Apple Dijon Pork Tenderloin: My new "holy smokes, company is coming over and I have NO TIME" go-to

Apple Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Apple Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Want to look fancy in a flash?

Well, look no further! This right here is your new secret weapon.

Just a couple of days ago, I busted this little baby out when unexpected but oh-so-welcome guests popped by for a late lunch and it was a hit! I just threw together a big kale salad to serve on the side and, voila! A culinary masterpiece in no time!


Apple Dijon Pork Tenderloin

 Serves 4 to 6

2 pork tenderloins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 small onions, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into 12 wedges
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Gala apples*, cored and sliced into 10 to 12 wedges
½ cup dry hard cider, dry white wine, or just regular apple cider
½ cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425ºF and set a large cast iron skillet over medium/medium-high heat.

Pat the pork tenderloin dry with paper towel and coat each with vegetable oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper and sear the pork tenderloins until evenly browned all over. Transfer the pork to a plate and add the butter to the pan. Add in the onions, season with a pinch of salt, and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the Dijon, grainy Dijon, thyme, sage, and cinnamon and brush this mixture all over the pork tenderloins.

Add the apples to the onions and continue to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes just to give them a little colour. Carefully deglaze the pan with the cider or white wine and nestle in the pork.

Roast the pork for 15 to 17 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF.

When cooked, transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover it with foil, and allow it to rest for 5 to 8 minutes. Place the onions and apples back onto medium heat and add in the chicken stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan and allow it to bubble away until the pork has rested.

Slice the pork and serve it alongside those lovely golden brown onions and apples.

*Any other firm, crisp, and sweet apple will work well here. Gala’s are my go-to but Red Princes are also scrumptious in this recipe!

Taco Tuesdays in a Flash: Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

In my life, Taco Tuesdays started when I was in university at this bar called Ethel’s Lounge.

They would serve four tacos for $2 and it. was. pandemonium. Seriously, getting in there on a Tuesday was about as likely as me actually reading every single thing on my class syllabi.

The tacos were akin to those made from a taco kit you get in a grocery store so, flavour-wise, they weren’t anything special but COME ON! FOUR tacos for only $2?! As a broke university student, it was the only place I could confidently ask for another round without checking my wallet first.

While those basic shredded lettuce/grated cheese/chopped tomato/ground beef (or veggie ground round for me) numbers on a crunchy shell still hold a special place in my heart, these pork carnitas are the new go-to filling in my house.

They are perfect for a games night, so good on nachos, and just what your Taco Tuesday needs!


Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Serves 6  

2.25kg pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into roughly 2-inch cubes
2–3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1–2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
2 oranges, halved
1 lime, halved
1 cup water
Corn tortillas and taco toppings such as avocado, feta cheese, red onion, sour cream, and cilantro, for serving

Set out the pork shoulder and trim off the large fat-cap that sits along the top. Cut the shoulder into roughly 2-inch cubes (feel free to trim around the bone to about 1-inch of meat on each side; I find the bone adds flavour to the end product) and set aside in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, dry oregano, and brown sugar until well combined. Sprinkle this mixture over the pork, making sure that the meat is evenly coated with the spices. Place the seasoned pork into the bottom of your electric pressure cooker followed by the chipotle pepper(s), garlic cloves, and red onion. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and lime onto the pork followed by the water, then place the juiced halves pulp-side up into the pressure cooker.

Set the electric pressure cooker to “pressure cook” at the highest pressure setting and set the timer for 40 minutes then close and lock the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker should start preheating and pressurizing once you lock it – this should take around 10 to 20 minutes depending on how cold your ingredients were going into the pot.

When the cooking time is up, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for 15 minutes. To naturally depressurize, just don’t touch the pot. It will slowly release some of that built up pressure and finish off any cooking that needs to be done. After 15 minutes, do a quick release of the pressure by turning the vent or pressing the “quick release” button. Wait until all pressure is released before removing the lid (this takes about 1 to 2 minutes on my pressure cooker).

Discard the citrus and remove the pork pieces and cooked down onions to a dish to cool slightly then shred with two forks, ladle over some of the cooking liquid, and serve with corn tortillas and all of your favourite taco toppings!

 

*If you’d like the carnitas to be a little crispy, place the shredded pork onto a rimmed baking sheet and place under a high broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp. Serve with a little more of the cooking liquid as above.

Roasted Tomato Soup: Almost as easy as opening a can!

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

This is, by far, my favourite simple soup and is a staple in my house all year long.

It’s perfect served warm on a cold winter’s day or chilled, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a few fresh chives, in the sweltering heat of the summer.

All it takes is a bit of rough chopping, some roasting, and a quick trip into the blender and you’ve got the best darn tomato soup ever!

*Note: the only way to make this better is to serve it with a crispy, crunchy, cheesy grilled cheese


Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 4 

15 plum tomatoes, halved, cored, and pulp removed
4–6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and whole
½ red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
5–7 sprigs thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2–3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon or a bit more balsamic, if needed 

Preheat your oven to 375F and toss the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and thyme on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Scatter the top with sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the top of the vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. 

Pop the pan in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of the stock in a large pot over medium-low heat.  When the vegetables are done, pick out the sprigs of thyme, carefully squash the roasted garlic out of its skin, discard the skin, and transfer all of those lovely veggies to the pot of stock.  Using an emersion or regular blender, blend the soup until it is smooth, adding more stock if needed.  Give the soup a taste and season with salt, pepper, and a little lemon or balsamic if needed.

Serve hot or chill for a lovely summery soup!

The World's Easiest Crispy, Super Cheesy Grilled Cheese

The cheesiest, crispiest grilled cheese ever

The cheesiest, crispiest grilled cheese ever

If you’re like me, a sandwich can never be too cheesy.

This one is delish dunked in ketchup, sriracha, sriracha-infused ketchup, or, better yet, Roasted Tomato Soup.


Super Crispy and Cheesy Grilled Cheese

 Makes 2 sandwiches

 4 slices good quality sandwich bread, thickly sliced
3–4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature*
50­–60g old cheddar cheese (preferably orange) or mozzarella cheese, grated
50–60g Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

 Set out the four slices of bread and butter one side of each.  Place two slices of bread butter side down onto your preheated grill or pan and top with cheese the cheeses, reserving about ¼ cup of the grated cheese for later.  Top each with a second slice of bread, butter side up, and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 4 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side until golden and the cheese is fully melted. 

Remove the sandwiches and scatter the remaining cheese over the bottom of the pan.  Allow the cheese to melt and start to get nice and bubbly.  Pop the sandwiches on top of the melting cheese and allow it to cook for another minute or so or until the cheese is crispy and lovely.  Remove the sandwiches to a cutting board, crispy cheese side up and allow them to cool slightly.

Cut each sandwich in half and serve straight away for optimal gooeyness and crispiness!

*If you don’t have butter at room temp, try using mayonnaise for your grilled cheese. It’s kind of my new favourite thing - it’s so easy to spread and browns up so beautifully!