Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jane's Rice Salad

Sometimes simple is best. Simply put, this recipe is simply divine.

Jane's Rice Salad

5 to 6 cups cooked rice (use either brown, white, wild or mix of any of them - I used 1/2 white and 1/2 brown)
1 jar pimento-stuffed green olives - sliced
1 seedless cucumber - diced
1/2 large red onion - diced
feta cheese or goat cheese (no measurement - just to taste)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix it all up and add additional lemon juice if needed. Can be made ahead but just omit cheese and add when ready to serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dill Pickle Cheeseburgers

Ah, burger season. Any given night you can step outside and catch the whiff of juicy burgers being tossed on neighborhood grills. That aroma demands you slip on flip flops, crack open a beer and leave your worries at the office. There's nothing complicated about these burgers but they hit the spot.

Dill Pickle Cheeseburgers

2 slices of white bread (I've even used an english muffin)
1/3 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
1 egg
2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 large dill pickles - minced

Hamburger buns
cheese of choice
favorite condiments

Tear bread into small pieces and put bread and parsley in a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Transfer to large bowl. Using wooden spoon or clean hands mix egg, beef, pickles and desired amount of salt and pepper into bread mixture. Form 6 to 8 patties about 1/2-inch thick. Toss on grill and cook to desired temperature then doctor them up with cheese and whatever else suites your fancy. Fried egg anyone?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

I will admit right up front that I just saw this recipe from a newbie Food Network starlit, Claire Robinson. I'm lovin' her cooking style. Five ingredients to make wholesome, honest-to-goodness meals. I just had to try this pork recipe. Ding...ding...ding...a winner. Moist, flavorful, looks fancy but so easy! Just don't forget you'll need kitchen twine to make this beauty.

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs rosemary, with hard woody stems
5 large garlic cloves, 2 cloves minced, 3 cloves smashed
2 pork tenderloins, about 1-pound each
4 slices maple bacon

In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, fresh ground black pepper, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic and mix well. Rub the mustard mixture over the surface of the tenderloins and wrap in plastic wrap or put in plastic bags. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place rosemary sprigs and smashed garlic in the center of a roasting pan. Remove the plastic wrap from the tenderloins and top each with 2 slices of maple bacon. Tie with kitchen twine to secure bacon strips.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer, inserted in the tenderloins, registers 160 degrees F. Remove from oven when desired doneness is reached and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes on a cutting board. Remove kitchen twine, slice and serve.

Note: Using an electric knife will give you cleaner slices through bacon and pork. Doesn't everybody deserve a little bacon?

P.S. For those of you that counted the ingredient list - salt/pepper don't count because everyone would have that on hand. I hope!

Perfect Lemon Cake

I'm a bonifide chocoholic. Why waste calories if it's not chocolate? However, once in a blue moon I'll surprise myself and decide on a non-chocolate dessert for a gathering. I'm cooking an early Mother's Day dinner for my mother-in-law and my husband's grandmother today. This cake is a snap to whip up and just divine. It's moist and travels well. I'll be serving it with fresh strawberries.

Perfect Lemon Cake with Fresh Lemon Glaze

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package lemon-flavored instant pudding
4 large eggs
3/4 cup. canola oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sweet sherry or orange juice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I always buy whole nutmeg and use my microplane)

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powered sugar
1 - 2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bundt pan with cooking spray. In large mixing bowl add all cake ingredients and mix with electric mixer until smooth and thick. Pour batter in bundt pan and bake for roughly 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and cake pulls away from the pan slightly. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.

While cake is cooling, whisk together sugar and lemon juice to create a smooth glaze, adding more lemon juice if needed. While cake is still slightly warm, drizzle glaze over the cake. Then go get those forks!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, my company hosted a little friendly salsa competition. Let's just say that this little recipe pulled out a win for me but not without tears. Tears from touching my eye after cutting jalapenos. Not my smartest move but this recipe is smart because you use canned tomatoes! It's got some heat so go easy on the peppers if you prefer a milder salsa.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

4 fresh jalapenos (see note below for heat level)
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
2 limes, juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans Hunts diced tomatoes

Put everything but the tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse until diced. Add the tomatoes and pulse a few times to combine. Serve with chips.

Note: This recipe can be very hot. And can be made without the jalapeno seeds and veins to make it less hot.