Tag Archives: fall vegetables

Coffee-Chile Pork Tenderloin and Mashed Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

coffee chili pork tenderloin 2

I must confess to you all, I have made many more things in my kitchen lately than I have been sharing. I seem to not be able to keep up! There are several sweet treats and a soup or two that will be posted here soon…promise. It has simply been hectic lately, and after a day at work, I’ve come home and prepared dinner, and finally sit down to eat, my brain is done for the day. D-O-N-E. If I attempted a blog post after all that, it would be less than fun to read, believe me! It would go something like this:

I made this tonight. It was good. You should make it too. Yum!

Right.

So if my posts are discussing dishes that were actually prepared, oh, a week or two ago, please don’t judge!

For today, I am sharing with you a dish that I made Sunday night. Usually, Sundays are my “cook all day” days. However, I had little energy or time to spend in the kitchen this past Sunday. The requirement for dinner was that it a) be uncomplicated, b) be relatively quick, and c) only use ingredients I had in the kitchen, because I sure wasn’t about to go to the store.

Enter Coffee-Chile Pork Tenderloin.

My dear friend Suzanne turned me on to this delicious rub recipe from Ellie Krieger a while back that uses espresso and chile powder. She used it on a steak, and raved about it. I loved the combination of flavors, so I opted to make it, using what I had on hand – a pork tenderloin. What to serve with a smoky, lightly spicy dish such as this? I had several sweet potatoes from the farmer’s market, so I opted to serve them simply – mashed with a bit of rosemary.

This rub recipe certainly did not disappoint. The tenderloin was juicy and flavorful, and the rub wasn’t spicy at all. It provided a pleasant burst of flavor in every bite. At first I was slightly skeptical of how the coffee would play into the flavor, but it blends so well with the other spices. (If I didn’t tell you there was espresso powder in the rub, you would not have guessed.)  I’d be interested to taste it on a steak next time!

As for the sweet potatoes, you hardly need a recipe. My measurements below are approximate, so please feel free to add a bit more milk and/or butter to adjust to your tastes.

Overall, this was a perfect meal for a gorgeous Sunday night. My husband commented, as dinner was cooking, how wonderful it was to be at home, with all the windows opened (it was a breezy, sunny 65-70 degrees Sunday evening), and with the delicious smell of fall in the kitchen. I agreed. It was indeed the perfect setting for a lovely evening at home.

 

Coffee-Chili Pork Tenderloin, as adapted from Suzanne Collier and Ellie Krieger

1 T canola oil

1 1/2 t finely ground espresso powder

1 1/2 t ground chile powder, such as ancho or cascabel

1/2 t dark brown sugar

1/4 t dry mustard

1/4 t ground coriander

1/4 t garlic powder

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 1/4 lbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat a cast iron skillet with the canola oil, and bring to medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, combine all spices. Pour out on a plate. Place the pork tenderloin on the plate, and press into spices, rolling the tenderloin until all of it is covered in the spices. Let sit for a few minutes.

Place tenderloin in pan. Sear for about 3-4 minutes, and turn over. Sear again for 3-4 minutes. Continue to sear all over, and once you have made your final “flip” of the tenderloin, place skillet in oven on middle rack. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 150 degrees. (remember, the meat will still continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the oven) Tent with foil and allow to rest for 8-10 minutes, and then slice.

Serves 4.

 

Mashed Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes

4 T butter

1/2 t finely chopped fresh rosemary needles

1/2 c milk

salt and pepper to taste

Place diced sweet potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to medium. Allow to cook for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and cooked throughout. (I test them by stabbing a fork into a piece, if it slides in easily and the potato breaks apart, it’s done.) Drain potatoes. Pass through a potato ricer (one of my most favorite kitchen tools, it makes potatoes perfectly creamy and fluffy!) or use a potato masher. Place back into saucepan, and add butter and rosemary. Stir to incorporate. Add milk, a little at a time, until the proper consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pork, Side Dishes

Tahitian Squash Risotto and Foodbuzz Blog Awards

risotto 011When fall nears, I start to get excited. Not only because of the cool, crisp air (which I love), but because of the delicious fall produce. As much as I’ll miss my fresh tomatoes, (and here in a month or two, you may here me complain about the lack of good tomatoes…fair warning.) now it’s nearing time for one of my most favorite fall vegetables – winter squash. Most winter squashes are subtly sweet, creamy, and marry so well with a lot of comfort dishes. I love them all – pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and Tahitian. That’s right, Tahitian squash. I’d never heard of it, until a few weeks ago, when I was visiting the McKinney farmer’s market, and I visited my friend at Good Earth Organic Farm. He was selling not only butternut squashes, but he also had a large Tahitian squash available. I asked about it, mistaking it for a butternut. (they look VERY similar in color and shape) He described it to me as a nice, sweet squash that I could prepare in a similar manner to butternut. Needless to say, I was sold – and took that baby home with me.

What’s wonderful about winter squashes is that you don’t have to eat them right away. They can be stored for a long while. My Tahitian squash sat on my counter for a few weeks while I enjoyed my bounty of zucchini, okra, tomatoes, pears, and other summery produce, patiently waiting for its turn in the spotlight. On Sunday night, it was time for the Tahitian squash to shine. (Yes, Sunday…I know, it’s taken me a few days to get this to you!) A creamy risotto was just the right dish to highlight this sweet squash.

Contrary to what Hell’s Kitchen would portray, a risotto is not all that difficult to make. The big key here is to be stirring the risotto nearly constantly. (Perhaps one should plan to make it on a night when they are not the only one watching the kids…) But since you will be standing over the dish, you can “fiddle” with the dish as much as you like (something I have a desire to do with all dishes, whether they’re in need of “fiddling” or not). You also will be at the ready to test the doneness of the rice. Other than that, there’s nothing tricky about risotto – promise!

Tahitian (or butternut, or acorn, or pumpkin) Squash Risotto

2 T olive oil

5-6 lbs squash, such as butternut or acorn, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper

4-5 c chicken broth (can substitute vegetable broth to make vegetarian)

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

1 shallot, minced

1 ½ c Arborio rice

½ c white wine

½ c Parmesan, grated

2 T butter

¼ c parsley, chopped

Bring a heavy, large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once oil is hot, add squash in a single layer. (you may have to do this in batches – I did.) Saute squash for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reserving ½ c of the diced squash, puree the remainder in a food processor or blender.

Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a large saucepan, and hold at a simmer.

Either wipe clean the sauté pan, or bring another large, wide sauté pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Swirl until butter melts. Add shallots and rice and stir until shallots start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add white wine and stir, deglazing the pan. Once wine is nearly evaporated, add 1 ladle of chicken broth and stir into rice. Stir almost constantly to ensure that each grain of rice is cooked evenly. Once broth is nearly evaporated, add another ladle of broth. Continue adding broth, a ladle at a time, as the broth evaporates from the pan, and stirring continuously, until the rice is nearly done, just shy of al dente.

Add the pureed squash, and add more broth as necessary. (Your finished risotto should not be sticky/gluey and clumpy, nor should it be thin. You’re striving for a creamy consistency here.) Stir until the rice is al dente. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and parmesan. Stir until butter melts and cheese is incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Remove from heat, and top with reserved diced squash and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Serves 6.

Wait, there’s more – Foodbuzz Blog Awards

I’m sure you have heard about Foodbuzz.com several times by now. I am a Featured Publisher on their site, the advertisements on this blog are from Foodbuzz, and I’ve participated in their 24,24,24 events (see Exploring Texas BBQ and Bringing the Bayou to the ‘Burbs). Well, Foodbuzz has officially announced the Foodbuzz Blog Awards. The Foodbuzz Blog Awards aim to recognize talent in the blog community through nominations and voting. So please, if you enjoy my blog, nominate me! (yes, this is my shameless plug) Nominations are open from September 14 – 30. The categories for nomination are:

Best Overall Blog
Best New Blog
Best Wine Blog
Best Cocktail/Spirits Blog
Best Baking Blog
Best Food Photography Blog
Best Visual Blog (graphic design)
Best Writing Voice
Best Healthy Living Blog
Best Green/Sustainable blog
Best Family Blog
Best Recipe Blog
Best Blogger Humanitarian Effort
Best Community Blog Effort (recognizing blogging groups/challenges/etc)
Most Humorous Food Blog

Blogger you’d most want to:
-Take to dinner
-Cook a meal for you
-Be your personal Sommelier
-Create you a cocktail
-Watch on Food Network
-Watch on Iron Chef
-See open up their own restaurant
-See their blog made into a movie

So please, take a moment and nominate as many blogs as you feel deserve recognition! And thank you!

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Rice, Side Dishes, Vegetarian