Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Fun #81 - Unusual Grillables

Mr. Kluges and I just did our first fancy (aka not brats) grilling of the season. The olive tapenade pork was yummy, and he's picked out an even fancier-looking recipe for this upcoming weekend. (Flank steak wrapped around carrots, celery, kielbasa, Romano cheese, and bell pepper)

It got me thinking about other unusual things one can grill. Have you ever been involved with a whole pig grilling? Made a relatively common grillable but with unusual ingredients like, say, tofu kabobs? An "I didn't know you could make THAT on a grill?" food - I don't know - maybe pizza or spaghetti and meatballs (could you even do that?)

How 'bout it? What's the most unusual thing you've ever grilled/seen somebody else grill?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Olive Tapenade Stuffed Pork Loin

Just made this tonight (along with grilled zucchini slices and rosemary potato packets)& it was yum! Well, actually it was a joint effort - I made the olive tapenade & Mr. Kluges prepped the meat & grilled it. It looks impressive, too. I got pork tenderloin and it was rather small/narrow, so it just looked more like pork rolled around a center of tapenade than the pretty spiral effect the cookbook ("How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen) shows. Now this cookbook specializes on its step by step photos, so if some of the directions are unclear, it's because the photos are meant for clarification.

For the tapenade:
2 c. drained, pitted black olives (two 6-oz. cans) or 1 1/2 c. pitted kalamata and/or oil-cured olives
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped [Though my girls love olives & capers, neither liked the tapenade... I think the garlic was why & I'd leave it out next timejust for them.]
2 Tbl. drained capers
1 Tbl. Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper
1 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil

For the pork:
1 pork loin roast (2 1/2 - 3 lbs.)
Coarse salt & black pepper
4 strips bacon or pancetta, optional (or more!!!!)
(You also need butcher's string/kitchen twine.)

1. Prepare the tapenade: Place the olives, garlic, capers, mustard and oregano into a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Add the pepper to taste and the oil and process until blended.

[If you're doing charcoal, you might want to start it around now, I think.]

2. Roll-cut the pork roast as shown in pix blah blah blah.... a)Trim off the sheath of fat and sinew that covers the roast. b)Hold a long, sharp, slender knife parallel to the cutting board, and starting at the bottom of the roast, about 1/2 inch above the cutting board, make a lengthwise cut in the roast. Cut almost to the other side. c) Unfold the top of the roast (it's a bit like unrolling a roll of paper towels that's lying on its side.) d) Continue cutting and unrolling the roast in a lengthwise fashion, knife parallel to and about 1/2 inch above the cutting board to obtain a broad, flat rectangle of pork that's about 1/2 inch thick.

3. Season the top of the meat with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt - the olives are quite salty). Spread the tapenade on the meat and roll it back into a roast. Cut four 12-inch long pieces of butcher's string and lay them out on a cutting board. If using the bacon strips, place 3 of them across the string, 1 - 2 inches apart. Place the roast on the bacon, parallel to the strips. Lay the 4th strip of bacon on top of the roast. Loop the ends of the strip over the roast and tie securely, starting at the ends to keep the stuffing from oozing out. Season the roast on the outside with salt (if not using bacon) and pepper.

4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling [have the heat only on the sides of the grill, not directly beneath the roast] and preheat to medium.

5. When ready to cook, place the roast in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Grill the roast until cooked through, about 1 hour. To test for donness, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the side of the roast: The internal temperature should be at least 160F.

6. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the strings. Using a sharp knife, cut the roast cross-wise into 1/2-inch slices.

[Admire, then eat!]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Fun #80 - The Food Found 'Round the Web

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a food-related website I enjoy - The Accidental Hedonist. Besides a great name, it's got yummy-sounding recipes (not that I've made any yet), interesting articles about food policy and politics, and stuff I found fascinating about whiskey/whisky.

Nectarine and AllKnowingJen shared this website where the author used her crockpot all 365 days one year. (I can say the Brown Sugar Chicken went over pretty well at our house...) Syl shared this site with lots of freezer keepers. I'm sure at least some of you have other favorites you enjoy/follow.

So my question is this - what ARE some of your favorite food-related websites? Maybe you love the writing, or the pictures are totally drool-worthy, or the recipes have been a hit. Share!

And also, (see poll, but feel free to elaborate here) do you want to have a blogroll of these sites in the sidebar?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

We make this whenever someone hands us a starter (although, you can start your own as follows). We all love the main recipe but the chocolate is wonderful and so is the lemon. We have also made the rhubarb which adults in my family love but the kids are not as crazy about.

We do not handout many bags as we make about 3 batches at a time. You take the cup that you are suppose to give to friends and make another batch. It works great and you get bread to freeze for a later date. (We also give lots of bread away!) It only takes a little more time and the mess is already out.

To start your own starter.....
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 package of yeast
Mix together in a bag.

Here is a site for the rest of the steps. I think it is worth it.

Pumpkin Bread

This is a favorite around here anytime I make it.

3 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 ½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
3 Cups Sugar

Mix Well.

4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cup or one can pumpkin
1 cup oil

Beat till smooth with above.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (toothpick test).
Makes 3 loaves.
Muffins about 30 and cook for about 20 minutes.

Walnut Banana Bread

1/2  Cup  shortening (I have always substituted butter with no problem. I've also done applesauce with just 2 Tbs of butter and that works too if you want something a little healthier. If you use the shortening though, it makes it super moist.) 
1 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium) 
1 Tbs milk
2 Cups flour 
1 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts (pecans are good too) 

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and milk. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased 9x5x3 in. loaf pan.  Bake at 325 (F) for 65-70 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 min. before removing from pan. (those are the real instructions, but really, I just throw it all in a bowl and mix it up.) 
This is a very forgiving recipe and it will still work if you don't have milk or if you only have one banana or you have 4-5 bananas, etc. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nutella Cupcakes

Ok, I know this is not a quickbread, but every once in awhile I come across a recipe and I know that I must share it with you all right away. This is one of those times.

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 12 oz) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or grease the cups with some butter. Alternatively, butter an 8-inch round cake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full (or pour all the batter into the cake pan). The batter will be thick. Top each cake with a dollop (I used about 2 tsp per cupcake and about 1/3 cup dolloped in tablespoon measures for the cake round) of Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.

Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes and the round cake for 25-30.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 cupcakes or 1 8-inch round cake.

Ok, who is making these first? Call me, I will come over and help you eat them. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Fun #79 - Kitchen Dreams

A while back, Mr. Kluges was talking about our kitchen cupboards over on House of 42 Doors and mentioned that he might want to move them back down ELIMINATING SOME COUNTER SPACE! Well, that idea was vetoed pretty quickly by myself as well as several of you commentors. (And rightly so. Silly man.)

But, you know, we DO pretty much all want to make changes in our houses, particularly our kitchens. Maybe ADD some counter space, change the cupboard doors or hardware, replace the stove, redo entirely to change the traffic flow, etc. I'd like to (someday) put in a center island with a dishwasher (since we have no dishwasher, no good place to put it in the existing cupboard arrangement, and plenty of space in the middle of the large room).

How about you? What change(s) would you make in your kitchen, if you could?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday Fun #78 - Banned Brewing and Lawless Lagers!

I was reading over at Accidental Hedonist the other day, and they mentioned that home brewing has just become legal in Utah! Now, I don't know about you, but I'd've figured on Utah being the last state in the union to legalize home brewing, but it's not! In fact, there are FOUR states in which it's still illegal to brew your own beer.

Can you guess which ones they are?

(I'll post the answer in the comments next Wednesday, but if you can't wait, take a look at this article on, which was the source to which Accidental Hedonist linked.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April Theme - Quick Breads

Oh, hi! Look at that - it's already April 5th & I'd completely forgotten about putting this month's theme up. So sorry!

This month's theme is pretty simple, but yummy - quick breads. Now, we're not talking yeast breads, but rather the ones that use baking soda or baking powder to make them raise, and therefore don't require a lot of time. Your banana breads, zucchini breads, corn bread, etc. I don't make these enough - they're so easy and quick and great for snacks, breakfast, etc.!

We don't have a lot of these posted yet. In fact, I'd say
definitely qualifies, and I suppose
does, since it's made with baking soda & doesn't require time to raise, but that's all we got, folks.
So pull out those recipe cards and let's have 'em. Go, quick breads!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Cookie - from a fall favorite

I turned a fall favorite cookie into an easy Easter Cookie.
We made them today and I think it worked.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Fun #77 - Easter Egg "Tie" Dyeing Idea

Over on Cool Mom Picks I saw this kit for dyeing eggs using vintage silk ties. "Huh," I thought, "that doesn't sound too hard. I wonder if there are directions on-line for doing that, 'cuz picking up some ties cheap at Goodwill would certainly be less $ than ordering the kit..."

So I found this thing where Martha Stewart had been on the Today show back in 2007 demonstrating it. Doesn't look too hard at all, so I might give it a try.

Here's where somebody else tried out Martha's idea, with great pix.

And another, with super pictures of the eggs and the ties they came from.

So, anybody else thinking about giving these a try? If so, please post your pix!

(Or any other beautiful eggs you make! Dyeing eggs is my favorite part of Easter!)