Baby Spinach, Orange, Date and Chévre Salad.
Le Quatre Quarts. JANEEN SARLIN
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Leeks. JANEEN SARLIN
The menu for this week begins with a seasonal winter salad of baby spinach, orange slices, dates and crumbled chèvre, preferably unflavored cheese. It takes only about 15 minutes at the most to prepare.
Marinating the pork tenderloin a day ahead takes the stress out of entertaining. Serve your favorite green vegetable and rice pilaf with the tenderloin to complete the main course.
I’ve been baking/serving “Le Quatre Quarts” a Yellow Butter Cake with lemon filling from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume Two” since 1970. It’s my favorite cake. Serve it un-adorned or with fresh berries. Bon appetit!
Baby Spinach, Orange, Date and Chévre Salad
6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
About 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, or more to taste
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
About 18 large dates, pitted and cut into bite-size pieces
3 seedless naval oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
4 to 5 ounces chévre, crumbled
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly salted (pepitas).
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fig infused white balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional about 1 teaspoon Grey Poupon mustard
Toss spinach and mint leaves together with onion slices and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare dates, oranges and chévre and set aside.
In a small bowl add mustard and vinegar, slowly add olive oil and whisk until blended. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasonings.
Toast pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in oven or in a pan, but no oil.
Just before serving: Drizzle only enough dressing over the greens until they glisten and arrange on a platter or salad plates. Add oranges and dates and scatter cheese and pepitas on top. Drizzle a bit more dressing and pass remaining dressing at the table.
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Leeks
2 pork tenderloins (about 1½ to 2 pounds each), silver skin and fat removed
4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers
1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce or Tamari
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Oil for sautéeing
2/3 cup dry vermouth or good quality chicken stsock
2 to 3 large leeks, white parts only
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley for garnish
One day or at least four hours before roasting, trim tenderloins and with the point of a knife, cut slits about every inch or so and insert garlic slivers. Transfer the meat to a large non-reactive pan. Rub paprika and pepper on the tenderloins. Whisk soy sauce, oil and orange juice together and pour over the meat. Roll the meat around in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Turn the meat over at least once. Bring the meat to room temperature before roasting.
To roast: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut leeks into thin julienne (about three-inch long) and reserve. Remove the meat and discard the marinade. In a large skillet over high heat, coat the bottom with oil and sear the tenderloins until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a heavy roasting dish that is large enough to accommodate the meat.
Add vermouth to the skillet, bring to a boil, cook about 2 minutes, and pour the pan juices over the meat. Scatter leeks around the tenderloins, drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper, and roast until the internal temperature registers 150 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer. Add more vermouth, water or stock if necessary. Cooking time depends on the size of the tenderloins. Tent the meat with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Carve into slices and transfer to platter or individual plates, spoon leeks and accumulated juices (au jus) over the meat. Garnish with parsley.
Le Quatre Quarts
(8 generous servings)
6 ounces, 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs (2/3 cup)
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) cake flour, measured, then sifted
For the filling: Crème Au Citron
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon zest grated and juiced (1 tablespoon measured)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
For the glaze:
1 jar apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
About 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan
In an electric mixer bowl, beat the butter into a smooth cream (like mayonnaise) transfer the butter to another bowl and set aside. Thoroughly wash the beaters and the bowl.
Using the wire whisk beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and lemon zest on low speed. Increase the speed to high and beat about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Meanwhile, measure out flour and sift onto waxed paper. Reduce the speed to low and sprinkle flour in with beaters running. Immediately add the creamy butter about 1 tablespoon at a time, incorporating the butter into the egg mixture. With a rubber scraper, wipe down the sides of the mixer bowl and carefully fold until the batter is smooth. Transfer to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a rack, cool completely.
For the filling (Crème Au Citron): In a non-reactive saucepan over moderate heat, add sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt, water, butter, cornstarch and egg, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, mixing constantly for 2 minutes or until the starch is cooked. Remove from the heat. Whisk 1 tablespoon butter in at a time until the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust the flavorings.
To assemble: With a serrated knife cutting horizontally, split the cake in half. Drizzle a few drops of Grand Marnier over the cake. Spread filling on the bottom half and replace the top of the cake.
Melt the apricot preserves with Grand Marnier until liquid and whisk until smooth. Set a strainer over a small pitcher and strain out the fruit. Then, pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cake, coating it and letting it drip down the sides.
Using your fingers, press almonds into the sides of the cake and chill about one hour.
For the best flavor, bring to room temperature before serving.
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