The Block Island Times

A taste of summer without the grill

By Becky and Mike Ballard | Jun 21, 2012

Now that warmer weather is here, we’re thinking of lighter summer foods, but maybe your barbeque grill is still in the garage. We made this pork tenderloin a few weeks ago, and it was just right for this transitional time of the year.
Pork tenderloins have been popular for quite some time. The meat is tender, but moist, low in fat content and there’s very little waste. Most come as two tenderloins in a package. This recipe, taken right from the “Gourmet” cookbook, is worth recommending. It’s delicious, but quick and easy with a surprising mix of Caribbean flavors.
When your days are busy this menu can fit right in. Make the Corn and Black Bean Salad and the baked tomato dish first thing in the morning. Then put the pork dish together just before dinner time. All three recipes are the best of the lot.
The Cheesecake and Berry Tarts can be made instead as a 9-inch pie, but serving this dessert as little individual cakes is a nice variation, and adds a little more elegance. Try them for fun if you have the time. They’ll please the cheesecake lovers in your crowd.
It’s time to pull out the grill. Clean it up and check to be sure the gas tank is filled, or a bag of charcoal is on hand. Here comes summer!

Island Pork Tenderloin

From the “Gourmet” cookbook

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ - 2 ½ pounds total), trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil


1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. With hands, coat pork with mixture.

Heat olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat, leaving pork in skillet.

For the glaze, stir together the brown sugar, garlic and tabasco in a small bowl. Press mixture onto tops of tenderloins. Roast in the preheated oven until a meat thermometer (inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin) registers 140 degrees; about 20 minutes. Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes.

Cut pork at 45-degree angle into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange on a warmed serving platter. Pour juices from skillet over pork.

Serves six.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 can (14-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup whole kernel corn, cooked, well-drained

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro

1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

1 fresh jalapeno, cored and chopped

Sprigs of fresh parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients except parsley sprigs. Mix well. Serve at room temperature garnished with parsley.

Serves four to six.


Baked Tomatoes with Crunchy Topping

Adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe

Tomato Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 medium tomatoes, cut in ½-inch chunks

1 shallot, finely diced

1 garlic clove, finely diced

¼ teaspoon salt

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon corn starch

Crumb topping

1 cup panko crumbs

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a low-sided casserole dish (about 10 x 7 inches). In a small bowl, combine ingredients for crumb topping. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and salt. Stir to combine. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes until tomatoes begin to break down, some of liquid has cooked off and mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in corn starch during last few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in grape tomatoes.  Combine ingredients for crumb mixture in a small bowl.

Spoon tomato mixture in prepared dish. Scatter crumb topping over tomatoes. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until crumbs are browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serves six to eight.


Cheesecake and Berry Tarts


2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

6 eggs


1 8-ounce container sour cream

10 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

1 pint fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups (about 2 ¾ inches in diameter x 1 ½ inches deep).

For the filling, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Fill muffin cups up to ½ inch below edge of cup. Bake until browned on top, about 20 minutes. (Top will puff up and then sink down.)

For topping mix together the sour cream, the 10 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla and salt. Remove cakes from oven (leaving oven on). Spoon 2 tablespoons topping mixture into top cavity of cakes. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes more.

Take pan out of oven and immediately remove cakes from pan onto a serving platter. Chill covered.

To serve, place cakes on chilled dessert dishes, top with fresh berries and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.

Serves 10 to 12.

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