Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memorial Day Picnic

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly have another fun outing…yesterday happens. I had recovered sufficiently from my Blair Vineyard Wine Evening (see previous post or click on May 30th on the calendar) when I was whisked off to our friend Tom’s house for a Holiday picnic (which also happened to fall on our Wedding anniversary!). I wanted to wax on as I usually do about food,  friends and family getting together when my friend Lori suggested that since I appeared to be wiped out from three crazy days and nights in a row of the “good life”  I should say it with pictures instead.

So here you go, pictures, recipes and comments on yesterday’s wonderful and memorable Memorial Day Picnic!

I knew Tom was making pork ribs on the grill with his special mango barbecue sauce, along with a grilled shrimp dish, so, my job was to fill in with a side-dish and a dessert. The day was hot hot hot so I was inspired to make something cold to end the meal. Earlier in the week Tom dropped off a watermelon and my new Fine Cooking Magazine had a recipe for a Watermelon Granata. I had to make it. I followed the recipe but changed the vanilla bean seeds to vanilla essence because that is what I had (I don’t get ruffled about using exactly what anyone says) and I used a more perfumed tea (black tea with dried Jasmine flowers) for the binder.

____________________________________________________________

Watermelon Granata (serves 8-10)

You will need: 3 cups of watermelon puree (about 5 cups cubed watermelon), 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 2 tbs granulated sugar, 1 tbs of loose black tea with jasmine flowers, 2/3 cups boiling water. 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream.

1 – Put waster on to boil and put tea leaves into little bowl. When water boils pour water into bowl and stir. Add sugar and vanilla to tea and stir until dissolved. Let tea cool.

2 – Chop the watermelon and puree in food processor. Strain into a big bowl to get rid of the seeds.

Ready for the freezer..

3 – Add tea mixture to watermelon puree and stir. Put into square metal  baking pan and cover with cling film and place in freezer.

scrape granata until it looks like this..

4 – After an hour take out and scrap across the granata with a fork until it looks like rubble. Do this every half hour for the next 2 hours. Before you serve scrap it one last time.

Refreshingly icy and creamy.

Serve with freshly whipped heavy cream.

I also made a rice dish. I wanted something plain but with a pure punch. The herbs from my garden gave me what I was looking for and it complimented the ribs very well.

Herby Rice (serves 8-10)

You will need: 3 1/4 cups basmati rice for stove-top OR 5 cups of rice using rice cooker and rice cooker measure, 1 big sweet onion, diced, 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped herbs (I used oregano, flat-leaf parsley, winter savory & apium), 2 tsp coarse sea salt, several grinds of black pepper, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil.

1 – Cook rice according to instructions and leave to cool.

Saute onions..

2 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it has warmed add onions and salt, along with several grinds of pepper and cook until some of the onions have charred slightly (about 15-20 minutes).

Add herbs...

3 – Add herbs to pan and cook for 1 minute before adding rice. Stir.

Ready to serve..

Here is the rest of what we had for dinner compliments of Tom.

This Cheese was mild and creamy and I couldn’t stop eating it!

Grilled Pork Ribs..

with Tom's special mango rib sauce..so good

Jumbo shrimp grilled with chunks of fresh pineapple and hot peppers..

Tom dressed the shrimp with a blended grilled hot pepper and pineapple laced with rum - Yum!

He also made an outrageous salad..

This is a plate of food I will dream about..

A spot of boating after dinner..

Happy Anniversary to us!

Roast Chicken Thighs & Pork Sausage w/ Wildly Herby Broth and Rosemary Stuffed Baby Onions (serves 12)

Yesterday started off in an ordinary way, but by the time I went to bed the word that came to mind was more like extraordinary!

 Part of what was extraordinary!

The plan was for my family to meet some of our friends at the Blair Winery in Pennsylvania (www.blairvineyards.com) for a fun late afternoon get together. Our constant companion Tom was familiar with the place (claiming to be the first their first customer in fact) and had arranged the whole thing. Our party of eleven strong, included Tom’s daughter Bridget who had been visiting for a few fleeting weeks and was going back to China the next morning. It felt a little like we were celebrating meeting her and mourning her departure all on the same evening. The owner of the vineyard Richard Blair treating us to a tasting of 9 of his wines. How could I not like a person who makes wine for a living? Listening to him talking about grapes and growing seasons and conditions and the various nuances of his craft could have lulled me into thinking that his life was the most idyllic in the whole world. Afterall, he gets to grow grapes, turn it into wine and then talk about it. I am quite aware that it is not that simple and there is nothing secure about the undertaking, but, I also work for myself and as scary as it is sometimes, I am grateful that I get to do something that I love everyday and I’m pretty sure that  Mr. Blair feels the same way.

Blair Vineyards

The tasting room sat on a hill overlooking the rolling countryside. It was a hot day but from the spacious porch where we sat there was a fresh breeze blowing and we felt like the ocean could have been over the horizon. We tasted wines and then voted on which bottle to buy for the table. Kids and dogs ran free while we chatted away and enjoyed each other’s company. Richard was very gracious and listened to our wine questions, queries and comments like he was hearing them for the first time. We left armed with wine and headed back to my house for dinner.

Had to bring a few bottles home to have with dinner.

I had 11 hungry guests all fired up and enthused about dinner. I wanted it to be great but I also wanted to hang out and not spend too much time in the kitchen. I knew chicken was on the menu and my garden was packed with lush herbs. I decided to infuse the whole meal with herbs galore and add the cherries I spotted sitting in a bowl on the counter to give everything an exotic note, something that would tell people they were special to me.

Roast Chicken Thighs & Pork sausage in Wildly Herby Broth & Rosemary Stuffed Baby Onions.

I loved this dinner. It was familiar but, my garden herbs stole the show. Everything from the rosemary infused onions to the cherries cooked in thyme were a hit. The wine we brought from the vineyard paired perfectly and I felt like I was practicing the art of living very locally, from eating food gathered from outside the door to drinking wine produced a few miles away. It was a good feeling.

________________________________________________________

You will need: 10-12 trimmed chicken thighs (skin on, bone-in), 8-10 good-sized sausage links, 1 head garlic, cloves separated, 2 leafy inner celery ribs, chopped, 10 small white onions, 1 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs, roughly chopped (flat-leaf parsley, thyme sprigs, winter savory, oregano), 10 small rosemary sprigs, 1 1/2 cups cherries, left whole, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 tbs honey, 4 tbs unsalted butter, 1 cup white wine, 1 cup water, 1 big bunch mustard greens, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, coarse sea-salt (I used Maldon Salt), freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven 425*

If you are serving with rice (like I did – always the easiest thing to make for a crowd), put it on top cook now and keep warm. If using a rice cooker use 5 cups of raw rice. if cooking on the stove-top use 3 1/2 cups raw rice to start and cook according to instructions. I used an aged basmati rice which has a lovely nuttiness and texture.

1 – Assemble everything in the following order: Scatter celery in bottom of big saute pan or roasting pan, next the herbs and garlic. Take the butter and cut into 10 slices. Trim the thighs of any excess skin and using your finger force a slice of butter and some herbs under the skin. and lay on top of herb mixture. Tuck the sausages in between thighs (everything should be snug with little over-lapping).

2 – Take the onions and slice not quite all the way through. Force a little opening with your finger and stuff it with a piece of rosemary. Place the onions in and around the meat, tucking a little under meat if you have to.

This was all about the fresh herbs from my garden..

3 – Pour the liquids over the meat. Season everything with a little sea salt and several grinds of pepper. Drizzle 2 tbs of extra virgin oil over everything and place in oven. Time for 35 minutes.

Cherries with Thyme in a packet..

4 – While chicken is in oven wash and dry cherries and place on a double square of foil. Add 3 or three thyme sprigs and a sprinkle of salt. Close into a pouch-like shape.

5 – Take Chicken from oven and turn sausages. Place cherry pouch onto top of everything and return to oven for a further 35 to 40 minutes (chicken will be well-browned).

Add a little honey to the cooked cherries..

Take out of oven and put meat on a platter (to make serving easier) and cover with foil for 5 minutes. Open cherry packet and drizzle 1 tbs of honey over them and stir a little to coat.

Wash the Greens

I wilted the greens in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp chili flakes, coarse sea salt and a few friends of pepper.

To serve: Place some rice on each warmed plate along with a piece of chicken and sausage. Top chicken with a little of the cooked greens, add an onion and 2 or 3 cherries and spoon everything with some pan juices.

I was very happy with this one!

Bon Voyage Bridget...

Garlic Sausage w/ Tomato & Black Olive Sauce served with Rice (serves 4)

We enjoyed a lazy Saturday to recuperate from our big “Crab Night” the evening before! As it approached dinner time the lazy mood had not left me and I was intent on making something quick and easy. Now that my herb garden had started to show signs of flourishing I decided that I would choose the herbs for the dish first, and go from there. I also had gotten a nice ring of garlic sausage from the Farmer’s Market earlier in the day so I wanted to go with strong flavors to match those of the pork.

Apium Leaves

My perennial herbs are thriving and I picked two herbs that I think of as “old-world” style greens. One is called apium and is in the celery family. Indeed, the herb tastes like a salty celery leaf but, has the texture of flat-leaf parsley. It is very harder and pretty strong-tasting and stands up well to being cooked in sauce, soups and stews. I only discovered it by chance when I was buying the usual herbs one plants a few years ago. From what I can gather it has been growing wild for centuries and is said to cure all manner of ailments (also has been touted as an aphrodisiac?). My reason for using it however is for it’s lovely celeriac qualities. I’m a heavy-handed herb user and totally ignore recipes that call for a tsp of fresh greens. So, that in mind, I grabbed a respectable amount of leaves before choosing the next herb that caught my attention when thinking about last night’s dinner.

Winter savory

The other herb that doesn’t appear as much in gardens is winter savory. It has a lovely delicate elongated leaf and has quite a strong perfume-y taste, reminiscent of rosemary. I planted it last year and it has come back this year in fine form, at least 3 times bigger. It also adds powerful flavor and works well in short cooked sauces, or fresh,  for last-minute seasoning. If it cooks for a while it’s flavor wanes. I grabbed an equal amount of that and heading in to make dinner.

Dinner was simple and quick. I love Summer and the bounty of fresh plants which can add flavor to my food quickly. I am also fond of not having to spend a fortune for a couple of twigs that last no time and I am compelled to use quickly for fear of them perishing in my refrigerator. Plant some herbs and delight in the improved taste of your food!

__________________________________________________________

You will need: 1 lb garlic sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces, 1 bunch spring onions, sliced white parts with a touch of green only, 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 14 oz can plum tomatoes w/ juices, roughly chopped, 1/2 cup pitted black olives, 2 tbs chopped winter savory, 2 tbs chopped apium leaves (both herbs can be substituted with 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley), 3/4 cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped if large, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with rice or pasta.

*If serving with rice cook it according to instructions now. If serving with pasta put water on for pasta and cook according to instructions.

1 – Put big saute pan on low/medium heat and add the oil. When it has warmed add the chopped spring onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat up slightly and add sausage and cook for a further 6 or so minutes.

cook onions, garlic, then add sausage..

2 – Add tomatoes, olives, herbs, water and broth and let the liquid come to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, olives, herbs and liquids..

3 – Stir in cream and taste for salt and pepper. Add at this time if necessary. Turn heat to low and add spinach. Cover and let the spinach wilt for a couple of minutes. Stir and turn heat off.

add spinach and ready to serve!

Serve with rice or pasta.

Crab Night (serves 8)

If my kids had asked me earlier in the day yesterday if I could order a dozen or so  freshly cooked Maryland Crabs, fire up the bar-b-que and grill a fine assortment of vegetables, invite a half-dozen kids over afterwards to roast marshmallows and shoot off a hoard of fireworks, I would have told them they were delusional if they thought I would say yes to that request tonight, or, any other night for that matter!

Getting ready for Crab Night

The only part of that plan I knew for sure was that our friend Tom had promised to treat us all to freshly cooked Maryland Crab from some great seafood place he knew. I was not enthused about grilling but, when another friend said that the crabs would be great with outdoor-tasting food I was compelled to clean out the ashes and get a fire started. When the coals lit up without much balling of starter paper, and blowing, and getting smoke in my eyes I was encouraged. So, I opened a bottle of wine and contented myself with prepping vegetables and making marinades.

Had to peek into the bag!

When Tom arrived with the crab it was if a spicy ocean had wafted in the back door. I perked up and began to chop with more pep. After a bit I noticed that the kids had joined their 2 cousins from next door who had three friends visiting. Also the boy at the house beside theirs had strolled over to join in on a game of tag they were playing (some complicated thing involving a possum??).

The perfect perch for my wine while tending to the grill!

I had to run to the store for a couple of lemons and without thinking, I picked up a packet of fireworks that I thought might be fun later (O God, what was I doing!!). Before I knew it, the party I had outlawed in my head was in full swing! I managed to get everything grilled and we all piled into a veritable feast. The table was full with shells and napkins and wine and chatter and we had the best dinner ever.  

Marshmallow soldiers!

Of course after dinner we had to roast marshmallows, which meant another run to the shop. The marshmallows were the best part, not of course counting the fireworks that followed…..

__________________________________________________________

First Job is to get the grill going (if it is charcoal like mine). If you are using gas just turn it on before you need it (whatever you usually do).

Put newspaper on the table (for an authentic feel and to eliminate the need for plates), and anything else you might need, like, salts, pepper, various condiments, lemons, napkins, crab utensils etc.

Crabs: You will need about 2 dozen freshly cooked crabs.

first, lay newspaper down on your table..

For Grilled Corn: 8 -10 ears of corn, stripped of greens and silk, unsalted butter, coarse sea-salt.

Put corn on the grill..

1 – Tear off enough tin foil to wrap each ear of corn. Put an ear of corn in the center of the foil and press a pat of butter onto the center. Sprinkle with salt and wrap up. Repeat until all corn is ready for the grill. Place on grill and turn every 6 minutes and check corn after 20 minutes. Add more butter and salt if desired.

lovely accompaniment to the crab meat..

For the Onions: 2 big sweet onions, cut into 1/2″ thick rounds, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar, good pinch of coarse sea-salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper.

1 – Whisk all ingredients together (except the onion slices) in a little bowl. Place onions in shallow dish and pour dressing over them. Mix about and let them sit until ready for the grill. Grill on each side until cooked (about 6-8 minutes per side)

sweet onions..

For potatoes and Asparagus: 3 lbs baby, 1 bunch of asparagus, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbs honey, 1/2 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tsp coarse sea-salt, freshly ground black pepper

grilled baby potatoes..

1 – Whisk everything (except the asparagus and potatoes) in a bowl. Wash potatoes and place in pot and cover with water. Place on stove-top and boil gently until just cooked. Drain in colander. Wash and dry asparagus. When potatoes have cooled (but still warm) place in bowl and place asparagus in shallow bowl. Add dressing to each and mix until everything is well coated.

2 – Place potatoes in a big doubled piece of foil and close into a pouch shape. Place on grill and cook for about 12 minutes. Put asparagus directly onto the grill and cook for about 10 minutes. Turn every now and then. Place back in dish with marinade when done (soaks up more flavor).

Grilled lemony asparagus..

To serve: Place everything on table. Plates optional!

A very nice mess!

End meal with Grilled Marshmallows and Fireworks!

What a night!

Summer Chicken with Braised Sweet Rosemary Onion & Seasonal Salad (serves 6)

It was a sticky, swelteringly hot and muggy day. In the morning I had set my sights on  barbecuing some chicken and making a salad with the best lettuce ever. I was starting to feel Summer-y AND I was dying to try a new condiment. My friend Lori has cleverly figured out that I will do most anything for her if she keeps me supplied with culinary goodies from her trips to New York City. The last offering was White Truffle Honey.

extravagant treat..

Actually, we both agreed that it sounded a little weird, and possibly unpleasant tasting? We also knew that I was going to try it on or in something to hopefully prove our apprehensions were misguided.

The day turned unpleasantly steamy and the thoughts of standing at a grill made me feel a bout of sun-struck coming on. But, I still wanted that grilled-chicken-feeling, so, I changed the recipe to suit my stove-top and ended up with a fabulous Summer Evening Dinner! The truffle honey was used in the chicken marinade and it gave everything a pleasantly sweet muskiness.

I cooked the Vidalia onion pretty much whole as they looked really good. I could have devoured a plate of these for my meal and been quite content. The fresh salad gilded the lily. It was like having a party on my plate.

It felt like a Summer dinner last night!

Our friend Tom joined us with a couple of great bottles of wine and the evening rolled along merrily while the weather changed to blustery and stormy. The wind rolled through the house, cooling us down and making the thoughts of lying in our beds after the long day something to look forward to.

__________________________________________________________

Follow each of the steps in order and things should go smoothly. It really is not as much work as it looks. Plenty of down time in-between jobs to drink wine and chat (or both!)

Note: If you want to serve rice with this (I did) put it on now. 2 1/2 cups for stove top method and 3 rice cup measures for rice cooker method.

For the onion; you will need: 3 medium Vidalia/sweet onions, both ends cut off and sliced through the middle, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/4 cup chicken broth, 6 little sprigs of fresh rosemary, coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper.

1 – Prep the onions (note – when slicing the onion slice in the round; will stay together better during cooking and look prettier). On medium heat put pan on stove-top large enough to hold the onions in a single layer. Add oil to pan and brown the onions slightly on both side, being careful when turning.

getting ready to braise..

2 – Add wine, broth rosemary and a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cover, simmering gently for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave in pan until ready to serve.

so delectable..

For Chicken; you will need: 6 Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped, juice of 1 lime, 1 tbs honey (I used a white truffle honey), 1/2 cup white wine, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, several grinds black pepper, olive oil for frying chicken.

1 – Make marinade for chicken: in small bowl whisk together the oil, garlic, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper. Lay chicken into shallow dish in snug single layer and pour marinade over everything. Turn chicken to coat and set aside in fridge for at least a 1/2 hour (can be done several hours ahead)

make marinade..

2 – To cook the chicken: Put big saute pan on high heat and add a tablespoon or more of olive oil. When pan is hot sear chicken in batches of 3 making sure to shake off marinade a little before putting in the pan. (if you crowd the pan, the chicken will steam, not sear). Reserve the marinade. It will cook quickly so pay attention. Remove chicken to a plate when done and wash pan (it will be blackish from the marinade)

Sear breasts on high heat..

3 – Put cleaned pan back on stove-top and arrange seared chicken in snug single layer. With a spatula scrape rest of marinade over chicken and the wine. Bring everything to a simmer. Turn heat down and cover. Simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off heat and leave until ready to serve.

For the Salad & Dressing; you will need; 2 heads of lettuce (I used lovely locally grown lettuce), washed and leaves separated, 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, 1 cup baby radishes (I used locally grown french breakfast radishes), sliced, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 scant tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp strong mustard, 1/4 tsp sea-salt, several grinds of pepper.

Preheat oven 400*

lovely lettuce..

1 – Put tomatoes on small baking sheet and toss in 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil. Rub everything in with your hands to coat each tomato. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and roast in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

roasted tomatoes give the salad depth..

2 – In the meantime prep rest of salad components and make dressing. In small bowl whisk together the remaining oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your taste adding more salt, oil or vinegar as desired.

great simple salad..

Lay radishes and cold tomatoes on top of greens and drizzle with dressing before serving – very delicious!

To make your plate: spoon some rice on one side and lay some sliced chicken beside it. Spoon some pan juices over chicken and rice. Add onion and side of salad and you are ready to tuck in to something fresh and wonderful!

Chicken Thighs braised with French Breakfast Radishes, along with Rice topped with Sugar Ann Peas & Swiss Chard in a Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Yesterday was the day I got to pick up my crop share or CSA from Good Work Farm (see right top for more details). It was week # 2 and I had no notion about what to cook for dinner until I saw what goodies were awaiting me. I opened the box on the spot and all I could see was GREEN, with a hint of pink and white from the lovely bunches of french breakfast radishes peeking out at the very bottom of my vegetable box. It was at that moment I remembered that I had actually forgotten to use my radishes from last week (save for popping a few into my mouth with some salt and butter the moment I entered my house!).

French Breakfast Radishes – the name alone makes me swoon..

The other thing that caught my eye was the perfect little box of sugar Ann peas. I tried one and it was snappy and just slighty sweet. I had never eaten a pea called Sugar Ann and wondered who had come up with that name? Was it a cross between a sugar snap and something with the name Ann in it; sort of felt rustic and exotic at the same time. It was at that point I knew I wanted the title of my recipe to have the words French Breakfast Radish and Sugar Ann pea in it.

Sugar Ann Peas from Good Work Farm

I have never really agreed with the famous quote from Shakespeare “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  For me, as biased as it may sound, names in general invite intrigue or indifference. I am far more likely to choose Fennel Custard served with Blood Orange au Jus than Stewed Fennel with cooked Orange Juice! I mean, have you ever bought a wine or been given a wine and told it was purchased on the strength of the name or for it’s attractive label? I like names, I like how they sound and I like the images they can immediately bring to mind.

The Sugar Ann Pea sounded downright perky and sweet and the French Breakfast Radish conjured up images of a little bistro in Paris; yes, wildly imaginative and for the most part, unrealistic. Thinking like this goes a long way to making my world more beautiful and interesting.

Now that I had sorted out what I was generally going to call my creation I got down to cooking something. I did the unthinkable again and cooked something that is generally eaten raw, especially when it is so fresh. I braised the radishes! I had lots of them and so I did not feel too guilty. My guilt disappeared altogether when I tasted one. It was like eating a tiny, faintly sweet turnip, only the satisfaction of popping the entire vegetable into my mouth made the experience even better.

This was more than wonderful..

I was going to cook the chard and peas with the chicken and radish but when I saw the lovely pink color the sauce turned I decided against contaminating it with dark greens. I love greens with a syrupy balsamic vinegar so I cooked the chard and peas together into an intense vegetable side dish. My man Dave was totally taken with the unusually strong taste the sauce gave to the chard. It was like the chard became a sponge and grabbed all the flavor (he insisted that I mention how great it was!)

Thank you Good Work Farm for your veggies and, names that inspired me to cook something I think tasted worthy of your hard work!

________________________________________________________

For the Chicken Thigh dish; You will need: 4 chicken thighs (bone-in with skin), 2 tbs olive oil, 1 1/2  cups radishes (I used French breakfast but another variety of small radish would work), washed, topped and tailed, 1 celery rib, diced, 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 cup chicken broth or water, 1 small fresh sprig rosemary, torn a little, sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put saute pan on high heat and add oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and fry until browned on both side. Remove to plate and set aside. Turn heat down and add the celery and garlic. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes before adding the radishes and rosemary. Continue to saute a another 2 minutes or so.

Add radishes to celery & garlic..

2 – Add wine and broth and bring to a boil. The liquid will take on lovely pink color. Add chicken thighs, cover with lid and place in oven. After 25 minutes remover lid  and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.

Add liquids..

3 – Remove from oven and add a drop of water or stock if the sauce is very reduced , along with the 2 tbs of cream. Replace lid and set aside while you make the vegetable side-dish.

Add chicken and into the oven..

NOTE: At this point you could stop and serve this with rice or a pasta….maybe wilting some fresh spinach into the sauce.

For the Sugar Ann Pea & Chard dish; You will need: 1 big bunch of swiss chard, washed, not dried, tough part of center vein removed and torn into big pieces, 1 dry pint of sugar Ann peas (sugar snaps can be used alternatively), washed, topped and tailed,  1 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 cup  balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs honey.

first, Add peas..

1 – In small bowl whisk together vinegar, honey and the lemon juice. Put into a little saucepan and cook at a simmer until it reduced to about 2 tablespoons (reduces by half). Set aside.

2 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. When it has warmed toss in the peas. Stir fry for 4 minutes or so before adding chard. Cook until chard reduces dramatically.

Add chard and balsamic mixture and cook to reduce..

2 – Turn heat down to low and add a little water and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar reduction. Give everything a stir and taste. Add more of the vinegar mixture if you want a stronger taste. Let it cook for about 1 minute before removing from heat.

Pea & Chard Reduction..

Divide chicken and rice between warmed plates and top each with the intense pea & chard side dish.

I'm afraid there is no explaining how good this tasted

Pork Tenderloin Simmered with Mushrooms and Lemon with Campanelle Pasta (serves 6)

For some reason everyone was tired and a little cranky last night. We had a busy weekend and it may have caught up with us. I wanted to cook something straightforward, something that would zap us back into a happier place, and, for some reason I though a lemon might do the trick? I have been experimenting more and more with them and have found that they can liven up a sauce to no end.

Easy & Tasty

This was an excellent use of a lemon and it gave the pork tenderloin even more tenderness! Using big mushrooms was also a nice touch. They looked great in the dish and felt a little like I was eating a piece of meat. This Campanelle pasta was new to me. I usually stick to penne or some sort of spaghetti type, but this one caught my eye because it had a ribbony edge and was curled. I knew it would capture lots of lovely sauce – yum!

Dinner softened moods and lulled everyone into the evening in the best possible way. I got my therapy from cooking and everyone else got it from eating. Making dinner together is the best mood enhancer. It was hard to be grumpy in a kitchen that smelled of lemony creaminess!

_____________________________________________________

You will need: 2 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb each), sliced into 3/4″ -1″ pieces, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbs unsalted butter, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 5 or 6 large white mushrooms, sliced, 1/2 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 2 tbs heavy cream, 6 cups fresh spinach leaves, coarse sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper. 1 lb campanelle pasta ( bowties or a ridged penne would work too).

Preheat oven 400*

Sear tenderloin in batches..

1 – Put big saute pan on high heat and add the oil and 1 tbs of the butter. Season sliced meat with salt and pepper. When fats begins to sizzle sear pork on each side until browned (2 minutes per side approx.). Remove to plate and set aside. Turn heat down to low/medium.

add mushrooms & garlic..

2 – Add mushrooms and garlic and saute for about 7 minutes. Add the wine and broth, and bring to a steady simmer. Add lemon juice and parsley and stir. Turn off pan. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste.

add liquids and parsley..

3 – Add pork, cover and place in oven for 35 minutes. Take out and add spinach. Cover for 5 minutes to let the spinach wilt. . Remove the lid, stir in last tbs of butter. Toss in the pasta and add a little pasta water if you like a thinner sauce.

While pan is in oven put on water for pasta and cook campanelle according to instructions. Before draining scoop out some of the pasta water in case you need to thin your sauce later.

add a little cream and butter..

Divide between warmed bowls or carry ceremoniously to the table in one big bowl.

top with a sprinkle of the cheese of the gods! (Parmigiano Reggiano)