Cider and Sage Pork Loin

As you may’ve noticed, I eat a lot of bacon.  But, otherwise, I am not a huge fan of pork. I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate it into dinner dishes that don’t leave me “meh.”

The boy harvested a bumper crop of herbs from our allotment this week, and I had a lot of sage to get through.  And we always have beer on hand (I’ve been on a cider kick for the past few months).  So I threw this together, and it was so delicious, I had to share. The pork turned out perfectly tender and succulent, and paired nicely with the sweet and tangy sauce.

It’s also super quick! From prep to plate should take a half hour—another great recipe for weeknights.

We used organic Niman Ranch sliced pork loin from Wheatsville; a mixture of homegrown and frozen organic green beans; fresh sage; and prepared, low sodium, organic chicken broth.

For a twist, you might try substituting coconut milk for the sour cream, and cilantro for the sage! It’s also tasty served over a bed of rice.

1 lb. sliced pork loin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp olive oil, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
~2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider (alcoholic or non)
1/2 chicken broth
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 heaped Tbsp sour cream, plus more for garnish if desired
fresh sage leaves for garnish

1. In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add pork, salt, and pepper. Turn pork over in oil mixture so that both sides are coated with salt and pepper. Cook for about five minutes, or until cooked through, turning once or twice; cooked pork turns light grey.

2. Remove the pork and set aside in a warm spot; I take the medallions out when they are just done and put them in a smaller pan, covered, over low heat on another burner. For this recipe, I threw in a drizzle of olive oil and the green beans, so that they would be lightly steamed and absorb some of the pork juices. You might also simply wrap the pork in foil and set aside.

3. Add remaining olive oil, onions, and chopped sage to the original pan. Cook for just two minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk vinegars, cider, broth, and mustard in a measuring cup. Add to pan. Stir thoroughly and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to simmer and stir thoroughly. Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream.

5. Plate pork (and any vegetables, as applicable) and pour sour cream and sage mixture over the medallions. Garnish with additional sage leaves (and, if you’re a sour cream fiend like me, a dollop of sour cream!), and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4.

Advertisements

Sunday Morning Migas

I throw some migas together at least once a week, usually for a weekend brunch.  Since I don’t like tomatoes, I usually don’t have any on hand, but you might want to include some diced tomatoes for a more standard result.  Instead, I focus on an assortment of peppers and making the scrambled eggs perfect.

Traditional Tex-Mex migas not only include diced tomatoes, but also strips of corn tortilla, diced chiles, onion, cheese, and salsa.  They’re usually served with refried beans and warm tortillas on the side.  Sometimes, they’re served with fried potatoes.

I serve mine with whatever I have on hand. I try to make my Frijoles Negros Refritos at least twice a month, and they’re a perfect complement. If you eat meat, you can also throw in some sausage, bacon, or chorizo!

Without further ado, here’s the easy recipe!

1 heaping tsp bacon fat (or butter)
4 regular-sized corn tortillas, cut intro 1/4″ strips
6 large eggs
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 finely diced chiles (hot or sweet or a mix, to taste!)
1/2 white onion, finely diced (sometimes I use red)
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced (optional)
1 cup grated cheese (Monterey Jack is best, or try Pepper Jack)
jar of salsa, to garnish
sour cream (optional)

1. Melt bacon fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortilla strips and fry until just crispy, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes). Remove strips to a paper towel to drain. Turn stovetop heat to low.

2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk lightly until yolks are broken, then drizzle in cream, continuing to whisk. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin, and whisk lightly to mix. Then add chiles, onions, and tomatoes (if using). Stir lightly and set aside.

3. Using the leftover bacon grease still in the pan, you will now scramble the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Allow to sit for just about one minute, then begin to stir. The mixture will quickly begin to firm up. Continue to lightly fold the eggs over repeatedly until they reach the perfect consistency (about three minutes).

4. Here, you can either add the tortilla strips back into the pan and mix them in with the eggs (traditional), or you can plate the strips and serve the eggs on top (deconstructed). I usually do the latter, because I like really crispy tortilla strips, but you may prefer them mixed. Try both and see!

5. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the eggs. Then add a generous dollop of salsa to the top of the migas (and sour cream, if using). Serve immediately, while still hot.

Serves 2.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you these migas are also great for dinner.

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding

While browsing the Paleo in Portland blog, I came across this tempting butternut squash pudding, which she, in turn, had adapted from paleOMG’s Sugar Detox Carrot Cake Pudding.

Having neither carrots nor butternut squash on hand, I decided to take it up another notch and make pumpkin pudding. This recipe is adapted from both Paleo in Portland and paleOMG.

15 oz. puréed pumpkin (1 can) – or use fresh!
2 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp honey (optional*)

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and purée to desired smoothness. For a silkier finish, drizzle in more coconut milk, a tiny bit at a time.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Serves 2-4.

Of course, I made this non-paleo by adding whipped cream to the top! But it’s pretty wonderful on its own, too. If I’d had any grated coconut, I would’ve used it.

*I buy local, raw honey from Round Rock at the Austin Farmer’s Market.

Stella’s Green Beef Curry

My stepmother has been eating gluten-free for the past ten months, and reports a real turnaround in the way she feels. Meanwhile, my best friend was recently diagnosed with a medical condition that may be treatable with a gluten-free diet, so she’s also eating that way. And, though no one told me when I was diagnosed six and a half years ago, apparently gluten-free is the way to go for those of us suffering from Hashimoto’s Disease (the auto-immune form of hypothyroidism, suffered by about one in every thousand people, mostly women).  So I’ve been trying to cut back lately, too.  Not because it’s a trend, but because I want to achieve optimum health.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to crave bright, fresh flavors in the summer: lemon, lime, pistachio, berries, gelato, sorbet, and fresh herbs from the garden.  And we’ve been on a real cilantro and lime kick at our house.  So I decided to try my hand at a Thai-inspired green curry.  Since I had a whole pound of fresh ground beef from Wheatsville on hand, that’s what I made, and the result was luxurious.

This one’s actually pretty darn easy; so if you like the flavors like I do, and you’ve never tried to make a curry at home, this is a great place to start.  Using coconut oil and coconut milk infuses this dish with that unmistakeble, creamy flavor, and blending in practically a whole armful of fresh cilantro results in a refreshing and aromatic curry.

If you like these flavors, you might also try my popular Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream and Cilantro Sauce.  And check back next week for another lime-doused, cilantro-sprinkled meal for summer.  August may well prove to be the Month of Green.

The meat and veg
1 heaping Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium head of broccoli, washed and chopped
1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and chopped
1 cup cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 lb. ground beef
fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, to taste

For the curry
~2 cups of cilantro, washed and chopped
12 oz. coconut milk (one standard can)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp green Thai curry paste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
~2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
lime wedges for garnish

1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion and sauté for about five minutes, until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add broccoli and cauliflower (you can used frozen veggies, but thaw them first). Cook for another ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for about two minutes, just until they begin to soften.

2. Add beef, breaking it up with your spatula. Stir thoroughly and allow to cook for about ten minutes, turning the meat and veggies over a couple of times.

3. Meanwhile, add all the curry ingredients to a blender and liquefy. Taste the curry, and adjust seasonings to suit. Set aside.

4. Once beef is cooked through, pour curry into skillet and mix well. Reduce heat to low, and allow to warm thoroughly (about ten minutes), stirring occasionally.

5. Spoon out mixture into bowls and serve topped with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Squeeze the lime juice over the bowl before digging in!

Serves 4.

Stella’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I eat a lot of eggs.  I have two or three eggs for breakfast at least five days a week.  Most of the time, I have a couple of rashers of crispy bacon; sometimes I have salsa, herbs, migas, cheese, and/or breakfast sausage.  Over the past few months, I’ve really perfected my scrambled eggs recipe.  They turn out light, fluffy, rich, and delicious.  The secret is in the pre-scrambling, and to cook over low heat.

Next time you’re hungry for some eggs—for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—give these a try!  This recipe is for a single serving.  Double for two people, etc.

Ingredients:
Three large eggs
1 Tbsp softened butter, halved
2 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Equipment:
Medium mixing bowl
Whisk
Small to medium skillet
Flat spatula

1. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.

2. Using the end of the whisk, break up the yolks with light pressure.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs until just well mixed.

4. Add salt and pepper; slowly pour in cream while continuing to whisk lightly.

5. Let eggs sit for a few minutes at room temperature.

6. Meanwhile, melt butter in the skillet over low heat.

7. Pour eggs into skillet, and stir lightly with spatula.

8. Allow to cook over low heat for a couple of minutes, until the eggs are partially set, then stir, using the spatula to scrape up the cooked egg from the bottom of the pan. Stir well and allow to cook for another minute or two.

8. Increase heat to medium low. Turn eggs over constantly, but gently, with the spatula until well done and fully firm. Fold, don’t stir.

9. Slide eggs out of skillet and onto a plate using the spatula. Garnish with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves one.

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

To jazz up these basic scrambled eggs, consider:

  • adding some minced garlic to the melting butter (or garlic powder to the egg mix);
  • folding in some grated cheese at the end of the cooking;
  • including finely diced onions or chile peppers;
  • garnishing with fresh herbs or salsa.