Archive for October, 2011

Same Posts, New Place!

October 20, 2011

Late this summer I was asked to write a blog for the Connecticut Post and its family of online publications.  On that new blog, which I named The Secret Ingredient after my Fairfield cooking school, I am posting the same types of recipes, tips, and product profiles that I do here on my Season to Taste blog.  However, publishing both blogs has become somewhat of a time-consuming exercise, on top of teaching all my  cooking classes.  So, for the time being, I will publish my Season to Taste entries over at the Connecticut Post.  Don’t worry—this blog will stay up so you can still access the archived recipes/posts.  If you follow me here, I hope you’ll follow me there as well!

As always, thank you for reading, and happy cooking!!

Don’t miss a post!  You can now find my twice-weekly blog,  The Secret Ingredient at:

http://blog.ctnews.com/holleran/

Product Profile: Rosemary Crackers

October 10, 2011

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs.  It is also the only herb I have any success growing on my own, so I use it frequently.  With roasted potatoes, in marinades for meat, or scattered on top of freshly baked focaccia, in a word–delicious.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered rosemary flavored crackers.  A hint of flavor added to my cheese and cracker platters?  Perfect.  Well, after taste-tests were completed, it was really only half-perfect.

The first crackers, or “crisps” as they are referred to on the box, were Trader Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps.  As relatively new item at the store,  the pretty green box caught my attention.  The crisps look almost like mini-Melba toasts studded with various additions, including (no surprise here), raisins and rosemary, but also sunflower and flax seeds.  Sounds bizarre?  I agree…but despite its interesting set of ingredients and not-so-pretty appearance, this cracker is truly out of this world good.  I LOVE them.  They combine sweet, salty and savory flavors all at once and somehow manage to be delicious.  I love them with cheese, but they are also great for dips or just by the handful as a snack.

On the other end of the spectrum are Triscuit’s Rosemary and Olive Oil crackers.  They claim to have “natural flavor” but I found the rosemary flavor to be extremely artificial tasting.  Rosemary is actually on the list of ingredients (listed as “Spices-includes rosemary”) but in my opinion, they taste nothing like the woodsy, full-flavored herb I love so much.  I felt they made everything taste ‘off’ and my husband and kids agreed that they were just not good.  I have to say I was pretty disappointed, considering that the original Triscuits are one of my very favorite crackers.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend their Raisin Rosemary Crisps.  If not, skip the Rosemary Triscuits and stick to the originals!

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

Grilled Rosemary-Fig Pork Tenderloin

October 3, 2011

Pork tenderloin is a favorite in our house, so I make it frequently.  I change-up the flavorings depending on my mood, and sometimes it’s perfect grilled with nothing but a little salt and pepper.

On a recent night I was looking at my overgrown rosemary plant and decided to make use of it.  Rosemary pairs very nicely with pork, and gives it a great Mediterranean flair.  I created a simple marinade from the rosemary leaves, olive oil, garlic, and some fig-infused balsamic vinegar for a decidedly Italian flavor.  By using a ziplock plastic bag in which to marinate the pork, you can easily turn the meat inside the sealed bag, plus you save yourself the trouble of cleaning one extra dish.  And a tip–to easily mix your marinade, put the plastic bag in a large measuring cup and fold it open around the top of the cup.  This makes it easy to pour in ingredients without your bag tipping over and spilling!

The result was delicious, although you have to be careful to keep the grill temperature low, so the sugars in the fig vinegar don’t burn too much ( a little charring is preferable, in my opinion…just don’t go overboard!).  Depending on the size of your tenderloin, the cooking time could vary from as little as 20 minutes, to as much as 45, so just be sure to check it fairly frequently.  I paired the meat with some grill-roasted green beans that I drizzled with some garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with salt.  Delicious—-and no inside mess to clean up!

Grilled Rosemary-Fig Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

1.5 – 1.75  lbs pork tenderloin (one large or two small tenderloins)

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped off and stem discarded

1 glove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fig balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

In a large ziplock bag, mix the rosemary leaves, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Add the pork and seal bag securely.  Shake the bag around so all the meat is coated in marinade.  Allow to marinate in fridge for 1-2 hours (or on the countertop for up to 30 minutes).

Preheat grill to medium heat.  Place pork on hot grates and cook until meat begins to release from grates (this could be anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on size of tenderloin).

Turn meat once or twice until it has nice grill marks on each side and internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Optional:  boil reserved marinade in a saucepan on the stove top until reduced to a syrupy sauce.  Serve over meat.  Note–never use marinade that has been in contact with raw pork unless it is thoroughly boiled first.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.