Savory and Sweet

Being a Yankee Chef and the foremost New England Food Historian, I am well versed in the cuisine of our varied cultures that have designated our shores as home.
What separates my recipes from others is the reintroduction of simplicity in our lives. Sure, it’s great to television chefs prepare dishes that have 12 word titles and just as many ingredients(not even mentioning the cost and special equipment factors) but I love catering to the masses who want great flavors without the obscenely complicated skills shown on television.
Some say that us New Englanders are an “ornery” lot with a little dry humor sprinkled on top. There is an old time saying that we New Englanders aren’t partial to ghosts or spirits because they don’t pay rent. However, in the culinary world, I embrace all styles of cooking and incorporate many influences in my first cookbook, due out in January.
I am going to stay close to home, although, in this first recipe. New England ingredients just plain mean comfort. The scent of maple syrup and apple cider spells comfort to me, as I am sure it will to all who give this recipe a try.

Maple-Butter Pork Tenderloin

4 T. butter or margarine
4 T. maple syrup
2 lb. pork tenderloin
2 t. Cajun seasoning*
1/2 t. black pepper
1 c. apple cider or juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In an ovenproof skillet, heat butter and maple syrup over medium heat until melted.  Sprinkle pork tenderloin with Cajun seasoning and black pepper.  Brown each side for 5 minutes in the maple butter.  Lower heat if syrup begins to burn.

Place skillet in oven and roast, uncovered, for 15 – 20 minutes or longer, depending on the thickness of the pork.  Remove skillet from oven and transfer the pork to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.  Add cider to the skillet and stir over medium heat on your stovetop.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced slightly and thickened.  Slice pork and drizzle sauce over top to serve.

*  Make your own Cajun seasoning by mixing together 1 t. salt, 1 t. granulated garlic or garlic powder, 1 t. black pepper, 1/4 t. cayenne pepper and 1/4 t. paprika.

How about a sweet nibble after the dinner? There really isn’t any course to place this tidbits in, so I thought it would be nice to have some of these truffles in bowls, just hanging around your home for everyone to grab and enjoy at their leisure.


Mocha Pumpkin-Spice Truffles Covered in Apple
I am sooo sorry folks, there was no other way to describe these truffles.

10 oz. white chocolate chips
¼ c. pumpkin puree
½ t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
½ t. instant espresso
Pinch nutmeg
1 c. crushed, dried apples(you can find the dried apples in all supermarkets)

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave (stirring after each 30-second increment) or in a double boiler until the chocolate is smooth. Stir the pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla, instant espresso, and nutmeg into the white chocolate. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined or wax paper(or you could even use film wrap) baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, remove from the fridge. Taking 1 rounded tablespoon at a time, roll the truffle mixture into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Once all of your truffles are made, place them back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. To crush dried apples, simply place in resealable bag and roll over the top with a rolling pin. If that doesn’t work, give it to your husband and have him take it to the garage and have at it, but it won’t come to that. Take the truffles back out of the fridge and roll in crushed apples, pressing into each truffle until well coated.  Place them back on the parchment- or waxed paper-lined baking sheet and return to the fridge until ready to serve.
Makes ABOUT 12 truffles