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.

CRISPY PORK MEDALLIONS ( Cooking Light )

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

A Class Reunion and Trip Home

September 6th, 2012

My husband and I actually went to high school together.  He graduated a year ahead of me.  This summer his class held their 50th class reunion.  Can that really be possible?  So the weekend before last we traveled back to Michigan to attend the event.  It was great to see everyone.  In my opinion most people looked the same because, in my mind’s eye, I can still picture the teenagers that dwell within.  I hope everyone else has as vivid an imagination as I have.

A trip home also includes time spent with my Brother and his family.  My Sister-In-Law, Barb, claims not to be a good cook, but I have never had a bad meal in her house.  In spite of the fact that she read the recipe wrong for this Caribbean Pork Stew with Peppers, it tasted yummy and makes a great Crock Pot meal.

My niece Morgan loves to cook and her contribution to the meal was flavorful Hawaiian Chicken Skewers.  The skewers were threaded with cubed chicken breast, pineapple chunks and red onions.

My Brother Bill is a grill master.  He refuses to use a gas grill and everything is done over charcoal and sometimes flavored with wood chips.  He has a serious grilling platform.

He has 6 Weber grills and sometimes they are all in use at the same time.  Bill got all of his grills for free.  His charcoal grills were all discards.  People throw away grills when the bases rust out.  The grills themselves are usually just fine.  He mounted the grills on old gas grill bases that were also discards.

In addition to the wonderful meals we were served, I came home with a bounty of potatoes and tomatoes from Bill’s garden.

Here are Barb’s and Morgan’s recipes.  I am lucky to have such a talented and creative family.  By the way Barb just started a blog called The ReShore House.  She and Bill live in an 1860 house on 2 1/2 city lots next door to the house where Bill and I grew up.  Mrs. ReShore still appears on occasion to those who believe in ghosts.  Visit Barb’s new venture that chronicles her antique business and life in an old house.  Welcome her to our blogging community.  Thanks.

CARIBBEAN PORK STEW WITH PEPPERS

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper , cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups orange juice

In a large resealable food storage platsic bag, place flour, salt and pepper.  Add pork; sela bag and shake to coat.  In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Brown pork cubes in oil on all sides, working in batches if necessary.

Spray 31/2 to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  With slotted spoon, remove pork from skillet to slow cooker.  Stir in all remaning ingredients.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.   Serve over cooked rice.

HAWAIIAN CHICKEN SKEWERS

6 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into 1 to 2 inch squares
Cubed pineapple to taste
1 bottle of Lawry’s Hawaiian Marinade
Garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle cubed chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Place in resealable plastic bag.  Add marinade and marinate overnight or 8 hours or so.  Remove chicken from bag.  Place chicken cubes alternately with red onion squares and pineapple chunks on skewers that have been soaked in water for 1 hour.  Grill over indirect heat on a charcoal grill until chicken is cooked through.

Printable recipe – Pork Stew with Peppers

Printable recipe – Hawaiian Chicken Skewers

Pork Roast and Karma

August 16th, 2012

Please tell me you see the pig sitting upon this pork roast.  I am having a strange feeling about my karma and the pictures I take.  When I photographed this beauty all I saw was a succulent glazed pork roast.  When I looked at the image I saw only a pig.  Why is that pig taunting me?   He looks a little scary.

Seriously though, this was a very good roast for a Saturday when we were both busy with other things.  I decided to cook my bone-in pork loin in the crock pot.  As much as I like my crock pot, I always feel like I need to add extra braising flavor.

I like to brown my roast before I put it in the crock pot.

I then like to deglaze the pan to release all of the browned bits of pork and onion.

After that I put it all in the crock pot with an herb bundle to cook on its own.

Ahh, this is a better angle on the pork roast.  It doesn’t look as much like a porky pig.  Just a pork roast right?

But wait.  What is this?  I moved a rabbit planter on the porch after a thunderstorm and this is I what I saw in the accumulated water.  I think I will become a vegetarian.  (Unless I start seeing weird vegetables in my pictures).

Here is the recipe for the pork roast if you dare try it.  A ate the snout first.

CROCK POT PORK ROAST

1 Bone-in Pork Loin Roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 onion cut in half and sliced
1 to 2 cups of apple cider
A bundle of fresh herbs (I used thyme and sage)

Salt and pepper roast on all sides.  Heat olive oil in heavy skillet.  Add roast and onions and brown roast on all sides.  Remove roast to crock pot.  Add some of the apple cider to the pan and stir to release all of the browned bits on the bottom.  Add the herb bundle and cook for a few minutes.  Pour liquid into the crock pot with the roast and add the rest of the cider.

Place lid on crock pot and cook roast on high for 1 hour.  Reduce to low and cook an additional 3 hours.
Remove roast and let rest tented with foil for about 5 minutes.  Slice and serve topped with liquid from the pot.

Printable recipe

Choucroute Garni with a Twist

April 19th, 2012

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day.  Our weather has been so unseasonably warm this Spring that I had already cleaned out my kitchen fireplace and placed a crockery bowl filled with dried hydrangeas in it.  But yesterday was a perfect day for a fire.  The flower arrangement came out and the logs were laid.

Now you are probably thinking I cooked that beautiful platter of sausages, potatoes, carrots and sauerkraut in my dutch oven over the coals.  It would have been a good idea, but I had a new cookbook and there was a recipe that I wanted to try.

My blogging buddy, the other Penny of The Comforts of Home, and I met for shopping and lunch on Tuesday in Asheville.  We met at one of our favorite stores, The Screen Door, where they sell antiques.  But they also have a dynamite book department devoted mainly to cookbooks and design and gardening books.  I always come home with at least one book.  What is not to love about this book?  My passion for all things French is well known and I have been using my slow cooker quite often lately.  A perfect fit.

What was also a perfect fit was the lunch we had at a French bistro called Fig.

We both chose the Salmon with couscous, micro greens, and lemon chive beurre.  All I can say is that if I could master this salmon dish at home I would feel that I was a chef- worthy cook.  The salmon was so crispy on the top with a coarse salt finish and so tender and flaky inside that we both were in awe of the dish.

So it was a great day with sunshine and warm temperatures.  Check out Penny’s blog for a glimpse of some of the shopping we did.

When Wednesday dawned with rain and cold temperatures, I thought it is time to make some comfort food from my new French slow cooker cookbook.  The choucroute garni sounded like the perfect recipe to try.

Bratwursts, kielbasa and smoked pork chops are all cooked in a white wine infused sauerkraut with potatoes,  carrots, onions and garlic cloves tucked in.  Choucroute Garni  is a dish from the Alsace region of France.  Because of its proximity to Germany, the food has Germanic links.  Pork and Sauerkraut are prevalent in many of its dishes.

It is best served with black bread, grainy mustard, horseradish and cornichons or sweet pickles.  This was a perfect recipe for the slow cooker.  You will need a large one.

CHOUCROUTE GARNI ( SAUSAGES WITH SAUERKRAUT)

2 pounds sauerkraut
6 medium waxy potatoes
1 large onion, sliced
3 large carrots,  peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
10 juniper berries, lightly crushed (could not find)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 whole cloves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 cooked bratwursts (I sauteed them in a frying pan until browned and cooked through)
1 pound kielbasa, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 smoked pork chops (I used boneless and cut them in half)
1 cup dry white wine

Rinse the sauerkraut well in a colander under cool running water.  Squeeze the sauerkraut to remove the liquid.

Place half of the sauerkraut in a large slow cooker, separating the pieces with your fingers.  Add the potatoes, onion, garlic, juniper berries, caraway seeds, cloves, thyme and bay leaves.  Arrange the remaining sauerkraut on top.

Push the sausages and pork chops down into the sauerkraut.  Add the wine.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.  Mine took only 7 hours and I added a little more liquid half way through cooking.

Arrange the meats, sauerkraut, and potatoes and carrots on a large platter.  Discard the bay leaves.  Serve with black bread, grainy mustard cornichons and horseradish.   Serves 6 to 8.

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