Thursday, September 9, 2010


The only thing stranger than the high-frequency of food posts is the high-frequency of Nick and Natasha hang-outs.  Now, don't get me wrong, we are best friends, but typically we don't see each other 6 times a week.  Just lately we've been loving each other in a real special kinda way.  I think it's getting older: we know that, soon enough, other things (babies) will take priority, so we'd better get it while it's hot.  

So, after last night's less-than-stellar quail experiment, we thought we'd have another dinner (and, obviously, a Jersey Shore viewing.)  And tonight, for the first time ever, my dinner eclipsed Natasha's.  I slaughtered that quail bigtimes.  Suck on that, Natasha.

Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Ginger Mash, Israeli Couscous and Wilted Spinach with Crispy Garlic and Nutmeg. Mmmmmm.







Israeli Couscous.  I've never made it and was a little bit nervous.  While you prepare it like rice, it's actually more like pasta. Tiny little pasta balls.  

5 tablespoons butter, divided
2/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup finely chopped shallots
3 cups Israeli couscous
A couple cinnamon sticks
A couple bay leaves
3 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup of dried currants
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat.  Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the same pot, increasing your heat a little.  Add the shallots and sauté until toasted, about 10 minutes.  Add the couscous, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves and stir until couscous browns lightly, stirring often, about 8 minutes.  Add the broth and salt and bring to boil.  Allow to boil for a couple of minutes, stirring a few times. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Mine was a bit starchy, so I rinsed it under hot hot water and drained before stirring in the dried currants, parsley and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste.

Apple-Ginger Mash.  I sort of pride myself on sauces.  While I like the protein to be fairly simple and straight-forward (seasoned with salt-and-pepper and maybe an herb of some kind, but rarely marinated or doused in too much pre-cooking), I like to have a flavour-option where sauce or jus is concerned.  Here's how I did this one.

3 shallots, minced
1 large knob of fresh ginger, minced
1 large Macintosh apple, sliced ultra-thinly with a mandolin
1/2 cup of white wine
A healthy splash of apple cider
Another thwack of bourbon or whisky

After searing your pork tenderloin (with fresh rosemary tied-on with twine) spread the minced shallots, ginger and apples in the pan, all around the meat. Slide the whole mess into a 400° oven.  When the pork is cooked (140° or-so) remove from the pan and tent under foil (where the internal temperature of the meat will rise to 150°ish) and place the pan back on the burner.

Add a quarter cup of white white and deglaze the pan. Add the cider and whisky and allow to simmer away.  As the alcohol burns-off the onion, ginger and apples will continue to soften and turn to mush.  After 10 minutes you'll have a caramelized mash and a fluid liquid.  Two choices: Separate them with a sieve, using the mash as a side on the plate, and the jus in individual saucières, plating individually. Or arrange the sliced tenderloin on a platter and pour the slurry (without separating the mash from the liquid) over the top, serving to the table family-style.

Incredible.

A note on the wine: A favourite, Kim Crawford's Sauvignon Blanc ($19.95, LCBO) is a delight.  Sharp and fruity, bright. Pairs beautifully with everything from Ruffles Chips to this pork tenderloin.  

(And, seriously, I'll settle down on the food posts soon.)

20 comments:

  1. Where do you like to find most of your recipes? ... and do you ever cook anything remotely diet friendly?

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  2. P.S. That comment sounds kind of antagonistic, it wasn't meant to be! You know I lurve you.

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  3. Bitch, please! Diet schmiet. All of my food is perfectly acceptable. It's all real food. What's a bit of butter and booze? My philosophy: As long as you're eating real, fresh things that you made yourself, it's a total freebie.

    I don't really use recipes. I search them to find out the logistics of HOW TO cook things, but then I make up the actual flavourings/seasonings myself. I look up techniques and temperatures, etc.

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  4. you seriously should have your own show!!! I don't know where you find the time, energy and ideas for these delicious meals. You are amazing! Julie

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  5. I drank a bottle of KC last night. Hooray for wine twins!

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  6. You should host a dinner with your fanatic readers.... We could all bring something!!!! LOL

    Matt

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  7. hey there, this looks fantastic (like always)! few-month-reader, first-time-noter here. you mentioned us "lurkers" in a post earlier this summer. I wanted to comment and give this blog some love long ago but just recently upgraded my browser. the comment thing apparently wouldn't work on IE 6 or on my Blackberry. ::fingers crossed::

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  8. Hey Anna! Thanks for reading, and writing. Glad to have a new commenter!

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  9. Sweetie that meal did slaughter my quail. Damn you quail!
    The next meal I make just has to trump the shit out of your pork tenderloin, and maybe it's gonna be the pork belly that does it.
    Luv ya;)

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  10. You just reminded me that I have had Israeli couscous sitting in my cupboard for the last 3 years.

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  11. You have lucky, lucky friends. Well, based on previous posts your friends are equally as talented! Deee-licious.

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  12. i was chatting to my mom about blogs and then i started talking about 'hunger' blogs..and she's like, 'what are hunger blogs?'. so yeah i dont call food blogs 'food' blogs anymore.
    so basically, the point is...you are a hunger blogger.

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  13. well shit. i'm not actually sure what is making me drool more... the food or the photography. you should photograph and write a cookbook.

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  14. also, is that a new photo of you on the left?? facial hair win!

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  15. Jesus, can I come over for dinner some time?!

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  16. I am reading your archives today.
    Your individual saucières are ridiculous. I know need those too, right after I learned how to make sauces like you.
    And your apartment is oh so lovely.

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  17. Made last night. Raves all around. The apple-ginger mash was a total blast. Loved it.

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