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Posts Tagged ‘low fat’

I was in line at the corner market yesterday when some items “conveniently” located at the checkout stand caught my eye.  I’d been toying with a mango salsa idea for pork tenderloin and thought a few changes might be nice.  On a whim, I grabbed a container each of fresh pineapple and pomegranate arils, and luckily, the tinkering seriously paid off.

I love this way of preparing pork tenderloin.  You rub the meat with spices, sear it till it has a nice crust, and finish it off in the oven.  Then you hit it with a salsa of tropical fruit, lime juice, and onion so bright, it practically crackles with flavor.  I must have eaten half my weight in fruit salsa last night, so it’s a good thing it’s ridiculously healthy. Even if you’re skeptical of the fruit + meat combination, give this a shot. You’ll be surprised how well it works.

If you have time, brining the meat ensures optimum juiciness and flavor. If not, no worries; this will still turn out great. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Pork brine

-2 Tbsp. coarse salt
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp. bay powder or 2 bay leaves
-pinch of red pepper flake
-1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Cover the meat with water and stir in all the seasonings until dissolved.  Allow to brine (refrigerated) for up to 8 hrs.  Remove from the brining solution and bring to room temp. 30 min. before cooking.

Tropical salsa

-1 sm. yellow onion, finely diced
-1 1/2 c. fresh pineapple, diced (canned OK in a pinch)
-3/4 c. pomegranate arils (“seeds”)
-2 Tbsp. cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
-dash of ground red chilis or cayenne pepper
-juice of 1 1/2 limes
-salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Combine the salsa ingredients and chill for 20 minutes while you prepare the meat.

Tenderloin

-1 pork tenderloin (mine was a little over 1 lb.)
-2 tsp. sweet paprika
-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
-1 tsp. cumin
-1/4 tsp. dried oregano
-vegetable oil, for searing

It can’t all be glamorous.

Trim as much visible fat and silverskin (white/shiny muscle membrane) from the meat as you can.  Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl, then rub all over the tenderloin using your hands.  Heat a few tablespoons oil in a large skillet or roasting pan until almost smoking.  Add the meat to the pan and do not move until the bottom is very brown.  Repeat on all sides.

Remove the meat to an oven-safe glass pan (if not using a roaster) and cover with foil.  Roast @ 425F for 14-20 min., or until done to your liking.  It’s OK if the center is faintly pink.  If the meat feels firm but slightly springy to the touch, it’s done.

Place the meat on a clean cutting board and tent with foil for 5 min. while you assemble the side dishes on plates.  (Black beans and rice are nice accompaniments.)

Once the meat has rested, slice thinly on the diagonal and serve topped with the salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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potato soup

Image via The Big Blend

Cool weather just screams out for hearty, homey food, don’t you think? The weather dropped a good 15 or 20 degrees (Fahrenheit…have to specify now!) this past month in Berlin, and I’ve been craving comfort food. This chunky, creamy potato soup fits the bill without being a total fat-bomb. It’s great as is, but feel free to kick it up a notch with some grated cheddar or a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of homemade croutons and fresh snipped chives.

potato soup ingredients

Don’t let the German-language label mislead you…that thar’s evaporated milk.  And there’s no celery in this photo because I spontaneously added it later.  For me, soup making is a bit of alchemy!

sauteed shallotsA little butter is key to this recipe’s success.

homemade stock

In a soup of so few ingredients, homemade broth is a nice touch.

Soup:

-1 3/4-2lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
-1 1/2 stalks celery, pureed in blender or very finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 onion, finely chopped
-1 shallot, minced
-handful of parsley, chopped
-approx. 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
-1 c. evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
-cayenne pepper, to taste
-pinch of dried sage
-salt, pepper, and white pepper, to taste
-pinch of nutmeg
-2 bay leaves

-1 Tbsp. butter
-olive oil

To serve: fresh chives, sour cream, cheddar cheese, homemade croutons (recipe follows)

1. Melt butter and a splash of olive oil over med-low heat in a large stock pot. Add onions, shallot, and celery. Cook gently until almost translucent.

2. Stir in garlic, being careful not to burn. Next, add broth, evaporated milk, bay leaf, sage, and parsley.

3. Add peeled, chopped potatoes to pot. Simmer uncovered until tender. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.

4. Thicken the soup. Either 1) use a potato masher to break down some of the potatoes and thicken the soup or 2) remove the bay leaves and about 3 cups of cooked potatoes to a bowl and puree the remaining contents of the pot with an immersion blender. Return the reserved potatoes to the soup.

5. Heat through and serve with your choice of toppings.   Enjoy with a chunk of crusty bread!

Homemade Croutons:

-2 slices thick cut bread of your choice (whole wheat is good)
-1 tsp. butter
-salt

1. Cut bread into bite-sized cubes.

2. Melt butter in a skillet.

3. Add bread cubes. Fry until golden. Sprinkle with salt and serve atop your favorite soup.

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A simple, deliciously creamy dessert. You can lighten it up by using fat-free half and half, with decent results.  I suspect it would also handle sugar substitute fairly well.

Or, live a little!

-2 c. half and half, divided
-1 envelope gelatin (.25 oz)
-1/4 c. sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla

1. Measure 1 cup of the half and half into a bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin, stir it in after a few minutes.

2. Separately, in a small pot, combine the remaining cup of half and half and sugar over med-low heat. Whisk until sugar dissolves, add the vanilla.

3. Take the pot off the heat. Slowly whisk in the gelatin-cream mixture.

4. Pour into 4 cups and refrigerate until set. You can serve in the cups or unmold.

This is especially nice accented with a berry or caramel sauce. You can pour a thin layer in each cup after the custard has somewhat set.

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