Cornwall - Apr. 16, 2011 - I saw a fruit platter today with a kaleidoscope of colours that instantly transported me to a summer day. I basked in the sunshine of my mind for a little while because it’s been so bloody cold in the real world. The fruit plate brought back memories of summer and meandering down the rows of a pick-your-own strawberry farm. These memories aren’t too distant as I continue to do it each year even though I’m well over five. I love filling up boxes with ripe, juicy strawberries and eating about three pounds while completing the mission. I can almost feel the sun on my face!
Well it’s not strawberry season but it’s time for another delicious treat, maple syrup. Ribbons of sweet amber gold blanketing a big stack of blueberry pancakes. Sweet, earthy sunshine on a plate. I suppose this will tide me over until Mother Nature decides to warm us up. I remember my parents taking me to a sugar shack near Blackburn Hamlet when I was a tyke. Magic performed in front of my eyes as a wizard poured hot liquid gold onto a large snow bank which turned into sweet taffy in front of my eyes. The tradition continued through my 20’s and 30’s with friends and even though many of us did not have kids, it didn’t matter, we were still kids. It was a great way to spend an afternoon as many spots have horse drawn wagon rides and great set-ups to enjoy a grand breakfast with a group of happy people.
Chris and I recently took our 15 month out to the Sand Road Sugar Camp. My tots’ first maple syrup experience. I smile as I type this and my friends reading it will chuckle as we still can’t believe I took the foray into parenthood. Our boy won’t remember this outing or perhaps the next few to come but I am hoping we have started his traditional trek out each year.
As I was carrying our jug of maple syrup, I was thinking about dinner, not breakfast. I decided to make pork tenderloin and the kids were a little hesitant about the maple syrup component. As I have mentioned before, I try to keep ingredients under lock and key but sometimes the cat gets out of the bag. Maple syrup isn’t just for the sweet dishes - it belongs with many savoury mains and sides. I almost went overboard thinking I would do the pork plus maple glazed carrots but I practiced restraint and did not put maple syrup in or on everything all week. Pork tenderloin and a melange of your favourite veggies roasted in the oven makes a great dish for the table.
Don’t go to the store and buy your maple syrup. Get everyone into the car and find a sugar shack that provides breakfast and enjoy a couple of hours learning about maple syrup and enjoying the fresh air. Before you know it, we will be wearing sandals and wiping red juice from our chins - I can’t wait!
In case you are wondering, this dish was a hit with the older kids. Both roasts were gone at the end of the meal.
Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin
2 ½ pound pork tenderloins
8 teaspoons crumbled dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons of coriander
2-3 teaspoon(s) of dried mustard (suit to your taste)
1-2 teaspoon(s) of white pepper (suit to your taste)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2-3 tablespoons of butter
7 tablespoons pure maple syrup
12 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-3 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
Mix the dry ingredients together and rub all over the pork tenderloins. Whisk wet ingredients together except butter and set aside. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and bubbling. Add pork tenderloins and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low about 10 minutes longer, turning occasionally (thermometer inserted into pork should register 150°F). Transfer pork to platter; cover to keep warm.
Add bowl of wet ingredients to the pan and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return pork and any accumulated juices to the skillet and coat the pork. Cover and let it cook on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes per side (I figure they have four sides). Take the lid off and simmer so the liquid thickens simply turning the loins around for about five minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer pork to cutting board. Cut pork into desired slice size. Arrange pork slices on a platter or plates and spoon glaze over pork.
Serve with roasted veggies of your choice done simply with a teaspoon of oil and a mix of spices (I used the same ones from the pork dish).
Serve with a nice pinot noir (not a mean one). 2006 Hagafen Cellars Pinot Noir
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