Indonesian Pork Tenderloin

Last week it was in the 60’s here, all week long (albeit raining). Then, on Thursday it got cold enough to get a little bit of snow. Enough for Andrew to have a little bit of fun in at least! And now, it’s REALLY cold. So, when I came across a recipe for this pork tenderloin I thought it looked great, something to transport me to a warm tropical beach – and away from the freezing tundras of coastal Maryland.

Super duper easy too. I just threw together a marinade, let the pork do it’s thing – and then used the method that I’ve used for pork tenderloins in the past; seared it off on the stove first, then finished cooking in the oven. Since I didn’t want to let all that delicious flavor in the marinade go to waste, I went ahead and brought it to a boil on the stove then served it as a sauce alongside the sliced tenderloin.

I love the flavor that the peanut butter and soy sauce lend, as well as the little kick of heat from the crushed red pepper. The original recipe called for mango chutney, which I didn’t have, so I just used some peach-hot pepper jelly that I’d gotten from TS Smith & Sons last year – and it turned out beautifully. But, orange marmalade or apricot preserves would be good too; just something that’s sweet, with a little bit of chunkiness to it.

I served it with garlic rice pilaf (recipe coming tomorrow) and sauteed snow peas – and everyone cleaned their plates. If you’re looking for a change of pace, or to bring some exotic new flavors to the dinner table – definitely mark this one down on your menu soon!

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake

Last year when Meyer lemons turned up in my local grocery store, I might as well have done back-flips right there in the produce department. The previous year, I’d driven 2 hours to go to the nearest Whole Foods – mainly to find these little beauties. I do that occasionally, take a trip up to the “fancy” grocery stores to stock up on things that I can’t find here. What can I say? I’m a crazy foodie.

Meyer lemons are a cross between a standard Eureka lemon and a mandarin orange. Thin skinned, and a gorgeous rich yellow color. They originated in China, and were brought to our country in 1908 by an agricultural explorer, Frank Meyer, who was an employee of the US Department of Agriculture. Their popularity surged in the 1990’s when they became popular in the California cuisine front, and then gained more notoriety from Martha Stewart – who used them in virtually everything from spaghetti to ice cream.

And, I love using them just as much as Martha. From a glass of lemonade, to shrimp scampi, lemon bars, and even a simple pound cake with glaze. I love pound cakes, they take virtually no time to put together. And, they’re great for breakfast in the morning – or a sweet treat later at night. The flavor of the lemon really shines through in this cake, from the addition of the zest to the cake batter. The glaze is delicious, with just enough of a pucker from the lemon juice. If you’re fortunate enough to find these little beauties in your grocery store, do yourself a favor and pick up a bag. They really are wonderful!

Rustic Dinner RollsAs I mentioned a couple of weeks ago during the New Year’s round up posts, I’ve gotten a lot more into bread baking the past year. One thing I had the opportunity to make yet was crusty breads. To achieve that crusty effect, most recipes require a “sponge”, which usually is made the night before you plan to bake the bread. Which, of course – I never seem to have my act together enough to plan ahead for that.

We were having soup for dinner last week, and I wanted some French-type rolls to go along with. But, it was cold and rainy – really wasn’t feeling going to the store. So, I turned to my cookbook for inspiration. Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for dinner rolls that claimed the crunch of a crusty roll, without the time commitment. It was a few more steps than your standard yeast roll recipe, but I was pretty sure the finished product was going to be worth it.

The rolls were airy and chewy on the inside, with a nice thick crunchy crust. This will definitely be my go-to bread when I want something with a little more body than a traditional yeast dinner roll. The batch made enough for one dinner’s worth for us, as well as another meal’s worth that I stuck in the freezer for a rainy day.

Navy Bean Soup

For a good chunk of my life, I was completely turned off by bean soup. Come to think of it, I was pretty much disgusted by all beans. Silly little girl. I’m happy to report that in the past couple years, beans have become a staple in my kitchen. I like to keep bagged dried beans on hand for meals like this, but also canned beans for a quick meal or side dish.

This navy bean soup is the first instance in which I “saw the light” in regards to how awesome beans can be. We were on a cruise, enjoying lunch in the dining room, and navy bean soup was one of the starter courses for the day. I tried it, and loved it. The flavor and texture just won me over completely. Not to mention how hearty and filling it is. Isn’t it funny with all the fancier things on the menu that day, I remember the humble bean soup? It definitely left an impression.

Anyways, I finally “borrowed” the Carnival cookbook from my mom (she’ll probably never see it on her bookshelf again), which has their navy bean soup recipe. After Christmas we were all kind of burnt out on ham leftovers, so I threw the bone into the freezer and took it out last week to make this soup. But, if you don’t have a ham bone laying around, then a smoked ham hock would work just fine. It doesn’t get much more filling, heartier, or economical than a big bubbling pot of bean soup folks!