Thursday, October 2, 2008

Feasting on Fall Flavors

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Tonight called for a dinner that would warm us from the crisp and cool temps in the air. I figured now was a good time as any to prepare a fall dinner to highlight the season's flavors. With apples, thyme, maple syrup, and sweet potatoes on hand, we thoroughly enjoyed the bounty that graced our table. I didn't use any particular recipe but rather, used the ingredients in my pantry to come up with a meal. Bare with me as I share what I did to create our dinner...

Roasted Maple Sugar Pork Tenderloin
This past Sunday I visited my favorite spice shop, The Spice House, and picked up a new seasoning to try. Their "Gateway to the North Maple Sugar Seasoning" was perfect with pork with hints a sweet and savory flavor. To prepare my pork tenderloin, I generously coated them with this seasoning... and roasted them on top of a bed of chopped apples, onions, a few garlic cloves and added a couple bay leaves and springs of thyme. After baking covered in a 350 degree oven for an hour, remove the pork from the apple/onion mixture and pace on a separate baking sheet.

Savory Applesauce
With a roasting pan of apples, onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme left to play with, I thought a savory spin on the traditional applesauce would serve as a nice accompaniment with the pork. With this in mind, I removed the bay leaves and thyme from the pan and used a potato masher to get a finer texture on the apples, onions & garlic. What's wonderful about this mixture is that it doesn't need to be seasoned since the juices and maple sugar seasoning that coated the pork have filtered down into them. Once you've mashed it to your preferred texture for applesauce, you're set! Place the savory applesauce in a serving dish or individual ramekin and garnish with a fresh thyme stem.

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes
We love sweet potatoes at our house, even more than the russet, white or Yukon gold variety. While we're on a fall flavor kick, I roasted some sweet potatoes and scooped out the soft flesh into a casserole dish. To add some additional sweetness, I stirred in about 1/4 cup of real maple syrup and salt to taste. Top it with chopped pecans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

To round out our meal, I added some steamed broccoli for color and to add to our daily veggies for the day.

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