Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin Dinner

Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin

February always seems like a good time to have a dinner party with friends so we all can bring some sharing of warmth of friendship, smiles, laughter, and an overall good time to help bring us closer to Spring.  One couple brought the amazing appetizers (shrimp cocktail and stuffed mushrooms) Bob and I made a simple arugula salad with lemon and the beef tenderloin, and another couple brought the awesome chocolate raspberry cake and chocolate wine for dessert.  Of course, there was plenty of wine to go around as well.

I had made this same bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin for a dinner recently so I had some practice.  I had already forgotten what temperature I had cooked it at so I decided this time I'd write it down if it came out great - which it did!  The timing is usually the hardest part of cooking for me.  I vowed to just relax, cook the meal with a loose timing schedule and we'd all have a great time.   

Earlier that day I had prepped the beef tenderloin.  The butcher had cut and trimmed two half loins about 3 lbs each.  We kept the tenderloin piece on the side, rubbed the roast with the rosemary/garlic mixture, wrapped it in bacon, and tied it up with butcher's twine.  This recipe is as simple as it gets and it came out perfect!

First,  puree a mixture of fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, and Kosher salt for seasoning and rub it all over the roast.  

Some beautiful fresh Rosemary for seasoning the roast and to use with the fingerling potatoes.

Place strips of bacon down on wax paper with alternating pre-cut pieces of butcher's twine to be able to tie up the roast and the bacon.  

Place the seasoned roast on the bacon and pull the strips of bacon over the roast and tie each twine piece to secure the bacon and hold the tenderloin together nicely.  You may have an easier way to do this but it worked fine using this method. 

 Here's how it looked after the bacon was wrapped and tied over the roast.  I prepped this in the morning and left in the refrigerator until about 3PM and removed to the counter to rest before cooking.   The roast went into the oven at 4:30 PM at 375 degrees F and removed it when it reached 125 degrees - about 90 minutes.  Your oven may vary... just keep an eye on it!  Tent it with aluminum foil until ready to cut and serve.  Luckily we all wanted it cooked rare/med rare so it was better to undercook it.  If you need it cooked more then you can cook it more if need be.

The final cooked rested beef.

A nice side of fingerling potatoes cut and tossed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and some fresh rosemary, baked until crispy on the bottom.  
A little lighting for ambience, a small amount of cheese and crackers and wine to start...  then the shrimp cocktail and fabulous perfectly mildly, silky, cheesy stuffed mushrooms.   Following the appetizers was a small tart fresh arugula salad with sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and tossed only with fresh squeezed lemon.
Yes, we did eat all of that and had room for the awesome chocolaty goodness for dessert.

The fabulous chocolate cake with a raspberry filling and topped with fresh raspberries and served with chocolate covered almonds AND Chocolate Essence wine from the Taylor Brooke Winery in CT for dessert!  Can we say Devine?  

It was a fabulous night forging new friendships with stimulating conversation, laughter and smiles, and a meal to remember.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mediterranean Sea Scallops

Mediterranean Sea Scallops

Starting another round of getting back in control and cooking at home.  Fresh Scallops were available and I found a previous post I had made about this dish 4 years ago!  Unfortunately I could not find the recipe so I made up my own going by what was in my last picture.  This turned out very tasty and a little rich so you might want to have a nice dry white wine with it. Looks a little messy in the photo but this is real life folks and what it looked like right after I mixed it all together.  Try it.  Be flexible.  It turned out really well using the Ghee instead of olive oil or regular butter and I'm sure the wine helped too!  I wouldn't call this Paleo because of the wine but you can leave it out.  I'd say it's more of a great low-carb dish.  Enjoy!
  • 1 pound sea scallops (dry packed if you can get them so they don't have the preservatives in them) (about 1-1/2 to 2 dozen) remove muscle from each scallop if necessary
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes 
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 lemon (for 1 Tblsp of zest and Tblsp juice)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large bag fresh baby spinach leaves / power greens mix if you can find them. 
  • Salt to taste. 
  • dash of ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons Grass-fed Ghee – (or butter if you desire).  The Ghee holds up better and doesn't burn since it has no milk solids in it.
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay).
1. Rinse scallops under cold running water and pat dry. Lightly season with salt.
2. Zest lemon to equal about 1 tablespoon. 
3. Heat pan over medium-high heat and then add the Ghee.  Add shallots and cook and stir 1 minute.  Add the spinach/greens mix, lemon zest, some lemon juice if you want a tart mix or leave out; salt and pepper to pan. Cook until spinach starts to wilt; and remove spinach to serving platter.
4.  Add tomatoes and olives to pan.  Heat until the tomatoes are warmed and start to split.  Move to separate plate until end when you will add them to the pan with the deglazed scallop juice.
4. Return skillet to heat or using another pan – heat over med-high heat 2-3 minutes or until hot. Add Tbsp Ghee. Add scallops and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown, turning once.
Remove scallops and place over spinach.
5.  Add white wine CAREFULLY to pan to deglaze.  Stir up the browned bits in the pan to make a juice. Add the tomatoes and olives to heat and mix together.  Pour over spinach/scallops.Serve immediately.

Yield - 2 large servings

Monday, May 25, 2015

Vegetable Parmesan Summer Dish

Recipe for Vegetable Parmesan Summer Dish

Here's a tasty way to use up some of those proliferous summer squash:

3 yellow and or green zucchini
Kosher salt
black pepper
1 Sweet Potato
1/2 small red onion
1 - 2 cups chopped Kale
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (real cheese that you shred yourself)
2 TBLSP Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Use Glass Bread Pan (as shown in photo above) or Glass Pie Plate so you can see the pretty layers of vegetables.

Slice the zucchini, sweet potato and red onion with a vegetable slicer to make them all consistent in size.  
Remove hard center of the kale leaves and chop the leaves in bite size pieces or less.  
Coat the bottom of dish with olive oil.  Add layer of zucchini, layer of kale, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle some of the shredded parmesan cheese.  Then add layer of sweet potato, then a layer of the red onion.  Repeat layers until pan is full, preferably ending with the sweet potato/onion layer and then top with a generous sprinkling of the parmesan cheese.  

Bake in oven at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes.  

For a nicer presentation, you can also cook in a pie plate and slice into pie shaped pieces.

Serve warm or chilled

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Paleo Zucchini Quiche

This marvelous zucchini quiche, chock full of vegetables, came together easily for a nice Sunday lunch with leftovers for then next day.  You can modify this with other vegetables as well but let me tell you when this was cooking it smelled like pizza!  

Zucchini Quiche

For a true Paleo Zucchini Quiche leave out the parmesan cheese.


1 Sweet Red Pepper, chopped
1 zucchini (green) or one yellow squash (or both if you like :-) - sliced and quartered
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh grated so it's just cheese, nothing with preservatives in it)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pinch of black pepper
1 pinch of salt
1 cup baby spinach chopped
8 eggs
6 strips of cooked bacon crumbled.  Use natural bacon (no nitrates) if possible.

1 large sweet potato, finely chopped (use food processor)
1 TBSP olive oil

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Combine olive oil and grated sweet potatoes and spread evenly in a pie plate baking dish.  Bake the crust for about 25 mins or until it's slightly browned.  Will depend on if you use a glass or metal pan.

Mix eggs separately then pour over and mix together with remaining ingredients.  Pour over the baked sweet potato crust.  Bake 1 hour or until when inserting a knife it comes out clean.

This stuff smelled like pizza when it was cooking!

The quiche filler ingredients before adding the eggs which I did separately in another bowl, then mixed them all together.

The mixture once added to the pie plate

The finale!  Filled with vegetables and eggy goodness.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Foodie Fun - The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel, Madison CT

The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel, Madison CT

Bob and I have been having fun since last summer eating and enjoying the many Connecticut shoreline restaurants near us in Madison, Branford, Guilford, Clinton, and Westbrook.  One of our favorites, well actually my favorite, is The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel.  In trying to keep somewhat within a Paleo friendly menu for most of the meal, I have found a truly delectable lunch here with their signature Tuna Tartare.  Not only is it a beautiful presentation, it's a pure pleasure to photograph and it is just simply luscious.  The tuna tartare sits on a layer of silky ripe avocado, topped with a layer of English cucumber.  It comes as an appetizer yet it is easily a lunchtime meal.  It comes with a few kettle chips and Sriracha aioli that has a nice bite and is complimentary to the tuna.

The New England Lobster was dressed in true Connecticut style with butter.  There was plenty of fresh, delicious lobster, claw and body meat, with just enough butter to flavor it nicely. 

Desserts are not Paleo, but when we do have desserts we make sure that it is something that is really worth it and these definitely were.  The cake was vegan and it was so moist and flavorful that it would satisfy vegans as well as anyone else wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth.  

As for the chocolate dessert that I had, it really had it all.  It was small yet seemed huge with all the flavors going on.  It had the smooth sweet chocolate, it was topped with salt, it had the nuttiness and crunch of pistachios spread across the plate, and it had the crunchiness on the bottom.  

One might say that The Wharf is the place to be because of the awesome view from the wrap around deck overlooking the sound, and while that is true it's also the food that gives it that extra star.   We are so thankful that we live close  enough to enjoy this wonderful CT shoreline spot.

Tuna Tartare

New England Lobster Roll

Vegan cake

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dalton's Restaurant - North Branford CT

Duck Breast and Mushroom Ravioli in a cream sauce topped with mushrooms

Many wonderful meals are shared with family and friends on a Sunday afternoon or evening.  Lately, some of my favorite meals have been eaten out at some really great local restaurants in the New Haven county area.  Dalton's in North Branford, CT is one of those places where the locals can go for some classy gourmet style Italian food in a small, warm, comfortable setting, with excellent friendly bartenders and wait staff.

What's interesting about Dalton's is that you can see the kitchen and the kitchen staff hard at work through the panes of glass at the back of the restaurant.  My husband and I had eaten here before and often eat at their sister restaurant, Ludal's in North Haven, CT.  We like the fact that it's low-key here and quieter.  While Ludal's has a large beautifully modern, zen-like bar area, Dalton's is a smaller quieter bar that sits open to the dining area. We ate at the bar this Sunday night and were treated to not only great service but excellent food as well.

For starter's we tried the Meatball Salad with three meatballs on iceberg lettuce and an order of Escargot.  I've tried meatball appetizers in a few restaurants and this one is the winner of all.  They were held together perfectly, not too solid, not too garlicky, I just loved them!  I could have just eaten that and been happy and in fact will be back again to do just that.  The escargot was not your normal snails swimming in butter, these tender morsels were in a cream sauce joined with thin slices of shitake mushrooms.  It was creamy rich, yet not buttery creamy rich where you don't feel like you can't eat another bite.

Next came the dinner.  The Duck Breast was a special that night.  In fact there were many awesome specials so it was hard to choose.  I heard "Duck" and that was it.  I was trying to get as close to paleo eating as possible, have some duck breast and pick a little at the ravioli.  I did not hear the "creamy" word.  So I had creamy dish no. 2.  And, had the most wonderful mushroom ravioli I have ever tasted.  The Paleo plan disappeared in the joy of pasta Heaven... Hubby, aka Carb Man, had the Cavatelli with Sausage.  It's made with Broccoli Rabe, oil, garlic and a bit of marinara sauce.  And did I mention the beautiful large white plates and bowls they use at Dalton's and Ludal's?  Yes - come check out these bowls! Plenty of leftovers as well.

Ok so we didn't have dessert.  Some sacrifices must be made :-).   Go try the dessert yourself.  If it's anything like the rest of the meal you will be happy for sure!

Thank you Daltons!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coconut Banana Pancakes

I had a couple of ripe bananas that I needed to use up and a husband that wanted to have pancakes for breakfast.  Coconut Banana pancakes here we go.  He got his pancakes and we had some sausage with sautéed spinach to go with it.

This recipe is a coconut pancake recipe that I made a few tweaks to from Nom Nom Paleo's site.   I added more coconut milk to get it thin enough to pour well.    And the pancakes were sweet enough to not even need any maple syrup.   I have found also that you have to make sure the ingredients are room temperature or this mixture will be a big glop of goo and you'll be lucky to get two mini pancakes out of this.  As it was I could not believe that this recipe could produce 12 pancakes but yes there are 12 pancakes in that photo.  You can also get an idea of how that is possible as you can see in relation to the egg the actual size of these.  So in essence, be prepared to eat sparingly if it's for 2 of you.  That's why we had the sausage and spinach as well.  

  • 2 large eggs preferably free range locally sourced  - and make sure they are room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk (I used Goya brand coconut milk -  Full fat) - room temp.
  • ½ mashed ripe banana
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • coconut oil (for frying)
Mix together the eggs, coconut milk, mashed banana, apple cider vinegar and the vanilla extract. Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients.   Coat the pan with the coconut oil on med heat and fry till you see some bubbles then flip them over for a few more minutes.   You need to watch these because they can overcook and brown too quickly once the pan gets too hot.