Monday, 21 March 2016

STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN (With a Lovely Wine-Mustard Sauce)


 How pleasant! I can now find cruelty-free, hormone-free and antibiotic-free pork products in my very own small-town, Alberta grocery store. Ergo, guilt-free meat eating! Well, maybe guilt-reduced would be more accurate.  But it does give me the opportunity to combine: love of animals, love of cooking, love for crazy, carnivorous family. Triple-free.

(Butterflying pork tenderloin is surprisingly easy and quick to do. If you feel unsure, most butchers would be happy to do it for you.)                                               

(With a lovely wine-mustard sauce)

1 pork tenderloin, butterflied and pounded to ½ inch thickness
4 slices bacon, diced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup brandy (I used cherry brandy, but use your favourite if you don’t have it on hand)
10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
6 slices heavy grainy bread, cubed
1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano
Couple sprigs fresh thyme
Couple sprigs fresh rosemary
Olive oil

For the Sauce:

A couple knobs of butter
A couple cloves of garlic
1 cup of white wine
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Once the pork tenderloin is butterflied, lay it on some plastic wrap and pound the poor thing to one-half inch thickness. Sprinkle each side liberally with salt and pepper. Lay flat on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside.

Over medium heat sauté bacon until brown. Add garlic for about a minute. Add brandy and reduce to about half. Add the spinach and sauté with a bit of salt and pepper until soft. Remove from heat and add bread and herbs. Toss to combine.
(Save pan for making sauce)

Spread the bread mixture evenly over the pork tenderloin. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over bread mixture.

Now firmly roll the pork around the stuffing, ending with the seam side down. Brush olive oil over the tenderloin.

Place pork tenderloin in the oven. After 5 minutes, reduce heat to 400 degrees. Roast for approximately another 20-25 minutes. Could be more! Important to use your meat thermometer here. You want the pork to be 160 degrees.

Let rest for 10 minutes.

While the pork is resting, throw together a quick sauce in the reserved pan. Melt butter over medium heat. Add the garlic until it sizzles. Then add the wine, increase heat until the wine is reduced to about ½ cup.  Add cream, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Then slice arrange artfully on a nice platter. Serve with sauce on the side.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Slow-Roasted Tomato-Coconut Sauce


Farewell to Winter-Tomato Blues

Very bleak indeed is the moment you bite into a lustily coloured tomato, anticipating a bright burst of juicy goodness and instead receive what tastes like a lab project. With determined optimism you keep chewing, believing that enough effort can make the flavour happen. Maybe it’s you, you think.  Maybe you’re not concentrating hard enough, or maybe you’re coming down with a head cold. Surely it can’t be the failure of this dazzling creation. Surely there is some taste in this tomato somewhere. 
There is. And I’m here to help you find it.

2 ½ lbs. medium tomatoes, halved
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary or a combination of both
6-8 sprigs fresh basil (you can basically use whatever herbs you’d like)
8 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/4” chunk of ginger
Olive oil to cover (approximately 4-6 cups)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Toss tomatoes, herbs and garlic together in a 9x13’ baking dish. Pour olive oil over to almost cover. You want the tops peeking out a bit so they brown.

Place in oven for about 2 hours or until tomatoes are beginning to darken in spots.

Now remove the tomatoes from the olive oil and set aside for all sorts of fun uses. They’re fantastic in many ways, the most obvious being pasta sauce.

And get this! You won’t be wasting all that olive oil. Now you have a lovely, tomato-y, garlicky, herby olive oil to use any way you’d like! Just be sure to keep it in the fridge.

Adapted from the creative food brain of Amanda Cohen.

Slow-Roasted Tomato-Coconut Sauce

 Here’s a fantastic way to "chef-up" those enchanting roasted tomatoes we just discussed!

¼ cup oil from the slow-roasted tomatoes (or coconut oil in a pinch)
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups slow-roasted tomatoes, chopped
1 can coconut milk (NOT the low-fat kind)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a saucepot.  Sauté the onion until beginning to brown. Add jalapeno and ginger for about 5 minutes, then the garlic for 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin and turmeric, sauté for a minute.

Once everything in the pot is nicely golden and smelling fragrant, stir in salt, pepper, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a strong simmer, then reduce heat and continue to simmer gently for 25- 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Garnish with cilantro.

Now it’s ready for chicken, fish or rice!

We poured it over slow-cooked salmon. They made a wonderful couple!

Pictured above: Tomato-Coconut Sauce over Slow Roasted Salmon, with a side of farrow and acorn squash.