Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vegan Treats

A few weeks ago, my mom and I traveled down to Pennsylvania to complete my moving process.  On the way home, we stopped at Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA (where I went to school).  I discovered Vegan Treats only last year, and I wish a) that I'd found it sooner and b) that it was closer to me, although I think my waistline would disagree.  Every dessert at Vegan Treats, including the soft serve, is vegan and many options are also gluten-free.  It is hard for me to believe sometimes that desserts can be good without butter and eggs, but Vegan Treats has definitely made me a believer, since every dessert of theirs that I've tried has been delicious!!  If you are lucky enough to live in Bethlehem, that is where their main storefront is located, however if you live in the New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC areas, they have a list of other locations that carry Vegan Treats. You can also follow Vegan Treats on Twitter!

On our last trip to Vegan Treats, we went a little bit all out and ordered the Sticky Bun, Cinnamon Bun, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Triple-Chocolate Cookie.  All delicious, but our favorites were the sticky bun and the peanut butter cookie.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Madison Park Pork Medallions

This blog has been an interesting and fun way to vary the boring menu from the past 30 plus years for me. Kelsey's inspiration has become a great way to add variety to the meal planning. Today we decided that our first priority was to use something from the freezer and to pick a recipe that we had the majority of the ingredients in the house. The only meat that we had enough of was boneless center cut pork chops so the recipe had to feature pork. We grabbed the cookbooks and came up with the Madison Park Pork Medallions from "Simply Classic" by the Junior League of Seattle. This is a great cookbook that my sister and her dinner group centered their monthly dinners around. All the recipes that we have had from it are great and we were hoping this one would not fail us. It was my turn to cook as Kelsey was busy and I apologize as I was not good at taking pictures along the way.

Madison Park Pork Medallions

Ingredients:

1 2 lb pork tenderloins (I used 4 boneless center cut pork chops from Costco which were 1 1/2 " thick)
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped ( we forgot to buy these so I left them off )

Directions:

Cut pork tenderloin into 8 equal slices or cut the pork chops in half to make 8 medallions. Place slices in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients except butter and chives. Pour marinade over the meat, cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours.

Remove pork slices from marinade and place on a broiler pan. Pour marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil marinade until until reduced by half. Turn heat down to low and swirl in butter a little at a time. Do not allow sauce to boil after butter has been added.

Broil pork slices 3 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plates, allowing two slices per person. Spoon a little sauce over pork and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.




Thursday, March 4, 2010

Butter Chicken

After discovering "Pioneer Woman's" blog and website the other day, I really wanted to give one of her recipes a try.  On the Tasty Kitchen blog, Ree- the Pioneer Woman herself- occasionally highlights recipes that users post on the website. She goes through and photographs the recipe step-by-step and by the time I finished reading through the post for this Butter Chicken recipe, I was practically drooling!  I was intrigued to try the recipe because of the combination of spices and tomatoes.  Butter chicken is an Indian dish also known as Chicken Makhani.

Here is the recipe (originally from user lilliekits on Pioneer Woman):

Butter Chicken
Prep time: 12 hours
Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • ¼ teaspoons Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoons Cardamom
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • 1 bunch Chopped Cilantro, to taste
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice (or However Much You Want)

Directions
Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes.





Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on.


Add the whipping cream (I have used light cream or half-and-half also) and cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice. 


Note: this is a little spicy, but you can cut back on the cayenne if you want.


Kim made brussel sprouts with butter and honey to go with the chicken. The brussel sprouts were simple and delicious!

Kelsey's Verdict:  I loved this chicken. It smelled so amazing while it was cooking, the scents really evolved during cooking and the combination of the spices, lime, tomatoes, and cream was unexpectedly delicious. I would definitely make this again, although it was a bit more time consuming than other dishes.  The piece of chicken I had wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be, given the disclaimer in the recipe, but it still packed a little spiciness! YUM! The one downfall, and probably why this tastes so good, is the pint of whipping cream... not exactly a healthy option!


Kim's Verdict:
I was very surprised that I liked this dish at all as I am not a fan of Indian food.  I felt the chicken would be better if it was pounded first before it is marinated as I feel the marinate would give it more flavor if thinner..  The sauce was good but there is one spice that kept me from absolutely loving it.  If you are a fan of Indian spices, you should try this dish.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pioneer Woman Blog

While I'd heard of "Pioneer Woman" and her cookbook, and I've even used some of her recipes... I finally just discovered her website! The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen website and blog are my new favorite places on the Internet. The website allows people to join as members to post recipes and the blog includes more recipes- with gorgeous photos showing the step-by-step instructions- and lots of other interesting cooking tips. I will be visiting Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen a lot and hopefully I'll start posting some of my own recipes there soon (of course I will post them here too!!).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pizzeria Libretto

Tonight we went back to Pizzeria Libretto, a traditional Neopolitan pizza place in Toronto. I first read about it in yet another in-flight magazine, this time Air Canada's magazine from November discussing the best restaurants in Canada. The pizza there is delicious and the service is always great. They use only organic ingredients and have lots of local ingredients on the menu as well.  If you are gluten-free, they have a gluten-free crust option.  They also bottle their own water and take other measures to be "green." 

Tonight we had:

Buttermilk Calamari, Romesco (a red pepper almond sauce)
Beet Caprese, Cookstown Organic Beets, Ontario Fiore Di Latte Mozzarella


Pizzas:
Ontario Prosciutto, Tomato, Basil, Ontario Fiore Di Latte Mozzarella

Hot Peppers, Tomato, House-Made Sausage, Ontario Fiore Di Latte Mozzarella


I personally love the Beet Caprese salad, we've had it several times. The beets are an interesting alternative when tomatoes are out of season.  The Air Canada magazine had a photo of the calamari, and even I tried it and like it.  Tonight, my favorite of the two pizzas, was the hot pepper and sausage pizza. It was so good, spicy, but not too spicy.  The proscuitto pizza was also really good, but we've had it before, so tonight the sausage pizza was the star!
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