tasty tuesday: pan roasted pork tenderloin, barley and mushroom braise, roasted brussels, spinach, onions

Pork barley

Man, it feels like it has been a minute since I’ve been here. Since my last post, we’ve had lots of great food, from authentic Latin American fair to farm-to-table classics and the best of Charleston. Through all of that, I found some inspiration to make tonight’s dish, combining flavors and techniques I’ve experienced from both Sean Brock’s Husk and Hugh Acheson’s Five and Ten. But really, its not much more that good ingredients, nicely seasoned, and simply prepared. That combination goes a lot further than you make think.

I love pasta dishes. I can’t escape it. And for some reason pairing barley or farro with pork and Brussels just stuck out in my mind. It is very similar to a dish at Five and Ten I had about a year ago and it just popped in my head as a very memorable dish. It goes well with the mushrooms I had at Husk, braised with broth and greens. Fantastic all.

As this blog turns two, we thank you for staying with us and helping us grow. Let us know what else you want to see!

On to the food.

Pan roasted pork with braised barley and mushrooms, spinach and onions, roasted brussels

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of any fat and connective tissue
1 cup pearled barley
1 quart chicken stock
5 portabella mushrooms
1 sweet onion, chopped into thin slices, 1/4 finely chopped
2 tbsb butter
1/4 cup spinach
10 sage leaves
8 brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved.
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper, white pepper
Olive oil to coat pan twice

Start with the barley. In a deep pan, melt butter over medium and add the grains of barley and two pinches of salt. Toast for 2 minutes. Add the fine onions and vinegar. Heat 4 minutes, or until vinegar is absorbed. Add 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cover 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop mushrooms into thin slices. Add to barley and add 1/2 the remaining stock and sage. Simmer additional 20 minutes, until barley is tender.

Season the pork with a heavy coating of salt, pepper and white pepper.

Heat a large pan to medium high and coat with olive oil. Heat oven to 300. Place the sprouts in the hot oil insides down and sear for 3 minutes. Turn and heat for 2 minutes. Place sprouts on a cookie sheet lined with foil and place in oven for 20 minutes.

In same large pan, add more oil to coat. Place the pork in the oil and sear 5 minutes per side (three sides). Reduce heat to low and cover pan for 2 minutes. Remove pork from pan.

In same pan, add more oil and remaining onions. Press garlic and add to onion. Add spinach and stir 1 minute. Add remaining stock and cook until spinach is wilted. Remove mixture from pan.

Cut the pork into very thin pieces. Return to pan with remaining pork and chicken stock mixtures. Baste with jus for 2 minutes, until pieces reach desired doneness.

Plate with spinach and onions in center of plate. Top with barley and mushroom mixture then pork. Place sprouts around the side and top with rogue brussels crispies and sage.


tasty tuesday: carnitas with rice, jalapeno lime agave jam, jicama salad paired with Terrapin Guano Loco

2014-08-12 19.36.10

Today we get to debut a new feature that will occur monthly on the blog. We are happy to announce that we are partnering with Peach State Ale Trail to feature a beer pairing on the blog. This month, the beer pairing is from Terrapin, one of the State’s flagship craft breweries and hailing from the place that should not be– Athens, GA. The beer is this:


I am proud to say it was not in fact bat poop and it was delicious. 

Not having had the beer, I had to trust the advice of Chris Tsavatewa and the internet. Playing off the chili pepper and sweetness, I decided to do a nice bright and somewhat light (in flavor if not calories) Mexican dish with some twists. I hope you enjoy!


4 country style ribs (Pork Butt Strips)
Rub of cumin, black pepper, salt, red pepper, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bottle beer
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh oregano
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
1/4 onion

Carnitas are a classic Mexican dish similar to slow cooked bbq pork. The dish is braised in a combination of spice and a liquid that allows the pork to stew in its own fat. In other works, it is pork on pork and amazing. 

Begin by heating a deep pan to medium high and adding the oil. Rub the pork in the spice rub (each flavor to taste. I went heavy on black pepper) and sear on each side about 3 minutes per side. Remove the meat and then add the remaining ingredients and stir.

Preheat oven to 325. Bring the liquid to a simmer and add the meat to the liquid, making sure the top of the meat is exposed. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Flip at 30 minutes, cook at least an hour or until the meat pulls easily with a fork.

Jalapeno Lime Agave Jam:

2 red jalapenos, seeded and ribbed
1 green jalapeno, seeded and ribbed
1 tomatillo, peeled
4 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
Juice of 2 1/2 limes
1/2 lime zest
1 tsp black pepper
1tsp salt
1/4 cup agave nectar

Heat a grill pan to medium high. Grill the peppers, tomatillo, and garlic until browned on each side. Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl of a food processor. Add the peppers, tomatillo, garlic, zest, onion and spices. Process until finely chopped. 

Pour mixture into sauce pan over medium heat. Add agave and stir until simmering. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. 

Serve over mexican rice (1 packagege vigo saffron rice cooked to the instructions on the package)

Jicama Tomato salad. 

Jicama is a potato-like tuber with the texture of a carrot. It is fine to eat raw or in a slaw, unlike a potato. It has a sweet flavor which makes it perfect for salad and slaws and has a nice crunch. 

1/2 Jicama root
5 campari tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp cumin

1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp blood orange olive oil
1/2 tsp cilantro leaves
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp agave
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime

Peel the tough outer layer of the jicama and grate with a large cheese grater. Add the tomatoes and toss with the cumin. 

Mix the dressing ingredients in a deep container with a lid and shake. Pour over the jicama mix and toss. 

These flavors are many layered, classic mexican flavors. The dish maintains a great brightness throughout and has great sweet a spicy notes. This made it a great compliment to the Gauno Loco which, as an ale that has the appearance and texture of a sweet stout, has a nice balance similar to a Mole sauce. You can really taste the sweet notes of the beer combined with the bright lime and hot peppers in the dish. The heat of the dish melts away in the chocolate milk like beer with a kick. The beer certainly makes up for the lightness of the dish, which is why I recommend this paired with food instead of as a stand alone. It is not for day drinking for sure!

I highly recommend both. 

2014-08-12 19.39.01


tasty tuesday: pork tenderloin roulade with bacon pimento cheese risotto, grilled leek

An ode to Dovetail. Eleta and I went back to this fantastic place on their one year anniversary, which happened to be our fourth as a couple, since we had been there on opening night. The place has become a beacon for those who always want to know what’s next for Macon, Ga and the folks there have been fantastic stewards.

The meal I ordered on this fateful night was the special, a chicken roulade with pimiento cheese risotto. This is my retort:

So rich and such cream cream.

So rich and such cream cream.

I couldn’t do an exact copy, of course, that would be a little on the nose (and I don’t have the chops…). Their version was so flavorful and well spiced that you didn’t recognize that you were having such simple ingredients. Mine, too is quite simple. The filling was nothing more than sauteed leeks, arugula, garlic, and italian parsley minced and stirred in some greek yogurt cream cheese and the risotto had one helluva shortcut by way of:



Man, what a sagely creation. You owe it to yourself to make this meal.

Pork Tenderloin Roulade

1 whole pork tenderloin, butterflied and pounded thin
2 leeks
8oz arugula
5 cloves garlic
4 oz Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 8oz package greek yogurt cream cheese

Slice the tenderloin down the middle but only go about 3/4 the way through until it lays flat in a single layer. Lay in two pieces of plastic wrap and about to about 1/4 inch thick with a tenderizing mallet. Season with salt and pepper.

Chop off the bottom end of the leek bulbs. Chop the leeks into thin rings from the base to the bottom of the leaves. Heat a pan with the oil, add the leeks, arugula, garlic, and parsley with a little soft. Saute until the leeks are soft, mince in a food processor. Pour into a bowl with the cream cheese and stir.

Spread the cheese mixture on the inside of the pork loin. Roll so that the loin will look like a Fibonacci spiral. Heat a pan over medium high heat and sear the loin on all sides, about 4 minutes.



While searing, preheat oven to 400. Place the pan in the oven and continue to cook for about 25-30 minutes, until it is cooked throughout (170 degreees). Om nom.

Grilled leek

Leftover leek leaves
Olive Oil

Combine the oil, salt and pepper. Brush on leeks. Grill on a grill pan about 5 minutes per side until tender.

Bacon Pimento Cheese Risotto.

I have covered Risotto before and there are many places that explain the process, but the basics:

1 1/2 cups arborio
1 quart chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 Shallot
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil

Heat stock to a simmer and reduce to low. Melt butter with oil, add sliced shallot. Add rice and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in wine until absorbed. Stirring constantly, add the broth 1 cup at a time, allowing to absorb each time before adding more.

At the end of the broth (and the rice is tender), add in the flavor, in this case the whole package of the palmetto cheese. Stir and serve as quickly as possible.

Most of the things in this meal can be substituted for whatever flavors you prefer. Happy foodventures!

tasty tuesday: jerk pork cutlets, fresh corn polenta, roasted broccoli and carrots

Spanning the world on a single plate.

Spanning the world on a single plate.

And we are right back at you with a Tasty Tuesday that takes you all around the world with a little Jamaican, Mexican, and Indian/Mid East flavors. You gotta love it, right? The meal was a bit involved, taking over an hour to prep and cook, but it was certainly worth it. The fact that the meal involves working with multiple ears of fresh corn is where the time component comes in, as it had to be husked, cleaned, and hand grated to make the corn base for the polenta. But, fresh corn that is cooked in butter and its own “milk”? Very few things are better.

Let’s get down to business.

Jerk Pork Cutlets

Let’s start in Jamaica with a homemade jerk seasoning paste. There are any number of ways to skin this cat, as it were, but the necessary elements are Jamaican allspice and hot peppers. You can make it a rub or a paste, but I think the paste provides a more even flavor and better overall experience.

1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
2 Habanero Peppers, seeded
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded
1 1/2 Tbls Jamaican Allspice, ground
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp cayenne pepper, ground
Dashes of cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme

Place all ingredients in blender and add canola oil to emulsify. Blend until well mixed and spices are fully integrated. Pour over boneless pork chops to marinate, about 30 minutes.

After marination, heat a frying pan and melt 3 tbls butter. Scrape the paste from the chops and add the jerk paste to the pan. Cut the porkchops into cutlets, on a diagonal, and add to the pan. Cook about 4 minutes per side and reduce heat.

Polenta (Slightly altered Martha Stewart recipe, yeah).

12 ears corn, husked, cleaned
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
5-6 basil leaves
1 1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by pulsing the onion and garlic together in a food processor until fine. Heat the oil and  butter until melted and add the onions and garlic. At this point, begin grating the corn with the fine side of a box grater into a large bowl. After the onions and garlic are sweating, add the tomato. Finish grating the corn, making sure to get all the kernals and milk. Add to the pot with the basil and milk. Stir occasionally while for about 30 minutes on medium low. Simmer until ready to serve.

Roasted Broccoli and Carrots with Curry

This one is simple.

Olive oil to cover
Curry Powder to lightly coat

Coat the veggies with the oil and spices, cook at 450 for about 25-30 minutes until browned and soft.

Put it all together and you have a wonderful, bright meal that hits a lot of flavor points. A great end of Summer/Early fall meal.


lunchbox life: pork tenderloin with curry roasted sweet potatoes, onions, and cauliflower


This is definitely a fall dish, but alas, it’s mid-August.

I try to eat seasonally, but as much as I love summer tomatoes, avocados, berries, and basil, I feel like I’ve exhausted those options for the moment.  (Yes, I’ll be kicking myself in January for even thinking such a thing.)  So, inspired by a tiny hankering for sweet potatoes and my ongoing love for curry, this little number was created.

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, it’s because you’ve never roasted it.  This drab veggie transforms from that icky, untouched tree-like thing on the half-eaten veggie party platter to an earthy, flavorful morsel that you can’t stop eating.  It’s a terribly underrated vegetable, but with some high heat and spices, you’ll be singing its praises, too!

This is a pretty lazy and low-key dish, but the bigger ingredient here is time.  The veggies take time to roast and, depending on how you prepare the pork tenderloin, the pork will need to slow-roast in the crock pot.  This worked perfectly today for me, though–we’ve been running around doing a trial run for our Taste of the Arts entry on behalf of Historic Macon and getting ready to have a few friends over for the series premiere of Breaking Bad (Did you see it?  What EXACTLY did Walt mean when he said “tread lightly”?).

For the pork tenderloin, I was slightly limited.  The Kroger near our house only had pre-seasoned tenderloins.  To be fair, I really wanted a turkey breast tenderloin (made by Jennie-O and Honeysuckle White), but Kroger was out of those, too.  I bought a garlic and lemon pre-seasoned tenderloin and threw it in the crock pot on high heat (4 hours) with some chicken stock, dijon mustard, blueberry jam, ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  I’d give you measurements, but I really don’t have them!  You can cook this any way you want, but for what it’s worth, I was just focused on having a flavorful lean protein.  You could certainly use chicken breast, but I get so tired of the same old boneless skinless chicken breast that I like to change it up every now and then.

Curry Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Onions, and Cauliflower

3 small sweet potatoes

2 small sweet Vidalia onions

1 large head of cauliflower

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large roasting pan.  Chop the cauliflower into similar sized pieces and add to the pan.  Next, chop the onions into thin, half-moon shapes and add them to the pan.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and spices.  Pour over the vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.  Roast for about an hour, stirring the veggies to prevent burning about twice during the hour.

tasty tuesday: country fried wiener schnitzel vom schwein, bacon garlic rosemary spaetzle, wilted brined greens

A little bit of schnitzel fried

A little bit of schnitzel fried

Inspired by my last tasty tuesday adventure using A New Turn in the South, I wanted to literally do a new Southern turn on a dish I had not had in ages- Wiener Schnitzel. And then for sides, how could I not make a little spaetzle and a quick, Southern style kraut approximation? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

So, what is Wiener Schnitzel? Officially, now, it is any thin breaded, fried steak, but traditionally it is a fried veal steak breaded in a breadcrumb and flour mixture and served with lemon juice. The alternative, thin pounded pork chops, was called von schwein to differentiate, but such nomenclature has largely disappeared (and much that you will find in the states is pork).

So, what makes it southern? Why, I used Alton Brown’s recipe for country fried steak, of course. I purchased a whole loin and cut some thick chops and trimmed the fat. The rest of the loin is safely tucked away in the freezer.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

Using the tenderizing mallet, I pounded them until the were a little less than half as thick as they started. Roughly 1/2 and inch.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Next, they were dredged in flour with ample salt and pepper, dipped in egg, and back in the spiced flour. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes while you heat some oil in large skillet. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with oil and heat over medium high until a water droplet pops immediately. About 4-5 mins each side, until golden brown will do.

After the schnitzel is done, its time to double down on the South and make a pan gravy. Add 3 tbsp of flour to the pan and whisk until mixed and add a can of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Continue whisking as you add 1/2 cup of milk and some herbs (I used fresh time from the garden). Top the schnitzel with the gravy, of course.

But before you do any of that, you should make your spaetzle dough. Spaetzle is a German dumpling made of flour, milk, eggs, and spices. Any recipe you choose should be good, varying only on amount, Today I used 1 1/2 cup flour, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend just like pasta, slowly working in the wet ingredients. This dough, however, will be sticky and runny, not like regular pasta.


Then, boil a pot of water and use a spaetzle maker/cheese grater/large-holed colander (check) to “cut” the dough into small dumplings over the water. They only need to boil for about 5 mins and drain immediately.

All the while, you should have some bacon rendering in a pan. About three strips will do to thoroughly flavor the spaetzle, along with two cloves of minced garlic and two sprigs of chopped rosemary. Put the dumplings right into the hot bacon grease that you’ve now flavored with garlic and rosemary and fry for about 4 minutes. To top it off with some charm, I added chopped bacon back into mix. MMMM, Bacon.

Even earlier, I made a stab at some southern flash kraut. I chopped some mustard and turnip greens and blanched them with some about 1/2 cup each cider and white wine vinegar, salt, pickling spices, and garlic (with water to cover the greens in a large bowl) and refrigerated for about an hour. After draining, I wilted them over low heat in a pan for a few minutes. I would recommend collards or chard for yours, though.

The plate came together with a lovely Southern tomato:


And, of course, a nice German dunkel:


It was all quite good. The meat had a sweetness and overall great flavor profile and the spaetzle was like little bacony pillows. The greens we ok, and certainly complemented the dish. With the dunkel and the gravy to boot, this was like Helen, GA on a plate.