Friday, September 4, 2009


Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie-just added a frozen banana, big scoop of creamy PB, big scoop of fat free vanilla yogurt, some skim milk and ice in the blender....delish! Would actually be a great dessert. Peeling and freezing overripe bananas for smoothies is a great way to avoid throwing them out.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin (from
"For this easy-to-follow recipe, pork tenderloin marinates in sherry, cinnamon, brown sugar and soy sauce, for sweet, moist and tender results."
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic powder
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
1. Place soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, dried onion, cinnamon, olive oil, and a touch of garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake to mix. Place pork in bag with marinade, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
2. Preheat grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil grate. Place tenderloins on grill, and discard marinade. Cook 20 minutes, or to desired doneness. Slice into medallions, and serve.

Modifications I made: used brandy instead of sherry, doubled sauce because I had a total of 2.25lbs pork loin, used onion powder instead of dried onion. Cooked one tenderloin on a grill pan, cooked the other in the oven after searing in a skillet. Boiling down the remaining marinade and adding some cornstarch (mixed with water in a separate bowl, then added to sauce) to make gravy.

How was it? Great, would definitely make again! The cinnamon in the marinade was a great and unexpected flavor for the pork, perfect for fall. The meat was moist (once you got underneath the blackened exterior of the grill-pan version) and delicious.

What did I learn? I'm not sure I like grill pans. Every time I use them, and this was no exception, my meat winds up black and my house winds up full of smoke. I think part of the problem may using olive oil. Maybe I need an oil with a higher smoking/heating point. Also, I have a fairly cheap grill pan and I think a lot of the nonstick coating has been scraped away in trying to scrub off the blackened-on meat and marinade residues. Anybody have any grill pan tips? I tried cooking the 2 loins differently to see how they each turned out, and in this case the seared+baked combo was the clear winner. I used a meat thermometer to cook them to 160 degrees. Also, I learned to add cornstarch/water mixture in small, gradual amounts instead of all at once to avoid gelatinous gravy.

Here's the gelatinous gravy. Had good flavor, but too gooey.

Grill pan version: See all that blackness, stuckness, and smoke...what am I doing wrong?

Seared+baked version. The marinade turns really dark, but this one wasn't burned at all despite how dark it looks in this pic.

I shredded one of the tenderloins to use later, either as barbecue or in pork tacos or quesadillas.

Pineapple and Sweet Potato Gratin
1.5 lbs sweet potatos, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 large fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 Tbs. margarine or butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Brush oval gratin or other shallow baking dish with 1 Tbs butter. Alternate slices of sweet potato and pineapple to fill the dish. Mix the remaining butter with the salt, cinnamon and pepper and drizzle evenly over the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Bake until very tender, about 1 hour.

Modifications I made: I accidentally forgot to mix the seasonings in the butter so just added the to the top after drizzling the butter.

How was it? Very tasty. The mix of summery pineapple and fall-y sweet potato is great for early September. The top layers tend to dry out because the butter sinks down, so next time I would stir it once or twice during cooking to mix the bottom layers and top layers..not as pretty, but much tastier.

What I learned? Pineapple and sweet potatoes go well together.

Here are all the ingredients, ready to be put together.

Before going in the oven....

Here's the finished product fresh out of the oven.

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