Not food related, but funnyish……..

The Great Key Saga of 2015
About a week ago my daughter informed me that she can’t locate her keys. She had used them the night before to get into her apartment with her 1 ½ year old toddler, Charlie. Admittedly she can’t remember where she set them down and doesn’t remember Charlie playing with them as she busied herself preparing him for bed. Yet somehow we are all convinced he is the culprit and has hidden them very well or somehow disposed of them via the toilet or who knows how else.
Using her spare car key she drove to work and upon picking up Charlie from our house I lent her my wife’s set of her apartment keys with the idea that she’d get them duplicated again. She kept them separate from her car keys and voila has misplaced them again! Not feeling like it would be Charlie’s fault this time the plan was for me to give her my set tonite on her way home.
After thinking about it for a few minutes I decided what would be better would be for me and Charlie to trek out and get a few sets of keys made. Nana checked with the 99 cents store and yes they make keys.
Charlie and I bundle up and with umbrella stroller head down to the “boulevard” to the store to make the keys. Upon arrival there is a woman standing outside with a LARGE baby stroller waiting for someone to open the door for her. I thought she was waiting for a customer to come out as I know that her stroller will never fit into the store. Thankfully I have Charlie in is minimally sized umbrella stroller for the occasion. She says to me: “I don’t think we can fit in the store.” I said I was only going to the counter for keys to be make, in spite of everyone else in life she decides to come in and block my path to the counter as well as the exit door. She stood there asking me what she should do. No, I was polite and told her I didn’t know but that I needed to get past her. She feigned an attempt to push through an aisle never really clearing the space she was standing in. I then decided to go down the aisle and come up the next one that would put me in front of the keymaking counter. By the time successfully maneuvered my way through she parked her stroller and was now shopping where I planned to park Charlie while the keys were being made.
I took the ring that held the three keys I needed duplicated off my larger key ring and hand it to the young man behind the counter. I ask for a quote on making 3 sets of 3 keys and they informed me then don’t make two of them. I take the keys back and put them in my coat pocket and re-maneuver my way out of the store. We walk up our hill and I decide to do what I was trying to avoid and put Charlie into the carseat in my car and head out to Home Depot.
Upon arrival and the massive, almost filled to capacity, Home Depot Parking Lot, I put Charlie into the seat of an abandoned HD shopping cart. I set the alarm on the car and decide to pull the keys out of my pocket and have them in my hand ready to go before entering the store!
The cursed keys are not in my pocket!!!
I check all pockets…..NO KEYS.
I check the car both the driver’s seat, in around and under…..NO KEYS.
I check the car seat, in, around and under…..NO KEYS.
OMG where are these unblessed keys??
They must have fallen out somewhere in my travels. Put Charlie back into the carseat, check pockets one more time, NO KEYS. Drive back home stopping at the 99cent store and asking if I dropped the keys and if anyone found them. The lady behind the counter looks like I’m accusing her of stealing my keys. Telling me if I dropped them she wouldn’t have them! Really?
I drive up the hill trying to remember exactly which spot I was parked in. Of course it is no longer available and I’m slightly confused as to which of three it might have been! I search around three cars can’t see anything. Jump back into the car and circle the block for a new parking spot. Once ensconced into a very icy lousy shovel job spot I put Charlie into the stroller and retrace our steps all the way back to the store. Again, following the same path home again not finding the keys.
Once in front of the building I determined where we crossed the street and this reminded me of where the car was originally parked. The oversized SUV parked there now is actually partially on the sidewalk and peering under the car is difficult due to the mound of ice it is sitting on. Down to hands and knees I am able to see something shiny! I blindly reach under between the running board and the ice mound to locate the shiny object.
OMG it’s KEYS!!! Quick prayer mumbled and sure enough they were the errant keys, that must have fallen out of my pocket when I was getting into the driver’s seat and pulling my keys out of the pocket to drive the car to Home Depot!
Moral of the story……reattach the keys to the massive key ring! Came upstairs for bathroom break and lunch before trekking back to Home Depot!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Pantry Goodies Elevate the Simple Pork Tenderloin

Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Quinoa Pilaf & Roasted Veggies

Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Quinoa Pilaf & Roasted Veggies

Feeling like another “fallish” meal with nothing specifically planned I hit the pantry shelves to create a new recipe.  Poking around I gathered Pitted Dates, Golden Raisins, Dried Apricots, Dried Cranberries, Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard, Apricot preserves and from the freezer some leftover stuffing mix.  In the fridge I gathered rosemary, thyme and parsley.  I created a stuffing with the stuffing mix and dried fruits and fresh herbs.  Butterflied, stuffed, rolled and tied the tenderloin, seared and roasted and created a pan sauce.

Stuffing on Butterflied Pork

Stuffing on Butterflied Pork

Stuffed, Rolled & Tied

Stuffed, Rolled & Tied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe:
FRUIT STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN w/PAN SAUCE
• 1 ½ pounds Pork Tenderloin — trimmed
• ¼ cup dates — pitted & roughly chopped
• 1/3 cup dried Apricots — roughly chopped
• ¼ cup golden raisins
• ¼ cup dried cranberries
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary — finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme — chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley — chopped
• ½ cup cubed stuffing mix
• 3 tablespoons Olive oil
• 1 large shallot — chopped
• ¾ cup White Wine — or Vermouth
• 1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
• ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
• 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Kosher Salt
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Butterfly the trimmed tenderloin, cover with plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  2. To food processor add fruits, herbs, and stuffing mix and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pulse 6-8 times to combine and roughly chop the fruit and bread cubes.
  3. Spread the mixture onto the meat leaving 1 inch border all around. Roll the pork and tie it off in 2in spaces. Season the outside with salt and pepper.
  4. Brown the rolled and tied tenderloin in heavy oven proof skillet in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After browning on all sides place pan into oven and roast for 12 minutes or until instant read thermometer registers 140º
  5. Remove pan from oven and place meat on cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil while making pan sauce.
  6. Drain off excess fat from skillet leaving 1 tablespoon, add shallot and salt and pepper to taste, sauté until moderately browned, deglaze with wine. Cook allowing the wine to reduce by half. Add mustard stir to combine and add broth. Reduce by half add preserves and simmer 3 minutes. Slice Tenderloin and spread on platter, swirl butter into sauce off head and nap over the sliced meat and serve.
Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Quinoa Pilaf & Roasted Veggies

Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Quinoa Pilaf & Roasted Veggies

We enjoyed it with leftover Quinoa Pilaf w/peas and Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts.

Eat Well…Be Well!

 

Posted in Chef Jim Menu, Chef Jim Recipe, Recipe | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

HEIRLOOM CHERRY TOMATO COBBLER

 

20141008_193211_AndroidHEIRLOOM CHERRY TOMATO BACON RED ONION COBBLER WITH PARMESAN AND PEPPER TOPPED BISCUITS!

Was inspired to make something with tomatoes and bacon.  Looked at dozens of recipes and stumbled across a few versions of Cherry Tomato Pie and/or Cobbler.  Several versions seemed to stick in my head as good adaptable ideas.   First there is Martha’s  and Bittman‘s and this one from Joy the Baker.  Of course all used homemade biscuits and since I’ve never met a homemade biscuit from my kitchen that I would serve (apparently my Southern Nana’s deftness at biscuits wasn’t inherited by my hands) I chose to use the ubiquitous refrigerated tube of biscuit dough!

However, I have discovered at more natural, artificial preservative free option from a company called IMMACULATE BAKING CO.  I’ve been pleased with the Buttermilk variety as well as the Flaky and we’ve enjoyed their Cinnamon Rolls as well.

I proceeded to  the kitchen and here’s what I created:

Last Nights Dinner Plate

Last Nights Dinner Plate

I served it with Grilled Romaine Heads that I brushed with EVOO and Tuscan Herbs (Penzey’s) and topped with Grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Glaze.  I did find the Balsamic Glaze to be overwhelming due to the fact that we had the balsamic vinegar with the caramelized red onions.  Perhaps a more suitable dressing the for Romaine would have been a lovely butermilky crumbly Blue Cheese Dressing!

Here’s the recipe:

Chef Jim’s Cherry Tomato Cobbler with Parmesan & Pepper Biscuits

• 1 tube refrigerated biscuits — I used Immaculate Brand Flaky Biscuits
• ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese — grated
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 large red onions — sliced in half moon slices
• 3 cloves garlic — minced
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 6 strips uncured bacon — cooked broken into 1″ pieces
• 2 pounds Heirloom cherry tomatoes
• ½ cup basil–coarsely chopped
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 sprays vegetable cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cover. Stir every few minutes until they start to brown, remove lid and raise heat cook until caramelized (15 minutes or more) season with salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook stirring for one more minute. Remove pan from heat, add balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  3. Divide cherry tomatoes slicing approximately 1/3 of them in half. Combine halved and whole cherry tomatoes in a large bowl, add salt & pepper, flour, basil, caramelized onions and the bacon tossing everything together until lightly coated with flour. Add more flour if needed.
  4. Spray 3 quart casserole with vegetable cooking spray and add tomato mixture. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, mixture should be bubbly and some tomatoes will have burst.
  5. Pull from oven sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with 6 biscuits. (bake remaining two separately) Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan cheese on top of each biscuit.
  6. Return casserole to the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with favorite green salad for lunch or with grilled meat as a savory side dish for dinner.

Enjoy!

Eat Well….Be Well!

Posted in Chef Jim Menu, Chef Jim Recipe | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment