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Irish Skillet

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Irish Skillet

I know that some of you are busy roasting your Thanksgiving turkeys, but here in Ontario the aroma of roasting gobblers is but a faint memory tickling our brains and we have settled in to preparing comfort foods before the festive Christmas gourmet goodies are given priority on our tables.

One new comfort dish that I discovered completely by accident these last few weeks was this Irish Skillet dinner. Aside from the fact that it all cooks in one dish, there were a number of things that drew me in.

A. It uses cabbage! I love cooked cabbage.

B. It asks for apple juice. Yes! My eyes perked up at that idea. I can feature our fresh cider.

C. It’s naturally gluten-free, if you’re careful about which beef broth and Worcestershire sauce you use (French’s Worcestershire sauce does not contain gluten). 

D. And finally, it’s Irish! Lots of warm fuzzies here. Because it’s Irish, it gives me license to look at my photos from a couple of years ago when we visited the Emerald Isle. I will share some of them with you as we go along. Here are a few to get started. Ireland possesses a wild rugged beauty and the people match the landscape. 

 

I mumbled something to my daughter-in-law through my mouthful of the hash about the fact that it’s not exactly the prettiest dish in the world, and she replied that Irish food is not really known for its ascetic beauty, but for its taste. We both agreed that it was not lacking in the taste department whatsoever. I thought of various regional Irish dishes and this pretty much holds true for most of the foods. It tastes amazing, but it ain’t so much for looks. Sorry, Dad! I know you believed that food first should appeal to the eyes before it enters the stomach, and most of the time I agree with you. Here are some food pictures.

 

I made Irish soda bread to accompany the meal, of course, and it brought back fun memories of the Dublin giant who taught us how to make the bread, tossing the eggs to us as we were ready. Not a single one broke, believe it or not. He also taught us how to dance an Irish reel. He was definitely a highlight of that part of our organized tour. He also informed us that he’s single, for those of us who might be interested in that tidbit. Which I wasn’t, naturally.

 

The stories and recipes are provided by yours truly, sponsored by Martin’s family Fruit Farm. 

People often ask what the difference is between apple cider and apple juice. In our country, fresh apple cider is simply apples crushed and squeezed to produce a fresh tasting nectar. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been boiled and canned, sometimes made with a concentrate and water, and doesn’t have that fresh apple taste. One half bushel of apples will produce 1 1/2 gallon of cider. A variety of sweet and tart apples makes the best cider.

Fresh Apple Cider

 

Irish Skillet

Ingredients

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For the Sauce: 

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

For the Skillet:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound frozen hash browns or raw potatoes, chopped in 1″ pieces
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet, and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Add the oil, chopped bacon and frozen or fresh potatoes. (I used frozen hash browns, but next time I will use fresh chopped unpeeled potatoes. I think it would look nicer and be less mushy.) Cook uncovered over medium heat until the bacon and potatoes are starting to brown. Stir periodically to keep from sticking. Add the cabbage and the sauce and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve with Irish soda bread for the real deal.

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

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Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal (2)

There is no season so vivid as fall, I believe. It makes my heart smile at this time of year to see the apples and pumpkins happily and flamboyantly flashing their reds and oranges in the sun. They are a harmonious pair, for both decorative and culinary purposes, joining hands to create a magnificent overload for the senses.

Baked oatmeal is not something we had when I was a child. My first exposure to it was at a Bible school where my husband taught at for a number of years. His workload was heavy, being Dean of men as well as teaching several courses, so I played single mama for those six weeks. Thankfully, there were several ladies who stand out in my memory as being life-savers in that time. One of them babysat my young children so that I could take a break from parenting and join the choir practice for an hour in the afternoon. She thrilled my girls when she cut out paperdolls for them and they all played together. They still remember that fondly. Another good friend knew all the good shopping spots and cool places that children would enjoy going to from her own history of being there as a young mom, and took us about town. I thank the good Lord for these people who went out of their way to make a young mother’s life easier.

Once a week, the kitchen crew would make a gigantic batch of baked oatmeal, and we staff families were allowed to take some to our temporary homes to eat at breakfast the next morning. That was always a treat! It was always the same, just a basic oats version, but it provided a delicious breakfast alternative that I didn’t have to make myself.

I usually make the plain version myself but with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided to dress it up a little. Enter the pumpkin and apple team. I cut back the liquid a little to accommodate the pumpkin, switched the raisins for dried cranberries, added a whole chopped Cortland apple and some cinnamon, and voila! Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal was in the oven.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal (5)

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

I like to make the oatmeal the day before and add milk before heating it all up together the next morning. It’s a perfect stick-to-your-ribs recipe for a rainy fall morning.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

Cortland apples are one of my long-time favourites at this time of year. These crunchy, striped, fabulously flavoured apples with their pure white interior are highly versatile and make life so much better. 

When making your own pumpkin puree, use pie pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins, as they are sometimes called. They taste so much better. See this post for instructions on how to make your own puree. For another great breakfast recipe using pumpkins and apples, check out Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles with Honeycrisp Apple Topping.

As always, the recipe and stories are my own. Martin’s Family Fruit Farm is my kind sponsor. 

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

  • 3/4 – 1 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 3 cups quick or large flake oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped apples

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Combine brown sugar (if using maple syrup add it to the liquid ingredients), oats, coconut, raisins, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, then whisk in melted butter, milk, and pumpkin puree. Stir everything together, adding the chopped apples last. The texture should be sort of like a wet oatmeal cookie. Grease a 9″x 13″ pan and pour the oatmeal into it, smoothing out the top. Bake in preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the edges look brown. Remove from oven and run a large spoon through it to crumble the mix. Let cool before storing in an airtight container. I like to make it the day before, then pour milk over my serving and heat it all up together in the microwave the next day. It’s perfect for those crisp fall mornings!

Dutch Apple Pie

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We are in full swing apple season at the orchard here. If you meander through, or pass our farm these days, there’s a good likelihood that you will see the triangular ladders unique to orchards propped up throughout the rows of trees. If you stop and listen, you will probably hear the chatter of the pickers as they move through, filling bin after bin of apples. After all four bins are full, the tractor pulls them off to the storage and returns with empty bins and the cycle repeats itself. Here are some pictures. I love this time of year.

These guys are picking the quintessential North American apple; the McIntosh. It seems appropriate to let you in on a little secret here. “I don’t care for Macs”, she whispers timidly. She continues, “I normally don’t eat Macs because I prefer an ultra crunchy apple”.  BUT!!! This time of year I will occasionally eat a Mac because they are actually crunchy enough and tart enough to please my finicky palate. AND I will use them in a pie because they hold their shape a little better than they will later. In keeping with sentiments of nostalgia, it has to be a Dutch Apple pie, which delights my husband. And in making the Dutch Apple pie, visions of grandmother float through my head. I can still picture her scattering the brown sugar crumbs over top, then poking holes in through the apples with the handle of a wooden spoon and slowly pouring the cream into the cavities, whistling under her breath all the while. Now I do that whistling thing, much to the annoyance of my children. It helps with high-concentration jobs like pouring cream into pies just so. Or ironing. It really helps to get that job done. I’m convinced that some day my children will remember my whistle with fondness too.

Because I was trying to pour cream out of my cute little pitcher slowly with one hand while taking a photo with the other, I got a bit too much cream into the pie so it got a little soupy. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll pre-measure the amount into my cute little pitcher. My grandma never had to take pictures of herself pouring cream so her pies were always perfect. At least they were in my memory. My pie looked good before I cut into it, though, and it still tasted good, so here it is! Yours will be perfect, I’m sure.

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The perfect Dutch Apple Pie.

Dutch Apple Pie (2)

Dutch Apple Pie (5)
The not-so-perfect but still good Dutch Apple pie.

Strategically placing the ice cream helped with the overall appearance.

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The McIntosh apple is an icon of North American orchards. It is slightly tart, slightly sweet, and very juicy. This high percentage of juice makes it a perfect sauce apple and there are McIntosh diehard fans who refuse to eat anything but a fresh Mac. It is good in pies if you like a soft apple in your pastry. Its season runs from mid-September until about May. 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. For more apple updates, visit their site here.

Dutch Apple Pie

Dutch Apple Pie (4)

Ingredients

  • about 7 medium apples, peeled and cut into chunks or slices to equal 4 cups
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons high fat milk or cream
  • 1 10″ unbaked pie crust (see here for a good gluten-free version)

Directions

Peel and cut apples into your desired shapes. Traditionally Dutch Apple pies are chunky. Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Put the apples into the unbaked pie crust and sprinkle the crumbs evenly over top. Poke holes in top and pour the cream carefully into the holes. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 35-45 minutes or until the apples are soft and a rich syrup has formed. Turn heat down partway through baking time if the pie is browning too fast. Best served warm or at room temperature, but it should be chilled to store overnight.

 

 

 

A Wedding and Focaccia

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This summer is packed with eventful occasions, not the least of which has been my niece’s wedding. It was held at the homeplace of the grandparents who raised her from the time she was two years old, when her birth parents were both taken from her in a freak accident. It was an outdoor wedding held in the beautiful backyard of my in-laws. The service was held on top of a hill overlooking the orchards and a soybean field. The bride was escorted up the aisle by her two older brothers, one flanking her on each side. They gave her away to her groom and I don’t believe there was a dry eye on top of that hill at that moment.

After the ceremony the guests meandered down the hill gradually to the tent where the reception was held. The gorgeous floral decorations were put together by a cousin from the South, using young little apples from our orchards and greenery. The cake was a highly successful collaborative effort between her and my sister-in-law who lives locally. I thought it was a wonderful symbol of the combined effort of the two families, one in the North and one in the South, to provide a safe haven for these young people who had lost their parents at such a young age.

A tribe of aunts, cousins and the maternal grandmother came from South Carolina early in the week to help prepare for the big day. An aunt who is gifted with organizational skills set up a plan in which we relatives took turns providing the lunches during this week of set-up. On my allotted day, I took ingredients for build-your-own-sandwiches and made focaccia that morning to assemble them on. Focaccia is essentially a slightly puffy flat bread that is drizzled with olive oil, herbs and other toppings. I have made focaccia many times as a side, but this was the first time I used it as a sandwich base. It will definitely be repeated! I cut them in rectangles, then split them in half lengthwise to layer with sandwich toppings. It was a simple but delicious repast a little out of the norm.

I grow my own herbs in pots, but we sell several varieties at Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, as well as the tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, fresh garlic, and cheese. For the sandwich toppings I offered Tuscan ham, smoked turkey, cheese, sliced onions, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and various spreads. 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The stories and recipes are my own. 

A Wedding and Focaccia

Ingredients

Dough:

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Focaccia triangles
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour or a mixture of grains and wheat flours
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup oil

Toppings:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 – 3  tablespoons grated parmesan or feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon dried herbs
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • generous grinding of coarse salt (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)*

Directions

Stir the dry ingredients together for the dough. Add warm water and oil and stir until well combined. It should be a soft but manageable dough. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead well until the dough feels springy. Cover with the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes to half an hour. 

While the dough is resting grease a 15″x 10″ cookie pan and prepare topping ingredients. Turn on the oven to 400°F (204°C). Roll out the dough to a 16″x 11″ rectangle. Fit into the prepared pan. Dent surface of dough firmly with your fingers. Drizzle oil over top and brush to coat, allowing oil to puddle in the dents. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients, laying tomato and onion slices on last, if using. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until nicely golden. Let cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into rectangles. A pizza cutter works really well for this. Cut in half for sandwiches with a serrated knife. Best served warm. 

*Sometimes I carmelize the onions for the topping. That adds a nice touch. Simply fry the onions slowly in a pan with butter until they are deep golden in colour before adding on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Crème Brûlée with Rhubarb

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Basic Creme Brulee with Rhubarb (8)

I wasn’t planning to post another rhubarb recipe this spring but you asked, so here it is! I made this delicacy to reward my son-in-law for getting our weed-eater working again and to use up a litre of leftover cream that was patiently waiting in the fridge after our Martin camping was over. And really, in my books at least, one can never have enough rhubarb. After all, it won’t be back until NEXT YEAR.

This is a basic crème brûlée recipe that I have used numerous times with success. I have made it plain, with blackberries, with chai tea and pears, with pumpkin, and with raspberries. I plan to try peaches during peach season. By the way, I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out how to create the French accent marks on my desktop. Not bad for a middle-aged fogey, huh? I figure such an elegant French dessert should be spelled with the proper accent marks.

I can’t recall when or where I had my first crème brùlée, but I was immediately hooked. I was entranced by the silky vanilla custard under the glassy sugar shell, and the satisfaction of cracking that shell before dipping my spoon into it. It is the perfect dessert after a full dinner, when you want a smidgeon of something sweet but not too much heaviness. I didn’t attempt to make it until a few years ago. I’m not sure why, other than it seems like one of those ethereal delicacies far beyond the reach of common mortals, that only a master chef can execute. Let me tell you, it ain’t so. ANYONE can make it. The only thing is that you have to figure out what to make with all those egg whites afterwards. I freeze them for my next pavlova (yes! strawberry pavlova), meringue kisses, daffodil or chocolate angel food cake, or strawberry/raspberry freeze. See? No problem.

The three most valuable tips I can offer are to heat the cream just until steaming and starting to foam around the edges when stirred, whisk some hot cream into the eggs to temper them before combining the whole concoction, and to make sure your water is boiling hot that you use to bake them in. That’s it! Oh, and try not to burn your sugar. You can do this.

Big leafy rhubarb plants are easy to spot. They are often in a corner or at the edge of a garden. They come in red and pink varieties. Typically the redder stalks are thinner and a little more dry, but they look beautiful in the food they are gracing. Take your pick! 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm where you can find these beautiful pink stalks until the weather gets too hot. The comments are my own. 

Basic Crème Brûlée with Rhubarb

Ingredients

Basic Creme Brulee with Rhubarb (7)

  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup finely diced rhubarb
  • additional white sugar for tops

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Place 6 ramekins in a 13″ x 9″ baking pan, preferably glass. Divide the rhubarb among the bottom of the ramekins; approximately 1 tablespoon into each. Set water to boil for water bath. Heat cream on medium-high heat just until it starts steaming and small bubbles form at the edges. Separate the yolks from the whites and put them into a medium bowl. Whisk vigorously with first amount of white sugar until they are a lighter yellow in colour and beginning to thicken. This step can be done with a mixer, if you prefer. Very slowly add about 1/2 cup of the cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This is called tempering the eggs so that they won’t curdle. Add the vanilla, salt, and remaining cream and whisk again to combine thoroughly. Pour the egg and cream mixture into each ramekin evenly. Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour the very hot water into the pan to about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the cups. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the custard is set, but with a slight jiggle in the middle when lightly moved. This time will vary depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins. 

Remove pan from the oven and lift the ramekins out of the hot water (a jar lifter works really well for this step). Cool for an hour on a wire rack, then chill in the fridge for 3 hours. At this point, they can be chilled for at least 3 days or frozen for a longer time. Thaw if frozen before adding the sugar topping. 

When ready to serve, sprinkle a scant tablespoon of white sugar evenly on top of each ramekin. Place them 6″ under the broiler element in your oven until browning and bubbly, then remove quickly. Don’t let them get too dark; they will continue to bubble and brown after removal from the oven. If you are lucky enough to own a kitchen torch you can do this step with it, working from the outside in a circular motion. Let them sit for about 3 minutes until the sugar is hardened. Garnish with a fresh strawberry if you wish. Enjoy the crack and the hums of delight as your guests dig in. 

NOTE: Try experimenting with your own flavour combinations. For fruit variations, simply put a little of it (3 small blackberries, for instance) into the bottom of the ramekins before pouring in the custard. For tea or chocolate flavours, place 1/2 Tbsp. tea leaves (inside a tea ball) or 1 teabag or 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate in with the cream as it heats.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

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Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins (3)

Spring has finally tentatively poked its head around the corner of our county and with it, the three culinary constants of spring have arrived; fiddleheads, asparagus, and rhubarb. I must say, although I am loyal to apples as a crop, I look forward mightily to rhubarb season. I just love rhubarb. I also love muffins and the two go together like, well, like rhubarb in a muffin.

We Martins have reprinted our cookbook that features fresh seasonal Ontario produce and this is one of my go-to recipes within it during rhubarb season. This cookbook was first printed in  2015. It is a culmination of longtime family favourites, as well as newer recipes that were used at different times and places during Martin public and private events. It was intended to be a one-off thing but it’s back by popular demand, thanks to some of you!

I like this muffin because it is tender with buttermilk and bursting with tartness, colour and flavour. I top it with coarse sugar as I often do with muffins and scones, and voila! Instant texture party on your tongue when you break into this beauty. It’s a cinch to prepare too.

It’s prime rhubarb season and Ontario is also producing some great little greenhouse-grown strawberries to accompany it. Rhubarb is a cool weather crop; as soon as it gets hot it’s done. Literally. It flops over in exhaustion. 

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Fresh strawberries and rhubarb; beautiful!

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm.  The comments and recipe are my own. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

Ingredients

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sliced or coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
  • Additional sugar for topping (I use coarse sugar)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F (204° C). Mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together egg, buttermilk and oil in a smaller bowl. Dump the chopped rhubarb and strawberries into the flour mixture, then add the liquid and gently fold it all together. Fill well-greased or paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full using an ice cream scoop. If you want to make them extra pretty, top each one with a small strawberry half. Top with a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops are firm. Remove and let cool on a baking rack.

 

 

Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegetables

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Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegegetables

Hello! It’s been so long that my fingers nearly forgot how to type. You see, we’ve been updating part of our house from the early 60’s golds and the late 90’s greens to NOW. Yeah, it’s been a long haul but I’m ever so pleased with the results. All that’s left for me anymore is finishing up the staining and varnishing of the open staircase. That’s being whittled away at; every other step, then the OTHER every other step, then the railing, then the spindles and stringers, and lastly, oh glory, the landing. So that, my friends, is my excuse. I hardly had time to cook, let alone write about it and take pictures.

I really wanted to get a maple recipe in with the bumper crop of syrup Ontario producers had this year. My daughter and I made a whole table full of maple-glazed cinnamon buns for their sugar shack open house earlier this spring. Those were very good, but… I had no time to write about them. I made two Egg Cheeses for two separate occasions over Easter, but… my first post was about that delicacy. Click here to read it. What to post?

My husband’s favourite meat is pork; probably because his inner child remembers porcine meals in the days when their family raised hogs. Pork is an economical meat and it pairs naturally with maple syrup. I had a nice assortment of vegetables lolling about from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm waiting for such a time as this. Plus, last weekend we gifted some Ohio friends with a bottle of the golden liquid and I was telling their young son how good it is brushed over a chipotle-rubbed pork loin! It seemed the right time to develop this recipe.

I have discovered that roasting the meat and the vegetables takes roughly the same amount of time and temperature. That’s so handy! I do like handy meals like that. I chopped and sliced the vegetables, putting the ones that take a longer cooking time into a separate bowl from the fast-roasting ones. Then I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with the seasonings and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I stuck the slow-roasting veggies in the oven while I prepared the pork loins.

Next I oiled and dry-rubbed spices onto the pork loins, pricked them all over with a meat fork, squeezed a lime over them and popped them into my oven. About fifteen minutes from the finish I brushed the loins with maple syrup and added the fast-cooking veggies to the tray. Dinner was ready in an hour from start to finish. It would also work great on a barbeque grill!

Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegetables

Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegetables (3)

There is a great assortment of winter vegetables at Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, including these cute little fingerling potatoes, as well as an increasing amount of spring veggies such as greenhouse peppers and green beans. Pretty soon there will be asparagus and fiddleheads too! I added parsnips because we like the unique flavour they add to a vegetable medley like this. 

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Delicious roasting veggies!

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The recipe and comments are my own. 

Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

For the Vegetables:Maple-Glazed Pork Loin over Roasted Vegetables

  • 6 fingerling potatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 6 mini red-skinned potatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 3 large carrots, sliced 1/4″ thick on the diagonal
  • 3 large parsnips, sliced 1/4″ thick on the diagonal
  • 1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 pound asparagus or green beans, cut in half
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry herbs of your choice, optional
  • salt and pepper

For the Pork Loin:

  •  2 to 3 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole lime or half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning, or more if you like it spicy
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Italian herbs mix
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • generous grinding of pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F (204° C) on regular bake or convection roast (my favourite setting for this recipe). Put the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions in one bowl. These vegetables will take longer to roast. Cut the asparagus or beans, red pepper and garlic in another bowl. Drizzle the olive oil, balsamic, and seasonings over each bowl and toss the veggies. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Spread the bowl of root vegetables on the sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare pork loins for roasting. 

Drizzle second amount of oil into another lined baking sheet. Mix all the spices and the garlic together. Place tenderloins on top and roll them in the oil until they’re covered. Prick all over the top with a meat fork. Squeeze the lemon or lime over the loins. Sprinkle with the mixed spices and garlic. Roast, uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pork loins, to about 150° for medium. The juices should run clear when pierced with a fork. This stage could also be done on a barbeque grill with fantastic results, I’m sure.

After 30 minutes, add the bowl of short-cooking vegetables to the roasting tray and toss with the other veggies. Return to oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes. At the same time, remove pork and baste with the pan juices before brushing with half the maple syrup. Return to oven and roast again for 15 minutes. Brush with the remaining maple syrup after removing. Let the meat stand for 5 minutes before slicing. It should be slightly pink inside and juicy. Slice it into 1/2″ thick slices and fan out slightly on top of vegetables for a pretty presentation. Drizzle with pan juices.