Friday, December 26, 2014

From Our Kitchen

We had a nice mellow and lazy Christmas, just the two of us ... and The Kids. Late breakfast, a few gifts exchanged. Then we cleaned out a closet, created a garbage bag of clothes to give to Goodwill, walked the dog, bathed the dog, read a little, watched an old movie and then it was time to eat.

And, since Carlos cooked most of Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to tackle Christmas. But what to serve; we didn’t want Turkey again; we’re not big fans of Prime Rib; ham didn’t seem to fit.

Then I realized we had a large Pork Tenderloin in the freezer because when we CostCo — yes, it’s a verb now — we buy a large Pork Tenderloin to cut into boneless chops because it’s cheaper and I’m all about the coins, you know. So, Pork Tenderloin it would be, but how? 

A quick Google search and I found Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce from The Pioneer Woman and here’s how it’s done.

For the Cranberry Glaze — clockwise from Top Left:

Red Wine; I used a Merlot but anything works; Chicken Stock; Cranberry Sauce — canned is fine, this is Carlos’ Homemade stuff; Butter, Olive Oil, Chopped Rosemary, Chopped Onion, Minced Garlic.
Note: The Pioneer Woman doesn’t use garlic, but I found that blasphemous so I tossed it in.

Sauté the onions in the butter and oil, add the garlic and rosemary and cook until onions are tender; add the wine and chicken stock; add cranberry sauce and cook on low flame until it reduces to a thicker consistency.
I also plagiarized the recipe by throwing in a full spring of rosemary while it simmered. Sue me!
For the Pork:

The Pioneer Women salted and peppered the pork, but, well, I like to be different. I processed some Garlic, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme and Olive Oil; then I decided it needed to be pastier so I threw in a small chunk of Fresh Parmesan and processed it again. 

Coat all sides of the tenderloin liberally with salt and pepper, and then rub the herb blend all over it as well. Heat Butter and Olive Oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and sear the pork loin on all sides.

Finally, put it in the oven  I cooked it on a rack, above a mix of Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme, floating in some Red Wine and Cjhicken Stock  and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160-degrees. At Casa Bob y Carlos we have a probe in our oven, so there’s no need for a timer; it just cooks until the right temperature is reached and BAM done! 

Remove from oven and let sit for fifteen minutes, then slice, place on platter and spoon over top some cranberry glaze.

Then I decided to make Ina Garten’s Leek and Artichoke BreadPudding; as Blobby, and Ina, might say, How easy is that? It’s easy; first the ingredients ...

From the bottom left: Pancetta, thin sliced and crisped for about 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven; day old White Bread — I used a loaf of French Bread, cut into cubes and dried, then toasted in the oven alongside the Pancetta; Ina says remove the crust, Bob says leave the crust on. I win.  Leeks, the whites and some of the greens, cut into ½-inch slices and washed thoroughly; 9-ounces frozen Artichoke Hearts, Salt, Pepper, Chicken Stock, White Wine, Eggs, Heavy Cream — though next time I’ll half the cream with low-fat milk; Butter, Nutmeg, Tarragon and Gruyere — though Swiss works fine, too.

Heat butter in a  skillet on medium heat; add the leeks and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; add the wine, salt and pepper, and cook five minutes more; take off the heat and add artichokes, bread cubes, tarragon, and chives.

Whisk eggs with cream, nutmeg, chicken stock, and salt; spread half the bread mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle the top with the cheese; add a second layer of the bread mixture, followed by cream mixture, and the rest of the cheese; press down lightly so bread absorbs the cream. Then top with the diced or chopped Pancetta.

Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes — or, as I did, in the fridge overnight — to let the bread absorb flavors, and then bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350, until it’s golden and puffy.

Of course, we needed a vegetable and, well, I opted for something we’ve never had before, Roasted Winter Vegetables.

In one bowl add Beets, peeled and quartered, Carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise, Turnips — I couldn’t find them so I used Parsnips — peeled and quartered; Thyme sprigs. Toss with a tablespoon of Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper; place on a roasting dish.

In another bowl, add some unpeeled Garlic Cloves — as many as you like; Red Onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters; Fennel Bulbs, cored and cut lengthwise into quarters; Thyme sprigs. Toss with a tablespoon of Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper; place on another roasting dish.

Bake the first group of veggies — The Beets and Friends — in a 425-degree oven for about 45 minutes; when they have about 25 minutes left, rotate the pan, then slide the second pan — The Fennel Group — in the oven too, and turn that pan when there’s about ten minutes left.

Remove both pans, combine veggies, top with chopped Thyme and serve.

How easy is that? Plus it was delicious and, yeah, easy, and different, and pretty to look at, too. Martha Stewart can kiss my a**.

To top it off, we had Carlos’ Chocolate-Vanilla Cheesecake, for which I am forbidden to share his recipe; who does he think he is?


the dogs' mother said...

wow! that is amazing. The Engineer takes over cooking on Christmas, thank goodness- family tradition - ebelskivers (pancake balls) and his homemade spaghetti sauce with pasta and garlic bread.

Raybeard said...

Now mind you don't go hungry! ;-)

Susan said...

OMG that all looks fantabulous! You could be a blogger/professional cook! :)

mrs.missalaineus said...

looks delish!!


anne marie in philly said...

we had a quiet day ourselves. only we went out for dee-lish japanese food!

Helen Lashbrook said...

I'm surprised you two aren't the size of houses! My roast winter vegetables involves onions, carrots, sweet potato, garlic and rosemary, not forgetting S&P plus olive oil. My summer roast vegetables involves peppers, tomatoes, onions, courgettes and courgettes, garlic, S&P, OO and thyme (basically a roast ratatouille)

Mitchell is Moving said...

This all looks so incredibly delicious. Your visuals are wonderful.

However, "How easy is that?" THAT is NOT easy, as far as I'm concerned. You are a genius!

Bob Slatten said...

Small quantities! We don't deprive ourselves, but we also don't eat like it's our last meal!

I had to Google 'courgette' to find out it's a zucchini. I think I may start calling them courgettes now myself!

Bob Slatten said...

It;'s easy when you follow the recipe--though not so closely that I can't improvise.
I'm good with a recipe.
The best part was taking the pictures and driving Carlos crazy while doing so!

Mark in DE said...

As grateful as I am to have Spouse's family with which to spend the holidays since my family is out of the picture, there are times when I think your "just the two of us and the kids" Christmas sounds great too.

Your meal looks and sounds amazing!! Best wishes to you and Carlos for a wonderful new year! :-)

Biki Honko said...

That looks and sounds delicious! Especially the pork tenderloin, love that cut.

I thought everyone knew that Costco was also a verb?

The only changed I'd make is no rosemary, ever! Hate that noxious weed...