Glazed TenderloinThough most of our cookbooks are professionally printed, we’ve also got one or two of those spiral-bound deals put together by neighborhood groups and clubs and sold as fundraisers.  You know the ones I’m talking about – whether it’s the Junior League or the Cub Scouts or the VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary, you’ve probably been approached to by one of these at some point.

Ours comes from the Friends of the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired in Kansas City.  “A Taste of Kansas City: Then and Now” combines recipes submitted by Friends, volunteers and restaurants throughout the Kansas City area.  There are dishes from some of Kansas City’s iconic eateries through the years (Plaza III, the Green Parrot, Prospect of Westport), and the recipes are divided by category.

Thickening Orange SauceThroughout the June Cookbook Challenge, we’ve looked for opportunities to match recipes from our cookbooks with an abundance of meat we had been accumulating in our freezer – like a pair of pork tenderloins.  Looking through “A Taste,” we found a recipe for a cumin-crusted pork tenderloin with an orange-jalapeno glaze that sounded like a great combination of spice and sweetness.  And to make it even more appealing, we had all but one ingredient already in the house.

To make the glaze, we cooked three cloves of garlic and one minced, seeded jalapeno pepper in one teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat for about a minute.  Adding 1 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup cider vinegar, we brought the mixture to a boil and then lowered the heat to let it simmer for close to an hour.  When it came off the heat, we stirred in 1/2 cup molasses and added some salt and pepper to balance out the flavor.

Ready to BroilWhile all that simmering and reducing was going on, we rolled the pork tenderloin in a blend of one tablespoon ground cumin, two tablespoons crushed black pepper and one tablespoon of kosher salt.  It took a little work to make sure all of the surface area of the tenderloin was covered, but what emerged was a crusted loin that was ready for the broiler.

We broiled the loin on ‘low’ for about a half an hour, watching to make sure that it didn’t burn or dry out.  Per the recipe, we brushed on the reduced orange-jalapeno glaze during the final three minutes of cooking.  When we pulled the pork from the oven and sliced into it to check it out, it still showed a bit pink.  Eager to get dinner on the table, we sliced the tenderloin into pieces and laid them on the roasting pan with some additional glaze so they could quickly finish (about 5 minutes more) without having a chance to get tough.

To accompany the glazed pork loin, we served some farmers’ market asparagus with a balsamic-shallot butter sauce.  That recipe, which came from the comprehensive Bon Appetit cookbook, will go up later today.  The combination worked well together, though we found the dusky spice of the cumin a bit aggressive on the pork.  Overall, it was another great meal that came about because of the cookbook challenge.

bread-pudding-afterTwo weeks ago, Melissa McCart of Counter Intelligence launched a new feature called “Favorite Five.”  In it, she asks local chefs about their – you guessed it – five favorite ingredients and then attempts to use them all in a single meal.  She also invites fellow food writers to join her in the challenge; the different takes help to illustrate the versatility of the chef’s favorites.  Last time, Melissa and Missy Frederick of the Washington Business Journal took on Chef Gillian Clark’s favorite five.

This week, Melissa invited us to join her in using five ingredients chosen by Chef/Owner Peter Smith of PS7’s.  Never ones to back down from a challenge, we agreed to work up a menu that included:

1.  Mushrooms (specifically lobster mushrooms and/or morels)
2. Pork (any part of the pig, but Smith particularly likes the versatility of the shoulder)
3. Leeks
4. Yuzu
5. Coriander seed

Care to guess which one gave us a hard time?

You can find Melissa’s menu here.  Our effort – complete with all the fun that went into finding yuzu, never mind using it – after the jump. (more…)