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I still have openings in the EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.) 

In the midst of worldwide violence and fearour daily lives somehow continue albeit with increased anxiety and perhaps prayer. Like many, I’m not sure whether or not to turn the television on and, if so, to which channel? I’m grateful for a daily subscription to the New York Times.  If we are able to discuss the state of our fellow people globally, what do we say? Are we even educated enough to talk about it?  

I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

I once had the honor of reading a good portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in church on MLK Sunday; I’ll never forget the privilege and the burden of just repeating those famous words within the framework of Sunday worship. Today I’m dreaming of world wide peace and reciprocal acceptance of oppositional beliefs.  And the table waits…

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Dave and I often cook a couple of pork tenderloins just to make the weekend a bit simpler. Even as a young cook in my twenties, I would slather a pork tenderloin with Dijon mustard, make slits in it I filled with slivers of garlic, and shower it with rosemary and black pepper before over-roasting it for an hour in the oven.  (I had no fresh rosemary yet in the ’70s and pink pork was a big no-no.)  In fact, if you’ve read the blog for long, you’ve probably read an ode to pork tenderloin.

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(Recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin here.)

After a first lovely long Friday night dinner at the dining room table complete with a little wine and some music we’re happy to hear, we are then set for meals for a couple of days.  We often just slice a bit for sandwiches or heat up a few pieces with peppers for tacos, or throw the last tiny odds and ends into a frittata on Sunday afternoon.  The tenderloins are– wait for it– tender, cooked quickly, inexpensive, lean, and adaptable.  You might even give the dogs just a tiny bite or, if your’e feeling particularly hospitable, you could just share the meal with a few other hungry folks.  Why not? You’re cooking and setting the table anyway.

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TRY THIS:

WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN AND

SAUTÉED CABBAGE, LEEKS, & FENNEL WITH CARAWAY AND BACON

serves 6

Start with chopping your vegetables for the cabbage sauté, and set them aside, ready for cooking.  Next, brown the pork, and then, once you’ve put it into the oven, cook the chopped vegetables.  Warm your plates a few minutes in the oven while the pork roasts and the vegetables cook; you’ll be happy you did.  A chunk or slice of rye or whole-grain bread per person is a fine accompaniment.

PORK TENDERLOINS:

  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2.5 pounds total)
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper
  • Whole grain mustard, such as Maille–can sub regular Dijon-style mustard if needed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Sprinkle each tenderloin with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Spread each tenderloin with 1-2 tablespoons of the whole-grain mustard.  Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large, heavy oven-safe sauté pan, skillet, or roasting pan.  Add the pork and onions; brown well on one side; turn and brown on the other. Stir onions.  Place pan in oven on center rack and roast until 145 degrees Fahrenheit–check after 10 minutes.  (In the meantime, prepare the cabbage sauté.) Remove to a platter and rest five minutes before slicing and serving on warm plates with hot cabbage mixture.

Cook’s Note:  If you’d rather just roast the pork, prepare it in the same way, but roast for 45 minutes or so in a roasting pan until meat reaches 145 degrees F; let rest 5 minutes before slicing.  A little pink pork tenderloin is fine.  I’ll admit mine looks more rare than it was.

FDA Safe Meat Temperature Guidelines:  click here.

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CABBAGE, LEEKS, and FENNEL SAUTÉED WITH CARAWAY AND BACON

  • 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed a bit*
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 leeks, well cleaned and sliced thinly (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and sliced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 2 pieces of bacon, fried to a crisp and chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey

In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil with the caraway seeds over medium heat for a minute or until fragrant.  Add vegetables and bacon. Stir, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Sauté, stirring often, until vegetables are wilted and nearly tender without browning.  Add vinegar, stir, and cook another minute or two. Drizzle with honey and stir again.  Taste and adjust seasonings, including the vinegar and honey, as needed.  Serve hot with the sliced pork tenderloin and browned onions.  (If done before the pork, remove from heat and reheat briefly when needed.)

*I put these in a spice grinder for just a few whirrs; you could grind the caraway in a mortar and pestle briefly, too, or crush them with the side of a chef’s knife.  Leave the seeds mostly intact, just breaking them enough to bring out the oil in them and so that they’re a bit more palatable.

Cook’s Note:  You could add a sliced apple to this mixture if you’d like.

NEED MORE?  If this isn’t enough food, serve steamed small, buttered red potatoes in their jackets and seasoned with parsley or dill. 2 small potatoes or 3 or 4 tiny ones per person should be plenty.  They can be made in advance, if need be, and heated just before serving.

DRINKS:  Alsatian Riesling, if possible. Other rieslings (not sweet) would also work.  Red??   While you could pull off a red Rhone, it will probably fight with the vinegar, though you still might want it if you’re a red lover.  A nice German beer would also be welcome at this meal.

DESSERT:  Homemade applesauce.

IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE MY One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Vegetables

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Sing a new song and think peace.  What if everyone did?

Alyce