Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pork Tenderloin With A Cherry Zinfandel Reduction

     In the past few weeks sweet and juicy cherries have been appearing, ripe and ready to devour at Farmer’s markets and grocery stores all over southern California. We always try to buy fresh local food when it’s in season and at this time of year the variety of produce makes cooking and meal planning a dream.

     This week I returned from the farmers market with my own bag of ruby red cherries ready to be devoured. I tossed around recipe ideas vacillating between sweet and savory delights and then in a moment I knew just what I wanted to prepare.

     As I watched my husband pour himself a glass of zinfandel my plan began to unfold. In a matter of moments I knew my cherries were destined to become part of a sweet savory pork tenderloin bathed in a cherry and zinfandel reduction.

Olive oil (to coat pan)
½  yellow onion (diced)
1 cup zinfandel
1 cup washed stemmed pitted cherries (diced)
2 tablespoons Apple balsamic vinegar 
(or any balsamic)
1 tsp sugar (to taste)
herbs ( like rosemary and Thyme
¼  tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

For The Reduction
Add olive oil to pan
Add onion
Cook on low to medium flame till almost translucent (not brown)
Then add cherries and cook a minute or three
Add zinfandel ( use a wine you would not mind drinking)
Raise flame higher and reduce to about half
Add S&P to taste and adjust if needed

For the tenderloin marinade
¼ cup zinfandel
2-4 tbs olive oil
Herbs ( I like rosemary and thyme)
Garlic to taste
Mix well add tenderloin
Place in shallow dish or zip top bag
I placed the bag with the tenderloin and marinade in fridge(fridge a must) for 2-3 hours.

Beginning to brown toe tenderloin
To cook tenderloin
Heat a heavy bottom (le creuset type oven-safe dutch oven)
Add olive oil to coat bottom
Remove tenderloin from marinade
brown on all sides in dutch oven
when all sides are browned
Add 1/2 cup zinfandel and water or broth combined
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven till done
internal temp of 160 degrees (per USDA)
(while pork cooks warm up your cherry zinfandel topping)

After resting the pork 
(always rest the meat or you will lose the moisture)
slice and top with heated cherry zinfandel reduction
About $10-$17 dollars for this special treat including leftovers.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spicy Asian Noodles At Home: Yes You Can

      I inherited my love of Chinese food from my father. I grew up going to our local Chinese restaurant the Harbin Inn on 100th Street and Broadway almost every week. As I grew my travels took me all over the world and eventually led me to spend some time living in Hawaii. Why, with all that exposure to Asian influenced cooking was it so difficult to travel to my local Asian market and pick up the ingredients necessary to create one of my favorite ethnic foods at home?

     It was not until I was in my thirties that I began to experiment with unusual labels and ask questions about various exotic sounding ingredients. Through experimentation I found I had been missing out on some wonderful flavors.  Since then I have made a point of putting together several delicious and economical Asian meals I can prepare in very little time.

     I urge everyone to take a trip to the Asian markets, talk to the vendors and try something new. More and more supermarkets are including larger ethnic departments so if there is no Asian market in your area explore your local grocery store. I’ll bet there is more available than you realize.

I have fallen in love with this product called spicy chili crisp

½ olive oil and ½ sesame oil to coat pan (whatever is on hand is OK)
½ large head of cabbage (shredded)
1 med yellow onion (diced)
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 rib of celery diced
¼ cup diced red peppers ~about ½ of a pepper (optional)
1 baby bok choy
3-6 cloves of garlic ~to taste (minced)
1-teaspoon approx Chinese chili sauce 
(to taste as some will find it hot)

S&P to taste

Beginning to cook the veggies
place the oil in a large skillet
add the onion to pan and cook till almost translucent
add the garlic and cook one more minute
add the cabbage, carrots and bok choy
cook down till all are soft
add soy sauce (any kind you wish 2-4 Tbs) (to taste)
add Chinese chili sauce 
(I use the one pictured below)
(invest in a trip to the Asian market or international aisle of your grocery store)

add cooked noodles to the veggie mix and let them soak up the flavors
continue to stir and mix  the veggies with the noodles
(I made my own noodles but use any kind you are comfortable with maybe try several till you find a few you love) I used my standby pasta noodle recipe.
Total around $5.00 for this trip across the globe
Ready To Serve