My Grandma Dotty, whom I call Bestemor (the Norwegian word for Grandma), is the most amazing cook. I consider many of her recipes to be the tastes of my childhood. Her brown bread with raisins is one of my favorite things in the world. This recipe for Rhubarb Muffins comes from her as well, adapted from the muffins served for years at the drugstore cafe (yes, that was a thing!) in the sweet little town where she lives….
March, to me, is somewhat of a culinary gray zone. It’s not quite spring, but the cozy comfort foods of winter are starting to feel a little old. I’m craving fresh fruits and vegetables, bright greens, and crisp outdoor dining. Thanks to el nino, we’ve had an incredibly mild winter here in the great midwest and yesterday was an absolute treasure – 70 degrees and sunny! Now we just need the produce to catch up. Bring on the asparagus, pea greens, and early strawberries! And on that (heavily optimistic) note, here are our Good (Food) Reads for your Wednesday:
Are you a radish fan? I feel like they can be a divisive vegetable. I love them – especially raw, with fresh butter and sea salt on top. My dad eats them on buttered bread. Epicurious takes on That Time a Facebook Fan Changed Our Minds About Radishes. …
I was once afraid of making fish. Very, very afraid of making fish. I was even afraid of buying fish (unless at a restaurant of course)! It seemed like such a mystery! But then my daughter, who was a super picky eater, starting ordering salmon in restaurants (She was about 6, and shunned most kid foods) I cannot count the number of strange looks we got from waitstaff. As you can imagine, this got expensive fast. At about the same time I bought a cookbook (sense a recurring theme here?) that had a salmon orzo salad in it that looked amazing. This was all happening around the time that I was just learning to cook and I have to admit, I was initially at a loss. But all roads pointed to learning to cook salmon at home, so that is what I did….
So here in snowy Minnesota, we are enjoying a crazy awesome winter. Sunny, way warmer than usual, and as of today, only a tiny bit of snow on the ground! I can’t remember a winter that has been this mild, well…ever. I have to say all of this very mild weather has kept my mood from heading to despair (although I love living in a place that has 4 seasons- there is truly nothing like watching the snow fall from a window- I have little to no interest in actually spending time out in the cold…and trust me, I’ve sure tried to be interested). At this point of the winter I frequently need rescuing. Even though this winter has has been relatively mild, I’m still ecstatic that spring is on its way. Longer days, daylight when I wake up, birds chirping outside, and egg salad….
It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday and time for another Good (Food) Reads, a short collection of food stories we’re loving. We had a glimpse of spring this past weekend (yes!) and while the temperatures have dipped back firmly into winter, it’s got me excited about what’s to come. I’m starting to see fresh asparagus pop up at grocery stores and I’m so ready for new fruits and vegetables to join them!
One of the very first books I got when I first started cooking was Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. At the time, Nigella wasn’t yet a household name here in the U.S. I used to watch her first show, Nigella Bites, on Style Network (does that even exist anymore?!?). I loved the glimpses into London life and her quirky British sensibilities. She was unabashedly in love with food and it made me want to cook everything she did! One of my favorite recipes from those early days – one that I still make today – is for Molten Chocolate Babycakes. In the book, she refers to them as “the acceptable face of culinary cute” and I couldn’t agree more. They are however, also absolutely delicious….
Course number 4 of our epic dinner party featured Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Crostini. This may be my favorite of all of the courses, although I must admit, with this particular dinner menu the competition is fierce. This is not a recipe for your vegetarian friends. This is not a recipe for your spice adverse friends. This is definitely a great crowd pleasing recipe for everyone else!
I developed this appetizer recently, based on a recipe I found in a cookbook. This cookbook was one that that I bought on a whim at Costco-Valerie Bertinelli’s “One Dish at a Time“. That title is super funny to those of us who grew up watching the sitcom “One Day at a Time” (1975-1984) which starred Valerie Bertinelli (and if you haven’t seen it, you should look it up-for the hair alone). For those of you who are a little younger than me, you may know Valerie Bertinelli as the wife (1981-2007), now ex-wife, of Van Halen frontman, Eddie Van Halen. And if you are even younger than that, you would probably remember her for her stint as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman. For all of her fame on TV, I never knew she could cook. I mostly bought the book for the pictures (does anyone else do that, or it just me?). Sometimes impulsive buys are great buys, because so far what I’ve tried out of this book, proves it…this gal can cook.
This appetizer is based off of her Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce which I have made again and again for special occasions (for instance, girls’ weekend at the cabin). It has never let me down, and is actually pretty simple. The horseradish sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The beef can actually be prepared a day in advance as well, and allowing the meat to sit in the spicy rub only makes it better! Although I surely love when I can serve this as the main course, unfortunately 8 total dinner guests makes this cost prohibitive to serve as an entree. I knew I wanted to serve it though-voila-the crostini was born! I make my horseradish sauce a little spicier and have added some peppery arugula and crunchy french bread to make it into an appetizer instead of a meal. Definitely worth trying for your next party, or your next date night in, or just because you think it looks delicious!
Try it-and then let us know what you think!
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 6 Tablespoons peppercorns (you can use mixed or just black)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1-2 pound piece of beef tenderloin
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 loaves of french bread
- Combine the sour cream, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl until smooth.
- Transfer into a refrigerator safe jar or container-this can be refrigerated up to two days ahead-and it really does make the flavors better.
- Grind the peppercorns (I use a cheap coffee grinder that I have designated for spices only) until coarse.
- Combine the coarsely ground peppercorns, salt, mustard, butter and parsley until well mixed.
- Rub the tenderloin with the spiced butter, coating completely-use all of the butter mixture.
- At this point you can wrap in plastic and refrigerate-up to 1 day-or go to the next step.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- If you have refrigerated your beef, take it out and allow it to warm to room temperature.
- Place beef in a shallow baking pan (I use a small rectangular pyrex baking pan, you can also use a rack in your pan if you have one, but I have not found this necessary).
- Roast at 450ºF for 25-30 minutes, until your meat thermometer registers 130ºF (for medium rare).
- While tenderloin is roasting, thinly slice french bread and lay flat on a baking sheet or jelly roll pain.
- When tenderloin is done, take out of oven and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Slice beef thinly with a very sharp knife.
- Turn oven to broil.
- Place bread in oven on broil for 1-2 minutes, watching very closely to ensure bread does not start to burn.
- Allow bread to cool slightly.
- Spread horseradish sauce (made previously) on bread.
- Place arugula on top of sauce
- Place a thin slice of beef tenderloin on top of arugula
- If you are like me and love your sauces, you can place an additional dollop of sauce on the top.
- Serve and enjoy
First things first, guys. I made this amazing Crockpot Lentil Soup from Pinch of Yum the other day and it was amazing. It’s full of flavor and easy, easy, easy to prepare. We try to stick with Meatless Mondays in our house and I’m happy to report this soup was the perfect vegetarian meal! It is filling, healthy, and hearty. I did make a few tweaks to Lindsay’s recipe – my husband hates kale (I know! He says it’s a garnish, not a food!) so I used chopped spinach in place of the kale. Also, I didn’t have any yellow split peas on hand so I made the whole thing with lentils. I highly recommend her suggestion to finish the soup with a splash of red wine vinegar and serve with crusty bread and parmesan….
If you’re ever in need of a crazy easy dessert, this Pomegranate Lime Sorbet is most certainly a contender. The recipe was adapted from the November 2015 issue of Bon Appétit. In the magazine, they used the sorbet to make parfaits with labneh (a Lebanese strained yogurt – similar to greek style), pistachios and a drizzle of honey. As we were using the sorbet as a palate cleanser of sort for our recent dinner party, we chose to serve it simply in Meyer lemon halves, sprinkled with a dusting of lime zest….
This Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Shrimp was course number 3 in our epic dinner party. (P.S.-don’t worry if you’re having a hard time following along with our dinner party menu reveal, I promise to post the entire menu in order, with links, in a few weeks. And if you just can’t wait, it was already posted on twitter so you can check it out there!). We knew we wanted a soup course to follow our Pomegranate, Squash and Apple salad. While we were initially dreaming up plans for our blog we had a lot of “business” lunches at Lakeshore Grill at Macy’s in Ridgedale (which has been totally redone, and if you haven’t checked it out you definitely should!). Their summer soup was a carrot scallion soup that was so good, I would order it for lunch and then order a cup to take with me to my evening shift at work. Looking around the internet for a soup that would be similar to this one, brought us to this Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Shrimp from Food and Wine. Holly made the soup first, and interestingly enough, this soup is not really similar to the carrot scallion we loved-but it is fabulous in its own right, so fabulous that we decided to add it to our dinner party menu. Sometimes you find exactly what you need, exactly when you need it!
I first made this soup for some friends while up at my cabin. My friends loved it and the soup was given rave reviews. This soup is creamy and bright, with a hint of heat that is well balanced by the coconut shrimp. It is ridiculously simple to make and yet tastes complex. We served our soup not only with the coconut shrimp, but also with a peanut-cilantro gremolata. So delicious, your guests will thank you!
And if anyone has a recipe for a good Carrot Scallion soup, please let us know, we are still looking!
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¾ pound carrots, diced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon asian sesame oil
- 1 cup skim milk
- ¼ cup light coconut milk
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons salted peanuts, chopped
- 16-30 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven until shimmering.
- Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until onion is softened.
- Add carrots, ginger, and crushed red pepper, and sauté for 6 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer the mixture for approximately 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.
- Take dutch oven off of the heat and add in soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, and sesame oil.
- Using an immersion blender (or you can transfer the soup to a conventional blender), puree soup until smooth.
- Add skim milk and coconut milk.
- Season to taste taste with salt and pepper.
- You can eat the soup immediately, or refrigerate overnight and plan to eat the next day.
- When you are ready to eat the soup, reheat if not eating immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Thaw the shrimp if frozen.
- Combine the shrimp with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until lightly coated.
- Roll shrimp in sweetened, shredded coconut.
- Spread the shrimp on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- We sprinkled an additional Tablespoon of coconut onto shrimp on the baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven at 425ºF for 5-8 minutes keeping an eye on the shrimp to ensure it it is pink but the coconut is not burning.
- Combine the chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts to form the gremolata.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with gremolata and serve with shrimp.