week 39

FRIDAY hamburger sliders + homemade french fries
SATURDAY date night!
SUNDAY dinner out (bring: salad)
MONDAY avocado pasta with garlic shrimp
TUESDAY palak paneer
WEDNESDAY bbq’d pork tenderloin with ginger & soy sauce
THURSDAY grilled thai chicken with herb-lemongrass crust

somebody celebrated a birthday last week….

yes the old guy turned 44 last friday and requested hamburger sliders “with all the fixins.” i’m pretty sure he was still remembering that amazing bacon & sweet onion jam i made to go with the pork sliders for derby day, and fair enough: that stuff was indeed delicious! these mini-burgers consisted of organic grass fed lean ground beef, to which i added some garlic and salt & pepper, maybe a splash of worcestershire sauce cos i’m crazy like that. and then we topped with the aforementioned bacon-onion jam, plus sliced cheddar, tomato slices, and, at my daughter’s urging, iceberg lettuce that i shredded and tossed with some not-so-secret sauce. holy wow, next level!

but my word — those french fries! i have never made french fries and to be honest, i’d never planned to. i don’t need to add deep fried foods to my repertoire. it’s just a bad idea. but then smitten posted this recipe and what was i supposed to do??? they were so insanely easy and the opposite of messy, and you don’t have to watch over them like a hawk. nothing caught on fire and they were the best fries we’ve ever had.

my sister has us all over for taco night on sunday to say bon voyage to my daughter and her fella who are going to be galavanting all over europe for the next few weeks. she was making a full spread as per usual, but asked me to bring a salad to go with. who eats salad with tacos?? but then i remembered this recipe from smitten kitchen (surprise!) for chile-lime melon salad. i will admit, i was not sure about this one after i tried it. it’s a bit weird. chile powder, lime juice, melon? plus mexican cheese, cilantro and pumpkin seeds?? what?? i like all those things, but my first taste (and second even) was weird. deb recommends eating it right away so it doesn’t get all liquidy and slimy but mine sat for at least 2 hours in the fridge (a bit of liquid but not slimy) and i think that was what did it for me; the flavours all melded and i dare say it was quite addictive! super refreshing and i anticipate it will make at least one more appearance this summer.

this is one i make a fair amount. it’s not the most attractive of meals and certainly doesn’t photograph well but it sure is tasty. i was convinced that it wasn’t nearly as good as our local indian restaurant’s version but after sampling some cold leftovers, i’m not so sure now, cos it was dang tasty! i think i was just initially eating it when it was too hot. hello, impatient! plus i’m convinced restaurants add extra sugar and fat to up the flavour which is cheating. anyway, palak paneer, or saag paneer, as i believe this is called too, is basically indian cottage cheese (the paneer) in a spinach sauce (the palak/saag). simple yet delicious. and this is coming from a girl that detests even wilted spinach! the key is chopping, or better, puréeing it once it’s cooked; then you don’t get those gross clumps. obvs there are loads of spices in it too. she calls for something called hing which i do not have but perhaps one day will find and add to my spice collection. it’s def not a deal breaker for this dish.

so seemingly overnight it turned into summer. super hot temps and gorgeous sunshine. yes! finally! of course that means barbecue weather! this is an insanely easy recipe for asian marinated pork, photocopied from a friend. it says you can marinate for as little as ten minutes on the counter but i like big flavour so start the night before. pro-tip (not that i’ve ever been this clever): make twice as much and bang the second one in the freezer for another night! because we were grilling, we popped some peppers and baby potatoes on at the same time. easy peasy.

barbecued pork tenderloin with ginger and soy sauce

makes 4 servings.

¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp liquid honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.5 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed

in small bowl, combine soy sauce, sherry, oil, ginger, honey and garlic; stir to mix well.

pour marinade into large plastic bag and add pork tenderloin; seal bag. let marinate for 10 minutes (or overnight).

remove tenderloin from bag; reserved marinade. place tenderloin greased barbecue grill over medium-high heat. close lid and cook for 15-20 mins or until cooked, turning once. (alternately, you can do this in the oven. pre-heat oven to 375℉, and then bake on rimmed baking sheet; cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked, turning halfway through.)

meanwhile, pour reserved marinade into small sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring continuously. simmer until tenderloin is cooked.

remove tenderloin from grill and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. pour sauce on top or serve on the side.

fully taking advantage of this outdoor bbq & dining weather, our last meal of the week was one i’ve not made in aaaaages and i’ve no idea why! it’s sooooo good!! grilled thai chicken with herb-lemongrass crust. it’s not like marinades intimidate me, hello?! i did a boneheaded thing tho, and scaled the recipe in half cos it’s supposed to serve 12 people and i guess i was thinking there would only be three of us max. should’ve made the entire thing and froze a bunch. duh! next time! i ended up using boneless skinless chicken legs which were weird to trim (wth? i’ve never seen these in the store before but they were out of b/s breasts so there you go) but cooked up beautifully. in fact i’ll likely make this with b/s thighs from now on. one thing: i had to omit the basil because the bunch i bought earlier in the week literally shrivelled up and died the day after i brought it home. i do not think it made a big difference in taste. but what’s the deal with fresh basil anyway? you’re not supposed to store it in the fridge but on the counter doesn’t seem to work either. very frustrating. hey, see that rice in the top corner there? also yum! coconut thai rice. mmm it does go well with the chicken.

not sure what happened to the avocado pasta with shrimps… must’ve had too many leftovers in tha fridge!


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