Martha Mondays

February 18, 2011

Just a reminder that Monday’s project is chocolate biscotti, chosen by Ana at Sweet Almond Tree.


Easter Carrots

February 17, 2011

I know I’m a few months early, but I’ve already decided what I’m making for Easter. I am in love with these carrots. There was a fight over the leftovers here.

half a bag of baby carrots

2 heaping tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp dried dill

salt and pepper

4 tbsp white wine

chives or green onions

Slice the carrots into thick matchsticks – you want to get 4-6 per carrot. Boil until just tender. At the very end, drop in the green from green onions (scallions) or a handful of chives and just cook for a minute to wilt. Drain. Make little bundles of the carrots and tie with the chives or green onions (even if you only do a few, this still will look cute). Melt butter, sugar, dill, salt and pepper, and wine. Cook for a minute or two until combined and the wine has time to burn off and it thickens slightly.¬† Add the carrot bundles and gently stir, then serve. As you can see, I didn’t have a lot of success with the bundles, but I didn’t have much green onion here to work with. Next time I will have more and will be prepared. I just think this is so darn cute and will look wonderful for Easter.

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Chocolate Creme Brulee

February 15, 2011

I spent a lot of time in restaurants as a kid. My parents were major foodies back when it was called being a “gourmet.” Creme brulee is one of my dad’s favorite desserts, so I’ve had more than my share of it even though it’s just not a favorite on my own list. He orders it a lot in restaurants. It was everywhere back in the 70s and 80s and seems to be everywhere yet again. The textures are great – crunchy top with cool creamy pudding, but I am a chocolate girl through and through.

Martha to rescue. Martha recently whipped up chocolate creme brulee on her show (this is also in February Living) and I was hooked. Had to try it! And I rationalized, it could be my Valentine’s present to myself since Mr. MarthaAndMe and I don’t really go overboard for this holiday.

The pudding was easy to whip up and it cooked nicely in the water bath. So far so good. I was nervous about making the top though. I don’t have a torch, so I had to broil it. The sugar sort of melted and then hardened. It had the right texture, but not the right color. And a lot of the pudding itself got kind of warm – it only stayed cold down at the bottom.

Despite that, this was good and if you have a torch, it would really be a snap to make. I liked it, but I think I’ve just had too much creme brulee in my life maybe. I would rather just have chocolate pudding!

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Martha Momdays: Sauteed Sole

February 14, 2011

I called this post Martha Momdays instead of Martha Mondays because the recipe chosen for today by Lyndsey at Tiny Skillet, sauteed sole, is exactly how my mom used to make it, or almost. The only difference is that this recipe uses a lot more butter and oil. I doubled this recipe so I could feed four with it. I put the butter and oil in the pan and melted it and it was just too much to my eye. So I scooped out about 2 tbsp. Much better. When we were in Seattle over the summer I had sole at a restaurant there and it was supposed to be sauteed, but it arrived fried to a crisp and I didn’t want to relive that experience!

The sole cooks really quickly  (after being dusted with flour) and then you mix up the quick sauce of pan juice, lemon juice, zest, sliced almonds and parsley. Quick and perfect.

I haven’t had sole in a long time, so this was a treat. I am still trying to work my way through the salmon Mr. MarthaAndMe and DudeMartha caught in Alaska and haven’t been buying much seafood, other then shrimp. I was eyeing up the grouper in the fish store, so I may have to go back and buy some of that for another night.

This is a perfect recipe for a week night when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, but want something delicious and full of flavor.Mr. MarthaAndMe is an especially big fan of this one.

Interested in joining Martha Mondays? Just leave a comment letting me know and I’ll add you to roster. You’ll get a turn to choose a project every couple of months and can cook or craft along with us, posting your results.

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Jamie Oliver’s Tray Chicken

February 10, 2011

The recipe for this was in our Sunday paper. I’ve never tried any of Jamie Oliver’s recipes, but this one sounded good. The little intro that accompanied it explained that Jamie likes this for Sunday dinner. In the winter especially, I do like to make Sunday dinners, so this appealed to me.

I had a bit of an oops with this one. I misread the recipe and forgot to add the broth with the potatoes. Eek. I realized it when I went to add the chicken and added it then. Of course it didn’t thicken enough and the potatoes did not cook completely either. I ended up siphoning some of the juices out and thickening them with flour and adding them back in. Don’t let my disaster scare you away though. This was really, really delicious and when I reheated the leftovers the next day (getting the potatoes cooked through) it was fab. The onion and garlic give this a real oomph of flavor. Having sweet and regular potatoes gives it color and an interesting mix of flavor. I will make this again – and this time I’ll make sure I’m awake enough to follow simple instructions!

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Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce

February 8, 2011

I am a fan of pomegranate sauce. I’ve made this sauce before, for lamb. A while back, the people at Pom contacted me and asked if I would like a flat of Pom juice to use for recipes for this blog. I said I would and they sent it along. Dude Martha noticed it sitting in the garage fridge and asked if he could try it. Suddenly-poof!-it was all gone. The boy was in love with it. I couldn’t complain since I was happy to have him drinking something healthy. That left me with no Pom for recipes. So, I had to go buy some more. Finally, though I was able to make this recipe.

Roast one pork tenderloin that has been seasoned with salt and pepper at 400 degrees. It takes about half an hour. Meanwhile brown 3 tbsp butter in a sauce pan. Add 1 finely chopped clove of garlic and cook for 3 seconds. Add 3/4 cup pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Add 1 tsp thyme and 1 tsp rosemary. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium, cooking until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Serve sauce with pork.

The pomegranate juice is a wonderful sweet tart flavor that complements pork magnificently. The color is also just gorgeous – this would be a perfect Valentine’s Day dish.


Martha Mondays: Beef Bourguignon

February 7, 2011

Pru at Perfecting Pru chose this week’s recipe, Beef Bourguignon. On Friday afternoon, it hit me that I needed to make it that night since no one would be home for dinner Saturday and Sunday was the Superbowl. I didn’t realize this until 2:45 pm and the recipe needs 3 hours and 15 minutes in the oven, plus prep! And we had to eat dinner no later than 6 pm because of some obligations. Yikes!

This is relatively easy to throw together, even though Martha does things in separate steps that I would probably mash together (like cooking the bacon last – I usually do it first and cook the meat in some of the grease). I didn’t have enough red wine, so I subbed some cider for the missing cup (I knew this would work because I have a cider beef stew recipe that’s good). I also have never been able to find pearl onions at the grocery store (unless she means to use canned and I can’t believe she does), so I just chopped up some sweet onion and used that instead (before writing this, I just read a post on Pru’s blog about how she never understood why I tinkered with Martha’s recipes, so I am laughing as I write this, knowing Pru is probably shaking her head at me again). I finally got it to a boil at 3:30 right before I had to rush out the door to pick up DudeMartha, so I threw it in the oven on convection, knowing that would cut my cooking time down.

Everything worked out perfectly. By 5:45, it was done. I did put it on the stove at the end and add more flour because I like it very thick.

I served it with mashed potatoes which made the men in my house happy (but not me since I realized I never replaced my broken hand mixer, so I had to haul out the KitchenAid to mash the potatoes – I’ve tried a potato masher and just don’t like the texture).

I thought this was delicious. There was enough left that I was able to freeze it for another night. This is almost identical to the recipe I usually use. I often add thyme when I make stew, so I did feel that was missing. Sometimes I add potatoes when I won’t be serving it over a starch. This was a great dinner for a cold, cold night!


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