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Filet Mignon with Port-Strawberry Reduction

29 Jun

Alright, so I made this a while back, got lazy about posting it, lost the pictures and thought I’d just wait to post till I made it again, eventually decided I should just post it since strawberries are nearly out of season, and then couldn’t find the recipe. Obviously I simply do not have it all together for strawberries. But I’ll tell you this recipe the best I can remember, and if I ever get around to making it again, I’ll post the pictures and we’ll pretend this never happened.

[UPDATE: I found the pictures! They were on my digital camera. Obvious, right?]

I do remember that the first time I made this, my big mistake was that the reduction took wayyy longer than I thought it would, and the steaks were finished for quite some time before the reduction was presentable. Because a sauce can just sit in the stove and simmer for a while, I recommend going ahead and making the reduction in advance and grilling the steaks when it looks about ready.

Strawberries!

Sliced Strawberries!

In a sauce pot, I heated 1 1/2 cups port wine over medium-low heat. If you’re not picky, you could substitute any red wine, really, preferably on the sweeter side. I added in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (cut to the size you prefer — I like them small), 1 diced shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. I let this cook down till it was thick like a sauce rather than a runny liquid. It took about half an hour over medium-low heat.

Simmering Strawberries! Sounds like my new curse word.

When it looked about done, I seasoned two small filet mignon steaks (you can use whatever cut you prefer) with salt and pepper and then sent the BF out to the grill to cook them to about medium-rare. When they were finished, we served the steaks with a spoonful of the port-strawberry reduction on top and accompanied with rice pilaf. Very tasty, plus, it gave the rice some flavor as well. The BF was very happily surprised that I served red meat, and I was happy with the fruit reduction served with it!

Filet Mignon with Port Strawberry Reduction

I acknowledge that it looks a little gross like blood. But it’s really tasty, I promise. And I thought even this was a bit watery, but I was hungry and impatient. Simmer it for a long time and it will thicken even more.

We also made this delicious salad with spinach, carrots, strawberries, walnuts, and goat cheese:

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Bon apetit!

Spinach and Salmon Salad

24 Apr

On Friday, the BF and I had the day off, and we took a little time to try to throw together a nice lunch. We wanted something light and healthy because we were anticipating a weekend’s worth of delicious, fatty food, what with Betsy Bundt‘s wedding on Saturday (don’t fret… I’ll have more cupcake and decorating gossip on that later) and Sunday supper with the family. So we hopped on our bikes and rode to Trader Joe’s to pick up some veggies.

Upon our return, the BF fired up the George Foreman and seasoned the salmon with a dusting of chili powder while I assembled the salad. Actually, the truth is, he pretty much did all of it while I moped around the kitchen in a post-exercise, hunger-induced daze. I did, however, manage to make us each a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert, and then consume every last bit of mine while he made lunch.

In our salad, we had a bed of organic spinach (a seasonal ingredient available in North Carolina March through December!), carrots, walnuts, goat cheese, and croutons. I found that if you scrape the goat cheese with a fork instead of try to cut it with a knife, then nice little crumbs will fall evenly all over the salad, instead of clumping together.

After the BF finished mastering the electric grill (he suggests medium-low heat, about 4-5 minutes on each side), we added a salmon fillet right on top. Carrots + salmon… weird!? But hey, there are no rules in this kitchen. I drizzled mine with some Italian dressing and the BF chose a light cucumber ranch dressing. It was super delicioso!

"Parfaits got layers! Everybody loves parfaits!" Too old? Too lame? Yes.

As I said, for dessert we had a yogurt and fruit parfait, though I had already eaten mine by this point. I mixed 1 part nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt and 1 part store-bought cream cheese fruit dip (to sweeten it a bit — this is dessert, after all) in a small bowl. I filled the bottom of these cute little glasses with grapes, then a spoonful of my yogurt mixture, then blueberries, then yogurt, then mandarin oranges. A small dollop of yogurt on top made it camera-ready.

Healthy Lunch!

How Sue Sees It:

  • I know this recipe is a bit of a scam, since most salad recipes are lame. I mean, does anyone really need a recipe to make a salad? Put vegetables on a plate and top it with salmon. There, you’re done.
  • If you don’t want to buy the fruit dip, you can easily mix your own — my mom, Susie Senior, makes a great one with one part marshmallow creme/fluff and one part strawberry cream cheese. So your overall mixture would be one part marshmallow fluff, one part cream cheese (choose your flavor), and two parts yogurt.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce

7 Mar

I have no idea why I’m posting so much pork on this blog. I really don’t eat much pork at all, and actually, I’ve been trying to cut down my overall meat consumption lately. Maybe that’s why these end up looking good enough to take pictures of. My favorite part of this dish is the mushroom sauce, so feel free to search for things other than pork to smother. This recipe originally came from Rachael Ray, who just loves to smother fat with fat, so it’s pretty easy, but no claims here about being healthy.

I preheated a large skillet with some extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. I added a dash of salt and pepper to each side of the pork chop and then added it to the pan. I cooked it for about 6-7 minutes, then flipped it to the other side and cooked it for another 6-7 minutes. I removed the pork chop to a temporary plate and tented some foil over it to keep the heat in. Back to the skillet: I turned the skillet down to medium-low and added 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 pound sliced white mushrooms, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. I let that saute for 3 or 4 minutes and then added a dash of salt and pepper. I also added about 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and then cooked for about a minute longer. Then I whisked in 1/3 cup dry white wine, 1 cup chicken broth, and 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard. I let it simmer until most of the liquid was absorbed and it had a thick, creamy texture. I served it with a side of baked sweet potato and steamed green beans. As Rachael says, “Yum-o!”

How Sue Sees It:
– Seriously, this mushroom sauce is amazing. And it gives me something to do with all the leftover mushrooms I end up having after I buy some for salad.
– Be flexible. Don’t have mustard? Leave it out. I doubt you’ll notice.

Coconut Curry Chicken

29 Jan

Woo! Another dinner meal! Not baking, true, but a really beautiful dish that’s not too spicy and easy enough for a weeknight. This recipe, which I adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com, served 2 — me and the BF. We generally don’t eat very much, so feel free to increase the ingredients here if you’re an average-to-big eater.

I started off by dicing up a couple chicken breasts and setting them aside. In a medium bowl, I mixed together 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Basically, just add in whatever you have in your spice rack. If you’re missing one or two of these things, don’t worry, just go with what you have. I also added in a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. I threw the chicken into the spice bowl and tossed it around until all the pieces were well-coated.

I heated about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then browned the chicken. Once it was brown, but not fully cooked, I moved the pieces to the outside of the pan and added in 1/2 sliced onion, 1/4 sliced green bell pepper, 1/4 sliced yellow bell pepper, 1/4 sliced red bell pepper and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. (The onions and peppers were julienne cut. They were frozen from the leftovers of another dinner. It is not necessary to have different colored bell peppers — they all taste the same. So unless you have leftovers or plan on saving the leftovers from this recipe, just pick one bell pepper and go with it.) I cooked those till the onions became almost clear. Then I dumped in 1 can of diced tomatoes — you can choose whatever variety you like, but I usually get the ones that already have flavors roasted into them, like the one with basil, garlic, and oregano. I stirred everything up, turned the heat down to a medium-low simmer, and cooked everything for another 6-8 minutes. Then I stirred in 1/2 (8 oz) can of coconut milk. Another minute to heat it through, and I was ready to serve!

Cookin' Curry
I served it up on top of bowls of jasmine rice and served naan on the side. (If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s where you live, get your frozen garlic naan from there. It’s easy, cheap, and delicious. I guess if you’re crazy, you could find a recipe online and make it yourself.)

Dinner Is Served

How Sue Sees It:
– I personally thought this was a little bland, but super-flavorful foods tend to be my favorite, like Indian curries, so I think I’m just picky. The BF liked this pretty well.
– You can use regular or light coconut milk, whichever you prefer. Just be sure to shake it up before you open the can.
– Next time I will probably experiment with more healthful ingredients, like chickpeas, eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, etc.

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast Dinner

3 Jan

I don’t often post dinner meals, frankly because I bake way more often than I actually cook dinner. Sad, I know. However, here’s a phenomenal one-dish meal that is super easy. Plus, this is technically baking, too. My brother makes this for us at family meals, and I stole the recipe from him to re-create a smaller version at home. But if you feel the need to impress a dinner party, feel free to use a huge cut of pork tenderloin, slice it up fancy, and wow the pants off your guests.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, and 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. Mix it all together, and add olive oil until it makes a paste-like consistency. Rub the mixture all over your pork roast and then place it in a shallow pan. (For just the BF and me, I use about a 1/2 pound cut of a pork tenderloin. Though I’m sure he would appreciate it if I made more than that.)

Pork in the Pan

Fill the rest of the pan with sliced carrots and diced potatoes. Crack open a bottle of white wine, and pour it right into the pan until it covers the bottom. (I prefer to cut my vegetables smaller and pour enough wine to cover them so they’re more tender.)

Cover with foil and bake at 350 F. My 1/2 pound cut usually bakes for 30-35 minutes. If you use a different size cut, check the packaging – it will often tell you how long to cook per pound. At any rate, the internal temperature of your meat should come to 160 F, and when you cut into it, there should be no pink at all, only white meat (like chicken).

Pork Dinner

How Sue Sees It:
– I’m lazy enough when I serve this at home for the two of us that I just cut it in half and plop it right on our plates. But if you make a larger roast for a dinner party, this looks amazing sliced up and served on a platter. Very impressive!
– If you don’t have any wine (or if you’re not old enough to buy any), water works just fine. I just prefer wine because even if it’s cheap wine, it adds a little more flavor. Plus a glass is nice while I’m waiting for the oven timer to ding.
– Real chefs would probably tell you to not ever substitute dried herbs for a dish like this that features them so prominently. But I won’t lie — I’ve done it. If you substitute dried for fresh herbs, cut back to one-third or one-half the amount. Also, at least make sure that your dried herbs are still good — check the expiration date, and only save dried herbs for about 6 months after you’ve opened them (even if the expiration date hasn’t come yet). They start losing their flavor after that.