Thursday, February 25, 2010

Garden Herb Pork Loin Slices over Baby Spinach & Arugula w/ Cinnamon Roasted Pears, Candied Walnuts, and a Roasted Pear & White Wine Vinaigrette

Let's be honest, you will not have leftovers from this one...

(Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Difficulty: Level I
Yield: 3-4 Servings


At least 1.5 hours before you plan to eat, begin to make the Someday Gourmet's Roasted Pear & White Wine Vinaigrette.  To save time, clean and cut all of the pears at the same time however do not cook 2 when making the sauce.

40 minutes before you plan to eat, preheat the oven to 375F.  Cover half of a baking rack with foil and spray the entire rack with Pam and place it inside of a foil lined baking sheet.  Add butter to a small mixing bowl and microwave for 10 seconds or until melted then mix in the cinnamon.  Place the pears on the foil covered half of the rack and drizzle half of the butter mixture over them to thoroughly coat.  Stir the brown sugar into to the remaining butter mixture and set aside. Next remove the pork from the packaging, trim the fat, and place on the exposed half of the rack and place into the middle of the oven.  Add the walnuts to a small frying pan and cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes.  Remove and add to the butter mixture and coat thoroughly.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pork is cooked to your desired doneness.

Remove the pork from oven and let it rest on a cutting board tightly covered with foil for 5 minutes.  Turn the oven off and let the pears warm in the oven.  Meanwhile, prepare the spinach and arugula mix on the serving dish/platter and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cut the pork into slices along a 45 degree diagonal and place on the salad mix. Gently add the pear slices and top with the walnuts.

Serve immediately with the vinaigrette on the side with a toasty piece of bread.

Chef's Notes
  • To make life easier, I strongly suggest making the sauce in advance to refrigerate overnight.  It also allows the flavors to mellow and mix together better.
  • Feel free to use any kind of pork loin, the garden herbs are quite delicious with the pear flavor.
  • Break these candied walnuts out for any occasion.  They are quick and easy yet jazz up any salad and will really impress your friends!

Roasted Pear & White Wine Vinaigrette

I'm sorry Snapple but this is the best stuff on earth!

Inspiration: Roasted Pear Champagne Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes before
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Level I
Yield: 2-3 Cups


Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with Pam.  Wash the pears, remove the steams, and slice into 4ths.  Holding each piece of pear vertically, gently slice out the core and seeds.  Flip the piece over and slice into 2 or 3 wedges and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat.

Sprinkle the cinnamon over the pears and place the pan in middle of the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes and then let cool for a few minutes on the pan.

In the meantime, add the rest of the ingredients except the oil into the blender.  Measure the oil in a small measuring glass with a spout and set aside.  Once the pears have cooled slightly, add to the blender and pulse until thoroughly puréed.  Remove the center of the lid, turn the blender on high, and slowly and steadily pour the oil into the center of the blender while its running. 

Refridgerate for at least 30 minutes before using and will hold for 5-7 days.

Chef's Notes
  • Picking a pear can be challenging and I try to find ones that are just slightly soft to the touch with a little color in the skin.  I typically plan to use a pear 2-3 days after I bring it home from the store to allow it to ripen on the countertop.  For this dressing I went with a standard pear but there are a wide variety of pears to experiment with!
  • If you are preparing the dressing to use with a salad, consider roasting another pear that has been cut into larger slices with cinnimon to use as a tasty and gourmet looking topping.
  • This recipe does not actually contain any vinegar so I guess its technically not a vinaigrette.  Feel free to hold that against me ;)

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Week's Menu

After a fairly light couple of weeks, I'm back in the saddle. I'm on a new course to try and cook a little healthier so you'll see more veggie's and what-not popping up. Let's see how long it can last ;-)

The Menu
  • Turkey Meatloaf with homemade turkey gravy
  • Teriyaki Chicken and Peppers stirfry over sticky rice
  • Italian Dressing marinated Roasted Chicken Thighs with angel hair pasta
  • Maple-smoked BLTs on thick sliced Tuscan white bread
Recipes to follow soon...
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