Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another PINTESTER Challenge

So again, Sonja Foust, the intrepid Pintester, has issued a call to other bloggers.  This time, she's invited us to try out one of her previously-tested pins.  I had, like, 3 weeks to figure out what I was going to do, but here I am, scrambling because I haven't figured out what I wanted to do.  Here were my two criteria: 1) It had to be on the first page of one of her categories, because I don't have time for messing around with the "back" and "refresh" buttons; and 2) I had to have the ingredients or supplies at home (or at least close substitutions), because it's hot out and I don't want to leave the house.

Given those criteria, I picked her Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Pork.  Here's the original pin/recipe. And here is the Pintester version. True to the Pintester tradition, I did not have exactly the right ingredients, and I was a little leery of trying it because it didn't taste that great, but what the heck, here's to livin' on the edge.  Am I right? Plus, slow cooking in the summer is awesome, because you have a hot meal, but didn't heat up the kitchen.  Win, win. I'm all for salads and sandwiches in the summer to keep things cool, but sometimes you need a hot meal for it to feel like an actual dinner.

I kinda screwed my husband (make your own joke, here), 'cause I used the last two (expensive) apples on this recipe, which he usually takes an apple with his lunch each day. It calls for 3, but, whatever.  Those expensive apples ($2.99/lb for freak's sake) better be delicious, 'cause I'm already mad at myself for buying those stupid thing. I also didn't have honey, but I had maple syrup, which is actually better, IMHO.  Plus, since there was a little issue with flavor, the maple will boost that, hopefully.  Plus I added salt.  Salt boosts flavor, people.  Remember that. With the pork, apple, maple flavors going on, it's more of a fall-ish feel, so that's going to be strange, seasonally speaking, but we'll survive.

The other thing I like about this recipe is that you just dump everything in (ingredients prep aside).  No browning of the meat beforehand or any of that nonsense (side rant: what's up with that, anyway?  Browning meat before you put it in a crock pot is stupid and totally defeats the convenience of the crock pot in the first place.  If I wanted to actually use the stove, I'd just braise the fucker). Unfortunately, my crock pot is round, rather than oblong, so when I put the pork in it, I had to sort of coil it around.  It means it doesn't look quite like either of the other two tries.  Just keep that in mind when you look at my crappy and completely unappetizing picture.  :-)

It also uses a boatload of cinnamon. Two tablespoons is crazy, but I did it.  If this thing turns out well, I'm sending my version over to Penzey's, because that's the brand of cinnamon I used. If you are not already acquainted with that store, I beg you, for all that is good and tasty, to get there and order your spices.  They rock, and it really does make a difference. But then again, I'll probably have to make the recipe again and actually measure everything out...

Anyway, so here's my version (amounts are approximate, because, well, I don't have time for actual measuring and stuff, plus it's just more I have to clean up):

Slow Cooker Maple Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions:

3 lb. pork tenderloin
2 onions, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
2 apples (they do not need to be the expensive, fancy Koru apples I had, but something more flavorful than Red Delicious, if you have access to it), cored and sliced into approximately 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I used Grade B)
2 Tablespoons (yes, Tablespoons) of cinnamon

Put the onions in the bottom of the crock pot.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Make slices in the tenderloin -- do not cut all the way through.  Layer the pork in the crock pot, then put an apple slice in each of the slices you made in the pork.  Put any extra slices on top of the meat.  Sprinkle a little more salt over the meat, then sprinkle the cinnamon over everything.

Turn on low and cook about 7 hours until tender.


The pork turned out really well!  For a less sweet taste, you might want to knock the maple syrup back to 2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons.  The meat was really tender, too tender to actually slice, because it just fell apart when I tried to pull it out of the crock pot, thus the not-so-appetizing "after" picture.  Also, the apples got really mushy, so they didn't have nice-looking slices by the time I took everything out of the pot.  If I made it again, I might try it with Granny Smith apples that might hold its shape more (and be less sweet).  In my final version picture, I served it with polenta, but in the fall or winter, it would taste really good with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts (nice call, Sonja).  :-)

So, to re-cap, here's the original pin:

Here's the Pintester version:


And here's my attempt:


  1. You did the same Pintest that I did! and... yours apparently beat mine, hands-down. Mine was dried out and nearly inedible, despite some changes on my part. Oof.

    It was fun though! :) glad yours came out tasty!

  2. Thanks, Ashley! I'll check out your post! I reheated the leftovers with some chipotle chili salsa and we ate them as tacos just last night. I was definitely skeptical about not adding any liquid, but took a leap of faith...

  3. Looks tasty! And I agree completely about Penzey's!

  4. Wow I can't believe you made it work! Good for you! I'm so proud. *wipes tear*

  5. Wow, this does look good. I hate there is so much prep in yummy food, LOL, maybe we'll give this a shot for dinner next week.

  6. I'm going to have to give this a try. Looks yummy! Glad I'm not the only one griping abut the price of apples. I bought one a month ago, and ONE was almost a dollar. What's up with that?

  7. Thanks, friends! Sonja, I screw up plenty of other things, so I'm glad I did you proud on this one! :-)