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Monday, October 31, 2011

Pork Tenderloin - A quick fix for a craving to grill

Andrea was away this weekend, so I decided that I would take a little break too.  I had a good excuse! As fall is fading away into the first signs of winter, the urgency of completing those household chores that we started in May loomed large this weekend!!  It was also a rare weekend where there was very little cooking to be done anyway!
When I want to procrastinate, my go to activity is taking the dogs for a walk
A trip into Toronto on Friday to have lunch with a friend and a visit with some of the kids ended with dinner at Bev & Tims.

Saturday started with the weekly walk with the girls, followed by a long afternoon of tidying up the clutter in the barn that mysteriously grew over the summer. We were accompanied by the constant drone of the television all afternoon, the broadcast of the Wilfrid Laurier/Queens football game. Unfortunately, WLU lost! OUCH! ! Despite the loss, we had a wonderful time that evening  celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wilfrid Laurier University at Ahead by a Century, a really great party filled with loads of delicious food and music.

The next day, we were invited to lunch at Wilf and Cathy Jenkins, where we enjoyed a terrific meal and some great conversation, once again being relieved of the need to cook.  We had no plans to make dinner that night! However, walking home, full and happy, those feelings of cooking withdrawal started to develop .Some may understand this craving, some may not. 
Regardless, with nothing planned, I was lacking inspiration, so called up Bev to see what she had in the works.  She had  invited Jane and the Whitfields for dinner and graciously shared her ideas(and recipes, and pictures!!) with me. Her menu: Pork tenderloin (tim’s creation), Brussels sprouts (steamed then sautéed briefly in oil and garlic), broccolini (just plain old steamed with a squeeze of lemon at the end) and roasted sweet potatoes.

Feeling less ambitious, I decided to do a pork tenderloin too, but  opted for a super simple dinner of souvlaki with tzatziki and greek salad.


Thanks Bev!  And Andrea, I look forward to your return and getting back on track!

Tim’s pork tenderloin
For the rub:
·         Fresh herbs (Tim used sage and thyme)
·         Garlic
·         Olive oil
For the glaze:
·         Juice of one orange
·         ½ cup maple syrup
·         Cook glaze on stovetop to reduce to about half. Add a smidge of butter and red chilli flakes.

Rub tenderloin with fresh herbs, chopped garlic and olive oil 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat barbecue on HIGH. Brush the grids with vegetable oil. Place tenderloin on grids and reduce temperature to MEDIUM-LOW and grill, turning every 5 minutes, for a total of 15 minutes cooking time.   Brush the glaze over near the end of cooking.  Let stand, covered with foil for 5 minutes before slicing.

Roasted sweet potatoes with apples and maple-sage butter
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into ¾ inch wedges
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 medium large apple (granny smith or a red apple) cored, quartered and cut into 16 wedges
1 tbs chopped fresh sage
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp maple syrup

Heat oven or barbecue to 475F. Toss sweet potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.   Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet (a single layer). Roast for 10 minutes, turn and continue roasting until tender and browned in spots (about 5 min more).
While the potatoes roast, heat the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until melted and beginning to brown (1 – 2 minutes).  Add the apples in a single layer and brown on both sides (1 -2 min per side). Add the sage and stir until wilted.  Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and maple syrup. With a spatula, scrape the apples and butter into the bowl used for tossing the potatoes.
When the potatoes are done, add them to the apples and gently combine. Season with salt and pepper. 
*Recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine.


! cup plain greek or balkan yoghurt
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice 
1 tsp mint, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with grilled pork tenderloin and greek salad wrapped in a pita bread.
Pepper and Mark share a perfect Sunday evening!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lexington Barbecue Festival

Happy Birthday Marilyn!

Six siblings and their spouses gathered in North Carolina this weekend to celebrate Marilyn’s significant birthday.  Tim did a great job of organizing golf, transportation, and accommodation so our only job was to have a lot of fun.  While we were there, we watched Tim’s loop of barbecue shows, and a particular one about last year’s Lexington Barbecue Festival piqued our interest.  When we found out that this year’s event was to take place the very next day we changed all plans to make a pilgrimage to that barbecue mecca.  To say that it was an interesting cultural experience doesn’t quite capture it.  

“Barbecue” in the southern US is what smoking is to Canadians.  It means there is a BIG piece of meat cooking low and slow, with a mop and a sauce.  Each region has its own style of barbecue sauce which they proclaim to be the very best.  In the case of Lexington Barbecue, the sauce is thin and vinegary, and the pulled pork is served with “Red Coleslaw” where the salad is tossed with the same sauce.  The meat and cabbage were both very finely chopped, and the sauce was very tasty.....just enough spice to compliment the meat without overwhelming it. 

We went with expectations of seeing the pulled pork cooking over the fire, but in fact the 5 participating restaurants agreed on a recipe, prepared the meat in advance, and shipped it out to 3 different locations around the festival where volunteers assembled the sandwiches.  The only cooking we witnessed was deep-frying.  The 100,000 visitors to the town of 20,000 were wandering the streets nibbling on deep fried turkey legs, deep fried pie, deep fried chocolate bars, deepfried-chocolate-covered bacon and even deep fried butter.....REALLY!  

Lexington Barbecue Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup distilled white or cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; crushed 
  • salt and pepper; to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

  • Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Spoon sauce over barbecued meats or poultry.
  • Let it simmer slowly, it will keep refrigerated for a while but is best when served warm over your favourite meat.
See y'all next year!