Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You DO have time to make a nice dinner!

The June 2009 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine has been my favorite issue to-date. I have already tried many recipes and earmarked several more to try. In this month’s issue, there is a feature of tasty meals to make in about 15 minutes. While that time limit may be stretching it a bit, they are quick, easy, and scrumptious!

I was at a Wegmans last week and bought several pork tenderloins (among other items) because I have found that their prices are by far the best and their quality is superb. I stored all but one in my freezer and last night, used the unfrozen tenderloin in Bon Appétit’s Hoisin Pork Tenderloin.

This meal was easy, fast, and delicious. It needed about 5-10 minutes of hands-on time, but looked like it took me hours! Served with a side of rice (Ahh my trusty rice cooker - I told you I used it a lot *wink*) and it was a complete meal!

*NOTE - If you live near a Wegmans, count yourself one of the luckiest people around. The closest store to me is ½ an hour away (same with Trader Joe’s!) so I only stop at one of their stores if I am in the area for something else already. I have made it my mission to get either a Trader Joe’s or Wegmans to move into the area - they are missing out on a HUGE opportunity in the Plymouth Meeting/Conshohocken area!

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin with Asian Carrot Salad

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups pre-schredded carrots
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup purchased broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup purchase Chinese chicken salad dressing

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place rack in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Add enough water to reach depth of 1/4 inch (it should not touch rack).

Stir hoisin and soy sauce in small bowl; brush thickly all over pork. Arrange pork on rack in pan. Pour any remaining sauce over.

Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 145°F, about 30 minutes. Transfer pork to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil; let rest 10 minutes (internal temperature will rise slightly).

Meanwhile, toss carrots and all remaining ingredients in large bowl.

Thinly slice pork on slight diagonal. Arrange on platter. Drizzle with any juices from board. Serve with carrot salad.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Lotta Strata!

As promised, we have done a lot of cooking up here at the mountain house. After a stormy but restful night, I was up early and got a jump on breakfast. The general store up here was not plentiful in choices so I had to make some substitutions, but it was a hit!

Sausage, Fontina, and Bell Pepper Strata
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch wide-strips
  • 1 1-pound loaf rustic French bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish.

Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl; sprinkle generously with pepper. Set aside.

Place sausage in large nonstick skillet; push to 1 side. Add bell pepper to other side of skillet. Sauté over high heat, breaking up sausage with fork, until sausage is cooked through and bell peppers are brown in spots, about 7 minutes.

Arrange half of bread slices in prepared dish. Pour half of egg mixture over. Sprinkle with half of cheese, then half of sausage-pepper mixture.

Repeat layering. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Bake strata until puffed and brown, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

As I mentioned in an earlier post, every 3-day weekend in the summer for us usually means heading up to Elk Mountain to escape from the busy buzzing world of Philadelphia & the suburbs. These weekends usually mean a lot of menu planning... and a lot of food!

This Memorial Day weekend, we'll be doing just that. Ryan is planning on making his "signature dish" (one of the two things he makes *wink*), baked salmon and ravioli. I am in charge of breakfast - and I quickly decided that I will make the strata that was in this month's Bon Appetit magazine. Be sure to check in as I am sure we'll be taking lots of photos documenting our Memorial Day weekend food adventures!

What are your plans for this weekend? Going to a BBQ? Are you making anything special?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pasta Perfect...

I usually find that you can do wonderful things when you combine pasta, cheese, meat and a vegetable! You can put together a simple yet wonderfully tasty meal in just minutes and leftovers are great for next day's lunch (while other people are wasting gas, time, and money driving out to pick up calorie-packed fast food for lunch, I smile while happily eating remnants of last night's dinner neatly packed in tupperware).

Last night, I was in the mood for something light. Surveying what I had in the fridge, I threw together a delicious meal in minutes.

*You could easily omit the chicken in the recipe for a delicious vegetarian version.

Grilled Chicken & Pasta with Asparagus and Goat Cheese (generously serves 6)

  • 1 lb. pasta (I used penne bc that's what I had, but would be great with spiral pasta)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, + more for grilling chicken
  • 1 lb. of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2" pieces
  • 1 T of lemon zest*
  • 5 oz. of fresh goat cheese
Heat grill to 350 degrees. Brush both sides of chicken breast with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add chicken to hot grill and cook about 6 minutes per side (until you reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees – very important for moist chicken). Remove chicken from grill and tent with foil to keep warm and rest for 10 minutes (chicken will continue to cook after you remove from grill).

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once water reached a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until pasta is al dente (tender but firm to bite) approximately 3 minutes longer.

Slice chicken into ¼” slices.

In large serving bowl, combine ½ cup of olive oil with lemon peel and crumble in goat cheese. Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and add to serving bowl. Add reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time until you reach a desired consistency and toss to coat. Add more of the pasta water if pasta is dry.

*The perfect tool for grating lemon zest is the Microplane. Originally used for woodworking, cooks have adopted this tool to use as a perfect citrus zest grater. It is also ideal for grating Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your favorite online recipe

You all have one... a recipe you got online that you just can't live without... mine is Lasagna Rolls by Giada De Laurentis.

Share your favorite recipe link with us here!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch...

My favorite time of year is when winter has taken its exit and the warm yellow sun pulls me out of my blissful slumber. Weekends in the Spring are what I live for. That, and brunch. This past weekend, I pulled out my brunch cookbook (thank you Michele!) for inspiration, took a gander at my fridge, and came up with a menu.

My first idea - granola and yogurt. I had some yogurt in the fridge and a bag of home made granola from Maple Acres Farm. Secondly, for something a little more filling, I made a frittata. Served up with a side of ham, this menu covers all of the bases.


  • 1 T butter
  • 2 leeks, diced into thin rings
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 T milk
  • 2 T of goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat broiler.

In an ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add sliced leaks and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add goat cheese, salt & pepper and whisk for about 1 minute to incorporate.

Add tomatoes to skillet, then pour egg mixture over leaks and tomatoes. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook for apprx. 2 minutes until eggs are set but still runny on top. Put pan under broil until eggs are cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.

You can try any variation of ingredients - this would be great with asparagus & shallots instead of leeks. For a richer frittata, use heavy cream instead of milk. Try feta instead of goat cheese. Or try serving with sour cream dolloped on top. This would be ideal for lunch or a light dinner, also.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Q: What do you call a pig doing karate?

A: a pork chop!

What do you call a pork chop grilled in a orange-pineapple glaze? Last night's dinner!

Ok, so that second one wasn't so funny, but it WAS tasty if I do say so myself.

Pondering what to make for dinner last night and having a few pork chops defrosted in the fridge, I came up with a quick idea based off of something my mom used to make when I grew up. I threw a few pork chops in plastic baggie to marinate in orange-pineapple juice for a few hours. I was on my way to creating a dish that was an excellent addition to the beautiful weather we had last night (the single break from rain we've had in WEEKS!). With a few ingredients and a little bit of time, the result was something that I am excited to share with my readers. Plus, I got to use my rice cooker!

Orange-pineapple Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

  • 3 cups of orange-pineapple juice, divided
  • 3-4 center cut pork chops
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • Cooked rice for serving
  • Orange & pineapple slices for garnish (optional)

In a re-sealable bag, marinate pork chops in 2 cups of orange-pineapple juice for minimum of 2 hours.

In saucepan, bring 1 cup of orange-pineapple juice to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, occasionally whisking (be careful, juice bubbles up quite frequently).

In the meantime, heat grill to 350 degrees.

Once glaze has reduced by half, whisk in garlic powder. Reserve half of glaze for serving (strain any clumps of cornstarch that might remain).

Remove pork chops from marinade and place on hot grill. Discard marinade. Brush glaze on the top side of chops. Cover and grill for 7-8 minutes.

Flip pork chops, brush second side with glaze, cover and grill for an additional 7-8 minutes (or until internal temperature is 145 degrees).

Remove pork chops from grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Spoon rice onto serving platter. Top with pork chops and reserved glaze. Garnish with orange and pineapple slices. Enjoy!

I commissioned my multi-talented boyfriend to take pictures of the outcome this time. We enjoyed this meal on our back deck among the purple flowers. It was just like being in Hawaii!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

One thing I love.. and that's breakfast. Breakfast for dinner, Sunday brunch.. it's all very, very good.

Whenever a 3-day weekend arises, Ryan and I pack up the car and head up to his uncle's place in the Endless Mountains in Northern PA. Aside from the breath-taking beauty of the house sitting on a private lake surrounded by acres and acres of nature, we most look forward to the food! Before we leave, we excitedly plan a menu. We always like to cook at least one nice dinner for Uncle Tom to thank him for inviting us stay at his "summer camp for adults". Plus, it is nice just to experiment with new recipes and cook for fun!

Uncle Tom's girlfriend, Janet (who Ryan refers to as half nurse, half saint) descends from a lovely Swedish family. One morning, Janet made us all Swedish Pancakes. They were so good I made her give me the recipe. You must try these wonderful, crêpe-like pancakes!

I invite you all to post your favorite breakfast recipe & story!

Swedish Pancakes

• 2 eggs
• 2 c milk
• 1 c flour
• ½ tsp salt
• Butter for frying pan

Mix liquid together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients.

Melt butter in frying pan over medium/medium-high heat. When pan is well heated and butter is melted, add one ladle of the batter into frying pan. Flip when bottom is golden-brown (1-2 minutes) and cook second side until golden-brown as well.

Serve with your favorite preserve or fruit & whipped cream. For the less adventurous folk, try with syrup but don't waste your efforts with anything but pure maple syrup!

*Note- flipping these pancakes is an artwork. 100% of the time, I have messed up the first pancake but get better as I go along. Have patience!

Next up... home made potato chips!

(Photo borrowed from

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Adventures of a Suburban Foodie, Take 1

I created this site based on my love of food and my hunger to enhance my knowledge, exposure, and relationship with food. I have many colleagues - some who are novice chefs, some experienced culinary artists - that share a passion for food.

I am creating this blog as an outlet to share experiences with my friends & family as well as a place to discover and rate new recipes, techniques, products & gadgets.

I can guarantee you will not find anything here to do with that "30-minute" gal that is loved by so many... I would like to unite with people who do more than throw things together and heat things up. I consider myself an artist, and food my medium.

Welcome to my site. Please enjoy... and bon apetitt!
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