This post has such an easy and delicious dinner that I am going to share a few behind the scenes things with you as well.
First, I just want to thank all of you who visit this corner of the Internet. This little blog keeps growing steadily and surely and I have some new collaborations coming this year that I am really excited to share with you. I am also planning to bring back a lot of new ideas when we visit France next month, so stay tuned. French cooking is my first love – here is one of the earliest posts I wrote about my dream to be a French farmer. So strap on your seat belts.
I know there are a lot of blogs out there (feel free to visit here, here, and here for amazing food blogs that inspire me) but thankfully I have remained aware of the fact that I am not a trained chef, just a passionate self-taught foodie, and my husband did not quit his job to help out with the blog. I got into this gig because I love writing and food. I love the narrative behind food and the stories it creates. I have learned however that in the blogging world, the photos are even more important. And I am trying to grow my photog skills. I love coming up with new recipes and sharing a love of simple, rustic, seasonal food. And since I have a freakishly strong level of enthusiasm, it helps me to not compare myself to other blogs, (especially chefs and husband wife teams). I think there is room for everyone on the Internet, especially a momma who thinks the family table has a heartbeat.
Also, many of you know that I am trying to get a novel published, and this is honestly a longer road then I thought it would be but I am still very zen. I am in a busy phase of life at the moment, and blogging here and on my writing website fit better into the small time windows I have, but I am still looking forward to starting my next big writing project (hello, preschool for Andrew). I have thought about letting this food blog go in order to do that but I am really just too happy sharing these recipes (and creating an archive that I use all the time! and dreaming about a cookbook one day!) that I want to continue at my once a week pace.
Finally, I have been posting dishes on Instagram that aren’t quite worth a whole blog post but might still be a great quick meal idea or inspiration for you. If you don’t follow me on Instagram already, or if you don’t even have a Instagram account, here is a nudge to set one up. (See: my pasta dish for busy nights, sautéed dandelion greens in garlic and olive oil which were heaven, my favorite freezer meal: calzones). Instagram can be an anxiety producing space for some people because pics can make peoples lives look perfect. I view it like Pinterest (you can follow me there too!) and use it just for inspiration.
Ok, onto the food:
We had our first alfresco meal of the season last night, and it was so great to be outside for a family meal. Please note the giant tub of noodles in front of my picky eater. A lot of readers ask do your kids eat what you make? And that side of pasta is the answer. But they are mostly really good eaters and are very appreciative of good food. My daughter Sophie (on the right) just told me after taking a few bites of something I made, “mmm, this is really good. You know mom, you could be a lunch lady.” So I got that going for me.
^^Don’t your kids come to the table in a Frozen robe?
This dinner was so magical being outside and the kids really did love the food. I’ve made this pork with apples recipe before, because I figured they would eat it since it has apples, and it has become a family favorite. I found it on another food blog and the video just makes it look so simple, I have to share it with you. They make it with tenderloin in the video but this time I made it with pork loin and it was just as good.
One thing I learned making it this time is that there is a strip of tough, shiny membrane on both tenderloin and pork loin that you want to cut off before cooking. It makes the end result more tender and moist.
I made Gwenyth Paltrow’s yummy roasted veggies on the side. You cut up sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and I also add Brussel sprouts because, yum, and I think they make the dish look pretty. Then you mix 3 T. each olive oil, dijon mustard, and maple syrup, and pour it on the veggies, then roast at 425 for 20 minutes. I love the leftovers on salad all week.
This dinner was so fast, healthy and delicious (my trifecta for a good dinner) and it fed our hearts and tummys.
The beer didn’t hurt either.
Easy Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Onions (for printer version, print here) :
- 2 (1- to 1-1/2-pound) pork tenderloins (I used pork loin, just add to the cooking time
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 apples, cored and sliced (We use Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Trim each tenderloin of any silver skin (this can be tough when cooked, just use a small sharp knife and slide the blade under and outward to remove it). Pat pork dry with paper towels.
- Then, using your hands, rub the tenderloins all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and rub until both tenderloins are evenly coated.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed oven-safe frying pan over medium heat. You will know when the pan is ready when the oil shimmers.
- Add the pork tenderloins and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over. This should take about 12 minutes.Transfer the browned pork to a large plate or cutting board.
- Check the pan, if it looks dry add 2 to 3 teaspoons of additional oil. (If there is fat left in the pan from cooking the pork, there is no need to add additional oil). Now, add apples and onions then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned around edges, about 5 minutes.
- While the apples and onions cook, use a pastry brush (or use your hands) to rub the pork all over with the mustard, sprinkle it with 2 teaspoons of the thyme and black pepper, and rub until it’s evenly coated.
- Add the remaining teaspoon of thyme to the apples and onions, stir. Then, place pork tenderloins on top of apples and onions and slide into the oven. Roast 10 to 15 minutes (20-25 for pork loin) or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers between 145 and 150 degrees F (63 and 65 degrees C).
- Transfer pork to a large plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest about 10 minutes.
- While the pork rests, place the pan with apples and onions back onto the stove and turn heat to medium. Add chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan, lifting any brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Add butter and stir until melted.
- Slice pork into 1-inch slices then serve on a bed of the apples and onions with pan sauce drizzled on top.
From The Inspired Taste website.
Maple Dijon Roasted Root Vegetables (printer version here):
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2teaspoon coarse salt
- 1⁄2teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks about 1/2 inch thick
- 4 parsnips , peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks about 1/2 inch thick
- 4 carrots , peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks about 1/2 inch thick
- I cut back on 1 parsnip and 1 carrot and add 2 cups of Brussel Sprouts
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together the syrup, mustard, oil, salt, and pepper. Toss together with vegetables on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
From Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter cookbook.