Archive for May, 2008

Maple Chipotle Pork Tenderloins

You will need:

½ cup BBQ sauce
½ cup maple syrup
2 chipotle peppers in adoba sauce
1 tsp adoba sauce from peppers
2 (1 lb each) pork tenderloins (the small type)

Combine the BBQ sauce and maple syrup. As you can see, I used little packets of BBQ sauce. It’s because I forgot that I didn’t have any more in a bottle so I had to make due with what I had.

Open the can of Chipotle peppers and take two out. I know it sound like a waste but I just throw away the left over peppers, I just don’t use them often enough to save.

Slice the peppers open.

Scrape the seeds out and discard them. That’s where the major heat is.

Then slice and dice the heck out of the things.

Add the diced peppers to the BBQ sauce/maple syrup mixture and then add 1 tsp of the adoba sauce from the can of peppers and mix well.

Coat the tenderloins with the mixture. Now, at this point you can either let the tenderloins marinade for a while or you can go ahead and cook them.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, basting occasionally with sauce.

As you can see by the mutilated tenderloin I don’t have a meat thermometer so I always end up cutting meat open to see if it’s done. This is the first time I have made these and I was pretty happy with how the turned out. They didn’t really need any additional salt and they had a nice balance of sweet with a bit of spice. I’ll make these again.

* Note to diabetics: It is possible to make this with the sugar free versions of BBQ sauce and maple syrup. I use the kinds made with Splenda.

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Blackberry Cobbler

Another recipe that reminds me of my Granny. I LOVE blackberry cobbler. If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life it would be blackberry cobbler.

This is a pretty simple recipe, nothing fancy, no secret ingredients. The good thing about that is that you can change things to suit you. That’s the reason there isn’t a fixed amount of blackberries called for. Different people like different amounts of berries in their cobbler. For example: my dad and I like a lower berry to dough ratio than my mom. I usually end up with a lower ratio anyway because; 1. I’m making the blasted thing so I’ll make it like I want it and 2. I have a bunch of scraps of dough left over after making the lattice work on top and I don’t want them to go to waste so I mix them in with the berries. I also usually end up using two pie crusts to make the top.

What you will need:

1 1/3 cups sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
2 bags frozen blackberries, thawed
1 refrigerated piecrust
1 tbsp sugar

Stir together first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Gently add blackberries until sugar mixture is crumbly. Spoon into lightly greased 11×7 baking dish.Cut piecrust into 1/2 inch wide strips and arrange strips over blackberries. Sprinkle top with sugar.

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Boiled Peanuts

I love these things. Little salty bites of yumminess. I grew up on them. They are one of those southern food items, like turnip greens and cornbread, which are just part of the culture in the South. Like most things in this area of the country, nobody could make them like Grandma. Or, in my case, Granny. So much of my early life is colored by this woman, my mother’s mother. So many dishes remind me of her and of the time I spent at her house. Each summer my mother, desperate to get my brother and me out of the house and out of her hair, would take us to spend half of our summer vacation with one set of grandparents and then the other. Both sets of grandparents lived in rural Mississippi so many things were to be had at both locations. Cows, dirt, red-bugs, good food, and love being just a few of thoses things.

What you will need:

Peanuts
Water
Salt
A pot
Time

The simple explanation is this: Put peanuts in pot, cover with water, salt water, cover pot, and boil until desired doneness.

However, there are a few more things to consider.

1. The peanuts you will be boiling. If you can find them get green raw peanuts, these make better boiled peanuts. However, if you can’t find green peanuts just get some regular raw one. The only thing you NEED to make sure of is that they are raw, not roasted or anything.

2. When is say salt the water I don’t mean a pinch or some other small amount. Remember, the salt is the only flavoring you are using so you might be surprised at how much you will need to use. That said, there isn’t a formula like “for ever 1 lb of peanuts use 2 tbsp of salt” Sorry. It’s one of those things you get a feel for over time.

3. The length of time that you boil the peanuts for varies depending on how soft you like your boiled peanuts. I like my peanuts on the softer side so I usually boil my a little longer. However, the general rule of thumb is between 2-4 hours. After 2 hours, try one and see if it’s soft enough. If not, boil longer.

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Daisy

The title of this blog is “Cooking With a Dog” so I though I’d better make mention of the dog that refers too.

This is Daisy:

 So is this.

And this. 

She’s a fruitcake and I love her for it.

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Cornish Game Hen Tagine

About a year ago I found a stoneware tagine on the clearance rack for $5. I had always been intrigued by these funny looking dishes so I gave into temptation and bought it. Then it sat on a shelf for almost a year before I finally decided to learn how to use the blasted thing so I started searching around for some tips and recipes. Some recipes didn’t sound appetizing to me and some called for ingredients that I would have trouble getting such as preserved lemons. I finally found one that I could modify into something I would like. Here is the finished product.

What you will need:

2 Cornish game hens
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, peeled and slivered
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup chicken broth

I cook this in a stoneware tagine but you can use a deep, covered Dutch oven and get the same result. I’ll write the directions as if you are using a tagine and make some notes at the end for those that will use a Dutch oven.

In the bottom of a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the Cornish game hens on both sides and remove from skillet. (If you want to skip this step you can but I think the finished product tastes better if you do this.)

Melt the butter to the skillet, still over medium heat, and sauté the onions until onions are beginning to go limp. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until onions are just beginning to brown. Transfer the onions to the bottom of your tagine.

Place the hens over the onions and then sprinkle the seasonings over the hens followed by the raisins and pine nuts.

Finally pour the broth over the hens and cover with the top of the tagine.

Place in cold oven and set temp to 450 degrees. Cook for 1 hour after the oven reaches 450.

If you are using a Dutch oven you can just brown the birds and sauté the onions and garlic in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Instead of transferring the onions to another dish just place the birds over the onions in the Dutch oven and continue from there.

 

I usually serve this with Couscous made with pine nuts and golden raisins. It’s freakishly easy and so good.

Melt about 2 tbsp butter over medium heat in the bottom of a pan and add ¼-1/2 cup each pine nuts and golden raisins. Sauté until the raisins begin to plump up. Add 1 cup of water and increase heat to high. As soon as the water boils pour in 1 cup Couscous, remove from heat and stir. It’s just that easy.

 

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