Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin

I am a reformed vegetarian.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  I’d say at least 50-70% of my diet is vegetarian (a large portion of which is produce based). But since I rediscovered meat (I try my best to be conscientious of the kind of meat, how it’s raised and fed, etc.), I have had to learn a whole lot.  I mean a lot.  This is a recipe that I never thought I’d cook and moreover  sounded too difficult to add to my repartee.   Well I am always up for a challenge and am here to tell you that I was wrong.  Yes I was.  This is a simple, incredibly tasty dish that you could serve with just about anything.  Salad, grains, vegetables, soup and crusty bread.  I chose Braised Kale and Cinnamon Roasted Roots and Apples.  Yes, it is Paleo. Yes, it is wrapped in bacon.  Here ya go.

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin (organic if you can)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons rosemary, coarsely minced
1 long sprig rosemary for cooking in pan
2-3 good pinches flake sea salt (any sea salt will do but I like the flakes, such as maldon)
*course ground pepper to liking
1 lemon wedge (I prefer Meyer’s for their sweetness)
2-3 strips all natural smoked bacon, cut in halves
Butcher twine

Start by unwrapping and rinsing your tenderloin.  Set aside. (You can trim the connective tissue if you like, I did not).  Mince garlic, don’t worry if it’s not too finely minced. Add the rosemary and salt to the garlic on your cutting board. Take a butcher’s knife and use the flat part of the blade to mash the three ingredients into a coarse paste.  The garlic will get aromatic and soft, the salt will help crush and hold everything together.

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Take your tenderloin and cut about 1/2 of the way through lengthwise, being sure not to cut all the way.  Take the paste and rub it inside the cut along the length of it.

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Squeeze your lemon over the paste in the tenderloin.  Now take the bacon halves and shimmy them underneath the pork going down the whole length. Use your butcher twine to close up the seam and keep the bacon in place.  The bacon adds some lovely smokiness and since pork tenderloin is fairly lean, it allows for some fat and caramelization.  I let my pork rest like this in the fridge for a couple hours, but if you wanna get going,  preheat oven to 425.

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Place tenderloin in a small pan and add the sprig of rosemary alongside it.  Cook at 425 for 30-35 minutes.  I also placed mine under the broiler at the very end to get some color.  Color = flavor.

Snip apart the twine and let rest for a couple minutes before serving.

Served with Braised Kale and Cinnamon Roasted Roots and Apples

Served with Braised Kale and Cinnamon Roasted Roots and Apples

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Skillet Poached Eggs over Greens and Mushrooms

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I try to keep my adventure food light, simple, healthy.  Mostly I like to be able to see most, if not all, of the ingredients at a glance.  This recipe is also so easy – perfect for early morning adventures when your brain’s not quite awake yet.  This dish is all about cooking in stages and is a recipe for two people.  You know what to do to make it for more.

Ingredients:

2 cups greens (I used baby spinach and kale, but collards, arugula, whatever your heart desires would work!)
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
1-2 teaspoons fresh herbs, minced (I used thyme from my garden)
2-4 eggs
*(real) parmesan for grating
salt and pepper to taste

You’ll need a pan or skillet with a lid for this recipe.  If you don’t have one, a large pot will do.

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Heat a med-large skillet at med-high heat.  Add olive oil and heat ’til it crackles when you sprinkle a little water on it.  Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and cook ’til it smells fragrant and is golden (keep an eye on this bugger cuz garlic likes to burn).  Next add the mushrooms and sautee for approx. 4 minutes.  Don’t be afraid to let the mushrooms really get some color on them. Add some salt and pepper here. The moisture they release will keep the shallot and garlic from burning.  Add kale and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  When using heartier greens, I cook them before the more delicate ones to avoid the slimy effect something like spinach can sometimes get.  Add the spinach and cook just until wilted.  The stems may still be intact and thats a-ok.

Finally crack the eggs on top of the greens and cover.  Now here is all about personal preference.  I cooked my eggs for five minutes, covered, and the whites were set and the yolks soft, but not overly runny.  If you like your eggs runny (as I often do as well) then under five minutes should get you there.  Eggs are tricky because the yolks and the whites cook at different speeds.  If you can cook a good egg, then you are a true chef in my opinion. Ad more salt and pepper to your liking.

Ah, at last, use a turning spatula to scoop up the greens and egg together to plate.  Shave some good quality parmesan on the top.  I served mine here with a little bit of truffle goat cheese on the side.

* A note on parmesan. My brother is a chef, an incredible chef and has proven to me time and again the transformative powers of a high quality wedge of parmesan in the kitchen.  And I hate to tell you, but that granulated stuff that comes in the plastic shaker is not real parmesan.  It’s filled with binders and preservatives that your body just doesn’t need and quite honestly adds a powdery / plastic-y feel to food.  Let’s make a deal to stay away from that stuff.  Real parmesan, like Italian imported parm, is not cheap, I understand.  But just start with a wedge of parmesan from the cheese section at your local grocer and work your way up to it.  You’ll thank me (and my brother).

Wine and Herb Poached Eggs with Avocado Toast

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I loved the idea of taking what would be a pretty rustic post-adventure breakfast and adding some serious elegance through the addition of white wine and fresh snipped herbs.  I based this recipe from one of mine and my sister Kate’s favorite cooks, Heidi Swanson and her site http://www.101cookbooks.com.  I made a couple adjustments to make it my own and it was definitely a big hit.  I’ll sure be trying more of her recipes on this blog.  Perfect with a good cup of strong coffee or tea and maybe some sliced heirloom tomatoes or slab, center-cut bacon on the side.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
2 shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
a pinch of thyme
a pinch of marjoram
couple whole pink peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs                                                                                                                                                 1 tablespoon butter

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I began by cracking each of my eggs into little bowls to slip them into the pan a little easier later on.  Then, in a medium saucepan over med-high heat combine the dry white wine, water, shallots, garlic, marjoram, thyme, pink peppercorns and salt. Bring to boil then let it simmer.  Add the butter, cover and let it be for several minutes (5-6) to let the flavors meld.  With the liquid at simmer, gently slip your eggs into the saucepan. Cover and simmer until the eggs are set.  the whites should be mostly opaque and I like my yolks still runny but do as you like, probably 5-6 minutes.

This is where I toast my bread and mash my avocado with some lime and sea salt.  Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and set aside. Spread the avocado on the toast and lay the eggs on top.  Snip some fresh chives on top. Delish.

Additionals:
You can add some heat by putting a couple splashes of tabasco in the mashed avocado or even use some flour and butter to make a rue of your sauce in the pan as Heidi suggests.  I enjoyed mine without the sauce.