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

Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Paleo)

paleo moroccan chicken and vegetable stew

After a traditional Thanksgiving weekend,¬†I decided to make some aromatic, and spicy ethnic food. I pulled out a “somewhat Paleo” recipe book, written by Dr. Mark Hyman called “The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook“, based on his book “The Blood Sugar Solution“. It’s basically a healthy cookbook with a lot of Paleo recipes. This dish called out to me with all of the aromatic spices, like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. I made some slight modifications and spiced it up a bit. Warning: It did take a while to prep, approximately 40 minutes as I like to chop the ingredient a bit smaller than Dr. Hyman recommended, but was well worth it. I did not include the recommended eggplant, as my husband “claims” that he is allergic to it. (What REALLY happened: when he was in college, after a dinner of eggplant parmesan, and bit too much to drink, he threw up, and now claims it was the eggplant he was allergic to). Ha! Anyway, you can always add one chopped eggplant to this dish. Oh, and this dish is also called “Tagine”. Also, if you want to go vegan, substitute the chicken for firm tofu and reduce cooking time by 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp pureed ginger (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ pieces and trimmed of fat (if going vegan use firm Tofu)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half circles
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth is going vegan)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a dutch oven or heavy stock pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute gently until the onions begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the dried spices. Saute the spices and onions about 2 minutes. Salt the chicken (or tofu) with the remaining salt, and add to the pot. Turn heat up to medium, and saute for 3 minutes, until all of the chicken (or tofu) is well coated with spices. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes. Then Add the bell peppers and zucchini, and saute until they soften about 5 minutes. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer the stew gently, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduce approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in olives. Plate and serve with cilantro garnish. Serves 4

paleo moroccan chicken stew

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