Just think Spring... Please!

It's the dead of Winter, the cold has settled in, and before the month of January has passed, we may very well experience a blanket of snow on the ground; however, don't be dismayed, you can still celebrate Spring and all its colors while in the comfort of your home. And when you look out your window, if you simply look up at the blue sky and not the lifeless trees, you can imagine it's the middle of April and it's nearly lunch time!

This Pork Tenderloin Salad will certainly ease the pains of Winter and like all wonderful Spring season salads, this one is as easy to create as the rest of them,  with all the nutrition your body needs to keep you going for the rest of the day. There's nothing complicated with the ingredients and all are readily available. Here they are for a lunch party of 4:

4 Pork Tenderloin medallions (3/4 inch thick, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness)
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges, then each wedge cut in half
2 Belgium Endives, sliced in 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup fresh Fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of fresh Dill, roughly chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper (for pork)
1/4 cup of white wine (dry)

Salad Dressing:

1/2 cup of olive oil
1/6 cup of white rice vinegar plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of honey
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat in a large frying pan. Once olive oil just begins to smoke, reduce heat to medium high and place each tenderloin medallion in the pan. Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and salt each with a couple of shakes, along with the pepper. Medallions should be cooked to medium, but do not overcook!! You want to maintain the moisture content. Remove from pan and set aside to cool to room temperature. Discard the liquid/oil from the pan, but do not wash pan (you will deglaze it shortly).

Prepare all the vegetables as directed and place in a medium size bowl. Toss WITHOUT the dressing, so that all ingredients are well mixed. Set aside.

Prepare your salad dressing, adding all ingredients in a small bowl and beating well with a fork until liquids are well mixed and blended. Set aside.

Return the frying pan over medium high heat. Now add the white wine and deglaze the pan and continue deglazing until the liquid is reduced by half. Shut the heat off, remove pan from stove top and stir in the salad dressing into the pan until well blended.

To assemble, place a medallion of pork in the center of each plate and pour a tablespoon of the dressing over each one. Next, 1/4 of the salad over each medallion. Finally, drizzle several tablespoons of the dressing over each serving. At this time, you can sprinkle of few sprigs of dill over each serving as a final touch. Serve at room temperature and enjoy with a glass of the same white wine, along with a couple of slices of crusty French baguette bread. It goes without saying that one should cook with the same wine they would have no problem drinking!

Avocado all dressed up for the New Year!

Well, it's finally 2013 and we're still here. December 21st came and went just like any other day, ticking minute by minute, hour by hour, until it reached its destination, December 22nd. Like all doomsday predictions of the past, this one proved its doom as well. The proof is in the pudding, we're still standing, this January 1st, 2013!

Yes, we have survived 2012, the holidays, and the countless recipes thrown at us from all corners of the Internet. Along the way, many of us picked up new ideas and applied them to our everyday food preparation. From simple to complex, you may have tried your hand at something new. It doesn't matter if you succeeded or failed; the success was that you tried. You may have spent days planning or been spontaneous, but the result was yours and yours alone. Because of that, you are a better cook today than at this time last year. Congratulations! You have achieved another year of learning and become a better Steward of your kitchen!

And now, it's time to continue the voyage we started three years ago at the inception of this blog, to create new recipes and present new dishes that will entertain and impress our dinner guests. This first creation of 2013 marries a climacteric fruit (like the banana) with a creature from the sea, the Avocado and the White Prawn. With first bite, you will realize this has to be a marriage made in Heaven! Served as a first course for the New Year's Eve dinner, it was a total hit with guests. The ingredients are simple and preparation even more so. Here is what you need for a party of six:

2 Large Avocados, ripe
2/3 lb. of medium White Prawns (around 40 c), peeled, deveined, and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1/4 cup of white rice wine
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt to taste (use sparingly)
Juice from one medium squeezed lemon

Prepare all your ingredients (called mise en place). In a medium bowl, roughly crush the Avocados with a fork and squeeze 1/2 of the lemon. Stir until lemon juice has been well incorporated with the Avocado to prevent browning. Place in the fridge.

In a medium size saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Begin by sauteing the shallots until translucent. Next, add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute or so. Now add the chopped White Prawns and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium and add all other ingredients, including the juice from the other half of the lemon. Continue to saute and stir for another couple of minutes, remove from heat, and let cool for about 15 minutes.

Add the cooked ingredients to the Avocado and mix all ingredients well. You may cool the dish in the fridge for about 30 minutes, if you wish, or serve at room temperature. Serve on individual plates, along with a side of butter lettuce leaves and sliced tomato. Use a small ring mold if you want to shape each serving, or you can simply add a couple of small scoops to each dish. Serve with a side of crusty baguette bread. You will be amazed at the reaction of your guests. They will absolutely love this first course and you will be on your way to another great year of presenting impressive dishes to your dinner guests!