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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birthday dinner!

Sorry for disappearing for a few days!  Between graduation parties, going out to eat, and volunteering at cookouts, I haven't cooked in a few days.  I started a tradition in my family, where the birthday boy or girl gets to have me cook them whatever they want for their birthday dinner.  Yesterday was my daughter, Shannon's 15th birthday.  Because of her busy social calendar, she asked that we have her dinner today instead... and her meal of choice was cranberry wild rice stuffed pork tenderloin and roasted brussel sprouts.

This dinner was a little bit of work, but not difficult in the least.  I started out making the stuffing.   I made a package of wild rice, and when it was done, I threw in a handful of craisins.  Once it had cooled off, I added a handful of sliced almonds, shredded Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, some tarragon, thyme, parsley, garlic, sauteed chopped onion, and fresh chopped bella mushrooms and torn up spinach.  Putting this aside, I take about 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing, which I added to some heated chicken broth.   Combine the stuffing with the rice and begin tasting.  I like to make sure I can actually taste the flavors of the tarragon, thyme,  etc.  It usually will need some extra salt and pepper at this point.  You can get a little creative and add some cooked sweet Italian saugage if you want to!  When it tastes just right, put it aside and pull out the pork tenderloins.

You have to remove the white sheath that covers a small area of the tenderloin.  If you don't, the tenderloin will curl as it cooks.  Just stick the point of a knife under the sheath and slice the knife until it begins to cut off.  Hold onto it as you slide your knife underneath it   Next, I butterfly the tenderloins, and pound them until they are an even thickness (thin enough to roll up without tearing!)  I brush them with a little olive oil, and sprinkle some garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Now you add stuffing down the center of the tenderloin and gently roll up width wise.  I stuff the stuffing inside the meat with my finger tips as I am rolling.  Last step is to use some cooking twine and tie it up so it won't come unrolled.

I popped them in a pan and sprinkled some Montreal seasoning over all sides.  With a little olive oil in the pan, and with medium high heat,  I sear the entire outside.  When done, the whole pan goes in the oven to finish cooking....approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  You want the pork to be just a hint of pale pink, in order to catch the moistness.

While that was cooking, I cut up the brussel sprouts and added some carrots as well.  Coat with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and some lemon mint seasoning if you have it.  Otherwise, the salt and pepper is fine!  Roast them until they begin to slightly brown.

My goal is always to have everything be done at the same time!  Tonight it worked, and the birthday girl was very happy... and for dessert?  Georgetown Cup Cakes....only the best cupcakes on the planet!

The home made birthday cake will wait for another day!

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