so they don't impair the spreadability of the frosting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Salmon and Winter Squash with Cranberries and Raisins

I'm still trying to use up the giant vat of parmesan in the fridge so I searched for 5 star parmesan recipes and found up this one. We agree, 5 stars!

Parmesan Crusted Salmon- seriously try this if you like salmon. Rich said it was one of his favorites ever. Take a second to read the recipe, then I'll tell you what I did differently. Ok, once I put the fish in the pan (a large skillet not a saucepan like the recipe says) I had to keep adding more wine and teriyaki sauce because it kept reducing away. It was fine because I had plenty and it resulted in a more concentrated flavor in the end, but you'll need more on hand than what the recipe calls for. I didn't have any teriyaki sauce so I just mixed up some soy sauce, sherry, a pinch of sugar, some garlic and dried ginger as a substitute teriyaki sauce. I added more parmesan and some sea salt for a little salty crunch after taking it out of the pan.

Winter Squash with Cranberries and Raisins-
adapted from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, or frozen berries, thawed
1 small apple, chopped
1/4 cup raisins, chopped
juice and grated zest of a small orange
1.5 Tbs honey
pinch of salt
2 Tbs butter

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place the squash in a lightly greased baking dish, cut size up

2. Combine the berries, apple, raisins, orange juice, zest, honey and salt in a bowl. Put half the mixture into each squash half. Place 1 Tbs (or less if you want) butter on top of the mixture in each half.

3. Bake until the squash is tender, about 30-45 minutes. Every 15 minutes baste some of the liquid from the center around the edges of the squash to keep the flesh from drying out. Remove from oven and serve warm.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Pork Loin 2 Ways and Winter Salad with Roasted Beets and Citrus Reduction Dressing

Since the packages of pork tenderloins actually have two in them, I decided to try out a couple different recipes. One I chose because I had lots of fresh grated parmesan leftover from the spaghetti carbonara, the other because I had peach preserves on hand and thought it would go well with pork. Both are from

Parmesan Pork Tenderloin is in the skillet on the left, and Spicy Peach-Glazed Pork Chops is in the skillet on the right.

We both loved the parmesan version, but neither of us really cared for the peach. I love peaches and most things peach-flavored but I just don't think I like the combo of cinnamon and sweetness on meat. The parmesan got a nice crispy crust and was excellent. It will definitely be going in the keeper file.

We also had a salad from the Dec 2009 Cooking Light:

Winter Salad with Roasted Beets and Citrus Reduction Dressing

Rich has never had beets and it was questionable as to whether or not he would try or like it, but he did try it and he didn't hate them...success! The recipe calls for goat cheese which neither of us care for so I bought feta, but then forgot to use it. I also just used regular red leaf lettuce instead of the Boston lettuce/watercress/radicchio combo in the recipe. I tried to tell him that the shallots in the dressing were like a bigger bulb of garlic but he wasn't buying it. He said "those taste like onions" so we had to strain the shallots out, but the dressing was still great.

Here are the beets after roasting and removing the stems and roots. You then peel and slice them.
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