Easter Supper 2010

Since our families are in California, we don’t have family nearby to invite over for Easter supper.  When we lived in Ohio, we usually had a place to go for Easter supper.  This is the first year in about two years that my husband, Eric, has been able to spend Easter dinner with me and my daughter.  He’s had to travel for business on Easter Sunday the past two years.  When it was just my daughter and I, we’ve kept dinner simple and non-traditional.

This year, I wanted to cook Easter supper, but realized that even a 5 lb spiral ham is still to large for a family of 3.  So, I started perusing my favorite food blogs and came across a recipe from Annie’s Easts. I have been a huge fan of Annie’s blog since I discovered it 2 months ago.  I had some pork tenderloin in the freezer and did a search on her blog and discovered a nice recipe for Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin. She had grilled her pork tenderloin, which yielded a beautiful caramelization on the outside of her pork.  She did mention that one could bake the tenderloins and get the same results (minus the beautiful browning on mine).  Just follow the link for Annie’s recipe.  I followed the recipe just as she wrote.  The pork tenderloins I made were marinated for 3 hours, which still have a nice citrus flavor in the meat.

Aside from the pork tenderloin, I roasted some asparagus with salt & pepper and olive oil.  Then I made Frosted Cauliflower, which is a recipe my friend from Ohio shared with me, when we lived there.  I was a guest at her Easter supper and fell in love with her Frosted Cauliflower recipe.  She makes a pretty darn good Chicken Paprikash, which I hope to get from her one day!

Much to my pleasant surprise, Eva (my precocious 3 1/2 year old) LOVED the asparagus and even asked for a side of mayonnaise so she could dip it!  Any way I can get  veggies into my child works for me.  She didn’t quite like the cauliflower, but she picked out the cheese quickly!  It’s all about multiple exposures to different foods and vegetables before my child accepts something new on her plate.

Here are some prep photos of the meal:

Pork tenderloins in a baking sheet with the marinated poured over

Roasted asparagus seasoned with salt & pepper and olive oil (they are cooked in this photo)

Frosted Cauliflower before baking

AFTER:

Frosted Cauliflower right out of the oven

Nice, moist and delicious pork tenderloin

FROSTED CAULIFLOWER

1 large head cauliflower
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (I will only use Helmans or Best Foods mayonnaise)
1/4 c. prepared mustard (like French’s)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Mix together mustard and mayonnaise, set aside. Trim cauliflower to remove leaves and wash.  Keep cauliflower head whole.  Place whole head into a pot of boiling water (pot is filled about half way or middle of cauliflower), stem down.  Simmer until cauliflower is just tender (knife cuts through cauliflower with some resistance).  Carefully drain whole cauliflower. Place cauliflower into a round French white casserole dish (or an 8×8 Pyrex dish).  Spread or “frost” cauliflower with mustard mayonnaise mixture over entire cauliflower.  Pat shredded cheddar cheese over entire cauliflower head.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is completely melted.

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Cheddar Cream Biscuits

Today, I stumbled upon a Cheddar and Dill Cream Biscuit recipe from the blog, Obsessed With Baking.  Of course, the photos of the biscuits drew me in but the clincher for me was that I had ALL the ingredients at home, ready to use!  I still had some heavy cream from the Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala and I wanted to use it up before it went bad.  This recipe was perfect!

I didn’t realize I forgot to add the dill until after I baked up the biscuits.  While I agree the dill would add a savory twist on the biscuit, I was happy with just the addition of sharp cheddar cheese.

BEFORE…AFTER…

I love that the biscuits don’t require additional butter or shortening.  The heavy cream provides the right amount of fat and protein to impart a tenderness to the texture of the biscuit.  I didn’t use a rolling pin either.  I just free-formed the dough into a square, cut the dough into 12 pieces and set them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Cream Biscuits
(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Revised Cookbook, Chock Full of Recipes)

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms, about 30 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball.  Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds. (I turned out the dough onto lightly floured plastic wrap and used the plastic wrap to wrap dough into a ball; it was much neater!).
  2. Pat the dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle (I shaped it into a square). Cut the biscuits into rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or 8 wedges using a knife.  Place biscuits on the parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. (As you can see from the first photo, I simply cut the dough into squares).

This was, hands down, the easiest biscuit recipe I’ve ever made!

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food but have never tried making it at home.  We recently received a new cookbook from the America’s Test Kitchen collection, called The Best Simple Recipes.  We have a growing collection of cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen because they are, as they tout, foolproof.  So, as I started skimming through the cookbook, the recipe for Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala caught my eye.  What?! Chicken Tikka Masala in 30 minutes?  No way!  It was a recipe I was eager to try.

I bravely served this to my 3 1/2 year old and she ate with no problem.  Not even the flecks of cilantro kept her from eating this dish.  I am all about easy, delicious meals and this is a keeper in my book!  I served it over white rice and that’s all she wrote.

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (used Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Balsalmic Vinegar, Basil and Olive Oil)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon of garam masala (used McCormick Garam Masala)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  1. Pulse chicken in food processor until coarsely ground (I chose not do this step). Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Cook chicken until browned all over, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add onion to empty skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garam masala, garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in cream and browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

  4. I had mistakenly purchased Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with balsalmic vinegar, basil and olive oil. I wasn’t sure how it would impact the flavor of the dish, but it seemed to complement it just fine, surprisingly.

    Recipe adapted from The Best Simple Recipes from the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.

First food blog post!

Welcome to my first food blog post! I have always wanted to create a food blog but never mustered the courage until now. Food is life.  Food is sustenance.  Food is pleasure.  I’ve studied it (food science), worked with it (I’m employed by a major food company), married to it (hubby is a chef) and of course, consume it.  My food blog will feature recipes I’ve tested, cookbook reviews, restaurant visits, musings on the food industry, and other musings.  Thanks for taking a moment out of your day to read this.  I hope you’ll check back for more in the near future!

So what will my first food blog entry be about?  I’ve decided to feature one of my favorite comfort food restaurants, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.  My first experience with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was when I lived in Southern California.  I’ve never been to Hawaii (gasp!) and this about as close as I’ll get to good Hawaiian cuisine outside of Hawaii and California!

Aurora, Colorado

My favorite item on the menu is the Chicken Katsu plate.  Chicken Katsu is panko-crusted chicken thighs, deep fried to a nice golden brown, served up with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of Hawaiian macaroni salad, and a side of katsu sauce for dipping your chicken in.  It’s simply magnificent!  Luckily, L&L is far enough so that it’s not a convenient daily drive to get my fix.

I’d like to subscribe to the Monthly Hawaiian Sun beverage subscription please! Oh wait…I don’t think that exists…YET!