My favorite thing about talking to some of our less-cheffy friends is that they make you feel super impressive and creative, even when your ideas are pretty standard. For example, Liza was recently telling The Chef and me about how there’s only so much you can do with chicken and vegetables, and you just can’t make pork tenderloin for two.
To which I said, um, depends on how large and fattening your portion sizes are, but that’s really not the point. Tenderloin is surprisingly simple to make, and it’s just about the best snack ever.
So when The Chef told Liza about this sweet and tangy marinade and the ways you could re-purpose your leftovers – tenderloin tacos, quesadillas, on buns with horseradish or honey mustard – she acted like he had just discovered fire. It was hilarious.
So this one’s for you, young Liza. Treat yo’self!
1 1/2 cups of maple syrup
1 cup of creole mustard
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs, chopped
salt and pepper
- Whisk together all ingredients.
- Pour marinade over tenderloin and marinate for 4 hours – overnight, depending upon how intense you want the flavor to be.
- Grill (or bake) until a thermometer registers 150 degrees. (If you are a little braver and like the pink, you can stop at 140.)
- Let the tenderloin rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Or, if you’re making this ahead of time for a specific occasion, refrigerate and slice when ready to serve. Tenderloin is just as good room temp.
It’s that time of year again, lake rats: The 4th of July. And in honor of our upcoming trip to Tims Ford, I’m giving up one of my favorite have-around lake snacks: my version of the Chicken Pasta Salad from Bread & Company. [That stuff is way too expensive to buy by the pound, so I piddled around until I figured out a pretty close imitation. Grommet-style.]
This stuff keeps incredibly well, so you can have it pre-boat, mid-beverage and even post-broken-foot if you are as unlucky around water as I seem to be.
And it makes a great base if you’re, say, drowning your sorrows in Firefly so you can limp down to the driveway to play beer die. Not that that’s ever happened.
Anywho, this recipe uses roasted red peppers rather than raw because I ain’t much for the crunch, so tinker with this as you must. Freedom of choice is American as hell.
3 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 package thin angel hair, cooked*
1 can artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped (just the green parts)
2 cups mayo (plus as much as you need for your desired level of moisture. Eww. Hate that word.)
splash of Italian dressing (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (or Cavender’s if you’re Akin through-and-through)
- Season chicken and cook in skillet with olive oil. (Taco seasoning + Tony’s is a winning combination for me.)
- While pasta is still warm, add mayo and all other ingredients.
- Cover and chill at least one hour (but this is even better after it sits overnight). Season to taste.
Eat on it. It’s the yum.
*I always undercook the pasta when I know I’m making this a day or two in advance because the pasta will soften as it sits in the fridge. Adjust your level of al dente accordingly.
As I spent my Easter Sunday watching 12 hours of deliciously ridiculous docudrama programming about William & Kate (thanks Lifetime!), I started thinking that we needed a recipe for some dainty finger food for those of you who are planning Royal Wedding Watch Parties.
So I started discussing options with Carol, the resident guru of all things Will-and-Kate, and guess what? I hate English food. Or what I think is English food. Cucumber sandwiches, scones, crumpets, that nasty banana flan People magazine is pushing as Wills’ favorite dessert. All of it sounds like a big gray pile of Yick to me.
So we’re going rogue here. Or we’re going Big D, rather, with a recipe from the brunch mistress herself, Dot Akin. These are perfect little packets of fat-and-happy, and I can think of nothing better to snack on while you try to cope with the fact that you’re not becoming a princess and this is not the most special day of your life. Cinnamon and sugar do quite a bit to take the sting out of being a commoner. Cheerio!
1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Bread
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
few tbsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cut crust off bread and roll out with rolling pin until very thin.
- Mix cream cheese, egg yolk and sugar.
- Spread mixture on bread. Roll up and cut in half.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon (however much you fancy) together.
- Melt butter. Dip each bite in melted butter and then into cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
These can be made a few days in advance or frozen. You know, in case you’re going to have some dignitaries in town to entertain. Whatevs.
This is a recipe I remember fondly from my childhood. I’ve re-purposed it many times over the past few years for brunches, bachelorette parties, pre-Steeplechase breakfasts – it has been a staple at every one because it is very easy and very good. In fact, I recall Rusty-Dusty in particular asking me 3 or 4 times if I “really actually made this, like seriously?” when he had some because he apparently thought me incapable of doing anything domestic. Preesh.
1 package hot sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 slices white bread (any bread you have on hand will work)
1 pkg Mexican shredded cheese (2 cups)
1 dozen eggs
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
salt & pepper or Cavender’s/Tony’s
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line a lightly greased baking dish with bread slices.
- Beat eggs. Season with Cavendar’s and hot sauce. Add cheese, sausage and Rotel tomatoes and mix. (You can do this the night before if you want.)
- Pour over bread and bake for 30 minutes or until center of casserole bounces back when touched lightly. Cut into squares and serve.
I often use this recipe as a base for experimentation, so feel free to swap out the sausage for ham or chicken, add veggies such as mushrooms or jalapenos, or dress it up with an Italian cheese blend. Just don’t leave out the eggs. That tends to make for a very dry situation.
This is the caramelized alternative to The Chef’s Ridiculously Perfect Pickled Red Onions, and if they are any indication, you should make a batch and top everything with them immediately.These are great on roasted meat, steak sandwiches, burgers, pizza, brats and even scrambled eggs.
My personal favorite way to serve these is over cream cheese with crackers. Not because of my well-documented cream cheese fixation, but because of the time Katers brought over a bottle of Worcestershire to top cream cheese with when Susu had actually told her to get PickaPeppa. It’s not quite up to the level of the Chicken Parmesan debacle, but it makes me smile nonetheless.
4 red onions, sliced very thin
1/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- Saute onions in oil over medium low heat. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook onions for about 1 hour, or until caramelized.
- Add honey and balsamic vinegar. Store in a air tight container in fridge for up to 1 month.
I am a huge fan of yellow/mayo-y/creamy southern style potato salad. My all time favorite used to be the kind that WP gets from the grocery in Horseshoe, but all that changed after eating Chef John’s mom’s potato salad. This recipe lives up to its name. I don’t know if I can make potato salad any other way now. Feel free to go wild and add cheese or jalapenos. -ts
Chef John says: I love sides. Personally, I think they’re the best part of the meal, especially if we be talkin BBQ. Nothing is better than getting a side that is so damn good that you completely forget about everything else on the plate. My Mama made this for a big dinner several years ago and every time she cooks I beg and plead for her to make it. I’ve had the pleasure of eating this many times but every time I take that first bite I let out some sort of animalistic noise and my eyes rollback in my head… I can’t help it. If you want a simple description, imagine a fully loaded baked potato disguising itself as potato salad.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds small red potatoes, diced
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 to 10 cooked crisp bacon slices, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place oil in a 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan; add potatoes and the next 4 ingredients, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture in a single layer.
- Bake at 425° for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Toss together potatoes, bacon, green onions, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.
*If you like your potatoes crispier, bake about 10 minutes longer, stirring once.
Chef says: “This seems like a s— load of ingredients, but its well worth it. This stuff is unbelievable.”
Well alright then. Barrett suggests you make a large batch of the paste, use a few tablespoons to make the sauce, and freeze the rest for future use (the recipe makes about 2 cups). As we learned on the food network, you can freeze portions of this in ice-cube trays and use them one-at-a-time. My inner Martha loves that time-saver crap.
2 1/2 Thai chilies
1 tbsp cumin seed
2 1/2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric (ginger-ish flavor: warm, bitter, spicy)
2 tsp of galangal, minced (citrus-pine-earthy flavor)
1 tbsp of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp of lemongrass, minced, white part only
4 kaffir lime leaves, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup shallots, minced
1 cup peanut oil
hot coconut milk
- Place all the dried spices (chilies through salt) in a saute pan and toast over medium heat. Once toasted, grind in a spice grinder.
- Blanch and shock (meaning boil for a sec and then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking) the cilantro, basil, and mint in a salted water. Squeeze dry.
- Place all ingredients except oil in blender and puree until smooth.
- While the blender is running, slowy drizzle in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix a few tablespoons with hot coconut milk until sauce reaches desired consistency.
- Serve with mussels or scallops over risotto or use as a soup base. If you’re looking for a full recipe, swap out the red curry in this mussel recipe for this green one. Bellissimo!