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!

My Kitchen Go-To: Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

This, right here, is what I like to make when I’m in a bit of a kitchen rut and have no idea what I want to eat for dinner… or breakfast… or lunch… or when I’m having people over for brunch… Really, it’s an anytime dish that is way too easy to make.

Quick and smokey shakshuka with feta and lemon-y, parsley-y couscous is as easy as chopping a few things, boiling water, heating some sauce, and poaching some eggs. A delish anytime meal, lickety-split.

Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white wine, optional
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 – 796ml (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
2 cups couscous
4 - 8 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the finely minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so just to cook off some of that raw garlic hit. Stir in the smoked paprika, chili flakes, and cumin and allow the spices to toast for about 1 minute or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, if using, or add two tablespoons of water.

Add the halved cherry tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a bit.  Add the canned tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Cover the pan and lower the heat.  Allow the sauce to simmer away for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, set your kettle to boil and pour your couscous into a heatproof bowl.  When the water has boiled, pour 2 cups of boiling water onto the couscous, season with salt and pepper, stir, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow this to sit for about 8 to 10 minutes while you finish up your shakshuka.

Using a spoon, make slight wells in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each.  Cover and cook the eggs over medium-low heat until the whites are firm and the yolks are just slightly cooked but still runny, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Fluff your couscous with a fork, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining parsley, and divide between four plates.  Top each plate with an egg or two plus a good dose of that sauce and scatter with crumbled feta cheese.

*Personally, I’m a big fan of leftover shakshuka for breakfast after a late night out with too much wine

Fresh Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

There are few things that go together as well as fennel and citrus.  The licorice-y bite of that fantastically frond'd bulb met its perfect match in the sweetness of an orange.  

This recipe, perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or served as a side, plays off of the fennel/orange affair with the welcome addition of tart grapefruit, fresh mint, subdued zucchini, and the musty sweetness of a syrupy balsamic reduction.

While Autumn is rearing its blustery head, this citrusy fennel bruschetta with creamy, oozy burrata is sure to invoke the summeriest of feelings.


Fresh Citrus and Fennel Bruschetta with Burrata

Serves 4 - 6

1/2 fennel bulb, including fronds
1 small green zucchini
1 small yellow zucchini
1 orange
1 grapefruit
3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped or torn
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped or torn
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Burrata*, tennis ball sized (1 if making enough for 4, 2 for 6 - or if you're a cheese lover like me)
4 - 6 thick slices of crusty fresh bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
Balsamic reduction, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)

*fresh mozzarella or feta will work wonderfully if you cannot find burrata

Using a knife, trim the top of the fennel off of the bulb, reserving the fronds for later use.
Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, very thinly slice the fennel bulb and place into a large bowl.
Continue this method with the two zucchinis, thinly slicing each and placing in the large bowl.
Once the vegetables are sliced, move on to supreming the citrus!
Using a knife, carefully trim off the very top and bottom of the orange and grapefruit.
Next, place the orange and grapefruit on their ends and begin to remove the peel and pith with your knife, beginning at the top and slicing down along the curve of each fruit.
Finally, over the large bowl containing the fennel and zucchini, carefully cut out each segment of the fruit by inserting the blade of your knife between the flesh of the fruit and the membrane on both sides of each segment.  The wedges of grapefruit and orange should pretty much fall off the membrane into your bowl.
Squeeze the juice out of the remaining membrane into the large bowl - this will serve as the acid in your dressing.
Toss the mint and parsley into the mix along with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil and gently fold everything together.
While the citrus and veg get to know each other, lightly toast your bread and rub the garlic clove on the toast as soon as it is golden and delicious.  This will impart some garlic flavour without knocking your socks off.

To plate, place a toast on each dish and top with a good helping of the citrus/veg mixture.  Grab your burrata and carefully tear it into pieces, being careful not to let too much of the creamy goodness on the inside escape.  Finally, drizzle the bruschetta and plate with balsamic reduction and finish with a bit of salt and pepper.

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a small pot, combine the above ingredients and place over medium heat.
Cook until reduced by about half.
Use straight or store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.