11 June 2011

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journal 4

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Today I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that to share and almost all of it fits into my Kitchen Journal. I am now into my third week of this season's CSA (community sponsored agriculture; I wrote about it here), which always increases my kitchen creativity.

Our friends who ran the CSA we belonged to for the last seven or eight years decided to disband their program, so this year we are with someone new. So far we're very pleased with our new farm.

My kitchen adventures have also been guided by the lovely package of Southwest goodies that the wonderful Sarah McCoy (author of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico and the upcoming The Baker's Daughter) sent me a few weeks ago.

I don't have many photos to share, but I do have some kitchen notes inspired by this week's CSA basket and a few goodies we bought at the farmers market. Oh and a cookbook that I bought on Margot's (of Joyfully Retired) recommendation.

Pasta Adventures

We bought some lovely fresh pesto fettuccine on Tuesday. It sounded wonderful at the time, but when I went to cook it, I was a bit stymied. I didn't really want a tomato-based sauce and we don't do cream sauces. What I came up with is this:

I soaked 3 or 4 small hot dried peppers in a bit of chicken broth for about 15 minutes. In a small pan I placed some chopped sweet onion, chopped garlic scapes, and the chopped reconstituted peppers. I added about 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan and heated the sauce as the noodles cooked (only 3 minutes in boiling water!). I tossed the noodles and warm olive oil sauce -- Oh, yes. Heaven.

Wine and Pork

Thanks to Margot, I bought The Winemaker Cooks by Christine Hanna of the Hanna Winery in California. Our farmers market has some wonderful organic meat farmers/vendors and we bought a lovely pork tenderloin this week. We made the following recipe and even used the recommended wines (well, as close as we could get here in central Pennsylvania). I adapted the recipe a bit to fit the size of tenderloin we had, but I'll give you the original.

Orange Dijon-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
Two hours before grilling, combine the garlic, mustard, zest, juice, oil, salt and pepper in a self-sealing bag. Add the tenderloins and turn to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Remove the pork, reserve the marinade, and let the meat sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill 3 minutes on all sides. Transfer to a carving board and tent with aluminum foil for 15 minutes. Pour the marinade in a small pan, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes until it reduces. Slice the pork and serve drizzled with some warm sauce.

The Coppola Pinot Noir was outstanding with the pork. The J. Lohr Chardonnay that we cooked with, was not as wonderful, but not bad.


Finally, I brought home 2 quarts of strawberries from the market. On Wednesday, I made puff pastry pockets. I looked around the Internet and then came up with my own version.

While 2 sheets of puff pastry were thawing, I prepared the strawberries. I chunked strawberries to make 2 cups. I splashed on some balsamic vinegar (oh, maybe a couple of tablespoons) and then added a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. To solidify the filling, I added 1/2 teaspoon instant tapioca. I didn't add sugar.

I preheated the oven to 400F, rolled out the pastry into 10-inch by 10-inch squares and then quartered each. On each square, I put 1/4 cup of the strawberries, pulled the corners together and twisted the pocket shut. I brushed the pastry with an egg wash (beaten egg with a little water) and baked them until golden brown and puffy. I think about 20 minutes (I forgot to write it down). They were outstanding!

I love cooking with seasonal foods! Tonight we're having grilled pizza with kale (from the CSA) and hot peppers (from Sarah). Oh and we have few bottles of wine to finish off!


TheBookGirl 6/11/11, 6:20 AM  

Sounds like you are making great use of your CSA goodies...Our farmer's market opened last week and I'm anxious to see what they have today, despite the rainy weather :)

Margot 6/11/11, 6:26 AM  

It always makes me happy when someone gets one of the books I recommend. I hope she (Christine Hanna) adds to your kitchen creativity.

caite 6/11/11, 7:25 AM  

those strawberry thingies sounds very interesting...
regarding the pork, I have no pork this week...but I have orange juice and mustard!

Louise 6/11/11, 7:31 AM  

I love cooking with seasonal ingredients too. Sadly strawberries aren't in season here. I've got brussel sprouts, chestnuts and celery to work with. I've never seen chunk used as a verb! I may need to take up the use of chunked.

Marg 6/11/11, 7:40 AM  

Those strawberry parcels look totlaly delicious!

Beth 6/11/11, 7:48 AM  

What a diverse cooking week! Part of me misses CSA, but with us splitting summer weekends by here and the beach, it just doesn't make sense :-/

bermudaonion 6/11/11, 8:04 AM  

I want one of those puff pastry pockets right now. They look wonderful!

Julie P. 6/11/11, 8:16 AM  

The strawberry tarts sound terrific. Might have to try something like that with my CSA strawberries.

Anonymous,  6/11/11, 8:30 AM  

It's dangerous to read your Weekend Cooking posts on an empty stomach!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 6/11/11, 9:21 AM  

Making me hungry and I haven't had breakfast yet! Would love one of those strawberry pockets, they look so good. So does the pork recipe, will have to check out the book!

Nan 6/11/11, 10:30 AM  

Gosh, I haven't had anything to offer for a couple weeks, but this week I have a great little food-related song!

Zibilee 6/11/11, 10:34 AM  

I am always looking for something new to do with pork, so your recipe intrigues. I only really have two or three pork recipes that I use, so this one will get printed right away. Thanks!

JoAnn 6/11/11, 11:19 AM  

Margot has added to my cookbook and recipe collection, too! I hope to get this one eventually... will try the pork tenderloin recipe in the meantime!

Alex 6/11/11, 11:56 AM  

I love pork tenderloin and am always looking for new ways to have it. This sounds delicious and next I have, I will try this recipe. Thanks.
I was sorry not to have met you at the BEA/BCC, but I did enjoy the panel you were on. Maybe next year.

Heidenkind 6/11/11, 5:23 PM  

Mmm, strawberries. Love!

I know the feeling of being stymied on sauces for pasta; I don't really do cream sauces, either, and tomato gets boring. Sometimes I just make a brown butter sauce and then add lots of parm and pepper. Nom!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 6/11/11, 6:10 PM  

Oh yummy! I do miss my good wine with good food. Until my due date, I guess it's just left to good food, right?

Joy Weese Moll 6/11/11, 6:40 PM  

Sounds like a great week in cooking! We got our first CSA box of the year on Wednesday.

Joy Weese Moll 6/11/11, 6:40 PM  

Sounds like a great week in cooking! We got our first CSA box of the year on Wednesday.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair 6/11/11, 6:55 PM  

Your sauce for the pasta sounds lovely!

Heather 6/11/11, 8:27 PM  

I enjoyed the variety of your post today.
My daughter Shannon is joining with her first Weekend Cooking post. In fact, this is the first meme that she has joined.

Thanks for recommending Bottle Shock. Hubby and I watched it last week and really enjoyed it.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 6/12/11, 2:15 AM  

I usually just saute some garlic in olive oil to toss with the fresh pastas. I'll have to try peppers and onion.

The strawberry pastries look divine. I'm so jealous of those that can make fancy dessert. For some reason I never got the hang of pastry.

Uniflame 6/12/11, 7:42 AM  

I love those strawberry pockets :)

Kate 6/12/11, 10:21 AM  

Coppola pinot noir...yum...

BURIED IN BOOKS 6/12/11, 6:19 PM  

Oh those strawberry tarts sound so yummy. I wish I could do that kind of experimentation. I used to, but then I had kids and I'm a short order cook. Pretty much have given up on cooking anything. They take the joy out of it for me. I'll just live vicariously through your posts.


Ikkin-bot 6/12/11, 7:51 PM  

We both blogged about farmer's markets this week end!

sheng 6/13/11, 8:45 AM  

Yummy, i thought this blog is about books but I found myself craving for your food post, book-related though. But it sure is nice. Will be back soon! Wish you could visit mine too, thanks!

Unknown 6/13/11, 2:16 PM  

I wish I belonged to a CSA! I'm just too darn picky about veggies and fruit that I know most of it would go to waste. Kudo's to you for coming up with some fun recipes to use everything.

Anonymous,  6/13/11, 4:00 PM  

Those strawberry puff pastry pockets look delicious!

Yoshi 6/16/11, 6:42 AM  

Hello Beth,

I am not sure this post has something to do with food,but at least it's about "Squid" & "Octpus", which looks so through my eyes. I hope you have seen what real "squid"& "Octpus"...

They are so common here as an ingredients of Sushi!

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