Pork Shoulder Steak with Blackberry Sauce and Mushrooms and Tortellini with Lemon/Brown Butter

Pork Steak with Blackberry Sauce, Tortellini and Mushrooms with Lemon Brown Butter

I picked up some raspberries, strawberries and blackberries at the Farmer’s Market. They are so yummy, picked at the peak of freshness – which means I want to cook them up right away. Pork loves fruit, so I decided to go with a pork steak. Mixed packs of pork chops, shoulder blade steaks and other pork steaks cuts were on sale for $1.99 per pound so I picked up a family pack. To top it off, they had a Buy Two Get One Free deal, though I don’t have the freezer space and had to pass.

I heated my skillet to medium heat, sprayed it lightly with olive oil spray and put a shoulder blade steak on to cook. These are thin cut, so I immediately put water on for the tortelli.

I put a couple tablespoons of white wine in a sauce pan. I cut two 1/8 inch thin slices off a medium onion and chopped very fine and tossed it in the wine. After the onions softened, I added a cup of blackberries and used a fork to crush them slightly. I added just a touch of salt. Because I planned to serve it on pork, I did not add any sugar, though if I were serving with beef or chicken, I would add a half teaspoon. I thought the pork would be sweet enough to not require sugar and I was right. It was unnecessary. By now it was time to flip the pork steak and start the tortelli.

While that was cooking, I sliced two large crimini mushrooms and tossed them in the water for the tortellini. I then added a cup of tortelli and let them boil.

I turned the heat up a bit on the sauce to cook it down quickly and poured it into a little bowl so I could rinse and reuse the sauce pan. I put the pork steak on the plate to rest and tossed a tablespoon of butter in the sauce pan and heated it until it turned brown. I then squeezed the juice from half a lemon in. I strained the tortellini and mushrooms and added them to the plate. I put the blackberry sauce on the steak and the brown butter on the pasta and added a few blackberries on the side.

It was delicious. The blackberry sauce was very tart but missed with the brown butter and the pork for a fabulously savory flavor. As to the pasta, there’s nothing quite like brown butter with a dash of lemon juice. Yummy!!


Greek Salad with Spiced Beef

Beef Greek Salad

Whenever I finish frying up some meat, I add just enough water to deglaze the pan. Sometimes that goes into what I am making, but if not, I save it for the next meal and use it instead of oil to cook in. For this, I used the deglazed jus from the night before. I tossed in 3 oz of chopped roast beef and a mix of aromatic spices, just a pinch of them as this was such a small serving. I added some cardamom, sumac and oregano along with salt and pepper. Then I squeezed juice from half a lemon over it and stirred until the meat was cooked and most of the fluid was absorbed or evaporated.

While it cooked, I chopped up some romaine and spread it on a plate. I spread a couple tablespoons of feta on top of that and chopped up about 8 olives and tossed that on it. I added the hot cooked beef that had acquired a savory Middle Eastern flavor from the spices and then dressed the salad with Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette.

Beef & Mushroom Tortellini with Salad

Beef Mushroom Tortellini and Salad

I love to cook up a beef roast since I can cut it up for lots of quick little meals such as this Beef & Mushroom Tortellini. My best friend brought me a huge roast from her stockpile. She and her husband buy a whole cow each year directly from the farm and have it butchered for them, guaranteeing that they get grass-fed BGH-free beef at a reasonable price. I am an occasional benefactor and have to say, it’s much tastier than from the supermarket.

I started by sauteing onions and garlic. I think I start everything this way. I used about two 1/4 slices of onion and 1 clove of garlic. I then chopped up 1 large crimini mushroom and 3 ounces of roast beef which gave me roughly equivalent amounts of beef and mushroom. I tossed them in and added 2 TBSP of mustard and about 1 TBSP of water and put the lid on.

Meanwhile I started water boiling and added 1 cup of tortellini. When it was done, I strained it and tossed it in with the beef and folded it in. It was ready to serve.

While the tortellini cooked, I cut up a few romaine leaves, chopped up some olives and added about an ounce of feta with some of Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette. I swear by that dressing. It is so delicious and tangy. I don’t use it just for salad. Sometimes I will dress cooked veggies or pasta with it.

Potato Patties & Turkey/Veggie Saute

Potato Patty with Turkey/Veggie Saute

This is a perfect way to use up the last of the veggies before your next trip to the market. The night before I cooked mashed potatoes because my potatoes were sprouting. I cut away the sprouts and boiled them up. When they were cooked to being tender enough to put a fork in easily without them falling apart, I drained off the water. For each potato, I added 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1 TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP of sour cream . When it was all mixed up, I added dried dill weed, salt and pepper to taste.  They were tasty, but if I am going to make mashed potatoes, I always make enough for patties the next day. To make them, heat your griddle to medium and spray lightly with oil. Make the patties by hand, shaping them to about the size of a quarter-pound burger and put them on the griddle to cook. It takes about 8-10 minutes per side for them to brown to a nice crisp, more  than enough time to make the saute.

For the saute, first put 1 TBSP of olive oil in your pan and heat it medium, adding 1/4 of an onion, chopped. Add a few leaves of tarragon and 3 cloves of garlic. Add 6 oz. of ground turkey (more or less – I added 1/4 of a pkg. from the store.) After the turkey was close to done, I added 1/4 cup of white wine and started adding veggies in order of the time they need to cook. I pulled out the use it or lose it veggies on their last legs. The mushrooms were a bit dry, so I added them earlier than I usually would so they had time to soak up some juices. Here’s a hint, never store your mushrooms in plastic. Put them in a paper bag. They may dry out, but they won’t spoil and you can soak them a bit to reconstitute them and they will be fine. 

I used about 5 asparagus spears, cutting off the ends and chopping them into 1 inch lengths. A few bits were questionable so I tossed them. Putting a lid on I let that cook while I cut the squash. I had a summer squash and a zucchini that I chopped up though I only used 1/2 the zucchini as the rest was too far gone. I tossed those in and put the lid back on while I chopped up a tomato. Before adding the tomato, I added 2 TBSP of dijon mustard and stirred that in. Then I put the tomato in and put the lid on and let it simmer. It finished a bit before the patties were ready so I turned the heat down to low and kept it warm while I waited for the patties to crisp up.

When they were done, I put two on my plate with the saute. The saute actually made enough for three servings, so I stores some for later along with the extra patties I had cooked.

Bacon & Spinach Wilted Salad

Bacon & Spinach Wilted Salad

I chopped up three slices of pepper bacon into half inch pieces and cooked them in an iron skillet on medium heat for about three minutes. Meanwhile, I sliced an onion and diced it up fine and added to the bacon and let them cook. While they were cooking away, I minced 4 cloves of garlic – a lot, but I wanted this nice and garlicky. I tossed the garlic in and let it cook until everything was caramelizing nicely.

While that was cooking away, I washed a bunch of spinach, squeezed as much water out as I cut and chopped it up. I tossed it the skillet, turning and mixing quickly while it wilted. I removed from heat and squeezed the juice of a full lemon in and mixed it all up. The flavor had so many layers, the earthy flavor of the spinach, the tang of garlic, the sweet bite of onion with the fresh bright lemon. This is quick, easy and delicious.

Three Minute Beef Pita Sandwich

Beef & Feta Sandwiches

I cooked a beef roast the other night so I have lots of lovely roast beef for sandwiches and other quick meals. For this pita sandwich, I sliced off a few slices from the roast and cut them into smaller bite size pieces. I heated my saute pan and put about 1 TBSP of the jus from the roast in the pan and added a pinch of cardamom and sumac, salt and pepper. I added the meat and heated, turning a few times while it cooked. Just before serving I added a bit of yogurt and some feta cheese and stirred and removed from heat to cool for a minute. Meanwhile i heated a pita bread in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it flexible. I cut it in half and stuffed with a meat mixture and a chopped up romaine leaf.

It has a savory flavor with that wonderful spice profile of middle eastern meats. The feta gave it some tang as did the yogurt and the lettuce added a fresh crunch.

Tortellini Primavera & Cucumber-Lettuce Salad

Zucchini & Tortellini with Cucumber Dressing Salad

I started the salad the night before when I had decided to make a raita. Unfortunately, I had already diced one cucumber and one medium onion before I noticed that I was out of plain yogurt. I decided to take another approach and poured about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp of dill weed on it, mixed it up and put it in the fridge. The next day, I took a bite, decided it needed a bit of softening and added a tbsp of mayonnaise and put it back until supper.

For the tortellini, I cut up and onion and sauteed it in olive oil with a clove of garlic. I added some fresh tarragon and let that cook with the onion and garlic. I put a pan of hot water on to boil After the onions softened, I cut up a zucchini and a summer squash and added them. I let them cook for about 5 minutes and added about 1.5 chopped fresh tomatoes. By now the hot water was boiling, so I tossed in a couple handfuls of tortellini. When they all floated, I strained the tortellini and stirred them into the vegetables and served.

While the tortelli boiled, I cut up a few leaves of romaine and tossed with the cucumber dressing. It was delicious and I will make it on purpose in the future. I loved the bite of the onion and vinegar with the creamy fresh cucumber, dill and mayo. Really an amazing new dish. The tortellini was tasty and savory with the fresh spring flavors of a primavera.

Romaine Salad with Raspberries, Pecans and Chevre

Summer Salad - Romaine, Raspberries and Chevre

Chevre was on sale at the grocery store and I bought a pound of it, looking forward to summer salads of fruit and lettuce with a bit of chevre and cheese. There really is no tastier cheese for a summer fruit and cheese salad. There also is almost no limit to the number of salads you can come up with, but for me, the tastiest is a mixture of raspberries, pecans and chevre with some romaine and raspberry vinaigrette.

First wash and shred the romaine, making a bed for your salad. Add  a handful of raspberries, a few pecans and a generous bit of chevre. I just dig it out with the tines of a fork. It’s so soft and creamy that slicing it seems silly. Sometimes I add some apple or pear slices, but today I went for a simpler salad. It’s so delicious with the sweet creaminess of the cheese blending with the sweet tartness of the berries to contrast with the freshness of the lettuce and the salty crunch of the pecans. Add a tart salad dressing like raspberry vinaigrette or a balsamic dressing and you’re in business.

Lamb Tarragon Wine Sauce, Spinach Pasta and Slow-Roasted Asparagus

Lamb Tarragon Wine Sauce

I started water boiling for the pasta and preheated oven to 450. I cut the dried ends off the asparagus spears and put them in a shallow roasting pan with a bit of olive oil. I rolled them around to get the oil to coat the spears and sprinkled kosher salt on them and put them in the oven. When the water started boiling I added fresh spinach noodles (these are from Pastaworks) and began working on the sauce.

I put a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet, added 2 tbsp of sliced leeds and cooked a couple minutes. I added 1 clove of minced garlic and 2 tsp of dried tarragon and 1 tsp of dry mustard and cooked a bit more. I took 3.5 ounces of lamb sausage and broke it up into the skillet and let it cook. While it cooked I sliced 5 mushrooms and 1 small tomato. I added them after the meat had browned. By then the pasta was done and I strained it into a colander. Putting it back in the pan, I added a bit of my cooking juice and stirred it in so it didn’t get sticky.

Back to the sauce, I added a splash of white wine (about 4 TBSP) and put the lid on a minute. I then plated the pasta, ladled some sauce on and pulled the asparagus out of the oven – perfectly done and added them to the plate.  I squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the asparagus. The lamb sauce on the pasta has a lovely savory taste with a bit of heat from the mustard and beautiful freshness from the tarragon. That dash of lemon juice was a perfect complement to the asparagus, offsetting the olive oil and salt splendidly.

The asparagus was not literally slow-roasted. I just forgot to turn the oven on at first.

Zucchini Parm Tian

A tian is simply a layered dish of thin slices of vegetables on a bed of onion and garlic that’s baked to perfection. You can pretty much use anything, though you want them to be close in baking time. For this I used

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 potato
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • tarragon
I preheated the oven to 375. I washed and cut the potato into thirds and set it to boil in a pan, leaving the skin on. In a skillet I sauteed the onion in olive oil until it was traslucent, added the garlic and let it cook down until the potato was done. Meanwhile I sliced the other vegetables into 1/4 slices. When the potato was tender but not soft, I removed it and ran cold water on it and cut it into 1/4 slices which I then cut in half to make them about the size of the zucchini.
I put the onion and garlic in the bottom of a dish and then placed the vegetables in, alternating veggies. In a round pan, do it in a circle. In an oval pan, make fans of your veggies. I packed them in tight and sprinkled a bit of tarragon on top. Then I covered with a piece of parchment paper that you spread butter on very lightly and put in the oven for 20 minutes. While baking, I shredded some parmesan.
Options: You can add a little wine to the onions and also you can add some herbs. Thyme and tarragon are tasty.