I just got back from a road trip to Bend, Oregon where 23 of my immediate family reunited, ate, and played. It was a huge gift and the time flew by way too quickly.
Not only was the company exceptional but Bend, with its surrounding beauty, abundance of outdoor activities, and its slower pace was a wonderful experience. Hiking, whitewater rafting (my 87 year-old dad was in one of the boats-he wasn’t gonna be left out :-)) filled out our days!
Coming from a family of wonderful cooks, we divided and conquered dinners by creating cooking teams to feed 23 people over four nights.
As a team leader, I took charge of our menu. First time cooking for 23 people, I’ll admit to a few nerves but it all turned out! Of course, since nutrition is just as important as taste and presentation, our menu included dishes that had that covered and we took a bow to rave reviews.
Our Bend, Oregon Menu
Coffee and Cayenne rubbed Pork Loin with a Blueberry Balsamic Reduction served over Mashed Cauliflower recipe here, accompanied by Grilled Asparagus, and Rosemary Almond Bread. recipe here
The recipe for the pork loin is from Butcher Box.com, which is where I purchase most of my meats these days. I highly recommend Butcher Box for wonderful tasting and humanely raised grass-fed beef and organically fed chicken and pork delivered to your door at a very reasonable price. The recipes you’ll find on their site are delectable, even if you don’t buy their meat.
The photo included here: Too caught up in preparing and plating to think about taking a photo, what you see here is from the original author, Jennessa’s Dinners. It does a good job of capturing how our plates looked sans the mashed cauliflower which rested just beneath the pork loin, adding more color, flavor, texture and nutrition.
The only changes made to Jennessa’s version was to reduce the amount of balsamic vinegar used in the sauce and adding the mashed cauliflower and almond bread.
Note: Making the mashed cauliflower ahead of time and setting aside to reheat right before serving, makes the moving parts more manageable. Same with prepping the asparagus and putting aside to grill or roast the last 10 minutes before serving.
Pork Loin with Blueberry Reduction Sauce Recipe:
(makes about four servings):
Ingredients: Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
- 1.5-2 lbs. pork tenderloin (go with .5 lb a person for a larger dinner portion)
- 1 tbsp. ground coffee beans (finely ground if possible, but not as fine as espresso)
- 2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
Ingredients: Blueberry Balsamic Reduction
- 3 tbsp. finely diced yellow onion
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup organic fresh blueberries (summer is perfect time for sweet fresh blueberries) use frozen if fresh aren’t available)
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
You can prepare the pork by either grilling or searing it and then finishing it in the oven. I did the latter by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and heating a cast-iron pan on high heat on the stove top. (you can also use a standard grill pan or frying pan).
- Mix the coffee grounds, cayenne, and salt then rub it evenly on the pork.
- Sear each side of the roast in the hot pan, on the stove top, until browned, about two minutes each side before turning. Transfer to the oven to cook through for about 20 minutes. I like to take it out when it’s still just a touch of pink inside and let it sit for 10 minutes. It will finish cooking internally and still stay moist.
- Once the pork loin is in the oven, heat olive oil in a medium sized pot. Add the diced onions and cook until golden over medium heat. Then, add the blueberries and cook until wilted and juicy, about 10 minutes on med-high heat.
- Keeping the heat under the pan high while adding the balsamic vinegar. Stir regularly as it boils then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until it’s the consistency of a runny jam. It should stick to a spoon and wipe clean with your finger. This will take about 20 minutes
- When the pork comes out of the oven, wrap it in aluminum foil and allow it to rest for ten minutes. The balsamic should be about finished and you can cook up the asparagus while you wait.
Plate and enjoy!!!
Nutritional value of this gluten-free and Paleo dinner:
- Cauliflower Mash: Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family which gives tons of sulfur for our liver to use to increase its ability to remove toxins and excess hormones.
- Asparagus: Fiber, Vitamin C, and Chromium
- Blueberries: are full of wonderful antioxidants, fiber, B6, potassium, and vitamin C
- Pork Loin: is an excellent source of B-vitamins(thiamin,riboflavin,niacin,B6) selenium, lean protein, and a good source of minerals such as zinc and potassium.
Both the recipe and the pork loin roast came from Butcherbox. Click here to check out the site.