Friday, April 1, 2011

Pork Tenderloin With Blueberry Balsamic Ginger Sauce

You will be amazed by the flavors in this unique dish!

I always think my ideas are original, but, then there's the internet. Sometimes I don't want to look. I want to believe I'm unique. Well, there are a lot of creative people out there and it's wonderful to learn from them. 

Thinking this would be an average dinner, an internet search initially wasn't even on my mind. But, as always, my eyes scanned the fridge and I spied the blueberries, which were looking a little tired. As I started unwrapping the pork I wondered what I could serve it with. I had asparagus, a side of that maybe? I also had organic spring mix. A salad maybe? 

But, oh no, those blueberries triggered my creative juices so I flipped up the screen of my laptop and typed "pork tenderloin with blueberries" in Google search.

I skimmed recipes and I was surprised to find how many recipes there were with pork and blueberries! Nothing sounded right. Then I googled, "pork medallions with blueberries". And this delicious-sounding recipe for "Pork Medallions with Blueberry-Balsamic Ketchup" showed up (with a much nicer photo than mine).  And the rest is history as they say . . .

Pork Tenderloin With Blueberry Balsamic Ginger Sauce
The link to the original recipe also has a recipe to make the pork medallions, if you want, but I didn't use it. I just roasted a whole pork tenderloin.

2 1/2 cups blueberries
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar 
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 ts salt

Method for pork: Remove the silvery skin from the pork, if any, season with salt and pepper and other spices or herbs you like, and bake at 350 degrees on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes, depending on the size - test with meat thermometer and remove at 150-155 degrees. Let it sit and residual heat should finish cooking it to 160 degrees.  

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:  See the original recipe here. Or add all ingredients above in a sauce pan, cook on medium heat until thickened, about 20-30 minutes. 

When I made the sauce I added all the ingredients above, but used regular balsamic vinegar since I didn't have white and added only a pinch of salt. 

I served the pork with an organic spring mix salad and homemade Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

This is a good way to use up those tired-looking blueberries, and healthy! And just like the author said, there's plenty of sauce left over from this recipe to use with other dishes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sweet Potato And Apple Soup Garnished With Sage Goat Cheese For Meatless Monday

Add to that title . . . And With A Maple Syrup Swirl!

Sounds delicious, but this post isn't so much about sharing a great recipe as it is about how I saved a botched dish.

The Mistake
This was the first dish I had made with the sweet potatoes. It was a gratin of sorts.

It looked great. But like I said, it tasted bland, bland, bland. So the pretty looking but pretty bland dish was wrapped and stayed in the fridge for a day until I decided to turn it into soup.

The Fix
To make the soup, I sauteed a large shallot and a celery stalk in a little oil olive. When tender, I added the rest of the botched baked sweet potato and apple dish (omitting the oranges), some vegetable broth, and simmered with a cover for 30 minutes.

After simmering for 30 minutes, I pureed the soup with an immersion blender. Seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. The soup seemed a little watery, so I simmered it uncovered until it reduced a little.

Sage Goat Cheese  
I minced two large leaves of fresh sage and mixed them with 2 ounces of softened goat cheese (the cheese softened while I prepared the soup). I spread some over toasted sourdough bread. 

Before serving, I swirled in a little maple syrup. 

 My son didn't like the soup. Well, three out of four isn't bad!

Ingredients and Method
Because of what happened here, it's hard to put an actual recipe together.  But these are the ingredients and this is probably the method I'd use to make this soup.  And it's really a lot easier than it looks!

1 large sweet potato, or 2 regular size,
    mine was a Jewel and was really large
1 or 2 apples
    I used 2 med golden delicious apples, with skins, because
    the sweet potato was so large
Olive oil,
    enough to coat so apples and sweet potatoes won't stick to pan
1/8 ts coriander,
    I chose coriander because of it's hint of sage, but why not try
    cinnamon, nutmeg or your favorites
1 large sage leave, minced, or 1/8 ts of ground sage
1 medium shallot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
32 oz. vegetable stock (could use less since I had to simmer it longer to reduce)

Peel and coarsely chop sweet potatoes and apples into similar size pieces. Toss with olive oil to coat. Spread over pre-heated baking sheet and bake until tender, 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Check to make sure bottoms are not burning, maybe give them a toss. Meanwhile, saute in medium sauce pan diced shallot and celery in olive oil (or butter) until tender. Add sweet potatoes and apples, vegetable stock and simmer in covered pot for 30 minutes. Puree with immersion blender (or pour into food processor), if consistency is too watery, simmer until reduced to desired consistency. Or, if it's too thick, add more stock or water. Makes 4+ servings.

This recipe gave me the idea to use celery and onion (I prefer shallots):

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad, Apples With Celery Leaves

Using up some vegetables before they spoiled, I made this simple roasted vegetable quinoa salad. Not much to it. Anything could be used really. This isn't really a recipe, it's just an idea.

Coarsely chop vegetables, here is a red bell pepper, zucchini, and small eggplant. 

Prepare the roasting pan with sprinkles of olive oil, season vegetables lightly with salt and pepper, squeeze juice from half a lemon. Roast in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes until vegetables soften a little but not mushy.

Sprinkle with some minced fresh oregano, which is all I had. I think thyme would be really nice also.

Cook quinoa according to directions.  Here, I infused the water with fresh lemon and a sprig of oregano.

When done, mix it all together and serve over lettuce or pasta.

I sprinkled extra virgin olive oil and more lemon juice over the top before serving. I didn't think of it then, but a little balsamic or apple cider vinegar might be nice.

My kids liked it, my daughter loved it. And she actually told me that she appreciated the fresh food after eating out all weekend!

They preferred it with their favorite salad dressing. I served it with grated parmesan cheese, but feta would have been great. Or yogurt.

I also wanted to use up the apples before they went bad, so I sliced them up and sprinkled some chopped celery leaves on top.