Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Favorite Soup of the Summer and Some New Finds

In a fit of magazine withdrawal, I bought Vegetarian Times over the summer. I keep thinking of Michael Pollan's dictum (Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.) but I'm having a hard time letting go of my animal protein. I was hoping the magazine would inspire but what I really need is 30 Minute Vegetarian Meals Without Tofu or Seitan.

I tried a few things in the magazine. We made two kinds of popsicles, which were ok; the best part for the boys was using the blender; for me it was using the coconut milk, which I kept forgetting I had and buying more of until I had five cans of five different brands. I'm still not crazy about homemade popsicles since they always freeze too hard. But it was fun.

The big winner of the issue, though, was the Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque. This became my go-to lunch of the summer. It was adapted by Two Fat Als here; I liked their version too, but honestly really enjoyed the one straight from the magazine.

Since it is carrot, I suppose it could go on in to the fall, though cold soups just seem like August food to me. And I couldn't get the boys to touch it, except for the blender part. Maybe next summer they will overcome their fear of soup. But here it is, in all its simple glory.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque
from Vegetarian Times, summer 08

4 C fresh carrot juice (I of course used fresh bottled)
3/4 C pine nuts (toasted or raw work)
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1 avocado, sliced
2 tsp grated ginger

Puree all in blender. (Note: I found that doing the pine nuts first with a little bit of the juice when it started turning to nut butter helped the texture.) Season with salt and pepper.

My kind of recipe!

My other find of the summer was the light multigrain English muffins. (Thank you, Aunt Barbara.) While I still love the traditional white flour version too, these were an absolutely reasonable substitute. And my favorite summer topping for them (when I could find an avocado sale) was the Nigella Lawson avocado bruschetta. As a savory breakfast, it was awesome. Essentially, while the muffin toasts, I mash an avocado with the juice of a lime, then pile it on the muffin. Yum. Her original "recipe" is here.

And just like that we're in to fall. Last night I tried a "new" pork recipe. (I'm on a tear to try to use all the "hey, that looks good" recipes I've torn out or copied down to see if I like them before letting them hang around my house for much longer.) I call it "new" because I never made it but it came with a "very best baby" label. Ahem. The last "very best baby" stuff I got was when my first son was born. You know, the one who will be five in a couple of weeks. I tossed the other recipe cards but this one looked good--and boy, was it ever.

Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce

1 lb. pork tenderloin
salt & ground black pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil (I used olive of course)
1/2 cup evaporated fat free milk (they bolded Ne*stle C@rnation so I suppose they sponsored this recipe)
2 Tbs Dijon mustard (I used the rustic kind with the seeds still visible since that's what I had)
2 to 3 green onions, sliced

Cut pork in to 1-inch thick slices. Place pork between two pieces of plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness using meat mallet or rolling pin. (They almost lost me right here. I do not flatten meat. I just sliced mine really thin.) Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of pork; cook on each side for 2 mnutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet. Set aside and keep warm. Repeat with remaining pork.

Reduce heat to low. Add evaporated milk. Stir to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in mustard and green onions. Return pork to skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, turning pork to coat with sauce.

Since they gave the nutritional info, I will too: Makes 4 servings. 192 cal, 7g total fat (2g saturated); 72 mg cholesterol, 268 mg sodium, 5 g total carb, 0 fiber, 0 sugar, 25 g protein. (That's 4 WW points for anyone keeping track at home.)

A few notes: this was AMAZING. The hardest part was slicing the pork. If you don't have my raw meat issues, this is a breeze. If, like my butcher, you can only get 2 lbs of tenderloin at a time, this easily doubles. Since there are 1.5 cups of milk in a can, I made extra sauce with it and am freezing it. It would also be awesome on chicken.

And a final "new" find: please remind me, the next time The Best Babysitter Ever recommends something, I need to run, do not walk, to make it. This is such an awesome use of leftover rice, I am mourning the times I ever threw it away because I cannot reheat rice for some absurd reason. We didn't have plum tomatoes so I just halved a pint of grape tomatoes I had. And I predict this will go right in the rotation with my corn and zucchini thing next summer. Yeah, it's that good. It was a little complex, with the chopping and the preroasting, but for some heavenly reason last night the boys played together nicely for almost 45 minutes in a row, making this possible. Wonders may never cease.

And speaking of wonders that never cease, the addition of peanut butter to my younger son's routine has simplified my life in amazing ways. I am literally thanking God every day when I make lunch for not giving him food allergies. With my father being deathly allergic to fish (among other less deadly but more annoying allergies--dust, perfume, pollen) and my mother's near-fatal bee allergy, I was pretty paranoid about him. But happy day! He's now three and while he hasn't had too much seafood yet (I'm out of practice) all else seems to be going well. So the nut recipes are pouring back out of my shelves. Expect more in upcoming days.

And with that, it's time to shower for the day. It's my son's first day of school! The end of the longest summer ever! Woohoo!

1 comment:

Domestic Goddess said...

I feel like I'm finally getting back on track. Only took me a month!