Pork Medallions with Cherries and Apricots

 DF, GF

This dish is one that’s the star of the show.  It’s full of so many great textures, flavors, and colors that all it really needs are a couple simple sides.  I chose to pair with a white rice, roasted carrots, and toasted bread.  Yet the best thing I can tell you is that sometimes the best recipes are invented on the fly.

I came home that day with no real plan in place.  I knew I had to do something with the pork, and just starting looking through my pantry for ideas.  I’ve had pork with dried fruit before, so I knew that would be good, but not enough to stand on its own.  It needed a sauce, and the last minute addition of almonds was a crunch I wasn’t sure it needed, but it was certainly the right choice.

So next time you’re not sure what to make, look to your pantry.

pork with cherries and apricots

Pork Medallions with Cherries and Apricots
1 large pork tenderloin
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder
3 scallions, chopped
10 dried cherries, chopped
6 dried apricots, chopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbs flour
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c almonds, chopped

The night before combine pork tenderloin, sugar, and salt in a large resealable plastic bag with enough water to cover the pork.  When you are ready to cook the next day remove the pork to a plastic cutting board and use paper towels to dry the meat.  Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium high heat.  Cut the pork tenderloin into 1-inch medallions, then season with chinese five spice powder. Sear the pork medallions for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned but not yet cooked through.  Remove to plate and set aside.  Add scallions, dried cherries, and dried apricots; cook for 2 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 tbs flour combining with scallions mixture.  To make sauce whisk in chicken broth then reintroduce pork.  Cook until sauce thicken and pork is cooked thoroughly.  Top with chopped almonds and serve.

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Magic Bars

DF, V, VG

Holiday baking is a love of mine, a way to exude the Christmas spirit.  I also love magic bars, but had to find a way to make them dairy free and now I know the secret.  All you need to do is make your own condensed milk from scratch using coconut milk, and it couldn’t be easier.  No one will even notice the difference, so make these today to please those with an allergy and those without.

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Magic Bars
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
7 tbs dairy free butter (such as earth balance)
1.5 tbs sugar
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips (ghiradelli)
1 c flaked coconut
1/2 c slivered almonds

In a saucepan over medium heat bring coconut milk and brown sugar to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced by half. The coconut milk mixture should be thick reduced to about ¾ cup. Remove from heat and cool slightly.  While the the coconut milk is cooling make the crust.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.  In a bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs, dairy free butter, and sugar until it resembles wet sand.  Pour graham cracker mixture into pan using hand to evenly distribute.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Pour coconut milk over cooled crust then sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut, and almonds.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 1 hour then move to fridge to set up overnight then cut into squares.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

DF, V, VG, GF

I love to eat salads all year round and add seasonal ingredients.  In the fall that may mean squash, pears, or apples, just to name a few.  Most of time I lay the fresh veggies over lettuce, but this time why not make the “lettuce” the star of the show?  I choose to use kale and brussels sprouts so thinly shaved that it resembles more of a coleslaw, with a few fun ingredients on top for added texture and color.  Try this salad for something outside the regular old salad box.

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Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

For the dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt

For the salad:
6oz brussels sprouts, thinly shaved
3 c kale, thinly shaved
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 c craisins
1/2 c slivered almonds, toasted

In a large bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt to taste; whisk to combine.  To the same bowl add brussels sprouts, kale, red onion, craisins, and slivered almonds.  Toss to dress salad then serve.