Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

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.


-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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I don’t know about you, but I rarely make recipes from magazines.  I’ll sometimes read them for ideas, but that’s usually as far as it gets.  The last one I made was months ago (sweet potato ravioli from Cooking Light), and even then, I “doctored” the hell out of it.  Magazine recipes always seem 1) overly simplified, with too many shortcuts and prepared ingredients to be good, or 2) too complicated, with a bunch of exotic/ridiculous/unnecessary ingredients/appliances and steps.   I prefer cooking blogs because they actually reflect how real people cook.  The one exception would be Cook’s Illustrated magazine, because they test the hell out of their (very good) recipes and do all the substitution/altering you might be tempted to do.

Gripes aside, this recipe is adapted from one printed in the 2004 issue of Real SimpleIt looks pretty standard; maybe I’ll try it sometime soon, while pears are still in season.  It would probably be amazing with some dulce de leche or Sanders butterscotch caramel sauce drizzled over top.

-1/3 c. sugar
-1/4 c. cornstarch
-1/4 tsp. salt
-2 1/2 c. whole milk
-4 eggs
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
-2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
-2 pears
-2 tbsp. unsalted butter
-2 tbsp. sugar
-ground cinnamon

1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar with cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk and eggs until well blended. Over medium-high heat, heat the mixture to simmering, whisking constantly; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk in vanilla and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Pour into serving cups and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate to chill, about 1 hr.

3. Core and slice pears. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Sauté the pears in the butter for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar turns golden, 3 minutes.

4. Top each dish of pudding with the warm pears; sprinkle with some ground cinnamon.

Photo credit: Real Simple/David Prince

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