Fall Feasting – Three Easy Dinners

Simply HDR

three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
Robert Frost

~  Shrimp & Clams Cioppino ~

~ Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry-Apple Cider Sauce ~

~ Cheater Baked Roasted Vegetable Ravioli ~

Nine days of road trip food and I was so ready to get back into the kitchen for homey comfort food.  Just before our road trip I had clams and what a coinkydink, clams when I got home…

Two easy bonus dinners follow both very good and great for hearty fall dinner parties.

A quick stop at the seafood store for a few clams to toss into a “shrimp” cioppino the first night and I had quick hearty bowl of seafood goodness.

Cioppino Clams and Shrimp 3

There are so many cioppino recipes out there these days so take a look at some of the other ingredients that can be added, fish, scallops, mussels etc. as well as different herbs and vegetables.

Cioppino Shrimp Stock

I always save my shrimp shells to make stock and keep it in the freezer for such occasions…

Serves 4

2 tablespoons EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
3 fat cloves of garlic minced
1 small green mystery pepper (sweet green) minced
1 fresh sweet cherry pepper minced
1 +cup white or red wine (I used some of each)
1-28 ounce San Marzano whole tomatoes
3 fresh small bay leaves
Fresh sprigs of oregano, thyme and about 8 leaves of basil
Fresh parsley some for the sauce and some minced for garnish
1 teaspoon Phillips Seafood seasoning
3-4 cups shrimp broth or ½ shrimp and ½ clam broth
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
2-3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot and add the oil, toss in the onion and peppers, sweat for a few minutes and toss in the garlic, sauté for another minute or so and add the herbs and bay leaves.  Pour in ¼ cup wine to deglaze the pan, stir and reduce for a minute or two then add the canned tomatoes, juices and all.  Season with the seafood seasoning and a little freshly ground pepper…wait on the salt until you taste the finished sauce.  Add the rest of the wine and simmer the sauce for at least thirty minutes, thin with more wine, stock, or clam juice if necessary depending on the thickness of your “sauce” broth preference.

When the sauce is done toss in the clams, cover the pot and remove each clam to a large bowl as they open.  When you finish the clams add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.

To serve add the clams to each bowl and ladle hot sauce and shrimp over, garnish with minced parsley.

Serve with warm sourdough bread for dunking and a side salad if you like.

Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider-Cherry Sauce

Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Thoroughly mix a blend of good ground coffee about 4 tablespoons for 2 tenderloins,  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1-2 teaspoons pepper mélange, 1-1/2 teaspoons fennel spice (or coarsely ground fennel), and 1 teaspoon or so of Montreal steak seasoning.  Cover the tenderloins with coffee rub, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to grill the tenderloins.

Measure out about 1-1/2 cups fresh apple cider and heat in a small pan, add 2-3 tablespoons each apple jelly and tart red cherry preserves.  Simmer until all the jelly is melted and slightly thickened.  Simmer as long as 15 minutes.

Grill the tenderloins over high heat to sear all sides of the pork – 7 or so minutes, move to indirect side to finish (use a thermometer to test for doneness) .  I prefer the tenderloins a wee bit pink…they were on the grill for 30 minutes cooking indirectly as the heat did not get past 325°.  Rest the tenderloins for 5 minutes and slice before serving.   Drizzle with sauce (serve the remaining sauce at the table).  Grill roasted sweet potatoes, grilled zucchini and yellow squash…great sides to go with the pork.

Coffee Crusted Pork

Cheater Baked Roasted Vegetable Ravioli

Roasted Vegetable Baked Ravioli Lasagna 2

16 ounces prepared spinach ravioli ( I used the Sam’s Club 2″ ravioli) perfect for layering in an 8 x 8 baking dish and Cooked al dente according to package directions
3-4 cups marinara sauce meatless or saute 1 pound or so of sautéed Italian sausage (remove from casings) added to hot marinara sauce
* 1/2 pound Mortadella cubes, my choice for this particular “lasagna”
1 roasted zucchini and 1 roasted yellow squash, cut into about 1 inc cubes
8-10 roasted small sweet peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella and
1 cup grated parmesan
Brush a baking dish with a little EVOO

Toss the cooked ravioli with some of the sauce to coat and ladle some sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.  Place a layer of ravioli, some of the veggies followed by both cheeses and a little more sauce.  Continue with one more layer of pasta, veggies, cheese and sauce, top with more pasta, finish with more sauce and cheeses.  Baked covered for about 30 minutes and for another 20 minutes uncovered, allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

I don’t like a too saucy lasagna so go easy on the layers, you can always serve more marinara at the table.

Roasted veggies for Ravioli 2