Zin-ful Pork Tenderloin

We had an abundance of zinfandel following our weekend away, so I decided to put it to work in the kitchen by braising pork tenderloin in one of the leftover zins. I made sure to pull it out of the bubbling liquid while still pink, and left it to rest for a few minutes. That final move made it nice and tender, plus the purple-stained skin created an interested marble effect.

I served it over rice, but mashed potatoes would be a more decadent option if you’re feeling zin-ful. Pretty simple!

Cleaning out the fridge: white bean chili

In the third and last chapter of desperation in the kitchen, I used my stash of white beans, frozen chicken breasts, onion and spices to make an amended version (for spicy weaklings) of Epicurious’ White Bean Chicken Chili. You’ll see some suggestions at the end on how to make it vegan or vegetarian, as well.

It’s pretty simple when you break it down. I sauteed onion, oregano and cumin; and added the frozen chicken breasts directly on one side of the pan. They required more cooking time since they were frozen, but easy regardless. Next, you basically add the beans and water (I didn’t have chicken broth) and it thickens over time. Note: I don’t think chicken is necessary; you could skip that step and I don’t think you’d miss it.

David and I are both sensitive to spicy foods, so I skipped the green chilies, red pepper and cilantro. Also, a tablespoon of cumin was too much; I almost wondered if it was a typo. In order to cut down on heat, I added about 3/4 a stick of butter towards the end, and it did the trick. (I skipped the whipping cream, so that may have had something to do with it.)

So to summarize, if you cut down on cumin and skipped the chicken, chicken broth and butter/cream, you’d have a vegan, dairy-free white bean chili.

Wok + Wine with FoodSpotting

I had the pleasure of gorging on shrimp at FoodSpotting’s Wok + Wine event last week. Part networking, part slurping, sucking and biting – it was a delightful way to change up the weeknight routine and rub shoulders with some fellow FoodSpotting geeks.

Here’s proof in a photo of me slurping and/or looking for splatters on my silk shirt. (Not the best thing to wear, but alas.)

Credit: Woknwine.com

Check out this neat time lapse video – and keep your eyes peeled for the short blond ponytail rotating around the room. That’s me. 😉

Cleaning out the fridge: fettuccine with mushrooms

For Part II of this week’s cleaning out the fridge installment, I used the remaining dried porcini mushrooms (see Porcini Couscous) and added Wine Forest Dried Lobster Mushrooms for an adaptation of Epicurious’ Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom Sauce.

For my replication, I soaked both sets of dried mushrooms before adding them to a pan with sauteed onions (instead of garlic). I also swapped water for chicken broth, simply because I didn’t have any, and served it with spinach fettuccine.

It was absolutely delicious, especially when paired with the bacon-licious and smoky Syrah Bacon Reserve from Oreana Winery.

Cleaning out the fridge: Dairy-free lasagna

Traveling three weekends in a row = no groceries + creativity in the kitchen. Using the minimal (and I mean minimal – check out the photographic evidence) ingredients I had left in the fridge, freezer and/or cupboard, I came up with some pretty decent concoctions, starting with a dairy-free lasagna…

Inspired by the idea that lasagna doesn’t have to use cheese (see cheeseless lasagna), I experimented with smashed white beans, layered with leftover ground turkey, cherry tomatoes, bread crumbs, and of course no-bake lasagna noodles.

Interestingly enough, it tasted pretty good – especially the day after. With a little imagination, if you let go of your need for cheese, it ain’t bad (and tastes curiously like this cassoulet). PS – I cheated a little and sprinkled freshly shaved parmesan on top.

Porcini Couscous

Start by soaking dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl of water. I used Wine Forest Dried Porcini #1, soaked for 1.5 hours but 30 minutes to an hour should do the trick.

Next, transfer mushrooms and its liquid to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

Add 1 cup of couscous and remove from burner. Let soak for 5 minutes, then fluff and serve with topping of your choice. I used truffle olive oil, but you could serve with Parmesan, salt and pepper.

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