Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions, Black Beans, Sweet Potato Toast & Avocado Cream

I once again found inspiration for this dish from the Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. I wanted to combine ingredients that were unusual but had a good balance of flavors, and paired nicely together. So this dish has a little bit of everything, sweet, sour and salty. My husband Dan and foodie-son Lucas said I could add it to my Top Five! It was a proud moment!

Hopefully, this list of ingredients is not too daunting. ūüėČ

Avocado Cream:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (no stems)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Creme Fraiche

Sweet potato toast:

  • 1 large sweet potato (sliced with cheese slicer)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Pork Tenderloin:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Black Beans:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 can of organic Black Beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 onions sliced in rings
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. First, you want to bake the sweet potato toast. Cover sweet potato slices in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven on a baking sheet and cook until slightly browned approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the pork loin, melt butter in an iron skillet (oven safe) on medium high heat, add salt and pepper to the loin roast, and sear the pork on all sides. Once it is nicely browned, place the pork into the oven, next to potatoes and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees¬†(for medium rare). You can then caramelize the onions, in a skillet with butter, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and sweet. Next, in a saucepan, add the butter, once melted add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat. Make sure not to brown the garlic. Add in the beans with the liquid and cook down the beans for 15 minutes. Next, you can make the avocado cream. Place the avocados into a food processor, or blender and add the oil, lime, salt, and cilantro. Puree until smooth. Remove from food processor and fold in the Cr√©me Fra√ģche.

Now you are ready for assembly. Place 2 spoonfuls of Avocado Creme on each plate in a long smear. Add to pieces of Sweet Potato toast, then the beans, followed by the pork and caramelized onions, and finally sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Tomatillo Pork Shoulder

For approximately a year now, I’ve been volunteering for an amazing organization here in Boulder, called There With Care. There With Care‚Äôs mission is to provide a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to children and families during the critical phase of a medical crisis. They serve families referred by medical agencies, by building a network of services and people who ease the burden of life‚Äôs day-to-day obligations with compassion and care. I have been working on There With Care’s Team Chop, where we prep simple, healthy, and easy to cook CrockPot meals for each of the families. It has been an amazing organization to work for. We have an incredile team of people on our team, dedicating their time once a week to help eleviate some of the burden these families are facing.

So, after a year of working with Team Chop, I finally bought myself a slow-cooker (CrockPot). It has been fun experimenting with some new recipes. One of which was another creation by my foodie-17-year-old. Takes a total of 10 minutes to prep, and has very few ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 8 tomatillos – quartered
  • 2 jalapenos – (remove seeds for less spice – chop into large chunks)
  • 1 onion – large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves – quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In an iron skillet on high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and add half of the pork, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Braise each piece so they are nice and brown, and crispy. Repeat with the second batch of meat. Set aside. Meanwhile, toss the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic in the oil. Salt, then place onto a baking sheet and roast them, until they start to brown slightly, apprximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place ingredients into a food processor or blender. Salt to taste. Place the meat into the crockpot and pour the pureed mixture ontop. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Serve with rice, and black beans with sour cream.

Channa Dal (Dahl)

Channa Dal

It’s finally winter, and I really wanted to something that was hearty, healthy and warm. It’s been years since I’ve made this Ayurvedic dal (Dahl), but it has always been one of my favorite dishes. I learned this recipe over 18 years ago when my husband and I visited the Deepak Chopra Center in La Jolla, Ca. We stayed there for a week and attended spiritual classes, yoga classes, daily massage treatments, and Ayurvedic cooking classes, and even had a chance to meet Deepak in person! A truly “life-changing” experience! The recipe we made at the Center was a mung Dal, but I could only find Chana Dal at my local grocer. Channa Dal is a small relative of the chickpea and has a yellowish color. Its flavor is slightly sweet. If you can’t find channa dal use yellow mung dal, or yellow split peas. In preparing Dal, it is important to soften it well and cook it long enough so that it takes on a creamy consistency. ( I ended up soaking mine for 2 hours, then cooking for 2 more hours).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry Chana Dal
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup¬†chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp pureed ginger
  • 2 tsp of mustard seed
  • 2 tsp of coriander
  • 1 tsp of¬†turmeric
  • 1 tsp of¬†cumin
  • salt to taste
  • a sprinkle of asafoetida (helps with digestion) – get online or Indian Market
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Wash Chana Dal; drain. Soak in water for 2 hours. Cook Chana dal in water in a medium-sized saucepan covered over medium heat until soft, about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the dal! In a small frying pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add in the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, making sure not to brown the garlic. Add it all of the spices, and stir so the onions are covered. Then add the spice-onion mixture to the chana dal pot and stir. Add salt and asafoetida. Cook for additional 10 minutes. The texture of the dal should be creamy. Serve with a garnish of cilantro. If not concerned about paleo, you can serve with garlic Naan or basmati rice.

Here are some other great resources for Ayurvedic Meals:

“The Ayurvedic Cookbook” – by Amadea¬†Morningstar

“Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living” –¬†by¬†Thomas Yarema,¬†Daniel Rhoda and¬†Johnny Brannigan

“The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well” –¬†by¬†Kate O’Donnell and¬†Cara Brostrom

Balsamic Glazed Pork and Peaches

Pork and Peaches

I’m always trying to find new and different flavors to combine with pork chops, other than the traditional apple. So, I reached for my ever trustworthy and inspirational book, “The Flavor Bible“. It had all of these ingredients listed in the “affinities” section. And I actually¬†did get the thumbs up from my hyper-critical-foodie-son to add it to my blog. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pork loin chops
  • 3 organic peaches or 1 bag frozen peaches (thawed), chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, fried
  • 12 leaves, small slices
  • 2 tbsp of butter (if Paleo and avoiding dairy, use olive oil)
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle of balsamic reduction (recipe here)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In an iron skillet, on high heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Salt pork chops. Add the pork chops and cook 5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Remove pork chops and let rest. Add in 1 tbsp butter, balsamic vinegar and reduce down, cooking about a minute. Add in the chopped peaches, and sliced sage, stir around to cover and cook until semi-soft, approximately 3 minutes. Remove peaches and place on top of pork chops. Drizzle balsamic reduction over peaches and pork. Add salt and pepper to the dish and place 3 fried sage leaves. Serves 4.

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Bacon

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are such a great winter treat, as long as they have a little sweetness, and are super easy to prepare. I love them a little crunchy which a touch of garlic. And as we all know, EVERYTHING is better with Bacon!!!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I like to cook the chopped bacon in a small saucepan until crispy, drain them on a paper towel, then reserve the bacon grease. Toss the Brussel sprouts with the bacon grease, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and garlic. Put the mixture onto the baking dish and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Add the bacon, toss, and bake for another 2 minutes. Your Brussel sprouts should be tender and should have some crispy leaves.

Paleo Turkey Lettuce Wraps (AKA Turkey Larb)

Turkey Lettuce wraps

Here is a great light Thai inspired dish that I have made numerous times! And falls into the Paleo category. I have been¬†trying to find other alternative recipes ¬†to red meat (beef), and honestly after watching “CowSpiracy”¬†I have been avoiding red meat about 95% of the time. That movie¬†was such an eye-opener!¬†Surprisingly,¬†Leonardo DiCaprio¬†was the executive producer. Anyway, hope you enjoy this simple light recipe, it was inspired by a recipe I found in Women’s Health Magazine back in 2012.

Ingredients:

  • ‚Öď cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp organic canola oil
  • ¬Ĺ red onion, diced
  • 3 small shallots, diced
  • 1 piece of lemongrass (4″ long) minced
  • 1 Thai or Serrano chili, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb of 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of sriracha (optional for a bit more “kick”)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3¬†cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 head of organic butter lettuce

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce, and honey.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, lemongrass, and chili. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add turkey to skillet and Siracha. Season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently¬†and making sure turkey does not stay in large chunks. Cook until meat and vegetables are cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add dressing to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add mint and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon turkey mixture onto lettuce leaves and serve.

Thai lettuce wrap ingredients

Flavorful Bone Broth

bone broth

I¬†love to have bone/meat broth on hand at all times. Especially, when my husband makes his Italian¬†Risotto.¬†This¬†broth is¬†truly the key to the most hearty, deep and rich risotto. We also use the broth¬†occasionally to flavor pasta, rice, or even broccoli. It’s also great for sauces! ¬†The little Italian ladies in the country-side of northern Italy would make this for my husband,¬†when he came down with a cold so¬†it has some amazing health benefits: containing minerals, healthy fats, collagen, amino acids, and more.

Ingredients:

  • 3 beef bones (soup bones)
  • ¬ľ cup olive oil
  • 1 large¬†chopped onion (or 2 medium)
  • 8¬†chopped carrots
  • 8 chopped celery stalks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of salt (more if desired)
  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • 1 ¬Ĺ lb. beef (I used top round steaks)

Begin by roasting your soup bones. I like to set my oven to 375¬ļF and bake my bones and meat for about 30 minutes, or until they begin to brown. In a 20 quart stock pot¬†add in olive oil and chopped onions, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrots and celery. Stir to coat with oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt and bay leaves. Add in¬†12 cups of water (preferably filtered). Scrape the roasted bones into the pot along with any juices. Add in the chicken and beef. Add more water if necessary to cover bones, meats and vegetables. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.¬†Skim off any scum.¬†Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for at least 8 but up to 24 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged.¬†Once the broth has cooled down, you‚Äôre ready to strain it and store it! Strain it through a fine sieve.¬†Your broth¬†will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, or a few months in the freezer.

Buffalo Ragu Bolognese for Pasta or (Paleo) Lettuce Wraps

pasta-bolognese

Since watching CowSpiracy (on Netflix), I am constantly trying to find alternatives to red-meat (beef). So I made some modifications to a traditional Ragu (or Bolognese) using Buffalo meat. If you prefer the Paleo version, you can skip the pasta and just place the Ragu/Bolognese into a butter lettuce leaf, for a tasty lettuce wrap!

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3¬†cloves garlic,¬†chopped
  • 1 ¬Ĺ lb¬†buffalo, ground
  • ¬ľ¬†slab bacon, or 5 thick slices diced
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tube organic tomato paste
  • 1 cup organic canned crushed/or chopped¬†tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk (skip for Paleo version)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
  • ¬Ĺ cup organic whipping cream (skip for Paleo version)

Directions:

In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft, but please make sure not brown them, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the buffalo, and bacon and stir into the vegetables. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add in the cream and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.

When ready to use, the cooked pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of hot ragu Bolognese, and tosses so that the pasta is evenly coated by the ragu. For Paleo version, spoon meat ragu into the butter lettuce leaves.

pasta-bolognese-A pasta-bolognese-B pasta-bolognese-C lettuce-wraps