Butfor the COVID19 pandemic, this would be Kentucky Derby week in my hometown of Louisville. In its honor, I made a staple of Derby parties, Benedictine Cheese.
As a child, I had no idea what this stuff was, yet I loved it. To me, it was green cheese. Yummy stuff to spread on crackers, I now enjoy it on sliced zucchini, carrot sticks, and celery.
Here’s how I make Kentucky Benedictine Cheese.
8 oz. cream cheese
1 medium cucumber
1/2 small sweet onion
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
(Optional) Fresh herbs for garnish
(Optional) green food coloring
Add chopped cucumber and onion to food processor (I used my Vitamix) and purée.
Strain to remove excess liquid. (Cheesecloth works well)
Add seasonings and lemon juice. Blend.
Blend mixture with cream cheese until creamy.
Refrigerate until serving.
As April draws to a close, so does the quarantine (to a certain extent. Re-opening will vary from location). The Kentucky Derby may be postponed, but I can pretend I’m Derby-ing by enjoying the traditional Derby foods like Benedictine Cheese. Maybe I’ll bake a Derby Pie next, who knows?
My grocer had pork tenderloins on sale this week buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO). Pork tenderloin, not to be confused with pork loin, is a lean and tender cut ideal for a Hasty Tasty Meal. It’s easily over cooked, which is why it’s crucial to distinguish tenderloin from loin. Yet it’s also difficult to pass up a BOGO, so I decided it was time to master pork tenderloin.
Baking or roasting pork tenderloin using a meat thermometer (internal temperature of 145°￼) is a foolproof cooking technique, yet I wanted to use my pressure cooker. Why? We’re campers and don’t travel with an oven or even a microwave oven. But I do have a 3 quart Instant Pot Duo Mini in my travel trailer. Even when “roughing it,” I like to prepare good meals.
I experimented with steaming the tenderloin on a trivet over the liquid as well as braising in the cooking liquid. I tried chicken broth, water, and apple juice for the cooking liquid. All techniques produced edible meat, but here’s my favorite and most successful recipe.
Hasty Tasty Pork Tenderloin Roast
1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1.5 pound
2 tsp. Canola oil or your choice vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1 apple (gala or Granny Smith works well), sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1.5 cups water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat multi cooker on sauté mode.
When heated, add oil and brown all sides of the tenderloin.
Remove tenderloin to a plate. Add fennel, apple, and onion to the pot and sauté approximately 5 minutes. Salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
While vegetables sauté, use a sharp paring knife and make slits evenly throughout the meat to insert the garlic pieces.
Pour water slowly into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot of any cooked-on bits.
Return tenderloin to the cooker and place atop the fennel, apple, and onion slices.
Seal cooker and set pressure cooking time for zero minutes (or lowest time setting available).
After cooking time completes, hit cancel. Do not allow cooker to “keep warm.” Allow pressure to drop on its own one minute and then vent.
Open cooker, remove meat to a plate, and pour cooking liquid into a heavy duty blender (I use a Vitamix) to purée.* Return liquid to pot, and hit sauté.
While liquid reduces, allow tenderloin to rest. Tent with foil to keep warm. After the cooking liquid boils down to desired thickness, turn off cooker and add butter. Salt and pepper sauce to taste. Slice the tenderloin and serve drizzled with the sauce.
Browned tenderloins cook quickly.
Whisk in butter right before serving.
Serve with sauce and side dishes of your choice.
*For a chunkier sauce, mash the cooked apple, fennel, and onion mixture with a potato masher.
Butternut squash has vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. I realize butternut squash is healthful, but it was a hard sell to my family. I finally developed a recipe even they will eat. I know by putting a southwest spin on a dish, my family will eat almost anything. Including my newest recipe, Southwestern Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!
Ingredients: • 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into equal size chunks • 1 Tbsp. safflower oil (or spray generously with Pam®) • ½ cup onion, sliced • ¼ cup sweet pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper to preserve that lovely orange color) • 1 tsp. Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt • 1 Tbsp. Chili seasoning mix (I use Bloemer’s brand) • 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock) • 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice • (optional) Cilantro for garnish • (optional) sour cream for garnish
Directions: 1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a 4 quart pot. 2. Add onions and peppers. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat. 3. Add squash to the pot. Salt. 4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam until squash is fork-tender* (approximately 30 minutes) 5. Remove from heat. Stir in half of the stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. 6. Ladle the squash into a Vitamix (or food processor). Puree until smooth. Don’t overfill container. If necessary, process in batches. 7. Return squash puree to the pot, add the chili seasoning mix1, and stir. 8. Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining stock. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally to combine. For a thicker soup, simmer until soup reduces. 9. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the lime juice and serve with a sour cream and cilantro garnish with tortilla chips on the side.
Yum! Variations: Kick up the heat level by adding a seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño pepper garnish. 1Vitamix users: During the pureeing of the squash, add the chili seasoning. Then to rinse the container, Add the rest of the stock to the container, run just enough to remove the stuck on squash, then pour into the pot. *If your cookware isn’t waterless, add one cup of the vegetable stock to steam the squash.
I’ve posted in the past about making salsa in my Vitamix. Today I have a special guest who offers a flavorful twist to salsa. As soon as I pick up a fresh bunch of cilantro, I’m making this recipe. I grow my own jalapeño peppers and herbs but fail miserably at keeping cilantro alive. 😦
Today’s recipe is a guest post by Kristin, a writer for PAM and other ConAgra brands. She resides in Chicago, IL and enjoys trying new recipes on the weekends. Her favorite dishes include poached eggs in the morning, throw-whatever-is-in-the-fridge salads for lunch, and vegetable-heavy stir fries for dinner. She’s always on the hunt for unexpected yet delicious food combinations. Please welcome food blogger Kristin Kruk:
August is the Sunday of summer. Friends and family are making the most out of their last few weeks of sunshine and blue skies before fall kicks in. When you get an invitation to that last minute summer barbeque, come prepared with a zesty appetizer to surprise everyone’s taste buds. Bring a bowl of grilled tomato salsa with a bag of your favorite tortilla chips as an appetizer to the party.
On a time crunch? Don’t worry about grilling outside. A cast iron pan will do the trick because it gets hot and retains heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low once the pan gets hot.
Now you’re on your way to a quick grilled tomato salsa!
PAM Grilling Spray
1½-2 pounds of tomatoes (try an assortment), sliced in half
1 jalapeño , sliced in half
5 green (or red) onions, chopped
¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Optional ingredients: ½ can of black beans or corn kernels
In a medium bowl, mix cumin, garlic salt, onions and cilantro. If optional ingredients were used, combine as well. Set aside.
See “How to grill inside” instructions above.
Once the burner is set to medium-low, grill tomato and jalapeño slices.
Rotate so each side is grilled for 3 minutes. When each side is slightly blackened, remove from grill.
Chop tomato and jalapeño slices into cubes. Dump into the medium bowl (Step 1).
Refrigerate until ready for use.
This quick and simple appetizer complements any picnic or outdoor outing at the end of summer. Enjoy!
(Cheryl note: I do all my indoor grilling on a Lodge cast iron grill pan (sprayed with PAM). It’s affordable, retains heat, and leaves nice grill marks on food–just like an outdoor grill but without the mess!)
I make my own mayonnaise because I can control its ingredients. It’s easy. Give it a try.
¾ cup egg substitute
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 cups safflower or canola oil
Add first four ingredients to the Vitamix container. Secure lid but remove plug.
Turn Vitamix to Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then high.
Pour the oil in a steady stream through the opening in the lid.
Run Vitamix just until mixture thickens.
Turn off Vitamix, pour the mayonnaise into a quart jar, and put a tight-fitting lid (or canning ring and lid) on the jar. Refrigerate. Keeps up to 4 weeks.
I love Nutella®, but it has refined sugar, a no-no for me. So I searched both books and online sources for a homemade version of chocolate hazelnut spread. None suited me, but one came close: Skinny Ms. “Skinny Nutella Spread – The Healthier Version.”I experimented with that recipe but soon went my own way.
This is my version of Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. My recipe uses the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you will need both a blender and a food processor. Read all the directions before you try making it. It looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Complicated recipes don’t qualify as “Hasty Tasty” meals. 😉
½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (I used Special Dark because I prefer bittersweet chocolate)
¼ cup raw honey (select a light, mild tasting honey)
1 packet pure Stevia extract
¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk will work)
¼ tsp. Kosher or other pure salt
*Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet (Hint: I roast one pound then freeze half for later) and place in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes.
While hazelnuts roast, combine cocoa, honey, almond milk, salt, and stevia in the container of the Vitamix (or your blender). Blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour cocoa mixture into a microwave safe bowl or pitcher and cover with a wet paper towel.
Microwave the cocoa mixture in one minute increments, stirring after each minute, until mixture is hot (This takes about two minutes in a 1000 watt oven).
*Remove roasted hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool. Place them on a clean kitchen towel, fold it over onto the hazelnuts, and rub to remove the skins. They should slip off easily.
Take one cup (1/2 pound) of the cooled hazelnuts and place in the container of your Vitamix (or food processor). Turn it on Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then High Speed. Process for thirty seconds to one minute or until the nuts become butter (You may need to stop once and use a spatula to scrape the nut mixture from the sides). Note: This step takes about 5 minutes in a food processor.
Carefully pour the heated cocoa mixture into the Vitamix container with the hazelnut butter. Process on Variable Speed 5 for about five seconds or until well blended.
Pour into glass jars
To be on the safe side, store your spread in the refrigerator. My recipe contains no additives to make it shelf-stable.Once you make this, you can add your own touches. If it’s not sweet enough, try adding additional stevia extract or sweeteners of your choice.
One final word: Don’t make hazelnut chocolate spread to save money. Homemade is better, but quality ingredients carry a higher price tag. I ordered organic hazelnuts and shopped for local honey. I doubt I saved a penny over Nutella® from the supermarket, but I love having total control over my ingredients.Enjoy!
It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Vitamix and believe it’s worth every penny of its price tag. I’ve been using one for twenty years now, and I’ve made many combinations of drinks with it (whole juice, not extracted juice, is much better for you). One recipe is my go-to morning drink, and this is it.
Pineapple Orange Juice
Ingredients 1 cup fresh pineapple (include core)
1 organic orange, peeled and quartered
1 dried prune (For sweetness. You won’t taste it, I promise!)
½ cup water
1 cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients in the Vitamix container (ice goes in last). Process on Variable Speed 1, stepping up to 10. Then High Speed until blended, approximately one minute. Makes 2 8-oz glasses or 4 4-oz glasses.
It’s a great way to start your day with vitamins and fiber. Good morning!