Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lime Marinaded Beef Fajitas with Seasoned Sour Cream

Beef Fajitas, ButterYum, Milanesa CutLime Marinated Beef Fajitas with Seasoned Sour Cream - Ole!

This was my first time making Beef Fajitas, but it won't be my last. They were so yummy and I knew they were going to be a hit when the kids started swiping strips of the cooked beef every time I turned my back.

The complete recipe is posted at the end of the page.
Let me walk you through the process.

I forgot to get a pic of the beef marinading - I used a cut called Milanesa which is basically 1/8-inch thin slices of top round or sirloin.

Caramelized onions and peppersCaramelize the onions and peppers while the beef marinades for 30 minutes. I used Vidalia onions and sweet bell peppers because they caramelize so nicely.

Fajita Beef, Milanesa CutBecause the beef is sliced so thin, it doesn't need to marinade for very long and it cooks very quickly. Only 1-2 minutes per side. You can cook the beef on your grill outside, or do it inside if you have a nifty stove top grill pan. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the heat and cut it across the grain into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Be sure to discard any leftover marinade.

assembling fajitasOkay, we have everything ready to begin assembly - a plate of cooked beef, a plate of caramelized onions and peppers, some grated cheese, and a bowl of seasoned sour cream - time to get busy.

Place 2 tablespoons of seasoned sour cream down the center of a flour tortilla. I found a wonderful brand of whole wheat tortillas that I like, but regular flour tortillas would be fine.

Next we add strips of cooked beef.

Followed by lots of yummy caramelized onions and peppers.

And lastly a sprinkling of cheese (or if you're my hubby, add a lot of cheese). I used sharp cheddar, but I can think of several other cheeses that would work nicely - I think I'll try Pepper Jack next time. Mmmmm.

Okay, now we're ready to fold this baby up and eat.




How easy was that?!!

Lime Beef Fajita, ButterYum, MilanesaDig in!

Lime Marinated Beef Fajitas with Seasoned Sour Cream
makes 8 Fajitas 
Note - before you begin, have the veggies cut, the marinade made, and the seasoned sour cream mixed together

2 pounds Beef, Milanesa Cut (top round or sirloin sliced 1/8-inch thick)
lime marinade (below)
seasoned sour cream (below)
2 onions, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, etc)
8 flour tortillas, 8-inches in diameter
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Scallions, sliced (optional)

Lime Marinade 
whisk together; reserve 2 tablespoons to make the seasoned sour cream below

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Seasoned Sour Cream
whisk together; reserve until your ready to assemble the fajitas

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons reserved lime marinade

Begin the recipe by placing the thinly sliced beef into a gallon size zip-top bag. Whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour over beef. Seal bag closed and massage the marinade into the beef. Marinade for 30 minutes, turning the bag once or twice.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions and peppers in a couple of tablespoons of canola oil and a little salt and peppert over low to medium heat; stirring frequently. This process will take about 30-40 minutes.

Remove the beef from the marinade; sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 minutes per side - this can be done on an outside grill, or in a grill pan on the stove top. Slice beef, across the grain, into 1/4-inch strips.

To assemble the fajitas, place 2 tablespoons of seasoned sour cream down the center of a tortilla; top with 1/8 the beef strips and 1/8 the caramelized onions and peppers. Top with cheese, and optional cilantro and/or scallions; roll and eat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Killer Marinated Tomatoes

Killer Marinated Tomatoes by ButterYum

Oh my. Brought these babies to a gathering of church ladies and they were a huge hit. Really, reeeeeeally delicious. I'm having a hard time finding the words to properly describe how yummy they are, so you'll just have to make them and find out for yourself.

Killer Marinated Tomatoes

6 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (or equal amount of halved cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 scallions, sliced

Whisk everything but the tomato wedges together in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and stir to coat. Marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours; stirring every now and then. Enjoy!

Notes: The marinade leftover in the bottom of the bowl is too yummy to throw away - sop it up with big chunks of yummy bread, or use it to make rice or quinoa.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pomegranate Syrup - Sticky and Sweet

Pomegranate Syrup, ButterYum
I love pomegranates. Each winter I purchase a case and slowly, over the course of a few weeks, I wait for everyone in the house to leave so I can enjoy a little alone time, just me and my pomegranate. I fully enjoy the process of cracking one open and carefully extracting all the ruby red juice filled arils, savoring each and every one of them as they give under the slightest pressure and release their intoxicating juice. It's a ritual truly look forward to.

The year before last I decided to tackle harvesting the arils from an entire case in one sitting. Several hours later, my fingernails were stained beyond belief, but I was left with a gigantic bowl full of thousands of wonderful arils that the entire family enjoyed for at least a week (they keep remarkably well in the fridge). When pomegranate season rolls around (in about 6 months), I'll show you how I extract the lovely arils. For now I have to resort to buying bottled juice. Drinking bottled juice isn't nearly as satisfying as eating hundreds of juicy arils, but the flavor and health benefits are equal. I buy large bottles at Costco. Smaller bottles are readily available at grocery stores.

Recently I was in the mood for something sweet and I had a bottle of pomegranate juice in the fridge, so I made a batch of pomegranate syrup and I really love the way it turned out - so sticky and sweet, yet slightly tangy. Amazing stuff. I served it on vanilla ice cream, but I have a jar of leftover syrup in the fridge. I'm thinking crepes, french toast, pancakes, waffles, summer drinks... so many delicious possibilities.

I hope you'll give this yummy stuff a try.

Pomegranate Syrup
makes 3/4 cup

1 cup pomegranate juice (fresh or bottled)
1/2 cup honey (or light corn syrup, maple syrup, golden syrup)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter

In a medium sauce pan, combine ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce by half. Serve over ice cream, crepes, french toast, pancakes, waffles, summer drinks, etc. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction

Pork Tenderloin with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction, ButterYumI'd love to tell you all about this amazing Pork Tenderloin with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction, but you'll have to excuse me for a minutes while my family and I finish devouring it. Oh my. So sorry about that.

Wow, I want more. You know what that means don't you?
It means you have to give this recipe a try.
Thankfully it's not difficult at all.

Trimming pork tenderloinsFor those of you who just want to see the recipe, it's posted at the bottom of the page. But for those who've never cooked a tenderloin before, let me walk you through the process.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Wash and dry your tenderloins. They're relatively small (1.25 - 1.5 pounds each), and they're often sold in packages of two. Be careful not to confuse them with much larger, less expensive "loins".

There's a small portion of opaque connective tissue on each tenderloin - they call it "silver skin. Silver skin gets very tough, almost inedible when cooked, so you definitely want to trim it off. Simply run a sharp knife against the underside of the silver skin to remove it.

trimming silver skinTenderloins are pretty lean, but trim any large bits of fat if you find any. Don't worry about small specks - they'll melt into the roast and add lots of flavor.

Notice that one end of the tenderloin is much thinner than the rest.

tie pork tenderloin flap with twineFold the thin part over onto itself and tie it with a piece of kitchen twine. You can skip this step if you like, but you should really give it a try. Doing so will protect the thin portion from overcooking.

season well with kosher salt and pepperNow it's time to season our tenderloins well with lots of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Don't be shy.

searing tenderloinsTime to sear the meat - do this in an oven-proof frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sear the tenderloins well on all sides. As soon as all sides have attained a lovely brown color, pop the pan into your preheated 375F oven until the internal temperature or the tenderloins reaches 160F - about 20 minutes.

finish tenderloins in the ovenI can't wait!! But wait, we're not ready to eat just yet. Remove the tenderloins from the pan and place them on a cutting board to rest. Do Not carve the tenderloins yet. Your patience will pay off, I promise.

Now, see all the yummy goodness in the bottom of the pan? That's the base for our wonderful sauce (I mean reduction).

deglazing the panDeglaze the pan by adding the vinegar and chicken stock - you can throw in the garlic at this point, or wait until you add your preserves, whatever. I like to use this flat paddle to gently dislodge all the yummy brow bits from the bottom of the pan. Lesson: the technical term for all that brown yumminess on the bottom of the pan is "fond". The fond will dissolve into the chicken stock and vinegar. Mmmm - that's good. Very, very good.

By the way, be careful with that pan handle - it'll be extremely hot after being in the oven.

making the reduction sauceNow we choose our weapon, I mean preserves. I decided to use a combination of Black Cherry and Raspberry, but you can use any fruit you like.

how to make a fruit glaze or reduction for porkWhisk the preserves into the pan. Don't be alarmed if you see a few chunks of fruit. I even added a few wild raspberries just to give it more gourmet appeal.

Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce by half - this should take about 7 or 8 minutes. Once the sauce is reduced, turn off the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. That's it folks. Easy!

Do a quick taste test and adjust your seasoning if necessary. Slice your tenderloins into diagonal medallions and drown them in copious puddles of this luscious reduction.

I'm telling you what, I'll be making this dish again and again.

ButterYum, Pork Tenderloin with pan Reduction

Pork Tenderloin with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction
Serves 6-8, adapted from a Chef John recipe2 pork tenderloins - not "loins" (tenderloins weigh about 1.25 to 1.5 pounds each)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste

1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced (chef john used one, but we're into garlic big time)
1/2 - 3/4 cup fruit preserves (I used 1/2 c black cherry and 1/4 c raspberry)
2 tablespoons butter, cold

Preheat oven to 375F.

Prepare tenderloins by removing the "silverskin"; discard. Fold the thin end of the tenderloin on itself and tie with kitchen twine; pat dry and season generously with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Heat a large oven-safe frying pan on high heat until very hot (really good quality cookware is a must). Sear all sides of the tenderloins in a bit of olive oil until they have a nice brown crust all over (brown equals flavor!!). Transfer the pan to a preheated 375F oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160-165F. Remove the pan from the oven; place tenderloins on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes while you make a sauce in the same pan the tenderloins roasted in.

To make the reduction (sauce), return the pan to the stove top over high heat. Deglaze the pan by adding the vinegar and chicken stock; scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the minced garlic and preserves; whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in cold butter. Slice pork diagonally into medallions; serve with generous amounts of sauce.

Note - we practically licked the sauce off our plates it was so good. I think the sauce would also be good on pork chops, chicken breasts, even turkey. I can't wait to make it again.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Healthier Corn Muffins

Reduced Fat, Healthier Corn Muffins, ButterYum
Is there such a thing as a healthier corn muffin? Little ButterYum and I wanted to find out, so we came up with this lightly sweetened, reduced fat recipe that was inspired by Jamie of Jamie Cooks It Up!

They passed the kid test - we give them two thumbs up!

Healthier Corn Muffins
makes 12 regular muffins or 24 mini muffins

1/4 cup water
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal (not self-rising)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F, baking rack in the middle of the oven. Spray muffin pan with baking spray or line with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, apple sauce, egg, and melted butter; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients; then stir in the reserved wet ingredients until combined. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake in a 350F oven: 13-18 minutes for regular muffins; 5-8 minutes for mini muffins (we like them kind of browned).

Note: to make Jamie's recipe, omit the apple sauce and water listed above, and add 1/2 cup pureed canned corn.