Kelly the Culinarian: Cooking with Kelly: Roasted pork, baked potatoes and spinach casserole

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cooking with Kelly: Roasted pork, baked potatoes and spinach casserole

On our lovely ladies weekend really was just a parade of food punctuated by gossiping and sleeping and that other stuff we do. My dear friend Rachael is a successfully employed PR maven for Caterpillar and just bought a spacious, swank condo on a golf course. She has marble counter tops and a beautiful gourmet kitchen and everything else in the house is just as fabulous. To help her break in this new environment, we created a feast fit to adorn this space.
First, we we starving, so I made some dips. I made my chili cheese dip, which you can find all of the details for here. It's best served with Fritos or tortilla chips (I like the scoopable kind). I also whipped up a cranberry-based sour cream dip for fruits and chips so the ladies didn't starve while I cooked. Another thing I brought down with me is puppy chow. This great recipe should be in every one's repertoire because it's so easy and delicious:

Puppy chow

9 cups Chex cereal (corn or rice work fine)

1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter (you can omit if allergic)

1/4 cup (1 stick) butter

1.5 to 2 cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter, peanut butter and chips together in the microwave, about two 45-second sessions with stirring in between. Pour over the cereal gradually, then transfer the mixture to a large, clean plastic shopping bag. Add the sugar into the bag gradually and shake to coat. Yum!

But alas, women can't live on dip and snacks alone. So I started by heating the oven to 500 and making the potatoes. Because we were going for a fancy look, I took five large baking potatoes and scrubbed them, then dried them with paper towels and made slits across the top 3/4 of the way through without cutting through the potato so that as they cooked, the potatoes would look like little fans. I put them in an oiled pan, drizzled it with a little olive oil to keep it moist and dressed them with fresh pepper and sea salt. Cook for one hour.

Next came the roasted pork tenderloin. You need two tenderloins, about one pound each, which is generally how they come in the vacuum-packed sleeves at the grocery store. Here's how we made them:

2 large garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 trimmed pork tenderloins, about one pound each at room temperature

Mince the garlic and add it to the rest of the rub, then rub into the meat. Put it in the smallest roasting pan you can without the pieces touching, then roast on one side for 12 minutes. Flip the meat over in the pan (use tongs, they're the easiest!) and let cook for another 12 minutes. Check to see what the temperature is using a digital-read thermometer. Continue flipping the meat every 10 minutes until it reaches 160. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. The meat can appear only slightly pink -- if in doubt, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Finally, this cheesy spinach casserole went into the oven for just a few minutes:

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove minced garlic (I prefer fresh)

1/2 cup roasted red peppers

Mix together all the items and place in a small casserole or baking dish. Top with more red peppers and Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it bubbles at the edges.

The ladies really enjoyed the pork. I oiled the pan for the spinach dip, which was a mistake, so I omitted that from the recipe. Either way, this was a pretty simple meal that the gourmet kitchen made even more pleasant. I want one ...


daphne said...

spinach casserole-that's one to try. Love the way you lightly season the pork and roasted it as well. What a good way to spend time with your girlfriends.

backStreetGluttons said...

hahaha porky rules ok ! wow u do have great buddies , what a breaking party ! ( tks to we-all-know-who da cook )

Sylvia said...

What fabulous dishes Kelly.I enjoy read all recipes,and certainly was a wonderful meet.

FH said...

YUM YUM!! Good food and great company!!:))

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend with the ladies. A great kitchen to break in as well. I would die for a kitchen with granite counter tops and a gas stove top!!!"Good food, good friends...good times!!!!

ZoeyBella said...

I always get so hungry every time I visit your site! Everything is always so tempting... ;)

Stella said...

Your friend is a lucky one! And your puppy chow sounds interesting, what a cute name!:)

Matthew said...

Those dishes sound delicious - I can almost smell the food! =)

Sounds like a great condo your friend got - just be careful that you don't get hit by golf balls because it's near a golf course LOL!

You go girls!!!1

Unknown said...

Puppy Chow is the BEST! We make it for every family gathering as a late-night snack. It is a guilty pleasure that is mildly addicting.

Justin said...

I think I'm going to vomit.

Actually -- no, no, the extra serving of mayonnaise just isn't sitting well.

tigerfish said...

I like the name "Puppy Chow"....sounds like edible dog food for me :P

bha said...

Wonderful dishes, all of them...i liked the spinach casserole...must have tasted real good when warm

East Meets West Kitchen said...

The recipes look delicious, and what a nice clean oven!

Brilliant Asylum said...

I am going to try your pork recipe soon. Thanks for posting it!

People St.Clair said...

I'm impressed such an undertaking! It all looks great and I'm going to try the "puppy chow"