Picture by the Serving Wench
I will never be an artist. Ever. My paintings or drawings are just glorified stick figures. I get lucky with that one perfect photo, but that is after a million takes. However, cooking is where I can just be me. I zone out in the kitchen. I love to entertain and feed others because there is that small part of me that I’m sharing with you. There is a certain intimacy that comes from food. There are times where an artist loses inspiration and for writer’s it’s called “writer’s block”. What do they call it when a cook has lost his/hers touch? I don’t have a name for it but it pretty much means get your butt back in the kitchen. I’ve poured over many other food blogs, magazines, Pinterest boards, tweets and I envied the time and dedication they had. Finally, it was like a light switched hit me (yes hit me, okay maybe I ran into it). In a single moment I had remembered why I loved cooking so much and why baking is therapeutic to me. Amongst the daily grind and the focusing so much on school and work that I forgot (essentially) about me.
Do what you love and never lose sight of who you are. For when you do, everything you do thereafter, has no meaning or purpose. Yes, it was a pretty gnarly run in with the light switch, to lead to an existential moment. Inspiration and ideas starting flowing and so my kitchen is constantly a mess, my phone notepad app is filled with random ideas. I’m sure some of the things I’ve thought are not original and that somewhere in this blogosphere there are replications of my ideas but hey, food is art. The only thing that matters is how it makes you feel in the end.
Today’s post consists of a pork tenderloin seasoned with a cracked peppercorn blend. You can find several different cracked peppercorn blends at your local grocery store. For this recipe, I chose a blend that contained onions, garlic, salt and peppercorn. I’m fascinated by the fusion of sweet and spicy. I thought a pineapple-chipotle glaze would be a good complement to pork.
- 1 1 lb. pork tenderloin
- 2 TBS cracked peppercorn seasoning
- 1 can (8 oz.) diced pineapples
- 1 C packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½-1 tsp ground chipotle peppers
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Season the pork tenderloin well and generously. Cook the tenderloin between 35-50 minutes. *Depending on the directions of the package for the tenderloin, cooking times and temperature will vary.
- To make glaze, combine all ingredients into a blender and liquefy.
- In a medium saucepan, bring mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (or until it thickens.)
- Turn off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- When pork is done, slice it up and serve on a plate and drizzle glaze on top.
Photo taken by Nicole Ramos
I once tried these at a restaurant and at first I was scared. I never knew cheese could be so creamy. Brie cheese, which was named after a French region, is covered in a white rind that is edible. When I took my first bite, I fell in love! Brie, oh yes please! The melted mild, creamy cheese complimented the savory crust and the sweet & tangy Granny Smith Apple slices. So here is my take on the stuffed pork chops. I substituted the apple slices for a nice apricot glaze, which does the same job but I think it gives the pork chop a much better depth of flavor.
These pork chops are a masterpiece on their own, but a good combination would be some grilled asparagus in olive oil and some roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I find that a nice Beaujolais or buttery Chardonnay is an excellent pairing for a truly marvelous dinner.
4 Center Cut Pork loin Chops (boneless or bone-in)
2 C Bread crumbs
2 TBS Italian Seasoning
2 tsp House Seasoning (my blend is 3 parts Garlic Salt, to 1 part Ground Black Pepper & 1 part Salt)
2 lg eggs
1 C milk
2 TBS Olive oil
½ C Apricot preserve
2 tsp sugar
1 TBS Grand Marnier or Apricot brandy (optional)
NOTE: **If you want to add a little character to the glaze, I recommend adding a pinch of cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes or if you are in a time crunch or lazy (like me sometimes!!) just scoop a dollop of apricot preserves onto the plate!**
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
2. Slice up the Brie cheese in small squares for easy stuffing. Remove the white rind, so you are just left with the creamy center.
3. Trim fat off the edge (if you have any) using a fillet knife, next, carefully cut a slit in the side of the pork chop. Be careful not to cut through the other side of the pork chop. Stuff the Brie cheese pieces into the slit.
4. Heat oil in pan on medium-high heat.
5. Combine Italian seasoning and bread crumbs. Whisk together to blend. In small bowl, whisk together milk & egg for the egg wash.
6. Lightly season each side of the pork chop with the house seasoning. Then dip into the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs. I like to do this process twice to generously coat the outside of the chops.
7. Sear both sides of the pork chops until golden brown (Approximately 3 min. on each side.)
8. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick oil (like Pam) and place the seared pork chops onto a baking sheet and then bake in the oven for 15-20 min.
9. To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, heat up apricot jam and sugar until a syrupy consistency, which takes approximately five minutes.
10. Let it cool and if you choose, add in the alcohol at this stage and mix. Drizzle the glaze over your pork chops. Most glaze recipes would tell you to strain the syrup to get out the fruit, but I think the fruit chunks add to the dish.