Pork Tenderloin

This is one of those lazy foods I make when I want something tasty but that doesn’t require much. And that’s pretty much all it is. There’s more than one way to go about cooking it, but my favorite way is on the stove top. (In general I’m afraid of baking meats because sometimes I overcook them that way.)

And you’ll notice there’s still a little fat on there. Most of the time I don’t even bother trimming this cut of meat because, to start with, there isn’t much fat in the first place, and it keeps it moist while it cooks.

There’s also more than one way to season it. Normally I just look at my pantry and think, what would go well with this

But because of that, they pretty much always turn out different from one another. This one got good reviews though. Sprinkle some of each of these on both sides and add some garlic, then you’re set.

There’s more than one way to add garlic. If you have whole cloves, poke holes in the meat, cut the garlic into strips and put it in the holes. About a year ago I gave in and started buying the pre minced garlic. It works but it’s not as tasty and doesn’t have as many health benefits. You end up needing to use more, but it’ll get the job done.

Funny yet serendipitous thing is, my friend made a pork tenderloin one or two days after I did. But he seasoned it completely differently from me so it worked out nicely: I got a free meal (sort of, forced labor counts as free, right?) and I got to try a whole different flavor.

First of all, he seared his on the stove, then covered it with mustard and cumin(?) then baked it to finish it off. It was also super tasty and just goes to show that it’s hard to go wrong with something that’s inherently tasty.

But back to me, once mine was seasoned, I just cooked it on a medium heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes before I checked on it and turned it. The seasoning blackened a little, and if that happens to you, don’t worry it’s not burnt. I think overall it took around 30 minutes to cook.

Paired with a veggie and some starch, it comes to make a really tasty meal.

To go with this, I made a simple alfredo sauce/pasta and some baked asparagus.

Stuffed Pork Chops

This is another idea inspired by something my mom said last time I was in town. It’s really simple and it’s a new way to handle pork chops.

Besides the normal seasonings (salt, pepper, and olive oil) all you need is:

Pork chops
And the white thing next to it, I don’t know the official name. I’ll call them mozzarella roll-ups. Basically imagine a sheet of mozzarella with prosciutto and basil layered on before rolling it all up together. In other words, super tasty. A lot of grocery stores carry them in the deli section, but if you can’t find any, you could easily replicate it with the three ingredients just being together.

Start by slicing the mozzarella.

And you should probably just eat the end pieces because they’re the best part and they’re funny shaped anyway.

After that, butterfly the pork chop. The technique is pretty simple and I’ve talked about it in another article. Then put the mozzarella inside.

Now it’s time to get ready to bake. I lined my pan with foil so that it’d be easier to clean, but it’s not necessary. I also but a little olive oil on the pan and on the pork chops themselves. Then I salted and peppered both sides.

I chose to bake these, but you could easily cook them on the stove. To bake it, I cooked it at 375 for 16 minutes then checked on it. They needed a few more minutes after that, so I’d say it took about 22 minutes total.

And to complete the meal, I paired the chops with baked asparagus.

They were super tasty and made me happy. I can also vouch for they’re skills as leftovers as I brought some to work the next day and it was still awesome.

Andouille Alfredo

This one is modeled after something I had at a restaurant once in Louisiana. It was super tasty, and coincidentally, the same night I had the pasta, I met the chef at a friends house and then learned that this was no usual alfredo sauce with a cream base and parmesan cheese, but instead, it was roux based. This intrigued me, and so I decided to try it out. I accidentally made enough for 15 people, so you’re going to have to scale down what I did.

Here’s what I started with:

A stick butter (this is where I used way too much)
1/2 cup flour (same amount of butter)
2 Andouille sausage (my grocery store just came out with some chicken andouille, and I wanted to give it a try)
A little less than half a pound of parmesan
A pack of linguini
32 oz heavy whipping cream
1 tbs(ish) paprika
Salt, pepper, and minced garlic to taste

If you want to make less, start by using less butter and flour. The rest will be easy after that. I’d recommend using about a tablespoon of butter per person. That might end up in some leftovers, but nothing like what I ended up with. (And just FYI, expect a post with what I did with the leftover sauce.)

Ok, so, to start, cut up the sausage into whatever size pleases you. I opted for bigger, chunkier pieces because that’s similar to how I had it at the restaurant. Then heat them in the same pan you plan on making the sauce in.

You’ll notice that I started off in a skillet, but by the end I had to move to a soup pot. I literally made about 50 oz by the time I was done (that’s about 2 giant pasta sauce jar’s worth). And don’t clean it in between. The drippings from the sausage helps makes the sauce and helps integrate it’s flavor. I noticed that the flavor wasn’t as strong because it was chicken andouille, but it was definitely less fatty. So there are pluses and minuses to the chicken sausage.

When the sausage is warm and a little browned, take them out and start melting your butter.

When the butter’s done, toss in the flour, then stir to combine. At this point you’d be making a blond roux. Don’t worry about browning it, because you want it to keep this light flavor.

Keep in mind that I was winging this recipe. So, at this point, not really knowing what I was doing, I added the cheese.

I thought that melting the cheese into the roux would magically make a sauce. Not quite… It made a semi-solid roux and the as it kept cooking, the butter started separating. Supposedly more flour would help it keep it’s roux-iness, but I didn’t want a roux, I wanted a sauce. So I literally stopped in the middle and ran to the store to pick up some cream. All in all, I needed to add the whole 32 oz container to make it all stay homogenized. And once the cream was in, I added my spices.

Stir, stir, stir and add the sausage.

(See I told you I had to switch to a soup pot.)

Stir some more then serve.

Et puis, laissez les bons temps rouler.

Upgraded Pasta Sauce

Sorry it’s been a while, this is the last week of school and lots of projects and finals are happening, so bear with me, things’ll be picking up very soon.

This is kind of a repeat idea–how to make store bought pasta sauce better–but it’s different ingredients from my last one.

For this one, I used:
A big jar of pasta sauce (or two, you’ll see why later)
A box/bag of spinach
A block of fontina
Tube of sage sausage
Pasta (I used whole wheat penne)

Mine came out really thick and meaty because I used the whole pound of sausage to only one jar of sauce. If you want it to be more like a sauce, I’d recommend using only a half pound of sausage.

And as far as prep goes, all you have to do is cube or shred the cheese and wash the spinach. Super easy!

I started off by wilting some spinach in a ward skillet with some olive oil.

Basically, all you need to do is pour in about a tablespoon of olive oil, heat the skillet at a medium heat, and drop in the spinach. You may have to flip/stir it every once in a while, but it’s very low maintenance.

While that was going, I cooked the sausage and got the pasta boiling on a back burner. The only part about that you have to watch out for is to make sure it’s in a big enough pan to fit the sauce as well. (Unless you want extra dishes, of course.)

When the sausage was done, I added the sauce and spinach–it happened to be done by that time too.

After that, I just stirred to combine. When I felt that the sauce had warmed up enough (a little hotter than eating temperature) I threw in the cheese.

Stir until it melts, and then you’re done. If the pasta hasn’t finished yet, I’d say turn off the heat and put a lid on it–that way it retains heat without losing moisture.

Porc aux herbes de provence

Yay for a little French influence!

I honestly don’t know enough about herbs and spices as I would like. Dill makes me think of pickles and rosemary goes well with chicken. Bam. There you go. That’s all I know. So I decided to experiment a little. In the bulk section of my grocery store, you can buy various spices. I decided to try out herbes de provence. I’m slightly familiar with the blend, in that I know it’s tasty and I’ve been to where it comes from (hoo-ray study abroad!). It’s a blend of various herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender. (There’s more, it’s just that the label doesn’t say them all.)

Also walking around the store, I discovered that pork tenderloin was on sale. So there you go, porc aux herbes de provence. This also works really well with chicken, if you’re not a fan of pork.

I started out by cutting the tenderloin into chunks about 2 inches wide.

And once they were all cut up, I took each one and made cut tiny slits, not penetrating all the way through, into which I could put the seasoning.

At first I would make two slits, but one works just fine. Then, I put a pinch-ful of herbs into the slit, and covered then with minced garlic.

Like I have mentioned in an earlier article, I’ve started using the pre-minced garlic from the produce department. It’s not quite as flavorful, but it’s super convenient. Especially here where you just need a spoon to put some in and poof you’re done.

The whole process took surprisingly little time, and I even cut up two tenderloins (which made enough for 6-8ish people, so one’s fine if you’re only making this for a few people). As I was cutting them, I placed them in a pan already lined with olive oil.

And when they were all done, I added a little salt and pepper, then covered and cooked them on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.

They weren’t done yet, but this is where I checked on them. All that juice was their own; I didn’t add any water. I didn’t flip mine, but I did rotate and move them around. I flipped a few to test, and they passed–nothing fell out and they didn’t break, but it’s not necessary. Cover and cook some more and check periodically until they’re done.

That night I served them on rice, but they also go really well with an alfredo sauce.