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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Simple Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Because I grew up with budget-minded parents and was a stay-at-home mom for many years, meats have been one of my more recent areas of learning. Thanks to a good oven and my Weber Kettle, I'm getting pretty handy at cuts of meat I could never afford as a youngster.

Pork tenderloin is a great cut for meat novices. It is tender by its very nature. All you have to do is not over cook it. Here is a method that can be used with success every time. You can also change the flavor elements. This version is savory with a slight sweetness and the umami of Worcestershire sauce. I've also done this with Asian flavors. When you are ready to explore, try your own favorite flavors. This a good starting point because most people have these seasonings on hand.

Step One -
Preheat a large skillet over a medium-high flame.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you have a convection setting, use it.
Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the meat. Season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Flip the meat over and season the other side as well.

 Step Two - Add olive oil to the pan and place the meat into the pan. Sear for 7 minutes on one side, and then the other. Do not be tempted to move it around or flip too early - crust = yum.

Step Three - Remove the meat from the skillet and place it in an oven-proof dish. Finish the cooking in the oven. Depending on the thickness of the meat, it will take 10 to 15 minutes. If you have a digital thermometer (and you should!) the meat should come up to 140 to 145 degrees.

Step Four - To the same skillet, add 1 cup of white wine, 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce and 2 tbsp. ketchup. (Yes, ketchup.) Stir to deglaze. Simmer the sauce while the meat is finishing in the oven. It should thicken to a spoonable consistency. Stir occasionally.

Step Five - When the meat has come up to temperature, remove from the oven and pour the pan sauce over the top. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

Step Six - Slice and eat! I served ours with mashed potatoes and a saute of squash, onions, apples and kale.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Random Food Fridays - Another Farm Box Soup

Look - Capay Valley soil included with every beet at no extra charge!

I love to shop at the farmers' market, but I also get a CSA box. I like the way I get surprises and must bring in some creativity to insure the carefully grown produce is used before it's too late. I love soup and Winter is soup time. Homemade soup is also the packed lunch most likely to keep from going out on a splurge. Healthy, yummy, cheap and easy.

This week's farm box included sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, golden beet and some citrus, kale and avocados. This soup includes leeks, sweet potatoes, carrots, golden beets, red potatoes, some diced ham , broth and fresh herbs from my garden.

Because all these Winter veg are so un-fussy, I just sliced and diced them and threw them in a big pot with olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

From my garden - parsley, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Voila! Soup!

Winter Farm Box Soup
3 leeks, white and light green part only, sliced lengthwise then sliced into 1/4 inch slices and washed
4 small carrots, diced
4 smallish red skinned potatoes, diced
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 small golden beets, scrubbed well and diced (reserve greens for another use)
9 oz. lean ham, diced
2 tbsp. fresh minced herbs of your choice
10 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place a large soup pot over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add all other ingredients, except the broth, and toss to coat in the oil. Saute until the leeks become translucent. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all the vegetables are tender and the broth has become slightly thickened by the potatoes.

Makes a lot - about 12 cups.