OK, I was looking for my blog that talks about Steven's health issues and discovered it's not here, it was on Myspace. So you all are sitting there, completely ignorant of my dearly beloved's heart problems.
Steven was born with a membrane covering one of his aortic valves. At age 16, he had open heart surgery to correct the problem. Last September he started complaining of chest pains and so I, being the good wife that I am, FORCED him to go to the doctor. The doctor referred him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist sent him to the hospital for a heart cath. And now the cheese stands alone. I mean, the heart cath revealed no blockages, but that he has a leaky valve that will eventually have to be replaced. So basically he will have palpitations and chest pains (aggravated by stress, and what normal, sane PhD aspiring, hollering preaching man married to a very difficult woman has any stress?) So we're trying to keep his heart as healthy as possible so there will be no further issues. A heart cath at age 27 certainly is a great way to help you forget the carefree ways of youth. Yeah, right.
Anyway, the point of this post was to say that due to Steve's heart, we're making an effort to eat healthier, beginning with wiping out all processed foods. And yes, people, I know that pork isn't the healthiest thing you can eat, but small changes, ok? Small changes. I love to cook, and this is just the motivation I needed to drag out all my neglected cookbooks. I found this recipe and made it last night:
Fennel-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce (recipe courtesy of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook)
2 tbsp fennel seed
4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 c chicken stock
2 1/2 c fresh or frozen blackberries
1/4 c honey
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350.
To prepare the fennel salt, spread the fennel seed in a cast iron skillet and roast in the oven for 6 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder, and then mix with the sea salt in a small bowl.
Increase the oven heat to 375.
To prepare the blackberry sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard. Add the chicken stock and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Add the blackberries and honey, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Discard the berries and onions.
To prepare the pork, rub the tenderloin evenly with 1 tbsp of the fennel salt. Place a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat for 1 minute. Add the tenderloin and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for several minutes. Pour any excess juice from the cooked tenderloin into the blackberry sauce. Reheat the sauce quickly. Slice the tenderloin crosswise, arrange on a platter, and spoon the warm blackberry sauce over the top.