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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 55

An awesome grilled pork tenderloin to celebrate the first 80+ degree day of the year! It’s been such a cold winter and our recent bout of Spring weather is energizing and refreshing. Brandon, Sullie and I went for a run after work today and then came home and got to work on this delicious dinner!

I will only buy pork tenderloin when it is on sale and lucky for us it was on special this week. I remembered seeing this recipe and thought it would be a great for Spring grilling. This pork would have been great grilled with the marinade alone but the addition of the jalapeno onion marmalade really took it over the top. It was so easy to have Brandon outside grilling the pork tenderloin and our favorite grilled sweet potatoes while I worked on the marmalade and green beans. Teamwork!

Quick update on the fitness front. First, workouts have been solid this week. I’ve taught BodyPump 3 out of the last 4 days (teaching the new release – BodyPump 73!) and also squeezed in yoga and some runs. Feeling strong but getting a little tired towards the end of the week. Legs are pretty dead and my back is really sore. Still hoping to fit in one more yoga practice tomorrow morning before hitting the road this weekend. We’re going to visit my grandmother to celebrate her birthday and Easter!

Hope to have some updates for you over the weekend. My dad and I will be in the kitchen together so you know that means some good things are coming!  Also, I’ll be baking this beautiful Lady Strawberry Cake for Mema’s birthday dinner! Yum!!! :grin:

One Year Ago: Crescent Breakfast Casserole (one of the most popular recipes on my blog!)

Grilled Garlic Lime Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeno Onion marmalade
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, September 1995)

Ingredients:

FOR THE MARINADE
3 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Cayenne to taste
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), trimmed

FOR THE MARMALADE
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup water

FOR THE MARINADE
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine pork and marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out excess air and marinate 12-48 hours.
FOR THE PORK
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade and let excess drip off. Cook about 4 minutes per side (4 sides) until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes (resist the urge to cut in – let the temperature continue to rise and the juices redistribute).
FOR THE MARMALADE
While the pork is grilling, cook onions over medium heat in a large heavy skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. (I used cast iron – always do to caramelize onions!) Season with salt and pepper. Add jalapenos and cook for 1 minute. Add honey and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add vinegar and simmer, stirring until almost all liquid is evaporated. Add water and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened and onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Season marmalade with salt and pepper.
Cut pork into slices and serve with marmalade.
Yield: 2-3 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 17

I was so excited to prepare our Thanksgiving feast with my dad this year. It’s rare that we have the chance to be together in the kitchen and we’ve never cooked the Thanksgiving meal together. This was the first year that Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house instead of my grandmother’s house and while Brandon was in law school we stayed in Birmingham for Thanksgiving due to finals. My mom pitched in with two killer desserts – Sweet Potato Pecan Pie and Apple Cranberry Pie.

We emailed back and forth about the menu for several weeks. We had the main dishes set but wanted to mix things up with the side dishes. I spotted these Creamed Leeks on the Epicurious Thanksgiving Guide and thought they sounded like the perfect accompaniment to our meal. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never worked with leeks before and I was oh so thankful that my dad had taken to the time to watch a video of the test kitchen director cleaning and preparing the leeks for this recipe.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over with the dinner crowd but I was happy to find that they were extremely well-received. I did get several comments on what a different side dish it was (which was what I was going for!) but everyone enjoyed them – some even went back for seconds.

These Creamed Leeks would be a fabulous side dish to any holiday meal!

Creamed Leeks
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 2006)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 lb leeks, root ends trimmed
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a country loaf, crusts discarded)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
6 tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (we had other things going on in the oven and couldn’t have the temperature that high so we cooked them a little longer at a lower temperature).

Cut each leek into an 8-inch length, measuring from root end, and halve lengthwise. Then cut crosswise into roughly 1 1/2-inch pieces, you should have about 8 cups). Wash leek pieces in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out and transfer to another bowl. Repeat with clean water, then drain leeks well. Watch this video if you have never worked with leeks before.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and pale golden. This should take around 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover the skillet but leave the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cook for about 12 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer leeks to a gratin dish. Slowly pour cream over leeks and scatter bread crumbs on top. Bake for about 15 minutes, until cream is bubbling and thickened and crumbs are golden brown.

*Notes:
- Bread crumbs can be cooked 1 day ahead, cooled completely uncovered and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Scatter bread crumbs over leeks just before baking.
- Leeks can be cooked and assembled in dish with cream (but not sprinkled with crumbs) 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered.


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