Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Asian Pork Tenderloin

This is almost a repeat and I know you aren't supposed to do that.  But this keeps getting better and changes ever time I do it.  It's getting pretty good.  And it has a ton of ginger, which we almost finished with.  Yogurt is coming next.

I started with a 5 lb Pork Tenderloin.  Big honking thing.  It is the main dish for my Memorial Day meal.  We also had pasta salad, chard, deviled eggs, home canned pickled asparagus and lemon meringue pie. 

Asian Pork Tenderloin
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. white wine
2 T. red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 or 2 T. candied ginger
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Combine the marinade in a 9 x 13 baking dish and add the tenderloin.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate.  I went back and turned it over several times.  It marinaded just over 24 hours.  I've gone 2 days.  If you go much less, you don't get the flavor. 

When I was ready to start it, I preheated to 350 and placed it in a foil lined roasting pan.  I reserved the marinade in a pot and simmered it for an hour.  The sugar in it thickened slightly making a nice glaze which I spread on the roast several times. 

I believe that marinade that has been boiling for some time is safe to consume.  If you don't, feel free to discard it, but you are throwing away a ton of flavor.  I kept it for a sauce. 

I cook pork to 170 degrees internal temperature.  If you don't have a meat thermometer, it should be your next investment. 

We had almost half of this baby as left overs.  I'm working very hard on improving our diet and planning healthy lunches that travel.  Left overs for dinner also help me get in my exercise and gets my gardening done.  Pita bread, sliced pork, lettuce I bought at the farmers market, and a little extra sauce.  Left over side dishes from the day before and ready to head back to work with lunch.   

Monday, May 30, 2011

Did you know - Ginger

  • Ginger cultivation began in Asia, but spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.  It is the underground stem, or rhizome of the plant Zingiber.
  • It was commonly used medicinally in China as a aid in digestion and to treat stomach upset, diarrhea and nausea for more than 2,000 years. It has been used to help treat arthritis, colic, diarrhea, and heart conditions. 
  • The flesh of the rhizome has culinary uses in many Asian dishes.  In the West, it is often used in sweet dishes, such as cookies and bread, and in beverages, such as ginger ale.
  • Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Asian Salad Dressing.

This is my favorite Asian Salad Dressing.  I don't think I can claim this as an original recipe.  I'm pretty sure I took a recipe off of the Pioneer Woman and modified it some. 

Asian Salad Dressing.
3 T. Sesame Oil
3 T. Canola Oil

8 T. soy sauce

1/3 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 T. candied ginger, finely chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper.  seeded and finely chopped.  

Yes, I know the picture shows 1/2 a pepper, but that's all I have right now.

Chop that baby up pretty fine.  It doesn't get cooked and you don't want to chock any one.

Stir the dressing well and set it aside to think about itself for a while. 

Now the salad.
1/2 a small head of lettuce.  Napa Cabbage is also good.  Or a combination of the two.

1/2 a small can of water chestnuts and a big handful of bean sprouts.


And just before dressing the salad.  1/2 a bag of ramen noodles, uncooked.  It gives you some crunch that is good.  Smash it up into little bits.  With a rolling pin or a meat mallet.  It's fun.

Oh, and throw away the seasoning packet.  I used to save the seasoning packet, thinking I might use it for something.  There is really nothing that little packet of powder is good for. 

Dress the salad and serve.  Just happened to have a piece of baked salmon to go on top.  Dinner.  


Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Candied Ginger

This stuff has a shelf life.  I just don't know what it is yet, because I'm using it pretty fast.  Ever since I learned I could make my own candied ginger, I've been on a Ginger-Thing.

Candied Ginger
1 lb unpeeled ginger.  Its one pretty large one or two smaller.  I've been weighing them in the store, 'cause like I know how much ginger weighs? 

Peeled and very thinly sliced as uniformly as possible.


Combine the ginger with 2 c. granulated sugar and 1 1/2 c. water in a large sauce pan or skillet. 

Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Stir every so often.  It gets darker in color and kind of curls up.  Most of the liquid evaporates.

Place pieces on paper towel to drain the liquid.  This was late in the evening about bed time, so it drained overnight and dried until morning.  
And there you go.  Store in an air tight container with a little bit of extra sugar in the frig until gone or for about 2 or 3 months, I'm thinking.     

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gingered Rhubarb Apple Crisp

2C. Diced Rhubarb
3 large apples, peeled and sliced
1 c. sugar
1 T. minced candied ginger
1 t. flour

Combine ingredients and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the following.
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 oatmeal
2T. melted butter.

Turn rhubarb mixture into a sprayed 9 " square pan.  Spread topping over.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes.

I've been eating rhubarb all of my life.  The addition of ginger is new to me.  This is a unique and delicious.  The tart of the rhubarb, sweet from apple, and spiciness of ginger.  If there happens to be a little cream or ice cream around, that wouldn't be too bad either.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Moving on to Ginger: Ginger Rhubarb Jam

I'm a big fan of Ginger on so many levels.  Any food that has the potential to clear out your sinuses is fine with me. Go big or go home.

Before I found candied ginger and before I discovered I could make candied ginger, I kept left over ginger in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Now, my jar of candied ginger stays in my fridge.  Recipe coming soon.  But for now - 

Ginger Rhubarb Jam
4 c. fresh rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
3 c. sugar
3 T. candied ginger, finely chopped
2 T. lemon juice, from the bottle.  

Combine ingredients.  Allow to stand for about 30 minutes.  

Turn into a large sauce pan and bring to a slow boil at medium heat, stirring.  Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Ladle into hot sterilized canning jars and seal.  Process using the boiling water bath method for 10 minutes.  If you are not familiar with the boiling water bath method of canning, consult a canning cook book.

Beautiful dark red.  Texture is lovely.  Of course, a little sweet, but the ginger is distinct.  This is going to be awesome over Tillamook Vanilla Bean Ice cream.  I'm very happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Did you know - Rhubarb

  • The leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous if eaten in much quantity.  The poisonous compound is Oxalate.  There have been cases of people cooking the leaves like collards and becoming sick, or even dieing.  So if you let, or encourage, children to eat directly from the garden, and I hope you do, make sure that they understand that they are not to eat the leaves of this plant.
  • Rhubarb is grown from a rhizome.  According to my handy dictionary, that's a thick underground horizontal stem that produces roots and has shoots that develop into new plants
  • Parts of this plant have been used as a laxative, an antiseptic, a diuretic, a treatment for liver, bladder and urinary complaints. 
  • Rhubarb is a cool weather plant, hence my having one.
  • Early Americans referred to rhubarb as "Pie fruit", but of course, it isn't really a fruit, or even a vegetable.  The part we eat is the stalk of the plant.
  • It dates back to 2700 BC in China where it was grown for its medicinal properties.
  • Traditionally, it is pared with strawberries or apples for sweetness, although paring it with ginger is also common and tasty.
  • As early as the mid 1500's, it was much more expensive than cinnamon in France.  By the mid 1600's, rhubarb was double the price of opium in England
  • My husband doesn't like it.  Go figure.




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mom's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Every so often I mention that I love pie.  I mean I love everything about pie.  I love crust.  I love filling.  I love the crimped edges.  I love the smell of it in the oven.   I love pie.  And this is my all time favorite pie in the whole world. 

So go ahead.  Say it's old fashioned.  Say it's been done.  But this is my mom's recipe.  This is just plain good. 

Mom's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 homemade double pie crust.  Recipe of your choice.

1 1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. grated orange peel

3 c. rhubarb, cleaned and cut.  My mom's notes say "1/2 inch pieces," and I always do what my mother says.

2 c. strawberries.  We are still using California strawberries.  They aren't ripe yet here.  But there is always hope.

2 T. butter.  My mother's recipe actually calls for margarine, but I haven't used it for many years

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Mix sugar, flour and orange peel in a small bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, mix the fruit.

Turn half of the fruit into prepared bottom pie crust; sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. 

Repeat with remaining fruit and sugar.  Dot the top of the pie with small pieces of the butter.  Top with the pie crust.  Crimp the edges and poke slits in the crust for air to escape.  

Cover the edges with aluminum foil or other protection from getting too brown. 

My Mom's notes say "Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust, 40 to 50 minutes."  Mom never had a clean oven a day in her life and neither have I.

Basic Rhubarb Syrup

When cleaning out my freezer for the season, I found that I had quite a bit of rhubarb left.  I'm working on ways to use ingredients I have on hand more efficiently. 

Basic Rhubarb Syrup
4 c. rhubarb, cleaned and chopped - (frozen is fine if that's what you have)
1 c. sugar
1 c. water

Simmer 15 - 20 minutes.  Strain the liquid for use.

Refrigerate or freeze.

A tablespoon or more of this syrup is delicious and thirst-quinching in a glass of ice water.  It is also a delicious sweetener in a cup of hot tea.  I'm looking forward to trying it in club soda, ginger ale, lemonade, ice tea. What else?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tortilla Stack with Green Sauce

Sauce number 2 is just a bit spicier than I would like for setting in front of guests with a bowl of chips but it is delicious and flavorful.  I continue to read recipes looking for my next inspiration.  

I've found a recipe that called for the tomatillos to be placed in a 350 oven until they pop.  I'll likely try that next. 

This tortilla stack recipe is an original to me, but reminds me of something my Mom made in the late 60s and early 70s.  My mom was ahead of her time.  

You need a deep dish pie plate and 4 10 inch tortillas.

A cup of shredded cheese of your choice and a small can of sliced olives, drained. 

A pound of ground beef and a pkg of taco seasoning or your favorite homemade version.  This is 2 t. dry minced onion, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. dried garlic, 1/4 t. dried oregano, and 1/2 t. ground cumin.  I sometimes add 1 t. chili powder and/or 1/2 t. crushed pepper flakes, but not tonight.  To be clear, I'm adding this to my meat instead of the pkg of taco seasoning, your choice.

This is ground chuck from the Butcher Boys - my new favorite source of meat.  I bought it from the owner's daughter. It's incredibly lean and beautiful.  It comes from a farm in McMinnville, OR.  I've paid quite a bit more for organic lean ground meat.  Support local business. 

Husband came through and complimented my outfit.  I wasn't feeling it, but always nice for a middle aged woman to hear it. 

Little does he know, I dressed this way because of hot flashes.  I guess I'm still hot; it just comes in flashes.  

Now to assemble the dish. Into the deep dish pie plate, 1/4 of the meat mixture, then a tortilla.  The next 1/4 of the meat mixture, a 1/4 of the olives, cheese and green sauce.  Also some black beans because I had them left over and needed to use them. 

If you want to add tomato or other ingredients, now's the time.  This is what I have tonight.

Another tortilla and do it again.

Another tortilla and whatever you've got left. 
Now into a preheated 350 oven until it's bubbly.  The tortillas crispy up in so places.  It gets soggy and bubbly in a good way in other areas. 

Cut it like a pie and serve it that way.

Remember to look for all the spice that life can offer.    

Monday, May 2, 2011

Green Chili Salsa #2

My first attempt at green chili salsa was not exactly what I'm looking for.  You wouldn't stick a chip in it, although its almost gone three days later and I'll be making it again.  It was fantastic as a sandwich spread, almost like a relish, but not sweet.  The added vinegar makes the ph more acid and safe for canning, which I'll be doing again soon.

Attempt #2 - Salsa Verde

1 1/2 lb tomatillos.  Remove the husk and wash well.  They are kind of sticky on the outside but that comes off and I'm think it should.

Quarter them. 

Put them skin side up on a sheet pan and roast them by sticking them under a broiler for a few minutes.

I'm not sure I have exactly what I want yet.  They don't brown like roasting peppers.  They kind of fall apart.  Looks like more experimentation is in order.

1/4 white onion, chopped
1 T. lime juice
1/4 t. sugar
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeded

Made 3 cups.  Very flavorful.  I'm a light weight with spiciness.  I get enough fast. 

But by the next day, the flavors had mellowed a bit.  Do you think it freezes?