Real Iowa Tenderloins

IowatenMy husband specializes in what he calls “gruel”–usually concoctions that involved loose meat and cheese, but this is one of his stellar recipes and let me tell you, it’s one you will add to your repertoire once you’ve tried it.

It’s simple, yet sublime.

It’s the best of chicken sandwiches and then some.

It’s pure Iowa along with the Maid-rite sandwich.

So enjoy.


  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 2 eggs
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • deep frying set up


  1. Set up your work station. Three bowls: one for dusting with flour, one for egg bath and one for more flour.
  2. Heat oil to about 350-375°.
  3. Slice the tenderloin into about 1 – 1 1/2 inch slices. Pound until quite thin, but not paper thin. (Best to do this between a layer of Saran wrap.
  4. Salt and pepper each slice.
  5. Dredge in flour, then shake excess off. Then drop in the egg until coated, and then in the last flour making sure both sides are covered.
  6. Drop carefully into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  7. Drain on a cooling rack with paper towel underneath.
  8. Serve with buns, lettuce, tomato, onion slices, pickles and ketchup and mustard as you desire.


NOTES: Nothing fancy here, just use the condiments you normally would use on a burger. You could be creative using sliced jalapeño, a slice of cheese, cooked mushrooms and so forth.

SOURCE: Parker Peyton

Roasted Tomato Gazpacho

RTGaspzcho (2)Gazpacho.

Oh I just love the sound of the word don’t you?

Nothing says lazy late summer than Gazpacho.

It is the queen of tomato soups, the elegant mistress of gorgeous globes of grand fragrance and taste.

Oh, stop me.

This is different than most, one that I created, and changed up to suit my own tastes.

You will notice a lack of cucumber, since I don’t like the taste of it in my soup for some reason. It always leaves me wishing I’d left it out, so I did.


  • 3 lbs or so of ripe real tomatoes (the best you can get) halved and seeded.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, topped and in foil drizzled with EVOO.
  • 2 Hatch, Anaheim or Poblano chiles, sliced in half and laid cut side down
  • 1 small red sweet pepper, sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced in chunks
  • 2 6-oz cans of tomato juice
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp  sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 c EVOO
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


  1. Place all the veggies in a bag and pour some EVOO over and gently rotate until all are coated.
  2. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in a 425° pre-heated oven until all are charred a bit and soft. (you may have to remove some items before others)
  3. Cool the veggies and then place in a food processor or blender and whirr up until pureed. (you can pulse it if you wish to make it chunky or smooth as you choose.
  4. Pour into a bowl. Add the balance of ingredients.
  5. Adjust the tomato juice to get the consistency you desire. Check for salt and add as needed. Add as much pepper as you like. I like a great deal, up to a tablespoon is fine.
  6. Chill well or serve at room temperature


NOTES: You can of course vary the heat, adding jalapeño or Serrano peppers in addition if you like. If you don’t want the Hatch type peppers, add more sweet peppers.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

  • Bang Bang Chicken Nuggets

    bangbangAs the football season approaches we love easy grazing meals where we can pick up a plate and fill it with finger foods munching on and off throughout the day.

    One of the best is of course some form of chicken nuggets, made from either breast meat or thigh.

    This one fits the bill with a great little sauce for dipping that really works nicely.

    I’ve significantly altered the cooking process, since I am not a big fan of big wet sloppy coatings that tend to fall off in one piece with the first bite.



    • 1 pound or more of chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 c flour
    • 1/2 c cornstarch
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 c buttermilk
    • 1-2 tbsp hot sauce (sriracha or your favorite)
    • vegetable oil of your choice for deep frying


    • 1/3 c mayo
    • 1/8 c sweet Asian chile sauce
    • 3 tbsp sriacha sauce or other hot sauce


    1. Dry the chicken pieces.
    2. Whisk the flour and cornstarch together.
    3. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour
    4. Whisk the eggs and then add the buttermilk and hot sauce and stir until mixed.
    5. Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg mixture and then dredge again in the flour
    6. Drop immediately into hot oil heated to about 350-375° until golden brown and done.
    7. Place on a rack to drain away any excess oil.
    8. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce.

    SERVES: 6

    NOTES: The original uses a wet batter that I find utterly messy and that forms a coat that once you bite into the chicken comes off in one mass of boring breaded yuck. I prefer the method above which makes for a lighter but still crunchy coating which sticks to the chicken better. I also heated up the sauce and reduced the excessive sweetness. You can of course alter this as you wish.

    SOURCE: Adapted from Damn Delicious


    Jalapeno Popper Wontons

    JalapenopopperOh these are so good.

    Wonderful appetizers.

    Think football games and grazing meals.

    These can be cooked, then frozen, then reheated easily.

    Make a bunch.

    Make ‘em often.

    Get to it.



    • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, brought to room temperature.
    • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (or any other chile you wish)
    • 1 green onion, finely minced.
    • 1/2 c good quality Parmesan cheese
    • 18 or so wonton wrappers


    1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and whirr up until smooth
    2. Place a teaspoon full into each wrapper and seal edges with water. Make sure the seal is secure.
    3. Drop 4 or so at a time into vegetable oil heated to 350°.
    4. Cook until they rise and are lightly browned.
    5. Lay on a cooling rack lined with paper toweling to absorb excess oil.

    SERVES: 8

    NOTES: You can bake these or alternatively cook in a skillet with just enough oil to keep them from burning on the bottom, turn once if doing either of these. I would bake at 400° for about 20 minutes, or 10 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to burn.

    SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

    Taquitos Supreme

    toquitosOh Taquitos. Tired of the usual wings and nachos? Well, this is a great finger food or main dish depending on how you structure it. But it is perfect for grazing during football season.

    You can make these so many ways that I’ll just give you the basics. They all work.

    So avoid those frozen things and make your own. It takes little time, and the taste will convince you that they should be a staple in your snack or dinner repertoire.


    • A couple of dozen corn tortillas, 6″ ones are best.
    • 1 lb of ground beef
    • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 Hatch or Anaheim or Poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
    • 1 jalapeño or Serrano minced
    • 1 tbsp chile powder (heat up to you)
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1 tsp oregano (Mexican if you can get it)
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 -2 c shredded cheese of your choice, Cotija, Monterey Jack, Cheddar or a mix)
    • oil for frying


    1. Saute the ground beef in a saute pan with the onions, roasted and other chiles, and seasonings, until meat is done.
    2. Stack the tortillas and cover with a damp cloth and place in microwave for 30 seconds to warm up and make pliable.
    3. Heat oil (1 cup or more) in a separate skillet to 350°.
    4. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture across the tortilla, a bit off center, add a bit of cheese and roll as tightly as you can, securing with a toothpick.
    5. Place in the heated oil for about 3 minutes a side until crispy.
    6. Drain on rack lined with paper toweling.

    SERVES: 4

    NOTES: You can do just about anything with these. Substitute shredded cooked chicken or pork, or shredded beef as the meat, or use shrimp or fish. Make vegetarian ones made with beans.  Use any cheese you prefer. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pico de gallo, or my Chile Tomato sauce (last post before this one) for dipping. Serve as finger food or by a plate with 3-4 taquitos apiece napped with sauce and additional cheese with sides of rice and beans.

    SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

    Roasted Tomato Chile Sauce

    garlicchili485-2This is a great sauce and works well with enchiladas or taquitos or anything similar.

    Another benefit is that you can pretty much make this as hot as you wish or as tame as you need to.

    Since here, we don’t usually use tomatoes in our enchilada sauce, it is quite a change of pace and for some a bit less piquant than traditional sauces.

    You could easily use this on pasta as well for something like a “Mexican spaghetti”  or on a stiffer polenta as a bed for pork or chicken cutlets.

    It has a lot of uses, so consider it as a condiment to other dishes.


    1 pound Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
    2 to 4 serrano or jalapeño peppers, sliced lengthwise
    (*I roast extra peppers, but add them one at a time while blending, in case they are too spicy)
    1 small white onion, sliced into thick rings or into quarters
    1 bulb of garlic
    Olive oil
    Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    2 cups chicken broth
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    4 tablespoons masa harina
    1/2 cup water


    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. Add all the tomatoes, peppers and onion, cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove all the cloves from the bulb of garlic (leave the skins on) and nest it in a foil packet, adding a little oil before closing. Transfer to baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool.

    2. When tomato mixture has cooled, unwrap the garlic and squeeze out all the roasted garlic into the blender. Peel the skins off tomatoes and add to blender along with chiles, onions and all the juices from the pan. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.

    3. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the sauce from the blender, along with spices, vinegar and 2 cups of chicken broth. Whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water until smooth. Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and whisk in the masa harina slurry. Continue cooking on low for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

    SERVES:  2 cups

    NOTES: The chiles above are suggestions. Tame it down with Poblanos or Anaheim, being mindful that each chile can vary, but classes are generally hotter or milder.

    SOURCE: Hispanic Kitchen

    Crunchy Curtido (Mexican Cabbage Slaw)

    curtidoColeslaw. Everybody has it. Americans are mostly familiar with the mayo based variety.

    In Mexico and in other South American countries as well as Portugal and Spain, a different type is normal.

    Of course, like most “peasant” food, there are a million variations, and it’s a family recipe for most.

    This is my version of Curtido and I hope you enjoy it.


    • 1/2 of a medium cabbage, shredded
    • 1 carrot shredded
    • 3 scallions, chopped, including green parts, or red onion sliced thin
    • 1/4 c cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • one jalapeño minced, or 1 tsp hot pepper flakes, or other hot chile
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper


    1. Place the vegetables in a bowl.
    2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, whisk and then dump into the slaw.
    3. Mix thoroughly.
    4. Chill, or eat at room temperature.

    SERVES: 4

    NOTES: You can also add other things like jicama, sweet pepper, celery if you wish.

    SOURCE: Sherry Peyton