Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and Zingy Rice

DInner, Gluten free

Pig pig pig!  I love pig.  Fat pigs. Delicious pigs.  Mmmm.  Pig.  I must confess though, tenderloin is not my favorite part of a lovely pig.  Think about all your options- bacon, pork belly, baby back ribs, country style ribs, ham, pork chops.  And then there’s the tenderloin.  It’s temperamental. It’s begging for some added flavor because of it’s lack of yummy fat.  Overcook it and you may as well feed it to the family dog.  Pork tenderloin, you are a moody, skinny, bitch.  I usually don’t have time for it, unless it’s on sale for 50% off at the butcher shop.  Then, you’re all mine!

So, what to do with this pork tenderloin.  Flavor that sucka up!  I’m thinking Chinese five spice, oranges, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and caramelized onions.  RIght- all intense pow flavors.  And then that tenderloin is singing in your mouth instead of curses flowing out of your mouth from another tasteless, dry tenderloin.

Another fabulous thing about this recipe?  It’s a make-ahead meal and perfect for entertaining.  Just begin marinating the meat in the morning and make your caramelized onions ahead too.  Then, when it comes to party time, reheat your onions, cook your rice, and throw your tenderloin in the oven.  Serve with a nice, green side like sugar snap peas or broccoli. Impressed guests.

pork tenderloin 2

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and Zingy Rice

Serves 4, plus some nice leftovers for lunch the next day


  • 2 pork tenderloins, usually sold as one package
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 cilantro, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 orange


  • In a gallon size zip-lock bag, add the juice of oranges, the soy sauce, the rice vinegar, and 2 tsp of the Chinese five spice.  Slosh together.  Add the tenderloins to the marinade and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, and up to 8. *
  • After the meat had marinated, preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes and then flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.  The internal temp should be around 140 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Pour your leftover marinade into a small sauce pan, and bring to a boil.  Continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Brush onto the nicely rested tenderloins.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp butter.  Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and cook for 15 minutes.  If the onions begin to brown too much, turn the heat down.
  • Add 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice, the juice of 1/2 an orange, and the honey.  Continue to cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until everything is a lovely caramel color.

caramelized onions

  • To make the rice, bring 1 3/4 cups of water, 1 tbsp butter, and a pinch of salt to a boil.  Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Then add the orange zest and cilantro. RIce is done.
  • To serve, put some rice on your plate.  Top with some pretty slices of tenderloin, and spoon some caramelized onions over.  Say a little thank you for delicious piggies, and enjoy.

(*Oops, did you forget to marinade the pork early?  Yeah, I do that all the time.  No worries.  Just rub your meat down (hehehe) with a tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cook as instructed above.  Put your marinade ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Then, brush the marinade onto the tenderloins once cooked.  Problem solved.)

pork tenderloin 5


Cream of Many Mushrooms Soup


I have been given the honor and privilege to cater lunches for  Willowmere Weekends, conducted by my lovely friend Jen on her gorgeous farm.  Each month, Jen hosts a weekend retreat designed to help you grow, learn, evolve, and create.  This past Sunday, I was so fortunate to attend one of Jen’s retreats called “Get Your Joy On”.  And man, did I ever get my joy on!   Joy like not having to share a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne.  And then I got to serve lunch to some fantastic women!  And no kids around ALL day. Can’t beat that kind of Sunday.

So, here is le menu from Sunday:

Starter: Cream of Many Mushrooms Soup with Sage Croutons

Main Course: Winter Salad with a Goat’s Cheese Mousse, along with homemade french baguette

Dessert: Clementine Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

It was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy day.  Very nourishing for the body and soul too.  Here is the recipe for the Cream of Mushroom Soup.  It is all mushrooms, with a splash of liquid to make it an actual soup.  Umm, so you gotta like mushrooms to like this recipe.

Cream of Many Mushrooms Soup

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe


  • 1/2 oz dried mushrooms, any variety will do
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs of rosemary (thyme will work here too)
  • 4 springs of sage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I think cremini mushrooms will work here too)
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, beef stock, or water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter


  • Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup hot water and leave soaking until needed.
  • Heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Yes, it sounds like a lot of olive oil, and you’re welcome to cut back some if you’d like, but it’s a lot of mushrooms that need to be sauteed!  Let those mushrooms have some olive oil love!
  • Tie together the rosemary and thyme sprigs with some kitchen twine, and drop into the hot oil.  Let it bubble in the oil for a minute.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pot, along with a large pinch of salt.  Cook until the onions are softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Turn up the heat to medium high and plop in your sliced mushrooms.  Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their water and have a nice brown color to them.
Saute those mushrooms.

Saute those mushrooms.

  • Once your mushrooms are nice and browned, deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine.  Marsala wine is found in any grocery store, usually located around the sherry or port in the wine section.  It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have Marsala wine, but if definitely adds the element of depth to your soup.
  • When most of the Marsala has evaporated, add the stock or water, the re-hydrated mushrooms, and the mushroom tea they were soaking in.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream and butter.  Once again, I think the heavy cream is crucial to give the soup it’s velvety, satisfying texture and taste, but you’re welcome to add less heavy cream or none at all.  (Don’t be a chicken, go for the cream)  Remove the bundle of herbs.
  • Put the soup into a blender and blend until creamy.  This will have to be done in a couple batches since it’s a big old amount of soup.  Or, you can use an immersion blender and skip the blender.
  • Serve the soup warm with a dollop of sour cream, some browned sausage, and/or these yummy croutons.

Sage Croutons

  • Trim the crusts from 3-4 slices of white or sourdough bread.  Cut the bread into cubes.  Heat a saute pan over medium heat along with 1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter.  Add the cubed bread to the pan along with 1/2 tsp dried sage and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Saute until the bread has nicely browned.
I served the mushroom soup in a jam jar.

I served the mushroom soup in a jam jar.

Time to dive in.

Time to dive in.

Make a batch of this hearty soup this week and let me know what you think.  It’s the best I’ve come across, and I hope you agree.  Oh, and it only gets better the next day, so it’s the perfect entertaining meal since you can make it a couple days in advance.  More retreat recipes tomorrow!  xox

Sunday Eat Some Chili Funday

Sunday Funday Chili

Sunday Funday Chili

The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the husband is glued to a football game.  And that means, it’s time to pull out your large dutch oven (go ahead and laugh about dutch oven…  I’ll be waiting.  In fact, the only reason I’m writing this post is so I could use the word dutch oven. Okay, done?) and make a big pot of hearty chili.

I’ve been making chili since I first got married, almost 11 years ago.  And why not?  It’s easy, filling, fast to assemble, and you can eat the leftovers for several days afterwards.  So, when the husband asks what I think to be one of the worst questions in the world, “What’s for dinner?”, you can say “Chili!  Again!  For the fourth night in a row!”  And if you’re going to be eating that much chili, it better be good chili!  Here’s a picture of Taylor the Husband during our first year married.  He is obviously super excited about the chili on the stove top.  Isn’t he so lovable?

It's chili time!

It’s chili time!

I got my original recipe from my father-in-law, and it has since evolved into it’s own being.  This is the basic recipe.  Almost every time I make chili, it is some variation of this recipe.  For example, I may fry up some slices of bacon and use the drippings to cook my vegetables in, reserving the bacon to garnish the chili.  I may use different beans depending on what’s in my pantry.  I have many times used a bottle of marinara sauce in place of the diced tomatoes, and it turns out brilliant.  You can make it spicier or not spicy at all.  Whatever makes your tail wag.  And try to go for nice happy grass-fed meats and organic veg and beans.  So have fun, make it your own, and don’t let your significant other dutch oven you after eating your chili!

Sunday Funday Chili


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, yellow, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, green, yellow, orange, or red, diced
  • 1 jalapeno ( more if you want more spice, or you can omit)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (you can also use ground bison, turkey, or venison)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp  ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or regular
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes (fire roasted is great)
  • 2 15 oz. cans chili beans (mild or medium)
  • 1 or 2 15 oz. cans black beans (you could also use kidney beans too), drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can corn, drained (frozen, defrosted corn is cool too)
  • 1 bottle of beer, whatever kind you have (you can also use chicken stock in place of beer)
  • Garnishes such as avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt, cilantro, diced red onion, and tortilla chips


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in your dutch oven or large soup pot.
  • Add onion and pepper and add a pinch of salt.  Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add diced jalapeno and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Crumble ground beef into the vegetables and brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let the meat get a nice brown color- this means flavor.
  • Now mix in all the spices and let the spices warm and develop flavor for 2 minutes.
Spices Lineup

Spices Lineup

  • Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, and beer.  Bring the chili to a simmer and continue to simmer for at least an hour.
Chili simmering away.

Chili simmering away.

  • Garnish with whatever you please and enjoy!
The chili is done when it's thickened and turned a rich red color.

The chili is done when it’s thickened and turned a rich red color.

And look, Taylor the Husband still likes it after 11 years!

He likes it, he really likes it.

He likes it, he really likes it.