There’s been a lot of chatter this month around Cooking Light about vegetables and vegetarianism. Now back in the late 80s, I went vegetarian for about 3 years, a decision which in Alabama was met with the kind of reaction one might get if one showed up at a cotillion ball with Ulysses S. Grant’s great-great-great granddaughter or announced that one was starting to support Notre Dame football. Lots of raised eyebrows with a bit of derisive pity thrown in for good measure. And unlike today, when you can’t swing a whole-grain baguette without hitting some soy-based product at your local Whole Foods, vegetarian options were few and far between, especially when dining out. But ultimately it wasn’t the steady diet of lentils, brown rice, and salads that drove me back to omnivore status, but rather I just missed something: namely, the experience of eating meat.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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I mean I absolutely adore quinoa, but perfect protein or not, the Royal Chef of Machu Picchu couldn’t have made it into something that gives you the same satisfaction of noshing on a BBQ rib. Now in my 40+ years, I have come across a couple of vegetable experiences that have approximated the same visceral sensation of consuming meat. One of which was at a Chinese restaurant in Berkeley, CA (Long Life Veggie House) that could do things to soy that would make General Tso himself think he was scarfing down a Rhode Island Red, and the other was just recently here at the Cooking Light test kitchen.
We got a hold of some wild mushrooms a few weeks back from this place called Far West Fungi, and a couple of varieties were mind-blowingly succulent. Two in particular, Lion’s Mane (shown at right) and King Trumpet (shown above), stood out in particular. We cooked them just like you would—you guessed it—a piece of meat. A little salt and pepper, seared in a bit of butter, and roasted in an oven to finish. Both produced a robust, caramelized exterior and the response at the table was one of wonderment. “Wow!” was, in fact, the first word out of three of the five tasters’ mouths after downing the Lion’s Mane. Its creamy, unctuous interior elicited comparisons with a sweetbread or liver even, while the King Trumpet’s smooth, buttery texture was unbelievably reminiscent of the richness of a scallop. And, heck, we didn’t even try the Beef Steak, Fried Chicken, or Lobster varieties. Now, I certainly don’t see myself giving up meat permanently anytime soon (we’ll file that under: you can’t teach a dog new tricks), but given that it’s a goal of mine to increase the proportion of vegetables to meat in my regular diet, I’ll certainly be looking at mushrooms a lot more now not just as a side dish, but as an entrée option that can hold its own in terms of center-of-the-plate satisfaction with just about any contender.
Pork. It’s the other white meat.
A long time ago, I used to post the occasional recipe. I don’t know why I haven’t written a recipe post in so long but it may have something to do with the fact that I assume y’all know how to heat up Dino Nuggets in the microwave or pick up your phone and order pizza.
But I seem to have inadvertently stumbled upon a case of the writer’s block, so today is your lucky day.
A while back I was on the phone with Sophie and we were talking about various ways to prepare pork products. If I remember correctly, there was a sale on pork chops at HEB ($1.99 a pound!) which led to the conversation.
Because isn’t that what friends do? Talk for hours on the phone about pork recipes, what’s on sale at Walmart, and if Jack Bauer will ultimately meet his demise through exposure to bio-weapons or who shot J.R.?
Oh my word, I have turned into my Mema.
Anyway, I told her that I couldn’t believe I’d never told her about my creamy pork tenderloin recipe because I believe it was singlehandedly responsible for P’s decision to spend the rest of his life with me. Well, that and my awesome collection of Carpenters’ CD’s.
Yesterday I actually remembered to purchase a pork tenderloin from HEB and will now share the recipe with you, complete with very poor photography of the entire process. Except for the steps I forgot to photograph.
Creamy Pork Tenderloin List of Ingredients
List of Ingredients(I didn’t take a picture of them. This is starting out well.)
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
1 tbs. water
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs (I buy these because PLEASE)
3 tbs. canola oil
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
Cut the tenderloin into about six to eight pieces.
Use a mallet or hammer or whatever to flatten the pieces to about 3/4 inch thickness. You may notice in this picture that no one has shown up to demolish my countertops and hook me up with some new granite ones.
I don’t think those pieces are 3/4 inch thick but let’s just go with it. I’ve never been into precise measurements. It’s a pork recipe, not rocket science.
Combine egg, water, rosemary, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Dip the pork into egg mixture, then into bread crumbs.
(I didn’t get a picture of any of this because my food photographer is unreliable at best. She may be worse than my maid.)
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown pork in oil for about 5 minutes on each side.
That’s the reflection from the overhead lighting that you see in the skillet. I believe this is why magazines hire food stylists and not some hack who should stick to ordering takeout.
Remove the pork medallions to a 13 x 9 pan. In the same skillet, saute mushrooms in butter until tender.
Add in a cup of sour cream. I like to use “light” sour cream in my fried pork recipes. It keeps it healthy.
Stir in cream of chicken soup. I used cream of mushroom instead because I am a culinary renegade. Also, I didn’t have any cream of chicken soup.
The last step is to add a 1/4 cup chicken broth, which is so simple when you actually have chicken broth available. It’s like I didn’t even look at the recipe before I went to HEB.
(I’ll be honest, I didn’t even look at the recipe before I went to HEB)
But because necessity is the mother of invention, I improvised.
Sure there may have been a stray princess noodle mixed in but that just adds to the complexity of the dish. Plus, guess what Caroline is eating for dinner tonight?
Stir all the ingredients together until the sauce is smooth, then pour over the pork.
Cover the dish with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for one hour.
Serve with rice and maybe some sort of vegetable to balance out all the various cream products and butter.
I chose salad because the only green vegetable I had on hand was lettuce.
While writing the blog “Shiitake the other White Meat” I became inspired to use mushrooms and veggies not only as an enhancer of meat flavors but also as a tasty meat like filler in meatballs. The mushrooms and veggies give these meatballs a light texture while boosting the flavor. I used Italian seasoning but this recipe can be adapted for Swedish meatballs by leaving out the herbs, garlic and fennel or add bread for a tasty meatloaf.
Many people assume from my blog posts that I’m a vegetarian. The truth is I try to only eat meat a couple times a week. My dietary habits first came from a consciousness of the environmental damage caused by large scale animal farming. Later I was educated about the suffering caused by the corporate meat industry to both workers and animals (Thank you Michael Pollan for standing on the shoulders of Upton Sinclair). I made a conscious decision to try to eat only locally farmed and humanely treated animals. I fall off the wagon sometimes but I try not to beat myself up about it. I enjoy it and pat myself on the back when I have enough will power to eat only the veg dishes.
There seems to be a fine line between people that are admired for their commitment to the environment and to those that become annoyingly smug. As well as being a personality thing I think it has mostly to do with your personal level of commitment to environmental causes. We all have levels of what we are willing to go without. As much as I admire vegans I know I could never achieve this level. I found this quote to be personally inspiring.
“Give up meat for one day [per week]… in terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions [CO2] in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity”. U.N.’s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
If a lot of people do little things, it can make a big difference. I developed this recipe for those meat lovers who want to cut back a little.
Weeknight Pork Marsala
Easy Pork Marsala is quick to prepare with sliced pork tenderloin, mushrooms, cooking wine, and a few other common ingredients. It’s an easy dinner recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights or fancy enough for guests!
Hi! I’m Sheila from Life, Love, and Good Food, and I’m excited to bring you a new easy recipe for dinner this week!
Given the choice between pork and chicken, which would you consciously choose as the healthier option? I’m betting that most of you would go with the chicken. However, would you make that same choice if you knew that pork tenderloin actually has less calories, fat, and cholesterol than a skinless chicken breast? Seriously, pork really is the “other white meat” and is a delicious dinner option (especially when you add plenty of butter… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) )!
These Pork Medallions with Mushroom Marsala Sauce may sound fancy, but this dish is really simple to prepare and will surely impress your family or dinner guests. Besides the pork tenderloins, the basic ingredients for this dish are shallots, mushrooms, and Marsala cooking wine. Of course, you can use actual Marsala wine, but I found that the flavor is just fine with the cooking wine from the grocery condiment aisle—and it’s cheaper, too! If you opt for Marsala wine instead, you may want to add a bit more salt to taste since cooking wine has quite a bit of sodium.
Pork tenderloin often comes packaged with two pieces, which should be around two pounds and enough for four to six servings. (If you are only cooking for two, half the recipe and freeze the other tenderloin.) Slice each tenderloin into thick slices, about one-and-one-half inches each and then flatten slightly with your palm. Quickly sear the pork medallions in olive oil and butter and then finish cooking them in the Marsala sauce.
Simmering the meat in the sauce makes the tenderloin slices extremely tender—no need for a knife and absolutely delicious! If you haven’t cooked with Marsala before, you must try it! Let the pork slowly simmer while you prepare sides—rice or mashed potatoes are especially delicious with the Marsala sauce. This meal is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner, but it’s also perfect for a special occasion dinner as well.
This dish works equally well with chicken breasts—just be sure to slice the chicken a bit thinner and adjust the cooking time to make sure the chicken is cooked completely through.
Spicy Pork Jambalaya
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
If you like a dinner with a little spice, give this zippy spicy pork jambalaya a try. Diced leftover pork and andouille sausage provide protein to this rice and black-eyed peas combination, while Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper give it that signature kick. Add the pork toward the end of cooking to heat it through.
Do you recall when pork was rich and juicy, full of flavor (and often a lot of fat)? When pork producers aimed at making pork a leaner, healthier, less fatty meat, they unfortunately gave us pork that too often turns out dry and bland when cooked. Brining is often recommended to retain both moisture and flavor, as is marinating. And as we all know, long slow cooking with lots of barbecue sauce also works, very well. One of my favorite cuts of pork is the tenderloin, primarily because it’s tender and juicy and easy to cook, compared to pork loin, which can dry out in a flash, and also because there are many delicious things you can turn a tenderloin into, such as these quick and easy pork medallions.
- Preheat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, drop in a tablespoon of butter. When the butter foams, add the onions and sauté until soft. Add the carrots and celery. Continue to cook for an additional few minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for one more minute or until fragrant.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Squeeze in lemon juice and pour in the chicken stock, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the pot.
- Season with Gnome on the Range Mushroom Blend and fresh thyme. Stir in the wild rice.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the pot simmer for 30 minutes. The rice should almost be cooked through, and the liquids slightly reduced.
- Pour in the cream and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Taste and adjust with extra seasonings if needed.
- When the soup is almost ready to serve, heat a separate frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and fry the shredded turkey for a couple minutes on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pan—work in batches so that the meat is brown and crispy.
- Serve the soup with a heap of fried turkey on top and garnish with chopped celery leaves.
*To substitute, include 8 oz. of chopped mushrooms, 2 tsp. sea salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper to the recipe. Sauté the mushrooms with the carrots and celery in step one above.
*To shred uncooked pheasant, turkey, or rabbit meat, brown in a pressure cooker and cook with 1 cup of stock for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat shreds apart. Reserve the cooking liquids for the soup.
Celebrate Father's Day with some awesome food and bring home the entire Mega Spice Collection.
"This is good for your old man, cause he'll be eating better. And it's good for you, cause you'll be eating better when you're with your old man. So it's a win-win, which is what gift giving is all about!" - Steven Rinella
Shrimp 5 Ways
Three ounces of shrimp only contains 84 calories and 1 gram of fat and comes packed with selenium and energy-boosting B-vitamins. As long as you keep portions under control (and forgo the frying), there’s no need to stress about the cholesterol. Shrimp lovers, try these five recipes.
Cook shrimp in a touch of oil and add a combination of your favorite veggies and spices. Serve with a half-cup serving of couscous, wild or brown rice on the side and enjoy.
Don’t forget the shrimp cocktail the next time you host a party. Roasting will keep your shrimp moist and the delicious cocktail sauce is low in calories (shhh, don’t tell your guests!).
Toss shrimp in your favorite low-calorie sauce and fire up the grill. Thread shrimp and your favorite veggies on kabobs, serve with rice and you’ve got a quick and easy meal. Or try topping greens with grilled shrimp for a light lunch.
Cozy up to a soup or stew during a cold winter night. Use aromatic veggies such as onions and garlic along with your favorite seafood combinations -- shrimp, clams and mussels, for example.
Bake shrimp with savory feta for a new take on a casserole. This quick dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and you can quickly reheat leftovers in the oven or office microwave.
Drunken Greek Pork Stew from Fine Cooking
What’s in a name? Plenty! I have to admit, it was its picture in Fine Cooking–and not its name– that made me want to cook this extraordinarily easy-to-make stew. Tony Rosenfeld, who wrote “Savory Pork Stews”, says it’s “a quick take on bekri meze, the&hellip
PRODUCT NEWS YOU CAN USE
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