Food & Drink

S.C. chef pens second cookbook for busy parents

By Joan Leotta

For The Sun News

Erin K. Courtney, a pastry chef in Lexington, S.C., has been hard at work putting together recipes for the everyday person. Her first book, Party Time, gave busy Moms and others simple but delicious choices for parties. In this volume, she tackles the daily challenge of dinner for a family—dinners that are healthy, balanced and easy to make.

I like the variety of her recipes—pork, chicken, vegetables in the main course department, side dishes, yummy sounding desserts and oh yes some tempting items on the breakfast list that include cinnamon buns. The breakfast section is somewhat “carb” heavy, but if you are trying to get teens to eat before they leave for school, this strategy is one that may work.

One of my favorite parts of the book is her cooking tips. She developed her cooking “chops” from scratch going from someone who could barely read a recipe to a professional, graduating from a one year culinary arts program at the University of South Carolina. She has been featured on HTC’s Inside Out and is known for offering live demonstrations of her cooking prowess in her own home, with hands-on instruction for the “guests.”

Nevertheless, even a seasoned chef can use her cooking tips—whether they are reminders or new-to-you include a lot of good information. For instance, it is good to remember, liquid and dry measurements are not the same and that food looses a lot of weight during the cooking process.

She makes a good case for using unsalted butter touting it as a way to cut down sodium. She notes that kids can eat food cooked with alcohol if it is cooked out of the food –do not add it just before serving. Of course, I love that she emphasizes planning ahead, cooking in large batches at the start of the week, and that she finds ways to make grocery shopping easier. She also advocates saving time by buying pre-diced veggies, explains the difference between freshly grated cheese and bags of pre-prepped product. One piece of advice that I should tape to my refrigerator is this one—read every recipe all the way through before making it. I admit I have been caught up in an awkward moment or two in the kitchen when I needed a second mixing bowl or should have had another item ready to add when it is still in the refrigerator.

Another helpful features among the 85 plus recipes in the book is that her main course recipes also include suggestions for what to use as side dishes, recipes in this book (and she gives the page number as well). This is a nice little addition to the cookbook shelf for a new cook or someone who wants a small book packed with good ideas on how to answer that eternal question, “What’s for Dinner.”

At A Glance

Title | What’s for Dinner? Second installment in the Moms on the Go Series

Author | Erin K. Courtney

Cost | $16.95

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Recipe reprinted with permission from What’s for Dinner? by Erin K Courtney

Makes 4-6 servings

(Prep time, 5 minutes, baking time 50 minutes)

8-10 pieces uncooked bacon

One Pork Tenderloin (approx 1 ½ pounds)

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Lay slices of bacon slightly overlapping each other on a butting board. Unwrap the tenderloin and place it in the middle of the bacon slices. Slowly roll up the tenderloin with the bacon, Secured with toothpicks, Place tenderloin on a rack in the roasting pan. Place in oven. Cook for 45-50 minutes until your meat thermometer inserted in the center, reads at least 150 degrees. Remove pan from oven, Drizzle the bacon covered pork loin with the maple syrup. Let rest for five minutes before you cut into slices and serve.