Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Birthday Party Fun

I just love getting last minute invites to parties.

Really, I do.

It means I get to go into my pantry and see what I can come up with to make and bring.

It's my idea of fun, OK.

You go have fun your way, and I'll do it my way.

So, I get the invite to a last minute celebration, and immediately the neurons in my brain started firing, and missing, but that's a story for another day.

I'd run into a tin of Kippered Herring in my re-organization of the pantry and well, I got the idea for a Fish Dip, so I made this Kippered Fish Dip to bring.

But I wasn't the only crafty one, there was as usual a lot of good food.   And since I've already shared the how to on the fish dip, here's some pictures of the rest of the food.

An orzo vegetable salad very nice.
 And it's not a gathering around here without the Santa toothpick holder and the pineapple.
 Grapes, cheese and Crackers, a perfect trifecta.

Chicken Salad, the kind with grapes. (pardon the shadow, but whatcha gonna do when the light's behind you.
 Fried chicken.  Amazing how often that just disappears.
 Guacamole with the addition of cheddar in it.
 Salted, boiled peanuts.  A southern staple.  And these were good.
 More guacamole, and it disappeared in short order.
 Hummus, with some sliced olives on top, which was a neat idea. 
Smoked sausage bites, and with a piece of pineapple, made a lovely bite.

And back for an encore bow, some Fish Dip.

I did say this was a birthday party, didn't I?

The birthday cake.  

A Mango Blueberry Pecan Upside Down Cake.
Look how pretty, and it tasted really good as well.  I am going to have to get the recipe or try some experimenting in the kitchen.  I loved the freshness and yet the festive look of this cake.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Smoked Kipper Dip

I've been busy organizing or rather re-organizing my pantry.  I've got wire shelves in there and I had all the glass bottles in little bins and on trays and it was getting just a tad crowded.  I really should have taken more before pictures, but...  When I get in the zone, I have to do it.

At any rate, I have those wire shelves and after talking it over with my DH, decided to try putting something solid down over the wire shelves, to hopefully make a more stable base for, oh gee, glass bottles.  

In other words I was tired of waiting for something especially sticky to fall off of a shelf and shatter on the tile floor inside a room that's so narrow you couldn't even swing a hamster in, it's so small.  Not that I would want to... 
But it is big enough for an awful lot of stuff. sigh.

My DH suggested either masonite or luon (?) and then as we talked, I realized I had some cardboard boxes that could be re-purposed as shelf liners.    So, I spent the weekend going through the pantry, reacquainting myself with my food, discarding some things that were expired. sigh.  Not that many though, I do rotate most of my food purchases on a timely fashion.

And what has all that got to do with Smoked Kipper dip?

Glad you asked.

I got an email late yesterday inviting us to a birthday celebration, and thanks to my pantry re-organization, and general cleanup, I found a tin (I hadn't forgotten about them), of smoked kippers.

I've been saving them for a special occasion.

I have.


OK, so I was going to make some scrambled eggs and kippers for breakfast one day, I just hadn't actually gotten around to it


Smoked fish dip is very popular down here and I've had some really good ones, and some not so good ones as well.   But, I like to learn how to make my own stuff, so...
Here's my attempt.

1 tin Smoked Wild Kippers, 6.7 oz. size, drained
8 oz. Cream Cheese
3 oz. Creme Fraiche
1 tsp. Colmans Mustard Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Horseradish 
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. dried Tarragon
2 finely minced green onions
1 clove garlic

Mix everything together but the kippers, add them at the last.
Mix gently to combine.

   Place in fridge for at least 6 hours, you want the flavours to meld and merge together.   
Taste and correct any seasonings. 

Serve with a sprinkle of parsley or other green herb on top, alongside your favourite crackers.
And last, but not least, here's my reorganized pantry.
I may be doing some more re arranging, but that can wait for another day. 
I'll post some pictures of the food from the birthday party another day.  Gotta go and reorganize another cupboard.  

I'm on a roll, and don't want to stop the momentum...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pork Tenderloin in the Crockpot

While visiting family I got to try a few 'new to me' dishes, and of course I took pictures along with just plain enjoying being with family and visiting and visiting and eating and ...

I got this recipe from my sister, and she got it off of Facebook.   And of course being the great cook she is, she made a few changes to it.  Not many, but a couple.  She tweaked it in other words. 
She used a pork loin rather than a tenderloin, and I would do the same.   And since she didn't have any dried onions, she used some onion powder, as well as fresh garlic.

The flavour on this was great, and is something I'm going to be making for myself sometime as well.

But since I haven't gotten around to it yet, and I did take pictures, and eat some it, I felt like I could tell you all about it.  

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

2 pound Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 TBS Yellow Mustard
2-3 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS Diced dried onions
1 1/2 TSP Garlic Salt or Powder
Mix ingredients above. Pour over Tenderloin in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

How simple is that?  And it was over the top good.   
See how pretty?   And it sliced so nicely as well.  And guess what?  I just bought a nice big loin, and I think part of it is earmarked for this recipe.  And I've got all the rest of the ingredients as well. 
I should add that the potatoes were freshly dug just before the dinner from my sisters garden and the cherry tomatoes, well, they were fresh picked as well.    Next year, I'm planting potatoes.

Simple, and yet such a flavourful meal.   Sigh, I miss my family, but at least I got to visit with them for awhile.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Banana Pudding

If you live in the South, you will have been served Banana Pudding, at one time or another.   Whether you ate it or not, depends on whether you like pudding, or bananas or anything that mixes up the trinity of ingredients that makes up a Banana Pudding. 

I did say trinity, didn't I?
Well, for a good banana pudding, you need three things.
Nilla Wafers
Custard or Vanilla Pudding

Just those three. 

Of course I like to top my pudding with whipped cream, but then again I love whipped cream.  

OK, so it's four things you need. 

To start with, make your favourite custard or vanilla pudding.  Personally I like custard, and I make it with my Bird's Custard Powder.  It takes a little while, but I feel it's so worth it.   I'm going to give World Market a plug here, cause that's where I find it on a consistent basis, but I've also found it at Publix as well. 
I inveigled my sister into making the custard, while I got some stuff done.  I was orchestrating the Low Country Boil that day, so I didn't  feel bad asking her to do that.

I just love my family. 

The basics of using Bird's to add two tablespoons custard powder to two tablespoons sugar and mix it with two tablespoons cold milk.  Then add a pint of hot milk to that and stir it well, heat to boiling and it thickens quite well. 
For this Pudding we did 6 cups of milk, which is just about 3 pints of milk. 
Take it off of the stove, put a piece of plastic wrap or something over the top to keep a 'skin' from forming, and let it cool just a tad.  
You don't want to break the bowl as you begin to layer your pudding.  Especially when it's a pretty one like this.  I like to layer the custard while it's still warm, almost hot.  It seems to soften the Nilla wafers much better.
Spoon about a half to a cup of custard on the bottom of your serving bowl, then place a layer of Nilla Wafers and on top of that a layer of bananas. 

Ladle some custard over top, and repeat until you have as many layers as you want.  Or until you almost run out of custard.
Reserve at least a cup of custard for the top.   Set into the fridge for at least 6 hours, although if you make this the night before, it gets even better. 

Just before serving, whip up some cream and place on top. 
Serve with a generous hand. 

Recipe for serving a dozen people.
6 cups prepared custard or Vanilla Pudding if you prefer
4-5 bananas, sliced
1 box of Nilla Wafers (you actually won't use the whole box, but use as much as you want.)
1 pint whipping cream, whipped and sweetened just a tad.

Layer the first three ingredients in a pretty serving bowl, and top with the whipped cream.  
Serve and eat and enjoy.

This dessert can also be made with fewer layers, or more custard if you like. 

It is your dessert after all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Herbs

One of the best parts of visiting family, is not only getting to visit and talk and visit and talk, but the food.  My family are all great cooks, and I get to try a lot of new foods usually when I visit. 
My last visit with them was pre-blog days, so while I enjoyed the food, I didn't really pay as much attention to the recipes.  I did take home some recipes the last time.
This time however, I was a bit obnoxious with my picture taking.

Not really, cause they know I'm a little nuts about food and preparing and eating and ...

One night for dinner my sister prepared a really simple, and oh so delicious meal.  She took a pork tenderloin and laid on its side.  Cut a large slit in the side,making a pocket and stuffed that with a few chopped fresh herbs from her garden.  Just some oregano and parsley. 

She then sauteed it in a pan, just to brown it, and put it into the oven at 425 deg. for about 25 minutes.

Took it out, made a little pan gravy from the saute pan and the pan she cooked it on in the oven. 

And we had it for dinner.   She  served it with some green beans and cauliflower that she'd cooked together as well as new potatoes and a chunk of crusty bread.  

I was in heaven I tell you.   And I'm heading to the big city in a couple of days and I'm picking up a couple of Pork Tenderloins so I can recreate the meal. 

I guess I probably need beans and cauliflower and new potatoes and bread as well.  

I'll share all how I did it when I make it.