Personal chef shares recipe for Citrus Pork Tenderloin Salad
July 18, 2008
Kristen McGuan, owner of Kristen’s Personal Chef Service, keeps her life on track with focus and organization. Her clients vary from those who don’t like to cook and families with hectic schedules, to vacationers who would rather not spend their vacation time in the kitchen.
Kristen said, “I’ve worked several times for one out of town client. This has given me an opportunity to know the whole family. I like the personal connection and making their meals memorable.”
Raised on a farm in Missouri, Kristen worked in her aunt and uncle’s nearby cafe, gaining experience in both the front and back of the house. She continued to work in restaurants during college. After a few years working in Allies Cabin, a fine dining restaurant in Beaver Creek, she knew she wanted to learn to make beautiful food like the chef there.
She and husband, Justin, moved to Chicago so Kristen could attend culinary school.
“I always intended to get into the personal chef business,” she said. “After working in a few different restaurants under some very talented chefs, gaining more and more experience, I decided it was time to go out on my own.
“I love the idea of catering to each client’s individual needs. It keeps my job interesting. Whether it’s a busy family who needs kid-friendly meals, diets that require special needs (low-carb, gluten-free, etc.) or a special occasion dinner, they all require individual planning and provide a lot of variety.”
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Organization is the key to her success.
“I’m always making lists,” she said. “When I’m preparing several meals at once, it helps to have a checklist, otherwise I’d be in the kitchen twice as long and probably have twice the mess.”
Aside from her chef’s knife, she loves her Microplane, which zests citrus and hard cheese beautifully. She keeps good quality balsamic vinegar, olive oils, panko breadcrumbs, honey and 65% cocoa chocolate on hand (which makes great ganache). Her spice staples include sea salt, freshly ground pepper, ancho chili powder, cumin and Ceylon cinnamon. Her refrigerator contains Dijon mustard, pecorino Romano cheese, fresh berries (for salsas, salads, sauces and desserts), Morales farm fresh spinach (during the summer) and lemons, limes and oranges. Must-haves also include fresh garlic, shallots, good bacon and parchment paper, which makes for easy cleanup.
Kristen said, “I love salads – they’re my favorite quick dish. Not only do I cook for myself at the end of a busy day, but for my husband and two kids as well (son Stone is 7 and daughter Peyton turns 5 in August); they both love helping out in the kitchen. I think it’s important to get kids involved and excited about good food. Good habits start young.”
Another favorite dish is simply sauteed spinach with lots of garlic and olive oil tossed with penne pasta, pecorino Romano cheese, a dash of red pepper and a loaf of bread. It’s quick, tastes great and clean-up is easy.”
“I get inspired by being at a market and seeing what looks bright and fresh. I make my own stocks and sauces, so finding the freshest ingredients is a plus. I also love cookbooks, which I read like novels. I also like to read magazines. Thankfully, the Granby library allows you to check them out – I don’t need any more magazines at my house. One of my favorite cookbooks is Sunday Suppers by Suzanne Goin.”
In fall, she loves to make butternut squash and apple soup to serve with a good salad and a good loaf of bread. In winter, she can almost skip supper if she has a Snuggler hot chocolate to sip, made with peppermint schnapps and loads of whipped cream.
Kristen sat with a mojito at the end of a hectic summer day to write down her citrus pork tenderloin recipe to share with us.
She said, “I think if you find something you love to do, it doesn’t take much to make you happy. All I need is some good music (Paul Simon, Rolling Stone or anything bluegrass) and I’m ready to jump in and start cooking.”
Contact Kristen’s Personal Chef Service at (970) 531-8077 or visit http://www.highcountrycooking.com
Citrus Pork Tenderloin Salad
Serves 6 to 8
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 1/2 lbs. total)
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. orange juice
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
_ tsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup canola oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup grapes, halved
2 avocados, sliced
1 mango, sliced
Toasted almonds or pistachios
Prepare the pork: heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the ingredients for the rub together and coat pork. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet until beginning to smoke, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes. Roast in oven until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees (about 25 min). Let pork stand until room temperature.
While the pork roasts make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the lemon and limejuice, mustard, curry powder, salt, pepper and then add oil in a slow stream until mixed.
While pork rests prepare salad. Cut peel and pith from oranges, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Toss mixed greens, bell pepper, and grapes with vinaigrette. Halve, pit, peel and slice avocados and mango and then add to mixed salad.
Assemble salad. Cut pork into 1/2 inch thick slices, arrange on top of salad and drizzle with vinaigrette and remaining pan drippings. You can also add toasted almonds or pistachios to finish off the salad.
Contact Susan Stone, The Highland Foodie, at email@example.com or 970-531-1952 for clarifications or with comments or suggestions for future articles.