Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer BBQ: Herb-Marinated Pork Loin; Amish Slaw; and Tabbouleh

When it is hot, as it has been for the last several days here in Boston, I tend to avoid turning on the oven as much as possible, and use it as a great excuse to dine outside. I've had several Ina Garten recipes that call for grilling that I end up broiling in the toaster oven due to lack of motivation to fire up the grill. Finally, however, we tried Garten's Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin on the bbq.

It is really very good...especially in the summer when you want a "lighter" meat. I'm not totally sure how I feel about lemon and pork, to be honest...there is a moment of adjustment when I first taste it, but then it is decidedly delicious. I think the fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic, and dijon save it. The lemon sort of "summers up" these more traditional pork seasonings.

Now, looking back at my blog, I can't believe I haven't already blogged my Amish Slaw is part of what I call the Summer Salad Marathon (SSM), but I actually make it several times a year. It goes with everything, but I particularly like it with pork (again, there is dijon mustard involved). I'm not a fan of creamy coleslaw, generally speaking, so this is a great alternative. I've adapted the recipe enough to call it my own.

R's Amish Slaw
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup and I find it makes it too sweet...but if you can adjust the amount of sugar you use to your taste).
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup oil (I use are going to boil it)

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, onion, and 1 cup sugar. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, salt, celery seed, 1 tsp sugar, mustard and oil. Bring to a boil, cook for 3 minutes. Cool completely, then pour over cabbage mixture, and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Lastly, I'm on a Mediterranean kick, so I made tabbouleh (pick your own spelling) for the first time. Most recipes are pretty much the same, but I grabbed mine out of this budget "Meze" cookbook I picked up awhile back. You basically just have to be willing to chop a lot. I don't recommend using a food processor, or being careful if you do, particularly with the parsley and mint, because it can pulverize it too much. One of the great aspects of tabbouleh is its texture--the bulgar wheat, with the veggies and the fresh mint and parley (lots of it!).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lamb Persillade & French String Bean Salad

I love lamb. And I've cooked it in almost every form (chops, roasts, kofta...) EXCEPT rack of lamb. I've had this fear, you see, because I always remember the very elaborate crown roast my parents made once for a dinner party long ago. At any rate, now that the school year is over, I decided it was time to get over that.

So, as usual, if I want a recipe I'm almost guaranteed to like, I turn to Ina Garten. Here's Ina's Lamb Persillade recipe (also found in her Barefoot in Paris cookbook).

It truly was easy. I undercooked it a bit much (I like med rare), but the leftovers were fantastic, broiled in the toaster oven. Just cut how many you want to eat for lunch and broil them (if your original rack was rare...otherwise, I'd just heat them).

I served it with two other Ina Garten recipes: Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper (which may be my all-time favorite easy pasta recipe because it goes with so many other dishes) and her French String Bean Salad (How Easy is That? P. 109), which does not appear to be available online. So I reproduce it without proportions here, because basically all you need to know is that the secret ingredient is fresh dill. :)

French String Bean Salad (from Ina Garten)

  • kosher salt
  • French string beans (haricots verts), both ends trimmed
  • Dijon mustard
  • white wine vinegar (I used and recommend champagne vinegar)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • minced fresh dill
Blanch the beans, dress, and refrigerate, add dill just before serving.
It was delicious and the dressing is versatile enough to use for a regular green salad as well.