Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Posted by Becca On September - 13 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

For the longest time, I used to buy pre-seasoned pork tenderloins from the grocery store.  They came in a variety of flavors & were super easy to just throw on the grill after a long day at work.  And then I found this recipe.  Never again would I waste money on a more expensive product just because it was fast & easy.  This recipe is just as quick, is far tastier than the preservative filled packaged versions, & significantly easier on the wallet.  While I like to cook the tenderloin on the grill, it can also be cooked in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Preparation

Rub spices over pork & allow to stand for 20 minutes.

After cooking, let the pork rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Grill Preparation

Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350°-400°).  Lightly brush the grill with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Place pork on the grill & cook for 28-30 minutes, rotating frequently (about every 4-5 minutes).

Oven Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork to the pan & cook for 4 minutes, browning on all sides.

Transfer pork to roasting pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Drinks

This dish can be accompanied by either beer or wine, depending on your preference or mood.  If I’m more in a beer mood, I like to turn to one of my all-time favorite beers: Warsteiner.  I am a huge fan of German beers & this one ranks at the very top of them all.  There are two versions of this gift from the German beer gods: the standard Premium Verum (the standard pilsener) or the Premium Dunkel (a dark pilsener).  Both are delightful with this dish.  If wine is what I’m wanting, Peace Family Vineyard is where I like to look.  Their red wine (a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache, & Mataro) is just sweet enough to complement the sweeter spices on the pork.

Music

Van Morrison’s Moondance is an incredible album to turn on during any occasion, especially when preparing this dish.  It is such a mellow album that it makes everything around you just slow down & seem so much better; it’s impossible to not smile when you listen to it.  The simplicity of this dish combined with the full flavor of the spice coating makes it equally pleasing & mellow.  When you combine the pork with the music, you have a combination that is sure to keep you smiling for a while.

Grilled New Potatoes

Posted by Becca On August - 28 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This is a super easy recipe that can go with almost anything.  It takes almost no time or effort and the fresh herbs add a wonderful flavor to the tender new potatoes and all the ingredients are incredibly inexpensive.  Using the grill for this side dish makes it perfect for any summer cooking when it is just too hot to turn on the oven.  You can also save any leftover potatoes, which reheat very well, for any other meals during the week.  If you cannot find the fresh herbs at your grocery store, you can substitute with dried herbs but the flavor is not as bright.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups tiny new potatoes, halved or quartered depending on preferred size
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Boil the potatoes until you can just pierce them with a skewer, about 4-6 minutes.  Don’t let them get too soft.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat and brush with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Thread the potatoes on a skewer, brush with the oil and herb mixture, and place on grill.

Rotate the skewers often until the potatoes’ skins are light brown and crisp and the insides are soft, about 8-12 minutes.

Mushroom Fajitas

Posted by Becca On August - 24 - 20104 COMMENTS

My husband and I love mushrooms.  We could probably eat them on a daily basis.  We had eaten mushroom fajitas at restaurants on numerous occasions and had always enjoyed them so I decided to make them for dinner one night.  I didn’t have a recipe; I just thought of the flavors I like and made this up as I went along.  It turned out to be so delicious that it instantly became a regular in our dining repertoire.

Ingredients

  • 4 large portabella mushrooms
  • 2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded & finely chopped (keep a few seeds for added heat if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • splash of mid-quality tequila (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

Wash mushrooms thoroughly & pat dry.  Slice mushrooms into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, cover.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium heat (around 350° to 400°).

Cover vegetable grilling basket with aluminum foil & lightly spray with cooking spray.

Place mushroom mixture in basket and grill for 20 – 25 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently.

Serve on warmed or grilled flour tortillas with black beans.

Optional toppings: Mexican cheese, avocado, lettuce, sour cream, red or green salsa

Drinks

The great thing about this dish is that it is pretty versatile and goes well with wine, beer, and mixed drinks (especially if it’s the “Not Your Mama’s Margarita which, I promise, I will post the recipe for soon).  When I am in a wine mood, I like to pair this with PrimaTerra’s Sangiovese because it is a slightly sweet, yet still very mild red.  If I’m more in a beer mood, any of the Mexican beers are a perfect match for this dish.  I particularly enjoy the Dos Equis Amber.

Music

I like to listen to something that would seem to fall out of my normal musical tastes while making this dish, Tool’s 10,000 Days.  Most people hear “Tool” & automatically think something more along the lines of Heavy Metal.  However, what people fail to recognize is that Tool is an incredibly innovative, creative, and diverse band & nothing exemplifies that more than 10,000 Days.  I like to listen to this album while making this dish because of the surprising spice/heat that is in it, which most people wouldn’t expect in something as simple as mushroom fajitas.

Souvlaki

Posted by Becca On July - 19 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This is a perfect meal for the summer because it is light, healthy, and grilled (which is great when it’s too hot to turn on the oven).  It is simple to make but is full of flavor and incredibly filling.  The fresh vegetables used in this recipe add a crispness that never fails to satisfy.  I typically use pork loin as the protein in this dish but it could easily be switched out with chicken, lamb, or beef and be equally tasty.  It also makes great leftovers.  I serve this dish on warmed flat bread (which can done on the grill or in the oven), tzatziki, and hummus (recipes for both are posted separately).

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound boneless pork tenderloin
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, halved (I use baby portobellas because they are larger than standard mushrooms)

Preparation

In a large plastic or glass bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, oregano, and garlic.  Add pork, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms; stir to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high heat (about 350-400 degrees).  Slide pork, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms onto skewers and place on skewers on grill.  Cook about 10 to 15 minutes total turning the skewers frequently.

Serve on pita or flat bread with tzatziki spooned on top.

Drinks

This dish works well with both red & white wine, as long as they are mellow; I don’t like wines that overpower the delicious flavors of this dish.  Rene Barbier’s Mediterranean Red is an excellent compliment to the sweetness of the peppers, the bite of the garlic, and the mellowness of the pork and mushrooms.  I also really like Messina Hof’s (an awesome Texas vineyard located in Bryan) Muscat Canelli or Riesling.

Music

This is a dish for mellow, yet slightly funky, music because of its combination of ease in preparation with slightly exotic flavors.  I think my all time favorite band to turn on and jam out to while making this meal is Portishead.  I’m particularly a massive fan of their live album, Roseland NYC Live in which they pair up with the string section of the New York Philharmonic orchestra.  I also really enjoy putting on just about any album ever released by Dave Matthews Band, especially if it is a live album.