Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze (I SWEAR!)

I believe I have mentioned that I am a sucker for Balsamic reductions, glazes, dressings, etc.  This recipe was one of my first attempts at a balsamic glaze and I love it, love it, love it!  It’s a fairly easy meal since the bulk of the work is done in the slow cooker.  I paired it with skillet rosemary potatoes and the boys were very happy with the results, as was I.  I usually double the glaze recipe because we like to pour it over our pork servings and smother our plates in it as well.

I’m sitting here ready to continue telling you how much I love this recipe, but suddenly the featured image is distracting me.  On one hand, I want to run and heat up the little bit I have left and eat it for lunch immediately because it was so yummy.  On the other hand, when I look away, out of the corner of my eye the picture looks a little scary.  Almost like…that is to say…I mean, I have 4 dogs and it’s generally time to run, not walk, to the vet when…Ok, trust me, the tenderloin tastes good.  Moving on.

Nope, I can’t.  The old 1974 Weight Watchers recipe cards keep coming to mind, Rosy Perfection in particular.  Why did I choose this as the featured image?  I can’t change it now since that would be cowardly.  Right?  I mean, half of the post is trying to decide if all of you might see vague images of…No!  This is my favorite tenderloin recipe.  It’s not just good, it’s fan-freaking-tastic!  Fran Tarkington amazing and the picture stays!

So, yeah.  Try to find one giant tenderloin, rather than two little guys, which will shrivel and look like…

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze

Prep Time: 15-20 min          Cook Time: about 6.5 hours (mostly, slow cooker)           Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 TBSP garlic powder or paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or other
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
The glaze
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
Directions
  1. Lay your dry tenderloin(s) out on a clean, dry surface (wax paper is a great idea) and sprinkle the side facing up with half of the garlic, salt, sage and pepper.  Rub the spice into the meat, flip the loin over and repeat.
  2. Place 1/2 cup water in the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the tenderloins into it.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (if you haven’t tried slow cooker liners, you need to).Balsamic Tenderloin7
  3. When the 6 hours is almost up, in a small saucepan, mix the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup of water until dissolved.  Add the remaining glaze ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently, cooking until thick and whisking often, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.
    1. DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE.  Just saying, bubbly glaze in your stove is a bit of a drag. Do not run to the lavatory, water the garden or start chopping broccoli, while singing the song, with your back to the glaze.
  4. Preheat your broiler to high and line a broiler tray with foil or use a disposable tray.  Remove the pork from the slow cooker, pat dry (without burning off your finger prints) and place into the broiler pan.  Brush with the glaze and broil for 2-3 minutes until it starts to bubble.  Remove and flip, brushing with glaze again, then return to broiler.  Repeat until you have a nice, caramelized crust.
  5. Take a photo before applying extra glaze, then pour that saucy goodness over everything!   Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

 

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Super(man) Smörgåsbord

Well, I am just about recovered from my two weeks playing hostess.  Meaning, I am trying to remember how to do things like drive a car, cook and clean, since my company let me do none of these things.  To get back into the groove, last night I had the BEST recipe to prepare for you all and was ready to blow your socks off!  Sadly, I realized at 4 pm, that the recipe started off in a 6 hour slow cooker.  So, be ready, because tomorrow is when I will actually blow your socks off.

What are we to do in a situation like this; when the oven quits or we just simply blow it?  Quick Hamburger or Tuna Helper?  Grilled cheese sandwiches?  No.  The last minute meal of choice around here is the Super Smörgåsbord.  Bringing family, young and old, running into the dining room with joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces for many years, this is the ultimate way to clean out your fridge.  I mean, the ultimate way to satisfy any palate.

Super(man) Smörgåsbord

Ingredients
  • Whatever you want
Directions
  1. Shake off the initial panic from the broken oven, meat you forgot to defrost, lack of ingredients, etc. and take a deep breath.
  2. Open the cheese, meat and vegetable drawers and pull out armloads of your favorite things; cheese, pepperoni, celery, those tomatoes living on borrowed time, etc. and pile it onto plates.
  3. You can also throw together last month’s quick and easy last minute pizza crust and create an assortment of pizzas.
  4. Serve with crackers and milk, juice or wine in fancy glasses to remind people it’s about being a free spirit and not about lack of preparation or panic.

Note: don’t serve the children wine in the fancy glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana Magic

For the last two weeks we have had almost constant company and my allergies have been kicked into high gear.  Before you pity me, know that I love entertaining.  Having company gives me a chance to get to know people better, share my home and family, reconnect with old friends and enjoy the place I live.  Having allergies and pollen blizzards aren’t as fun

Anyway, our friend Frank left today after a nice, quiet visit.  We did all the touristy things we could and ate like kings.  My favorite part was driving all over Acadiana with the windows down while singing along to great music on the radio.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather or more laughs.

One of Frank’s favorite things when he comes here is to have Sunday brunch at the Blue Dog Cafe.  For about $25 a head you get the unlimited buffet of your dreams, free mimosas, live music and a satisfied, full belly.  The restaurant is born from the art of George Rodrigue, made famous by his Blue Dog series of paintings, and the food is unique fusion.  A little Cajun and…I don’t know.  Whether you are a fan of his work or not, the food and atmosphere won’t disappoint.  Oh, and have the Louisiana Purchase!

Naturally, we saw some of my favorite Louisiana natives.

I know you have guessed that I am a bird nerd, so here are a few shots I took over the last week.

We were able to head to Cypermort Point and saw a giant, but camera shy, hog, watched the sea grass sway in the breeze and we inhaled the clean sea air.

Frank was tempted, but opted to buy the shrimp and go with a flat top cut instead.

Cypermore

The trees are all so amazing in the basin and our greenery so diverse in beauty.

We watched the worst movie ever and relaxed by the pool a lot.  We went to dinner at the Sizzling Monkey and the Parks Cracklin Festival, but otherwise gave into our age and retired by 9pm most nights without shame.  This allowed me to see the misty sunrise the other day.

I would say I am recharged and ready to get back onto my blogging horse.  I am so blessed in family and friendship and glad to be reminded that, even though nothing will replace my Rocky Mountains, I live in a beautiful place.

 

 

 

These ARE the Crawfish Po Boys You’re Looking For

Good morning, everybody!  It’s another beautiful spring day in Louisiana and, although I know the humidity is creeping up and the temperatures will soon rival the surface of the sun, I am loving every minute of it.

We have more company staying with us, our friend Frank from Wisconsin, so we are men about town, so to speak, and today we head back into the Atchafalaya Basin.  Before we go, I have to share the delicious magic we made with leftover crawfish tails last night.

Jamie boiled another amazing batch on Saturday and somehow we managed to polish off almost an entire sack (about 40 lbs) between 3 adults and 2 children.  I admit that the 4 trays I managed to put away may have had something to do with this.  Anyway, we had a few left, so we peeled the tails and saved the meat for po boys.  I am so glad we did!

Crawfish.jpg
My man has mad boiling skills, people!

You can use shrimp, fish, alligator (my boys’ favorite) or almost any other meat for po boys, but I’ll give directions for crawfish or shrimp.  Sadly, the grocery store was out of the larger po boy buns, so we went with hot dog buns, but no complaints from the masses over here.  We used the leftover dip from out crawfish boil (see “dipping sauce”), but you can also use mayo, miracle whip, ketchup, mustard, etc.  Get creative.

PoBoy2

Crawfish or Shrimp Po Boys

Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cleaned crawfish tail meat or shrimp
  • 1 & 1/2-2 cups flour
  • 2-4 TBSP Tony Chachere’s (or other) Creole Seasoning (you can also use a combination of garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, etc. if you don’t have Creole seasoning)
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 TBSP prepared yellow mustard
  • Large Po Boy, Hoagie or hot dog buns
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • Lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, dipping sauce, etc., for dressing
Directions
  1. In an electric skillet, or a regular skillet with a thermometer, heat the peanut oil to 350°.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg with the 1 TBSP prepared mustard.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and Creole seasoning, or other spices.
  3. Dry and then coat each crawfish tail or shrimp in the egg mixture, and then dredge with the flour mixture.
  4. Fry the coated meat in the peanut oil for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown, taking care not to over cook.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with additional Tony’s or salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Serve on a bun with desired condiments, lettuce and tomato.
PoBoy3
I admit it, I’m a condiment junkie. 

Busy Day Beignets

Well, folks, our second round of company is here and we have hit the Louisiana night life for the first time in a long time.  This blogger is moving a little more slowly than normal thanks to the Parks Cracklin Cookoff and my cousin’s (ok, my step cousin’s husband’s) band, Nick-L-Beer.

Frank, our friend from Wisconsin had never tried beignets, but I am not quite up to rolling my own dough today, so to the fridge I went.  This is so simple and easy, but so delicious.  They taste better than many real beignets I’ve had and I’m sure you’ll love them.  It’s a great way to get the flavor and a fraction of the work.

I used to only use the smaller refrigerator tube biscuits, but I found out today that the big boys are the way to go.

Busy Day Beignets

Prep time: 10 seconds                    Cook Time: About 4 minutes                    Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tube refrigerated biscuits
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • About 2 cups powdered sugar for dusting
Directions
  1. Heat the oil to 350° and separate the biscuits, slightly flattening in your palms.  Drop flattened biscuits into oil and fry approximately 2 minutes per side, until golden.
  2. Remove to a paper towel to drain and dust with powdered sugar on both sides.  Enjoy.

Beignets 2

Beignets