Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Well Happy Almost Weekend! Hope yours will be stellar; mine will bring even more clarifying studying and activities (thank you F and B)! Back up…I spent the first several months of the quarantine cleaning out cabinets, drawers, closets, shelves, counters etc. Now I’ve moved on to the part of the home that I actually SEE daily and live in!!!! Good bye extraneous books, nik naks, patty whacks, and I’m giving the dogs the bones! So here’s another boneless pork for ya!

For Pork:
1 peppercorn pork tenderloin
Bring to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat skillet over medium high heat.
Drizzle olive oil all over bottom of oven proof skillet.
Salt and pepper both sides of tenderloin.
Place in skillet and sear one side for 3 minutes.
Turn over and sear other side for 3 minutes.
Add more oil and 1/2 cup water to skillet.
Transfer to preheated oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest out of skillet for 10 minutes.

For Sauce:
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Dijon mustard

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add shallot, garlic, pepper, and salt.
Cook 2 minutes until shallot is soft.
Take off heat and add brandy.
Return skillet to medium heat and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add cream and bring to simmer.
Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in tarragon, Worcestershire , and mustard.

Slice tenderloin and drizzle sauce over to serve.

Wonton Cinnamon Crisps with Fruit

Happy Monday! I trust that this “Spring of Vaccinations” is bringing a freshness to you and yours…hope and recovery from 2020, and renewal, with positive refreshing energy changes. And speaking of energy, a couple of weeks back the grands and I joined forces for a bit of energetic fun in the kitchen to make these cinnamon crisps. It’s a “duck for cover” situation when you have 5 year olds mixing cinnamon and sugar free hand, but filled with smiles, love, and giggles. This house wasn’t built on gummy bears alone!

8 wonton wrappers, cut in half diagonally
Nonstick cooking spray
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup mixed berries of choice
4 t honey

Preheat oven to 400°.
Mix cinnamon and sugar together in small bowl.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Arrange wonton wrappers on baking sheet.
Lightly spray wontons with nonstick cooking spray.
Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture.
Bake 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.
Set aside to cool.
Spoon yogurt and berries into dessert dishes.
Drizzle with honey.
Serve with cinnamon crisps.

Note: Cinnamon Crisps will last 3 weeks in zip top bag or sealed container.

Hasselback Tomatoes

Hello Hello! There’s a surprise guest being featured next Friday…just think amazing person, volunteer extraordinaire (PandemicOfLove.com), deep thinker, lots more, AND she’s sharing her homemade Strawberry Bread Recipe. After all, it is the season of helping others AND of fresh strawberries. I can’t wait for you all to meet Suzi, a very recent friend and wonderful person!

This is a vintage vegetable that remains modern, and will always stand the test of time; and it’s finding a stage again in many forms. I especially love this creation because you can use it year round, since you are cooking the tomatoes. The name is derived from the restaurant where they originally introduced Hasselback Potatoes…the Hasselbacken in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1940’s. And a wise chef later decided to use the same treatment on the tomato. Put some swagger in your veggies!

6 ripe plum tomatoes, cored
8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
6 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Preheat oven to broil.
Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiling element.
Place wire rack on rim of metal baking pan.
Using serrated knife, slice small bit off long side of bottom of tomato.
(We’re making it sit flatly.)
Place tomato on that now flat side.
Slice crosswise at 1/4 inch intervals, leaving 1/4 inch  at bottom in tact.
Combine half of the Gruyere, basil, oil, panko, garlic, salt, and pepper together.
Carefully open tomato slices, and spoon a bit of mixture between slices (about 2 Tbs per tomato).
Place tomatoes on wire rack.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Broil until cheese is melted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Egg and Sausage Flatbread

Raise your antenna and begin a slow clap! This is a Southern agenda where flavors comingle. Boom…for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.

1 sheet Phyllo Dough Pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
3 Tbs Everything Bagel Seasoning
1 egg beaten
2 Tbs room temperature light vegetable cream cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
6 oz spicy sausage
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
Fresh tomatoes, sautéed
4 poached eggs
1 Tbs honey, for drizzling
Chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°.
Brown sausage and onion together until cooked through.
Drain on paper towel.
Fold all edges of pastry over 1/2 inch to form rimmed edge. 
Brush with egg.
Sprinkle with seasoning, and press to embed.
Spread cream cheese across pastry.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Top the cheese with sausage and onion mixture.
Top this with sautéed tomatoes.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until browned.
While that’s cooking, poach the eggs.
Remove the flatbread, top with eggs, and sprinkle with Gruyere.
Bake in oven for 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.
Drizzle with honey.
Garnish with chives and serve!

*Author’s Note: the don prefers scrambled eggs to poached eggs. So you will notice in one of the photos above that I used poached eggs on one half of the flatbread, and scrambled eggs on the other half. Feel free to mix it up in any manner that you desire!

Shrimp Waldorf Salad

One of my MOST favorite paintings ever! There was this horrible oval floral painting, that the don and I were gifted from my paternal grandmother when we married in 1975. Soon thereafter, we found it hanging in the dining room on Forest Hills, where it remained for fifteen years to our dismay. But you know, family…So years later when Torrey and I opened our gallery, the don enlisted her help for a surprise commission from Wayne Trapp for my Christmas gift. Sweet way to rid us of that awful painting. It’s me in a “Walk in the Garden”! Do you dream in color or black and white?

And speaking of walking in gardens…here are lettuce, celery, apple, grapes, cranberries, and a few more added ingredients to make the perfect lunch, brunch, or dinner salad. Artful edges!

Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
2 Tbs honey
1 t cider vinegar 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in small bowl. 

Salad:
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 lb cleaned, cooked medium shrimp 
4 small celery ribs, chopped 
1 honey crisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into small pieces 
16 red grapes, halved
1/4 cup dried sweet cranberries
Put lettuce in large mixing bowl. 
Add shrimp, celery, apple, grapes, and cranberries.
Spoon in dressing. 
Toss to coat. 
Divide between 4 plates. 

Blue Cheese Green Beans

Sometimes my dog looks at me with that look, and I think she must know exactly how I feel. But then maybe she just wants the food off my plate.

12 oz package trimmed fresh green beans
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

Cook green beans according to package directions.
Sauté leeks in butter 2 to 3 minutes, until edges begin to brown a bit.
Place green beans on serving platter.
Sprinkle with onions, blue cheese, lemon juice, and pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6.

Pork Tenderloin Chop with Mustard Sauce

Knock Knock, it’s Peg. A true statement with some potential craziness is headed your way right here, right now. I love sipping bone broth from a mug, especially during allergy (RIGHT NOW), cold, and flu seasons. But I cannot stand meat on a bone. I want it all boneless…fish, chicken, pork, and the twice a year red beef. So, the only pork chop that I will enjoy is one that I slice from a pork tenderloin! Who wants that thin, dry chop on a bone when you can have this yummy thick delicious “chop”?!? Leave your love life to chance, but not your cooking!

Black peppercorn pork tenderloin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
Cooking spray
3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
2/3 cup fat free Half and Half
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 cup mushrooms, stems removed
Fresh parsley

Slice pork into 5 or 6 pieces, 1 1/2” thick.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Spray with cooking spray.
Cook pork 5 to 6 minutes on both sides, until cooked through.
Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Add broth to skillet and scrape to loosen browned bits in skillet.
Add Half and Half, mustard, lemon juice, and mushrooms.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.
Slice each pork piece into thirds.
Place on plate, and top with sauce and mushrooms.
Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6.

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Butter

Zinging into spring with a simple little midweek veggie; heck I’d serve this at a dinner party…oh that’s right, we don’t have those anymore, but SOON!! Nothing unusual about this little asparagus side dish, except its deliciousness. It’s perfect vintage southern and an ideal pairing with any protein. Try it, even if you’ve tried it before. Totally worth every little dancing taste bud that it hits sliding down the throat. Yum! Captured the below pics with the afternoon sun streaming in my westward facing kitchen windows. Perhaps it’s a bright and encouraging sign that we are turning the corner on Covid.

2 lbs thick asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs olive oil
2 t fresh thyme leaves
3/4 t  Kosher salt, divided
4 Tbs room temperature unsalted butter, divided
1/4 t ground black pepper
4 minced garlic cloves

Place oven rack 6 inches from broiler.
Preheat oven to medium broil.
Place asparagus on rimmed baking sheet.
Pour oil, thyme, 1/2  t salt over asparagus.
Toss gently to combine.
Broil asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove and toss asparagus to turn over.
Broil another 3 minutes, until lightly browned.
Transfer asparagus to serving platter.
Place 1 Tbs butter and garlic into skillet over medium high.
Cook until lightly golden.
Place remaining 3 Tbs butter, pepper, and remaining salt in small bowl.
Pour garlic melted butter into bowl.
Stir until combined; will make creamy sauce.
Pour sauce over asparagus and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.

Collards and Black Eyed Peas

Well Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail…And I have my Bunny Bait ready and waiting. No Easter Bunny is missing the house of my Grands! And my niece Jordan (Instagram @jblodgett1) makes this special concoction to insure that the bunny doesn’t miss your home.* She has that covered, so I’m covering your brain game with an excellent green veggie/starch combo for Easter lunch, or any meal actually! I promise you one thing; this simplified recipe will become famous. So, tuck your head down, don your mask, take your hand wipes, race to the grocery, break the “always fresh” recipe rules, and secure these simple ingredients. Make one dish easy on yourself with the best canned ingredients ever! Sit back, hit the pause button, and enjoy your Easter. I hope you have family and/or loved ones with you. Vaccinations are becoming more available; but please continue to be diligent in your efforts to stay safe and healthy. I cherish you all!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
2 t salt, divided
2 14.5 oz cans Margaret Holmes seasoned black eyed peas
2 14.5 oz cans Margaret Holmes seasoned collard greens
2 Tbs chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced
3 Tbs lime juice
4 cups cooked rice
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, for serving

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onions, a pinch of salt, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
Combine cooked onions, peas, collards, and chipotle chili in large pot.
Bring to simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes.

To serve:
Place rice on side of plate.
Place collard mixture half on rice and half beside rice.
Squeeze lime juice on rice and collard mixture.
Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.

Note: This is also delicious served over Raisin Cinnamon Toast instead of Rice.
Voila!
*Jordan creates specialty items all year long for holidays and “every days”…so follow her Instagram for details. She specializes in all things wonderful! Respond to me if you can’t find her; I’ll get you there.

Mahi: Part Two

As evidenced above, a few years back I had the joy of a fly fishing experience with Carl in the Dan River Gorge on the Primland property. That had been on my Whistle List for years, and I checked it right off that weekend! Now that’s not fishing for Mahi, duh; but it earned a gold medal for fun times with fab friends.

Flashing back even further in time to a second take on Mahi prep…in the manner of NOLA chef Paul Prudhomme (God Rest His Soul), I present a blackened version of Mahi. A quick story; in the late 1990’s while dining at K Paul’s for the first time, I spent most of the evening away from the dinner table, outside peering into the tiny screened-in kitchen where the fish were being prepared. The kindest chefs ever (heavily sweating and constantly wiping their brows in the heat of that tiny, tiny, tiny room) told me everything that they were doing. Bronzed fish, blackened fish, sautéed fish, panned in butter fish, poached fish, grilled fish, and on and on and on again. I was forever grateful to those lovely gentlemen and forever enthralled with the cuisine and techniques of Chef Paul and his style of cooking there on the great waters of N’awlins. This is total happiness, so pay attention…I’ll take Mahi Recipes for Five Hundred Please!
Thank you Hank Williams for these beautiful words:
“The fairest young maiden that I ever saw
Passed by as it started to rain
We both found a shelter beneath the same tree
On the banks of the old Pontchartrain.”

Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Fish
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbs good olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t fresh black pepper
3 t Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic
2  6 oz filets of mahi (or other thick white fish of choice)
Filets should be 1 to 1 1/2″ thick

Place filets on a plate.
Pour 1/2 of the melted butter on top side of the filets.
Sprinkle filets with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of the Blackened Redfish Magic.
Turn filets over in plate and repeat with butter, salt, pepper, and Blackened Magic.
Heat skillet on high.
Pour the 3 Tbs olive oil into skillet.
Place filets in skillet and turn heat to medium high.
Cook 3 minutes uncovered. 
Turn to other side and cook 3 more minutes.

I hope you didn’t give up seafood for Lent! Come on in with an empty tummy. Experience just the right amount of heat and your heart will say “don’t take me back to the real world!”