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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cooking In Stilettos: Squeezing that Last Bit of Juiciness from Summer

Cooking In Stilettos: Squeezing that Last Bit of Juiciness from Summer: Remember that fall that I greeted so cheerfully last post? Well, it was just a teaser. The highs have been back in the high 80's or even low...

Squeezing that Last Bit of Juiciness from Summer

Remember that fall that I greeted so cheerfully last post? Well, it was just a teaser. The highs have been back in the high 80's or even low 90's, so it hasn't been ideal to break out the hot chocolate just yet.  But, you know what they say, make the most of the situation! In my case that meant a late harvest peach dish. Specifically, Tipsy Peach Glazed Pork Tenderloin. 

Earlier this week one of my lovely readers sent me this wonderful photo of her inspirational apron:

Photo courtesy of Effie Lally

I mean, "Will Cook for Shoes"? That is the motto of my life! (Well, that and "Go forth and be fabulous!") It also made me realize that while I have discussed what I wear while I'm cooking, I have never discussed the fact that I wear aprons (of the awesomely sexy variety) always. Let me repeat, ALWAYS. Nothing will ruin the mood of an amazing meal in the making than looking down and seeing tomato paste on cashmere, or olive oil on silk, or, well, you get the idea.

So, thanks to wonderful friends and family I have quite the collection of aprons to choose from each time I cook. And, yes, I do wear each one according to my outfit. I guess it just seems more fun that when someone sees me cooking (hey, hubby, wink wink) or if someone stops by in the middle of prep, that I am not this hot and splattered sight.  Instead, I am Donna Reed and Rita Hayworth all rolled into one. With a dash of a young Mia Farrow just for kicks.

Without further adieu, I give you my apron collection, my lovelies. 

The one that started it all. From Anthropologie.

A Christmas gift from my girls, they know me well! (Also the one I am wearing today.)

Another gift from my girls. I feel like Betty Boop when I wear it, don't ask me why.

A gift from a wonderful friend along with a fab coffee mug. That's the way to start the day!

Sexiest apron ever! I am always tempted to close the blinds and just wear this as a surprise for the hubby. Maybe I could find a seamstress and have a sundress like this made instead! It was also a gift from a dear friend along with the best cocktail book in the world. I mean, who doesn't want to have a Screaming Blue Orgasm?

As to resources, there are tons, especially with the whole retro resurgence. TJMaxx has been known to carry some cuties. Of course, there's Anthropologie.  But, there are even more online resources. Kitchen Threadz are original designs, they offer a huge variety, and are drop dead adorable! So, if you don't have an apron, go get one. Then, go in the kitchen and make Tipsy Peach Glazed Pork Tenderloin, hot stuff!

(Sorry no pick on this one. Got the dish all plated up, and the camera battery was dead. So, insert a mouthwatering luscious piece of pork here.) 

Tipsy Peach Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 3 cups chopped peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin, sliced into 1 inch thick slices
  • peaches, halved and pitted
  • Cooking spray

  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Uncover and simmer 5 minutes. Place peach mixture in a food processor; process until smooth. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, vinegar, and next 4 ingredients (vinegar through red pepper); pulse to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Place half of peach mixture in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; reserve other half for basting. Add tenderloin slices to bag; seal bag and refrigerate 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  • Preheat grill.
  • Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Place pork and peach halves on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 10 minutes or until the pork is done and the peaches are tender, turning once. Baste pork and peach halves with the reserved peach mixture every 2 minutes during the first 6 minutes of cooking.
Remember that wine you opened to make those peaches tipsy? Well, pour yourself a glass and take off that apron-cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello, Fall!

I am so over summer.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am a warm weather kinda gal.  I mean, hell, I grew up in the Mid East and the Caribbean, for Pete's sake. The closest I came to the change of seasons was watching It's a Wonderful Life on a bootleg betamax video. So, moving to the the Southeast US has at least allowed me to enjoy damp and hot as well as damp and chilly. But right now? Right now, I am sick of my warm weather clothes.  You know what I'm talking about.  The way you feel when you go into your closet after your morning shower, stand there in your knickers, and feel your shoulders slump at the prospect of putting on those damn shorts one more time. Or that tank. Or anything that you've worn in the last 4 months.  I've even threatened to just go in my lingerie.  I mean, it is always lovely, and it's perfect for 100+ degrees, but there might be an awkward moment or two with the neighbors and their kids. 

But today, my lovelies, it won't go above 80! Hallelujah, no shorts! I am experimenting with a new way to do the outfit of the day on the blog, so bear with me.  I suck at photography, but at least this way I am showing you my actual clothes, rather than an internet grab of them.  I feel like this is more genuine, and much easier than trying to find what I own online.

Jeggings: Loft
Boots: Just Fabulous (a monthly shoe subscription website)
Scarf: Buckle 
Purse: Franco Sarto from TJMaxx

I like this look because it is very casual, yet still has enough of an edge to keep interest.  No, you don't have to be a stick figure to wear this.  I am a fit person, but just like everyone else there are bits that I don't like to emphasize.  Surprisingly, the balance of the form fitting jeggings and the loose, boyfriend style top works well to do exactly that.  The deep v of the top shows a bit of skin (even a hint of lingerie if you are small like me) without looking trashy. And the boots, well, you know I'm gonna have a heel, but you could just as easily pair this with a great pair of flat boots.

Now in honor of the less miserable temperatures, it's time to break out a great chili. When my husband and I were in college, we were vegetarians.  We still eat many meatless meals, and this chili is one of our favorites.

Meatless Layered Chili: (makes enough for 12 people)

1 T. olive oil

1 c. onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

28 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 14 oz. cans pinto beans

2 14 oz. cans kidney beans (light or dark, your preference)

2 14 oz. cans black beans

2 T. chili powder

2 t. cumin

1 t. salt

2 t. dried oregano

2 t. cocoa

1 t. hot sauce

Heat oil in large stock pot.  Add onions and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

In bowls, layer with corn chips, cheese, sour cream, diced green onions, or whatever you love. Easy peasy and so delicious!

If I must be honest, the reason why I made the pie was because I cleaned out the fridge and realized I had 5 granny smiths that needed to be used and fast.  So, it was pie time!

This is the same pie crust recipe from my Way to a Man's Heart post.

Pie Crust:

For the crust: (Don't be tempted to use a store crust, it's just not the same.  They taste like cardboard.)

1 c. shortening

2 2/3 c. all purpose flour

1 t. salt

8 + T. cold water

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add shortening. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut  the flour and shortening in together until the particles are the size of small peas.  Add water a tablespoon at a time, and tossing with a fork until all the flour is moistened and pastry cleans the side of the bowl.  Add more water if necessary to achieve this.

Gather pastry into a ball and split into two halves.  Tear a sheet of wax paper about 12 inches long and sprinkle with flour.  Place one half on the wax paper and roll out to desired size for pie pan (it should be about 1/8 inch thick).  Invert onto pie pan and trim.  Repeat for the top sheet of crust.

Apple Pie Filling:

5 large granny smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced

1/4 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. freshly ground nutmeg (trust me it's so much better than the pre-ground kind)

3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.  Add apples and stir well to coat.  Pour into crust lined pie pan. Dot with butter and seal with top crust.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. Dust off your apron and feel like a sexy June Cleaver, 'cause that's what you are, my lovelies!