Pork Tenderloin with Orange Compote

Pork tenderloin can be a tricky cut to cook. I find that sometimes I can have a well done outside and a rare inside or I can end up with a dry piece of meat, both of which are undesirable.

This recipe, I think, provides a foolproof way to cook pork tenderloin. Because it cooks in liquid, the meat stays succulent, even if you cook it past 145°. I didn’t have a dutch oven, so I cooked it in a large skillet. Also, don’t let the time deter you. It does take awhile, so this may not be a weeknight go-to, but the hands-on time is rather small. Continue reading

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Meal Planning

For the past year I’ve been an expert meal planner. Originally used to save me time and stop wasting food, I would plan out daily lunches and dinners on Sunday. I found time to grocery shop and then cooked the meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. Leftovers were shuffled during the rest of the week and with a variety of dishes (usually 3-4), it didn’t feel repetitive. It was a great way to plan up until now.

The thought of changing my methods didn’t truly hit me until last week when I made turkey piccatta. It was so late at night when I found time to cook that I didn’t bother eating the dish and saved it for the next day. I knew the recipe was good by the smell, but when I actually got around to eating it, my turkey was a little dry from reheating and the delicate lemon flavor had all but disappeared. I was so dissatisfied with my food that an entire turkey’s breast wound up in the trash. Throwing out this bird upset me so much (which another post will be dedicated to, I promise) that I knew it was time for change.

At this point in my life, almost nothing about my schedule is consistent besides its inconsistency. I work different hours every week for my two jobs, friends want to hang out, exercise is carefully blocked out and I squeeze in things on my to-do list whenever I’m not mentally or physically tired. The meal plan I described above perfectly fit senior year life when I had set class times and club meetings, but now I need to embrace change and see what will fit my needs and wants.

What I’m planning on now is probably doing what most people already, well, do. I’ll be buying my food as I need it so I know I have the time and desire to cook. I’m going to cut down recipes so I don’t have to worry about eating so much food before it becomes bad. And for some dishes like the Tuna Melts with Avocado or steak, spend the extra 10 minutes to remake some parts. A little extra time tastes so much better than one minute in the microwave.

So after all this, what I’m getting to is that there is no one way to go about meal planning or cooking or eating. Hold onto what matters to you and find the best way to fit it into your current lifestyle. That goes for anything you love, and I think it makes life a much happier journey.

Blackberry-Brie Burger

Awhile back I had an Elk burger from Square 1 Burgers that was absolutely delicious. I can’t remember exactly what was in that burger (All I recall is elk, cheese, and jam. Maybe some caramelized onion.) but it definitely inspired what I just created. It sounds weird, I know, but somehow the combo works and in less than 20 minutes (what it took to heat up some sweet potato fries) you have yourself a mouth-watering, did-I-just-inhale-this-yes-I-did, burger.

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(For you, Brittney)
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Crispy Herbed Shrimp with Chive Aioli with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

Holy moly that is a long title. Anyways…

I have a confession to make. Shellfish scare me. First, I’m afraid that I’m secretly allergic to them and will have a terrible reaction (it hasn’t happened yet). Second, I’m not confident in my ability to properly cook them. Too little time, and you have raw seafood which may be harmful. Too much, and you have overcooked, chewy sea-protein.

But you have to face your fears sometime, and yesterday was that day. I was pretty impressed with this recipe, and for someone who has all the above fears and isn’t too thrilled with shrimp’s texture, found I actually enjoyed eating it. The directions are straightforward and easy to follow. The only thing I found problems with was peeling and deveining my own shrimp. It was a full immersive, play with your food moment, but it was also frustrating. If you eat shrimp frequently, I would recommend getting a special knife to do this peeling. Otherwise, you can use a paring knife and take some more time to get those shrimps clean.  Continue reading

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

I am a huge fan of Mediterranean-influenced dishes. When I was in Italy, I fell in love. Looking at a recipe, it seems very simple with only a few steps and a few ingredients. But a lot of work goes into producing and cooking the food there, and you can bet your butt a lot of love is added into those pots too.

The result is something like this dish. Very simple and clean tasting but delicious nonetheless. Make sure you use prosciutto in this recipe. It crisps up much better than bacon would and provides a distinct salinity. If you are getting it sliced at the deli counter, I would suggest the imported kind (to me, the American versions just can’t compete with Prosciutto di Parma) and ask them to slice it thin, but not shaved.

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I’m Back!

After a very long hiatus, I’m starting to post again. Last summer, I was told that my blog had no direction; that it should be better thought through before I do anything more with it. That kind of negativity hurt, but I followed along and stopped.

Well I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, and this is my direction: continue doing what I was doing. I like trying new recipes, and sharing what I find with y’all isn’t hurting anyone. If anything, it’s helping us expand our creativity, challenge our cooking skills, and put tasty things in our bellies. How much more direction do I need?

So I guess here is some food for thought, especially at the start of this year. If it makes you happy (and doesn’t harm you or others), keep doing what you’re doing. You can’t please everybody and you don’t need unnecessary negativity in your life. When what you do is genuine and comes from a good place, people will notice and that positive energy will carry over. Now back to the food.

Colorful Turkey Chili

I know what you’re thinking. Chili? In JULY? It’s hot outside, why would I want to be smothered in the full-body-warmness that is a bowl of chili?

Well, in Florida, it is guaranteed to rain every day. It may be for 5 minutes, it may be for 10 hours, but somewhere in the state, it is raining. And when the clouds roll in and water is pouring from the sky, what sounds good to me is a cup of comfort and a porch chair to look for lightning. If you’re still not sold because it is hot, this recipe is just as delicious at room temperature.  Continue reading

Cumin-Spiced Fish Tacos with Avocado-Mango Salsa

One thing I love about cooking is that you can use whatever you have on hand and the food still turns out great! This recipe is a perfect example of that; as long as you have the main components, it will all end perfectly in your belly.  Continue reading

Tuna Melts with Avocado

Fresh rules at my house, especially when it comes to fish. It’s nice to find a recipe that reminds me canned (and frozen) foods can be just as tasty and healthy. Not to mention, they are often time-savers. This open-faced sandwich demonstrates all those things and gives you a light, but satisfying lunch. If you are cooking for just yourself, go ahead and make the entire tuna mixture. You can save the rest for another sandwich or a snack.  Continue reading

Picnic Fried Chicken

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I am having a HUGE love affair with the South. Country music, cowgirl boots, trucks, and of course, food. Southern Living‘s 1001 Ways to Cook Southern cookbook looked like a dream on a shelf, so I quickly grabbed it up and bought it.

Quite fittingly, the first recipe I made from this Southern cooking bible is fried chicken. Oh. My. Goodness. It was perfectly crispy but juicy and I wish I had more of it. If you aren’t a fan of chicken bones or skin, using boneless and skinless pieces of meat are fine.

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