Sweet and Sour Pork with Papaya and Cashews

December 19th, 2014

Sweet and Sour Pork 1


A simple meal when you are overwhelmed with holiday preparations.  That is what is needed.  I have had this recipes for Sweet and Sour Pork with Papaya and Cashews for years.  I don’t even remember its provenance.  But I was happy to run across it again recently.  A single pork tenderloin was waiting in the freezer, papayas where available in the produce section of the supermarket and cashews were on the pantry shelf.  We enjoyed a quick and easy dinner.  All that was added was a bed of rice to meld with the pan sauce.

Sweet and Sour Pork 2

We are preparing to travel to visit family for the holidays.  We also have work that needs to be done at our Lake Lure Cottage.  Every three years the lake level is lowered so that homeowners can do repair work to seawalls and boathouse supports.  New Years will find us at a beach cottage on Mrytle Beach with long time friends.  So there is much organization to accomplish besides the usual Christmas rush.  Easy meal preparations is a boon for this time of year.  This recipe fits the bill.

Sweet and Sour Pork 3 close

Enjoy the festivities of the season.


3/4 pound boneless pork loin or pork tenderloin, cubed
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 papaya, peeled, seeded, cubed
1/4 cup cashews

Combine flour and salt and pepper.  Cut pork into 1/2 inch slices or cubes.  Dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess flour.  Saute in oil until browned and cooked through.  In saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, water, and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  In a small bowl, blend pineapple juice and cornstarch.  Stir into vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Gently fold in pork, papaya and cashews.  Serve over a bed of rice.

Printable Recipe


Puerco Cubano

February 9th, 2013

You know those store-bought rice bowls in the prepared food aisles of the grocery store?  I hate them.  It seems to me that it is much easier to pull together a homemade version with less additives and less cost.   You can mix up all kinds of things with rice.  This Puerco Cubano is a good example.

I found this recipe in a book by Diane Mott Davidson called  Crunch Time.  She is the author of the Goldy Bear caterer mysteries.  Don’t know about you, but when I read a mystery I like it when the protagonist eats.  There is just so much of sleuthing, danger and mayhem that I can take before I am ready for my detective to retire to her or his lair for a little rejuvenation.  I relish those moments when a glass of wine is poured and water is brought to a boil for pasta,while cheese is grated and a salad is tossed.  These are moments of introspection for the sleuth.  A warm bed is waiting to lull the busy mind to rest and restore it to renewed vigor in the morning light.  So many thriller novels leave out the basics of life.  I’m sorry, but we all have to eat, bathe, sleep and use the bathroom.  It just makes me feel good when these incidents are included in a book, well maybe not the bathroom part.  Diane Mott Davidson does this  very well because her books are focused on food along with the mystery.  This makes me a happy reader.  In addition her recipes are included in the back of the book.


Puerco Cubano was meant as a quick comfort food in the book.  It was easy to prepare, using ground pork flavored with orange juice and lime juice.  It was served over simple cooked rice.  I like the idea of using fresh squeezed orange juice as the liquid in this dish.  Oranges are plentiful this time of year and, goodness knows, we all can use the hit of vitamin C in the winter.

This was a very satisfying meal.  Both easy and tasty.  You could add many things to the mix; black beans, avocados, green onions or pistachios.  I think it needed a little crunch.  Homemade rice bowls are flexible that way.


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons freshly minced or crushed garlic
2 teaspoons demi-glace de poulet or demi-glaze veau (chicken or veal demi-glace) I used a bouillon cube disolved in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh or organic, not-from-concentrate lime juice
2 teaspoons (or more) granulated sugar
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large (12-inch) nonstick saute’ pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the pork and the garlic, and cook, stirring and breaking up the pork, until the meat is just cooked. Add the demi-glace and stir well.

Add the flour, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook stirring, until the flour is cooked and the mixture bubbles.

Stir in the juices and sugar and raise the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the mixture bubbles and is thickened. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Serve over hot cooked rice and sprinkled with cilantro.

Printable recipe


Pork Tacos with Spicy Black Beans and Pickled Onions

January 13th, 2013

While our family was visiting over the holidays my DIL Kristen made tacos for us one night.  She is a natural when it comes to flavorings and is especially fond of Mexican inspired dishes.  One of the condiments she made for us for her meal was pickled onions.  She marinated red onions in a combination of red wine vinegar, a little sugar and black peppercorns.  They make such a pretty addition to any number of dishes and look vibrant on tacos.

But the taco recipe I am using here is an adaptation of one that I saw in Food and Wine a long time ago.  It uses pork tenderloin which shreds nicely after only a short time in the oven.  It is flavored with lots of garlic, cumin, barbecue sauce and chicken broth.  The black beans make a flavorful topping and the red onions contribute their sweet and sour bite.  I wanted the tacos to look pretty and easy to pick up from a platter; perfect for those Super Bowl parties.  So I decided to form them into shapes by placing them in pieces of greased or sprayed foil.  About 10 minutes in the oven will ensure that they hold their shape, but will still be soft enough to eat.  Be sure you use a good quality corn tortilla.  I used Mission Artisan style Tortillas with Corn and Whole Wheat Blend.

When the taco shells are ready, you can either place just the meat in them and let everyone choose their own toppings, or go ahead and load them up with the onions, black beans, sour cream or any other condiment you wish.  We loved the flavor of these.  The barbecued pork makes them a little different.

I just remembered that I have some leftover pulled pork in the freezer from the holidays.  It would make a good alternative, although not as lean.  We are all about lean these days. Enjoy!  I am linking this to Tailgating Time-Super Bowl 2013 over at Seaside Simplicity.  Go on over and get some great ideas for the Super Bowl.



For the Pickled Red Onions:
1 large red onion
1/2 cup Red Wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
10 black peppercorns

In a small saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns. Slice a peel red onion in half and then into strips.  Add to pan and bring mixture to boil.  Turn off burner and let onion sit in mixture for at least an hour.  Can be stored in a ball jar in the refrigerator until needed.

For the Black Beans:
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic , minced
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium skillet, heat the oil.  Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the beans and the tomato, oregano and a little water to keep it moist.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer briefly until the ingredients are warmed through.

For the Pork:
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and fat. Cut in half
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce or barbecue sauce of choice
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 habanero chile, seeded and minced (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Corn tortillas and condiments of choice

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  In a small enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the broth with the barbecue sauce, garlic, peppers, bay leaf, cumin and salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the pork tenderloin.  Cover and bake for about 1 hour, turning the pork once, until tender.  Transfer the pok to a plate and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle.

Remove the bay leaf.  Shred the pork into strips and stir into the sauce.  Season with salt if needed.  Fill the tortillas with pork and serve with the black beans and red onions.

Printable recipe

Crispy Pork Medallions

November 12th, 2012

There is nothing more versatile than a pork tenderloin.  OK.  Some of you may say that a chicken breast is better suited to imaginative preparations.  But there are so many things you can do with a pork tenderloin;, so many flavor profiles that marry with it.  The added advantage is that it is always moist and tender, as opposed to the tendency of chicken breasts to dry out.

This simple preparation is a snap.  Cut a pork tenderloin into 8 individual pieces, coat with Dijon mustard, bread it in panko crumbs and seasonings and saute with a brief turn in the oven until done.  It remains moist and succulent.

Served with oven roasted butternut squash and green beans, it is one of those meals that I will remember and make again.

The recipe came from Cooking Light.  Today I am making pork tenderloin pulled pork in the crock pot.  If you can’t tell, I am taking advantage of a great sale on pork tenderloins.  I am also working on stocking my empty freezer here in Florida.


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Rub mustard evenly over pork medallions.  Combine panko, thyme parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Dredge pork in panko mixture.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add pork; saute 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn pork.  Place skillet in oven; bake for 8 minutes or until pork reaches 145 degrees F.  Let stand 3 minutes.

Printable recipe

An Estate Sale

October 21st, 2012

We spent a week in our hometown in Michigan earlier this Fall.  One of the highlights of the trip was attending an estate sale at what has come to be referred to as The Heddon House.  My hometown, Dowagiac, Michigan, was the headquarters for the Heddon and Sons factory, one of the most well known manufacturers of fishing lures in the United States.

I remember as a young child passing The Heddon house on my way home from school.  I remember wishing that I could have a look inside and hoping that someday I could have such a lovely home.  I never got the chance to see it until the estate sale this Fall.  The home had passed from the Heddon family to another prominent family in the Heddon factory and it was their possessions that were being sold.  I actually graduated from high school with the son of this family.

I find estate sales to be bittersweet.  Having strangers pawing through what may have been lovingly acquired belongings is unsettling.  But on the other hand, if those belongings go to people who knew the family and that brings the family to mind every time they use them, then their legacy will live on.  At least that will be the case for us.

The fish filleting knife will be much loved by David.  Not only does it have the date stamped on the handle, but it has Mr. Lund’s name engraved on the sheath.  Trig Lund was an executive at Heddon and Sons and became the historian for the company.  By the way, I have to thank my sharp- eyed sister-in-law for spotting and buying the knife.  David had to bargain with her after the fact to get it.  Thanks Barb.  David also bought Mr. Lund’s barometer and a fishing stool (not shown).

I did not know Mrs. Lund personally, but I picture her as a sophisticated lady who traveled widely and loved to entertain.  Her cookbook collection was extensive.  This trout casserole caught my eye.  I wonder if she ever used it?  The recipe sounds delicious.  David catches trout in Lake Lure and I will definitely be trying the recipe in this casserole.  I think she would be pleased.  We also bought that beautiful red plaid wool blanket.

I bought three of Mrs. Lund’s cookbooks.   Feasts for All Seasons by Roy Andries de Groot was published in 1966.  At that time cooking seasonally was a unique concept.  It was the era of canned and boxed convenience foods.  The recipes are interesting and reflect concepts that we are espousing today.  To sample the cookbook I made the author’s Pork Chops with Apples and Apricots.

The apples, onions, apricots and cranberries make an aromatic chutney similar to the fruit salsas that I have used with meat before.  The thick pork chops cook in the mixture and remain moist and delicious.  It was a very good dish and a great cookbook.  I’m looking forward to perusing the tattered copy of Helene Sailer’s Own Recipe Book.  I wonder what story that book could tell.

I would like to think that by purchasing well loved items from an estate sale, memories of the previous owners are honored.  

PORK CHOPS WITH APPLES AND APRICOTS (Adapted from Feasts for All Seasons)

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 1-inch thick center cut pork chops
3 medium onions chopped
3 medium tart apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 ounces each of dried apricots (chopped) and dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an oven proof casserole brown pork chops in 1 tablespoons of olive oil until browned on both sides.  Remove to plate.  Add more oil to pan.  In it cook onions and apples until they are softened.  Add the seasonings and stir.  Return the chops to the casserole.  Add the broth and wine.  Place a lid on the casserole and place in the oven.  Bake for approximately 1 hour, checking once to be sure there is enough liquid.  Add more broth if needed.

Remove casserole from oven.  Turn the oven to broil and adjust rack so that casserole will be 3-inches from heat.  Mix soy sauce and olive oil and with a brush paint the tops of the pork chops.  Place casserole back in oven and broil for a few minutes to brown the tops of the chops.  Serve from casserole.

Note:  I halved the recipe

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.