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Restart

hasta

Hello friends!

It’s been three years and 18 days since my last post here at The Clever Fig.  That sounds a bit like I’m in a twelve step recovery program.  Those are usually for help stopping and I need help starting or actually restarting.

Every year around the birthday of this site  I get a bill for web hosting and domain name registration.  It’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough to make me wonder if it’s really necessary to keep this baby going. For some reason, I just haven’t had the heart to say goodbye or throw in the towel.

Last month I decided to shut it down.  My thoughts were – I don’t cook or bake like I used to, how am I ever going to post even once a week and frankly I just don’t have it in me.  My focus has changed.  That’s putting a positive spin on it.  Honestly I have been without focus. Thing’s have been a little blurry as of late.

So why the heck are you posting today?  You may ask.  Thankfully, the universe dropped a rock(more like a boulder) on my head to remind me that I can make this website anything I want.  Forest, trees, blurry you get the picture.

I want to make this a place you can stop by for some food for your soul – inspiration, quotes, pictures, something to make you smile, helpful stuff – along those lines. It’s going to be a slow transformation, a work in progress.  Creative therapy for me which I hope is helpful to you.

Love ya,

Becky

P.S. I’m a little (ok a lot) rusty at Word press. Evidently, after three plus years it falls out of your brain like it never happened.

Start where you are

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

       -Arthur Ashe

 

 

chili in april

chili

Chili doesn’t necessarily scream, murmur or even whisper spring.  I know it’s April and I should be posting something light and fluffy covered in strawberries or maybe something green like asparagus.  But because it’s been VERY spring-like (or semi wintery) here in the Pacific Northwest this weekend, which means constant rain.  I don’t mean sprinkles, showers, drizzle or mist, I mean capital   R-A-I-N.  A couple inches in an hour kind of rain.  I should be happy it’s not snow, right?  Soooo, chili sounded perfect.chili ingredients

I made this a couple of weekends ago for Moose’s birthday celebration at the barn.  It received ton’s of complements and is super delicious served with condiments (get it… complements/condiments).  Sadly or happily the gang snarfed it all up, so no leftovers.  I’ve had a hankering for another bowl ever since.

The original recipe calls for 5 pounds of cubed beef brisket which I’m sure is delicious.  I substituted 3 pounds ground turkey and it turned out divine.  Last time I used organic canned kidney beans, this time all I had in the cupboard were organic black and pinto beans (delish with any kinda bean).  It’s a very tweak-able recipe, so tweak away.  I also adjusted the spice down a hair because I was feeding a crowd.  This time I upped the ante with a touch more cayenne and red pepper flakes, I still did not use the maximum suggested quantities.  I love a nice slow rolling heat… but if you and yours like it smokin’ hot you go right on ahead.

That’s all for now my darlings…  I have missed you and it feels so very good and right to be cooking, taking pics and writing again.  Thanks for all your words of encouragement and support!

Love ya,

Becky

 

herb marinated pork tenderloin

herb marinated pork tenderloin

Hey kids!  How’s everyone doing?  I’m hoping you all have your holiday preparations under control.  As usual, I had delusions of grandeur with a multitude of homemade gifts and get togethers.  Due to the calender, :/ reality has set in…  I am currently in the midst of implementing “plan b”.  Actually, there never was a plan b, so I’m making it up as I go.  As this isn’t my first rodeo I know it will all work out.

We finally had a glimpse of the sun and a touch of blue sky yesterday afternoon. I even saw my shadow!  Here’s proof.  I know, it’s sad when I start intentionally photographing shadows.  They’re a novelty when you haven’t seen one for awhile.

Here’s a wonderful marinate ahead recipe for a week night or company dinner.  Pork tenderloins are economical (no waste), low fat (be careful not to overcook) and high in protein.  If there’s any leftovers, they make scrumptious sandwiches.

herb marinated pork tenderloin

ina garten

1 lemon, zest grated

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)

Good olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt

3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it’s just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter.

SERVES 6

Calories: 335, Total Fat: 14 grams, Saturated Fat: 3 grams, Protein: 48 grams, Total carbohydrates: 2 grams, Sugar: 0 grams, Fiber: 0 grams, Cholesterol: 147 milligrams, Sodium: 461 milligrams

I wish you peace, love and a successful “plan b”.

Love,

Becky

roasted butternut squash soup

Do you need a little something to warm you from the inside out?  Here’s a simple, healthy soup that’s tasty and beautiful.  Butternut squash, onion and apples are roasted in the oven, then pureed with chicken or vegetable stock, it’s that easy.  The texture makes you think there’s cream and/or butter involved, but there isn’t.  How often does that happen??

The color of the butternut squash is like sunshine.

roasted butternut squash soup

adapted from ina garten, barefoot contessa

One 1 1/2 – 2  pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 yellow onion

2 McIntosh, or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered

2 tablespoons good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 teaspoon good curry powder (optional)

Condiments for serving:

Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally

Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped

Diced banana

Dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut the butternut squash, onions, and apples into 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until very tender.

Meanwhile, heat the stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, add some of the stock and coarsely puree in batches in a food processor OR place them in a large pot with a some of the stock and puree with an immersion blender.  A food mill can also be used. When all of the vegetables are processed add more stock (if needed) to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder and cayenne if desired.  Taste for seasonings to be sure there’s enough salt and pepper. Reheat and serve hot with condiments either on the side or on top of each serving.

Sending you all warm and cozy thoughts.  Enjoy!

Love,

Becky

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