GF Pork Tenderloin with a Rosemary, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Reduction Sauce by Allison

Sundays sometimes call for a “Sunday Roast” as some of my British friends would say and I would have to agree! A piping hot meal with hearty and bold flavors feeds the soul as we gear up for the week ahead. Now while my “Sunday roast” doesn’t include mashed potatoes or gravy I think you’ll really enjoy it! I often set aside more time to cook on Sundays and cooking is so much more enjoyable when you’re not doing ten other things at the same time! So take some time to cook to enjoy and savor the flavors of whole food.

GF Roasted Pork with a Rosemary, Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Ingredients

4 pound pork roast
fresh rosemary springs (about 3)
Salt
Pepper
Red table wine
2 medium onions, sliced

Sauce

Coconut oil or butter
2 large onions, chopped
1.5 pounds of sliced button mushrooms
Fresh rosemary sprigs ( about three)
Red table wine, reduced
Juices from the pork

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and sear the pork tenderloin on each side over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness. This process helps keep the meat juicy during the baking process. Place in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Remove rosemary from the stem and place on top of the roast. Pour about a cup and a half to two cups of red wine in the bottom of the pan and add sliced onions in the wine and around the pork roast. Cover with foil and cook approximately two hours or until the meat thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit, let rest for 10 minutes before you slice it.

After the pork has been cooking for a little over an hour, you can start the sauce! Reduce two cups of wine over medium low until you have about 1/3 of a cup. While you start reducing the wine you can chop onions and add them to a frying pan to begin caramelizing over medium heat. Slice the mushrooms and add them after onions begin to brown a little bit, about 10-12 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and stir mixture, cook another 5-8 minutes and add rosemary leaves ( I like to cut them with a scissors and add them right in after I take them off the stem). Add reduced wine and let simmer on low. When the pork is finished, add the juices and onion from the baking dish to the sauce and let simmer until desired consistency ! Slice pork and serve with sauce on top! Enjoy!!

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Pumpkins in Prague by L

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A few weekends ago, the family and I took a ride out to Bykos farm. Just a 45 minute drive outside of the city and you are in pumpkin heaven. For me, autumn isn’t autumn without a visit to the pumpkin farm and celebrating Halloween. Happily, we accomplished both this year.

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Kabocha, acorn and butternut squash, along with jumbo size pumpkins waiting to be carved into Jack o’ Lanterns were everywhere. We came home with variety of pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors. Besides picking out pumpkins at the farm, one could also enjoy a bowl of homemade pumpkin soup, with a klobasa and top it all off with some pumpkin cake. The owners of the farm also sold jars of homemade pumpkin jam to take home. It was a festival of pumpkins.

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Instead of sharing a sweet pumpkin recipe with you, I decided to share one I recently tried from the cookbook, Vegetables from an Italian Garden, published by Phaidon. This dish is easy to prepare and makes a great side addition to any entrée. However, it can even be enjoyed as a main dish along with some delicious bread. It was an attempt to enjoy pumpkin in a less fattening manner.  Although, I’m really not one to ever pass up a delicious slice of pumpkin pie. Bring it all on!

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Baked Pumpkin with Potatoes and Rosemary (adapted from Vegetables from an Italian Garden)

Olive Oil, for brushing and drizzling

1lb of pumpkin, peeled and de-seeded

4 potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 onion, sliced into rings

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced

few sprigs of fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

Brush a roasting pan with olive oil.

Cut the pumpkin into thin slices.

Alternate layers of potato, onion, pumpkin and sprinkle some rosemary here and there.

Add the diced tomatoes to the top, drizzle with oil, season with salt, pepper and some more rosemary.

Bake for 1 hour or until all the vegetables are tender.

Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

Gluten-Free French Onion Soup by Allison

Bubbly cheese covered bread on top of piping hot French onion soup, who wouldn’t want that meal for a great lunch out or even for dinner? I haven’t had French onion soup in over 2 years since I found out my about having Celiacs disease. It is pretty ironic that I grew up on a wheat farm where my Dad raised crops of wheat and barley for a large part of my life. Wheat, barley and rye or any form of them is an absolute  “no-no” for someone with Celiacs disease.  I even know the unforgettable scent of wheat when it turns that golden yellow right before harvest, that almost sweet and whole grain smell is very familiar. I can almost smell it right now if I transport myself back to the front porch of my parents’ house at the end of June or beginning of July (depending on the year) as the wheat fields ripen from a few hundred yards away. Believe me, I’m thankful that I don’t eat those grains as they make me sick and now I feel so much better overall. But there are some things I’ve certainly missed and French onion soup was one of them. No longer am I missing it though as I’m in creation mode and feel challenged to make an old favorite “gluten-free”.
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I know mine is missing bubbly cheese on gluten-free bread but I think I need some new Polish pottery to make this soup even better. Soup bowls with a handle so you can place the bowl right in the oven to get the full affect of what is supposed to be traditional French onion soup. That’s it, it is officially added to the next shopping list I make for Polish pottery!

So here goes:

Gluten-Free French Onion Soup by Allison

Ingredients

8 onions, peeled and quartered

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

6 cups gluten-free vegetable or beef broth (I found mine at DM on Vodičkova here in Prague by the brand name ALNATURA)

2 fresh rosemary springs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 210 degrees C and arrange quartered onions on pan and brush with olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour until soft and partially caramelized. Roughly chop or use kitchen scissors to cut. Add onions to a large saucepan with wine and cook down until the wine evaporates. Add the broth and the rosemary and cook until flavors combine 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat. Serve with my gluten-free cornbread on top if you’d like  as well! Would be yummy!!! Enjoy!

Growing an Herb Garden by Nikki

Mini Herb Garden      

This is my mini, indoor herb garden…. It is fragrant, colorful, handy and still alive after three weeks! Before moving to Prague nearly three years ago, I lived in the Pacific Northwest- Oregon to be exact. Lush, green, and naturally watered, Portland is a cycling, liberal, green and garden-friendly city! Throughout the school year, I tended to a garden plot with kindergarteners- growing fava and pole beans, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes and squash. While living in a downtown apartment, I applied for a garden plot at a local community garden only to be waitlisted- twice! Eventually, I moved into a house with friends who didn’t mind that I take up the majority of the small back yard with two garden plots! I found a shipping crate on the street one day, called a couple friends to help me haul it home; a few power tools later, a trip to the garden center, and that reused crate became two beautiful garden plots! Lettuce, green peppers, pole beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash were grown there and enjoyed for two summers… and then I moved to Praha! When I visit my hometown during the summers, I look forward to joining my mother at her garden plot at the local community farm. But now that my home is in an apartment in Prague, Czech Republic I have found new ways to enjoy city gardening!

Now let’s get back to my current mini-herb garden. Three out of my five herb plants were purchased at my local farmer’s market. The market at Jihro z Podebrad has brought life into my neighborhood and herbs and other goodies into my kitchen. I like to fill my basket with nuts, dried fruit, flowers, a variety of cheeses and fresh vegetables! But these herbs have been the highlight of my culinary tastes the past couple weeks.

Fresh herbs…

You see, I love to garden but maybe not as much as I like to cook! I recently read an article in O Magazine where Oprah mentioned that she “marinated” chicken breasts in herbs from her garden! I tried it…  and she is right- TASTY! Fresh herbs add flavor to dishes without any oil, salt or pepper; it is truly all-natural.

Chicken Breast with fresh herbs on a bed of lettuce.

You want to give it a try? Here is what to do:

Choose a variety of herbs and chop or pulverize them until small. The fragrance of the herbs will release and the aroma will be lovely!

Next, spread a pinch or two of herbs in the bottom of a container. Layer chicken on bottom of container then top with remaining herbs!

Let “marinate” over night in the fridge… take out 15 minutes before cooking and grill or bake until juices run clear!

Visit your local garden store or Farmer’s market, and start your own mini, kitchen herb garden- you won’t regret it! – Nikki