Author Archives: ktolar

Cranberry-Bourbon Relish

Recipe Courtesy Betty Eustis
Photo by Kyle Tolar

 

10 TO 12 SERVINGS

1 cup bourbon
1/4 cup minced shallots
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. In a small noncorrodible saucepan, combine the bourbon, shallots and orange zest. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bourbon is reduced to a syrupy glaze on the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the cranberries and sugar, stirring well, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, until most of the cranberries have burst open, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the pepper. Transfer to a bowl, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

This relish can be prepared several days in advance of serving.

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Medallions of Pork with Dried Cherries and Apple Juice Reduction

I picked up a center cut pork fillet the other day and was looking for some inspiration.  I’ve been wanting to do something with pork in a preparation similar to Steak Au Poivre, but a little lighter.  I found a Food and Wine recipe that suggested cutting a tenderloin into fillets, pan searing and making a pan sauce with Apples and Riesling.  Sounded great but I was short the Apples and the Riesling, so I improvised a bit with what I found in the cupboard.  Sear the pork well in a stainless or aluminum pan– skip the non-stick stuff on this one.  You want a create a good fond as the base to deglaze and create the sauce.  This is a great technique– super simple and elegant.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5 pound of center cut pork loin or pork tenderloin

Salt and Pepper

2 cups apple juice, organic, unsweetened, unfiltered

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp Canola Oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

Empty the apple juice into a small bowl and warm in microwave for about a minute.  Soak Cherries to soften.

Trim the pork of excess fat and cut into 1 inch-thick fillets.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat Oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke.  Add pork fillets to pan and do not touch them!  The pork with be seared to a deep brown in 5 to 6 minutes.  The meat will easily turn at that point.  Turn and finish for another 5 to 6 minutes on the other side until pork reaches 160 to 170 degrees.  Remove from pan and allow to rest.

Increase the heat slightly and add the apple juice from the bowl with the soaking cherries, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits from the pork.  Once the pan is clear and juice is beginning to boil, add the remaining juice with cherries and the dried thyme.  Cook at a high heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and cherries are soft.  Remove from heat, stir in butter.  Serve sauce over pork.

Cut pork loin into 1 inch thick fillets

Reduce apple juice and cherries over high heat

Finished plate


Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

I’ve just recently discovered the wonders of Kale.  Can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan greens, but with my recent interest in healthy eating, I’ve been looking for ways to introduced more green leafy vegetables into my diet.

I keep hearing about this stuff.  Eatingwell.com featured it prominently as one of the “7 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating But Aren’t“.  Foodzie.com featured Kale Chips in their January tasting box.  I’m hooked!  Have found a dozen ways to use the super-food– high in antioxidants, low in calories– who knew a green could be so versatile.  Offered here is a vegetarian option– a pizza with Kale, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and crispy onions on a whole wheat crust.  Definitely going to make this one again.

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato

1 large sweet onion

2 cups kale, cleaned and chopped

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 cups reduced fat mozzarella

2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel sweet potato and slice into 1/4″ rounds.  Do the same with the onion.  Combine Onion and Sweet potato in large bowl.  Toss with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange vegetables evenly with no overlap.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning once.  Remove from oven, allow to cool.  Increase oven temp to 500 degrees.

While vegetables are cooling, prepare pizza dough.  Brush with remaining Tbsp of olive oil.  Spread garlic evenly over oiled dough followed by the mozzarella.  Arrange Kale, sweet potatoes and onion on top of pizza.  Finish with Parmesan.  Bake at 500 degrees until crust is golden and vegetables begin to crisp,  approximately 12 minutes.

 


Agave-Sweetened Raspberry Tart with Greek Yogurt

I came up with this over the last holiday season while I was looking for something to take to parties that wasn’t too far off the diet plan.

The inspiring recipe was from Food and Wine and sported a remarkable 134 calories per serving.  The original called for blueberries.  It was, however, the holidays so I started by swapping out the blueberries for something festive.  Luckily, I found raspberries that fit the bill.  I’m sure other berries would adapt quite well too.

Instead of honey, I opted for the lower glycemic Agave nectar.  I left the crust pretty much as original, using gram crackers and candied ginger.  The ginger adds a bit of something special to the crust, though if you are without, I don’t believe skipping that ingredient would be the end of the world.  The creamy texture of the greek yogurt paired with the subtle sweetness of the agave and the bright tartness of the raspberries was a wonderful combination that received rave reviews.

Ingredients

10 whole graham crackers

1/4 cup Crystalized ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg white

2 cups nonfat greek style yogurt, drained overnight

2 tbsp amber agave nectar plus 2 tbsp light agave nectar (or 4 tbsp of either type, divided)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 pints fresh raspberries

Directions

Drain the greek yogurt in the refrigerator overnight in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray 11″ nonstick tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.  In a food processor, pulse together graham crackers, crystalized ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground.  Add butter and egg white and process until crumbs are evenly coated.  With a sprayed rubber spatula or your fingers, press crumbs into bottom and up sides of prepared tart pan, as evenly and thinly as possible.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until crust is golden.  Cool completely.

Prepare glaze by mixing 2 tbsp light agave nectar and 1 tbsp water in small pan, bring just to boil.  Allow to boil gently for about 2 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix drained yogurt and 2 tbsp of amber agave nectar and vanilla.  Once crust has completely cooled, spread yogurt mixture in crust.  Starting in center, arrange fruit from center to edge of tart.  Brush fruit with agave glaze.

Allow to set completely in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.  Cut into 12 pieces.  Enjoy!

Choose fresh berries for both color and flavor

Spread filling evenly over cooled crust

Arrange fruit evenly over filled crust

applying agave glaze to tart

Finished product


Spinach Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

Nothing compares to the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven.  Tenderloins are a great alternative to the standard Thanksgiving bird and can cook quickly enough for a mid-week meal.  Avoiding the carbs associated with the bread-stuffed bird, here I opted for fresh spinach combined with a creamy Havarti that made for a filling reminiscent of creamed spinach.  If you’re concerned with the full-fat cheese, go for a reduced fat mozzarella for a good alternative.

Ingredients

2 Turkey Tenderloins, approx 1 pound

2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

3 ounces Dill Havarti

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp paprika

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare stuffing by combining the spinach, cheese, oregano, black pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut a pocket in each of the tenderloins by cutting from one side almost through to the other.  Stuff each tenderloin with half of the stuffing mixture.  Secure the tenderloin with 3 or 4 toothpicks or wooden skewers. Place tenderloins in a oiled baking dish.

Combine remaining olive oil, salt and paprika. Brush evenly over turkey.  Bake at 425 until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, approximately 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Serves 4

Approximate nutritional info*

Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Per Serving: 301 1 17 40 0 342
*calculated using MyFitnesspal.com

Red Lentil-Coconut Soup

Red Lentil Coconut Soup

This quick and easy soup is both healthy and satisfying.  The balance of eastern spices and sweet coconut makes for a perfect starter for dinner or a quick winter lunch.  Lentils are a great source of protein and pairs very well with the coconut milk.

Red lentils have been a bit of a challenge to find in my regular groceries, though I have found Bob’s Red Mill brand red lentils at the local “job lots” discount store.  Green lentils substitue just fine, though the red lentil lends a beautiful warm yellow hue to the end product.

Substitue vegetable broth for the chicken broth if  you want to go vegetarian.  Choose a “lite” coconut milk to save on some fat and calories.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp minced pealed fresh ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, divided

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup dried red lentils

1 cup coconut milk

juice of 1/2 lime

dash of salt

Preparation

Heat Olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  Add onion and cook 8-10 minutes until brown.  Stir in ginger, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until fragrent.  Stir in 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro.

Add broth and lentils, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Puree soup with an emersion blender or in batches in a standard blender.  Return to medium heat.  Add coconut milk, lime, salt.  Garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

Makes 4 Servings

Approximate Nutritional Info*

Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Per Serving: 367 32 28 13 5 211

*calculated using MyFitnesspal.com


Pork Chops with Apricot-Tomato Chutney

I was trying to find something new to do with some boneless pork chops and found this recipe on EatingWell.  In their take on a lighter pork chop, the combine the pork with dried apricots, canned tomatos and some crushed red pepper.

The recipe is noted as just under 250 calories per serving, 10g fat and 11g carbs.

This had a nice flavor, though I think the thyme and apricot and lemon flavors could use a boost.  I’ll definitely try this one again adding my own spin and post the results

Check out the original recipe here:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/pork_chops_with_apricot_tomato_chutney.html

The Pork went well with pan roasted cauliflower and baked sweet potato “fries”.  For a light but sweet finish, I served up some beautiful fresh blackberries and granola over agave sweetened non-fat greek yogurt  (shown below).