Cookbook Club - Alison Roman (& Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin)

Cookbook club is easily the highlight of my month every month (sorry Kev).

It’s an excuse to bring old and new friends together. It’s also a reason to celebrate various different cooks that I admire - over the past few months we’ve celebrated: Ina Garten (QUEEN), Deb Perelman, & Gaby Dalkin - to name a few.

Before I get into this month’s featured chef / author I think I should share with you how I run each month’s cookbook club?

  • I try to keep it consistent as best I can, we almost always do the first Thursday of each month.

  • Cookbook club should technically be called cook blog club - because I try to chose a chef who has lots of recipes readily available online.

  • I send an email out following each cookbook club announcing the date of the next one, I give each attendee 1-2 weeks to say if they can attend. Afterwards once I have the group set, I send an email out asking people to sign up for dishes.

  • Instead of everyone bringing a mish-mash of wines I take it upon myself to get a case of red / rose (red for winter, rose for summer) and 6 bottles of white wine for each Cookbook Club. The next morning when our wine hangovers are thickest I venmo charge everyone $15-20 to settle up.

  • Seat the table! One of the best parts of cookbook club is bringing people together - I like to seat the table to help new people feel integrated into the group.

  • One of the things I love most about cookbook club is that it helps make cooking (and entertaining) accessible for some of my friends who may find it intimidating. I do try to pic a chef that is Keep the wine (and water) flowing and everything will be fine!

This month we celebrated Alison Roman - total boss babe and writer of the Dining In cookbook as well as contributor to Bon Appetit and New York Times. I’ve been a long time follower of Alison’s and I was beyond excited to feature her this month!

Last night I made Alison Roman’s Weeknight Porchetta - and let me tell you it was easy and DELICIOUS. I served it with a horseradish applesauce cause YOLO.

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin aka Weeknight Porchetta

adapted from Bon Appetit

Weeknight Porchetta, served with roasted potatoes and garlic.

Weeknight Porchetta, served with roasted potatoes and garlic.

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 5 springs of rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

  • pepper to taste

  • 1 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin

  • 4 slices of bacon halved

Preheat your oven to 425. Peel and finely chop 4 garlic cloves. Strip the leaves off 1 rosemary sprig, discard the stem and finely chop the leaves. Finely chop 1 tbsp fennel seeds.

Mix the copped garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, and 1 tbs of olive oil in a small bowl season with salt and pepper.

Rub Garlic mixture all over the pork tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet. This can be done ahead of time - chill until ready to bake.

Scatter the remaining rosemary sprigs in a large baking dish - set pork tenderloin on top. Cut bacon slices in half, wrap each half slice around the pork tenderloin.

This is a deviation from the recipe - I have found that if you half the bacon it is easier to maneuver over the pork and you don’t end up with any flabby bits.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Mushroom Risotto

Risotto. A show stopping dish that can easily impress your signifiant other come Tuesday, or your dinner party guests anytime! While it may seem intimidating it is actually fairly simple to pull off once you get the hang of it! I see risotto as a dance, a ladle of stock here, a stir of the spoon there. It really can become quite therapeutic!

This dish is hearty enough with the mushrooms to stand alone as a main dish but also pairs nicely with steak, chicken thighs, or pork tenderloin (I have an amazing recipe which I will share soon). It also would go great with my favorite garlic green beans as well! This risotto reheats surprisingly well, one of my favorite ways is to put it in a greased baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and bake till golden brown! 

xo

L

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups mushrooms (diced) 
  • 1 large or two medium onions (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Protip: I always recommend seasoning at each stage in a dish, however you need to be mindful of how much salt you use while making this risotto, chicken stock can be quite salty as is parmesan cheese. Therefore I recommend putting in less salt than you think you need (a small pinch here or there), you can always add more at the end if it needs it, but you cant take it out!

In a dutch oven under medium heat sauté the onions and shallot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile place the stock on a stove under medium low heat. It is important that you have hot stock, it makes for happy risotto.

Add the mushrooms, butter, rosemary, thyme, and remaining olive oil to the pan with the onions. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and toast till fragrant (about 5 minutes); stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, be sure to scrape all of the brown bits off the bottom of pan. 

Now you begin the dance which is making risotto - ladle the hot stock into the sauté pan, you want to add just enough to cover the rice. Slowly add more and more stock as the rice starts to absorb. You want to add a ladle full every 10 minutes or so.

Continue to add stock until the rice becomes creamy and is cooked, this should take around 25 minutes. You may not use all of your chicken stock. Once the risotto has thickened stir in the parmesan cheese. Finally season with salt and pepper (be sure to use a little less since parmesan cheese is salty) and enjoy! 

Dinner Party Sides: Garlic Green Beans

I spent this past weekend with my family and friends (some old some new) up in Vermont. We had a great time and there of course was LOTs of great food! My sister and her boyfriend brought up these insane 3 inch thick bone in ribeye steaks for dinner on Saturday night. See below for photographic evidence of these bad boys. I had every intention of taking a after photo... but I forgot... sorry!

 Honestly they where some of the best cuts of meat I've ever had the pleasure of eating. I may or may not have told them that if they plan to visit me that those steaks MUST come with them or else they are not allowed in Boston. I drive a hard bargain what can I say?

After an activity packed day on Saturday we had the main event... Dinner!  Dinner ended up being one of my favorite kinds of dinner parties to be a part of, we completely divided up the labor.

Dinner party 101 - ASK FOR HELP! Do not try to do everything yourself, or else you will end up in the kitchen freaking out and not enjoying your guests, this has happened to me a few times. Also you end up trying to play catch up during dinner because you missed all of cocktail hour! Less than ideal. 

We ended up being 12 for dinner (well really 11 plus 1 a 3 1/2 year old),  my sister and her boyfriend took care of the protein (the steaks I spoke about above), a family friend brought the salad, and I was responsible for the sides! 

I decided to make two of my favorite dinner party sides that are easy and pack a punch in the flavor department - garlic green beans (recipe below!) and rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes (recipe coming soon!)! I also love these dishes because it is very easy for even a friend who does not cook to help you! For example, washing and trimming green beans is a great task to farm out or chopping potatoes.

Green beans are a great dinner party dish, they are easy to prepare - you can blanch or roast, and they are CHEAP. My roommate and I have been joking that we are on a "green bean diet." It's not actually a diet but we have been eating a lot of green beans. Anyway, you can get 2 lbs of green beans for less than $2! It's insane in my opinion.  

So, grab your friends, some wine and throw together a dinner party! I promise you can do it! Just remember to keep it simple and ASK FOR HELP!

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below, email me louisesgfkitchen@gmail.com or DM me on instagram @louisesgfkitchen

xo

L

 Garlic Green Beans 

Garlic Green Beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs Green Beans
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile trim and wash your green beans. Once the water is boiling you add the green beans cooking for 2 -3 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. 

Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. using the flat edge of your knife smash the garlic cloves to remove the skins, then add them to the pot. You will cook the smashed garlic for around 5 - 10 minutes, until the garlic becomes golden brown. Do not let the garlic burn (burnt garlic = bitter , which = yuck). Remove the golden garlic from the pot and discard. 

Add the green beans and sauté for 5 minutes until reheated and coated in the olive oil, garlic, and butter mixture. Serve immediately! 

Pro Tip 1: The green beans and garlic butter oil can be made in advance! the green beans can be made up to 6 hours in advance, the garlic oil can be made up to 2 days prior to the main event. Simply reheat the oil and add the green beans to bring them to temperature. 

Pro Tip 2: When you smash garlic and heat it as we do above the garlic will infuse the oil with tons of garlic flavor, more so than if we diced the garlic. This way your guests will get the aroma and flavor of garlic without biting down on large chunks of garlic. 

 

 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

This is a recipe that I have been working on and tweaking since college, it all started in the kitchen of Ridge 15 (Shout out to my camels!), we were doing a family dinner and I wanted to make a simple and fresh pasta sauce. What started with some olive oil, garlic, parmesan, and a pint of cherry tomatoes has since evolved into what I call "Crack Pasta."

Chances are if you come over to my apartment for dinner and I am feeling lazy - crack pasta will be on the menu. It is probably one of my favorite things to eat - and I have shared this recipe with many a friend looking to impress their boyfriend/friends/parents etc. It is super simple, flavorful, and above all satisfying. 

It is also very versatile - don't have cherry tomatoes, cook down roma's. Fresh or dried herbs will both do the trick! I prefer a short pasta like a fusilli - but if you only have spaghetti? Go for it! No mozzarella - feel free to sub in copious quantities of Parmesan, Fontina would work, ricotta, even goat cheese!  The one thing you cannot skimp on is giving those tomatoes time to stew in their own juices - you can do it in as little as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. But do NOT cheat the tomatoes people! I promise you will not regret it. 

Enjoy!

xo

L

PS. Update your iPhone's people! New Emojis!! 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (I prefer the yellow tomatoes - they are sweeter, however red or heirlooms work great as well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (If you are a garlic lover like me - go with 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes (if you like more heat feel free to add more!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lb. Short Pasta (I like penne of fusilli) 
  • 1 cup graded parmesan cheese
  • 1 container ciliegine mozzarella or 1 ball fresh mozzarella (this i the little cherry tomato sized balls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pro Tips:
1. Cooking Your Pasta: Pasta water should be as salty as the ocean, this is your chance to flavor the pasta! Also be sure to use a large pot, it help help keep your pasta from sticking, it is important to have enough water so that each piece can cook evenly. 
2. Cutting Mozzarella: If you could not find the ciligenine (aka cherry tomato sized mozarella) place a ball of fresh mozzarella in the freezer for 5 minutes and then use a seraded knife to cut it, this will make cutting the mozzarella easier. 
3. Finishing Your Pasta: Once your pasta is al dente drain and immediately add it directly to the pan with the sauce, this way the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, and the starchy liquid will help thicken your sauce. 

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil under high heat. 

In a medium sauce pan under medium low heat add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. sauté for 5 - 10 minutes or so until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown slightly. Be sure to stir constantly - once the garlic begins to brown add the cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil. 

Allow the tomatoes to cook on the stove top for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will begin to burst creating the sauce for your pasta. Feel free to use the back of your spoon to help some of them along.  Once the tomatoes have burst turn the stove down to low. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, once finished cooking reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 

Add the pasta directly to the pot with the sauce, stirring well to combine. Add the parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Once the sauce has begun to thicken sprinkle the mozzarella balls around the pan. Cover for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has become melty. 

Sprinkle with fresh basil (if you have it) and serve immediately! 

 

Spicy Hard Cider Pulled Pork

I think I have a case of the winter blues. I usually LOVE winter! I usually LOVE the snow. It usually makes me so happy, like the whole world is frosted and sparkly. But the month of February in New England has cured me of any of those warm and fuzzy feelings I used to have towards snow. Right now I hate snow and I am starting to believe that I will never see green lawns again. The good news is that exactly one week from today I will be in florida and I will get a chance to thaw out and hopefully (fingers crossed) come home to a less wintery wonderland. 

As usual when the world gets me down I turn to my kitchen, so I made insanely good pulled pork. I used hard cider and chipotles to create one of my favorite flavor combinations the whole sweet heat thing! I made myself a big "salad" for dinner the other night with kale, this amazeballs pulled pork, a cheese quesadilla, roasted cauliflower, and lime crema (sour cream + lime zest). It was like a burrito bowl minus the rice and beans but plus kale and cauliflower. Anyway, make this pulled pork it will make you happy and if you close your eyes you might begin to believe you're somewhere warm. 

xx

L

Spicy Hard Cider Pulled Pork

** Pictured here with kale, lime crema, a cheese quesadilla, and roasted cauliflower

  • 1 5 -6 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 3 chipotles in adobo 
  • 2 tbs adobo sauce
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bottle hard cider 

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. In a small bowl combine sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and  chipotle chili powder. Rub half of the mixture on the pork. Add 2 tbs olive oil to a dutch oven over medium high heat brown the pork on all sides. Off the heat pour the cider into the pot. Add in the chipotles, adobo, and the rest of the spice mixture. Roast for 6-8 hours or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Using two forks shred the pork (discard the bones if you have a bone in pork shoulder). 

Eat immediately and enjoy!

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

So not to go all Scrooge on you guys, but, I am really not a valentines day person. AND I am not just saying that because I am single, I just don't think you need a day to tell someone that you love them, you should do that every day!

What I do celebrate is Galentines Day! Galentines Day is the creation of none other than Leslie Knope (shes the best). Best put by the boss herself,

"February 14, valentines day is about romance, February 13th Galentines Day is about celebrating lady friends, its wonderful and it should be a national holiday." 

I got a big group of my girlfriends together and we had an awesome time celebrating each other! 

So instead of getting all bent out of shape about not having a boyfriend or getting stressed out about what to get your man, get your best girls together and have a ladies night! I promise you wont regret it. Also if you want your friends to love you forever, make them this risotto. It is super flavorful and so easy!

xx

L

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 3 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (diced)
  • 1 c peas
  • 1 c corn
  • 3 slices of bacon diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 c white wine
  • 1/2c grated parmesan cheese
  • zest of one lemon

In a medium sauce pan heat your stock, keep at a simmer. In a dutch oven over medium heat render the bacon till crispy. Using a slotted spoon take the bacon out of the pan, add 2 tbs olive oil to the pan. 

Once hot sear the chicken breasts about 3 - 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Set aside. Sautee the onion until translucent. Add in the rice and toast for about 3 minutes until it starts to smell nutty. Add the butter and deglaze the pan with white wine.

Ladle stock into the pan covering the rice, continue to stir and add stock as the rice begins to plump up and get softer. Add the saffron threads. It should take about 20 minutes for your rice to finish. Stir in corn, peas, and chicken. Add the parmesan cheese and lemon zest. 

Ladle into a bowl and finish with bacon crumbles (if you have any left, I usually nibble on mine). Enjoy!

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

I spent most of my Monday thinking about mac and cheese, it was cold and dark and dreary and rainy. And all I wanted was something that would be delicious and comforting and warm. This was also compounded by the fact that they had mac and cheese at lunch today and of course I could not eat it because it was chock full of gluten. I thought about just making the

4 cheese baked pasta

I shared with you a few weeks ago, but I decided to shake it up. This baked pasta checked every box for what I was craving.

AND it felt healthy...ish because I put vegetables in it! I have come the decision that no matter what it is, it automatically becomes healthy if you just add kale. My obsession happens to be with baby kale, it is much more tender and I just like it way better. As you can see from this blog I have made salads with it and even put it in quesadillas. So I figured kale and mushroom  baked pasta would satisfy my mac and cheese like thoughts as well as make me feel slightly less guilty about my dinner.

Anyway it is cold and possibly snowy today in New England so make this for dinner and I promise you wont regret it!

xx

L

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

  • 1 lb short pasta (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock 
  • 2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon thyme 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: Be careful how much salt you add to this dish, chicken stock and parmesan cheese are both very salty. Be conservative with the salt you add, you can always add more later but you cant take it away. 

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and onions in olive oil until they begin to brown and become tender. Add in the butter, once melted add the flour. Once the flour is fully dampened slowly add the chicken stock. Whisk carefully, be sure to get out any lumps of flour that occur. Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened, add in the parmesan cheese and thyme. Cook the pasta to the package specifications.

Toss together the pasta, kale, and the mushroom sauce. Butter a large baking dish or individual ramekins. Toss 1/2 of the mozzarella with the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Scatter the remaining mozzarella around the top of the dish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

A Trip to NYC & Baby Kale Salad

Just realized this post never never went live : ( here is an update on what I did before Christmas!!

I just spent the most fabulous weekend with my sister in NYC, it was so much fun! We danced, ate, exercised, and drank. The dancing was covered by going to see an epic 80s cover band and by going and seeing the Nutcracker. The eating was covered by restaurants in her neighborhood and Spice Market. We went to exercise classes at Refine and Flywheel (my ass will never be the same). And lets be honest, we all know how we managed the drinking. This was one of my first visits to NYC that didn't cause me huge amounts of anxiety. It felt very relaxed, maybe I'm staring to get a hang of the big apple? who knows.

There are two highlights to this trip:

ONE:

Getting to go on stage with the 80s band (called Jesses Girl) for Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The singer yelled out, "lets get all the hot girls on stage" and before she had even finished her sentence my sister and I were up there. We had the stage to ourselves for about 30 seconds before other girls came up and joined us. It was epic.

TWO:

I ended my time in NYC with a trip to Eataly. I follow them on instagram and I was absolutely dying to go there in person. It was insane there were people EVERYWHERE. But we had a fabulous time eating mozzarella, amazing fresh ricotta, cured meats, and oysters. We drank red wine and made friends with the people around us. Even though it was totally crazy it definitely made you feel like you weren't in New York and had a great European feel.

So anyway back to the reason you read this blog, the food! Theres this mustard, that you can get in Vermont. It is a molasses based mustard. It is called

Fox Hollow Mustard

. It is amazing. I put it on hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and keilbasa. Now my friend K, made a warm bacon vinaigrette and used this mustard. This was a full on mind bomb for me. I frequently put whole grain mustard in my vinaigrette. So as you wonder why you are reading about my thoughts on mustard, I shamelessly copied my girl K, and made a baby kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette (using fox hollow of course) and topped it all off with a fried egg. I can actually see myself eating this for breakfast, or dinner, or lunch.

Make it for yourself or someone who you want to love you because trust me after this they will.

Merry Christmas!

xx

L

Baby Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette & a Fried Egg

  • 3 slices of bacon, minced in lardons 
  • 1 tablespoon fox hollow mustard (or whole grain)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Baby Kale

In a large sauté pan over medium heat render the bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon, add the mustard and olive oil whisking until well combined. Add the bacon to a large bowl with the baby kale, toss with the vignette until coated.

In another large sautee pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once it is sizzling crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, flip the eggs. Cook for 1 more minute. The whites will be cooked through but the yolks will still be runny.Place eggs on top of salad. Eat immediately!