Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kro Pork with Grapes

 Kro Pork

In Denmark a Kro is an inn which offers not only lodging but also meals.    Some Kro's are just inns, whereas others offer meals which can be, like many restaurants either really good or just so so.   Many years ago I was lucky enough to taste this dish.   My cousin got the recipe from a Kro they liked to go to from time to time, and she recreated it.

Well, I was young then, but not a dummy.   I wrote down the recipe, and somewhere in the process of living, I managed to misplace it.   Well, you move a couple of times, put stuff in storage, it's easy to lose stuff.  I'm still searching for some stuff I know I had.  Oh well, one of these days, I'll find it or not.

In the meantime, I was looking for my mom's recipe for Asier a few weeks ago, and guess what I found instead.  A whole file full of recipes.  At one time I had the delusion I'd actually write a cookbook and I'd actually made a good start on it, and this recipe was in that file.

And when I read it again, my mouth started to water and I knew I had to make it.  Could not find tenderloin that wasn't already seasoned, so I got a nice piece of loin instead, and that was alright.   And I found some nice red grapes, on sale so I used them as well.   I think green grapes do work better, at least visually.

I made this last week, and you know, it was as good as I remembered it to be.   I think though, I will add some herbs to it the next time I make it, I think that would send it over the top.  But in the meantime, this works.  

1 whole pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds) cut into medallions (I used a Loin cut this time)
2 tomatoes, cut into eights
1 large onion, quartered and then cut again into eights (I think you could also use small onions here)
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb.  seedless green grapes, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tablespoon butter



Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet til hot, then brown the pork medallions in small batches, setting them aside to rest while you brown the rest.

Add water to pan, and scrape up all the little bits of browned goodies at the bottom.  Add the meat,  and let simmer for about  ten minutes.  Next up, add the onion, and simmer an additional ten minutes, then add the tomatoes and let cook another 5-7 minutes.   Thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch and water slurry, then add the grapes and bring to a simmer.    Simmer a couple of minutes and dish this up with some rice, either white or brown. 

This really is a quick and easy meal, and you can get the rice on and let it cook while the meat is simmering.  

The next time I make this, I am going to add some marjoram and savoury to the simmering meat.   I think it will really punch up the flavour and make this even better. 








 I really enjoyed my meal, I even remembered to take pictures of it.    (and best of all, there were leftovers, so I threw them in the freezer for lunch in the future.  )

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Garlic Feta Dip

You ever play around in the kitchen and come up with something that tastes sooo good you just want to share?   I did that last night.

I join a group of ladies at a local establishment on Friday nights and we bring snacks to nibble on while we get caught up on the weeks happenings, and de-stress a little along the way.   I had some flavoured pita chips I wanted to try but I thought they needed a little something to be dipped into.   So I had some fun.

I took some cream cheese, greek yoghurt, Feta cheese, a little mayo, a little garlic and some Cavenders Greek Seasoning and mixed it all together.  And then watched people practically licking the bowl when it was about empty.  And since they seemed to like it a lot, I thought I would share the how to's with you here.

Recipe
4 oz. Cream Cheese (I used the Neufchatel)
3 tablespoons Feta Cheese (use as much as you like)
2-3 tablespoons plain Greek Yoghurt
1-2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Cavender's Greek Seasoning (or add a few sprinkles at a time to taste)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced.
Opt.  2 finely minced green onions 

Mix all together and serve with some Pita Chips.

So there you have it, quick, simple and very tasty.  

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ramp and Mushroom Tart for Tapas

I told you about my incredibly generous and thoughtful friend who gave me some Ramps earlier last week.   And they were so good with a simple scrambled egg and toast.  Sublime in their simplicity.  

Well, I still had a few ramps left and thought they would be good with some mushrooms, so I googled ramps and mushrooms and came up with a bunch of ideas.   Amazing how many great minds think alike about stuff like this.   Here's the link to my inspiration for this tart.   I got it from Saveur but there were a couple of issues with the recipe.  However, I persevered.   

I had some goat cheese already and I always have puff pastry in the freezer, whether it be commercial or home made.  This time of the year it's the commercial stuff, cause it's too hot to make my own. 

And wow, it just so happened that all this came together in time for our June Tapas Night.   How fortuitous is that?

Of course I did make a few changes, but honestly, I don't think anyone would have noticed.    I did not use as much olive oil as the original recipe called for and I did not have fresh thyme.  (note to self, get that plant started, sheesh) .   And my ramps did not have the green tops, so they were sliced and sauteed. 

2 tbsp. olive oil
10 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced (I used a bottled one I had on hand.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves, plus whole leaves to garnish
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
20 ramps (about 4 oz.), trimmed
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. lemon zest, divided
1 egg yolk
1 sheet frozen, thawed puff pastry
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil  plus one tbsp. butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallot, and salt and pepper; stir to coat in oil, and cover skillet. Cook until mushrooms release most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are browned, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.


2. Return skillet to heat along with remaining oil and butter. Add ramps; cover, and cook until barely tender, about 8 minutes. Uncover and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool.





















3. Heat oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, stir together goat cheese, parmesan, cream, 1 tbsp. lemon zest, egg yolk, and salt and pepper until smooth; set aside.

Place puff pastry on a floured work surface and roll into a 16"-long rectangle. Transfer dough to large cookie sheet.   Spread mushrooms over bottom of dough;

place dollops of cheese mixture over mushrooms and using your fingers or a spatula, spread cheese as much as possible over mushrooms.















 Arrange ramps over cheese and mushrooms,

and then fold and crimp edges of the pastry, to form a rim.   Bake tart until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

4. Transfer tart to a wire rack and let cool.  Slice and transfer to a serving platter.

Sprinkle remaining lemon zest over the top of the tart along with thyme leaves and fleur de sel. Serve at room temperature.

I just thought I'd leave you with a shot of my counter.   I'm not one of your neat and tidy cooks.  sigh.   I try, but gee, I just get too many things going on at once and then you have this.



I had a bunch onions I'd sliced and caramelized for my Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tart, plus of course I was also prepping the ramps, and mushrooms and trying to stand on my head while answering the phone and ....   You get the drift.  

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Channa Dosa

I was asked to join a group of bloggers called Taste and Create.   Each month we are paired with another blogger and we have to make and post a recipe from their blog.

This month was a challenge, so many of the recipes on Priyas blog looked intriguing, and good, but I cannot get many of the ingredients here so I decided to stick with another Dosa recipe for Taste and Create this month.     But a good Dosa is always well received.   At least by me.  And I finally found some Channa Flour, also known as Besan or Chickpea flour here.    And I now keep it in my cupboard for recipes just like this one.    I always have green chiles in the freezer, and onions are also a staple in my cupboard as well.     The original recipe is in black with my changes and notes in blue to the side.
 
Channa Dosa


Here is the recipe for the Channa Dosa

Recipe: Channa Dosa
2 cups Channa flour  (AKA Besan or Chickpea Flour)
1 finely chopped onion
3 finely chopped green chillies  ( I used Jalapeno's cause that is what I had)
1 cup grated Parsnips
chopped coriander leaves 
water  ( I used just over 2 cups, this makes a thinner pancake like batter)
1/2 tsp. salt for taste
1 tsp. Oil 



Preparation :

Chop onions and chile's, into a fine dice.  Saute for about 2 minutes in 1 tsp. oil and set aside.



Mix the  channa flour,salt, sauteed onions, green chilies,grated carrot (parsnip) ,coriander leaves and water...















Heat a small pan, spray well with cooking spray, then ladle out about 1/4 cup of batter.

Cook until the top is dry, like a pancake, then turn over.   Remove each one to a warm plate while preparing the rest.    Continue until all the batter is used. 

Prepare like a dosa and serve hot with mint chutney.   ( I had my Major Grey's Chutney in the cupboard so I used that as an accompaniment.  
Channa Dosa


Would I make this again?  I think so, it was tasty and in fact was my breakfast this morning.   Not a bad breakfast if I do say so.   I like spice any time of the day anyway.  


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tapas Night for June

I think I've recovered from last night.  Well, I washed all the wine glasses and put them away, the only food that was left was a yummy lemon cake and it is now residing in my freezer.  I had two slices of the Ramp and Mushroom Tart left over, which will make a nice breakfast for me tomorrow. 
So I guess I just have to give the wrap up of the party last night.    We had fun, but then again we always do. 

Good friends, good food, what more do you really need?   Other than me sharing pictures of the delicious dishes that were brought and shared. 

 I'm such a sucker for cream cheese balls, and this was awesome.   I've not had one with chipped beef on it for years.   This was courtesy of our new neighbor and I can tell that she's a great addition to the neighborhood, and of course to our Tapas nights.
 Remember the Asier I made, well Frances still has a lot of cucumbers in her garden, and she brought this yummy cucumber salad.   It was so good.   And see that little silver dish to the right at the back of the picture?  Well it has some candied ginger in it, and we discovered that a little bit of candied ginger on top of the salad made for really interesting taste combination.    Really, it did.   I liked it. 
 Then there was this broccoli/ cauliflower salad with a really yummy dressing.    I went back for seconds, but the bowl was empty.

 Such a pretty platter, and the prosciutto and mozzarella rollups disappeared fast.   OK, so I helped.  
 I think I've said this before but I love pasta salads, and this one was so good and looked so pretty.   My picture doesn't do it justice.   Brenda makes great food.   
 Robin brought her Chile Relleno casserole, and I noticed she had an empty plate before too long.   This really is good.  
 Debbie called this a Rainy Day Potato Salad, probably cause it rained most of yesterday and she wasn't able to go outside and garden all day.  
 Cuban Sandwiches.   Nuff said.   Nona brought these and they disappeared fast.   Something just so satisfying about these, and good. 
Harriet always brings fun stuff.    She called these guys  ' Carrabelle Sushi'.   Little tuna and rice rolls in cucumber.   Aren't they fun?  And tasty as well. 










I made two tarts.  One was a repeat from a few months ago, a Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tart and the other incorporated the Ramps Leon gave me last week.  I'll be posting that recipe in a day or so.







I also made some Wings, and put out some of the Asier I made as well as some Sandwich meat.


















I got a shot of the table and some of the many offerings.   As you can see, all the dishes brought were pretty popular.









And I can't forget the desserts.  
 A fruit crumble that Kathy brought.   She always brings fun stuff.   And it tastes good too, which is even more important.    
A totally awesome apple cake.  The apples were cooked inside the cake in a layer.  Really good.










Jon brought his famous dark chocolate fudge.   Which I neglected to get a shot of, but I have one from my archives so here it is. 












So there you have it, great friends, good food, and wonderful night again.   And just think I get to repeat this again in a month.    Well, the Tapas night part, not the food.    

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Asier (Danish Pickles)

I  made a taste of my childhood last week.     A Danish delicacy called Asier.   Of course for some reason we called them Lizards, why I have no idea.

Now these aren't your run of the mill pickles, and unless you find a specialty deli that carries them, or know a nice Dane who makes these, you've probably never even tasted them.

Cucumber to make Asier Pickles



I have to add a caveat here.   Usually you use larger cucumbers than these for Asier,  but I was given these ones and since I've been craving 'Lizards'  for awhile, I decided to make some Asier pickles. And I'm not about to turn down free cukes, especially freshly grown, yummy cukes.  And they were good, I ate a couple before they made it into a salad or into the jars.    If you happen to have a cucumber plant or three and some of the cucumbers got away from you and grew and grew and grew, you can always make Asier.   I've made them from cukes that got as long as my forearm, yup, that big.

 And all you do is peel them, and scoop out the insides before slicing them.
Cucumber to make Asier Pickles

However,these they were not as big as they could have been, but I figured I'd eat them anyway, however they turned out.
Asier (Danish Pickles)

OK, so I opened a jar and tasted them.   I did wait a week for the flavours to meld and mature, a little.  They do taste better if they have a chance to age for a few weeks, but...

If memory serves me correctly, I got the spices down right.    Now to go hunt down nice nice Leverpostej and some rye bread and LUNCH!!!

And I did get some more Cukes from Frances this week and made some more Asier, which is a good thing cause I've made inroads on the ones I made a couple of weeks ago.    OK, so I ate a couple of jars already.   But they were little jars.  Really...
Asier in jars, ready for processing

The full recipe is at the end of this post.



 This is after being salted and left to sit overnight. 

 Take each cucumber half and rinse in cool water and then wipe them dry.    Set aside while you prepare the vinegar and sugar.
Bring the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes while you prepare the cucumbers.   Oh and make sure your jars are clean and hot.   I wash mine in the dishwasher and use the heat dry.  Not only do I have clean sterilized jars, they're hot when I pour the pickling liquid and cukes in them.  Less breakage that way.

As the pickling liquid is simmering, and after wiping your cukes down, take each one and cut them into diagonal strips.    I have no idea why they have to be in diagonal pieces but that's how my Mom did it, so that is the way I do it.  And now you have to as well.
If you want to that is.







Add the sliced cucumber to the simmering liquid and cook for about 6 or so minutes.  You don't want to cook them too long or they will get soft.
Asier pieces in pickling liquid.
And no one wants a limp pickle.

  
I very stupidly gave away my canning pot a few years ago and had to use a regular pot for these.  But I did make sure that there was a good inch of water over the top.    I'm now on the lookout for another canning set up.   I'd forgotten how much I enjoy making pickles.

 Next up is Corn Relish.  But that's a post for another day.

Asier (Danish Pickles)
And there they are, ready to go into the pantry and stay out of the light for about 1 month or so.   They taste better when they've aged a few weeks.   Trust me on this.



yield: 6 small jars (1/2 Pint or small Jelly jars)print recipe

Asier (Danish Pickles)

prep time: 1 hourcook time: 30 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 30 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 cucumbers, 12 inches long or longer
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice (or make your own, recipe below)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric (for color)
  • 1/4 cup Salt (for sprinkling on cucumbers, use more if needed)
  • Dill (1/2 tsp per jar)
Pickling Spices Mix
  • 3 bay leaves, broken up a little
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns (bruised a little)
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 3 cloves
  • 4-6 thai chile peppers (you can also use Horseradish roots here for the 'heat' and flavour)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel the cucumbers and then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, leaving the outer shell intact. Sprinkle inside and outside with salt and place on a large rimmed cookie sheet over night. This draws the liquid out of the cucumbers and helps to preserve them as well. Take each cucumber half and rinse in cool water and then wipe them dry. Set aside while you prepare the vinegar and sugar.
  2. Bring the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes while you prepare the cucumbers. (Oh and make sure your jars are clean and hot. I wash mine in the dishwasher and use the heat dry. Not only do I have clean sterilized jars, they're hot when I pour the pickling liquid and cukes in them. Less breakage that way)
  3. . As the pickling liquid is simmering, and after wiping your cukes down, take each one and cut them into diagonal strips. I have no idea why they have to be in diagonal pieces but that's how my Mom did it, so that is the way I do it. And now you have to as well. If you want to that is. Add the sliced cucumber to the simmering liquid and cook for about 6 or so minutes. You don't want to cook them too long or they will get soft. 
  4. After simmering them, pack them into the jars. I managed to fill six small jelly size jars, with this latest batch of cucumbers. Strain out the pickling spices at this point if you like. I take most of them out. Then pour the pickling liquid into the jars, leaving some head space. Sprinkle a little dill into the top of the jar, and make sure you have one of the chile peppers* in each jar. Use a funnel for this, and make sure you wipe off the lips of the jars with a clean wet cloth. Any sugar or pickling liquid left on the lip will prevent you from getting a good seal. Seal with the lids and process them in a hot water bath for an additional 15 minutes. Make sure you have at least an inch of water above the jars for processing.
  5. * You can also use some Horseradish root in place of the Thai Chile Peppers
Created using The Recipes Generator








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