10/30/10

Medallions of Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Apple Compote

Medallions of Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Apple Compote

Wow, where do I start?

On the table in less than 30 minutes - check!

Four ingredients or less - check!

Easy to make - check!

Delicious beyond belief - double check!

Seriously, this was soooo good and soooo easy. I simply took a pork tenderloin that I picked up from the butcher at Bristol Farms, sliced it into medallions, seasoned them, and then sauteed them. Meanwhile, I slow cooked Granny Smith apple slices in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until they were soft. That's it! Done!

I have to tell you that these little pork medallions were the most tender pork I think I've ever had. They just fell apart as I took a bite, much like a tender piece of pot roast does. I should have taken a photo of the tenderloin before I cut it up but didn't. It was about 2 1/2 - 3 inches in diameter, so it was rather small, and perfect for making these medallions.

The cinnamony and slightly sweet apples were amazing atop the perfectly-seasoned, tender, and juicy pork medallions.

Cinnamon Apple Compote

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced thin
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat small saucepan to medium heat and melt butter. Next add apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon to pan and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until apple slices are soft, approximately 10 minutes.

apple slices cooking in butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar

Medallions of Pork Tenderloin

Serves 2-3

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 3/4-inch medallions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high and add butter and olive oil. The butter and olive oil mixture add a dimension of flavor, so don't skimp here. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of pork medallions with salt, pepper, and a little flour. Place medallions in hot skillet and cook until browned, approximately 3-5 minutes, then turn and brown other side, about another 3-5 minutes. Pork is done when center is no longer pink.

tenderloin that has been sliced into medallions
salted, peppered, and dusted with flour
sauteing
one side browned and halfway done

Ready to eat with apple compote on top...YUM!!

Q&A, a Blog Award, and Only Two More Days to Enter the Giveaway!

Happy Halloween from the Hubby

Time for a little Q&A compliments of Wendy at The Weekend Gourmet and Lindsey at Gingerbread Bagels! If you haven't been to their blogs, I hope you'll take a moment and stop by to say hi!

Wendy is in Texas and seems to have an eclectic taste in foods just like me. I'm dying to try her Chicken Curry with Cashews. And Lindsey from Oregon is always tempting me with her tantalizing desserts and amazing baking skillllzzz! Check out her homemade Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Donuts!

Now on to the Q&A...they each asked me to answer 8 questions and then pass on to 7 other bloggers and ask them to do the same. This is such a fun game of tag and a great way to get to know more about everyone.

Wendy's Q's and my A's:




If you could invite any three people (living or not) to a dinner party at your house, who would you invite…and why?
Ina Garten, Aarti Sequeria, and Ree Drummond...probably sounds soooo predictable but these are my favorite food goddesses and I would love to hang with them, have a cocktail, share some cooking stories and hopefully a lot of laughs.

What would be on the dinner menu at this meal?
All my favorite things even though they don't necessarily go together:
  • My favorite cocktail - The Rangpur Gimlet!
  • To begin I'd serve small plates of my Ahi Tuna Ceviche and Aarti's Friday Shrimp
  • Then as a main course my almost famous Meatloaf with Creamy Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Last I'd serve Ina's Lemon Meringue Pie!

Do you create iTunes playlists to set the mood when you have people for dinner? If so, tell me what songs you especially like. I do this and am always looking for new additions!
I'm so bad at this! I love music but when I go to iTunes, I can suddenly never remember the names of any songs nor who sings them!

What are your three “go to ingredients” that are always on hand in your kitchen?
Definitely garlic, my collection of O Olive Oil vinegars, and an assortment of approximately 20 different cheeses (not even kidding).

What’s your funniest kitchen/cooking disaster?
This is not a cooking disaster but it does have something to do with food and it was a disaster. One time years ago, I was responsible for arranging dinner reservations for a work function involving out of town business associates. I kept calling a certain restaurant that we occasionally ate at to make reservations but no one would answer. Since we were going to be there on an off night I figured they'd be able to seat us and went ahead and just showed up. We had two carloads full of people after a long day of meetings ready for a nice business dinner and when we pulled up we saw the restaurant had gone out of business!

What’s your favorite kitchen/cooking success?
The first time I baked a loaf of bread from scratch.

If you could be sous-chef-for-a-day for any chef, who would it be…and why?
I would love to be Ina's sous-chef-for-a-day! I admire her style so much, her meals are so well put together, and she makes it all seem effortless. I have learned a lot from her from watching her show and reading her cookbooks. If I could shadow her for a day - there's no telling how much better I could be!

What’s your earliest food memory?
Soft boiled eggs that my grandmother used to make us for lunch when we were very little.


Lindsey's Q's and my A's:
What's your biggest regret in life?
Taking my kids to McDonald's waaaaay too many times when they were little!


If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
That's easy - I already live here (Southern California)!


How many languages can you speak and what are they?
One. English. Barely.


What chef do you admire the most?
I admire Aarti Sequeria. She's down to earth, a very creative chef, and has a kind soul.


What's your favorite recipe from another blog?
There are simply too many favorites for me to pick just one..sorry!


What food blogger would you like to meet and why?
There are so many food bloggers that I admire. I'm constantly impressed, amazed, wowed,  awed, and inspired by the food bloggers I've come to know and love, many of which are listed in my sidebar and below. If I could only pick one, though, it would be Ree Drummond. This is kind of cheating because I did get to meet her at an event not too long ago, but I'd really like to have a re-do now that I've come to know her blog much better and have a much deeper appreciation for the incredible, amazing, and dynamic woman she is.


~Phew! I'm sure that was more than you ever wanted to know about me! Now it's time to learn about a few others. I'll leave it up to them to select the 8 questions from above that they'd like to answer. Meanwhile, if you get a chance mosey on over and check out what they've got cooking:






I would also love to thank Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food for giving me the sweetest award called the One Lovely Blog Award. Carolyn has a great blog with lots of healthy recipes - many of which are low carb and/or gluten-free. In fact, if her Chocolate-Glazed Mocha Shortbread doesn't look delicious, I don't know what does! Thank you so much Carolyn!










    10/28/10

    Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

    Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

    Hmmm... what to say about this salmon recipe... to tell you the truth, I'm kinda on the fence about it. When I read the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit Magazine (November 2010), I thought it sounded pretty darn good.

    After making it, I'm just not sure. It was definitely different. I think I was just expecting a lot more flavor. If I made it again, I'd probably use lemon juice instead of lime to give it more zing and probably crust the salmon a lot heavier than I did.

    The yogurt sauce was definitely good (once I added salt to it), as evidenced by the rather oversized dollop I chose to plop on top.

    Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
    Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, Nov 2010


    Serves 4

    Yogurt Sauce:
    1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Fage Greek yogurt)
    2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (next time I would use lemon)
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
    1 large garlic clove, pressed
    kosher salt to taste

    In small bowl mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    press garlic
    yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, ginger, garlic, salt
    Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

    Salmon:
    1 teaspoon fennel seeds
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    4 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin (I used wild caught King salmon)
    kosher salt
    fresh cracked pepper
    2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable, or canola)
    1 lime (or half a lemon)

    Crush fennel and coriander seeds using a mortar and pestle, or place them in a heavy duty plastic bag and crush using a mallet or a can.

    fennel seeds, coriander seeds
    after crushing with pestle

    With skin side down, sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and crushed seeds. (Next time I would double the amount of crushed seeds to give it more flavor.)

    crusted (needed more!)
    pretty skin

    Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Next add salmon to skillet crusted side down (skin side up). Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until opaque in center. 

    almost done

    Squeeze lime or lemon juice over salmon. Serve with a dollop of yogurt sauce on top.

    PS - the skin is edible although I did not choose to eat it.

    10/27/10

    Paula Deen's Crunch Top Apple Pie, Y'all

    Paula Deen's Crunch Top Apple Pie


    Paula Deen makes a mean apple pie, y'all.

    And by "mean", I mean scrumptious.

    On Sunday I made her Crunch Top Apple Pie currently featured on Food Network's home page and I enjoyed it for 3 days straight. Why just yesterday morning, I went to the fridge to see what I could have for breakfast and there it was... a piece that I had sliced and only eaten half of. So, I just picked it up and ate it while standing right there. It was even great ice cold. I did stop short of picking up the milk container and drinking straight from the carton, though... or at least that's the story I'm sticking to.


    Paula suggests using whatever crust you prefer - whether store bought or made yourself. I opted to use this double pie crust recipe by Lapadia. Since Lapadia's Himalayan Blackberry Pie is a Food 52 Editor's Pick and will be in the next edition of the cookbook, Amanda and Merrill even created a slide show to show how they made it. This pie crust was not only simple to make using my food processor, but it was flaky, delicious and easy to work with, even with my unskilled-at-crust-making hands.


    The crunch topping was great even though I felt mine wasn't as crumbly as I thought it should be.
    Also, you may notice that I only weaved the lattice once or twice then gave up and just laid the strips across ;-)


    Here's Lapadia's recipe for a 10-inch double pie crust:

    Double Pie Crust (10 inch)
    Adapted from Lapadia

    Special equipment: food processor

    Ingredients:
    1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    8-10 Tablespoons cold water

    Place butter, flour and salt in food processor and pulse lightly until the mixture starts to resemble wet looking sand.

    Next add the cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between, and keep adding water and pulsing until dough just starts to come together. It took 8 Tablespoons for me.


    dough has started to come together

    Remove dough from food processor and split in half. Pat each into a small disk and place in plastic wrap or plastic bags and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While your dough is chilling, you can proceed to make your filling.

    put disks of dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

    After 3o minutes, remove disks from refrigerator. Place the first disk on a floured surface and roll out until it is large enough to fit your pie plate. Fit to your pie plate and trim edges. Roll out other disk, then cut into long strips that you will use to form a lattice pattern across the top of your pie.


    Please note, the recipe I chose for my crust happened to be for a 10-inch size pie, but Paula's recipe is for a 9-inch pie, so you'll have a little dough left over. Never a bad thing in my book. I like to sprinkle a little sugar on the dough scraps and bake them at the same time as the pie for a little extra treat.

    Crunch Top Apple Pie (9 inch)
    Adapted from Paula Deen

    Oven 425 degrees F


    Filling:
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    dash salt
    3 1/2 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples (I used 3 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji apples)
    1 (16 ounce) jar applesauce
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    2 Tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces


    In large bowl mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Next stir in apple slices, applesauce, and lemon juice.

    apple pie filling

    Spoon apple mixture into dough lined pie plate and dot with pieces of butter.

    Arrange strips of dough on top of pie in a lattice pattern (weaved), or just lay them across each other.

    Crunch Topping:
    Adapted from Paula Deen

    Ingredients:
    3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    dash salt
    1 Tablespoon butter, at room temperature

    Mix all topping ingredients together using a fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly across top of pie.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F.

    Next reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for 45 minutes or until crust and topping are golden brown.

    For some reason it took 85 minutes for my crust to properly brown. I kept checking it at 5 minute intervals but didn't want to remove it until my crust was brown. The pie came out fantastic despite taking much longer than planned.

    When pie has cooled, serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or serve cold straight from the refrigerator with a big "glass" of ice cold milk.

    Look at that buttery, flaky crust! Topped with vanilla ice cream, this pie was soooo good!

    10/25/10

    Margarita Tacos y Papas

    Margarita Tacos y Papas

    So, I was drinking a margarita and accidentally spilled it on my steak. Okay, not really. But that would make for a much more fun story.

    The truth is, I marinated the flank steak in tequila, lime juice and salt (plus a little garlic, cumin and red fresno/jalapeno), and margaritas were clearly my inspiration. The result is steak that is tender, juicy and citrusy.

    But I gotta tell you the 'papas' part of these tacos is secretly my favorite part. I make these potatoes all the time, usually for breakfast, and I just never seem to get tired of them.  I only lightly brown them, so they're more soft than crispy and I always use Yukon Golds. Cutting them into a small dice seems to make the littlest of potatoes go a long way.

    This Yukon Gold was slightly larger than a lime and once diced it was more than enough for 2-3 tacos.

    Back to the Margarita Tacos.. first you'll need to marinate the flank steak overnight or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator using the following marinade.

    Margarita Tacos

    Serves 4-6 (serving size 2 tacos)

    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 pounds flank steak
    1/4 cup tequila
    juice of 2 limes
    2 large cloves of garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 red fresno pepper or jalapeno pepper, sliced lengthwise (optional)
    8-12 taco size tortillas (for a Paleo version use almond flour tortillas like these by Must B Nutty)

    Place all ingredients, except the tortillas, in a zip-top plastic bag, seal and turn to mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.

    When ready to cook, heat indoor or outdoor grill to high heat, about 500 degrees F. Remove steak from marinade, discard marinade, and place steak on hot grill. Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium. Adjust less or more based on thickness of your steak. Mine was about 1 inch thick.

    marinated flank steak right off the grill, allow to rest a few minutes before slicing across the grain in thin slices

    Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Slice across the grain in thin slices. Season with extra salt and fresh cracked pepper if desired. Serve on tortillas with your favorite toppings including the papas recipe below.

    Papas

    Papas

    Serves 4-6

    4 small organic Yukon Gold potatoes, diced small (about 1/4" x 1/4") (for a strict Paleo version, you may wish to use sweet potatoes)
    2 Tablespoons coconut oil 
    kosher salt to taste

    Heat skillet to medium-high heat and add oil. Next add diced potatoes and a dash of salt.

    Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender. If they start to brown too much, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking. Taste and add additional salt if desired.

    Add whatever toppings you like - this time I used cilantro, green onions, and lime juice.
    You could add cheddar cheese and sour cream, too, if you like.