Thursday, April 30, 2009

Greek Grilled Pork with Yogurt Sauce

It's raining and chilly in Chicago right now but I'm going to dream of the nicer weather that's coming and talk about grilling. One usually thinks of quick grilled meats but this recipe is for a slow grilling of a pork roast. The roast is marinated overnight in a garlic lemon marinade and then grilled over low heat for about an hour and a half. After the pork comes off the grill to rest, turn the heat up and grill some vegetables like zucchini and red peppers. These are great with the yogurt sauce also. This week pork loin is on sale at Dominicks for $1.99 per pound.

Greek Grilled Pork

One pork loin or top pork loin roast (about 3 - 8 pounds will work, the leftovers make fantastic sandwiches)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons oregano, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag and marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours. Heat grill to 250 - 300 degrees and roast pork over indirect heat for about and hour and half. When the internal temperature of the pork reaches 155 degrees, remove and tent meat for about 10 minutes. Slice pork and serve with yogurt sauce.

While the pork is resting, turn up heat and grill vegetables such as zuchini, red peppers, or onions.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt (greek yogurt works well - I use non-fat but any type will work)
2 scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and let flavors meld for at least 1/2 hour.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Steak Sunday

We have an frequent weekly tradition in my house called Steak Sunday. It's basically a way to end the weekend on a tasty note by eating a steak. It's Sunday, we have to go to work tomorrow, might as well eat a steak, you know? We do not do it every Sunday, in particular if we have already had a steak over the weekend. But many Sunday evenings that's what's for dinner. One of my favorite cuts is a rib eye. I can purchase a prime rib eye at Costco for about $7.99 per pound. They don't always have the prime cuts but if they do, I definitely upgrade.

Frugal note on Costco: I LOVE Costco. They have wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, great meats, really good coffee for dirt cheap, and good finds on other stuff. You do have to buy in bulk and it is hard to get out of there for less than $100 per trip but the quality is great and I really like that Costco pays their workers a living wage and can still sell things at good prices to it's members.

My favorite way to make a rib eye is to rub it with Rib Eye Steak Rub and grill it. Here is the rub recipe.

Rib Eye Steak Rub

3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons dried ground thyme
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee beans

Mix all ingredients together. Rub onto rib eye and let sit at room temperature for one hour. Grill over very hot grill until cooked as wished.
This recipe will make some extra rub and will keep for at least several months.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Sales Flyer

Ah, the joys of Wednesday...not only does the Chicago Tribune have the Food Guide but also the grocery store sales fliers. You can save a lot of money by purchasing the loss leaders (items significantly marked down to draw people into the store) that are advertised. I like to browse the fliers and then think about some meal planning ideas based on what's on sale.
The things that caught my eye this week that were only $.99 each or per pound were the whole chickens, the cheese, the Barilla pasta, and the fresh flowers from Jewel. Flowers are an extravagance but for a dollar, they are so worth it.
I love to roast a whole chicken. I clean it out, stuff it with cut up lemon, garlic, and fresh rosemary and thyme if I have them, dried if I don't. I salt and pepper the outside and rub on some chopped herbs. Then I roast it in the oven at a pretty high temperature (400 - 425) for about 2 hours, basting occasionally. It always turns out delicious and if it's just my husband and I eating, there are plenty of leftovers. The leftover chicken make a great addition to salads or pasta, and then I use the carcass for a soup.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strawberry Shake

Another recent great buy I purchased at Stanley's was a case of strawberries for $3.98. I have been making strawberry shakes nonstop. I wash and cut the stem off of the strawberries and add some plain non-fat yogurt, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Then I mix it up with a hand blender which is probably my favorite kitchen item. I use my hand blender all the time, mostly for making smoothies and shakes and for pureeing soups. It is so easy, quick and not as messy as using a blender. I highly recommend the hand blender to everyone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Artichokes are one of my very favorite things. Not only do they taste great but they come out at the first of spring and one can look forward to warmer weather and growth in the garden. I recently bought some jumbo artichokes at Stanleys. If you live on the north side of Chicago, you should definitely check this place out. It is a fruit and vegetable place on North Avenue that has amazing prices. I can walk out of there with 7 or 8 bags full of wonderful fruit and veggies for less than $20. They had the jumbo chokes for 49 cents each. I usually like to have them with melted butter but I recently saw a recipe for a Yogurt Mayonnaise Vinaigrette in the New York Times that I tried last night. It was so delicious, a touch healthier that the melted butter and much more interesting. I've copied it here for your convenience.

Yogurt-Mayonnaise Vinaigrette

Traditionally steamed artichokes are served with drawn butter or with a mayonnaise. I use a vinaigrette-based sauce thickened with just a bit of mayonnaise and yogurt.

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

Sea salt or kosher salt to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed

2 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Whisk together the vinegar, salt, Dijon mustard and garlic. Whisk in the mayonnaise, yogurt and olive oil, and blend well. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Use as a dip for artichokes or other vegetables.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Variation: Substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice for 1 tablespoon of the vinegar

Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

Friday, April 17, 2009

White Bean Soup with Ham

Last weekend, out grocery shopping, I bought a ham at Jewel. Using a $7 off coupon I got it for only $2. Not only was I able to make an Easter dinner for 3 and 5 ham sandwiches, but I also did my very favorite thing with the ham bone and residual ham, made a soup. I usually make either split pea or white bean this time I went with the white bean. I made it pretty garlicky and flavored the broth with thyme and bay leaves. Here's the recipe:

White Bean Soup with Ham

1 pound package white beans
1 ham bone with some ham left on it preferably
7 clove garlic, whole
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
3 bay leaves,
1 teaspoon dried thyme or several sprigs fresh thmye

Either soak beans overnight or cook according to package (this involves boiling beans and letting them sit for about an hour). In large soup pot, bring beans, ham, garlic cloves, and about 6-8 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 3 hours, skimming off fat as necessary. You can test the beans periodically for texture and cook longer if you like a thicker soup or shorter if you like firmer beans. Season with salt and pepper. Voila, delicious soup - couldn't be easier.

A word on salt....
I am kind of a saltoholic. I like my things well seasoned. One does need to add a good amount of salt (but do not overdo it) to a soup to get the flavors out. So while it may seem like you are adding a lot, if you make a homemade soup you will never have as much sodium as a canned soup does. So add the salt, taste frequently, no worries.