Two weekends ago, I went to an amazing restaurant and ordered the spice crusted pork loin. The spice and texture on the meat was amazing. It was so juicy! I set out to recreate this dish and I was surprised how quickly it came together. I was able to create the whole dish in about 30 minutes. I am not sure if I used the exact spices they used at the restaurant, but the blend I put together compliments the meat well. I set out the tenderloin to defrost in the refrigerator the night before. I normally brine pork before roasting in the oven, but the meat in the restaurant did not seem to be brined.
Try this recipe for a flavorful, juicy tenderloin that comes together quickly.
Spice Crusted Pork Loin
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
2 small pork loins (about 2 – 2 1/2 pounds)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp garlic cloves
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse and pat dry two pork loins. Trim of excess fat and remove the silver skin.
- Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper to taste. I normally use 1/2 tsp of each. Set aside.
- In an eight-inch cast iron skillet or saute pan toast the whole spices for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Combine the spices with olive oil and stir to combine.
- Coat the pork loin on all sides with the spice mixture. I put the spices and olive oil in a loaf pan and rolled the loins in the spices, pressing them down gently.
- In a large, oven-proof saute pan on medium-high heat place the pork loins turning to brown on all sides. Mine took about two minutes on each side. Some spices with come off the loin during cooking and that is alright. You will still have enough left to create a great crust.
- Place the pan into the heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
- Cover the finished pork loin and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
This meal will combine well with the curried Brussels sprouts of the creamy, cheesy cauliflower.
Image via wikipedia
Sometimes I need an easy lunch option and don’t have any protein leftover from dinner. On these days ,I like to make a salmon or tuna salad with homemade olive oil mayonnaise and flax-seed crackers. I get lost of omega 3 fatty acids with minimal effort. I paired the salmon with a green apple to cut the fattiness of the dish with acidity and tartness. For the lemons in the recipe, sometimes I juice several lemons at the beginning of the week and keep it in a container because who squeezes a lemon for only a little bit of juice. I do the same with the rind and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for later use.
Salmon Salad with Green Apples and Sunflower Seeds
10 oz cooked wild salmon (can be in a can, pouch, or leftover fillets)
1 medium green apple
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (unsalted)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
- In a medium-sized bowl, break up the salmon. If you are using a salmon fillet be sure to remove the skin and check for bones. Remember to use wild salmon. Even though it is more expensive, the flavor is much better and they have more omega 3 fatty acids.
- Cut up the apple in a small dice leaving the skin on. I usually use organic apples because they are a more manageable size and I don’t worry about eating the skins.
- Add the apples and sunflower seeds to the salmon.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. The lemon juice also prevents the apple from browning if you are going to eat later.
- Mix in the olive oil mayonnaise. I like a lot of mayo, so I might add more than the 2 tbsp. Add what you like.
I pair this with baby greens for a hearty salad or eat it with my flax-seed crackers.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Flax seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and soluble and insoluble fiber. I buy whole seeds and grind them in my trusty coffee grinder. Ground flax can be used in many baking applications, such as muffins, breads, brownies, and crackers. Whenever I have made something with ground flax, I am always amazed at how bread-like is the final product.
The final mixture for this product is paste-like and sticky. I discovered that I should wet my fingers before spreading out the crackers to avoid club fingers. The final product is crunchy and makes a good vehicle for nut butters, dips, and tuna or salmon salad.
Flax Seed Crackers
1 cup ground flax seed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup water
2 tbs whole flax seed (optional)
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine the flax seeds, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Add water little by little until the mixture forms a paste.
- On a silicon mat or parchment paper lined pan, spread the mixture out to 1/8th of an inch. I used my fingers, but you can use a spoon or a rolling-pin. I remove the ragged edges so they won’t burn.
- Sprinkle the tops of the “dough” with the whole flax seeds.
- Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the “dough” to the desired size.
- Cook the dough for 15 – 18 minutes. This varies depending on humidity. Keep them in the oven until they are crisp.
Image courtesy of wikipedia
Mayonnaise in an emulsion of eggs, oils, vinegar or lemon juice, and mustard. The lecithin in the egg yolks stabilizes the mixture. The first time I tried to make mayonnaise I used a whisk and I think that my arm was going to fall off. Making mayo this way was a two person job. Since then, I have used a blender to easily make this concoction.
Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1 large egg
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tbs lemon juice or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in the container of a blender or food processor.Blend until smooth.
- Blend on low speed while pouring oil into the blender in a fine stream as the mixture emulsifies and thickens.
5 large garlic cloves peeled
Image courtesy of wikipedia
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Mash the garlic and salt together in coffee grinder until it is a paste. You can use the small work bowl on your food process or a mortar and pestle. In a the large bowl of you food processor or in a blender, process the egg for 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic paste to the food processor and add the oil in a this stream until it is fully integrated into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
You can keep this a week in the refrigerator.
Curried Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are possibly my favorite vegetable and I am always looking for new ways to prepare them. Last night, I was searching for something that went with the scotch eggs from Well Fed. When I was making this dish, I added my own spice mix, but if you are feeling tired and do not have all of the ingredients, you can always use yellow curry powder.
When I was making this dish, I caramelized some onions create a depth of flavor and add sweetness to the dish. Caramelizing onions properly takes about 45 minutes of sauteing over low heat. If you want to skip this step, I would add tbs of anchovy paste along with the spices and then add 1 tbs of honey to the dish at the end of cooking.
Curried Brussels Sprouts
3 tbs olive oil or coconut oil
1 lbs fresh brussels sprouts halved lengthwise or 1 lb frozen petite brussels sprouts
1 medium sweet onion sliced lengthwise
1 tsp grated ginger
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp mustard seeds or 1 tsp whole-grain mustard
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, if you do not have this use paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder, preferable chipotle
zest from one lime
juice from one lime
1 tsp kosher salt
- In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbs oil. When heated add the brussels sprouts cut side down and cook for 5 minutes or until the
Image via wikipedia
brussels sprouts are browned. If you are using frozen sprouts, rotate them while cooking and cook for 10 minutes or until browned. Remove the browned sprouts to a waiting vessel.
- Turn the heat down to medium low and caramelize the onions. This process should take 30 – 50 minutes with you stirring every five minutes. If the onions look like they are going to burn, add more oil and reduce the heat. The resulting onions should taste sweet and have a deep caramel color.
- When the onions are caramelized, add the oil and then raise the heat to medium. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the spices to the oil and stir into the onions. Saute the spices until fragrant, about another 30 seconds.
- Add the brussels sprouts and stir to coat.
- Turn off the heat and add the lime.
You can also prepare the elements of this dish ahead of time, refrigerate, and then reheat in a skillet right before dinner. If you desire, you can also add a fresh tomato to this dish and saute it along with the spices until the juice has thickened.
Onion image via wikipedia.
I have been salivating over the recipes in “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” since I got it two weeks ago. The recipes are created by Melissa Joulwan who writes a blog called The Clothes Make the Girl. While it is true that I am a food nerd and I do read cookbooks cover-to-cover, this book has blown me away with sumptuous recipes, practical advice, and seemingly endless lists of variations for her already novel (to my palette) creations.
The book is broken down differently than a tradition cookbooks with sections on the paleo kitchen, weekly cook-up, sauces and seasonings, protein, veggies and salads, and finally fruits. While it is de regueur to include a section on the paleo concept, devices you need for the kitchen, and meal organization, Joulwan takes this one step further by includes loads of practical advice on how to prepare healthy food while minimizing your time in the kitchen. “Well Fed” is worth the money for this section alone.
The recipes themselves are easy to follow, well developed directions that do not leave you questions your own kitchen prowess. She includes information on variations, food pairings, and her own notes.
One of the recipes I had been slobbering over are scotch eggs. While I was aware of the existence of scotch eggs I had never tried one much less thought of integrating it into my low-carb diet. The process to makes this eggs is easy. Most of the recipe can be made ahead and then put into the oven to finish for dinner, which I love. Did I mention they were delicious and my family devoured them?
Getting scotch eggs into their meat cocoons
Crispy goodness. The secret is pork rinds.
Seriously. Buy this book.
Flickr image via orchidgalore
Sometimes I get overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed by the demands of work, the demands of family, and the demands of home. These are the time when I don’t manage to get the slow cooker set up the night before. These are the times when I would order take out and scarf it down without a second thought and end up feeling worse than before. But now that I am being more mindful of what I put into my body, I stop before I pick up the phone and make a frittata.
A frittata is an Italian omelet and makes great refrigerator velcro. I often put left over veggies, cheese, and meat together to create delicious and easy meals, served with a salad. They also make great next-day lunches. Many of the recipes I encounter for frittata advise putting non-stick pans under the broiler, but I am not comfortable heating non-stick pans to that temperature. I use my stainless steel.
Here is a recipe I find myself making again and again.
Leeks, Mushrooms, and Smoked Gouda Frittata
6 large eggs
2 tbs heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (small handful) fresh, finely chopped parsley
1 large leek
2 cups mushrooms sliced
2 tbs butter or ghee
1 tbs olive oil or coconut oil
- Preheat broiler on high and place the oven rack in the upper one third of the oven.
Image via brokenarts
- Place a large, oven-safe skillet (10 – 12 inch) over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter.
- Add the leeks and the mushrooms and cook until the leeks and brown and soft and the mushrooms have browned.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, parsley and half of the cheese.
- Add the egg mixture to the pan. Slowly stir the sides and the bottom of the pan until you have large curds of egg mixture with wet parts in between.
- Allow the mixture to cook for another two minutes or until the underside has set.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and place the frittata under the broiler for 5 – 7 minutes.
- When the top is brown, remove the pan from the oven.
- Allow to cool from 5 – 15 minutes before eating.
Flickr mushroom image via orchidgalore.
Egg image via brokenarts.