Mojitos are my absolute favorite cocktail. I love them and could probably drink a whole bottle of rum’s worth if you’d let me (not, of course, that such a thing would be a very good idea the next morning). They’re refreshing and light, a little sweet, a little sour, and perfect on a hot day. So, of course, on one of the very first hot days of the summer, I asked Sara if she’d so kindly make us mojitos and provided I’d supply the meal. I came up with this South Floridian–Cuban-inspired menu, cobbled together from several sources, which turned out fantastically. Like, so fantastically that I’m going to have to fight not to make this once a week all the way until August. So I don’t have to, make it yourself tonight.
(I also recommend making mojitos but that’s optional.)
Blackened Pork Tenderloin
makes enough blackening spice for a 1-pound pork tenderloin and serves 2–3; this same jerk seasoning could be used on shrimp or chicken as well if you prefer!
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425℉. In a small bowl, together the remaining olive oil and all spices to make a paste.
- Heat a medium, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Trim any excess fat from pork tenderloin. Coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sear the pork until brown on all sides.
- Using a silicone brush, spread the spice paste liberally over the surface of the pork.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the juice run clear and the meat is no longer pink, 15–20 minutes. Do not over cook.
- Rest the meat for 5–10 minutes. Carve into 1/2-inch slices.
Black Bean & Mango Quinoa
- 1 ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons light coconut milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
- ¼ cup onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup carrots, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 12 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
- juice from one lime
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ mango, peeled and diced
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- While waiting, heat half of the coconut milk and olive oil in a large saute pan and add uncooked quinoa, onions, and garlic, stirring as needed until onions are translucent. When broth reaches a boil, add quinoa mixture. Cook quinoa mixture according to the directions on the package.
- While quinoa is cooking, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut milk in a large sauté pan. Add carrots, red bell peppers, and black beans and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until black beans are soft. Mix lime juice, honey, ginger, cumin, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and then pour into black bean mixture. Add diced mango and heat through.
- Serve vegetable mixture over—or mixed into—the cooked quinoa.
Pineapple-Coconut-Lime Ice Cream
- 1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple in pineapple juice, undrained
- 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
- juice of 1 lime
- zest of 1 lime
- 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons coconut milk
- Blend together all ingredients and freeze in an ice cream maker according to machine directions.
A note: this ice cream is smooth and creamy but has lots of bits of the crushed fruit too. It might be nice to add some toasted coconut flakes if you want to amp the coconut flavor or some crumbled graham crackers for a little crust-like texture.