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Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin {Slow Cooker}

The crockpot is my cold-weather friend.  I turn it on before work, and come home to a delicious-smelling house and a hot dinner ready and waiting.  Usually I use it for soups & chili, but once in a while I get a little crazy and turn a big hunk of meat into something falling-apart tender and succulent.  This is one of those rare times, and of course the husband rejoiced.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of this as soon as we took it out of the crock, but due to the early sunset in winter, there was no light left to take a photo by.  So you get a picture of the leftovers, which were also delicious, but this doesn’t quite represent how beautiful the meat was after it finished cooking.  But I figure a photo taken of leftovers by daylight is better than a grainy, dark photo of perfect meat.

What makes this dish remarkable isn’t so much the tender, juicy pork (that always happens to meat in the crockpot, right?), but the sauce.  It reminds me of barbecue sauce, but it is more like barbecue sauce’s wealthy cousin that travels abroad 3 months out of the year and has great taste in hats.  Or something like that.

Anyway, the sauce is amazing.  The meat is amazing.  Together, well, duh, they are amazing.  Make it and feel the amazement in your own kitchen.

Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

Recipe source: C & C Marriage Factory

Secret Recipe Club


Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce

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I checked out a cookbook from the library called You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan, by Lacey Sher and Gail Doherty, and I knew as soon as I saw the recipe for the “Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce” that I had to try it. It seems that all my foodie friends are cooking up Asian fare lately and I don’t want to be the only one left in the dust, even if my past attempts have somewhat disappointing.

Well, I now have ONE successful Asian dish under my belt! I’m so proud, it’s ridiculous!

I asked my friend, Pia, what she would call this type of dish and she said “fusion” b/c the noodles are Japanese, but peanut sauce is usually used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Whatever it is, the combo here is delicious! I rounded out the meal with some bright vegetable spring rolls, which was kind of like eating a hand-held salad. How fun is that?!

Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce 
Serves 4
 Savory & simple, these soba noodles are tossed in spicy peanut sauce and served with fresh carrots and scallions. Top with snow pea shoots and sesame seeds for a gourmet touch.

8 oz soba noodles
1/2 c Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 c matchstick-cut carrots
1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
1 T toasted sesame oil
Pinch of sea salt
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Bean sprouts, for garnish

Fill a 6-quart stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Drain the noodles into a colander and run under cool water until slightly cool to the touch. Using a medium-size bowl, toss together the noodles, peanut sauce, carrot, scallion, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Serve family style or divide into individual servings, garnished with sesame seeds and sprouts.

Peanut Sauce
Yield: 2 cups

1 c peanut butter
3 cloves garlic
3/4 c water
1/4 c plus 1 T tamari
Pinch of cayenne
1 (2.1 oz) package Eden Pickled Ginger with Shiso, with liquid, leaf removed*

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well. Will keep for 4-5 days refrigerated.

*Variation: Instead of using pickled ginger, you can add 1 T of finely grated fresh ginger, 2 T of agave syrup, and 1 T of rice vinegar.

Veronica’s Notes: I cheated and used a prepared peanut sauce (House of Tsang Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce), which was spicy and delicious. This made the recipe super easy and only took 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish. Also, I would imagine that sugar would work fine in place of the agave nectar (in the variation on the peanut sauce) if you don’t have any and don’t want to buy it.

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