Bourbon Maple Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

The aroma of grilled meat lofting in the air makes me hungry, even if I’ve already had a meal. Add a little bourbon, maple syrup and Dijon mustard in the mix, and the smell of your pork tenderloin on the grill may even bring your neighbors over for dinner. Paired with creamy goat cheese mashed potatoes, this recipe is simple enough for a throw-together meal and impressive enough to serve when entertaining. It also makes a wonderful hearty appetizer for a crowd, and doubling the recipe will give you more to pass around. Serve this dish with your favorite bourbon of course.

Bourbon Maple Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:
1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons country Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Goat Cheese Mashed Potato Ingredients:
1 pound potatoes (about 2½ cups), diced and unpeeled
water
½ tablespoon butter
½ cup skim milk
4 ounces goat cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Place pork on a large plate or platter and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, bourbon, mustard and rosemary. Brush the pork with half of the glaze, reserving the rest.
  2. Grill the tenderloin for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush with remaining glaze and continue cooking 2 to 5 additional minutes, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Let the tenderloin rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water and return to the stove over low heat. Add skim milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher while butter melts. Add goat cheese and use a hand-held mixer to whip potatoes on high until smooth and creamy.

Servings: 4

Halibut with Tropical Salsa and Coconut Rice

I created this recipe while on vacation earlier this summer using fresh seafood from a coastal fish market. I have enjoyed this dish back at home with local bell peppers from my CSA share and the taste brings back wonderful memories from vacation. The seafood may not be local, but I believe in cooking with whatever regional ingredients you can access. I love how cooking one recipe in different parts of the country or world can result in the use of different locally-sourced ingredients.

The tropical salsa and coconut rice also make a great pair for grilled pork chops and filet mignon if you want to serve a variety of options for your guests. Cheers to firing up the grill this weekend with your protein of choice as we say farewell to the summer season.

Ingredients:
2 cups white rice
2 (13.5 ounce) cans unsweetened, light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 lime
8 (4 to 6 ounce) halibut steaks or cod filets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
3 small or 2 medium bell peppers, any color
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Directions:

  1. Bring coconut milk to a boil, add rice and reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until milk is absorbed and rice is tender. Add sugar and coconut flakes and stir to combine, allowing sugar to melt into the steamy rice.
  2. Meanwhile, zest lime with a citrus zester or microplane grater. Brush halibut or cod with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and zest from lime. Set aside while preparing the tropical salsa.
  3. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Remove seeds from bell pepper and slice in half. Brush pineapple and bell pepper with remaining olive oil. Grill produce until light grill marks appear on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  4. Grill fish for about 4 minutes per side until the center is firm and opaque. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Dice pineapple and bell pepper and place in a medium bowl. Juice lime over salsa and add cilantro and salt, stirring to combine. Serve fish over coconut rice and top with tropical salsa.

Servings: 8

Eggplant and Summer Squash Stacks

Summer is not over yet, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to some of my favorite seasonal produce. If you are like me and want to savor these flavors as long as you can, fire up the grill and celebrate these last couple of weeks before we welcome fall. Eggplant is a great match for summer squash stacked between layers of melted fresh mozzarella and homemade pesto. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a simple salad and a glass of your favorite white wine for an easy dinner outdoors as you watch the sunset.

Ingredients:
toothpicks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 small eggplants, cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
2 medium summer squash, cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
2 tablespoons pesto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced into about 20 pieces

Directions:

  1. Soak toothpicks in a small bowl of water to prevent scorching when grilling.
  2. In a small bowl, add garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine, creating a grilling sauce for the produce.
  3. Arrange eggplant and squash on a large plate or platter and brush both sides evenly with the grilling sauce.
  4. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Grill vegetables until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and move produce to a working surface.
  5. Remove toothpicks from water and set aside. Create eggplant and summer squash stacks by spreading a thin layer of pesto on a slice of eggplant and topping with a slice of summer squash and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and top with an extra squash or eggplant slice, then secure each stack with a toothpick. You should end up with about 10.
  6. Place eggplant and summer squash stacks back on the grill at medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, until cheese melts. Remove from grill and serve.

Grilled Squash Blossom and Roasted Garlic Pizza

Edible flowers? Yes, please! Squash blossoms are, as you guessed it, flowers from squash plants. These delicate flowers have a light and crisp flavor with a subtle taste of summer squash. While they can simply be used as garnish, they make a delicious and beautiful addition to your meal. You don’t need decorations on your plate when your meal is this colorful. Roasted garlic adds a sweet and mellow garlic taste that compliments mildly sweet dollops of ricotta cheese and roasted summer vegetables.

Ingredients:
1 medium head garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small zucchini, sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
8 squash blossoms, stems and stamens removed
⅓ cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 to 10 basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice off the top of the garlic head, so you can see the tops of the cloves, and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the garlic head with ½ tablespoon olive oil and wrap tightly in the foil. Roast for about 30 minutes, until cloves are tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Pace zucchini and cherry tomatoes on a medium backing sheet. Drizzle ½ tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.
  3. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from grill.
  5. Separate cloves from garlic head. Top cooked side of crust with roasted garlic and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread with a knife or spatula to evenly distribute oil and spread soft garlic cloves into the crust like butter.
  6. Add zucchini, tomatoes, squash blossoms and dollops of Ricotta evenly around the pizza crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella and return pizza to the grill.
  7. Cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted, squash blossoms have slightly wilted, and the bottom of the crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill and top with fresh basil before serving.

Servings: 4