12 November 2013

Dishes with Dee featuring: Goat Cheese and Sweet Potato Salad

Uh, guys.  Didn't Cincinnati do exactly what we thought she would?
I mean, this city never fails.
The weather here is kind of like being in a really intense relationship.
You know the one.  When it's good, its so good.
The skies are the clearest blue and birds sing the actual melodies of your favorite songs.  You take a deep breath and it's like you are inhaling a promise that you'll never date another loser city again.
All of spring, the majority of summer, and the tiny part of the year we try to call fall are like this.
They're generally perfect.
It's the absolute best.
And then suddenly and without warning, that bitch is in a bad mood.
She's all frigid and shut off.
The sun ceases to exist and you can absolutely forget about the temperature jumping above 40.
Its like a freaking light switch.

That's Cincinnati on the verge of winter.  And you just know she's gonna hold onto her bad mood until at least mid-April.  You know, an unnecessarily long time.  Until neither one of you can remember why she got all pissy in the first place.  You've realized that this is your new reality and you settle in, holding onto the memories of "the good times" and patiently waiting for them to return.

And in the meantime, what happens to you?
If you're anything like me:
You crave comfort food.  You want bread pudding (!), and stew, and chicken pot-pie.  You want to eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast with a giant mocha latte that has about a gallon of whipped cream on top.  Then you want to sit on your couch with a plate of nachos and a rom-com.
Well, I'm here to tell you:

We're better than that now.  Gone are the days where we skip working out because everyone is going to happy hour.  No longer do we sleep until 10 noon on a Saturday and then start drinking at our Alma Mater before 2 (unless it's homecoming, you guys).
Not us.  Not this time.
We are healthy.  We are fit.  We look good, and we plan to keep it that way.

So, you want to slip into your over-sized sweatshirt, and wear your slipper socks on that first cold day.
Go right ahead!
You want comfort food because you had to wear your winter coat when you left for work?
Well me too, babe.  Me too.

But now, we have been spending time planning our meals.  We're actually thinking about what is going into our bodies and so we know that we can make comfort food and still eat light.

So with that, I bring you:
Goat Cheese and Sweet Potato Salad

This salad is the product of a brainstorming phone call with my mama.
I called her from the grocery store:
"Help me.  I want comfort food, but I don't want anything too heavy.  I have a sweet potato in my cart.  That is all"

And from there we came up with this salad.  Arugula has a strong peppery flavor, and the brown sugar and balsamic dressing goes well with roasted pork and grilled sweet potato.  A heart-warming meal without the guilt that comes with buttery potatoes or creamy pasta.

So here's what ya need:
About 4 c. arugula
1/2 a fennel bulb
1 c. cherry tomatoes
4-5 medium sized radishes
3-4 oz. goat cheese
1 large sweet potato
1 pork tenderloin- mine weighed a little over a pound
2 tbsp brown sugar- divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil

And here's what ya do:

For the pork:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Season your pork with salt and pepper, then rub all over with a tablespoon of brown sugar.
Place in a foil-lined pan (9 x 13 will work)- fat side down.
Roast for about 15-20 minutes.
Turn fat side up and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
Internal temperature should be around 155 degrees.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

For the sweet potatoes:
Cut up your potato into wedges.
Using a grill pan, cook wedges over the stove until soft inside and grill marks are present.
About 4-5 minutes a side.

Thinly slice your fennel and radishes.
Halve the cherry tomatoes.

Make your dressing:
Combine balsamic, olive oil, and remaining brown sugar.
Whisk well in a large shallow dish.

Then, toss your arugula in the dressing bowl- as we've discussed before, and add fennel, goat cheese, radishes, and tomatoes.

Top with your grilled sweet potato and sliced pork.


This will serve about 4 people, so adjust accordingly.

Guilt free comfort food for you.

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