Blackened pork tacos with a poblano tomatillo salsa

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This last week I haven’t had any time to make a meal plan. I’ve been too busy with sick children, being sick myself and trying to catch up on sleep.. So a meal plan was the LAST thing on my mind. So I did what any regular person would do- go to the grocery store and buy whatever is on sale or looks good! That is when the idea of these taco’s were born.

Poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, tomatillos… All green everything. It should be called the mean green charred salsa of the west. Right, there’s pork too. Blackened pork which is delicious. But the SALSA. I mean come on, this batch makes over a litre of salsa so you have an excuse to eat nacho’s smothered in cheese later.

The secret to this recipe that keeps the pork moist and tender is a DRY rub and an over night marinade. Or at least over an hour. Preferably 2. Ok the secret is baking soda. Why? because google said so. “Baking soda is an antacid. In other words, it works to neutralize acid. Rather than “denaturing” the meat as salt does, baking soda raises the pH on the surface of the meat, making the outside of the meat more alkaline. This chemical reaction makes it more difficult for the proteins in the meat to tighten up together.”

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You’ve got to char these bad boys. (Jalapeños orange and extra lime not shown, oops.)

Blend it up and BAM – a deliciously fresh salsa with a citrus-y kick and the heat comes right after you get that citrus kick. It hits alllll the right spots on your tongue. I’m going to stop blabbing now, and post the recipe. You have GOT to try this.

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10

For the rub/marinade:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 2.5 TSP oregano
  • 1/2 TSP cumin
  • 1 TSP coriander
  • salt and pepper

For the Mean Green Salsa:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 8 tomatillos, shucked and washed
  • 6 scallions, ends trimmed
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 large lime, or 2 small limes halved. (1/4c fresh squeezed lime juice.)
  • 1/2 large navel orange
  • EVOO for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 loosely packed cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1/2 TBSP honey or agave

For cooking the pork:

  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1c red wine preferably, or chicken stock
  • 10 organic volcanic stone ground corn tortillas

Optional toppings:

  • Radishes, Avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, cheese

Directions:

  1. For the dry rub marinade: mix baking soda, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander in a small bowl. Rub all over your pork tenderloin. Put in the fridge to marinate uncovered for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  2. For the salsa: Turn your oven to the broil setting. (about 550F) Place your poblanos, jalapeños, tomatillos, scallions, garlic cloves, onion, and limes on a baking sheet. drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked peppercorns. Put in the oven for 2-4 minutes. put a timer for 2 minutes, and check to see if they need an extra minute. It depends on your oven. there will be a bit of smoke. You’re charring the veg after all. Once the veg are slightly charred, remove from the oven.
  3. In a blender or food processor, juice your limes and your orange. Rough chop your charred vegetables and add to the blender. Add cilantro, honey and season again with salt and pepper. (not too much, I would blend ingredients first and taste. adjust your seasoning accordingly.)
  4. For the pork: Preheat your oven to 400F. In a well seasoned cast iron skillet over med-high heat, add your EVOO. Once hot, add your tenderloin. Blacken on all sides. This does not take long, I swear it’s the baking soda. once blackened on all sides, de-glaze the pan with your wine or stock. Swish (can I say swish?) your pork around to soak up and roll around in all those black bit flavours stuck on the pan. Remove from heat and put in the oven for 15 minutes. (Or until cooked to 145F)
  5. Remove pork from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes while you chop up your Avo’s, radishes, cilantro and char your tortillas. I do this right on my gas burners. if you don’t have a gas stove, use a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat and add your tortillas to toast them. (not a non-stick, it’s dangerous to heat food with no oil or fat.)
  6. Slice your pork and assemble your tacos. YUM.

Skirt Steak microgreen salad with chimichurri sauce

 

My mother in law has got me hooked on these “micro greens” and I want to put them in everything! I’ll be posting a micro green slaw for taco’s in a couple days, that is sure to be delicious!

If you need an easy healthy dinner idea- this is for you. I made this with a skirt steak, but I highly recommend using a marinated flank steak. The skirt steak is too chewy for me! 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 LB skirt steak or flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, garlic powder, smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4c red wine
  • 1/2 of a large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1c peas
  • 1 heaping cup of heirloom grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced, or diced
  • 1 head of butter lettuce or arugula
  • a handful of cilantro and onion micro greens (however you much you prefer.)

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 3/4c good quality EVOO
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, rough chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1c mint, stems removed
  • 2c parsley, stems removed
  • 2c cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 jalapeno, rough chopped (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  • In a blender or food processor, add in all chimichurri sauce ingredients and blend until chunky-smooth.
  • Add 1 tbsp EVOO to a medium sized pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add your sliced steak. Season with salt, cumin, coriander, garlic and smoked paprika. Once halfway cooked, add in your onions and saute until the steak is finished cooking. Add in your wine, and let it reduce.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. once boiling, add your asparagus and peas. Turn the heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, tear up your lettuce leaves. Top with the beef and onion mixture, asparagus, peas, tomatoes, avocado and micro greens.
  • Add in some chimichurri sauce, and toss it all together. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 


Carrot Ribbon and Radish salad

I served this salad with my Pineapple pork satay, and the dressing was made from the reserved portion of the sauce. So if you plan on making this salad without the pork satay, you will have to scale it way back or you’ll have way too much sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots, washed and peeled in to ribbons
  • 5 radishes, washed, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • pork satay dipping sauce

Directions:

  1. Add all salad ingredients to a bowl, toss and serve with Pork satay!

Spring Flank Steak Salad

This flank steak salad sure was a hit tonight! It was once again ridiculously hot out today, so I decided that my BBQ was the best cooking source for the evening! This is loaded with flavour and fresh veggies (that I of course also grilled on the BBQ) and the “dressing” is a less intense version of a chimichurri sauce. It was actually quite refreshing.

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Ingredients:

For the steak-

  • 1 flank steak, pounded to a half inch, or at least the same thickness throughout
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin

For the “Dressing” –  you don’t HAVE to grill all of these, you can simply just puree them all together uncooked.

  • 1 Avocado, halved – grilled
  • 1/2 large bunch of cilantro, rough chopped (I did not grill this.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grilled
  • 1 bunch of green onions, whites and greens – grilled and rough chopped
  • juice and zest of 2 limes (also grilled the limes.)
  • 1/4c EVOO
  • 1/4c water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, grilled
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad-

  • 1 head lettuce of your choice, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • Fresh peas
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced

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Directions:

  1. Heat your outdoor grill to a medium heat. Pat flank steak dry with paper towel, and make small slits against the grain. Do not slice all the way through, maybe only 1/4 of an inch. In a small bowl, mix together your steak spice rub ingredients. Once mixed well, slather on both sides of the steak. Place on the BBQ. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side. Flip the steak over and continue cooking until a meat thermometer reads 125F. Remove the steak from the grill to a cutting board and cover it with tin foil to rest.
  2. While your steak is resting, add your halved limes, green onions, avocado, green pepper, garlic and jalapeño pepper to the grill. Let them get a nice char on both sides, and then remove them from the grill. Put the green pepper to the side, as this is not a sauce ingredient.  Place your avocado, cilantro, garlic, green onions, lime juice and zest, EVOO, water, jalapeño pepper, salt, pepper and honey in a blender or food processor. Process until nice and smooth. Taste, and season more if need be.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add a tbsp of EVOO. Saute your leeks and peas for a couple minutes until the leeks are softened. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, assemble your salad ingredients – lettuce, peas, green peppers and leeks.
  5. Slice your steak thinly against the grain and add it to the salad bowl. Add some dressing, and toss the salad to mix. Add more dressing if desired.

 


Roasted beet salad with goat cheese and chives

The title of this post says it all: beets, goat cheese and chives. Well, I added a couple more things, but you get the jist of it!

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Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 3 large beets, ends trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO 2 fat drizzles, separated
  • 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2c crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3c chives, minced (add much more if desired, they are delicious.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Drizzle your beets with EVOO, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap them in tin foil, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 60 minutes, or until they are nice and fork tender.
  3. Let your beets cool down. Once they are cooled, peel their skin off.
  4. Dice up your beets and put them in a bowl. Add your lemon zest, lemon juice, chives, a fat drizzle of EVOO (a little less than a TBSP.) season with salt and pepper, and add in your crumbled goat cheese. Toss your salad together, and serve.

Juicy Chicken with a lime and cilantro sauce

My favourite dinners are the ones that are easy to make, but also fresh, healthy, and light. It’s officially grilling season, so I don’t need to dirty any pans in the kitchen for this bad boy! Lime and cilantro marinated chicken breast, topped with a fresh herb sauce – it doesn’t get much better than this!

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Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper

Marinade:

  • 2 small limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/4c EVOO
  • 1C loosely packed cilantro, rough chopped
  • salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 1/2 TSP dried lemon grass, or 1″ fresh lemon grass
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 of a shallot, about 1.5-2 tbsp rough chopped
  • 1 lime juiced and zested
  • 1/2 of a large bunch of cilantro, rough chopped (some stems okay!)
  • 1 fat TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP China lily soy sauce
  • dash of fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a ziplock freezer bag or small bowl, add your chicken breasts, lime juice and zest, salt, pepper, cilantro and EVOO. Let your chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium heat.
  3. Remove chicken from the marinade, and pat it completely dry with paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Place your chicken on the grill. cook on one side for about 7 minutes. The chicken will not stick to the grill once it is ready to flip. Once it is ready to flip, flip it over and continue cooking until your internal temp reaches 165F.
  5. While your chicken is cooking, get your sauce ingredients ready.
  6. In a small blender or food processor add all sauce ingredients and blend until you get a chunky or smooth consistency. Whether it is a little chunky or smooth is up to you.
  7. Remove your chicken from the grill and smother it with the sauce. Enjoy!!!

Spring Gnocchi with fresh herbs

Dinner tonight is super fresh and super simple! There’s a little bit of chopping, and we cheated by buying our gnocchi instead of making it today. Oops! No time for that today! This was quite the refreshing dish. I love all the green in it! Give it a try!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 700g fresh potato gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, diced and rinsed to remove dirt
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, tough ends broken off, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 large green onions, whites and greens separated, and sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced (not minced. we want nice big but thin pieces.)
  • 1c Peas
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2c parmigiano reggiano + more for serving
  • few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1/2c parsley, rough chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp butter. Let the butter melt and the oil get nice and hot. Add your gnocchi in and brown on both sides.
  2. Once your gnocchi is browned, add in your leeks, asparagus, whites of the green onions and garlic. Cook until the leeks and asparagus start to get tender. (a few minutes.)
  3. Add in your fresh peas, remaining 2 tbsp butter, greens of the green onions, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add your lemon zest and your lemon juice, 1/2c parmigianno reggiano, parsley and basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle with more cheese!
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