Monday, March 30, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes!

Is it really any wonder Italy's colors are Red, White and Green?
(They are, aren't they?)
This salad is the cure while we wait for really flavorful tomatoes to appear in markets and gardens around town. I made lots of extra tomatoes to keep on hand beyond what I used for this salad. They are quick and easy to prepare (well except for the two hours roasting) and keep well in frig. I got the tomato recipe straight from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) one of my favorite Food Network Chefs. I have all her cookbooks too. The photos are truly works of art! (You know you are a true foodie- when you check out cookbooks and consider it art.)
So this salad is two twists on your typical “Caprese Salad.” One, the tomatoes are roasted and two, it’s a spinach salad underneath.... But other than that... That's what this is.
So for the Tomatoes:
Plum or Roma’s work best. Wash and cut in half lengthwise. With your thumb remove the seeds and fibers from the inside leaving the core or spine. I also trim the part where the stem attached. I place them face down in a colander to make sure all juices have drained out while I continue cleaning out remaining tomatoes.
On a baking sheet which I prefer to line with parchment paper, place the tomatoes with their open sides up. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Also drizzle with balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar. This is all 'to taste,' but I've found the sugar is important to the flavor. (You’re not coating them, just make sure you hit each tomato with some each of the salt, pepper, and sugar) And, ta-da, you are ready to roast 275 degrees, for 2 to 2.5 hours. Let cool thoroughly before storing. They can be used slightly warm if going directly onto this salad.

The Salad:
Roasted Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Worchestershire Sauce
Salt* and Pepper**
It’s really just a matter of assembling. I dress the spinach lightly with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, worchestershire. Mix lightly, taste. If you like it, place it on tray or in bowl. Layer in the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil. Drizzle a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, S& P over top and serve. Best served room temp for flavors to excel!!

*Salt – anytime I ever say ‘salt’ I mean coarse kosher salt.
**Pepper – anytime I ever say ‘pepper’ I mean fresh ground pepper.

Bon appetit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pork Tenderloin Sliders

"Cooking is at once child's play and an adult joy.
And cooking done with care is an act of love"

~ Craig Claiborne

We had Pork Tenderloin Sliders this past Sunday! I was pretty happy with how they turned out. These are great for tailgates and picnics too, because they're great warm or cold. I served these warm with some of the warm juices from roasting on them and a white sauce on the side and a pickle for crunch! You can almost get 12 little sandwiches from one tenderloin. I use those 'Hawaiian Rolls,' available everywhere for these sandwiches. I promised my sister, Kathy, the marinade recipe.

Here it is:
1 or 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled then grated
1/4 C. Brown sugar, mix in with the ginger before adding the remaining ingred.
1/2 C. Catsup
1/2 bottle low sodium soy sauce
1/2 dry white wine
1/4 olive oil (whisk into the other ingredients)
Pour over tenderloins in a plastic bag or (non metal) bowl for several hours or overnight. I rinse and pat dry the tenderloins first and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is enough marinade for one package of tenderloins, which generally has two within the pack, marinade is easily doubled for more tenderloins.
PS - I never throw away marinade. I boiled the marinade down and thickened with Wondra flour to make additional sauce to baste the tenderloins and for serving on the side. Roast the tenderloins about 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven until meat thermometer reaches 150 to 160 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes or so before slicing.

The 'White Sauce' is equal parts Hellman's Mayo, Sour Cream, add horseradish* to taste. Salt and pepper. Make ahead and chill before serving. (*Horseradish=a product in a jar usually in the dairy or possibly your meat area of your grocery. It is pure horseradish, never sauce, that's what we are making but this is better :-)

Vegetable is sauted sugar snap peas and asparagus with toasted almond slivers. My sister Terry brought the salad. The photo doesn't show what Sue and Kathy brought, but they supplied the appetizer and desserts. So this was a collaborative effort this week.
Thanks family for indulging my family get together whim each week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bailey's Irish Cream

Well, o course I'm a goona be wearin da green, I am Irish ya know! What are ye expectin affer all?
No, just kidding, I don't really talk like that, I have a really cute tiny voice!
But I am Irish, so I'm wearing my Dad's green shirt today. He doesn't even know I swiped it out of his closet, so he is gonna be surprised. He's got a real special way of folding clothes, my four little paws are never gonna get this shirt back in there the right way. So I might just curl up on it and go to sleep on it after I'm finished wearing it and celebrating all this St Paddys Day stuff.
My parents named me after the liquor of the same name. I know I look completely white in the photos of me, but I'm really kinda caramelly colored if you look real close. So my parents thought Bailey's Irish Cream was an apt description cause it kind of looks that way too, so they tell me. This also had some irony to it, cause my Mom wasn't gonna be havin any other Irish Creams in her life any other way.(Something bout her liver) So they thought this was a good way to keep a little Irish around.
I think that means they are going to keep me. Hope so, it's a pretty good life for me here. I mean I don't have to do too much except look cute and follow Mom from room to room and take walks with them when the weather is warm enough to walk outside. And they feed me really good stuff! I'd really like to stay, so if you're talking to my parents go ahead and put in a good word for me. You can even tell them you saw my picture and how cute I looked, that always gets em. But tell them to bring my brother back, he went somewhere where there is a BIG city and I never get to see him. So sometimes it's a little bit quieter here than it used to be, tell them to fix that! Eliot if your reading this, college can't be that great, Bro! It is? Oh! Well, see ya at Easter anyway.
Well, thanks for reading my first blog post! Happy St Paddy's Day! Luck O the Irish to Ya All!
Bailey's Irish Cream

Friday, March 13, 2009

Veggies are the Secret!!

(photo courtesy of Mirek Pajak)

I started this blog by saying I would share some of the tips to losing some of the necessary weight and keeping it off. The secret is in the vegetables! At any given meal we will have two or three vegetables when I'm just cooking for Dick and I. Usually we will just get one steak or chop or whatever meat we are having and split it. (and sometimes have some left over!) But we will have had a salad and two or three vegetables with it. I've really changed the focus of how my meals are centered. Last Sunday, for the weekly family dinner, I prepared Stuffed Shells. They were fabulo-so!! I ate two, plus some of that asparagus featured in the above photo. My sister Sue brought a great salad with spinach, strawberries, spiced nuts, and (fat-free) feta cheese in it. It was great too. However after that meal, I sent a lot of family members home with the shells, Dick had some leftovers throughout the week, but I was finished with the shells. They weren't really on my plan. I enjoyed them while I enjoyed them, no guilt! But then I was finished.... Now the asparagus on the other hand, leftovers of that worked in salads or eaten cold right out of the frig. Veggies are my friend!! There ya go one tip for how I'm doing it. One day at a time! But sometimes two veggies at a time!
A note on the family dinners: Everyone I'm related to is invited, every week. I have three terrific sisters and a 'second' Mom,a myriad of nieces and nephews, some married with children of their own, the daughters I mentioned in a previous blog and their children, and an aunt, all here in town!! We get a pretty big crew here sometimes. I really enjoy it. The above photo, as I've already notated, was taken by Mirek Pajak my nephew by marriage, to my niece Stephanie.

Beautiful Inheritance!

Well when Dick and I got married (almost 21 years ago!) I inherited his two beautiful daughters too, and some fantastic grandchildren! The eldest of the grands, Britney, is off to New York to NYU for Grad school! Another something which may be drawing Britney to New York could be her friend Vinny, who also lives there. Vinny is in the photo here helping Britney with a piece of cake at her going away dinner last night. That's Andy, another of our grandsons in the background!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

John/Joel What a Duo!

"You may be right, I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic your looking for..." ~ Joel.
Wow! What a show. Those two are such great performers. Sold out show-and they rocked the house. It was fun to see how they had different styles, but they went together well. The stage set was terrific. They had an electric screen which switched between light show and photo board. And each band had their own set up on stage side by side so they could seamlessly switch between performers songs and perform individually or together. I thought for me the highlights of the night would be all Elton John, but I'd have to say Billy Joel is every bit the performer/showman and gave it everything he had. They played for 3 hours and 40 minutes, the music did not stop!! It was a great night!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day!

I'm quoting U2, but off to see Elton John/Billy Joel tonight! U2 is moving up on my list of favorites bands because they recently graced the campus of Fordham University with a live performance, my son loved it!! Plus he got out of classes for the morning. Elton John has always been near the very top of favorite performers. So any day we see him live is a beautiful day!
Plus, it is 70 degrees and sunny in Cincinnati in March, so no complaints here.
Above is a more recent photo of Bailey, CDA. (you remember, cutest dog in America!)
From the looks of this photo you might think he is expecting to get some of that pizza from Dick's plate. Hmmm. Would he feed him from the table? It is entirely possible.

Remember, you get what you expect, expect the very best.
Have a great day!
Thanks for checking my blog today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Welcome to My World

So this is Bailey! Aforementioned 'Cutest Dog in America' This makes some people mad when I say this, but I figure no point starting out my first blog post being non-controversial, right? Anyway, in our house, he is undisputed CDA!!

Our son Eliot is off to college and it's getting a little quiet around here. I love to cook and will admit to being pretty good at it. But my husband who truly loves my cooking, has the appetite of a small flea. And I'm not going to leave it all around here to for me to eat. (read 'about me' if you haven't already) So we've started Family Dinners on Sunday nights. Everyone we are related to is invited for dinner, every Sunday. They just need to tell us they are coming by Saturday morning. It's a great time to get together over a (hopefully) great meal, spend time with loved ones, and really connect. Plus, I get to work through my little cooking needs without eating all the results.... this is working out great, for everyone. Last week we had slow cooked pot roast, with oven roasted carrots and onions, and gorgonzola potatoes. (I don't like my vegetables cooked in my pot roast they get too mushy) Maybe I'll post that potato recipe, I've never written it down anyway.

Okay, that's the first post. We'll see to what this evolves. Have a great day, well tomorrow, this one is about over.

Quote for today:

There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living. ~Nelson Mandela