Monthly Archives: May 2016

Let the Grilling (Season) Begin – Kale Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Here in the Midwest, we seem to finally be having Spring like weather, (with Memorial day just around the corner, it’s about time). Warmer weather lends itself to grilling. Lighter meals and less time spent in the kitchen are both good reasons to take the cooking outside. Even though we grill year round, there’s something special about cooking out in warmer weather. The fact that it is staying light longer makes lingering outdoors to enjoy the warmer temperatures a real pleasure. Plain and simple, grilling just seems like the right thing to do.

A recent outing featured the ever popular Pork Tenderloin. While this lean cut of meat can be easily decimated on the grill, a few carefully chosen steps can result in a juicy and tender piece of meat. I opted to use a stuffing to add moisture deep inside the pork. Then just to make sure that everything stayed juicy, I wrapped it in bacon. Yes folks, we had pork on pork goodness.

The stuffing was a simple blend of onions, garlic, and kale sautéed in olive oil that cooked down to caramelized deliciousness. A little salt and pepper was the only other addition. Once the tenderloin had been opened up, the filling went into every nook and cranny.IMG_1798How to securely enclose this lovely filling? There is always butcher’s twine, but since the little torpedo was going on the grill, something that could provide a bit of protection seemed like a better choice. Enter Thick Cut Peppered Bacon. I precooked it a little before inrobing the tenderloin. It rendered a bit of the fat and ensured both of the porks would be ready at the same time. Again, butcher’s twine could have and probably should have come into service. Instead I used toothpicks, eight to be exact. Knowing the exact number is actually pretty important; it prevents someone getting an unexpected surprise.IMG_1800Off to the grill it went. The wonderful thing about Pork Tenderloin is that it cooks very quickly making it a perfect weeknight meal. This was average size, weighing in at around a pound and it was ready in about 25 minutes. It rested for a few minutes while the rest of the dinner came together (in this case, steamed broccoli). IMG_1804Not to brag, but the slices looked beautiful. The filling created a perfect green bullseye on each slice.IMG_1807

The taste matched the visual appeal. The rich, slightly bitter kale was a perfect counterpoint to the smokey flavor that the pork received from the bacon. All things considered, this was an excellent use for the last of the kale I had on hand. It had lost some of its luster and there wasn’t enough to create a true dish, but as the star of this filling, it stood proud and I felt noble having saved it from the compost bin. Any vegetables that you have on hand would work in this filling, so use what you have. As with the filling, the outer wrap is subject to what you have on hand. Prosciutto or pancetta would be wonderful. 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size skillet. Add the onions and toss to coat. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
  2. Add the kale and the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. The kale should be wilted and somewhat tender and the onions and garlic should be golden.
  3. Add a little half and half to keep things moist and continue to cook until everything is very tender. Set aside
  4. If you choose to precook the bacon, lay the strips in a medium skillet and cook over low heat 5 -7 minutes until the bacon begins to render some fat. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels while you prepare the tenderloin.
  5. Trim any fat from the tenderloin. Using a sharp knife, cut along the length of the tenderloin so that it lays flat. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Set aside.
  6. Spoon the filling into the pork tenderloin stopping a bit short of the ends. Smooth the filling out stopping about 1/2 inch from the edges.
  7. Pull the cut edges together so that the filling is completely enclosed and the tenderloin is more or less back to its original shape.
  8. Wrap the bacon strips around the tenderloin covering it completely. Overlap the strips as necessary to create the coverage. Secure with tooth picks. Know how many you are putting in and make sure to take the same number out prior to serving.
  9. Place the tenderloin on a preheated grill and cook over medium high heat, turning as needed to brown and cook evenly, 20 - 25 minutes. Tenderloin is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  10. Allow the tenderloin to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
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As we head into the first “Official” weekend of the summer, fire up those grills (if you haven’t already) and let you imagination run free. There should always be an affirmative answer to the question, “Can you grill it?”

Another Meatless Monday Creation (yeah, really) – Zucchini Pasta Frittata

We are still enjoying Meatless Mondays in Mama D’s Kitchen. I’ve shared many meatless recipes here and not to flog the proverbial dead horse, but one more is about to be shared. You can consider this your spoiler alert. My feelings will only be hurt a little if you choose to bypass this offering, but before you turn away, give this little treasure a “lookie see”, you may be impressed.069

Eggs were speaking to me one recent Monday and they were telling me that they wanted to be a frittata when they grew up. That seemed like a reasonable request, so I embarked on a search to find worthy companionship for them. The refrigerator yielded several zucchini and a jalapeno, the pantry offered a jar of roasted red peppers, and onions and garlic left their place of honor on the counter to join in the merriment. I even found a lonely sliver of mozzarella cheese that begged to tag along.

I wanted to do something different with the zucchini, after all it is pretty standard fare in the frittatas that come out of the kitchen. I remembered seeing several recipes for Pasta Frittatas that made use of left over spaghetti. I had no left over pasta and it being Monday and all, I was trying to get things on a less “carb heavy” track after the weekend. We all know that “Zucchini Pasta” is a current darling of lighter cooking, so it was a natural leap to get out the spiralizer and crank out a pile of green (and white) goodness to replace the starchy alternative.049As with any good fritatta, it is at its best when layers of flavor come together. Mama D’s Trinity (Garlic-Onions-Olive Oil) was joined by the chopped jalapeno. They cooked to golden loveliness before I added the zucchini.057The zucchini took mere minutes to cook to “al dente” creating a bed of veggie delight ready for their egg bath. The eggs were gently cooked to the point of almost being set. everyone has their own technique for cooking a frittata. I’m of the shake, lift, and be patient school. All of this paid off, and the eggs cooked to almost set perfection. As a crowning touch, I added some shredded mozzarella and roasted red pepper strips before dispatching it to the broiler.

A quick note here: I do not have an “oven friendly” medium skillet. I know, shame on me. I did however, have a skillet with a non-ovenproof handle and some foil.  Wrapping the foil tightly around the handle made the pan more or less oven safe. See, it was worth reading this just for that handy little tip.  070The magic happened and the frittata came out golden and bubbly. This was the perfect  size for two (we’re talking Mama D size servings here), but it could easily serve three or maybe four if you added some crusty bread, a nice salad and a killer dessert. 073

Zucchini Pasta Fritatta
Print Recipe
Servings
3
Servings
3
Zucchini Pasta Fritatta
Print Recipe
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium oven friendly skillet. If you don't have one, wrap the handle of a non-oven friendly one tightly with foil.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook for 3 minutes or so until things get soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until everything is golden and smells heavenly.
  4. Add the zucchini and toss to combine with the oil and veggies already in the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the zucchini begins to wilt and takes on some color.
  5. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with the half & half. Add a little salt and pepper or any other seasoning of your choice.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan and shake the pan to distribute the eggs and begin the "not sticking" process.
  7. As the eggs cook around the edge, lift gently with a spatula to allow the uncooked egg to get to the bottom. Continue to cook, shake, and lift until the eggs are almost set.
  8. Top with the red pepper strips and the grated cheese. Place the pan under the broiler and allow to cook until the top is set and the cheese is melted and golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
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With warmer weather more or less coming to stay (except for the almost frost last night), light suppers will be occurring more often. Eggs are such a versatile base and the choice of vegetables, herbs, and seasonings are as wild as your imagination. Give a frittata a try. It’s easy, quick and almost foolproof.