Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pork-tastic! (and a dog story)

I feel a bit guilty because I didn't really 'make' the pork tenderloin we had last night, as in season it or such things, but it was still a damn good dinner.

I got one of those hatfield (I think) pork tenderloins in the meat section of my local grocery store, flavored with "peppercorn." So basically I could've done it myself, but oh well. It was great!! Roasted with foil on for 20 min, stuck some shaved carrots (whole) in for 10 min (seasoned with olive oil and S&P), took the foil off, roasted for another 10 min, took the pork out to 'sit' and did the carrots for another 5 min or so. Who knew it took so long for carrots to roast???

The carrots came out with a great flavor because of the pork remnants/liquids/essence. The carrots of course were organic, they come with their manes still attached, not sure what I should do with all that greenery so i just throw it out. If anyone has anything interesting to do with carrot stem please let me know!! I buy the organic carrots because I am a snob. Or because I bought them once and they tasted so freaking good I just can't eat any other carrots now.

The potatoes I made were from my favorite place for food-ness, Weaver's Orchard (see previous posts for website). They were great! Just plain ol' gold potatoes, took about 5/6 of them (the biggest ones, left the smaller ones to make roasted taters another day), boiled them, mashed them, stuck them in a - NO. nevermind that.
Left the skin on, because that's hubs' favorite part apparently. Why? potato innards = so yummy!
Some 1% milk, from local cows in Lancaster (I like having milk come from cows I can actually drive by and moo at), a little bit of butter (I'm estimating about 2-3 tbs, give or take a stick), and some sea salt and I was in heaven. No, they will never compare to my grandmother's potatoes, but nothing really will. Sigh.

All in all, great dinner! easy too because I had to do laundry in between prep & cook. OH. AND. I had to take my overpeeing dog out.

That cute dog, in the posts from a couple weeks ago? Yeah, he's the devil incarnate. He was perfect last week, and Monday started up again with the "I'm gonna pee on everything sucka" routine. So I threw his little gold self in the car and off to the vet we went. $800 later (I exaggerate, it's what I do), I left with antibiotics and a bill for urine and blood tests. I half hope it's nothing, I half hope it's something - treatable. I'm so sick of the smelliness! and feel so bad that he pees and doesn't really know it, hence sits in it all day. bathtime = dinnertime for Leroy lately.

We'll see how it goes next week. On the bright side, I didn't threaten to turn him into a rug this week. Yet. It's only Thursday.

*disclaimer: no dogs were nor will be harmed by writer of this blog. though I may wax poetic about threats, I carry no big stick.*

...aaaaand here's dinner as leftovers the next day, WHEEEE!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Fought The Law (session #1)

SO... yours truly got a parking ticket back in, oh, March. It was for parking at a meter without paying (I think), and as I remember it, there was only about 20 minutes until the meters turned off. So I had a 20-minute window where I could get fined. And I was. GLORIOUS.

I promptly threw the ticket in the backseat and forgot about it. It got lost in the backseat (as things usually do) and I forgot about it until June, when I got a letter in the mail saying I hadn't paid, and this was the last warning. So I sucked it up and paid the fine.

Fast forward to today: I get a certified letter in the mail saying that I have a court date. Or, rather, will have a court date if I plead 'not guilty.' I sent the payment by check back in JUNE! Apparently the mail system played a cruel trick and ATE MY PAYMENT! So now, I either have to pay the fine plus an exorbitant amount of 'cost' and 'other' to the city, or show up in court. I will gladly cut another check for the cost of the original fine, but I want a darn good reason (and to know where my 'cost' and 'other' are going) before I pay the 'cost' and 'other' categories. SO...

I'm pleading not guilty and showing up in court.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Pictures Blog!

I decided to make a blog just for pictures. So if family comes here looking for an update on my life, they don't have to read all the recipes. Although they should, it's a show of support people.
So here it is! Tempest in a Blue Teapot presents PICTURES!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Take that, Martha.

this is my new b*tchin' wreath - that I made myself!
and here are the products I used to make it. Blackberry included.

Recipe Exchange - Shrimp and Pasta

For the most recent recipe exchange, Keepin' it Real, I was given Shrimp and Pasta. This recipe exchange was all about using staples, a fast-and-easy kind of thing. At first glance, it seems pretty simple, but I was a little confused by the instructions! Don't worry recipe-writer, it's the operator, not the machine!

Shrimp and Pasta
(total cook time, 20-30 minutes, most ingredients on hand)

1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp (thawed)
olive oil
cooking spray (olive oil, preferably)
crushed red pepper flakes (at least 1 tsp, more if you like heat)
fresh ground black pepper
salt-free seasoning
6-7 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
2 shallots, finely chopped, divided
wine (drinking or cooking) I used white wine
angel hair pasta

1. cook pasta according to package directions (I halved the recipe)
2. In a dish place about a tbsp of olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Pat shrimp dry and place in dish. "Salt" and pepper shrimp and toss to coat with olive oil and red pepper flakes.
3. spray a skillet liberally with cooking spray and add about a tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add just a small amount of garlic, onion, and shallot to pan and cook until just soft, less than 2 minutes. Add shrimp to pan and spray with more cooking spray.
3.cook shrimp, not stirring too often. When shrimp are about halfway done, add the rest of the first half of garlic, shallot, and shrimp (think they meant onion) (the other half will go in the pasta). Cook shrimp to desired doneness, trying to get a little bit of crisp on it (times wil vary). When shrimp is done, remove from pan, set aside and cover.
4. Add just enough wine to skillet to deglaze the pan. Once wine has almost evaporated, add about a tbsp of olive oil and the rest of the garlic, onion, and shallot. Saute until soft, about 2 minutes.
5. Add cooked and drained pasta to skillet and toss to coat.
6. Serve shrimp over the pasta.

Survey says:
HUBS LOVED IT. He loved it. I think it was cause I halved the recipe but OD'd on garlic and pepper. I was not as impressed, but I think since he loved it so much I'll add it to the repertoire! Thanks recipe exchange!!

**sidenote: I just want to let you all know... I peeled and deveined those babies! yes, got fresh shrimp right before dinner and did the dirty work myself. I told hubs afterward, and he was like, why didn't you just get frozen shrimp? BECAUSE... if I have the availability of shrimpies that are fresh I'll take those. for a regular weeknight dinner, I'd probably get the frozen ones. But I'd never done fresh shrimp before so now I can say I have!

Friday, September 12, 2008

This is what I do when I'm home sick and bored.

These are the doggies halloween costumes from last year:

here are the dogs trying to ignore me:

and here they are extreme close-up:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dinner Divas - Mac & Cheddar Cheese w/ Chicken and Broccoli

So for my next Dinner Divas trick, I decided to do Rach's recipe. AS USUAL I didn't follow the recipe to a T, but made my own adjustments. They are listed below.

Rach's Mac & Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped (I used about a quarter onion because I don't like them)
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists (I used a fantastic noodle called Casarecce from the local Italian market because I couldn't find cavatapi)
2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in produce department
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I don't have this, oops)
1 teaspoon paprika (don't have this either, I suck at this)
3 cups whole milk (I didn't have whole milk either, and realized that I only had two cups of skim milk halfway through, so I used a cup of heavy cream to make up)
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar (I got a block of cheddar, 8 oz was about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.
Heat a medium pan over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.

To boiling pasta water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.

Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.

Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.

VERDICT: like one of the other commenters on this meal, I found the flavor a bit lacking, so ended up dumping sea salt like mad, something hubs isn't happy about (but he wasn't here when I was eating, so I got away with it, mua ha ha). It was nice and creamy though, and the broccoli with the cheddar was fab! So, three out of four stars from me. For hubs, this was his favorite so far (better than the mandarin chicken of Monday).

Here are two pictures I attempted to take, the lighting in my house is not the best so let me know which one you like better! he he.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mmm...candy corn...

So I was at the market today getting the usual supplies (giant head of broccoli for $1.99, deli meats, one pear) when I spied from the corner of my eye some sugary colored goodness: CANDY CORN. Assorted kinds, assorted shapes. I got a bag of yellow corns, brown corns, and pumpkins. Ohhhh good stuff. I just ate ten of each and 5 pumpkins so I am in sugar happy land. And of course since apparently too much sugar can cause nightmares I will be attacked by giant candy corns tonight.


Dinner Divas - Orange Mandarin Chicken (a little late)

ok ok I'm late, I know. I just did Dinner Divas' August recipe today. But I really only have two nights of the week to cook!

It was the Orange Mandarin Chicken from Cooking Light. I picked Udon noodles to go with it, and had to ixnay the garlic because when I opened my jar, it smelled like...well, nothing good. Or edible. So I shook in some garlic powder.
I also omitted the green onion because they cost a lot and I wouldn't be able to use the rest of it before it went bad. A common theme in my two-full-time-jobs-two-part-time-activities-no-time-for-anything-else household.

All in all I give this recipe four stars. ****
Hubs was not that thrilled, given his disinterest in anything Asian-flavored, but he liked the noodles! hehe.

Oh, I would have taken a picture, but by the time I thought of it, hubs' was gone and mine was cut up into me-sized pieces. My bad.
Here's the recipe for those of you who don't feel like clicking the link:

Orange Mandarin Chicken
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in light syrup, undrained
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

While chicken cooks, drain oranges in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Add oranges, 2 tablespoons liquid, onions, jalapeño, and garlic to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Combine broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Nutritional Information
Calories:212 (16% from fat)
Fat:3.8g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.3g,poly 1.3g)