Cracked Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin with a Pineapple Chipotle Glaze

Picture by the Serving Wench

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.

Prep Time: Cooking Time: Difficulty: Serving Size:
5 min 1 hour Easy 4

INGREDIENT:

  • 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

DIRECTIONS:

  1. 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.
  2. To make glaze, combine all ingredients into a blender and liquefy.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (or until it thickens.)
  4. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  5. When pork is done, slice it up and serve on a plate and drizzle glaze on top.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Photo taken by Nicole Ramos

The first time I ever tried this cake is when I had to make one for a close friend’s birthday.  It’s the only cake he loves and I could see why.  I looked and looked for the best possible recipe and decided on Paula Deen’s Pineapple Upside Cake recipe on Food Network.  I love Paula Deen! She reminds me so much of my grandmother when she cooks!

So, for this recipe, I cut it down and thought it would be cute as individual serving portions, rather than a large cake.  You’ll need a jumbo 6 cup muffin pan for this recipe.  If you only have a 12 cup muffin pan, I recommend substituting cans of diced pineapple instead of the sliced and arrange the dice pieces to reflect a pineapple slice.   This recipe should yield 16 individual cupcakes.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C  butter, plus 1/2 C (melted)
1 3/4 C   sugar
3 lg  eggs
1/2 tsp  pure vanilla extract
1 tsp  baking powder
1/8 tsp  salt
3/4 C  buttermilk
1 C  brown sugar
2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple slices
1 (10 oz.) jar of maraschino cherries
Nonstick spray (I find that Pam’s Nonstick Baking Spray works best)
aluminum foil or parchment paper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the jumbo muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat ½ cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Spoon the brown sugar (Approximately 1 tablespoon per cup) evenly into each muffin cup. Spoon the melted butter (about 1 teaspoon) equally over the brown sugar. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar. Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.
  5. Spoon batter into the cups until the cup looks about ¾ full, over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Cover wire racks with aluminum foil or parchment paper and invert the mini cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.

Viola!!  You are now ready to serve everyone something amazing!  These would be great to serve at a dessert party!