Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I spent most of yesterday cooking. Sadly, I was very happy about it! There were some recipes that I wanted to try so I put them together to make a meal. Let me just say that I got compliments from EVERYONE on last nights dinner so I guess they were all winning recipes! I had bought 2 packs of those 2" in diameter pork tenderloins thinking that was enough for 4 adults. I knew one wouldn't cut it with the boys appetites. I was surprised to see when I opened it that each pack actually had 2 tenderloins so now I had 4! What the heck. Maybe the leftovers would make good sandwiches. Boy was I wrong! There were NO leftovers, just happy faces!!! I'm beginning to think that people are right that soaking meat in a brine is the key to moist meat.
As for the Asparagus Salad... What can I say. I think I ate 1/2 of the asparagus BEFORE I even grilled it. The dressing was so addicting I couldn't stop myself. It must have been all of the garlic! PJ started picking at it as soon as he came home from work. He was very impressed!

The AuGratin Potatoes were very good except I had to bake them for an additional 45 minutes. But we took helpings from the sides of the pan. Those were cooked through. They were very tasty though.... a little different being that they had nutmeg in the mixture.

Asian-Glazed 'Melt-in-Your-Mouth' Pork Tenderloin

1 gallon water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
1/4 cup grated onion
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

To make the brine, mix together the water, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons ginger, onion, lemon, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce in a large container. Add the pork tenderloin, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
For the glaze, whisk together 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, hoisin sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons ginger, brown sugar, and orange juice.
Prepare an outdoor grill for high heat.
Cook the pork tenderloin on the preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, 7 to 12 minutes per side. Remove the tenderloin from the grill and cover with foil; allow to rest for 10 minutes. To serve, brush with glaze, and cut into thin slices.

Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad
Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo

He won the Food Networks 's latest Star contest.
Big Daddy's House


2 bunches asparagus, stems trimmed and split lengthwise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped thyme leaves

1 (8-ounce) jar julienne sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, oil reserved

12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin ** SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM


Preheat grill on medium-high heat.
Add asparagus, chopped garlic, salt and pepper, rosemary and thyme to a large bowl. Mix together. Grill asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes. Place asparagus back into bowl. Add julienne-sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Mix together.
Remove 2 tablespoons oil from asparagus mixture, and place into saute pan. Add mushrooms; cook for 3 to 4 minutes until browned and crisp.
Remove mushrooms and mix into asparagus mixture. Serve at room temperature.

** I think any mushroom would be fine. The shiitake mushrooms are sturdier when cooked but are also quite expensive. I did a bad thing... I took the stems off of my mushrooms while in the store so I wasn't then paying for pieces that I would throw out! I do that with Portabello's also! SHHHHHHHH!


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk 1/2 cup grated yellow Cheddar

1/4 cup grated American cheese

1/4 cup grated white cheddar

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 pounds russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed, peeled and sliced thin

Au Gratin:

1 stick butter, melted

2 cups panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons smoky paprika


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large sauce pot over medium-high heat, add butter. Stir in the flour until pasty. Add milk; stir to remove lumps and let cook for 6 minutes until it gets thick. (mine got too thick so I added more milk until it had a good creamy consistancy) Lower heat and add the cheese, bouillon, nutmeg and black pepper. Whisk until well combined and sauce thickens, approximately 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, combine butter, panko and smoky paprika. Stir well.
Place potatoes into a casserole dish. Pour cheese over potatoes and sprinkle au gratin on top. Wrap with foil and bake in oven for 35 to 45 minutes. ( I had to increase my baking time for an additional 45 minutes!) Remove foil and cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Friday, August 8, 2008


This is a really nice, summer salad. Kris made it for the shower. I had 2 helpings and would have gone back for more had I not wanted to look like a pig!
I decided to make it last night to go with our RIBS and BBQ SMOKED CORN (recipes at the bottom).
As with all of the recipes that I try, nothing ever goes without some sort of problem. The recipe is easy enough but you need to pay attention! I put the 'mixture' on the stove to saute until golden brown. I then ran outside to put the corn in the smoker. I was rinsing out the cooler that the corn was soaking in with the hose when Alyssa came running out to tell me that the stuff on the stove is BLACK! Yup! I forgot about it! So I had to start all over again! Then when I was making the dressing, I put it in a tupperware container that has holes in the top that the steam can come out of. Being that this was very hot, I thought it was a perfect choice. I poured it in and it came to the top. That was my problem! As I snapped the top on, the hot oil mixture shot out onto my shirt and across the kitchen! What a mess. This recipe is really easy, it's just my mistakes that make everything so difficult!
The salad came out delicious and everyone enjoyed it, so much so that Alyssa and Scott finished off the leftovers this morning for breakfast!
4 Bok Choy (or 4 bags of coleslaw)
3 bunches of scallions
4-6 pkgs Ramen Oriental noodles soup
6-8 oz slivered almonds
6-8 oz sunflower seeds (I bought dry roasted)
Garlic powder
Chop Bok Choy and Scallions (white and green parts) and put in a large ziploc bag with holes in it. Refrigerate.
While still in unopened packages, crunch up ramen noodles well with your hands. Disgard the seasoning packets. Pour noodles into a large bowl; add almonds and sunflower seeds to make a nice even mix. Add garlic powder (as much as you want. I added quite a lot!). Mix well.
Saute 1/2 of the dry mix in a large skillet in some vegetable oil. WATCH CAREFULLY and stir often sop it doesn't burn! When a little golden brown, remove the mixture from the pan and repeat with the rest of the mix. Allow to cool. You can do that in advance and store in a container at room temp.
1 cup olive oil
3-4 TBSP soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
Boil all dressing ingredients together, mixing constantly while cooking. Remove from heat IMMEDIATELY when mixture comes to a boil and keep stirring until it stops boiling. Let cool and pour into a container and refrigerate. (I forgot to let it cool. That's where I went wrong!)
Prepare salad by mixing all ingredients together RIGHT BEFORE EATING so it doesn't become soggy.
10 ears fresh corn with husks
1 quart beer
1 (7 pound) bag of ice cubes
Place whole ears of corn in an ice chest. Pour beer over top. Dump ice out over the ears of corn. Place the lid on the cooler, and let sit 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat smoker** to 250 degrees F ( 120 degrees C).
Place corn in the smoker and close the lid. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes or so. Kernels should give easily under pressure when done. To eat, just peel back the husks and use them for a handle.
**You can also cook these on a grill for about 30 minutes if you don't have a smoker.
PJ smoked the ribs the day before in the smoker. All I then had to do was brush on a BBQ sauce and grill them to warm them up for dinner. I chose to make my favorite BBQ sauce from my idol... Tyler Florence!
The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce
1 slice bacon , cut into 1/2 " pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute bacon for a few minutes. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving along side the ribs at the table. The rest of the barbecue sauce will be used for basing the ribs.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Today we're supposed to go to Stew's beach house in Atlantic Beach. Every year they have a 'Cornell Get Together' so friends can catch up on everyone's lives. I decided to bring a dessert that wasn't the usual chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies that so many people bring. I wanted something different with a little of the WOW factor! I had remembered how impressed PJ was years ago when we went to a travel lacrosse game upstate and a mother from the opposing team shared her dessert with our team. It was a Fruit Pizza. Her's was huge though, in an actual 16" pizza box! I decided that this would be the dessert to bring. I decided to cut out the crust making part and simplify things. I bought a tub of sugar cookie dough from the supermarket. I used a rolling pin to spread it on the pizza pan and I then baked it at 350 degrees for probably 25 minutes. I kept going back and looking at it until it had a nice light golden color and looked a little dry. It always hardens more after it cools. It's so humid out that I thought it would be too soft if I made it the day of, so I made it yesterday. Everything else was ready this morning and it took maybe 15 minutes to put the whole thing together. I have it waiting in the refrigerator. I hope it tastes good!!!

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light. Spread on cooled crust.
Arrange desired fruit on top of filling, and chill.