Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pork tenderloin with sautéed peaches 豚ヒレ肉と白桃のソーテー

We frequently cook pork tenderloin. I usually make some kind of dry-rub and cook it at 350 F for 30 minutes in our toaster oven on convection mode which is easy to do even on weekdays especially if I have already prepared the tenderloins. This was one of these quick weekday dinners. Since peaches were in season, I added sautéed  peaches as a side.

The meat was just slightly pink but properly cooked.

The peaches added sweet and sour tastes which are perfect for the pork. I also served blanched green beans which were sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

For sautéed peach:
Ingredients (for two servings):
2 white peaches, skin and stone removed and cut into small wedges
3 tbs of port wine (I used Taylor ruby port which I keep for cooking)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs of butter, unsalted, for sautéing  and additional several tbs of butter for the sauce

Melt the butter and sauté  the peaches turning several times until the surface caramelizes, remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add port wine and reduce in half, add honey and Balsamic vinegar and reduce it again in half.
Finish by adding butter in small increments until a saucy consistency is reached.
Return the cooked peaches and coat them with the sauce and serve warm.

The sauce is also  perfect for the pork.

For pork tenderloins.
Dry rub: (I do not measure, sometimes I add other spices)
Roasted cumin powder
Paprika powder
Cinnamon powder
Ground black pepper
Kosher salt
(Instead of dry rub, sometimes I use minced fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.)

I trim both ends and remove the silver skin (I use the trimmings for other dishes).
Coat the surface with olive oil and coat the surface with the dry rub.
Roast it in a 350F toaster oven on convection mode for 30 minutes and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Pork and fruit are a good combination. The peaches were not mushy and added a nice texture and sweetness which combined well with the sour taste of Balsamic vinegar. This was a quick and satisfying dinner.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Crispy Roasted Potato with thyme クリスピイローストポテト

This is a variation of Hasselback potato. We were having filet mignon steak for dinner. My wife likes to have some kind of potato side dish with steak to maintain her "meat and potato" aficionado credentials.  We felt a bit too lazy, however, to make oven fried potatoes. She came up with this recipe from Wililams-Sonoma web site.

It looks a bit "over-crisped" but it was quite good.

4 small/medium Yukon Gold potato, skinned and thinly sliced (2 -3 mm thick).
1 stick (4oz) butter, melted (we used non-salted)
1/2 tsp dried Thyme (we did not have fresh thyme 1 tbs, chopped)
1 tbs Kosher salt

Preheat oven 374F (we used convection toaster oven).
Bush melted butter on the bottom of the baking pan, arrange the sliced potato and pour the remaining melted butter.

Sprinkle with thyme and salt.

Bake it for 1 hour and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

It appears that our toaster oven has a bit uneven temperature and a portion of the dish got a bit over crisped but this was a good, easy potato dish to make. Our steak was cooked to perfect medium rare.

Since this was a rare occasion to have steak, we opened 2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia. This is a very elegant and complex red wine. We enjoyed a simple steak dinner with crispy baked potato with thyme and sautéed green beans with this wonderful California red. We equate this wine to the good left bank Bordeaux without any funkiness. We continue to be impressed with this wine.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Country pate 田舎風パテ

This is a country pate. The recipe came from a Japanese web site and used chicken livers and pork. Since we are partial to chicken livers, I decided to try this recipe. I previously made pate with Japanese twists using chicken liver, tofu and "edameme"  soy beans which I posted 2010.

I served this with sliced cornichon pickles and flat bread crackers.

As usual, I deviated from the original recipe.

1.25 lb of ground pork (original recipe calls for hand chopped pork loin and pork belly)
1.25 lb of chicken livers, washed, cleaned, and soaked in cold milk
1 medium onion, finely diced
1tsp olive oil for sauteing
3-4 tbs Panko Bread crumbs with milk to moisten
2 eggs
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp thyme (I used dried) and several bay leaves

Sautee the onion and crushed garlic in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, remove the garlic and let it cool down. Chop the chicken livers and mix into the ground pork.
On a bane marie of ice water, mix the chicken liver, pork, onion, panko crumbs, pistachio nuts and eggs, dry thyme, salt and pepper and mix well.

In a rectangular loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (this is as per the recipe but I will not use plastic wrap next time, the top which touched the aluminum foil melted), pour in the mixture to 80% and place few bay leaves on top. Cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil tightly.

Bake in a 350F oven in a bain marie (larger rectangular baking pan half way filled with boiling water) for two hours. Let it cool down. (As per the recipe, you are supposed to put weight on the top of the pate but when I did that the juice gushed out so I didn't use the weights).
After 1 day in the refrigerator, I sliced and served it with conichon pickles.

This was not bad but I need to improve on the texture and the flavor (it was a bit too coarse) and (reduced brandy may be nice). Since I made too much, I froze most of it. It thaws out OK but the texture was more "watery" than when it was just made. This was a perfect accompaniment for the cab wine we were enjoying.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pork and barbecued pork walnut loaf ウォールナット入り豚肉のローフ

This is a variation of "Matsukaze-yaki" 松風焼きchicken loaf which also serves as leftover control. I am always looking for ways to use up the leftover barbecued meat we make almost every weekend. I found that chopping up the BBQed pork is a good way to use the leftover pork. This pork loaf was made using both raw ground pork (hand chopped from the trimmings of pork tenderloins) and hot smoked BBQed pork. I also added roasted walnuts for additional texture and flavor. I served this as a drinking snack with spicy tofu and broccoli with melted cheese and my figgy cranberry sauce.

This is quite good. The smokey flavor from the BBQed pork really added to the taste.

I made this without following any recipe and did not measure anything but the below measures are my best guess.

Ground pork (hand chopped from the trimmings of pork tenderloins) about 150grams.
Hot smoked pork (left over) chopped finely about 150gram
Walnuts, toasted , skin removed by rubbing in a kitchen towel (my wife has dedicated kitchen towels for this) and chopped coarsely (amount arbitrary)
Miso 2 tbs
Soy sauce 1tsp
Mirin 1 tbs
Panko bread crumbs, 2-3 tbs
Eggs, 2 medium, beaten

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Prepare the shallow baking pan, coated with olive oil and parchment paper placed on the bottom.
Place the meat mixture and spread to half inch thick.
Bake in 350F oven (I used my toaster oven on convection mode) for 30 minutes (below)
Wait until it is cool enough to handle and remove from the pan by tipping on a cutting board (because of the parchment paper), the loaf will come out easily.
Cut the loaf into small rectangles.

Combining cooked, smoked pork with raw ground pork is a good idea. It added an infusion of smokey flavor to the very tender texture provided by the raw pork. This version made with all pork, miso and walnuts created quite a different flavor profile from the chicken and pine nuts of the original "Matsu-kaze-yaki".

Monday, July 17, 2017

Easy corn souffle 簡単コーンスフレ

My wife is very partial to spinach soufflé which we make for special occasions but it is a bit of work. She saw this easy corn soufflé recipe on the Washington Post site which was originally Jacques Pepin's recipe. Instead of separating and whipping egg whites, everything is mixed in a blender and simply poured into ramekins. It appears that using a blender is the secret since it mixes in a lot of air. I served this with skinned Campari tomatoes and black bean corn salad.

This was our weekend lunch. I garnished the soufflé with chopped chives.

In typical souffle fashion the mixture rose above the rim of the ramekin and after a few minutes out of the oven quietly and elegantly still tasted good.

3 large eggs
1/4 cup light cream
2 ears of fresh corn
2 oz Gruyere cheese (we used smoked), cut into small chunks).
One Jalapeno pepper, seeded and veined, finely chopped (original recipe calls for Poblano pepper)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsp chopped fresh chives, 2 mixed into the egg mixture, 1 as garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Use the butter to grease the ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet.
Discard the husks and all silk of the corn. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs. Transfer to a blender.
Seed the Jalapeno pepper, then cut into small chunks and add to the blender.
Cut the cheese into small chunks and add to the blender. Add the eggs, light cream, salt and pepper.
Puree for about a minute, or until smooth.
Meanwhile, mince the chives. Add three-quarters of them to the souffle mixture and pulse just enough to incorporate.
Divide the souffle mixture among the souffle dishes.
Bake (middle rack, on the baking sheet) for 25 minutes, until puffed, golden brown on top.
Garnish with chopped chives. Serve right away, in the souffle dishes.

This is a good dish. It is so easy to make compared to other souffle recipes. It has a nice sweet fresh corn taste and subtle smoky flavor from the smoked gruyere cheese.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Deviled pickled eggs ピクルドデビルドエッグ

When my wife made pickled eggs, she wanted to see how they would taste made them into deviled eggs. The egg yolk of the pickled egg was different from the consistency of regular hard boiled egg; it was fairly dense and we weren't sure how much we liked them. This is the pickled deviled egg shown below.

Since the pickled egg had a lot of flavor she thought the egg yolk filling should be fairly simple so she made it in a most classic way.

The stuffing was much more flavorful and also had a nicer consistency then the plain pickled egg yolk. The brown color of the egg white came from spices (cinnamon sticks and star anise) used in the pickling medium. We really like this rendition of deviled eggs.

Since we weren't sure if we would like this she made with only one pickled egg.

1 pickled egg
1tsp. mayonnaise
1tsp. greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. onion powder

Remove the yolk from the pickled egg and smash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix until a creamy consistency is reached and all the ingredients are blended in. Put the egg yolk mixture back into the egg white.

This was very good. The egg yolk had absorbed some of the flavor from the pickling medium and this really added a pleasing taste element to the the deviled egg.  I couldn't help but ask "is it worthwhile to take the time and effort to make pickled eggs and then make deviled eggs from them?" But I do have to say the end result is probably one of the best deviled eggs I've ever eaten. From a practical view point the pickling process makes the eggs last longer. So, if we make a portion of it to deviled eggs, this may be worthwhile.

Diversion alert: A few days ago wife noticed that a frog had moved into the small fountain in our backyard. She identified it as an American Bullfrog mostly through the sound it made. (Although I did not hear it, my wife heard low rumbling croaks). Reportedly, Bullfrogs prefer large bodies of water. Our little fountain certainly didn't fit that description. We named him "millennial" since he had just moved into the bullfrog equivalent of a micro-apartment (about 10-15 gallon of water under our fountain). For several days he came out to sit on his front door step near the fountain (see below) to croak occasionally. We saw him jump back into the fountain through a small gap at the edge of the flat rock we use to cover the access to the pump. I appears that he moved out few days later. We thought maybe prospective mates were not enchanted with the micro apartment he had chosen. Or maybe it was the school district.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pickled eggs version 2 ピクルドエッグ version2

This is my wife's second try to make pickled eggs. Last time, she used rice vinegar and mustard and the eggs did not have enough "pickled" flavor. This time she used cider vinegar and different spices. I served this in small egg-shaped containers. I placed the pickled onion and slices of cucumber under the eggs.

This time, I cooked hardboiled eggs perfectly without green rims on the yolks.

We served this as a light lunch in one of the weekends. with cucumber and salmon salad.

Red pickled eggs without the red;

This is basically the traditional recipe for red pickled eggs without the red. My wife thought this would be a good way to get the traditional flavor without the traditional red stain on clothing, hands, or anything else the beet juice touched.

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Cinnamon sticks
2  Star anise
4 whole cloves

Put the eggs and half the onions in a container (#1).
Put the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the onions are translucent (#2).
Let cool slightly then pour over the eggs and onions in the container (#3).
Make sure they are completely covered with the liquid (#4). Seal the container and put in the refrigerator.

These were much better than the previous version.  For one thing we did not bust into them until they had been in the brine for about 10 days. They had a more assertive vinegar flavor and both cinnamon and star anise flavor came through. My wife was satisfied that this was the flavor she remembered from her childhood. The cooked egg white was firm but the texture of the yolk also changed as well. It too was firmer and had a mild pickled flavor. Next, my wife said (threatened?), to make deviled eggs from these pickled eggs.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Pickled eggs and other drinking snacks 卵の酢漬け、酒の肴

This was the evening line-up of small dishes we had one weekend. Bluefish in miso sauce (left back), pickled egg (right back) and fish cake (store bought) grilled in the toaster oven with soy sauce and grated ginger.

Among these dishes, pickled eggs are new.

This fish cakes were bought at our Japanese grocery store. They appeared locally made and are fresh not frozen. They come in a simple plastic container without any brand name. Compared to frozen fish cakes, these taste much better and have a nice consistency. Every time we see them at the Japanese grocery store, we get them.

This fish simmered in miso sauce was posted before. Instead of mackerel, I used blue fish. It came out almost identical and is a good way to cook blue fish. For this type of strong fish the combination of miso and ginger flavors works well.

Among these snacks, the pickled eggs were new. Since we often get caught with eggs in the refrigerator with an expiration date that just passed or was about to pass, we thought this might be a way to preserve them and buy a little more time until we got around to eating them. In addition, my wife grew up in rural Pennsylvania where pickled eggs are common and a significant part of a summer picnic. So she decided to make some. While she ate many pickled eggs in her youth, however, she never made any. The traditional PA Dutch pickled eggs are bright red. The color does not come from food coloring but from beets which are used to make the brine and are pickled along with the eggs. My wife knew from experience that beet juice is a great dye i.e. it gets into everything and is impossible to remove. For this reason she was reluctant to go with the traditional red egg and found a recipe for mustard pickled egg. This used turmeric which makes the eggs and the onions bright yellow. (Come to think of it, turmeric is a pretty stubborn stain to remove as well.)

Mustard pickled eggs.
Hard boiled eggs, 4, peeled
Sweet onion such as Vidalia, medium, sliced in thin strips
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 Tbs salt
1/2 Tbs mustard seed
1 1/2 Tbs prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. turmeric

Put eggs and onions in a glass jar.

Bring everything else to a boil.

Let cool a few minutes than pour over the eggs and onions. Make sure the eggs and onions are completely covered with the liquid. Seal the jar, put in the fridge and wait at least a week before tasting.

This should have been a hard boiled egg but this one is somewhere between soft and hard boiled.

Because of the turmeric, egg white became bright yellow.

These were good snacks to start the evening. The pickled eggs had great yellow color and a slight pickled mustard flavor but were otherwise rather bland. This was the first time I ever had pickled eggs and was surprised to find that the consistency of the cooked egg white got much firmer. Actually, the onion was the best part. I am sure my wife will tweak the recipe. She said next time she would reduce the amount of water so the vinegar would be stronger and suggested that maybe the eggs should have been left to marinate a bit longer. (We busted into them after only 5 days.)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Vanilla Buttermilk Breakfast Bread a.k.a Pound Cakeバニラバターミルクパウンドケーキ

My wife was looking for a recipe to use the luscious Harrisburg Dairies buttermilk she just bought at Whole foods. This recipe was in her collection of buttermilk recipes and since she had never made it before, she glanced at the ingredients and thought it would make a nice breakfast bread.

3 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cup buttermilk

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue creaming. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Finish by adding the vanilla.

Alternately, add the butter mixture and buttermilk to the flour and mix. Put into greased 8 X 4 loaf pan. (I used a 9 X 4 1/2 load pan and one 5 3/4 X 3 3/4 pan because she didn't have an 8 X 4. )
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes for the small loaf and 1 hour for the large loaf. Cool completely before trying to take it out of the pan

This came out very light and tender with a very delicate vanilla flavor. My wife served it for breakfast and it was very good but something kept tickling the back of my mind. Finally it came to me. It tasted like pound cake. I mentioned this to my wife. After a moment of thought, she went to her buttermilk recipe file and took off the paperclip that kept the top of the recipe page obscured. And there it was in black and white: "Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake". It tasted like pound cake because it was pound cake...and a very good one too I might add. My wife had been so concentrating on the ingredients and directions, she didn't register exactly what she was making. That provided us a pretty good laugh. Also, I feel confident, that although it is not officially a breakfast bread, I will be able to "choke it down" for breakfast.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Deviled eggs Version 2 デビルドエッグ

We posted deviled eggs before but since my wife acquired a new deviled eggs plate (originally to display a collection of  Easter egg decorations), we had another attempt at making deviled eggs. I have to admit the colorful plate, makes things look much more festive than our old white plate did.

Since I made guacamole (the avocado I had was on the verge of turning to over ripened mush) and this plate had a center well for a dip, I served it as well. My wife made three different kinds of deviled eggs this time.

This is the classic one.

2 tbs of Greek yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard
a sprinkle of onion salt to taste
stuffed olive for garnish

Lightly season all the egg whites with salt. Mix all the ingredients into the mashed egg yolk, then put mixture back into egg white

This is one with Sriracha hot sauce garnished with smoked paprika (not cayenne pepper).

2 tbs of Greek yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
smoked paprika to garnish

Lightly season all the egg whites with salt. Mix all the ingredients into the mashed egg yolk, then put mixture back into egg white

This one is with guacamole garnished with a cilantro leaf.

2 tbs of Greek yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs of guacamole
cilantro leaf for garnish

Lightly season all the egg whites with salt. Mix all the ingredients into the mashed egg yolk, then put mixture back into egg white

This plate may have been perfect for a party but we were not going to have one. Obviously it was too much to eat in one sitting so we came up with a way to cover and save the eggs in the refrigerator. My wife found out that we had a small stainless steel bowl which perfectly fit the center well . This covered the guacamole in an air tight way and gave the dish some height so that we could cover the entire plate with plastic wrap without toughing the deviled eggs.  So we enjoyed our deviled eggs two (halves) at a time for the next few days.

Although this is such an old fashioned appetizer, we learned it is making a comeback with some fancy twists. Ours were not fancy but we like them very much. Actually we liked the original and classic one with mayo, onion salt and Worcestershire sauce the best. The taste of deviled eggs evoked the nostalgia of humid summer days and family picnics (for my wife).