Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Handing over the blogging reins...

I'm sure many of you have noticed by now that there are many people in my life with much more kitchen confidence than myself. 

Actually, I'm sure many of you have noticed by now that there are many people in the world with much more kitchen confidence than myself.

Baby steps, people. We're getting there, one cookie at a time.

Perhaps it is time to hear from one of those people. Someone who doesn't panic when their cookies are slightly different in size. Someone who makes fun of me for feeling that way. 

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please welcome Adam to Tales of a Kitchenphobe. 

::steps aside::

kitchen antics

First, I would like to thank the lovely Kitchenphobe (also known as the love of my life, and yes, I am going for the nauseatingly cute here) for allowing me to guest post. This is not my first appearance in this blog, as I have popped up a few times, the Zest King, Adam, and any other alias I have gone by, and my hands have been photographed several times. Today I am here to recite a recipe Sara and I experimented on this past weekend. 

I want to begin by saying that I am by no means a trained chef, but I am a master at eating and enjoying food, but I'm not sure whether or not that gives me license to do anything in particular, but you get my point. I will also apologize preemptively, as I do not cook via measurements, so I will guesti-approxi-measure everything for you, as well as give you some substitutions you may enjoy. The veritable feast I have been referring to consisted of sautéed asparagus, extra creamy macaroni and cheese, and a savory pork tenderloin with fruit. A list of ingredients for this recipe appears below.

Pork Tenderloin

Asparagus bunch

Box of Macaroni and Cheese

1 apple cut into 1/5’’ by 2’’ strips

1 pear cut into 1/5’’ by 2’’ strips

1 plum cut into 1/5’’ by 2’’ strips ( You can substitute any fruit you like here, but I find that berries tend to break down too fast in the cooking process and become paste and softer fruits tend to burn.)

  3 tablespoons of butter

  2 tablespoons of olive oil

 3 tablespoons + 4 teaspoons honey

 4 pinches course ground sea salt

 2 pinches fresh ground pepper

  2 pinches garlic/wine seasoning (can be substituted for 2 pinches garlic and 2 pinches dill, or any other flavor combo you enjoy)

I personally love to cook with pork, as it has a neutral flavor and tends to take on the flavor profile of whatever it is cooked with a little better than beef or chicken. For this recipe, we found 2 beautiful, thick cuts of pork tenderloin. Season one side of the pork with a pinch of salt as you melt 1 tablespoon of butter into 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium high heat. When the butter begins to brown, put down the seasoned side of the pork to brown. Season the other side with a pinch of garlic/wine seasoning. You are looking to brown each side of the pork and give it some nice carmelization. This should take about 5 minutes on each side.  



fruit part 2

As you are browning your pork, arrange 75% (minus the bits you munched on while slicing) of your sliced fruit onto a baking sheet (I always line mine with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and drizzle 3 tablespoons of honey over it. Arrange the fruit into one layer (you can arrange them into concentric circles, happy faces, anything you’d like to keep it fun) and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the pork is browned, lay it on top of your fruit and drizzle a teaspoon of honey over each of them. Pop it into the oven until it is fully cooked (internal temperature of 160-175 degrees or until it is white throughout and the juices run clear) which should take about 30 minutes.

After the pork is in the oven, take the sauté pan and deglaze it over medium low heat with a tablespoon of butter and about 3 teaspoons of honey. Once everything is nice and hot, toss in the remaining bits of fruit and sauté until the fruit is nice and tender. Add this to the top of the pork when it is about 2/3rds of the way cooked (after about 20 minutes). Don’t be afraid to let this mixture sit as you wait for the 2/3rds mark, as it does need a few minutes to thicken off the heat.

fruit and honey

pork on fruit

Next we move to the asparagus, my favorite vegetable. Use the snap trick to get rid of the ends (snapping off the bottom by bending it upright in order to see where the natural break is, and then cutting the bunch there) and then cut the sprigs into thirds at an angle (purely for presentation, no practicality here). First melt 1 tablespoon of butter in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the butter begins to bubble. Begin to sauté your asparagus with a pinch of pepper and 2 liberal pinches of salt. This is actually the one of the easiest vegetable recipes I know apart from boiling broccoli. All you need to do from this point is sauté the asparagus with an occasional toss until the desired tenderness. I personally like to give it a nice char and leave it a little crunchy.

cutting asparagus

beginning to cook asparagus

asparagus all cooked

Finally, we come to the macaroni and cheese, and I am not ashamed to say that it comes from a box. This is probably due to a childhood love affair with the blue box. Just follow whatever instructions and enjoy. This part is definitely interchangeable with any particular side dish you enjoy. A nice rice or potato base side dish would do quite nicely. Once all is cooked, plate and enjoy. 

mac and cheese

The finished presentation

Adam's photo of the finished product

All done

I do hope you enjoy, and I encourage you to add your own flair to this or any dish. And most of all, I hope you enjoy everything from the preparation to the digestion. Bon Appétit. 


Ashley said...

That looks great! I love the idea of cooking with fruit!

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