Heart Healthier Christmas

This year a heart-healthier Christmas menu was in order for Mom.

Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Port-Cherry Sauce
Twice-Baked Yam
Roasted Herbed Potatoes
Sautéed Baby Kale with Mushrooms
Fresh Blackberries with Light Orange Curd

Sadly, this is best photo of this meal.

Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

1 to 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin
1 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A few grinds of fresh ground pepper
About 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Measure herbs, olive oil and seasonings in a large zip top bag. Stir or whisk to combine.
  2. Trim any excess fat from the pork tenderloin and place in the zip top bag. Squeeze any excess air out of the bag, seal it, and with your fingers work the marinade around the meat.
  3. Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator and allow to marinade at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove tenderloin from the marinade, place in a roasting pan, and roast in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit.
  6. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Port-Cherry Sauce

Ever so slightly modified version of Port and Dried Cherry Sauce, p. 58, Williams-Sonoma SAUCE  

1 cup ruby port
2/3 cup dried cherries, soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained
½ cup chicken stock or prepared broth
¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

In a heavy bottomed non-reactive saucier pan, bring the port and cherries to a simmer over medium. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half (2 or minutes). Add the stock, vinegar, rosemary, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Simmer until the sauce is syrupy (about 2 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove pan from heat. If desired, whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. This will help to slightly thicken the sauce.

Twice Baked Yam

On a recent shopping trip to one of my favorite local markets, I found the largest yam I have ever seen. I sit here now wondering why in the heck I did not take a photo of it before cooking it. It was HUGE. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Scrub the yam(s) and trim the ends. Pierce them a few times with a sharp knife. You can bake these all the way in the oven, or get a jumpstart by par cooking them in a microwave. When the yams are fully cooked and soft, remove from the oven and cut lengthwise in half. You may need to let them cool a little before handling them. Scoop the flesh out of the skins, leaving about a ¼ inch shell in the potato skin. Place the skins in a baking pan. Place the cooked yam into a large bowl and add about 1 tablespoon shredded reduced fat cheddar per serving. Stir to combine well and then return the mixture to the skins. You can use a piping bag and fancy tip, if you desire, or you can just scoop them in with a spoon and smooth the top. Return these to the oven to heat through and melt the cheese.

Roasted Herbed Potatoes

These are so delicious and simple once you make them you may wonder why you don’t make these every day.

Use your favorite waxy potatoes (red, golden, purple) or fingerling potatoes. Scrub and dry, place in a baking dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.. whatever you like!), and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast at 350° Fahrenheit for about 1 hour. The size of the potatoes will determine the actual baking time.

They make great leftovers, too. You can just reheat them for an easy side dish, or add them to a frittata for a simple and comforting breakfast, brunch, or dinner!

Sautéed Baby Kale with Mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed, and sliced into ¼ inch slices
8 to 12 ounces of baby kale, rinsed and spun dry

On medium-high, heat oil in a large cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed skillet. Add mushrooms, stir frequently. You want them to brown a bit, but not burn. Place greens on top, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to steam until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Watch carefully – these can quickly go from tender and perfect to bitter and overcooked.

You can cook almost any cooking green this way – spinach, chard, collards, kale, or any combination of them.

Light Orange Curd

This recipe is in development and not ready to post yet. It needs work! I am not sure about the Monk Fruit In The Raw. I haven’t quite figured it out and I am not sure how much I like the taste. It is expensive, so I need to do a bit of recipe research before I just try to substitute it like this. I don’t know if it’s the corn dextrose filler they use in the Monk Fruit, or the egg whites from a carton, but the consistency was off.

I might try this orange curd with the C&H ½ & ½. It’s half stevia and half cane sugar. I liked that much better in the low-sugar version of lemon curd I made a few weeks ago.

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