There is a sweetness to a simple and festive apple brandy glazed pork loin with roasted apples that appeals to a hungry soul; and there is also a sweet flavor to the hope that is present in this holiday season, a hope that is there and alive in all aspects of it if we choose to see it.
For all of the glimmer, shimmer and glitz that the holiday season undoubtedly contains within it, it also holds at the very center of it the deeper notion of hope.
Yes, there is certainly a very material aspect to the holidays, one which we are meant to get lost in and, ideally, have a little fun participating in, allowing our creativity to run wild along with our generosity; but there is a more magical aspect to all that it represents that cannot be denied, one that tastes so very sweet on the tongue, and is meant to sustain much longer than anything temporal ever could.
Hope, while perhaps seemingly elusive at moments, is there fully present in all that the holiday season embodies, even if one must open eyes wide to see it.
It is present in the lights that shine and twinkle so brightly, and offer beautiful and festive illumination, because in them, there is the reminder of the promise of truth and revelation if one is willing to look for it.
Hope is present in the gifts that are exchanged, as it is a demonstration of the simple message that to give abundantly and with joy and with intention to bestow, that we then find a little piece of heaven on earth, because we experience the power of giving and how it unifies us.
Hope is present in the lovingly prepared food we place onto our tables, like a succulent and sweet apple brandy glazed pork loin with roasted apples, as it reminds us that nourishment and long-term sustenance is there for our taking if we accept this gift of life we have been given, and live it fully and abundantly and with gratitude.
Hope is present even in all of the need that we see all around us during this time of year, as within that, we witness the potential for healing and reconciliation if we share our hearts and our kindness and our love with one another.
See, hope is there all around us during this mystical and amazing holiday season, if we can look at things a bit more poetically and through the lens of possibility.
Hope is to be found in all things, both the positive and the negative, because there’ll come a moment when all of it is used for the good, and nothing will be lost.
I’m hopeful that all that is contained within this time of year will ultimately serve each and every one of us in the deepest way possible, by expanding how we perceive life, and in turn, creating more awareness and a deeper consciousness of the potential we each hold in our own hands.
May this holiday season, and all that it contains within it, be a blessing upon every one of us; and may we experience the sweet taste of hope and be astonished and amazed by where we can find it when we indeed look for it.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Apple Brandy Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Apples
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-6
• 3 lb pork loin, trimmed slightly of excess fat
• Avocado oil (or other, if desired)
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teapsoon Herbes De Provence
• 1 teaspoon granulated onion
• 1 onion, quartered and sliced thinly
• 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and quartered
• Apple Brandy Glaze (recipe below)
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
-Place the pork loin into a large bowl or onto a work surface, and drizzle all over with a little of the oil, about 2 tablespoons worth; in a small ramekin, combine 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the ground black pepper, the Herbes De Provence and the granulated onion, and sprinkle all over the pork loin, rubbing it in (this can be done ahead and kept in fridge over night).
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 400°.
-Toss the onions with a drizzle of oil, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and turn them out onto the baking sheet; toss the apples with a touch of oil, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, as well, and add them atop of the onions.
-Place the pork loin, fat side up, on top of the apples, and brush liberally with some of the glaze you’ve reserved for use during the cooking process; insert a thermometer into the center of the loin, and roast until the internal temperature registers 150°, reapplying the glaze periodically; allow the loin to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
-Place the loin onto a cutting board, and slice; arrange the apples and the onions on platter, place the sliced pork on top, and pour the glaze that you reserved for after the loin is cooked over top (you can warm it slightly in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s too cool.)
-Sprinkle thyme leaves over everything, and serve.
Apple Brandy Glaze Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
• 1/2 cup apple brandy (I use Calvados, which is a French apple brandy)
• 1/2 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-In a small sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients, and whisk together; place over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by about half.
-Pour the glaze into a heat-safe bowl or glass jar, place into fridge, and allow to cool for about 45 minutes (it will also thicken a bit more as it cools); once ready to use, pour half of the glaze into a small dish, reserving this for use after the pork is cooked (as not to cross-contaminate), and use the other half for glazing during the cooking process.