Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roasted Garlic Potato Soup

Tonight was definitely a soup night--due to slight physical illness and an urge to use a couple of my Christmas presents. I cobbled together a few ingredients from around my kitchen and came up with a mouthwatering concoction.

First  things first, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. Then I chopped the top third off my head of garlic and wrapped it in foil, then drizzled olive oil down into the wrapping.

Then I spread the onion wedges out on a baking sheets and seasoned them with basil, thyme, and rosemary. I tucked the foiled garlic onto the sheet and roasted the lot for 30 minutes.

The view into the oven
 I put the potatoes in my Dutch oven (one of my lovely Christmas presents!) and covered them with water. I added the vegetable bouillon cubes and brought the water to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Around this time, I removed the garlic and onions from the oven and allowed them to cool. Once the potatoes had boiled for around ten minutes, I squeezed the roasted garlic out of the peel and stirred in the onion wedges.

Then! I took my wonderful immersion blender (another Christmas present!) and blended the soup, until most but not all of the potatoes were mashed. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour half your soup into a food processor or blender, mix it, and then add it back into the main pot.

I added the heavy cream and sour cream let the mixture cook through for another five minutes, then took it off heat. I ladled the soup into a bowl, sprinkled it with dill weed, salt, and pepper and topped it with a dollop of sour cream. Definitely the cure for what ailed me.

Roasted Garlic Potato Soup
Serves 3.

4 red potatoes, two peeled, all cubed
Half an onion, chopped horizontally into wedges
One head garlic
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
Olive oil
4 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
One dollop sour cream

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baked Egg Boats

Today's recipe was adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon, which seems very cute and wonderful and I can't wait to delve into it more. Andy stumbled upon the recipe a week or so ago, and we've been itching for the chance to try it. That chance was today!

I chopped all the ingredients that needed to be chopped and placed them in their own separate bowl, because that's the level of organization for which I'm striving in my life (this week.) Therefore I had my Gruyere, Parmigiano-Reggiano, onions, and spinach chopped/grated before the bacon even hit the frying pan. If you're using fresh garlic (which is always preferable but not always on hand), mince up that sucker now too.

I preheated the oven to 350. Then I took my loaf of bread and cut a V into it, cutting down until I was a half-inch from the bottom. I pulled out some of the stuffing and set the loaf aside on a baking pan.

Then Andy fried the bacon while I cracked the eggs into a medium mixing bowl and then beat in the heavy cream. Once the bacon had fried, Andy removed it from the pan and placed it on a paper towel to drain before crumbling it into a million little pieces.

I reduced the heat on the pan to medium-high, then added the onions and garlic. After a minute, I threw in the chopped spinach and sauteed everything for another three minutes.

To the egg mixture, I added the onions, spinach, garlic, bacon, and cheeses, whisking it all together and then pouring the filling into the loaf. I placed the pan in the oven and baked it for about 30 minutes. You'll know it's done when the eggs are golden-brown and puffing out of the top.

Et voila! You are a culinary champion! You have officially made brunch! You will spend the rest of the day full and telling yourself, "But eggs are good for me, right? And bread...cheese...we all need cheese to live."

But then you will stop your overworrying, because that is the balm that delicious things provide.

Baked Egg Boats
Serves 3.

1 loaf French bread
5 eggs, cracked
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
5 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup spinach, chopped
3 oz Gruyere, grated
3 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rosemary-Cured Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans Almondine, and Pan-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

 (Disclaimer I'm adding halfway through the writing of this blog: I have here and henceforth used many parenthetical clauses to just douse this post in honesty and overwhelming disclosure.)

In general, I tend to get absorbed with the main dish and forget to even make a side. But that was not the case last night (mainly because Andy chose the sides and he is far more detail-oriented than I could ever be.) And these sides were perfect, complementing flavors and all that and just elating my belly (as much as a very, very fully belly can be light and buoyant.)

To begin with, I brined my pork tenderloin. This should be done twelve-hours ahead of time, but I did not have twelve waiting hours in my arsenal, so I contented myself to seven--not an issue with a fairly small tenderloin, but with larger cuts you might want to plan ahead better than I did.

For a 2lb pork tenderloin, you should use one gallon of water, 1 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Since I was using a 1.5-lb cut, I used 3 quarts of water, 3/4 cup of salt, and 3/8 cup of sugar. Math! Hey! (punch fist in air enthusiastically--it's direly important to the recipe.)

I then added a tablespoon of dried rosemary to the bowl (note: I placed my tenderloin and brine in a large bowl) and covered it. I shook the covered bowl and placed it in the refrigerator. Then I went about my daily life (I watched Toddlers & Tiaras.)

An hour or so before dinner, I preheated the oven to 500. Then I removed the pork from the brine and patted it dry. For seasoning, I rubbed the tenderloin with brown sugar, dark corn syrup, fresh rosemary, Hungarian paprika, and 1 chopped shallot. I placed the pork in the roasting pan and topped it with four whole cloves of garlic.

 For the perfect pork roast, the pork needs to be cooked 5 1/2 minutes per pound (so in my case, it was 7 minutes and 45 seconds. This is my excuse for doing number puzzles all the time at work. I need the math skills to properly feed myself, ya heard?) Once the time has passed, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, SO HELP YOU. Just keep it nice and tightly closed and let the pork finish cooking itself for an hour. It works wonders!

I waited about thirty minutes before I started in on the side dishes. I rinsed and trimmed the green beans, then boiled them in a medium pot of salted water for about 6 minutes, after which Andy transferred them to a bowl of iced water to cool down. For the potatoes, I placed them in a medium saucepan, covered the potatoes with water, and then brought the water to a boil and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Andy removed the green beans from the iced water and patted them dry. Then he melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and added the slivered almonds. Once the almonds had turned golden (3 minutes with frequent stirring), he added the remaining three chopped shallots and stirred them until they turned translucent. Then he added the dried beans, tossed the mixture to coat, and let them cook and heat through for five minutes.

Mmmm, look what this guy can do.
Once the potatoes had boiled, I rinsed them under cold water and then sliced each fingerling in half. I seasoned the halves with salt and pepper. Then I heated a medium skillet to medium-high heat and added the bacon. After a couple of minutes, I introduced the sliced onion. While the bacon cooked, I made sure to press down on it often with my spatula in order to better render the fat.

After the bacon had crisped and the onions turned translucent, I added the garlic and rosemary and cooked them for one minute.

Meanwhile, the pork had come out, but I just wrapped it on foil (garlic included) and let it hold its horses (or whatever pork would hold--wild boars?? Like the ones that terrorized the family in Old Yeller?) on the counter.

I then added the fingerling potatoes to the pan and roasted them for three minutes, then flipped them and let them sizzle for another 2 and a half minutes.

Then I sliced the pork, plated everything, took my pictures, and poured two glasses (or coffee mugs, whatever) of Pinot Noir. Bon appetit!

Pork Tenderloin
1.5-lb pork tenderloin
3 qts. water
3/4 cup salt
3/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 whole garlic cloves

Green Beans Almondine (adapted from Saveur)
1 lb. green beans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 shallots, chopped

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (adapted from Food Network)
1 lb. fingerling potatoes
Salt and pepper
3 strips hickory-smoked bacon, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mustard Coriander Curry for Two

Yay, new camera!

 Long time no blog! I did a little camera-switching over the holidays, so it's only recently that I was able to get some fresh and fancy food pictures on my computer. But now here we are, and I'd love to share with you this salmon curry I made the other night.

I began by cutting my salmon fillets into 1-inch cubes. Then I put a heavy skillet (I used cast-iron) on medium and added the yellow mustard seeds. Once they began to crackle, I put the onions in (along with the brown sugar) and sauteed them until they were golden.

Then I added the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, a teaspoon of ground coriander, salt, and pepper. On top of this, I poured the can of coconut milk, then stirred all the ingredients together.

 Now it was time to add the fish! I put the cubes into the cast-iron and stirred the mixture to coat the fish. Then I allowed it to cook for 6-7 minutes, turning the fish every so often.

Meanwhile, I cooked the couscous (following the box directions, which took about five minutes.)

Finally, I ground another teaspoon of coriander over the top of the dish, then served the curry over couscous. Warm and flavorful! Perfect for the cold winter (or the occasionally vaguely chilly Louisiana winter.)


Mustard Coriander Curry for Two
2 4-6 oz salmon fillets, skin removed
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 14-oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups couscous