Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some Things Are More Important Than Food.

Dear Perez Hilton,

I am a supporter of gay marriage. I am a believer in equal rights. I am also a supporter of the freedom of speech. You know, that little thing known as the First Amendment, on which you have made your dubious career. While I do not agree with Miss California's views, I do support her right to have them. Due to your presence at the Miss America pageant, and your question, Miss California lost the crown, and maybe she should have. Your question was fair and concise. But I especially like how you phrased "why or why not" at the end, and left out the part where if she didn't agree with you, you would drag her name through the mud and villainize her internationally.

You take pride in your ability to "make or break" a person's career with a few swift strokes of your keyboard. I don't know that anyone would deny that you have a disproportionate amount of media sway. Perhaps you should consider that before lambasting a person just because they don't agree with you. You speak of justice, equality, and America. I'm not sure where "think like me, or I'll throw a tantrum" fits in to that.

I expected better from a self-described proponent of equality.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hold The Phone...

Did anybody notice...

...that the roasted chicken and roasted pork recipes were sort of similar? Let me break it down:

When roasting, the garlic/thyme/rosemary trilogy is a fail-safe. It goes great on almost anything.

They key in the pork recipe was the marinade. The addition of wine (or a vinegar) actually started breaking down the pork before we stuck it in the oven. It really permeated the meat and infused it with great flavor. This also helps in the 'juicy and tender' department. The herbaceous crust adds a little more bang for your buck. You could marinate boneless-skinless chicken breasts in the same manner with great results.

With the chicken, the oil was infused with the spices. When cooking bone-in chicken with the skin on, it's really important to use a fat (like oil or butter) to crisp the skin. Otherwise, you're going to end up with rubbery skin which isn't very appetizing. I prefer to cook chicken this way because the skin and the bone actually help keep the chicken from drying out.

I have so many more great roasting recipes to come, but if you're just getting interested I'd encourage you to try these methods. Feel free to e-mail if there are any more questions!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Triple-Threat Pork Tenderloin

Now, hear me out. I've said in the past that I am not the biggest fan of pork products (outside of the context of bacon, of course), but I am starting to see the light.

I made pulled pork for Jim and Paul one night, and I bought too much tenderloin (Paul somehow convinced me that we would need 2 lbs. of pork each). I stuck one in the freezer with the intention of giving it away, since I never planned to use it.

Given the recent economy and my continuing education, I've been making strides to be a savvy spender. Last week I realized that I had the tenderloin in my freezer, and it didn't make any sense to go out and buy something else for dinner. I had vague memories of my mom buying tenderloin that had been roasted and encrusted in herbs, and that got my wheels turning. The end result was a juicy, tender, lean, savory tenderloin with BIG flavor. It is elegant and impressive.

I have been converted. Pork-done-right is great.

Triple-Threat Pork Tenderloin

First marinate the tenderloin for 30-minutes to 1-hour using the following:

Triple-Threat Marinade:
2 cloves Garlic
5 sprigs Fresh Thyme (or 1 tblsp. dry)
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (or 2 tsp. dry)
1/4 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1) Combine above ingredients in a food processor until incorporated and well chopped.
2) Marinate meat in a seal-able freezer bag.

When the pork is done marinating, remove it from the bag and dry it off using a paper-towel. Now on to Threat #2. (Preheat your oven to 400*f)

Herb Crust:
5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1 tsp Black Peppercorns + 1 tblsp Cracked Pepper
2 tsp ground Sea Salt (or table salt)
1/4 cup Olive Oil

1) With a mortar and pestle, grind together thyme, rosemary, and peppercorns. This breaks them up and releases herbaceous goodness,
2) Next, with a brush, coat the tenderloin lightly with olive oil.
3) Lightly sprinkle the pork with cracked pepper and salt.
4) With the herbs ground in the mortar and pestle, use your hands to coat the tenderloin, pressing them in so they sit closely on the meat. The oil kind of works like a glue, and is the component that's going to make the outside nice and crispy (since tenderloin is a lean cut).
*Do steps 2-4 to one side at a time.

- Set up the pork on a roasting pan. If you don't have a roasting pan, line a cookie sheet with tin foil, and use a rack so that the pork won't be sitting directly on the pan. Lightly tent the pork with foil.

- Keeping the oven rack in the middle, place the pork in the oven and roast it for about 10 minutes, remove the foil and roast it for another 10 minutes or so (until a meat thermometer reads 150*f or juices run clear when you cut in to it). The inside shouldn't be pink or raw looking.

- Remove the foil and let it broil on high for 5 minutes to brown the crust.

- Flip the tenderloin over and broil for another 5 minutes to brown the other side.

- Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

This pork is so good, it might even be one of my new favorites. Jim and I finished almost the whole thing by ourselves, and I couldn't help but snack on it the next day. It isn't hard to make and it's so flavorful that there is no need to pull out any crazy tricks for the rest of the meal. I made steamed green-beans and couscous to compliment this dish. It's definitely one I'll be making again soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crispy Broiled Chicken

For as long as I can remember, baked/broiled chicken has been one of my favorites. It was not, and is not, uncommon to see my mom, my two sisters, and I, fighting over which piece had the crispiest skin with the most seasoning.

Well, I'm In all of my glory because Jim thinks the skin is gross. Know what that means? I get all the crispy pieces I want!

This is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken, it cooks slowly on the bone so it stays nice and moist. Then, for the last 15-20 minutes you pop it to broil to crisp it up. Who says you can't have the best of both worlds?

Broiled Chicken
1 Whole Chicken - Skin On, separated in to breasts, wings, legs, and thighs
**You can also purchase the pieces separately.
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 large Garlic Cloves
2 tsp Rosemary
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees

1) On a baking sheet arrange the chicken in to an even layer, skin side up.

2) In a food processor, combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Pulse a few times to mix.

3) With a pastry brush, brush a generous layer of oil and spices on to each piece of chicken. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt, and cracked black pepper.

4) Cover loosely with tin foil. Bake in oven, covered, for 20 minutes.

5) After 20 minutes, remove foil. Turn heat in oven up to 375 Degrees, and bake for about 10 minutes more minutes, until the skin begins to look golden-brown.

6) Once the chicken begins to brown and crisp, switch the oven to Broil on High. You won't need to move the rack. The real purpose here is just to make that skin nice and crispy, and seal in the juices. Watch carefully to make sure that it doesn't burn!

7) Once you're nice and crispy, pull the chicken out and let it settle for a few minutes before serving.

Bon Appetite! This chicken is so flavorful and savory. It's makes a great dinner, and is relatively inexpensive to make. It also makes for great chicken sandwiches the next day. I served mine with a wonderful salad and wild mushroom risotto. It would also go great with some sauteed vegetables and wild rice... the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good News Bears!

Well, I'm excited.

Per usual, this morning I rubbed my eyes awake, stumbled wearily downstairs, made some coffee before acknowledging anything else, and checked my blog stats...


Yesterday, Romantic Dinner For Three TIPPLED it's daily hit record. Not only that, but we had substantial hits from over 25 different countries.

You folks must really like salad.

I wanted to thank everyone for their support. Keep your eyes peeled! There's more to come!