Weekend Eats

I cooked my first pork tenderloin ever on Saturday morning, just to have around for Kent and me to munch on. I think pan-searing and then finishing in the oven is just about the best way to cook meat, with the possible exception of grilling. The searing locks in so much moisture that everything, even pork, comes out delicious and tender. Yum. Kent has been enjoying his first nibbles of pork (unless you count the bacon I've given him once or twice) ever since, and he seems to love it. I'm loving it too, having made some great mini pork sandwiches on baguette slices with chipotle mayo, seen here as an accompaniment to our lunch of mac and cheese and fried okra. Yes, we were a starchy bunch today.

I mentioned yesterday that we procured some blueberries at the farmer's market, and this morning, I couldn't resist making some muffins. I did a slight sub in the recipe, though, led by a desire to use up some raspberries we had left in the fridge. Instead of putting in 1.5 cups of blueberries, I did a cup of blueberries and half a cup of chopped up raspberries. I highly recommend this amendment to your favorite blueberry muffin recipe. The tartness from the raspberries provided a great balance to the sweetness of the blueberries. We ate 5 between the three of us, but there are still plenty left for this week.

The other delicious thing I cooked this weekend was some lasagna that we had for dinner Friday night and then again tonight as leftovers (also with some of that aforementioned baguette). I've made veggie lasagna dozens of times, but this was the best by far, because of what I did to the ricotta. I usually just mix ricotta with herbs and an egg, then spoon it onto the noodles as I'm layering everything with sauce and veggies, but this time, I made a quick béchamel sauce and whisked the ricotta into that to make a thick ricotta sauce instead. The result was a much creamier lasagna that wasn't dry when we reheated it, a problem we've had a lot in the past. That one extra step made a huge difference. Béchamel is such a simple base sauce that can be used for mac and cheese sauce or pretty much any other cream sauce, so it's a good one to know. Whisk together a Tbsp of flour and a Tbsp of melted butter in a pan, cook for about a minute, then whisk in milk and heat until it's thickened. Add seasonings, cheese, etc., as you see fit.

We have happy tummies tonight. I love having the time to cook experimentally on the weekends.

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Wow - you had too much fun! I have never tried to do Fried Okra at home, and I very impressed! The next time you decide to put on a spread like that give us some warning and we will be on the first plane to LA!
Thank you for explaining Bechamel. You and your fancy cooking words. I thought I was going to have to Google it. It all sounds yummy. How about we just fly you up to cook for us?
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