Month: April 2015

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Cranberries

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~~

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I don’t cook pork often but I’m very fond of pork tenderloin.  It’s quite tasty, not fatty, and doesn’t take too long to cook…but is it paleo?  There are differing opinions on that subject.  Clearly I am of the “it’s okay” school.  The thumbs down for pork is about the relatively high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to that of other meats.  On the other hand, compared to vegetable oils, pork is a real lightweight.  So my take on it is – okay to eat pork sometimes.  Aim for lower fat cuts.  Try to get pork from local farmers instead of mass producers…and when you do eat it…Enjoy!
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Onion Soup

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian~~~

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I have always loved onion soup and I have many memories associated with it.  The best version I ever had was at The Brasserie at 1a.m. with my college boyfriend.  The soup was super hot with melt-in-your-mouth onions, a piece of bread saturated with savory soup just slightly sweet from the onions, and tons of ooey-gooey perfectly melted cheese – sheer heaven – and, of course, I was in love – everything tastes blissful when you’re in love.  The next is a restaurant that was my family’s favorite Georges Rey.  We would go there to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.  I’d always order their onion soup as my appetizer – it was awesome.  My first attempt at making onion soup was when I was “baby sitting” my best friend who had had surgery.  I made the soup and it quickly became our favorite (turns out another friend of hers came to pay a visit and that was the first time I met her future husband). Fast forward a billion years and I’m giving up dairy, but I had cooked some onion soup earlier in the week, I might as well just try the soup naked.  Surprisingly, it was delicious – even without the cheese or the bread.  Now-a-days onion soup is just one of those things I like to have around for when I’m craving some comfort food or maybe just want some happy memories.  This delicious soup is easy to make and you probably already have the ingredients for it in your pantry/liquor cabinet.  Bon Appetit!
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Manhattan-style Clam Chowder

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~~

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Every now and then I get a craving for clam chowder. In my dreams it’s that velvety, unctuous, creamy New England Clam Chowder with just a hint of bacon…

Oh well, that was before the “dairy and wheat problem” and now I can dream of it, but sipping it is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean I have to forgo Clam Chowder – there is always Manhattan-style that has its own special appeal. Personally, I like it with a bit of a bite from plenty of black pepper, but you can tone it down to your own tastes. Also, after lots of fooling around with the recipe, I find that chopping all the vegetables fairly finely helps the flavors meld so much better than larger pieces. Of course having a food processor makes this a snap.

I make this on a kind of regular basis. It’s only fair to tell you that this is more of a vegetable soup with clams than a clam soup with vegetables.   It makes a large batch, but it freezes nicely so you don’t have to worry about what to do with leftovers.

About the ingredients:

The Clams – So I confess that I am a horrible person because all the recipes I saw online from “big name” cooks start out with fresh clams and honestly – that is not something I routinely keep in my pantry or even refrigerator. So, I use canned minced clams and if I want to boost the clamminess, I substitute clam broth instead of some of the vegetable or chicken broth.

I use waxy (boiling) potatoes because I think they hold together better than baking potatoes.

I use 2 kinds of canned tomatoes – crushed and stewed.  The crushed gives a more intense tomato flavor and the stewed (or you can use diced) gives you the tomato pieces.

I love this soup because I always have the ingredients on hand so when the weather is particularly nasty and I want soup, I don’t have to go out of the house to buy any ingredients. (more…)

Basic Asparagus Preparation and Hollandaise Sauce

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As Spring approaches (though it’s hard to tell when you’re still wearing your winter down coat) the vegetable that epitomizes Spring for me is asparagus.

I really like asparagus.  I like them even thinner than pencil thin.  My mom always preferred them really fat asparagus – she liked the meatiness.  The great thing about asparagus is that size does not matter (really, I’m not just saying that).  What is important in choosing asparagus is that they be firm, no limpness.

Look for asparagus with tips that are closed – and certainly avoid any that are starting to look wet and dark or slimy.

The bottoms of many asparagus can be tough which is why we snap them off.  Chose ones that are green all the way to the bottom as white on the bottom is definitely going to be tougher and you will be discarding more of the asparagus when you snap it – but that does not affect the flavor or mean the rest of the asparagus will be tough as well.

The proper way to prepare asparagus is to let the plant tell you where the tough part starts.  Do this by holding the asparagus with one hand on the bottom and the other in the middle or slightly towards the top.  Bend the asparagus until it snaps, leaving the bottom part to be discarded and the top to eat.

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My favorite way to prepare asparagus is to roast them.

Preheat your oven to 400F.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.  Now remember the Misto olive oil sprayer I recommended some months ago?  Now is the perfect time to use it.  Spray the pan with a light film of olive oil.  Add the asparagus and give a light spray.  Using the Misto prevents the asparagus from getting too greasy.  Bake 15 minutes or until softened (the timing will vary depending on how thick your asparagus are), turning once during baking – and that’s it.

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If you like, you can serve them with Hollandaise sauce.
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