Pork with Roasted Tomato Salsa

Basically, this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

Differences, based on what I had handy:

2 butterflied boneless pork pieces (loin? chop? I forget) and spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon. One Roma and 3 Campari tomatoes (which are smaller than Romas). Added 1/2 cup of corn to the salsa.

Differences, because I was too lazy to go look at the recipe*:

My salsa was tomatoes, corn, 2 green onions (white parts and small bit of green) basil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. I cooked the tomatoes in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic then took the tomatoes out and added the corn (which was cooked on the cob then cut off earlier in the week) to get a little garlic infusion.


We ate this with whole wheat rolls and some fingerling potatoes (not pictured/ leftovers). It was quite tasty, even if I missed half the ingredients in the salsa.

*This, if anything, would justify having an iPad. Why? Because my laptop is a 17 inch wide-screen monster. With an iPad, I could just slip it behind a plastic cookbook cover (for protection) and conserve counter space but actually follow the recipe.

Lemonized Asparagus Hummus

I used to think asparagus was disgusting. Slimy and stinky, usually served with cheez sauce (okay, probably real cheese but it looked a lot like cheez-whiz)- that was the asparagus of my childhood. My niece used to eat it straight from the can which might be the only thing more disgusting than covered in bright yellow sauce after being boiled to death.

Sometime in the last 5 or so years, I changed my tune. I believe this reversal occurred in a restaurant where I was served some asparagus dish, roasted perhaps, that I chose to eat because I was that hungry. A fortuitous hunger as it turned out to be unlike any previous exposure- it was tasty! Not slimy! And definitely not covered with cheesy sauce.

I do, however, carry the gene that causes an odor to be found after consuming asparagus. In an odd sort of way, I am intrigued by the phenomenon because it happens within a short time of eating, far quicker than a full digestion would take. Fortunately my husband doesn’t seem particularly sensitive to it because he’s a stinky boy as it is (kiss kiss honey, love you!!!). On a marginally related note, I am very glad I don’t have the genetic abnormality that makes cilantro taste like soap. Because if I didn’t cook with and eat cilantro, I am not sure Chris would have married me!

At the height of spring asparagus season, we’ve been eating a lot of roasted spears and occasionally steamed ones. I especially like to toss barely steamed asparagus tips with top-notch Parmesan cheese, fresh cracked pepper, good extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Last week, I saw this recipe on a food blog I rather enjoy and decided to make it at my first opportunity. Then Chris came home with the biggest bunch of asparagus I’ve ever seen- a good 8 inch diameter bundle.

Despite the overflow of asparagus, I still halved the recipe because Chris, while liking asparagus, claims to strongly dislike hummus. I do not entirely believe him but nonetheless, even half a recipe makes a whole lotta hummus.

The recipe, by way of Tammy @ Food on the Food* is actually found here at Yankee Magazine along with a recipe for pita chips to accompany.

Lemonized Asparagus Hummus

What I used

1 1/2 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 7 1/2 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (small cans found at Meijer!)
1 medium clove garlic
1 Tbsp. tahini, sesame paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half-lemon plus a bit more
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp
salt & pepper

What I did

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil and roast 15 minutes. Some spots of caramelization shoudl be apparent but the spears are still bright green.

3. Combine asparagus (set aside a number of tips for prettying up the bowl if you want to take a picture), chickpeas, tahini, 1/2 lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, a pinch of salt and couple grinds of pepper in a food processor**, puree until fairly smooth

4. Add olive oil, preferably slowly while food processor is running but that’s not required.

5. Taste and adjust salt/pepper and lemon zest to taste.

For best results, refrigerate one hour or longer to allow flavors to meld. To serve all pretty, top with a few asparagus tips and any remaining lemon zest. Eat with pita, veggies or um, you might just try a fingerful straight up. I don’t recommend this if you are sharing or presenting this as a party dip. Also, spread on a flatbread, combine with fresh tomatoes and cukes, maybe some falafel and call it lunch.


*I do like the Food on the Food blog but I struggle with feeling of envy when I read about the CSA and the Fish CSA and the whole living on the Eastern Seaboard thing. Its the kind of trigger that makes me nostalgic for our honeymoon in Vermont and sometimes leads me to check off states like Massachusetts, Maine and the like when I look at job postings (and I’m not even looking for a new job here!)

**I initially tried this in our blender. A very nice blender it is but not suited to blending this thick, relatively dry mixture. We have one of those $20 single speed food choppers rather than a nice fo-pro but it did the job, albeit at a slowish rate.

Chicken Curry

I started out with the intention of making something Asian-y for dinner- a Chinese stir-fry type of thing. This is because the chicken we had was pre-cut in to strips, ideal for a quick cook. Looking around the house, I realized that a. I need garlic and b. this cilantro we planted is getting out of control. And c. warming up naan is way quicker than making rice.

So I detoured south and went for Indian cuisine. Using the cookbook, 5 spices 50 dishes, a gift for Chris*, I decided to make the chicken curry because I had all the correct spices. The other reason I was drifting from more Chinese-Asian was a lack of ginger- a key ingredient in most Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese dishes.

I did have to make a couple of changes based on what I had and a desire to add more veggies.

What I used- (followed by as in the book where necessary)

1 onion, 1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 sliced thin (2 onions, finely chopped)
14 oz can crushed tomatoes, no salt added (3 fresh tomatoes, chopped = 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly (not in book version)
1 package chicken breasts, strips style (3 lbs chicken parts, bone-in)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, finely ground
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup chicken broth (1 cup water)
1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

What I did

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook onions until they begin to brown (or completely brown if time permits).

Combine cayenne, turmeric and cumin with 1 tablespoon of water to create a paste. Stir paste in to onions, mix to combine and cook 3-5 minutes. Add tomato and stir constantly so mixture doesn’t scorch.

Add chicken and bell pepper; mix to combine. Cook about 10 minutes then add water plus salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a high simmer. Cook uncovered until chicken is completely cooked through, up to 30 minutes (boneless chicken strips only took about 15 minutes). Add vinegar and sugar, adjust seasonings.

Served with garlic naan and plenty o’ cilantro.


This was good, spicy with just a little sour from the vinegar. However, it was not thick so perhaps not suited to naan dipping. I didn’t have anything handy to thicken it up (i.e. sour cream or cream or yogurt) so we made do. I still like chicken tikka masala better but with no marinating, this was way quicker.

*So, this was meant to be a gift for Chris so he could make some Indian food. How many dishes has he made so far?

EDIT: add bell pepper with chicken or partly through onion sauteing, whatever floats your boat.

Out of the box Lasagna

Another recipe from the Real Simple maga-book. I’ve actually been thinking about this one in the back of my head but it hadn’t been quite the right night for it.

Until tonight. I had a bunch of errands to run so I got home about an hour later than usual but still before Chris. He’d done some light grocery shopping earlier in the day but we didn’t have a ton of fresh stuff on hand. What we did have was some things that needed using up, ASAP.

The original recipe called for frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained. I do have spinach in the freezer but decided to go a different route.

Ingredients
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 package ravioli (frozen or thawed)- I used a chicken ravioli, medium sized from Sam’s Club
1 jar pasta sauce (organic basil, may I suggest)
1 8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup 3-cheese mix with parmesan
Garlic seasoning
oregano, fresh

Directions

Preheat oven to 350

While oven is heating, saute onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat with some garlic seasoning. Cook until onions are lightly golden. Near end of cooking time, stir in fresh oregano or other fresh herbs of your choosing.

In a 9×13 baking dish, layer 1/3 of pasta sauce in the bottom then half the raviolis. Top with more sauce, half of mozzarella cheese and onions/mushroom mixture. Add second layer of raviolis and finish with last of sauce, remainder of mozzarella and the 3-cheese mix.

Bake, covered with foil, for 25 mintues. Remove foil and continue to bake another 10 minutes or until cheese turns golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven. Ideally, let set for 10 minutes to allow cheese to set up.

Served with mixed green salad.


No picture – C’mon you know what lasagna looks like! It was way too gloomy to try for nice natural light pictures anyhow. And we were hungry.
Super super easy. Next time I hope to do both the added mushrooms/onions and the spinach.

Summer Lovin’ Salad

 

It’s not summer yet, I know. In fact, I started this post while procrastinating on a trip to the backyard a certain someone in the house jumped the gun a bit and planted already in direct opposition to tonight’s frost advisory. I think most of what’s out there can handle the chill in the air but there are still some unplanted tomater plants that should be brought in for the night (where they are locked in the bathroom we have a plant muncher cat) 

It would be easy to forget about April lows in the 30s with the sunshine this afternoon and the beautiful colors of these tomatoes (from Canada!!) and bright green mint plus even some parsley from my own burgeoning herb garden. 

This recipe is from a special ‘magazine’ Meals Made Easy from Real Simple magazine, on newstands now1 now. I was able to locate the original recipe, here along with a ton of other chickpea recipes that share similarities. 

I had to make some slight modifications so this is my version. Also, I didn’t actually measure anything so consider the numbers approximations: 

Lemony Chickpea Salad with Tomatoes & Mint

Ingredients 

1 15 ounce can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in to wedges
1/3 to 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
5-6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped (or more, if you can)
3/4 package fresh organic mint, leaves only, rough chopped
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
salt
pepper
2 pinches cumin

Directions 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for 20-30 minutes to let flavors meld. Adjust salt & pepper if necessary. Or maybe add a bit more vinegar if yours is really lemony like mine. 

 

To go with, I also ‘roasted’ some carrots and parsnip with red onion based on a different recipe in the maga-book. 

2 carrots, some red onion (the rest of the half I didn’t use above) and 1 parsnip. Parsnip and carrot cut in to long thin “fries”, seasoned with maple garlic pepper salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil until smoke-hot, add onions, cook a few minutes then toss in parsnips and carrots. Allow parsnip to get some color, reduce heat to medium and place lid on pan and cook 15 minutes. Remove lid and cook until softened to your liking (this will also vary depending on how thick your slices of root are. 

 


 

1 I bought this magazine during a “quick” trip to Walgreens that turned in to spending $40. Clearly there is something about that store which induces such behavior- I only needed some inexpensive facial moisturizera and a thermometer yet I somehow spent almost fifty dollars! After going to the car, I realized that this ‘magazine’ was priced more like a cheap cookbook. I considering going right back in to return it but did not. And I’ve used it 4 times already, 3 successes and one quasi-success. 

Bonus Picture: Look, its me, the theoretically anonymous author! What, you don’t see me? That’s my face, right there in the spoon!
 

a Walgreens (and likely others) have gotten very crafty with their product placement. The fancy-schmancy $20 and up facial treatments are all in the middle section. The normal, no botox-in-a-bottle varieties are either on the top shelf or the bottom, forcing you crane your neck, stoop down and look all over for some low-price SPF 30 lotion for your face.