RECIPE | Dill-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Farro, Pea, and Blistered Tomato Salad

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PHOTO BY CHELSEA KYLE, PROP STYLING BY ALEX BRANNIAN, FOOD STYLING BY ANNA HAMPTON

When hosting a dinner party, I try to build menus that are simple, flavorful, and unique– but not too exotic. The fewer ingredients, the better! There is so much coordination making multiple dishes and timing it just right, so the easier the recipe is, the less stressed you’ll be in the kitchen. You should spend your evening enjoying your guests, not hovering over the stove.

So, when I came across Epicurious‘ Spring Grocery Bag Menu, featuring five easy dinners made from one bag of grocery ingredients, I knew I had found my Dinner Party Holy Grail!

The first Spring Grocery Bag recipe I tried was the Dill-Crusted Pork Tenderloin, served with farro, pea, and blistered tomato salad. The recipe was exactly what I was looking for: simple, flavorful, seasonal, and unique. It also helped that Epicurious readers gave this recipe 4 out of 4 Forks, and 100% said they would make it again.

Since there were no leftovers, I’ll have to agree with the Epicurious readers. This was a wonderful dish and I will definitely be making it again! I made a few substitutions, so you can go with the original or use my alternate recipe. I think they’ll both turn out great!

YIELD
Serves 5
ACTIVE TIME
35 minutes
TOTAL TIME
35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) arugula (about 3 ounces) [I used a spring mix]
  • 2 cups cooked whole farro [I used cooked barley]
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) crumbled feta (about 2 ounces)
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)
PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix garlic, 2 Tbsp. dill, 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and pepper in a small bowl with a fork to create a paste. Pat pork tenderloin dry and rub with paste.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Sear pork, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 10–12 minutes. Add tomatoes, then transfer to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of pork registers 145°F and tomatoes are lightly blistered and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add arugula, farro, peas, feta, and remaining 3 Tbsp. dill and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest; toss well to combine (arugula will wilt slightly when dressed). Gently fold in roasted tomatoes.

Slice pork and transfer to a platter; season with sea salt, if using. Serve with farro salad alongside.

Do Ahead

Pork can be marinated 4 hours ahead; keep chilled. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.

Bon appetit! 

RECIPE | Roasted Butternut Squash + Gorgonzola Lasagna

Image result for roasted butternut squash gorgonzola lasagnaWe hosted our first “formal” dinner in our new home this week (I even used my VIETRI chargers underneath the plates!). We invited our sweet new neighbors and their adorable baby daughter over and had the best time. We are over the moon to have young, cool neighbors next door!

 

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Look Ma! I used my fancy plates!

 

Since they are vegetarian, I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe that would be tasty and satisfying for vegetarians and carnivores alike. I was thrilled to find this wonderful recipe from Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative. This lasagna turned out to be a wonderfully rustic, robust, creamy and delicious autumn entree — and great for serving a crowd! I’d highly recommend this whether you are vegetarian or not!

Be sure to swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make sure it is vegetarian-friendly! Also, next time, I might do toasted pine nuts in lieu of walnuts for a more nutty, earthy taste.

I served the lasagna with a beautiful autumn apple kale salad I found on Pinterest – here’s the recipe! We finished the meal with a spectacularly delicious (and hassle-free) apple crisp pie from the Fresh Market with caramel ice cream.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Cut the squash into small equal-sized pieces (about 1/2-inch/2 cm). Toss the squash and onion with half the butter, the honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper until well combined. Spread in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until very tender (rotate the baking sheets halfway through cooking). Cool slightly; combine with the cottage cheese, milk, broth and Gorgonzola.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) casserole dish. Spread one quarter of the cottage cheese mixture evenly into the dish. Cover with an even layer of noodles, trimming to fit. Repeat layers of cheese and noodles twice. Spread the remaining cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toss breadcrumbs with walnuts, parsley, and remaining butter; sprinkle the lasagna evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

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4 Perfect Cocktails for this Wedding Season

The Perfect RVA Holiday Cocktail

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Happy Holidays, RVA!

There are only a few more days left until Christmas, and Richmonders are busy finishing shopping, decorating, and menu-planning for their guests and families.

While you are planning what to eat and drink this holiday season, make sure you don’t forget the most important menu item of all: the Christmas Morning Cocktail.

This year, I will be making the RVA Bloody Mary, made with all local products that I adore— and they’re all readily available to buy online or in local Richmond shops.

The Ingredients

 

Crunch Dynasty

Crunch Dynasty is an Asian-inspired hot topping that goes on just about everything– from sushi to mac & cheese. This delicious topping is made with garlic, shallots, gluten-free soy sauce, sesame seeds, hot peppers, and special seasons and oils.

I love to rim my Bloody Mary glass with Crunch Dynasty (and sprinkle a bit into the cocktail itself!) The topping gives your drink a delicious zing and lots of flavor. This stuff takes anything from a Bloody Mary to scrambled eggs from blah to blazing in an instant!

Click here to find the store closest to you, or click here to purchase online!

Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Texas Beach Bloody Mary mix isn’t your mama’s mix– this delicious mix is just as special as Richmond is. Named after Texas Beach, a park at the south end of Texas Avenue near Maymont, this Bloody Mary mix packs a punch– and is one of the tastiest mixes I’ve ever tried. Garlicky, peppery, and just the right thickness, this is by far my favorite Bloody Mary mix on the planet.

Click here to find the store closest to you, or click here to purchase online!

Belle Isle Moonshine

Belle Isle Moonshine came to market in late 2013 with a bang, and Richmonders have been loyal to this incredible brand ever since. The creators were tired of all of the “novelty” moonshine brands on the shelves, and created this premium brand with a nod to Belle Isle in downtown Richmond. The moonshine is smooth and easy to drink, and is the perfect addition for the RVA Bloody Mary.

Belle Isle Craft Spirits are carried in most ABC stores in Richmond. Click here to shop!

Recipe: RVA Bloody Mary

  • Crunch Dynasty topping
  • 1.5 oz Belle Isle Moonshine
  • 3.5 oz Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Rim glass in Crunch Dynasty hot topping. In another glass, stir together Belle Isle Moonshine & Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix. Fill glass with ice, then pour mixture into second glass. Pour back and forth 3-4 times to mix well. Pour into rimmed glass, garnish with celery stalk and serve.

Cheers!

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Favorite Recipes for Your Labor Day Cook-Out

Happy Labor Day weekend! We’ve had a mix of low-key and high-gear activities this weekend. It’s been a busy, fun, friend-filled weekend – and it’s not over yet!

When we have friends and family in town for a holiday weekend, we love to heat up the grill and enjoy the final days of summer in the backyard. If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your Labor Day cook-out, check out some of my favorite summer-approved recipes below. They’re all easy, delicious, and pretty healthy, too!

Grilled Kickin’ Chicken Thighs with Adobo Corn

Tried this Sunday. So good!!!! New fav way to cook corn. Grilled Corn on the Cob - Easy Recipe

Summer is the perfect time to rekindle your love of grilling. This easy, delicious recipe is perfect for a summer weeknight meal, but can be easily doubled (or tripled!) if you are entertaining guests for a summer BBQ.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa

Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Salsa Recipe

This recipe comes from the 2013 edition of Best of Cooking Light, and is a great weekend or weeknight meal to toss on the grill. I served with French-cut green beans and herb-roasted fingerling potatoes.

Three Cheese Prosciutto + Peach Pizza with Honey Balsamic Reduction

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This is a perfect seasonal pizza recipe that is a definite crowd pleaser! It’s fun and easy to make, and all of the flavors perfectly compliment each other. Fun for a Sunday supper or weeknight meal!

Refreshing Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

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Here is one of my favorite summer salads — it’s refreshing, low calorie, and super easy! Also, because the watermelon and cucumber are so water-dense, it fills you up pretty quickly. Enjoy!

Nate’s Chicken Skin Tacos

Adapted from Nate Gutierrez, Nate’s Taco Truck, Richmond, Va.

Strawberry Basil Spritzer Cocktail

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I tried this recipe as an experiment and am beyond pleased with the results. It’s sweet (but not too!), refreshing, fruity (but not too!), and complex. Quadruple this recipe if you’re entertaining and serve in a pretty glass pitcher!

What are your favorite summertime recipes? Leave in the comments section below!

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RECIPE | Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, ya’ll! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for football fans. Tonight we’ll watch the Seattle Seahawks battle the New England Patriots. While I’m sad my beloved Carolina Panthers aren’t in the Big Game tonight, I’ll be cheering on the Seahawks and Richmond’s hometown hero, Russell Wilson. Russell was a few years behind me at Collegiate School, so it’s a big night not only for Seahawks fans but also for Collegiate Cougars and Richmonders alike!

We’ll be heading out in a few hours to a Super Bowl party. My husband has made his famous corn & black bean salsa (or Redneck Caviar as I like to call it. Here’s the recipe!) I decided to try a recipe I saw on Pinterest that I’ve been dying to try for months: Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets and Honey Mustard sauce. The original recipe is from the amazing Chunguh at Damn Delicious blog. Head on over for her story on making these delicious nuggets and some great photography!

I doubled the ingredients to serve a larger crowd, but you can easily halve the recipe for a smaller group.

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[Read more…]

RECIPE // Spiced Apple Shrub

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A few months ago, my friend Laura gifted us two bottles of homemade shrubs at one of my bridal showers as part of her gift. If you’re not familiar with the trending-again mixer, the shrub is, simply put, a drinking vinegar.

Wait! Don’t go running for the hills just yet. These tangy, delicious syrups are one of the hottest new additions to any bar cart, though its origins are decidedly old-fashioned and classic. Back in the olden days, before refrigeration, people would make shrubs as a way to preserve fresh fruit in order to prevent them from rotting before usage. The shrub is making a comeback, and while it makes a perfect addition to any summer cocktail, I wanted to make mine with an autumn twist.

You can use your shrub with soda water for a cooler, or with liquor of your choice for a fancy cocktail.

Here’s my recipe for Spiced Apple Shrub. Mix with bourbon, caramel vodka, and a dash of cinnamon sugar for a refreshing pre-fall cocktail!

[Read more…]

RECIPE | Southerners’ Favorite: Charleston Cheese Dip!

9d8a6f052919d958ddd5decdaa022e67H e l l o!In the South, cooking and food aren’t just a necessity to sustain life. In the South, cooking and food are a way of life. And there’s nothing us Southerners love more than the combination of a few of our favorite things: Duke’s mayonnaise, bacon, cheese, and good ol’ fashioned Ritz crackers.

That’s why today’s recipe — a favorite of my family and our Southern friends — is sure to wow your guests at your next gathering until the very last, bottom-of-the-bowl-scraping drop.

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, look what recipe’s on the blog today: Charleston Cheese Dip! My mom’s friend made this delicious dip at an engagement party for my husband and me in April, and it was also served at our wedding! However, it is also perfect for a summer BBQ, watching college football on Saturdays, or if you’re just in the mood for something cheesy and delicious. Enjoy!Untitled


Total Time: 
25 min
Prep: 
10 min
Cook: 
15 min
Yield:
10 servings

Charleston Cheese Dip - Big Hit as Appetizer for a Crowd

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 8 butter crackers, crushed, such as Ritz
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Corn chips, crackers or bagel chips, for serving

 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with corn chips, crackers or bagel chips.

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RECIPE | Strawberry Basil Spritzer Cocktail

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Now that the spring days are turning warmer and warmer, it’s time to transition to lighter, refreshing cocktails to wind down a long day! I’ve been growing fresh basil this spring, so I’m always looking for an opportunity to utilize it in dishes — and even cocktails!

I tried this recipe as an experiment and am beyond pleased with the results. It’s sweet (but not too!), refreshing, fruity (but not too!), and complex. Quadruple this recipe if you’re entertaining and serve in a pretty glass pitcher!

Ingredients

 

photo51.5 oz Three Olives’ Elvis Presley Coconut Water vodka
1.5 oz. Three Olives’ Marilyn Monroe Strawberry vodka
3-4 large basil leaves, fresh
1 large strawberry, sliced
1 t. lemon juice
Seltzer water
1 packet of Splenda (optional)
Ice

 

 

 

 

 

Tools (optional)

photo4We recently have received some fun bar tools from our wedding registry, which makes mixing drinks a lot more fun (and sometimes, easier!) However, these tools are not necessary. You can use whatever you have around the kitchen to substitute! 

1 jigger (ours is from Crate & Barrel’s Gatsby Bar Tools)
1 spoon (again, from Crate & Barrel’s Gatsby Bar Tools)
Zyliss Fast Cut Herb Tool (ours is from Williams-Sonoma – it’s magic.)
Sphere Ice Mold (LOVE these. You can get a pair of molds at Crate & Barrel)

 

 

 

Directions

photo3Put your ice sphere (or crushed ice) in your desired glass. Rub the rim of the glass with a basil leaf. 
Chop up the basil and strawberries on a cutting board, either with the Zyliss tool or with a sharp, small knife.
Pour these ingredients over the ice.
Pour one jigger of the Coconut Water vodka, and one jigger of the Strawberry vodka over the basil and strawberries.
Empty one packet (optional) of Splenda
Pour in 1 teaspon of lemon juice
Pour seltzer water until glass is full
Stir.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and a fun straw and….

 

 

 

 

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ENJOY!

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RECIPE | Refreshing Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

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Summer is just around the corner, which means warmer temperatures and (eek!) a reminder that it’s almost bathing suit season.

Here is one of my favorite summer salads — it’s refreshing, low calorie, and super easy! Also, because the watermelon and cucumber are so water-dense, it fills you up pretty quickly. Enjoy!

Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

Prep: 10 minutes | Total time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled and cubed English cucumber
  • 3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 2 oz. reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing to taste

Directions

  • Peel and cube your cucumber; cube the watermelon. Combine in large bowl.
  • Mince fresh mint on a cutting board–I use the incredible Zyliss herb tool. Minces in seconds! ($16.95, Williams-Sonoma). Sprinkle over cucumbers and watermelon.
  • Sprinkle feta cheese.
  • Toss all the ingredients together, then pour the desired amount of Balsamic Vinaigrette over the salad.

What is your favorite summer salad?

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