Friday, December 28, 2012

Caribbean Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa

This year we had two Christmas dinners, as well as a light supper Christmas Eve. I feel like I can try different things for Christmas while Thanksgiving tends to be more set.  For one of our Christmas meal,  I made a delicious and flavorful Pork tenderloin crusted with Caribbean spice.

I prefer to keep Christmas time meals easy to prepare and I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day.  This Tenderloin recipe is quite simple and fast yet feels festive and tastes wonderful! I made this for our 2nd Christmas dinner…again our honorary “daughter”, Litto, had to work over Christmas and so we had another dinner for her and our family. We had Sweet potato and maple sausage hash for late Christmas Eve supper after church with our son. Then we had ham with the family on Christmas day. I was wondering about cooking chicken or beef but Litto loves pork so tenderloin won and my, was it a winner!! Every last morsel was snatched up and everyone wanted to know how to make it. I was glad to be able to share a recipe that even these busy, full time working people can make for a special dinner on a weeknight.
I served this roast with an awesome pineapple salsa. I saw a avocado -pineapple salsa on the Martha Stewart Website, and that gave me the idea to add avocado to my regular pineapple salsa. I really liked the result!
I also made my favorite rice with dates, pecans and raisins. For our vegetable, I made broccoli topped with cheese. It was such a wonderful and relaxed meal.
So basically this tenderloin is coated in a sweet, spice rub. You can make this rub as spicy or mild as you like. If you are not into spicy, use the sugar, salt, cinnamon with just a pinch of cumin and allspice or whatever combo you choose.
Tenderloin cooks quickly. I like to start it in a very hot oven and lower the heat a bit. The sugar in this rub can burn quickly so watch it. The juices can smoke and if this is a problem, you can turn the oven down or even take the pan out and move the roasts to another foil lined pan and put back in a cooler oven. You want to cook this to a temperature of about 155 and then let it rest.

Caribbean Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa

¼ cup light-brown sugar

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼  teaspoon ground red pepper

¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

2 pork tenderloins ( one package)

Heat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine all the spices and sugar. Remember these spices are optional- use what you have and what you like!

Rinse and pat dry the tenderloins. Put foil over a large rectangular baking sheet and place tenderloin on it. Pat the spice rub onto meat. Place into oven.

Immediately turn heat down to 450. Keep a close eye on the roast and if the glaze is smoking or over browning, turn oven down a bit. After 5 minutes, you can turn this down to 425.

After 15 minutes, check with an instant-read thermometer to see if pork is 150 degrees, or after about 20 minutes, turn oven down to 375 degrees. Let pork roast another 5-7 minutes until temp is around 155.

Remove to rest for 8 minutes. The pork can still be pink in the center or  it may be cooked to white throughout but do not let it dry out

Slice into ½ inch medallions and serve with rice and a fruity salsa, such as this pineapple-avocado salsa or try a mango or peach salsa.

Grilled pineapple salsa

4 large fresh pineapple spears
 Place on foil and spritz or brush with oil and broil for 7 or so minutes, turning to each side, until beginning to turn golden brown.

Juice of one orange or lime
½ red onion, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced
1 tsp each sugar
1 tsp of salt, sea salt preferred

Optional add-in’s-
1 tsp ginger paste or pressed ginger
1 diced avocado
 1/3cup cilantro, chopped

Mix everything together and chill for a bit. Serve alongside pork.





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Out of photo space but hopefully I will be back

Hello readers, I just want to let you know that the reason I have not posted much is that I am out of photo space on blogger and I am trying to figure out the best solution. I hope I will have one soon. Hopefully, I will be back!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Banana muffins or Banana Bread

Banana bread is an old standard I still love to bake! I have several variations of this old favorite. Today I will share the basic recipe I use with a couple flour options.
This week, I had a dilemma. We were going to celebrate the fifth birthday of the little guy I take care of and when I asked what kind of cake he wanted he said “Banana bread muffins with frosting on top!” Well, that sounded easy until I realized I had not stocked up on over ripe bananas in my new freezer. I used to always have a few bananas that had gotten past their prime for eating but were perfectly soft and mushy for banana bread stashed away in my freezer. But now, most bananas disappear just before that overripe stage because my mom loves to eat them that way. Good for using up all the bananas but -What to do? I checked out the internet to see if there were any tips and found that you could indeed get bananas ready for the batter in less than an hour!! See my notes at the bottom of the recipe for this tip!
I whipped up these muffins while the boys were at school and Zephyr helped to frost them when he got home. He even wore his birthday crown that his teacher made for him. The muffins were a hit!

Okay, here is the recipe for our banana muffins. Perhaps next time I make my blue ribbon tropical banana bread I will take some pictures and share that variation with you J  

Banana Muffins or Bread

3 eggs
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mashed banana, very ripe—see notes
1/3 cup applesauce
½ cup or so, canned pineapple, crushed or minced , drained

1 ¼ cup  flour, white ** See notes for other flour options
¾ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 to 1 ½ cups butterscotch morsels, optional ( If you don’t use, add an extra ¼ cup brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 350F

Beat together eggs and oil. Once they are well mixed, add sugar and vanilla. Mix it in and let it sit for a couple minutes then beat together. Add bananas, applesauce, and pinapple.

In another bowl mix flours, soda and salt. Add half to banana mixture and blend lightly. Mix in the rest and then the butterscotch morsels if using, gently mix until fully combined.

Muffins:  use paper liners or grease in a muffin pan and fill ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F.
Loaf: Parchment line and grease a loaf pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes at 350

*Applesauce reduces need for as much oil. If you don’t use applesauce, use ½ cup of oil instead of 1/3.

** I change up flour options depending on what is on hand or what I feel like.

Option two for flour:    1 ¼ cup flour, white
                  ½ cup whole wheat flour
           ¼ cup coconut flour  (Add extra 1-2 TBSP coconut oil & 1 TBSP water for this option)
Option Three for flour:    2 cups flour, white

 Note on bananas: You must use very ripe or better yet, overripe bananas, for banana bread. I wait until bananas are soft and peel and mash and freeze in 2 cup containers.

 If you do not have any ripe bananas, you can use these methods to obtain soft, sweet, “ripened “fruit. If you have 24 hours, place a bunch of bananas in a closed brown paper bag. Perhaps an apple thrown in as well would increase the speed of ripening. Check bananas often.

Need them even faster?  Turn on the oven to 300. Place bananas (with peels on) on a foil lined sheet and place in oven until skin begins to blacken, about 45 minutes to an hour. Don't worry about the blackened outside, they will be nicely softened inside.  

Let them cool then peel and use for banana bread or smoothies. This does not really ripen bananas but makes them soft, sweet and great for baking! I found this tip on a few different websites such as wikipedia and e-how.