Friday, January 27, 2012

Make It: Chipotle Pork Tenderloin

I am one of those people that adds spice to pretty much everything.  Cayenne sprinkled over my eggs every morning, dousing my pizza slices with Frank's Red Hot sauce (love, Love, LOVE!), and I obviously always include a jalapeno's seeds & ribs.

So, when I spotted this pork recipe and it's 3 tablespoons of chipotle powder, to say that it piqued my interest would be an understatement.  Well, I must have some really freakin' hot chipotle powder because 3 tablespoons was a little much...even for me.  Sure, it was good and yes, I like heat but I also like to enjoy my meal!  

The next time I made this, I cut the powder back to 1 tablespoon and it came out perfectly and with plenty of kick.  Knowing that all chipotle powders have a different level of heat, you might want to start on the lower end - you can always add more!  (The kind I used was: Spice Islands Ground Chipotle Chile.)

Served with a side of herby rice and some applesauce to temper the heat - nom.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Allrecipes

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat & silver skin

1. Preheat oven to 325*F.  (Or, preheat the grill to medium-high.)
2. In bowl, combine all of the spices. Rub the spice mixture on the tenderloin, completely covering.  Wrap in plastic wrap/place in a resealable bag and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
3. Place unwrapped tenderloin on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until thermometer inserted into the thickest area reads 140*.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
4. You could also grill the pork, though I have yet to do so.  Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Place the pork on lightly oiled grates.  Grill for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140*.  Remove pork from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  

Note:  To avoid overcooking, I've recently been taking my pork out around 135* instead - the temp. will rise to the proper 145* while resting.  (145* is the new safe pork cooking temperature, so no worries.)  Overcooked pork is the WORST!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIAW #2

I'm baaack with my second What I Ate Wednesday post!  I hope everyone had a great week, filled with lots of healthy meals and tasty treats.  Can't wait to check out the WIAW links at:








Oops, almost forgot to snap a pic...sorry this is half eaten!

Snacktime!
Snack #1: Plain Greek yogurt w/ a kiwi
Snack #2: Banana w/ PB2
Dessert: Blood Orange Greek yogurt

A word about the blood orange yogurt....it is AMAZING!  It is one of 3 new Chobani flavors and I had to track it down, since blood orange is one of my favorite fruits/flavors.  It seriously tasted like a creamsicle!  If you find it, grab a container and the nearest spoon - you'll be glad you did :)

Time for a spot of tea...
365 Organic Green Tea w/ Pomegranate & Cranberry [from Whole Foods]

Don't forget to check out the other WIAW posts!  See you next week for another food filled day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Fried-Day! (January edition)

(Hahaha, sometimes I slay myself!  Fried-Day on a Friday...chuckles all around.)

Anyway, while I am usually on that endless "eating healthy" quest, I can't help but love everything bad for me.  True, I  do actually enjoy eating everything that the produce department has to offer and filling up with whole grains.  But, sometimes.......that urge to chow down on something so obscenely unhealthy takes over and I have no choice but to obey!

Once a month, I would like to share some of the more outrageous artery-clogging foods I have eaten.  Why? Cuz I had the perfect title picked out, duh!  But seriously, I just thought that it'd be fun.

Exhibit A:


Deep fried Oreos from the Big E (Springfield, MA)

These are hands-down one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten.  You see, Oreos are slammin' on their own anyway.  But, with that thick batter and a dip into the deep-fryer, they are on a whole new level.  The batter coating is crispy, the chocolate cookie softens up perfectly, and the cream is just as perfect as ever.  Don't forget to guild the lily with a healthy sprinkling of powdered sugar!  ;)

Have you ever eaten deep fried Oreos?  Share your thoughts in the comments...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIAW #1

So, wanna sneak a peek at what's been on my plate?  What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) is a fun, once-a-week food journaling entry.  Basically, you snap a picture of an entire day's worth of meals, snacks, beverages...whatever you're consuming.  Not only is it neat to see what everyone's been chowing down on (oh, the ideas!), but it is a useful tool for keeping track of your own meals.  Peas and Crayons hosts a weekly WIAW linky party on her blog, so be sure check it out for many more menus!  (And, thanks again for the help, P&C!)



Breakfast: Egg whites, tomato, avocado, mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat wrap
Lunch: Shape magazine's egg salad in a pita with tomato & cuke salad
Dinner: Cooking Light's Avgolemono soup with mashed sweet potatoes & Italian green beans

Snack #1: Strawberries and blackberries
Snack #2: Mexican Bean Salad
Dessert: Chocolate PB Cup Protein Pudding with chia seeds



Friday, January 13, 2012

Local: Boston Chocolate Tours, part 2

Check out Boston Chocolate Tour, part 1 HERE!

You might think that we would be all "chocolated" out at this point.  Nah.  We ran across the street to Boston-based bakery Sweet.  




Sweet is known for their tasty, and sometimes a bit unusual, cupcake confections.  But sometimes, nothing beats the classics.  A chocolate cupcake piled high with chocolate frosting was waiting for us.  



"Anything is good if it's made of chocolate." [Jo Brand]

Stop number 7 was at Lindt.  A store employee had a bunch of their different chocolate bars for us to sample, which was fun because I usually only buy their truffles.  We tasted their dark chocolate-chili bar, white chocolate-coconut bar, a toffee crunch bar, and...one other kind.  It seems as though I have currently misplaced my notes and I cannot remember the last one.  *sad face*  My favorite was definitely the dark chocolate-chili bar.  The deep chocolate flavor gave way to a subtle chili burn.


"After a bar of chocolate one can forgive anybody, even one’s relatives."

Finally, when we thought we weren't able to eat anymore, we reached our final destination.  Gourmet Boutique is a interesting little gift shop in Copley's Westin, which carries a wide variety of chocolates and other gourmet food finds.  The pina colada-chocolate bar wasn't a favorite but I enjoyed the chocolate-bacon bar.  Thick slices of bacon were strewn throughout the chocolate, creating an intense smoky flavor.  My boyfriend loved the Chuao Firecracker Bar: dark chocolate infused with chipotle, salt, and Pop Rocks!  It definitely ranks up there as one of the most unique chocolates I have ever tried.  I'll tell ya though - the combination completely worked!




We bought a couple of unusual truffles here, too.  (Are you sensing a pattern?!)  The blood orange truffle was tasty - a nice balance of sweet and tart - while the balsamic vinegar one was just a bit too strange for us.  All of the truffles at Gourmet Boutique were absolutely stunning to look at...



Our tour guide sent us away with a Paradise Bakery chocolate chip cookie, with instructions to eat it a.s.a.p. for the best taste.  However, I was too full to chow down on any more chocolate that day, so I cheated and reheated it slightly the next day.  And it was still SO good ...just like homemade.  It takes a lot for me to say that because usually I think homemade goodies trump all!  Glad that we got a coupon for another free one...



"If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. 
But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?"

Whew - I am full and tired just from recapping the tour.  To sum it up, I recommend taking a Boston Chocolate Tour to both locals and visitors.  The sampling alone is worth the trip.  ;)  But you also just might find a new hidden jewel!  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Local: Boston Chocolate Tours, part 1

Looking for a great way to get acquainted with a new place?  See if there is a local food tour!  

Aside from chowing some delicious foods, many times you get an impromptu history lesson about the dish being eaten and the city in which you are in.  Bonus - lots of these tours are done by foot, so you sneak some exercise in too.  ;)

Some of my favorite vacation memories have been about food and food tours have recently become a big part of that.  A pizza tour in New York, a tour of Chicago's Gold Coast, and now a chocolate tour in my own backyard of Boston!

Boston Chocolate Tours offers their tour in multiple Boston neighborhoods.  This first time, my boyfriend and I walked along Newbury Street and the surrounding area exploring Back Bay's chocolate delicacies.  

“Put ‘eat chocolate’ at the top of your list of things to do today...
that way, at least you’ll get one thing done.”

We met up with our group at Nespresso for a demo of their espresso machines and a sample of coffee.  Neither my boyfriend nor I like coffee but we gamely tried a sip.  Yeahhh...we still don't like it.  Holy bitter!  Thankfully, a chocolate sample saved our tastebuds.  ;)



From there, we ventured to Hotel Chocolat for a quick lesson on their cacao growing practices and, of course, to sample some treats.  We tried both their milk and dark chocolate in fun Christmas-y shapes as well as 2 kinds of truffles: gingerbread and cinnamon.  Mmmmm....



Their shop was filled to the rafters with chocolate everything...




...including some cocoa penne pasta.  I just had to buy some!  We haven't cooked any yet but will definitely report back once we do.  [Any saucing suggestions?]



After all the yummy samples, it was time to give our bellies a break and indulge our chocolate lust in a new way.  The tour headed into Lush, a handmade bath boutique.  My poor boyfriend was the only guy on the tour, so he was a bit less than thrilled to walk into the (heavily scented) store...but he was a good sport about it!  ;)  Here, we softened our hands up with a chocolate massage bar and scrubbed our lips smooth with cocoa exfoliator.  Their products sure do smell and feel amazing but darn are they expensive!



"If chocolate is the answer, the question is irrelevant."

A few steps down the street found us at a more boyfriend-friendly location: Ben & Jerry's!  While we listened to a bit about the company's origins, we spooned up a cup of Phish Food, one of their more famous ice cream flavors.   Who wouldn't love gooey marshmallow, caramel swirls, and fudge fish swimming throughout chocolate ice cream?  Nom.  



Our next stop was my favorite place on the whole tour.  The group descended upon Teuscher, a chocolatier from Switzerland.  They are best known for their champagne truffles, which were named one of Oprah's favorite foods in 2004.  




Encased in a milk (or dark) chocolate jacket, a dark chocolate ganache center is combined with a touch of Dom Penignon Champagne to create these truffles.  And, oh.  My.  God.  Were.  They.  Amazing!  It is no wonder that these are what prompted Teuscher's fame.  



I must have still been swooning over their heavenlyness (yep, it is now a word) because I started ordered truffles left and right to enjoy at home.  "Let me try the dark chocolate champagne truffle, the vodka one, a couple Grand Mariners, a Limoncello, jasmin please, and you might as well throw both an orange and white chocolate one in there, too."  Thirty-four bucks later, I walked out a Teuscher chocolate addict.  (No regrets!)



“Forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate.”


Our tour isn't over yet...stay tuned for Boston Chocolate Tour, part 2!  


Check out Boston Chocolate Tour, part 2 HERE!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Make It: Banana Beer Bread

I loveeee making quick breads!  They are totally easy to whip up and there's no fussing with finicky yeast.  As an added bonus, most of the ingredients are usually already in the pantry.

Beer bread is a particular favorite of mine, with it's great "yeasty" flavor.  Typically, I just grab whatever is in the fridge...and, honestly, any kind of beer works fine.  But, if you really want to ramp up your bread, choose a robust or a strongly-flavored beer.

This particular time, I decided to use a bottle of Wells Banana Bread Beer.  This shit took me awhile to track down but it was worth the search.  It is such a unique brew and really does taste just like banana!  So, it was perfect for a loaf of quick bread...no real bananas required!


The bread was perfect - a hint of banana, the subtle beer "tang" on the tongue, and a great crumb to the slice. I highly recommend that you hunt down some Banana Bread Beer to make this.  If you can't find it, a pumpkin ale or an IPA would be wonderful as well.  :)


Banana Beer Bread

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
12 ounce bottle of Wells Banana Bread Beer

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
Mix all ingredients just until combined.  Pour into loaf pan.
Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Brush with an extra tablespoon of butter, if desired, and bake 5 more minutes.  [I highly recommend this step!]

See how fast and easy that was?!  Enjoy!