Pumpkin and Sage Crusted Spiced Chevre Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Persimmon Glaze

30 10 2010

 

This a dish that brings home a host of fall flavors in a most delicious way.

  • 2-3 pound pork tenderloin
  • Butcher’s twine

Pork Tenderloin Stuffing

  • 5 oz chevre
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Combine all the ingredients together in  abowl and set aside.

Pumpkin Sage Crust

  • 2 Tbs ground sage
  • ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, roasted (often sold in stores as pepitas)

Crust exposed to demonstrate composition

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Remove and set aside.

Trim the silver skin from the pork tenderloin. Butterfly the halves and stuff the middle of each half with the spiced chevre. Reassemble the tenderloin and tie together with butcher’s twine. Coat the outside of the tenderloin with the sage and pumpkin seed mixture. Sear each side for 4-6 minutes in a pan over medium high heat. Remove and finish in the oven at 425 degrees F until the internal temperature is about 140 degrees F. Remove and allow to rest for ten minutes.

Persimmon Glaze

  • 4 persimmons, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 pods star anise

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until the persimmon is tender. Using a potato masher, mash up the persimmon and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about fifteen minutes. Remove and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Return the liquid to high heat and reduce until the liquid is a syrup consistency, about 5-10 minutes.

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Sautéed Kale with Mushroom and Bacon

29 10 2010

Depending on the type of kale, you can enhance the sweetness by freezing the greens prior to use.

  • 4 strips bacon, drained and crumbles
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz kale
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the kale and cook for about 3 minutes, until the leaves turn bright green and tender. Season with salt and pepper, add the crumbled bacon and serve.





Boxty In the Poorhouse

28 10 2010

 

Boxty, also known as bacstai, aran bocht ti or simply as poorhouse bread is an Irish potato pancake. It is also another traditional fall dish served around Halloween. There are as many variations as there are potato pancakes. This is a simple version served with a spiced chevre filled sage and pumpkin seed crusted pork tenderloin, topped with a persimmon glaze and sautéed kale. The other recipes will follow over the next few days.

  • 1.5-2.0 pounds grated potatoes
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Grate the potatoes then wring them out in a dishtowel to remove the excess water. Place in a bowl with shallot, mashed potatoes, egg, salt, pepper and buttermilk. Sift the flour into the mixture. Add the baking powder. Combine thoroughly; the batter should resemble a pancake batter in consistency. Heat a skillet (or a griddle) over medium heat with a little olive oil and butter, drop the batter onto the heated surface and cook as you would a pancake.





Doc’d up Halloween Colcannon

27 10 2010

Halloween today has become a time of prepackaged sweet treats. But in the history of Halloween there is a rich and delicious gastronomic lore. One of the traditional dishes from the Emerald Isle for this festive occasion is Colcannon. Traditionally a basic side dish of cabbage and potatoes, this doc’d up version offers a complete meal with a cornucopia of fall flavors. There are also a tremendous amount health benefits to found within:

  • Antioxidants like Vitamins C and E (butter, potatoes, kale and cabbage)
  • Vitamins A, D and K (Butter and  milk)
  • Calcium (kale butter, milk and cheese)
  • Vitamin B6, copper, potassium and manganese (potatoes)
  • Phytochemicals (like isothiocyantaes) which may help protect against cancer (cabbage and kale)
  • Fiber (potatoes, kale and cabbage)
  • Flavonoids which act as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agents (cabbage and kale)

So move beyond a reheated can of Hallow beanie weenies for your fall celebration meal and enjoy a healthful, delicious and traditional festive food guaranteed to keep the hunger goblins at bay. For a more healthful accompaniment, just leave out the bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ pound red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 4 leeks (white parts only)
  • ½ cup sliced tart apples like Granny Smith
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ pound of kale, sliced thinly (remove the stems)
  • 1 ½  pounds of potatoes
  • 4 oz whole milk
  • 4 oz butter
  • ½ tsp mace (or nutmeg)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese
  • ½ pound bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (for topping)

Sauté the cabbage, leeks and apples with the olive oil and lemon juice, about five minutes then set aside. Steam the sliced kale for about five minutes, until bright green and set aside. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until fork tender. Remove, drain and return to the pot adding the butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, mace, cheese and milk. Mash the potatoes until creamy. Add the cabbage, apples, leeks, kale and bacon. Place in 8oz ramekins and top with bread crumbs. Place under the broiler until the bread crumbs have browned. Serve immediately.

Makes ten 8oz servings.





Too Much of a Good Thing?

26 10 2010

Can you really have too much of a good thing? The conventional wisdom would say no when it comes to things like exercise. Yet, we have recorded that extremes can have consequences. For example, for women who do some extreme marathon running, it can affect their menstrual cycle and cause amenorrhea. When it comes to cardiovascular health, the thought was that you cannot really over work the heart muscle.

A recent study by marathon runner and Canadian cardiologist, Dr. Eric Larose suggests differently. First and foremost, please note that any cardiac muscle damage appears transient and completely reversible. That being said, it appears that stress of marathon running does cause heart muscle damage.

The study was presented at the 2010 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. It involved analyzing twenty marathon runners of varying experience; for some it was their first marathon, for others it was their thirtieth. The average age was forty-five. [i]They were examined six to eight weeks prior to the marathon, immediately after the marathon and then three months later.

The findings suggested cardiac stress similar to that which might be seen with a mild heart attack. There was inflammation and about fifty percent of the heart was involved. The less fit runners had higher levels of stress. Regardless, by three months all signs of marathon induced trauma were no longer present.

Interestingly, a recent animal study looking at oxidative stress on the heart which also causes an inflammatory reaction was found to have potentially beneficial effects. Conventional wisdom has held that oxidative stress causes a cardiac inflammatory response and thus is a bad thing. This type of reaction was the target of many studies looking to use high levels of antioxidants to reduce the effect, or prevent oxidative reactions from occurring. The recent animal study showed that these lower intensity oxidative reactions caused the heart muscle to respond by producing more blood vessels, and this response to the inflammation helped make the heart less susceptible to permanent damage from major stressors down the road. Thus these reactions served to condition the heart to be more resilient and less likely to develop permanent heart muscle weakness. This may explain why at the end of the day, the many studies looking for a benefit to taking high levels of anti-oxidants has not really panned out[ii].

What can we glean from this recent data that seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom?

I think there are a few take home points:

  • While it is good to push the boundaries, sustained excess (of any activity) can be a detrimental practice
  • Physical exercise has tremendous benefits, be smart about how far you push. Learn to listen to your body
  • With respect to physical exercise, do not go directly from the couch to running a marathon

The human body is incredibly complex, what is the conventional wisdom of today may be the forbidden tenet  of to


[i] (Doheny, 2010)

[ii] (Zhang, et al., 2010)





Doc on Daytime video

20 10 2010

For those that missed the segment on national TV last week, here’s the clip. Please enjoy and let us know your thoughts!





It’s What’s in the Diet

20 10 2010

Too often we look for a one shot quick-fix miracle cure. A super pill or super food as a panacea to, in one fell swoop, cleanse us of all our culinary sins and dietary indiscretions. Well, this ain’t that-but it is close. A recent study looked at the Mediterranean diet in non diabetics at high cardiovascular risk[i]. The Mediterranean diet, as described in this study utilizes

  • Olive oil for cooking and dressing.
  • Increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and fish.
  • Reduction in total meat consumption, recommending white meat instead of red or processed meat.
  • Preparation of homemade sauce with tomato, garlic, onion, and spices with olive oil to dress vegetables, pasta, rice, and other dishes.
  • Avoidance of butter, cream, fast-food, sweets, pastries, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • In alcohol drinkers, moderate consumption of red wine.

There are a couple of important points to highlight here. There is liberal use of olive oil, which is a natural fat. The fruit, vegetables, legumes and fish are of the very fresh and minimally processed variety. The meat, likewise, should be minimally processed. The sauces to dress the dishes are of the homemade variety. Avoid prepared fast foods, products using highly refined components like flour and white sugar. I think you get the theme; fresh and minimally processed or adulterated food is the key component in the diet.

When this high risk population consumed this diet for four years versus a low fat diet, the incidence of new-onset diabetes was reduced by about 50%. As Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvadó (a principal investigator) noted, “the diabetes risk reduction occurred in the absence of significant changes in body weight or physical activity, so the reduction can be attributed only to the diet, not to weight loss.” Stephanie A Dunbar of the American Diabetes Association commented that  “(p)reviously, a randomized controlled trial, the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that it was more the weight loss that helped to prevent diabetes, but in this study they are showing that by changing the foods you eat, you can reduce your risk without weight loss.”

Interestingly, the study, PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) randomized folks to a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with nuts or a low fat diet, as the control group. Diets were without limits, and no advice on physical activity was given. The main outcome was diabetes incidence as diagnosed by the 2009 ADA criteria. The study is still ongoing, but the preliminary data from a Spanish site shows that after a median follow-up of four years, diabetes incidence was 10.1%, 11.0%, and 17.9% in the Mediterranean-diet-with-olive-oil group, the Mediterranean-diet-with-nuts group, and the control group, respectively. This equates to a 52% reduction in diabetes, due to the diet (not weight loss or physical activity).

Fresh and unadulterated, it may not be easy but  it’s pretty damn simple.


[i] (Salas-Salvado, Bullo, & Babio, 2010)