Hello Pork Fans!

Hello fellow Pork fans!  I am thrilled to be joining the team here at “Pork, Knife & Spoon” as a contributing blogger for the next few months.  I thought I would kick things off by introducing myself to you and sharing one of my signature dishes.  I can’t wait to bring you some of my favorite pork recipes, engaging stories and culinary adventures here on the blog!

I started my culinary career early, at the age of 12 in cooking contests.  At that time I was a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off and even ended up in the winners circle!  (In fact, I come from a long line of award-winning home cooks.  My mother and grandmother also have won countless prizes for their food!)   From that moment on, I was hooked.  I found my passion and continued to develop recipes and enter cooking competitions.  Being a huge fan of pork, I heard about a contest looking for “America’s Next Pork Personality”.  I was lucky enough to make it to the finals at the Food Network Wine and Food Festival in New York City and was excited to demonstrate my recipe for the crowd as well as everyone’s favorite Food Network Star, Guy Fieri.  After a grueling competition, I was thrilled to be named the winner and became great friends with the sponsor, The National Pork Board!

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Today, I am enjoying a career as a professional food writer and cooking show host.  I currently host the Better Recipes website, part of the Better Homes and Gardens network.  On the site I write a daily blog, run their facebook and twitter accounts and provide cooking videos. As you will soon see on this blog, I am also always on the go, traveling across the country to host TV cooking segments or doing live cooking demos.  I can’t wait to take you all along for the ride and bring tons of great stories and recipes from the adventures.  So stay tuned, we are going to have a blast!

With the new slogan, “Pork Be Inspired” I wanted to share with you the recipe that started it all, my winning dish from the “America’s Next Pork Personality” contest.  I was inspired to prepare a dish that was easy, flavorful and fun.  The tenderloin is such a versatile cut of pork and is fantastic on the grill.  Paired with pear mashed potatoes (fruit and pork are good friends), some grilled baby bok choy and you have a meal!

porktenderloin

SPICY ASIAN PORK TENDERLOIN WITH PEAR MASHED POTATOES AND GRILLED BABY BOK CHOY

PORK AND MARINADE:

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/4 cup mirin
4 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice powder
1/4 teaspoon hot Chinese mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

PEAR-CARAWAY MASHED POTATOES:

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium pear or pear-apple, cored, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup sliced green onion, with some tops included
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 Tablespoon milk (or more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 Baby Bok Choy- halved lengthwise and kept intact
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

For Pork: Place tenderloin pieces in a nonreactive dish. Combine all remaining marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour 1/4 cup of marinade over pork and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate while preparing rest of dish. Place remaining marinade in a small saucepan; set aside.

For potatoes: Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 12 minutes; drain and set aside. While potatoes are boiling, melt butter in a medium skillet. Add pear, green onion, and caraway seed to pan and saute until mixture is softened, about 5-7 minutes. Place cooked potatoes, pear mixture (along with all liquid in pan), milk, salt, and pepper in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is just smooth, adding more milk, if needed, a little at a time until of desired consistency. Return mixture to saucepan; cover and keep warm.

To grill pork and bok choy: Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade and grill about 6-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness of pork, and basting with any marinade in dish. When done, place pork on a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes. While pork is resting, brush halved bok choy with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until just wilted and lightly browned, about 1-1/2 minutes per side.

To serve dish: Place a dollop of mashed potatoes on each of 4 serving plates, along with pieces of bok choy. Slice pork and place on dish. Heat marinade and drizzle over pork slices. Serves 4.

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