26 May 2011

Meg and Martha

This week I decided we HAD to get back into our meal planning, both with deciding in advance what we were going to eat, as well as planning to shop for it. Having moved back to my second favorite small town - Wilmore, Kentucky (Taos has to come first....) - there are a FEW drawbacks. First, you can't run to your (not so favorite but still a huge convenience) superstore for a few items to throw together for dinner. Nor can you run for other needs. Nope, you have to plan - and of course me planning means intentionally buying locally - but other things you just have to get elsewhere.

Ok, so back to my dinner. Part of my inspiration was an idea I had! I was given this beautiful cookbook for Christmas (YEP, that long ago!) and hadn't ever had time to read it. It got packed when we moved (errrr early February - oh yeah - my last blog date here too!) and it just got unpacked! It was like Christmas all over again! The title is "Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home" - and it has 52 delicious meals planned - including dessert. Which my poor little family complains they don't get enough of.

SO - tonight we started - once (or twice if I am inspired!) a week we will eat with Martha. I will stick as closely to her cookbook as possible and try new things. It's not the Joy of Eating - nor is it Julia Childs - but I do love Martha and parts of it are very different from our normal fair.

{JUST TO WARN YOU, I had to change menu 1 just a bit.... I couldn't find a reasonable priced lamb}

Menu 1.
  • Baby Lamb Chops with Lemon Strips
  • Asparagus with Aioli
  • Quinoa, Pea, and Mint Salad
  • Vanilla-Poached Rhubarb

Ok, so I had to sub out the lamb. Instead we decided to use a bustameal.com recipe - Pork Medallions With Apricot-Orange Sauce. It had great reviews and tasted GREAT! We agree, it was very nice.

I am feeding not only two adults, but one eight year old who although loves vegitables, doesn't like meat. I am also feeding a two year old that hates all vegetables {except winter squashes and peas - usually uncooked}. So, as you can see, I never have a HIT all at once.

Until tonight! I couldn't believe it. Everyone enjoyed this meal. The huge hit of the night for J and myself was the Quinoa, pea, and mint salad. The last time I tried to cook quinoa it was a flop. Tasted horrid - flat and odd. Perhaps I shouldn't have waited to try again! This was delicious.

The Asparagus recipe called for a nice poaching, but we all prefer to have it oven roasted. So I again veered and roasted. The aioli sauce was a hit - and it's subtle garlic flavor enhanced the asparagus in such a way that little E ate four servings! Sweet girl.

Brad was in charge of cooking the pork medallions. Such a surprising flavor. They were pan seared and then cooked down with slivered onions and sliced dried apricots. There was nothing of the gooey sweetness that is often added by apricot preserves being spooned over dry meat. This was exceptionally delish! Of course, Brad is rather talented when it comes to cooking meat. I tend to be like E and love the veggies more. But, over ten years of marriage to my carnivore, I have come to love some delicately cooked steak or tenderloin!

It was very a delight to have my first meal with Martha a success. I felt a tad sad to have left behind her beautiful baby lamb. But, I do want to make this idea "do-able" for my self and the family. If you are interested in the meals they are found in the book Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home or also found on the following links.

Well, the girls are in bed. I have a cup of decaffeinated hazelnut coffee here, and another Masterpiece Mystery to finish with my love. Oh, and we haven't had our dessert yet! {He just started on it, stating - "mmm mmm mmm, that's so good"! } Hope you decide to try rhubarb sometime, it's our new spring happiness!

{I have included the Pork Medallions recipe, it's not available in Martha's cookbook but it available at Bust-a-meal. I use this program for meal planning - we love it!}

{Pork Medallions With Apricot-Orange Sauce}
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 8 (1-inch-thick) slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  1. Mince garlic
  2. Thinly slice onions
  3. Chop parsley
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
  7. Remove from pan; keep warm.Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan.
  8. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender.
  9. Stir in sliced apricots, broth, juice, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil.
  10. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  11. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
  12. Serve sauce with pork.