CILANTRO PESTO WITH SPICY-MAPLE PORK TENDERLOIN

Reversing things around today. Because this pesto? Rocked my little world. Star of the show. Measurements are very flexible, get a little tortilla and taste as you go.

CILANTRO PESTO
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 small bunches of cilantro, mostly the part with leaves, little stems still attached
1 Serrano pepper, minced (seeds removed if you want less spicy)
1/3 cup pepitas (or substitute pine nuts)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
olive oil to adjust consistency (around 1//3 cup)

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process it for 20 seconds or so to get things started. With the machine running, pour the olive oil until you reach the consistency you like. Reserve. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice.

SPICY-MAPLE GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 pork tenderloin, butterflied
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of Sriracha (or more, if you like)
1 tsp salt

Make a marinade whisking all ingredients together. Place the butterflied pork in a plastic bag and add the marinade to it. Leave it in the fridge for 4 hours or longer.

Remove from the marinade, season lightly with salt and grill on both sides, until done to your liking.

Serve the pork with the cilantro pesto. Swoon.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: Cilantro haters better stay as far away as possible from this post. But I don’t expect them to be still here to read the comments. We are both cilantro-addicts so this pesto pressed all the right buttons. Fresh, bright, nutty in a slightly different way since it has pepitas, great ingredient to play with.

The pork tenderloin was also delicious, sweet and spicy. The combination of pork with cilantro pesto was perfect. We enjoyed it with carrots and zucchini simply sautéed in high-heat on the stove with lemon juice and a touch of soy sauce. Simple meal, satisfying and light. I hope you give this combination a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sunburst Pumpkin Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Four-Play

THREE YEARS AGO: World Bread Day 2018

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spicy Cotija and Black Olive Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

EIGHT YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

NINE YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

TEN YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

TWELVE YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day


TURKEY TACO SALAD

When we go to Mexican restaurants, my default request is taco salad, in part because most other offerings are pretty heavy and the portions huge. At least when I have a salad the risk of getting into a food coma are a bit lower. The inspiration for this version came from many sources, and I must say I’m pretty happy with it. What made it special for me was the inclusion of red cabbage and jicama. Full disclosure: julienning the jicama was not particularly pleasant. A small price to pay.

TURKEY TACO SALAD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (no need for precision here)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup grape seed oil

for the salad component:
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups shredded red cabbage
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 large jicama, peeled and julienned

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and puree until as smooth as possible.

Add the red cabbage to a large bowl and add half of the dressing to it. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or so.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the turkey and salt, and cook for a few minutes. Add the chili, cumin, mix, and drizzle about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover, simmer gently for a few minutes, the remove the lid and allow most of the water to evaporate. Reserve.

Assemble the salad: Place the cabbage (already seasoned) on a serving platter, add the lettuce, jicama, toss gently. Add the cooked meat on top, and the additional reserved dressing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to turn this into a vegetarian meal, omit the turkey and add roasted garbanzo beans instead. Or maybe sweet potatoes. The red cabbage gives it a very nice texture, and the jicama also contributes a lot. I just wish there was an easy way to deal with jicama, I am always afraid I’ll lose one or two fingers whenever I prepare it. But it has such a nice, fresh flavor. Totally worth the trouble.

I love this dressing. Definitely not for the cilantro-haters out there. Finally, what makes this perfect for me is the contrast of hot and cold. I’ve been planning many meals now with this in mind. We had a very small amount leftover and as usual, I was the lucky one who enjoyed it the following day. My husband is a real gentleman.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cheese and Pesto Emmer Roll-ups and Elaine’s Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Mango-Hazelnut Entremet Cake

THREE YEAR AGO: Lebanese Lentil Salad and a Cookbook Review

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Loaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

SIX YEAR AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

TEN YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

MANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS

If there was a folder with “non-recipes” in this site, this concoction would feel at home sitting inside. It is way too simple to qualify as a recipe. But it turned out so delicious, I must share and save it for my records.  If you have mangoes available at the grocery store, you should give this salsa a try. I used Verjus because I was anxious to try it, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t have a bottle in your pantry.  Lemon juice will work great too, a little more acidity never hurt a salsa, trust me on that.  Due to food sensitivities, this is an onion-less preparation.  I will include them as an option since most people consider salsa not be salsa unless loaded with onions. Honestly, I prefer it without.  However, you should go heavy on the cilantro.

mango-salsaMANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 juicy, small mangoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
2 large red tomatoes, Heirloom is possible, diced
1/2 large onion, diced (optional)
1/2 Serrano pepper, finely minced
cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or another oil of your choice)
1 tablespoon Verjus (or juice of half a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste

Add all the diced veggies to a bowl.   In a small bowl, whisk the avocado oil with the Verjus or lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour on the veggies, mix well, add the minced cilantro and toss gently to combine.  Keep in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  Adjust seasoning and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositesalsa

Comments: I served this salsa over very simply grilled chicken breasts, and ended up eating a lot of salsa with a little bit of chicken for my meal that evening. Leftovers held very well in the fridge, and were amazing when added to mashed avocados for a tropical take on guacamole. I added a little more Serrano pepper just because.
Phil made a little quesadilla with Queso Fresco and a hearty spoonful of the salsa. As you can tell, this simple mixture of sweet mango and veggies is quite versatile and will brighten up many types of dishes. Next time around it will go over grilled salmon. I salivate just thinking about it…  Frozen mango slices are available, but I am not sure they would work here. I think nothing beats the fresh fruit at its peak in this type of preparation.

mango-salsa-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Raspberry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

THREE YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

SIX YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: GREEN RICE

THREE YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB!

Last Monday of the month. You probably expect me to whine about the cold, but guess what?  As you read this post, I should  be far, far away in Brazil, enjoying balmy temperatures, wearing shorts, t-shirts, and recharging my batteries to face the frigid months ahead.  But the last Monday means fun, because it’s Reveal Day for The Secret Recipe Club! I was paired with the blog “A Day in the Life on the Farm“, hosted by Wendy. Her story is fascinating: she and her husband were police officers in a large city (which of course meant a ton of trouble in their hands…), but when they retired they moved to a tiny little town of 4,000 people, and bought a house on 12 acres of land.  They raise meat chickens, turkeys, and pigs, and Wendy – to fight her empty nest syndrome  –  decided to host foreign students in their place.  Now she works part-time for the World Heritage, placing students into homes for a year of schooling here in the US.  Being in academia and therefore often exposed to the troubles that foreign students face (plus, I was one myself), I know how important this type of work can be.  Please, stop by her about page and read more about their life on the farm, and how on top of everything she also takes care of her Mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She actually devotes a section in her blog to talk about it, under Life with Mom. Beautiful, touching, and at times funny.

We had so much going on this past month, that I needed to jump on my assignment right away.  The recipe I set my eyes on was a drool-inducing dessert, a Caramelized Almond Apple Upside Down Cake. But, I decided against it.  Why? With Thanksgiving saying hello, then the holidays, a lot of heavy food will be popping everywhere.  I did not want to start early with the excesses, so this cake shall wait. Sorry, folks, but better safe than sorry.  Then, I almost went with her cute Pretzel Dogs. Finally it was a tough decision between Zucchini Enchiladas, or Green Rice.  As you can see, I went green.  Green is good for you, and this was one of the most flavorful rice dishes I’ve made.

Green Rice

GREEN RICE
(very slightly modified from A Day in the Life on the Farm)

2 poblano chile peppers
1 green pepper (I used half a Serrano)
1 cup long grain rice
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cups chicken stock
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used grapeseed)
1 small shallot, minced
Dry roast the peppers in a griddle pan (or on a grill), turning frequently so the skins blacken but the flesh doesn’t burn.  Place in a strong plastic bag, seal and set aside for 20 minutes
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Put the rice in a heat proof bowl, pour in boiling water to cover and let stand 20 minutes.
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Drain the rice, rinse well under cold water and drain again.  Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skins.  Remove any stems, then slit the peppers and scrape out seeds with a sharp knife.
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Put the peppers in a food processor, strip the leaves from the cilantro and parsley and add to peppers.  Pour in half the chicken stock and process until smooth.  Add remaining stock and puree again.
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Heat oil in a saucepan, add the rice and minced shallot and fry for 5 minutes over med heat until the rice is golden and the shallot is translucent.  Add the salt, stir in the green puree, lower heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed  and the rice is just tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
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ENJOY!
to print the recipe, click here
 
Comments:  Lately I’ve been quite smitten with poblano peppers.  Very little heat, but so much flavor! Our stove did a great job charring them, I don’t think I was ever able to get such a beautiful blackened skin with almost no effort.   Using a paper towel to remove the charred skin was also a great move, a tip I got from watching Marcela Valladolid in her show Mexican Made Easy.  I never liked the idea of rinsing the peppers because there’s quite a bit of flavor loss if you do that.  The paper towels removed just the skin and I could leave little bits here and there for an extra smoky flavor.   Aren’t they cute?

compositePeppers

Adding boiling water to the rice and waiting for 20 minutes was also something I had never done, and I liked the texture of the finished product.  If you are a cilantro-hater, this rice is not for you, its flavor is obviously very prominent.  You could substitute spinach.

GreenRiceServed
This was a delicious dinner!  Green rice, simple roasted carrots, and for our protein a few slices of center-cut pork chops, cooked sous-vide, and finished off on the grill.   Life is good!

Wendy, I hope you had a great time this month with your assignment!  It was wonderful to browse through your site, I read all your posts about your Mom, and am still in awe of your ability to do so much Everyday in your Life on the Farm… 

For my readers: if you want to see what my fellow Secret Friends cooked up this month, give a little click on the blue frog at the end of this post.   Normally Groups C and D would take a break in the month of December, but apparently me and Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious whined so much about withdrawal syndrome, that The Secret Recipe Club will have a little surprise reserved for both groups.  It will be awesome, so stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches

TWO YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays

THREE YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust

FOUR YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

FIVE YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

THE AVOCADO MOUSSE THAT STOLE THE SHOW

MERRY CHRISTMAS!   FELIZ NATAL!  JOYEUX NOËL!

This year we had a pre-Christmas celebration with one of my stepsons, because he had to fly back to California on the 23rd. The evening before his departure we made a special dinner that featured the whole menu of a recent show from the one and only Marcela Valladolid, entitled “My Favorite Holiday Dishes“.  The main dish was Pork with Prunes and Pineapple Glaze (on the blog soon), and I expected it to be the star of our meal, but truth is that the first course,  a simple, unassuming avocado mousse put up a great fight and according to some, took the Christmas Eve spotlight…  😉

Avocado Cilantro Mousse
AVOCADO AND CILANTRO MOUSSE
(slightly adapted from Marcela Valladolid)

1 to 1 + 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, washed and dried, leaves picked off and reserved (about 2 cups loosely packed)
1  avocado (I used two small ones)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from about 1 lime
1 Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and roughly chopped
1 cup cold water, divided
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
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Spray 3 (1 cup) or 6 (1/2 cup) ramekins with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Place the cilantro, cream cheese, avocado, salt, lime juice, and chile in a food processor and puree until smooth.
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Pour 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for a few minutes. Place the remaining 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the softened gelatin and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved.
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Add the gelatin to the mixture in the food processor, pulsing until pureed and thoroughly blended.
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Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. To unmold, fill a large container with very hot water. Dip the ramekins in the water for 1 minute. Run a small, sharp knife tip around the edge of each mousse. Invert onto a platter. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I made my own tortilla strips to serve alongside the mousse, and I must say the work involved is minimal, but the pay-off huge.  They were so much better than store-bought versions, both in texture and flavor.  I just cut some yellow corn tortillas into strips, placed them on a baking sheet, sprayed with olive oil, and coated very lightly with salt and more liberally with Southwest Spice mix from Penzey’s.  Baked at 375F until  they start to crisp up and get brown.

The mousse… WOW!  We started enjoying it quite politely, a little bit spread on a cracker, a little more on a tortilla strip, but by the end of the dinner we were slicing it and adding the cold slice on top of the pork tenderloin and moaning about it…  We decided it will go well with pretty much anything, from grilled salmon to lamb burgers, and in case of emergency, licked from the tip of a finger when no one is looking.   It is THAT good.  Please, make it for your next dinner party, and stop by to thank me later… 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Popovers

TWO YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!

THREE YEARS AGO:  Sourdough Focaccia, with a twist

FOUR YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!