Sunday, March 10, 2013

Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin was on sale when I was at the store on Wednesday so I picked one up. The great thing about pork tenderloin is that it is just enough meat for a family of four or just two bigger eaters and leftovers for one.  Basically, it's not too many leftovers and it is quick to cook!

I didn't have a recipe in mind but when I got home I reviewed my bookmarks. I read one recipe on Martha Stewart that talked about making a mixture of dried apricots and scallions. The recipe had very mixed reviews but it sparked my creativity.

I finally got around to making the pork tenderloin tonight and made a twist on the apricot stuffing. It was great! This dish got an A from my husband and is definitely something I will make again! This takes just 25 minutes to put together!

1 pork tenderloin
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Turkish Dried Apricots, finely chopped*
2 T orange marmalade  (really any jam here, like maybe apricot)
pinch of sugar
salt & pepper
kitchen twine or those handy silicon bands

Preheat the oven to 450

1. Place a large frying pan over high heat and let it heat up. Salt & Pepper the pork. Add pork to the fying pan and brown 2 minutes per side until all sides are brown
2. Mix together apricots, marmalade, sugar, and garlic
3. Cut a slit lengthwise in the pork not all the way through but enough of a pocket to hold the apricots
4. Stuff the apricot mixture inside the slit and tie in 4 places with kitchen twine. If some of the apricot mixture falls out just stuff it back in.
5. Place the pork apricot side up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 20 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees.
6. Cut into medallions using your ties as guides.

*If you don't use Turkish apricots they may not cook down as nicely. If you want to use the regular kind you may want to re-hydrate them a little before using.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Homemade Buttermilk Bread

 When we were at Epcot in February I had this delicious ham sandwich in France.  It was just ham, butter and cheese on a very fresh baguette. It was fantastic. I recall it as one of my favorite meals while there.  Ever since we returned I have been craving a similar ham sandwich.  So today, since I was at home I decided to make some bread.  The thing about bread is that it's like 10-15 minutes of hands on time and hours of hands off time. Perfect when you are working from home!

This bread uses buttermilk and that is primarily the reason I chose to make it--because I already had buttermilk!  The bread may not have worked exactly how it was intended to work because it was really dense and a little spongy possibly because of the Pam I sprayed on the pan and bowl a little bit greasy. Regardless it was a really hearty dinner! It is fun to make bread and then use it right away!  I recommend it. And if you are lucky, your yeast might be more active than my yeast.

I used this recipe. But with my perpetual fear of other blogs going away I am reposting it here.

1/4 C water, warmed
1 package active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
4 1/2 C flour
1 t salt (use regular because I think Kosher was too salty)
2-3 t honey
1 1/2 C buttermilk, warmed
1 egg, whisked (for baking)

1. Place yeast and sugar in the warmed water and let sit 10 minutes until foamy. Note - If it is not foamy after 10 minutes your yeast is not active and you must try again, always buy extra yeast!

2. Meanwhile, measure out all other ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Add yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook until a soft ball forms.

3. Remove the dough and place on a well-floured board and knead about 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 1 hour/

4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 5 minutes. Shape into a loaf and place into a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 40 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375.  Remove plastic wrap and brush bread top with egg.  Bake 45 minutes.  Wait a tiny bit for your hot bread to cool before enjoying.  We loved it with ham sandwiches for dinner!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cheese-Filled Corn Muffins

Have you noticed how catalogs are getting up with the times recently by offering other content to set them apart from others? For instance the Crate & Barrel catalog has a section called "get the download" where you get free books, apps and music to use in conjunction with their products.  Another catalog that has caught on is William-Sonoma. They provide recipes--some which feature their products and some you could make even if all your kitchen paraphernalia is from Target.

This month, the William-Sonoma catalog had an intriguing recipe for mini cheese-filled cornbreads.  Excited about the melty-creamy quality of Fontina in my recent recipe pizzaccherri, I was interested to try these so I made sure to have the ingredients on hand for the week.

When Friday finally pulled around I had the chance.  I only keep white cornmeal at home so I picked up some yellow in the bulk section at the grocery store. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 Cups of cornmeal and can you believe that is exactly what I guessed at the store?  Amazing.

I made these two ways--cheese & rosemary and cheese & jalepeno.  Both were good and neither had an overpowering flavor. I liked the cheese in the middle and didn't need any butter.  This makes 12 large muffins. Heat leftovers for 20 seconds in the microwave before eating for the cheesiest deliciousness.

1 1/2 cups finely ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary pr 1/2 jalepeno finely chopped, seed removed
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
5 1/2 oz. fontina cheese, cut into twelve 3/4-inch cubes
Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Spray the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and rosemary (or jalepeno)*. Make a small well in the center.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and butter until just blended. Pour the egg mixture into the well of the cornmeal mixture and gently fold until the batter is blended and no lumps remain.

Spoon about 2 Tbs. batter into each prepared well and place a cheese cube in the center of each one. Spoon the remaining batter evenly on top, covering the cheese cubes. Bake until the edges of the corn bread are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

*If you want to make half rosemary and half jalepeno then don't mix it in with the dry ingredients. Instead sprinkle in the flavorings when you add the cheese.