Monday, November 15, 2021

Air Fryer Zucchini Spears (Toaster Oven)

A few years back I cooked lunches at our local Senior Center.  It was a once a week deal, and I was allowed to play in the kitchen, and boy did I have fun.  

I'm playing in my own kitchen these days and wanted to recreate those Zucchini Spears and it worked.
I do have to admit to overcooking them a tad, but they tasted great and I ate them all.      I ate them with some Schnitzel.  It was a good meal even if I do say myself. I enjoyed it on my new plate that I got at Ikea, which has little partitions. I love it.

Zucchini with Marinara Sauce

When I cooked at the Senior Center, I tried to use what we had on hand, lots of cans of random stuff in the pantry, but I also used as much fresh produce as I could.  One week we got a load of Zucchini in, absolutely beautiful ones, and I decided to cut them into spears and roast them in the convection oven.  And since we also had a large #10 can of tomato sauce in the pantry I enlisted it and made it part of the meal.  I'm so pleased to say that a few people came back up after we'd dished up the meal and asked for seconds on the zucchini, and I was happy to give them what we had.  This was the lunch I made that day.  It wasn't the last time I did it either and the feedback was great.  Many people told me that I'd converted them into Zucchini eaters. 

 Hamburger Steak, Green Beans, Mac and Cheese, Zucchini Spears and a roll.  I even made the beans the southern way and added some bacon to it.  Gotta season it just right, or in other words, gotta know the customer base and what they like.   

Zucchini Spears with Hamburger Steak

I didn't do a hamburger steak this time, but did enlist some of the pork I'd prepared for a Jaegerschnitzel and made a Schnitzel to go with them this time.  I made a marina sauce out of some Pomi tomato sauce I got in my Misfits box this time, and well, can I just say, I like my own cooking. 
Air Fryer Zucchini with Marinara Sauce

I was going to do a recipe card for this, but decided against it.   I set my Nuwave oven at 425, on the Air Fryer setting, tossed the zucchini in a little olive oil.  Spread them out on a roasting pan and cooked them for about 8 minutes, decided I wanted a little brown on them, so I turned them over, and cooked an additional 5 minutes which was about 5 minutes too long.  They were really soft. 

My version of marinara sauce basically has a little finely minced onion added to some tomato sauce, some Italian seasoning and is left to simmer for a few minutes.   I served them alongside some Schnitzel


Here's the links to more great dishes.

Multicooker Monday November 2021

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

It's time for the Improv Cooking Challenge.  And this month, the challenge, should we care to accept it, was to use Cranberries and Meat together in a dish.   

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

I participate in this when I get an idea for a new recipe and this month, I had one.  

An idea that is, for a little twist on a stuffed Pork Tenderloin.   

It was a good one, BTW.  Idea that is and the pork, well, I would keep patting myself on the back on how good it tasted, but I'm scared I would dislocate my shoulder. 

Filling for Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing
and stuffed in the pork

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

Here it is in the pan, browning a little.  My sister gave me this idea, she does it with a pork loin.  This means you get that lovely caramelized taste without cooking it to death in the oven.

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

I didn't do a great job of trussing it up, too much filling, but oh so worth it.

Can you see how moist the meat is?  I know, not the greatest picture but the taste.  So darn good. 

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing
I think this is a perfect dish to make for someone special, yourself, during the holiday season.  Pouring the pan juices over it, while it's resting also helps to keep the meat moist.

I basically used a few items I had on hand, which was good, and have to say WOW!!!! the meat came out moist and tender and the filling, well, can I just say it was amazing.

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry Stuffing

Yield: 2 Servings
Author: Sid's Sea Palm Cooking -
Prep time: 2 HourCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 2 H & 30 M
This a fabulous take on making a pork tenderloin. Serve with some veggies and you have a company worthy meal.


  • Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier with 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 apple - chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion - diced
  • 1 thick slice sourdough or artisan bread cut into cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • String or skewers


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a small oven safe roasting pan by spraying with a non stick baking spray.
    2. Soak the dried cranberries in the Grand Marnier or mix of Grand Marnier and orange juice for several hours to re-hydrate the cranberries. Do not drain.
    3. Using a sharp knife cut the tenderloin almost in half, lengthwise, butterflying it. Set aside.
    4. In a large pan, melt the butter and saute the red onion until soft, then add the diced apples and the bread. Let the bread get a little color on it and then add the cranberries with the liquid. Stir together and then cover the pan and turn the heat off. Let sit until lukewarm.
    5. Position the string along the bottom of the pork, getting ready to tie it up.
    6. Spread the stuffing evenly along the cut edge of the tenderloin and bring the string up around the pork to tie it off.
    7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan the stuffing was cooked in and brown the tenderloin. Turning it evenly if you can.
    8. Place on a greased roasting pan, and roast at 350-375 degrees for about 20 -30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees when poked into the meat.
    9. Remove from oven and cover with some foil to let rest for 10-15 minutes. Before carving pour any juices in the pan over the pork. Serve with oven roasted potatoes or your choice of vegetable.


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     Improv Cooking Challenge

    Cranberries & Meat

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    Monday, November 8, 2021

    Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

    It's time for Baking Bloggers again.  I've not participated in many online blogging events, cause I just haven't felt like making or baking food the past few months.  I had an excuse. 

    However the event this month for Baking Bloggers was for Quick Breads and Tea Loaves.  

    I love making a quick bread or Tea Bread.  Most of the time, they satisfy my sweet tooth, without having to make and frost a cake.  

    And they can be frozen and brought out when you want a 'little' something to accompany a cuppa.  

    Bara Brith is a Welsh Tea Bread, which means speckled bread.  And not only do you eat it alongside a cuppa, but you put the tea in the bread as well.  

    Would that make it a double tea bread? 

    Bara Brith Tea Bread

    Simple right?   Well, not exactly.  You see like most recipes that are tried and true and that are region specific, there are variations.  Lots and lots of variations. 

    One story I read said that bakeries in Wales would gather all the leftover bread dough at the end of the day, add dried fruits to it and bake it.  Which would explain the recipes out there that use yeast to leaven the bread. Some recipes use self rising flour and all have dried fruits.  Many of the recipes also incorporate candied citron. Which I didn't have on hand, and quite frankly, didn't feel like making.  I usually make my own, but... 

    And then as I read the recipes I'd googled online, and also looked up in my cookbooks, discovered that many of the authentic recipes called for mixed spice.   OK, I got that, but did not want to sub in pumpkin spice or apple spices as some recommended, I instead decided to make up my own little jar of mixed spice.  I wanted to make it taste proper, and that meant using the right spices.  And I'm glad I did.  

    You do need to plan a little ahead with this bread though, cause you soak the dried fruits in tea overnight.  Many recipes just call for strong black tea, but some variations call for Earl Grey Tea, however I used some Lady Grey Tea I had in the cupboard.  The slight citrus tang of the tea was wonderful with the fruits. 

    Also, I used a combo of three dried fruits I had on hand, but you can use any combo you like.  I had prunes, golden raisins, and dried cranberries. I chopped the prunes up a little so that they were roughly the same size as the raisins and cranberries.  I also used the organic dried Cranberries from Trader Joe's so they weren't as vibrantly colored as most dried cranberries. 

    Dried fruit for Bara Brith

    I do want to say that, it really is helpful to use a scale and a proper measuring cup for this, however, I basically winged it with the fruit.  I guesstimated the proportions, but I love dried fruit in pretty much any tea bread.  I also want to say that dried currants are usually used in this as well, but they're hard to come by in this part of the world, so I subbed in what I had on hand.  Depending on how 'dry' your fruit is, it will have absorbed most, if not all the tea.  But don't worry, just dump the whole thing in there.  This was just after I put the hot tea on the fruit.  I forgot to take a picture the next morning but much of the tea had been absorbed.  The tea gave the bread a lovely tan color.
    Soaked fruit for Bara Brith Tea Bread

     Another fun thing to do with the bread, is spread warmed honey on top of the freshly baked loaf.   It adds another lovely dimension or layer of flavor. 

    Bara Brith Tea Bread

    Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

    Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

    Yield: 6
    Author: Sid's Sea Palm Cooking -
    Prep time: 12 HourCook time: 1 Hourinactive time: 12 HourTotal time: 25 Hour
    This tea bread can be enjoyed with a 'cuppa', or just on it's own, spread with a good butter. Best enjoyed the next day, it keeps for several days, but guaranteed that it won't last that long in your house.


    Fruit Mixture
    • 1/2 cup each - 
    • Dried Cranberries
    • Golden Raisins
    • Currants or Prunes
    • 1 cup hot tea - Earl Grey or Lady Grey or your favorite black tea.
    • 250 gr. Self Rising Flour
    • 1 tsp. Mixed Spice
    • 100 gr. Brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • Warmed Honey to glaze (about 1-2 tablespoons)


    soaked Fruit
    1. Make a strong cup of black tea, Earl Grey works well here.
    2. Pour over the measured out fruit and set aside to soak overnight.
    1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
    2. Grease a 2# loaf pan and set aside.
    3. Mix the flour, spices and brown sugar together in a large bowl. 
    4. Add the egg and dried fruit along with the tea it soaked in.  Mix together until just combined.  Pour or spoon prepared batter into the greased pan and place in oven. 
    5. Turn out loaf onto a rack, and place right side up. Using a pastry brush, paint the warmed honey over the loaf and leave to cool.  After it's cooled, wrap it up.  Wait to cut it until it is fully cool, even the next day. Serve with fresh butter.  


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    Baking Bloggers November 2021

    Quick Breads

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    Sunday, November 7, 2021

    Mixed Spice

     When I made the Bara Brith the other day I got flummoxed a tad by one of the recipe ingredients, but I googled what it was.   The Bara Brith recipe will be on the blog tomorrow, but just in case you want to be prepared, you can make this up today.

    Mixed Spice

    Many of the Bara Brith recipes, actually, many British recipes call for Mixed Spice as one of the ingredients.  It's commonly used around the Christmas holidays and for many people, it reminds them of their childhood.  Much like Pumpkin Spice does in the colonies.   

    Personally, I like Pumpkin Spice and make up my own mix but only use it in Pumpkin Pie. It's basically Cinnamon, ginger and cloves. 

    Mixed Spice however has a few more ingredients, and for many Brits, nothing smells and tastes quite like it. 

    But it sure is easy to make, and I made it.  

    Enough for several tea breads, that is.  

    Some recipes called for the addition of mace, but I really don't like it, and nutmeg is a more than acceptable substitute.  I buy my nutmeg whole, and then use my microplane to grate as much as needed for a recipe. 

    Nutmeg - grated

    I'm going to keep some of this spice mix on hand now, cause I really like it.  

    From bottom left going clockwise - Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Allspice, and snuggled in all together bottom right, Cloves, Ginger and Coriander. 

    Mixed Spice

    And here's how they look when they're all at the party together.

    Mixed Spice

    Mixed Spice

    Mixed Spice

    Author: Sid's Sea Palm Cooking -
    Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
    This is patterned after the british Mixed Spice you can purchase in stores there at holiday time.


    • 1 tablespoon each:
    • Allspice
    • Cinnamon
    • Nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon each:
    • Clove
    • Coriander
    • Ginger


    1. Mix all the ingredients together and keep in a sealed jar, use as directed for recipes.


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