Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Pork Medallions with Quinoa Pilaf and Asparagus

Spring has sprung! Awakened each morning by melodious chords from songbirds that gather outside my bedroom window, mother nature's alarm clocks have made it increasingly difficult to sleep beyond 7am

Lawn care and pollen counts now consume my days. I have mowed my lawn twice this month already. Well, Pete the lawn boy has. However, while Pete takes care of the lawn, he does not do weeds! Ah yes, the task of weeding one's gardens is a necessary tedious time consuming event. There is one weed however that is a pleasant to pluck-asparagus. OK, it's a vegetable but guaranteeing a supply from early spring to early autumn, it grows like a weed!

Asparagus is also a versatile veggie. An asparagus salad with simple ingredients like salt and pepper, shredded Parmesan cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar is a wise choice for those trimming their waistlines for summer. Fresh and lightly blanched or raw, asparagus can be served as a component of crudites. Grilling it creates for a depth of smokiness that marries well with grilled meats. Perhaps the most preferred method to serve asparagus is as a veggie side. Which brings us to today's featured recipe: Pork medallions with Quinoa pilaf and asparagus. A perfect meal for champagne brunch on the patio.


1-Pork tenderloin - sliced into medium medallions

6-12 Asparagus spears
1/2 C.  red onion - finely chopped
2 carrots - diced

1 C. Organic Quinoa
2 C. Nature's Basics vegetable stock
2/3 C. toasted sunflower hearts - meat only (no shells)
1/4 C. parsley


(1) In a large sauce pan, sear medallions. Place into 375 degrees preheated oven and bake until internal temp is 145 degrees. Remove and allow to set for 5 minutes at room temperature before serving.

(2) Meanwhile, prepare Qunioa pilaf. Heat EVOO in saucepan and saute onions and carrots until soft. Add vegetable stock and quinoa, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa should be light and fluffy. In a bowl toss quinoa with the toasted sunflower hearts and parsley. Serve either hot or at room temp.

(3) Blanch asparagus in boiling water. Remove. Plate all components of meal. Drizzle some honey mustard sauce* over pork and serve.

* Honey mustard sauce can be a commercially bought product or prepared by mixing 1 T. honey with 1 T. brown deli mustard.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Root's Market - A Lancaster County favorite since 1925

Earlier in the week while enjoying a warm breakfast croissant at Trin's Beans in Columbia ( I met up with fellow culinarian and Lancaster New Era food journalist Bill Clark "Clarkie on the Grill". Striking up a conversation we journeyed through an epicurian maze that began in France-How can you discuss food and not have the French be a part of the conversation- winding our way back to the good ole US of A. Before parting we concluded with a brief banter on the simpler things in life like honey-do lists and lawn care. While Clarkie set out to complete his list I phoned the lawn boy and planned an afternoon of fun in the sun with my 2 yr.old daughter. With the temperature ascending towards 70 degrees, I had better things to do than waste a beautiful day on lawn care. It was Tuesday after all and for Lancastrians that can mean only one thing - Root's Market (

Established by A. W. Root in 1925, Root's Market is the oldest single family-run country market in Lancaster county, PA. What began as a simple poultry auction has evolved into one of the county's most recognizable tourist stops. Chickens still cackle at the original auction site, however, the market today consists of 200 stand holders selling everything from flowers and crafts to collectibles and antiquities.
And let's not forget the real reason for visiting Root's...The food!

 In our jaunt around the market grounds we visited five different food vendors for very specific reasons.Our first stop took us to Spring Meadow Farms, where PA Dutch foods, relishes and dressings have been sold since 1969. For a complete product listing and price sheet you can contact them via e-mail at or by calling (717)-664-6004. Our reason for stopping was not to purchase smoked bologna or Amish Ketsup but rather pickles. Large. Juicy. Dill pickles. Eva just loves pickles!


Stopping at Hahn's Seafood Sandwiches I enjoyed a single deep fried oyster sandwich on a fresh roll with a smidgen of ketsup for only $2.75. Hahn's other sandwiches include fish, shrimp and crab cakes. This is a must stop for me each time we visit. I've been coming to Hahn's since I was a teen. The line may be long but the wait is worth it!

Looking for something healthy to balance the salty deep fried oysters we stopped at Pasta Plus to see Lynn Manbeck. Before making a purchase I sampled several side salads. The Bulgar and Quinoa sides were certainly healthy but it was the nutty and savory flavors of the sesame Thai salad that won me over. For creative pasta and vegetable salads contact Lynn at (717)-449-0063.

We could not leave without some sort of desert. Pie perhaps or maybe a sundae? As we were leaving for the parking lot there it was. The aroma of a fresh baked apple pie coming from Kohr Kreations. I just had to stop. But wait. This wasn't edible pie I had smelled from afar. No this was a beautifully hand crafted candle. That's right! A candle. Amy and Dave Kohr of York, PA specialize in handcrafted candles with over 150 fragrances to choose from including a hot fudge brownie sundae candle that burns through a layer of chocolate syrup then vanilla ice cream followed by the chocolate brownie. Now that's Foodacious! You can reach Amy via e-mail at or by calling (717)-912-2112.

After a few hours in the sun with my charming little girl, it was time to make our way back home. Exhausted by all the walking, it did not take Eva long to fall asleep. Before leaving we made one last stop to see Katie Mast, a Pampered Chef Consultant.  I was reminded that we needed to get mommy a new "gar wick pwess" (garlic press). As we headed towards the car I could not help but to think...I am glad that I have a lawn boy. I had better things to do than waste a beautiful day on lawn care!

Root"s Country Market and Auction Inc.
705 Graystone Road
Manheim, PA 17545