Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Homemade Minestrone Soup (Vegetarian)

I used to love Progresso's Minestrone Soup when I was a kid. It was so hearty with lots of vegetables, beans, and pasta, in a delicious tomato broth. As I have gotten older, I have lost my fondness for canned soups, but not my fondness for minestrone. This minestrone soup recipe incorporates traditional flavors with fresh vegetables and herbs. Seems a bit silly to be writing a post on soup when it is supposed to be 90 degrees for the next three days, but when I made this recipe it was gloomy and rain was in the forecast. I love taking the time to make a big pot of soup, it is no more work than making a small batch, and you have enough to go around for a few meals. I package it up in quart containers to freeze or share with others.

I keep my minestrone soup vegetarian, but there are recipes that incorporate bacon or pancetta fat. Because I was making a large batch, I shared some with vegetarian family members. I also wanted to serve this for dinner on Meatless Monday. To boost the flavor, I spiced things up with garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

For this recipe, the measurements are close approximations to what I used. Often when I am making soups, I will take the vegetables that I have on hand to create something delicious. Feel free to add or substitute vegetables based on what you have on hand, or you enjoy. Some suggestions: Zucchini, summer squash, potato, swiss chard... you get the idea!

Minestrone Soup (Vegetarian)
Makes 4 quarts


  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup celery sliced
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs removed, sliced into ribbons
   Canned Goods
  • 3 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
Herbs and Seasonings:
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 quarts water or vegetable stock
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1/2 pound small pasta shapes (I used small seashells)
I don't have a problem using canned tomato products when tomatoes aren't at the peak of ripeness. I would rather spend less money on a few cans of diced tomatoes than more money on almost flavorless Roma tomatoes from the grocery store and prepare them myself. I also use canned beans all the time for the convenience of them, but I make sure to rinse them well before using. If you are concerned about sodium content, you can look for low-sodium varieties of tomatoes and beans.

  1. Prepare the vegetables as directed above. You want your vegetables to be uniform in size so they cook evenly. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat with enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Sweat the onions, garlic and half the chili flakes with a teaspoon of kosher salt until fragrant.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, cauliflower and let caramelize.
  3. Chop the oregano, thyme, and rosemary, then add to the pot with the bay leaf. Add the tomatoes and the rinsed beans, and water or stock. Season with salt or pepper (If using water, you will need to season a little more aggressively.)
  4. Let it come to a boil, parmesan cheese rind and then simmer for about an hour for flavors to develop. After 20 minutes, add the kale and taste for seasoning. If you find that you want more zip, add the remaining red pepper flakes.
  5. I cook my pasta separately and add before serving, so it doesn't drink up too much of the broth and become mushy, especially when freezing or reheating. Just cook the pasta in salted water to 1 minute less than al dente, then rinse with cold water and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. I store my pasta in a container next to my soup in the fridge, and toss in a handful before reheating.
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This soup is great right out of the pot, but will get better as the flavors are allowed to meld in the refrigerator overnight. Try this soup the next time the weather is gloomy or stormy, its bound to put a smile on you face!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In the Kitchen: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Last weekend at the farmer's market, I purchased a half-flat of local, organic strawberries hoping to share them on Easter Sunday with family. Well, turns out I wasn't the only one with that idea. My mom was prepared with a big bowl of strawberries waiting for our arrival and my sister-in-law made a gluten-free strawberry shortcake roulade for dessert, so my strawberries sat untouched. Well, my kids and I can eat our fill of strawberries, but as Friday approached, I still had a pint and a half of red, ripe strawberries begging to be eaten. I thought to make jam with them, but I had just bought a jar of 3 French Hens Starburst Strawberry Jam two weeks prior. Strawberry Rhubarb pie was suggested, and I remembered my grandmother making it for us, and how good it was.

I had the strawberries on hand, I picked up rhubarb at the grocery store, now I needed a recipe. I had never made strawberry-rhubarb pie before, so off the internet I went. I went with Smitten Kitchen's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie recipe, following her advice and making the All-Butter Pie Dough from scratch, by hand. Both recipes were easy to follow, although it took an extra 10 minutes for my crust to brown (to which I fully blame my oven).

It smelled heavenly, but we were patient and let the pie cool for the filling to set. We then negated the set filling by warming the pie in a 350 F oven before serving. We topped each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the perfect pairing. The crust was flaky and buttery, well worth the additional time spent making it from scratch as opposed to buying a frozen crust. The filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, just the way I like it. I brought it to our Friday family dinner and everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.

Of course, you can't make pie crust without making something equally delicious from the scraps of dough. I made these cinnamon-sugar "cookies" from the rolled-out leftover dough, to be enjoyed as a snack or with an afternoon cup of tea. They are great to make with your little helpers, and a great reward for helping.

They couldn't be simpler. Gather your scraps of pie dough and re-roll into one rectangle. Punch out your favorite shapes using cookie-cutters, then apply an egg-wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, until nice and brown and the tops look dry. Let cool before enjoying.

Baking was the perfect way to spend a chilly spring day. The oven kept the house warm and cozy, and my little one helped mix the dough and had a grand time being underfoot, snagging his fill of strawberries and washing dishes playing in the sink.

For more chilly day baking inspiration:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why I Failed Easter 2014 as a Blogger

Easter has come and went, and my Easter crafts are still sitting in piles among the house. My mantle is still a scattered mess of toddler "don't-touch-pleases" and my blog is void of entries tagged with Easter. April has brought with it the terrible twos, and so my crafty side has slipped into a medically induced coma until S-Bug's two-year molars come in.

I did create amazing éclairs using Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery cookbook but of course forgot to document the finished product at Grandma's house yesterday. My sister can testify that they were delicious! I created an orange-vanilla pastry cream to fill them, and coated the top with dark chocolate ganache, just like my culinary school's pastry instructor showed us. I guess I will be making them again so I can document them in all their beautiful glory!

I started to create my Easter Egg tree, but never had time to finish so I guess it will wait until next year for completion. I did dye some eggs using silk ties following the tutorial over at Make It or Fix It Yourself. I used blown eggs and added thin ribbon to create ornaments that will keep for many years.
I am hoping that as another year passes, I can start getting S-Bug more involved in some more holiday crafts that I can display around the house.
While I was out on Saturday (shopping for Twenty Dollar Thursdays), I picked up these cute bunnies and this bottle with a bird topper at a local gift shop for $10 each. They will be making an appearance on my mantle for next Easter!

In all honestly, I believe that what truly matters is that my family can remember Easter as a time that is spent together, not about the crafts, recipes, or blog content that did or did not get added in a timely fashion. As a wife and mother, I passed Easter with flying colors! My kids got to spend time at my family's ranch while we ate and drank to our heart's fill. My brother-in-law showed off his racecar, while I showed off our wedding photos. We had four generations under one roof, from age 2 to 90. Easter is a holiday for family, and that is what we did.

My First Guest Blog: the Monday Mess Movement

If you ever wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at Creative Mama, Messy House, this is your chance! The backdrops came down and I showed what really happens when the mom, maid, chef, chauffeur, activities coordinator, etc. is one in the same. Toys and chaos abound, and things got broken.

Laura was so helpful, and understood that a new blogger might have questions along the way. I never realized how easy it was to write a guest post, or how to submit one.
Head on over to The Experimental Home to check out my guest post on this week's Monday Mess Movement. Then come back and tell me what room is the messiest in your house. Would you ever be brave enough to share your messes with the world?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Twenty Dollar Thursdays, Brunch Edition

I'm back for my third week of Twenty Dollar Thursdays, and I decided to switch it up a little this week. With Easter around the corner, I wanted to focus on brunch. Every Easter, my family and I spend the day at Grandma's where we do a big brunch with Easter Egg hunts for the kids and sit down for an early supper complete with ham and all the fixings. It is truly a day for food and family, and its a tradition we have carried on from the time I was a young kid. This year, we are switching it up just a little bit, heading to my parent's house (my kids' Grandma and Grandpa) instead of my 90 year-old grandmother's place. There will still be lots of food, and we will attempt an Easter Egg Hunt for S-Bug.

Week of April 17th:
I stopped at a Saturday farmer's market to shop for brunch items. For Easter, I am in charge of bringing desserts (like always), so I plan on making éclairs with an orange-vanilla pastry cream. This will be the first time making pate a choux since culinary school, so I hope they will turn out all right! I also plan to bring a big bowl of berries and scones or muffins that we can top with the 3 French Hens Meyer Lemon Jelly and Strawberry Jam. See the strawberries above? Yea, those will be long gone. I will have to pick up more the day before Easter. I picked up two types of kale from First Generation Farmers and farm-fresh eggs from Shelly's Farm Fresh.

The Breakdown:
Navel Oranges $1.25 for 4 (.85/pound)
Tuscan Kale $2
Russian Kale $2
Spring Onions $1
Organic Strawberries $7 for 2 baskets
Fresh Eggs $7 per dozen
*Meyer Lemon Jelly $7 (splurge item)
*Strawberry Jam $7 (splurge item)
Ok, with the splurge items included I spent more than twenty dollars ($34.25, to be exact!). When shopping at the farmer's market, always bring a little extra because you never know what you might find! I'm glad I did, because not only did I get a few goodies to share on Easter, but I also had enough to pick up a pastry and coffee for a mid-morning snack while shopping.

My Brunch Menu includes:
Quiche: Ham, Cheese, Spring Onion
Quiche (Vegetarian): Kale, Spring Onion and Cheese
see the recipes in this post

Cranberry Sour Cream Muffins
Cranberry Oatmeal Scones
Orange-Vanilla Pastry Cream
Happy Easter to all! What is your favorite brunch food? What are some of your family's traditions for Easter? 

Quiche Ideas for any Occasion

Quiches are great for entertaining a brunch crowd. They are hearty, sophisticated, and loved by all. If you learn the basic method, you can switch up ingredients to create a quiche for any occasion, even if the occasion is a Wednesday night. Quiche is a staple at holiday gatherings in my family, because it is so easy make, and we can customize them for different diets and tastes.

Quiche is for more than just brunch, though. I will make quiche as a simple dinner for my family, and it is always a hit. When making them at home, I will typically opt for a frozen pie shell for ease and convenience, but if you have the time and patience, a homemade crust will be that much better! Egg dishes make great alternatives when you want a protein-packed meal without having to cook meat. Since you get two pie shells in a package, I will make one quiche vegetarian and make one with meat. Quiche makes great leftovers, and is perfect for breakfast or lunch for the next day.

Crowd Pleasing Easter Quiches
Makes two 9-inch quiches

  • 2 frozen pie shells
  • 12 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
   Ham and Cheese Quiche
  • 1/2 pound thick-sliced ham (found at the deli counter)
  • 2/3 cup Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sliced spring onion tops or scallions
   Kale and Spring Onion Quiche (vegetarian)
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup sliced spring onions (white and light green) or other mild onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2/3 cup Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Blind bake (bake empty) pie shells according to package directions. For the ones I was using, I docked the bottom of the shells with a fork, and baked them at 400 F for 12 minutes. I then let them cool while I was putting the filling together.
  2. Turn down your oven to 350 F after baking the pie shells.
  3. Crack your eggs into a large bowl and add your cream (or whole milk can be used to cut some calories) salt, and pepper. Whisk together until homogenously combined.
  4. Add your fillings and half of the egg mixture to each pie shell.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles.
  6. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing to allow the custard to set.
Ham and Cheese Quiche
Dice ham into 1/4 inch cubes. Combine diced ham, grated gruyere cheese, and green onions, add to pie shell. Cover with half of the egg mixture and bake.

Kale and Spring Onion Quiche (vegetarian)
Sauté kale, onion, and red pepper flakes in butter until wilted. Let cool before combining with the cheese and adding to pie shell. Cover with the rest of the egg mixture, and bake.

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Want more quiche recipes?
by Love and Duck Fat
by Five and Spice
 Meat Lovers Quiche
by Barbara Bakes

Need something gluten-free?
Asparagus, Baby Artichoke, Pesto, and Goat Cheese Quiche with a quinoa crust
by Closet Cooking

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Twenty Dollar Thursdays, Week 2

Welcome to Week Two of my series "Twenty Dollar Thursdays"! Each week, I will spend a morning and $20 seeking out fresh, seasonal ingredients at one of my local farmer's markets. I will then incorporate these ingredients into my family's meal plan for that week. I hope to feature some of the growers and farms as the season goes on. I am lucky to live in an area that has a year-round growing season, and has Farmer's markets available year-round, rain or shine.

This week, we were blessed with a gorgeous summer spring day on market day. Last week, the rain was threatening to roll in, so there were less vendors and less people, so I picked up my produce and got out of there. This week it was nearly 80 out, so we shopped, strolled, and stopped to play at the playground. With my Peets iced coffee in hand, S-Bug had a blast running and playing with the other kids at the playground. We are entering into the "terrible twos" phase so it was good practice for him taking turns and sharing the playground equipment.

Week of April 10th:
There were a few new vendors at the market this week, with an abundance of spring produce. Green was all around, with beet and turnip greens, asparagus, artichokes, fava beans and spring snap peas! I started at the far end of the market and worked my way back to the front, chatting and buying along the way. First, I picked up a bag of baby artichokes and got a few new recipes from the vendor. I will be trying one of them out Friday when I have dinner at my parent's house. I then stopped to splurge on some local honey. By splurge I mean I spent $7 outside of my $20 budget. I then picked up more apples from Rainbow Orchards, this time I doubled what I bought last week so we could hopefully have enough apples for the week. I then stopped to pick up some local Brentwood produce, asparagus from Checchini & Checchini and beets and snap peas from Enos Family Farms.

The Breakdown:
Baby Artichokes $4 (bag of 10)
Apples $7.50 ($2/lb)
Asparagus $3.50
Golden Beets $1.50
Red Beets $1.50
2 extra bunches of beet greens FREE
Sugar Snap Peas $1.50 (1/2 pound bag)
*Local Wildflower Honey $7 (splurge item)

My Meal Plan for this week includes:
Egg Frittata with Beet Greens, Asparagus, Potatoes, and Feta Cheese
Burgers with Roasted Balsamic Asparagus
Beet Chips, Red and Golden

Spring Salad with sugar snap peas, apples, and walnuts with homemade honey-mustard vinaigrette
Fire-Roasted Artichokes with Sundried Tomato Aioli

I also hope to try my hand in fresh juicing
Apple-Yellow Beet

My weekend is already proving to be busy and it's only Thursday!  My former Pony Club is in charge of running concessions at a local horse show, so I will be assisting them. I hope to visit a farmer's market Saturday morning and finish my Easter Egg Tree this weekend. Stay tuned for recipes and more!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pan-Fried Snapper with Fennel, Grapefruit, and Olive Salad

To me, eating healthy also means eating responsibly. I try to buy fresh ingredients locally, seasonally, and sustainably. I am thankful to live in a climate where year-round farmer's market are available. I pick up produce and eggs that are fresher than their grocery store counterparts, for the same or less than grocery store prices. At each stall you can communicate with the vendor's directly about their wares, and get a feel for the food you are about to purchase. Of course, not everything can be purchased at the farmer's market. When shopping at the grocery store, I shop the perimeter first, before picking up pantry items to minimize the desire to pick up processed junk foods.

When buying seafood, I try to pick fresh fish that has been raised using sustainable aquaculture practices. I check the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood watch guides to look out for red flags when I shop. I take time to talk to my butcher or fishmonger to get the freshest options.
Fish should smell like the waters they came from, never "fishy", and the flesh should be opaque without bruising or tears, and should spring back when touched.

This recipe came from a stroke of inspiration while at the farmer's market one morning. I was buying fennel from one of the organic vendors and I knew I wanted to pair it with some fish. The next stall over was a vendor selling grapefruits, and I stopped to chat and pick up a few, since I love fresh grapefruit juice paired with seltzer water. He saw the fennel in my bag and told me of this salad he had recently with grapefruit and shaved fennel. I took his combination of fennel and grapefruit salad, added some green Spanish olives for brininess, and a touch of honey for sweetness, and then topped a pan-fried piece of snapper (but you could use any fresh white fish) with it. I drizzled a touch of extra-virgin olive oil around it and added a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel (sea salt) to finish the plate.
Pan-Fried Snapper with Fennel, Grapefruit and Spanish Olive Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 large bulb of fennel, or 2 small bulbs
  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 6-8 Spanish green olives
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. honey

  • 4 fillets of snapper- approximately 6 ounces each
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder or pre-mixed seasoning salt
  1. Start by making the salad component. For the fennel, slice the bulb thin, 1/16th of an inch. You can also use a mandoline slicer for this if your knife skills are a little shaky, but practice makes perfect!
  2. Remove peel and pith of grapefruit, and make segments between the membrane (or in the culinary world, citrus "supremes")
  3. Slice the olives. Combine the olive, vinegar, and honey to create a dressing, then pour over your salad components and toss to combine. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and wait until it starts to shimmer. That will let you know that your oil is hot enough to fry your fish and will minimize sticking.
  5. While the oil is heating, season your flour with salt and spices, and season fish with salt and pepper.
  6. Lightly dredge fish fillets in seasoned flour, then fry 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  7. Drain on paper towels, then plate. Add a small handful of salad on top, garnish with fennel fronds and a sprinkle of sea salt. Drizzle a touch of olive oil around the plate to finish.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy Peasy Apple Tart with Almond Oatmeal Crumble

This post is part of my Twenty Dollar Thursdays.
This week at the Farmer's Market, I picked up some amazing Pink Lady Apples from Rainbow Orchards (a local orchard out of Camino, CA). At $2 a pound, they cost the same as grocery store apples, but I was supporting area farmers directly. Next week I will have to pick up more, since two pounds of apples only lasted me 3 days between snacking, creating a refreshing apple salad for my Pork Tenderloin with Mustard-Apple Gravy, and creating this easy apple tart.

Using store-bought puff pastry, it made a perfect dessert for a weeknight, since it is best made ahead and left to get really cold in the fridge before baking. The apples are simply sliced into rings (no need to even peel them if you don't want to) and placed on the puff pastry without any added sugar. The crumble topping really makes this dessert an instant classic, with the sweetness of brown sugar and the nuttiness of the almonds, plus added goodness from the rolled oats. Only one-quarter cup of brown sugar is added to this recipe, but paired with naturally sweet apples, it is enough to sweeten the whole dessert while letting the apples shine through. Dollop on some freshly whipped cream or top with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice-cream, and get ready to impress!

Apple Tart with Almond-Oatmeal Crumble
Serves 4-6

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 medium apples, cored and sliced into rings
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

   For Almond-Oatmeal Crumble
  • 1/3 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted 

  1. Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 9 inches. Brush with melted butter, then place the apple rings, slightly overlapping.
  2. For the crumble topping, combine the dry ingredients and almond extract. Drizzle in the butter, and mix to combine. You are looking for a "wet-sand" consistency.
  3. Evenly top your apple rings with the crumble, then refrigerate for 2-4 hours. You want your puff pastry to get really cold before baking for maximum rise.
  4. Bake at 350 F for about an hour. Keep your oven door closed (no peeking!) for the first 50 minutes. Puff pastry rises by allowing the water in the butter to turn to steam to let the layers rise, so by opening the oven door you let the steam escape.
  5. Slice into squares, then top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serve while warm or room temperature. 
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I will be sharing this recipe on Tasty Tuesday at the following sites

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Twenty Dollar Thursdays, Premiere

Welcome to my new series "Twenty Dollar Thursdays"! I am really excited about launching this series to promote eating locally and seasonally, by supporting the farmers directly by shopping at Farmer's markets in my area. Each week, I will spend a morning and $20 seeking out fresh, local, seasonal ingredients that I will then incorporate into my family's meal plan for that week. I hope to feature some of the growers and farms as the season goes on. I am lucky to live in an area that has a year-round growing season, and has Farmer's markets available year-round, rain or shine.

Week of April 3rd:
This week, I headed to my Tuesday morning market where I bought eggs, kale, apples (and apple cider), golden beets and grapefruit. I have been buying my eggs almost exclusively from the Farmer's market. They are so much fresher, and less expensive. Since Easter is on its way and I have plans to dye and decorate eggs, I bought white eggs. They also have flats of brown organic eggs for $7. I picked my kale up from First Generation Farmers. I picked up two pounds of Pink Lady apples and a pint of cider from Rainbow Orchards out of Camino. I always look for produce that I can't find at my local grocery store, so I picked up two bunches of golden beets to enjoy during the week. I picked up some grapefruits from Kennedy Farms out of Stockton. According to the farmer, this is his last week for his Oro Blanco and Mellow Gold Grapefruits to be in the market, but blueberries are coming!

The Breakdown:
Eggs: $5 for a flat (30 count)
Tuscan Kale: $2 per bunch
Apples: $4 ($2 per pound)
Fresh apple cider: $3 for a pint
Golden beets: $4 ($2 per bunch)
Grapefruit: $2 for 3

My Meal Plan for this week includes:

Baked Kale and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Golden Beet Chips
Roasted Golden Beets with Carrots

Homemade Vanilla Crème Anglaise 

Grapefruit and Ginger Fizz

While shopping, I stopped to chat with the vendors. I love to know where my food comes from, and most vendors are willing to talk about their farm or give you tips for best using their produce. They want you, the customer, to be happy with your purchases. Besides farmer's selling their produce, the Master Gardeners were there advertising for their huge Heirloom Tomato Sale (which reminds me to build more planter boxes!), and Cookin' the Market had a booth set up showcasing spring produce.

My goal is to make fresh ingredients play a part in every meal. I hope to inspire you to think outside your grocery store with my recipes and insights, and to inspire creativity in your own kitchen!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spice-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Mustard-Apple Gravy

This post is part of my Twenty Dollar Thursdays.

Pork and apples have a natural affinity for each other, but do you know what else goes well with pork? Dijon mustard. And bourbon. I have combined mustard, bourbon, and fresh-pressed apple cider to create a luscious sauce for a pork tenderloin seasoned with ginger and cumin. The smokiness of the cumin and spiciness of the ginger pair really well with the sweetness of the apple cider. The apple cider serves as a marinade and then is later simmered into the base for the sauce.

Spice-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Mustard-Apple Gravy
Serves 6

  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1 cup fresh apple cider (Mine came from Rainbow Orchards, out of Camino, CA)
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
   For the Mustard-Apple Gravy:
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon (see my Note)
  • 1 cup apple cider- reserved from marinating the pork
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Note: If you are not one to keep a lot of alcohol in your house you can pick up miniature bottles (like the kind on airplanes) from your local liquor store. You can substitute bourbon for sherry or dry white wine, or you can omit alcohol from the sauce altogether.  

  1. Marinate your pork tenderloins in apple cider and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. I did this step for 1 hour, but you could let your meat marinate for up to 8 hours in advance.
  2. After marinating, reserve liquid and pat the tenderloin dry. Make your spice mixture with the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, cumin, ground ginger and black pepper. Rub even over both tenderloins.
  3. Heat your oven to 400 F and a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to your pan (enough to coat the bottom) and sear the pork on all sides. Transfer to a baking rack and roast for about 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature is 145 F-150 F).
  4. In the same pan, sauté your onions and garlic until fragrant and browned. Remove pan from heat, add your bourbon, and return pan to heat. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze.
  5. When the bourbon has just about evaporated, add your chicken stock, cider, and cider vinegar, and let your sauce reduce by half.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard and butter.
  7. When the pork has reached temperature, let rest 10 minutes before slicing into medallions and serving. You can serve the sauce as is, or blitz it using an immersion blender for a smoother gravy-like sauce to drape over your pork. Either way is delicious, it just depends on personal preference. 
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Shared with 
Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior
For a full list of the parties I participate in, see