Friday, June 26, 2009

Pork Tenderloin and peaches with Sara and Marc and Clay

This was Monday. I know! I'm late! What else is new? Marc and Sara and Clay came over for dinner and it was pleasant enough to eat outside. And Pootie sprayed for mosquitoes, so we were reasonably bug-free for the evening. Here was the menu:

Sauteed zuchinni and shrimp

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peaches and Vidalia Onions

Stone-ground grits

Homemade rolls

Vanilla ice cream with blackberries and honey

The zuchinni I diced and sauteed with a little onion, some fresh oregano, salt and pepper, then added the shrimp. It was good, but a little too liquidy for me. I should have used higher heat.

For the pork tenderloin, I just salted and peppered it, then smeared a good hot mustard all over it, then layered the top of it with sliced vidalia onions and peaches. Then a good 30 minutes on the grill. (Again, I put mine on a foil lined baking sheet.)

I honestly would have liked the flavor to have more punch. I'm thinking about what I could have done, and best I can figure, maybe a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkling of brown sugar or maple syrup over the onions and peaches. Not tons, mind you, just a little bit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ohhhhhhh Fresh Market had Prime Beef! A special treat! Man, that stuff is good. Derek came over for dinner and I served that with some itty-bitty fingerling potatoes from the Farmer's Market and some really good beans. (Dave said this would be the last week for the potatoes, so I snagged them.) They were so good and tender! Here's a bad picture of dinner.

I set it to "small" so you couldn't see how bad it is. I have to confess, I oversalted the potatoes. Boo! I tossed them with olive oil, too much kosher salt, and some pesto. They were still pretty good. So were the beans. They're the flat, wide green beans and look like they'd be really tough, but they weren't at all. I sauteed those with a little garlic and butter. Just a little butter.

We had a good time catching up with Derek. Tonight - Marc and Sara and Clay and some pork tenderloin with peaches!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Southwestern Turkey Burgers and Oven Sweet Potatoes

I love these turkey burgers. This time I remembered amounts and all.

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 green onion, minced
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 canned chipotle chiles plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce from can

Mix all that together and patty them out. It made four burgers.

The sweet potatoes were sliced and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, about a tsp. of coriander and a tsp. of chile powder. Then I roasted them in the oven at 400 for about 40 minutes. "Wa-la". Dinner.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Steak and Farmer's Market Vegetables

No pictures. It honestly wasn't a very pretty dinner, but it sure was tasty.

Pan-Seared Beef Filets
Baby Squash Sauteed with Sage and Vidalia Onion (thanks Carol!)
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Roasted Baby Carrots
There's not really all that much to say about it, I guess. For roasting, it was a matter of drizzling stuff with a little olive oil and kosher salt and cracked black pepper. For the beef, I like to put my cast iron skillet on the gas grill and crank that mother up to about 550, then sear the bejeezus out of the salted and peppered beef. Doesn't take long on each side, and you get that nice caramelized exterior with a tender rare middle.
Carol Driggers brought us some delicious Vidalia onions on Sunday, so I was happy to get a chance to use them. They're just so good.
Dinner was hearty and satisfying and again, the fresh veggies just can't be beat. Supposed to get HOT this weekend, so I'm sure we'll be eating a lot lighter. Summer is rearing its ugly head for sure on Saturday. Temps are supposed to be in the upper 90s. Maybe we'll eat ice.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shrimp, Squash and Spades with Carol and David

We love, love, love us some Carol and David. This picture was actually in their kitchen, not ours. Yeah, I know... I didn't take pictures again today. I promise, whoever is next I'll get the camera out.
Carol and David don't live here in Wilmington anymore. They split their time between Raleigh and St. James. So when they're in St. James for the weekend, we get together either down there or here for lunch or dinner and some cards and a nice, long visit.
Today they joined us here for lunch. They brought a big surprise with them that I'd managed to orchestrate and keep from Pootie. Tift had an art show a couple of months ago, and she had some really cool journal boards of her song writing to fill space. I talked to her after her show and asked her about buying one for P. and she said that no, she wanted to give one to us as a gift! So sweet! (P. does a lot of work for her on her fan site, her email blasts, web site, etc.) We made all the proper arrangements, and Carol stopped by the gallery Friday to pick it up and they brought it with them. P. was so happy!
That was fun. Then Pootie and David drove off to AutoZone to see about the battery in David and Carol's vehicle. Carol and I went in for a visit and had some wine. The men returned triumphant (I missed what was wrong with the battery) and we had some lunch.
Peel 'em and eat 'em shrimp
Squash Gratin
Brown rice
The shrimp were huge and tasted nice and fresh. They didn't need much in the way of ornamentation. I had some spicy cocktail sauce for them and some Old Bay and that was about it. The squash gratin got some raves from the table (except David, who didn't eat any, not being a vegetable fan). We went to the Farmer's Market downtown yesterday and got some gorgeous produce, so I utilized it in the gratin. I layered (all thinly sliced) yellow squash, yellow onion, round zuchinni, and tomato in alternate rows, salted it well with kosher salt and topped with cracked black pepper and a thin layer of panko crumbs, then drizzled it with olive oil. I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 450 and it came out crispy on top and nice and bubbly underneath. Very tasty. Carol had two helpings and Pootie, who really could take or leave squash just shoveled it in. Nice!
After lunch, we played the closest game of Spades EV-ER. On the last hand, we were within 10 points of each other, and if the hand had played out just right, we'd have tied. THAT would have been cool. But nnnooooooo... David had to go and mess it all up and sink Carol and me on sandbags so we wound up losing. Bah. Next time, he'd better put on his knee pads, 'cause he's goin' down. You hear that, Flappy? Down!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Several meals - catching up!

OK, so yes, I have been a complete slack-ass, but you haven't missed all that much, I promise. We've had some repeats, and a night or two out, and a wonderful birthday weekend for me, so let's recap and hit the highlights!

Grilled Catfish with Roasted Tomatoes and Onions

This is pretty much what it says it is. I got some good catfish and instead of frying it (I know, I know... heresy!) I put it on a foil lined pan on the grill with some whole tomatoes and onions drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled generously with kosher salt and cracked pepper. It was really pretty good. No, not as good as GOOD fried catfish, or my catfish with black bean sauce (I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe on here for that. I need to rectify that situation.), but healthier and reasonably tasty.

It was still good.
Grilled beef filet
Roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary
Sauteed baby squash
This meal was especially good because we'd gotten the baby squash (aren't they cute? one of them looked like a duck) and the fingerling potatoes from the Farmer's Market and they rocked! So nice to get really fresh veggies. The squash I just sauteed in a pan with a little olive oil, some onions, and salt and pepper. They were excellent! So were the potatoes. Can't complain about the filet either...
My birthday, which was D-Day, thanks very much, was wonderful. I got to spend it on Figure 8 island with Chef Marc and Sara and he cooked me a wonderful birthday dinner of beef tenderloin, creamed corn, and roasted green beans. Delicious of course. And the setting couldn't have been more perfect. Here are some pics from the weekend. Man that was a perfect birthday!
So I don't know what else we've had of note. Although tonight's dinner was pretty good.
Whole Wheat Pizza with Pesto, Turkey Bacon, Artichoke Hearts and Sun-dried tomatoes
Spinach Salad
No pictures. You know. Pizza. Round, brownish... salad in a bowl, green... Not much to see. I liked the pizza all right. The crust was a little thicker, but still nice and chewy. No cheese. (I know. I sighed heavily about that.) Pootie was the pizza dude. I just made the crust. And the salad. He handled toppings. I may have to fire him for that cheese thing. (Curse the P90X diet and its pitiful little dairy serving!!)
Ok peeps. That ought to catch you up for a while. Maybe tomorrow I'll make something worth mentioning on its own.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beef Salad with Pineapple Ginger Dressing with Melissa and Ned

This was actually Friday night, and I'm way late posting this. It was good to have peeps in the dining room again. We were going to eat outside, but it was thundering in the distance, so we stayed indoors. That pic of Ned (on the pier) and Melissa (on the beach) was taken Saturday night at the Tiki bar down on Carolina Beach. Ned's band, Mason Smith Band, was playing that night and we went out to sit on the beach and have a listen.
But back to Friday night. Dinner was fast and simple and decent, although I have to say, I wish the dressing had packed just a little more punch. I think next time I'll up the ginger in it. It's from Fine Cooking (of course) and is very basic. Grilled flank steak, sliced thin and served over a salad of butter lettuce, radishes, diced pineapple and cucumber. The dressing was pineapple juice, vinegar, grated ginger (needed more), and oil. It was good, but just a little lacking in the flavor department.

They didn't seem to mind, though, and we had a great time anyway. Next time, guys, I'll cook something a little more exciting.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Farmer's Market Meals

Here I go. I know, I know. Every magazine you pick up, every newspaper food column you read, everything food is all abuzz about Farmer's Markets, eating local, sustainable, blahbitty blah blah yay. It's gotten as bad as corporate jargon. (Are we all on the same page now?) No one should be surprised that a tomato grown in someone's garden and driven a maximum of 15 or 20 miles and sold two days after it was picked is going to taste better than one grown in California, gassed so it turns red, and trucked all the way across the country. You know this. You know that carrots pulled straight from the ground, washed and eaten are nice and sweet and delicious. You know that a cucumber that isn't wrapped in plastic, but is warm from the sun and brought in and sliced and served with a little sugared vinegar just can't be beat. You know that Arkansas strawberries picked at the height of the season are the best EVER and yes, I'm including the second-rate ones here in North Carolina. OK, well, maybe you don't know about the Arkansas strawberries, but I do, and I miss them sometimes.

So why am I jumping on the bandwagon and boring you with stuff you already know? Well, one, because it's my blog, and I write about what's on my mind and what we've had to eat (usually) the night I write it. Two, I love our Downtown Farmer's Market - it's the only time I actually WANT to eat vegetables. And three, because no one reads this except my sister-in-law and a couple of other occasional peeps. And if the three of you get bored, you can just skip this one. Remind me to send you guys your monthly checks, by the way.

Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market downtown. I picked up tomatoes, baby carrots, fresh basil (I do grow my own and have a fairly respectable herb bed, but everyone has been OUT so far when I've tried to go get it), beautiful dark yellow squash, fresh eggs, fresh strawberries that no matter how good they are still aren't as good as the ones I had growing up in Arkansas (see above), some nice fingerling potatoes, and some gorgeous tiny little baby squash.

Tonight we had some local shrimp, boiled for peel-'em and eat 'em. And I roasted the fingerling potatoes and the baby carrots and we sliced one of the tomatoes. No, it's not really quiiiiite tomato season - another couple of weeks and they'll start really tasting good. But still very tasty compared to the cardboard variety that I don't even bother to buy anymore at the Teeter. Over there are the carrots. Ooo! Pretty!

Here's the whole spread: Yes, I know it's not the best picture I've ever taken. Sorry about that. It doesn't do justice to the dinner, which is not well-presented at all. Sometimes I'm lazy.

The fingerling potatoes (and the teensy weensy squashes that I'm really looking forward to cooking tomorrow) came from the organic farm of a friend of a friend. Federal Point Farm is owned and run by Christin Deener and David Higgins, and they had some lovely stuff. The potatoes were REALLY good tonight, and I know that squash is going to be hittin'. The basil I got from them was also excellent, although I do prefer to grow my own. It's coming! I just have to hit the herb folks at the right time, before the other weekend gardeners can clean them out. Thanks, Christin and Dave for contributing to a great dinner tonight!
So I guess I'll just repeat the obvious in case we all haven't been hit on the heads with it from the media enough times. Locally grown stuff is just better tasting. Yes, it's great that it's sustainable, and uses less energy for transport, and all that other stuff too. But there's just nothing like food that was picked yesterday or that day, served on your table tonight. It's so much better than the produce that tastes like the grocery store air-conditioner. Sorry if you can't get Arkansas strawberries, though.