When Mooney Farms contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying out some of their Sun Dried Tomato products, I said, “Yes. Yes!” Shortly after, a goodie box arrived chock full of tantalizing jars and packets. I’m inspired. Stay tuned for more recipes, but today I made Meatloaf with their Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.
Family owned in Chico, CA, Mooney Farms produces high quality sun-dried tomatoes and uses premium 100% pure olive oil. I can definitely vouch for the rich flavor.
Today, I made a recipe that was attached to the top of the jar of the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Man, was it delicious. I don’t normally make meatloaf. My husband doesn’t really eat meat and my kids woud be scared of it in this form. Since they’re not interested, if I’m not careful, I’m going to sit here and eat all 3 lbs of it myself this afternoon. Seriously. It’s that good. If your family likes meatloaf, this is going to be a winner. There is melted Mozzarella on top, no less!
If your market doesn’t carry their products, you can purchase them directly from the Mooney Farms Wesbite.
Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto kicks up Italian Meatloaf a notch
Author: Bella Sun Luci
Recipe type: Main
2½ lbs lean ground beef
1 lb pork sausage (I used Sweet Italian Sausage)
2½ cloves garlic minced
2 large carrots, chopped finely
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp salt
pepper, to taste
2½ cups bread crumbs
½ cup tomato ketchup
½ cup red wine
4 oz Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
¾ lb Mozzarella cheese
Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in a large bowl. Then place meatloaf in a pan. Bake for 70 minutes at 375˚F. Remove from oven and top with Mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes or unti cheese is melted. Garnish with additional pesto, if desired.
It’s day 4 of 14 Days of Apple and I have been mulling over (get it?) creating a savory apple recipe. Everyone knows “pork chops and applesauce.” In essence, this dish is a variation on that theme. Apple slices are stewed in the apple-pomegranate glaze while it simmers and thickens and are served as a side dish and garnish.
I first learned about pomegranate glazes when I watched Tyler Florence’s video Pomegranate-Rosemary Roasted Turkey. This time, I wanted to change up things and incorporate apple flavor into the pomegranate glaze. I knew that apples and pomegranates would work well together because last year, I made an Apple-Pomegranate Quick Bread. Sure enough, these flavors meld perfectly and the cooked apples are the ideal accent. I served this dish with a side of roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Apple-Pomegranate Glazed Pork Tenderloin Serves 4
1.3 lb pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 apple, peeled and sliced (I used Jonagold)
1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
1 cup Pomegranate juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup honey
1. In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add half of the brown sugar and the apple slices. Toss the apple slices to coat and sautée for about 2 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, apple juice, remaining brown sugar and honey. Stir to mix and dissolve ingredients. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Remove apples and set them aside. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in the grill pan. Add pork to pan and brown on all side, turning 1/4 turn every 3-4 minutes. Once browned on all sides, reduce heat to medium and spoon glaze over the pork. Continue glazing and turning every 4-5 minutes until pork has reached an internal temperature of 145˚F – 150˚F for medium rare pork. (A total cooking time of about 30 minutes). Allowing the pork to rest for 5 minutes will bring up its internal temperature another 5˚F. Transfer pork to a serving platter and slice. Garnish with the reserved apples and pomegranate quarters. Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes.
I’m a huge fan of chicken Marsala and veal Marsala, but I’ve got a craving for a pork chop, so I figure “why not try pork Marsala?” At the store, a double thick pork chop catches my eye and once again I think, “Why not?” (read on to find out why not). I’ve never made Marsala sauce before, but I figure it’s a variation on the Fig Sauce I did in September, just with mushrooms and Marsala wine instead of figs and Balsamic vinegar. Let’s see how this one turns out. An ingredients list (of sorts) is at the end of this post.
It’s the day of the party and I have harvested the figs from our backyard. I’m worried. They’re quite firm, so I’m worried that they aren’t ripe enough. Also, they’re green, so they’re automatically not as sweet as black, Mission figs. I’m terrified of putting these figs into the sauce I’m cooking for the pork and ruining the whole dish. The doorbell is ringing and I still haven’t decided whether or not to go forward with this plan of cooking Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar and Fig Sauce.
The guests have arrived and they are eyeing the chopped figs suspiciously. We all agree that they don’t smell as enticing as we would like, but they encourage me to press on. I’ve got pizza in the freezer in case of emergency. I set about peeling and slicing about half a dozen of the green figs and I set them aside.
Next, on a separate cutting board, I slice about three pounds of pork tenderloin into 3/4 inch slices and sautée the slices in a large frying pan at a medium-high heat. I’ve chosen the largest pan I have so that I can sautée all of the pork tenderloin at once. So far so good.
I remove them from the pan and place the slices on a cookie sheet. They go into an oven that has been preheated to 200˚F. Then I add a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan and sautée the shallots until they soften.
Once they’ve softened, I add the balsamic vinegar (about a quarter cup) and let it simmer until almost all of it has evaporated. This is what they mean by “balsamic reduction.” It really intensifies the flavor.
After the balsamic vinegar has evaporated, there are scrumptious brown bits of shallot that I scrape from the sides of the pan before adding the chicken stock. The chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and shallots are all simmering now until reduced by half. I am nearing the point of no return where I will have to add the figs.
I take the plunge and add the figs. As soon as they go into the pan I decide everything is going to be okay. Simmering the figs in these great juices will certainly soften them up and they should acquire the flavors around them. We’ll have to wait and see if I’m right. In goes the cream.
Adding the whipping cream makes what was just a little something simmering on the stove into a real sauce. I’m thinking now that I need to add whipping cream to everything I’m cooking. The balsamic vinegar smells great and the whipping cream makes it nice and rich. Despite my fears about the figs, the dish is starting to seem promising. Just a few minutes left.
After the sauce has thickened considerably, I add the chopped Italian parsley to give it the fresh kick any creamy sauce needs. I’m ready to assemble the plate with the pork tenderloin, the sauce and the roasted red potatoes I’ve had cooking in the oven.
We are all surprised by how tasty it is. The figs add a little zing to the sauce, but don’t dominate it. My backyard figs have a slight cabbagey flavor, kind of like having brusseles sprouts in the dish. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar is a nice counterpoint to the nutty, slightly bitter flavor of my figs. I wonder what “real” figs taste like, but then I think, “is there anything more real than food you grew and picked yourself?”
I’ve scoured the internet for a recipe to use for tonight’s fig adventure. I am surprised at how few recipes there are out there for fresh, green figs. Most of the recipes I found were dessert-oriented or were for dried figs, or were for Mission Figs which are black figs. Mission Figs are sweeter than green figs. People dry green figs because they are not considered sweet enough fresh, but I’ve got a tree full of fresh green figs and I want to use some today, so we’ll just have to see what happens. I’ll put some of my green figs aside for drying and try them out later.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 pork slices and saute until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pork to baking sheet. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to skillet. Repeat with remaining 4 pork slices. Transfer pork to oven to keep warm.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Simmer until vinegar evaporates, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of skillet, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add figs and whipping cream. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and any accumulated juices from pork. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes longer. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange pork on plates. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.