Mint Basil Pistachio Pesto

Mint Basil Pistachio PestoDo you grow herbs in your garden? I do but I cook a lot less in the summer so I end up with more herbs than I can handle! A great way to use up a bunch of herbs in one shot is by making a pesto. And let me tell you food blogs are all about pesto right now! I am so amazed by the creativity and variety of pesto out there.

I combined a few recipes to make my own version. I live in a highrise and I have sun only after 3 pm. It can be a challenge for herbs to grow in abundance but mint it never an issue. So of course my pesto with be mint heavy. Check out my Mint Basil Pistachio Pesto recipe.

Mint Basil Pistachio Pesto

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes.

Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

SRC: Tomato Basil Roasted Garlic Bread

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Tomato Basil Roasted Garlic Bread.

Tomato Basil Roasted Garlic Bread 038

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Home Cured Pork Tenderloin

Hello everyone! Today is my 5th Blogiversary! Wow 5 years. And today is my 690th post. Double Wow!

This blog saw a different kind of birth compared to most other food blogs. In the beginning it was only restaurant reviews, bad ones when I look back. I started this blog as a companion to a dinner group I had created 6 month prior which was called, you guessed it, Cheap Ethnic Eatz. I organized 2 dinner outings a month to cheap ethnic restaurants. There was a limited amount of space and who ever signed up first got a spot. It was a wonderful experience which lasted three and half years. I closed the group even if it was still popular…I had taken it as far as I wanted to.

The blog transitioned along the way. I started making recipes, participating in challenges and did a few reviews. I began following and commenting other bloggers. I took a pretty dead blog and breathed life back into it. I have learned so much in the last 5 years it is astounding. My cooking skills have grown, my blog design improved many times and I am still learning to take food pictures. That is really one of the biggest challenges for me lol. Finally getting a DSLR camera helped a lot. Now I am trying to tame it. Maintaining a blog for so many years is a lot of work and time. But it is a passion and I love every minute of it.

I have met so many wonderful people through my posts and have discovered incredibly talented home chefs by following their blogs. I have made foodie friends reaching all 4 corners of the planet. I even met quite a few in person over delicious meals. Sometimes people ask me for advise on blogging, my main answer is “if you do a blog do it for yourself, not for others, and be sincere”. I try my best to stick to my advice. I am just grateful many of you like what I have to offer because my ultimate reward is connecting with you all. So a big thank you my readers.

And I have a fabulous giveaway hosted by myself which is open worldwide.

Just keep reading and the details for the giveaway will be at the bottom of the post.

Now the toughest question for this post was what to cook? I wanted to find something very extraordinary. I started to review my long list of ‘to do’ recipes and one jumped out at me. Cured Pork Tenderloin! I have never cured meat before so this sounded really cool and a bit scary actually. This recipe comes from a Montreal blogger I once had lunch with, her blog is called La Casserole Carrée. A really stunning blog visually so who cares if you can’t read French. I have to admit I was afraid when I took my first bite. Would it be cooked, who it taste funny…would I get sick? The result: wonderfully tender, salty and I could tell it was cured all the way through so perfectly safe. I feel like this experience opened a whole new culinary door. Follow me on a curing adventure, it is not a hard as it may seem.

Ξ Cured Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan, Garlic and Basil Ξ

Ingredients:
1 small slim pork tenderloin
3 tbsp salt
1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried basil

Directions:
Prepare the pork by removing any fat or membrane left by the butcher. In a flat dish mix salt, Parmesan, garlic powder and basil. Roll the pork tenderloin in the mixture, pressing hard and ensuring the the meat is well encrusted. Lay out a thick cotton cloth (or other natural material), spread any mixture left on the cloth and wrap the meat carefully and fairly tight half way, fold in the ends and continue wrapping , secure both ends with a rubber band. Put the wrapped tenderloin in the fridge and leave it for at least 5 days (maybe a little more if the tenderloin is thick). Slice thinly and serve chilled. Delicious!

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

Win a beautiful reference guide that clarifies uncertainties when shopping, and lures readers into the foreign kitchens with its enticing photos. What are the names of all those delicious apples that are often sold unlabeled at fruit and vegetable markets? The produce that is piled high in all shapes and colors at the entrance to every supermarket? “Ingredients” provides help with all of these questions, identifying approximately 2000 ingredients by name and describing their composition and use. This book will help cooks, and anyone who likes to eat, find their way through the world’s jungle of ingredients. Full color stunning photography pages.

Here is what you have to do to enter the contest:

– Leave a comment in the post!

Extra entries…

– Tweet I just entered the Ingredients book GIVEAWAY with @cethniceatz at http://cultureatz.com/5th-blogiversary-giveaway-and-home-cured-pork-tenderloin/ Ends June 22nd, 2012
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Facebook and leave separate comment
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Twitter and leave separate comment
– Like or Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave separate comment

You have till June 22nd 2012, 23h59 EST to enter. GOOD LUCK!

Pappa al Pomodoro Soup

Hello and yes I am alive. I sorta fell off the planet for a week for no real good reason. But I am back, I hope lol.

An old friend of mine gave me this recipe at least 10 years ago. I had this soup at her place and requested the recipe. I made it once, scarfed it down because it is so good….and never made it again till now. I have no idea why but I won’t let another 10 years go by again for sure.

Pappa al pomodoro is a traditional recipe from Tuscany and it is a wonderful summery soup that can help make the autumnal blues go away. It is incredibly satisfying and full of flavor. You can enjoy it hot or chilled. It is very consistent and with some tofu this makes a great vegetarian meal, just add a block of cubed tofu at the same time then the bread. This is a main course soup for sure (Dana this one is for you).

Pappa al pomodoro translates to bread and tomato soup. I know it sounds weird but I promise it will be in your top 5 favorite soups of all time. And there is nothing fancy in here: tomatoes, bread, basil, olive oil are the corner stones of this recipe….all very affordable ingredients. This is the quintessential (so far) Cheap Ethnic Eatz!

There are so many versions of this recipe but basically the main difference between them is the bread to liquid ratio. If you want it very think use less broth an tomatoes, if you want it much soupier add broth and tomatoes. Also the grated hard cheese is not part of the traditional recipe…but it is so awesome! Experiment!

Ξ Pappa al Pomodoro Soup Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 loaf day-old rustic Italian bread (about 4 cups), torn into 1 inch cube pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
  • block of tofu, cubed (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large heavy pan heat oil over moderately high heat until quite hot. In the mean time chop onion, mince garlic and saute onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Stir in the hole can of chopped tomatoes into the pan.
  3. Add the bread chunks and broth ( and optional tofu) to tomato mixture, making sure all the bread is submerged, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bread has absorbed liquid and has a porridge consistency.
  4. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, and let the soup simmer  for another 5 minutes.
  5. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (for me more is not enough) and drizzle a little it of olive oil.

Serves 4