Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peach Fennel Salsa

July 22nd, 2015

Grilled pork tenderloin with peach salsa 1

The first recipe I ever posted here was a pork tenderloin preparation that is still one of my favorites.  What is so likable about pork tenderloin is that it has a mild flavor and marries well with numerous ingredients.  With summer in full swing it just makes sense to pair it with a salsa made with some of the summer bounty, which includes peaches.  There are so many salsa recipes out there now.  We are no longer limited to tomato based salsas.  I recently posted a recipe for watermelon and blueberry salsa. Now I am in love with this peach and fennel salsa.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa 2

 

The recipe came from The Tupelo Honey Cookbook.  Tupelo Honey Cafe is a restaurant in Asheville, NC.  I believe they have another one in Knoxville, Tn.  “Reflecting the independent and creative spirit of the New South,  Tupelo Honey Cafe dishes up Southern comfort with innovative flavor pairings.”  It is always a revelation to eat there.  This combination of peaches, crunchy fennel, red onions and roasted red bell pepper is an example of one of the innovative dishes that they serve.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin 3

When you serve this salsa with grilled pork tenderloin, you will understand why it is such a great combination.  By the way, I have photographed several pork tenderloin dishes over the years and I have decided that it is one of the hardest meats to “make pretty”.  But put it on a platter with this peach fennel salsa and your aesthetic self and your camera will be proud.  Not to mention your taste buds.

GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH PEACH FENNEL SALSA

4 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup Peach Fennel Salsa

Preheat your grill to medium-high.  Combine the rosemary, olive oil, Worcestershire, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Place the pork in the bowl, covering it well with the rosemary mixture, and set aside for 30 minutes.  Cook the pork loin on the grill for 12 to 14 minutes, until medium, turning every couple of minutes to ensure it cooks evenly.  Remove the pork from the heat, let rest briefly and the slice into 1-inch thick pieces, topping each with the salsa.

PEACH FENNEL SALSA

1/2 cup diced fresh fennel (bulb, stalk, and feathery leaves, tough outer layer discarded)
2 cups peeled and diced peaches (about 4 large peaches)
1 cup diced roasted red bell pepper ( I used jarred peppers)
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the fennel, peaches, bell pepper, onion, garlic oil, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes.  The salsa can be kept refrigerated for 2 days.

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Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins

July 16th, 2015

Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins 1

Summertime is blackberry picking season.  I remember picking blackberries as a child, smearing the dark juices all over my fingers and clothing.  Unfortunately I haven’t found any blackberry bushes where we live now.  So I was forced to pick up a plastic box of them at the grocery store.  There is just something wrong about that.  I need to find a patch of blackberries somewhere.

Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins 2V

There is an odd synergy between blackberries and cornmeal.  They both have a grainy consistency.  Blackberry “seeds” always get stuck in my teeth and cornmeal has a sandy bite to it.  But that is why the ingredients make such a hardy and satisfying munchable muffin.

This recipe came from one of my favorite NC markets and chefs, Sara Foster.  Foster’s Market is an institution in Durham, NC and loved by the Duke University family and residents far and wide.  We like to stop in when traveling to visit the kids.  Sara Foster, former catering chef for Martha Stewart, moved to NC in 1990 and opened her gourmet market and cafe in a funky building with a gravel driveway to rave reviews.  It is the kind of place where you would want to hang out, as many Duke students actually do.  Sara’s food is honest, fresh and seasonal.

Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins 3

These simple and easy muffins taste like summer on a plate.  Smear them with a bit of butter and start your day with a smile.

BLACKBERRY CORNMEAL MUFFINS ( From Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 12 large muffin cups with liners and spray the top of the pan lightly with vegetable oil spray or grease lightly.

Stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

In a separate large bowl, stir the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla together.  Gradually add the flour-cornmeal mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moist and no flour is visible.  Do not mix more than necessary.  Gently fold in the blackberries.

Scoop the batter with a 1/3-cup measure or ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins to just below the top of the liner.  Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops spring back when pressed lightly and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out.

Note:  I used standard muffin tins and ended up with enough batter for 18 muffins.

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Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas

July 13th, 2015

Crock Pot Flank steak Fajitas 1

Busy days on the lake call for easy meal preparations.  Flank steak fajitas cooked in the crock pot could not be easier.  But my hands off plan was somewhat thwarted when I realized I had forgotten to buy flour tortillas.

Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas 2V

I googled homemade tortillas and found a recipe that I was able to turn into the very best tortillas I have ever had.  It was not complicated and made me happy that I had forgotten to buy them.  Also, the bonus is having additive free tortillas. I did substitute half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour though.  It called for only whole wheat flour.

Gampy Fishing with kids

There are so many things going on around the lake.  Gampy has enjoyed taking the grandkids fishing this summer.  So far they have not caught anything.  Maybe it is because getting them up early when the fish are biting is not easy.

Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas 3

Add all the condiments you would like to this simple recipe.  It is sure to be winner with the whole family.  The recipe came from a new cookbook that I checked out of the library.  It is 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake.  She also has a blog of the same name where she stresses a diet based on whole foods rather than processed foods.  The only change I made to the crock pot flank steak fajita recipe was holding out some of the bell peppers to cook separately because the long cooking in the crock pot made them very soft and colorless.  The flavor of the meat is mild, so if you want more kick add the seeds of the jalapeno and a few pepper flakes.

CROCK POT FLANK STEAK FAJITAS

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds (grass fed) flank steak
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (leave seeds in in you like it spicier)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 or 5 bell peppers, any color, cored, seeded and sliced (Save two to saute separately)
1 onion, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.

Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the flank steak, place it in the bottom of the slow cooker, and add the soy sauce.

Top the flank steak with the jalapeno, garlic, 3 of the peppers, and onion.  There’s no need to add any water or other liquid.

Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until steak can easily be shredded with two forks.

Near the end of cooking time, heat a small amount of oil in a medium saute pan and cook the 2 remaining sliced peppers until softened, but still retaining their bright color.

Thoroughly drain the meat and peppers, saving the juiced.  Shred the meat, and serve with the fajita fixings of your choice.

Recommended accompaniments:  Whole wheat flour Tortillas, freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, fresh chopped lettuce, sour cream and/or diced jalapenos.

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Watermelon Blueberry Salsa

July 7th, 2015

 

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa 3

Our 4th of July celebration was another event to file away in the memory archives, especially for the children.  It is my hope that the Grandchildren and their cousins will always remember the fun, food and the joys of life on the lake.

The food front was well covered.  Everyone contributed something wonderful.  My DIL Kristen made this watermelon blueberry salsa that was out of this world delicious.  She found the watermelon recipe on a blog called Love and Olive Oil.    It is refreshing because of the fruit, a little hot from the jalepeno peppers, complex from the tomato and onion rough puree and brightened by the cilantro.  I couldn’t stop eating it with “scoop” shaped tortillas chips.  Kristen has many creative recipes.  And the good news is that she has recently launched her own blog called MENUbility where she offers practical tips, recipes and family-friendly ideas for dinner.  I have been downloading her free and practical blank grocery shopping list every week.

4th of July 2015 dinner on the porch

Our meals included the typical holiday selections of pulled pork, grilled ribs, hamburgers, chicken and lots of interesting sides.  Our evening gatherings on the porch were a special part of our days.

Wine tasting 2015 We also held our annual wine tasting.  This year’s wines were Viognier white wines. Viognier is a white wine grape variety originating in the Rhone Valley in France.  It is now produced in many parts of the U.S.  The winner was a 2012 K Vintners from Columbia Valley in Walla Walla, Washington.  On the right of the table are 4 juices for the kids’ tasting.  Thanks Dave A. for choosing and bringing the wine like you do every year.  Great job.

Grandkids juice tasting 2015 I guess you can tell that Cameron was not too fond of the carrot juice.  The winner turned out to be a tie between the strawberry and pomegranate juice.

Kristen and Keenan 2015

Kristen enjoyed teaching her niece Keenan how to make great Macaroni and Cheese.  Keenan has a great interest in cooking since we seem to be a family almost obsessed with it.  Kristen’s recipe is on her blog.

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I know you will love this Watermelon Blueberry Salsa recipe also.  Thank you to Love and Olive Oil.  Thank you also to Darla for taking many of the pictures.

WATERMELON BLUEBERRY SALSA

Ingredients:

  • 4 small Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (discard seeds for a milder salsa)
  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor; pulse briefly or until finely chopped (do not fully liquefy). If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the ingredients by hand.
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to a medium bowl; stir in watermelon, blueberries, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

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BLT Scones for the 4th of July

July 1st, 2015

BLT Scones 2

The countdown has started for the 4th of July celebration.  We have geared up for a visit by the whole family.  What fun.  I have been cooking up lots of treats for everyone.  The freezer has been my friend.  I made these BLT scones this week.  We sampled one and the rest went into the freezer.  David declared it delicious.  I loved the bacon bits and basil, but thought the sun dried tomatoes a little too much.  The whole idea of the scones is the combination of bacon, tomato and basil (taking the place of lettuce).  Really good, but I will reduce the tomato component next time.

BLT Scones 3V

Breakfast scones are always a part of our breakfasts when the family gets together.  My DIL Kristen has become the scone master in the family.  She introduced me to the Triple Cinnamon Scones and makes a mean savory scone with Chorizo sausage.  The recipe for this BLT scone came from a blog called 3 Many Cooks.  It is written my Pam Anderson, cookbook author, and her two daughters.

BLT Scones 4

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend.  We have many reasons to celebrate.

BLT SCONES ( 3 Many Cooks )

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, frozen solid
  • ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • ½ cup chopped cooked bacon*
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup sour cream, light if you like
  • 1 large egg
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Grate ⅓ of the butter into the flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; toss. Repeating grating and tossing twice more. Using fingertips, work butter into flour a bit more. Mix in tomatoes, bacon, and basil.
  2. Mix sour cream and egg with a fork until smooth. Using same fork, stir into dry ingredients until large dough clumps form. Use hands to press dough against the bowl into a ball. (There may not seem like enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together. If necessary, flick a little water into bowl bottom to get the last bits to adhere.)
  3. Place on a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 7½-inch circle, about ¾-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably silapat- or parchment-lined), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve—hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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