Last week, on a very busy day in which I had zero inspiration for cooking dinner, the daily email from Martha Stweart’s Everyday Food was a life saver.  It arrived mid-morning as usual,  and featured a grilled pork tenderloin with a simple soy-citrus marinade.  I had a tenderloin in the fridge, and all ingredients needed for the marinade.   Side dish?   Orzo sounded great, so I searched for recipes on the same website, and one of the top choices was “Toasted Orzo with Olives and Lemon”.   The clouds left the horizon,  blue skies announced that my dinner blues were gone.  And you’ll get both recipes in a single post! 😉

(adapted from Everyday Food)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), trimmed of excess fat and silver skin

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, oil, and ginger. Add pork to the marinade, turning to coat well on all sides. Marinate in the fridge for several hours to overnight.

Remove meat from marinade, and pat it dry.  Season it very lightly with salt, and grill for 7 minutes on a hot grill.  Turn the meat to grill the opposite side, and grill for 6 minutes more.  Without opening the grill, turn the heat off and let the meat stay inside for 5 minutes.   Remove the meat from the grill, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

to print the recipe, click here

(adapted from Everyday Food)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound orzo (1 + 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and ground pepper
1/4  cup slivered black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add 2 cups of water and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover, and simmer until orzo is al dente and liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in olives, parsley, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoons of olive oil, if desired (I omitted this step).


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  What a great dinner this was! Ready in less than 30 minutes, all I had to do was make the marinade at lunch time (but you can do it in the morning, if you don’t go home for lunch), and by the time we came home from work, dinner was a cinch to make.

I used the 7-6-5 grilling method for the pork tenderloin, because it works well with pretty much any type of marinade or dry rub.  It is easy to take care of the rest of the meal when all you have to do is set a timer and move the meat around when it goes off.

Toasting the orzo is what makes this side dish so special.  I’ve used a similar method before in one of the simplest and greatest recipes I’ve made last year, the “Carrot Nib Orzo”.  If until now you’ve only treated orzo as a normal pasta, boiling in salted water, please try either of these recipes, you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the improvement in taste and texture.

ONE YEAR AGO: Weekend Pita Project

TWO YEARS AGO:  Mandioca Frita 101 – Fried Yucca Root (Brazilian Food at its best!)

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    • I usually try things I don’t care for, a little bit here, a little bit there, trying to figure out the flavors and what bothers me about them. I often succeed in ‘exorcising’ my demons. Anchovies were tough, but I am making progress. Same for nori, I’m almost at the point of really enjoying that briny taste.


      • Nori never gave me any hint of “brininess” and I could eat it straight if I had to … not that you’d want to, of course.🙂 But, the very thought of putting an olive in my mouth just gives me the creeps!


    • For such a simple marinade, the pork developed a ton of flavor. The ginger comes through very well, I doubled the amount called for in the recipe, and I think it was a good move


    • You would think that Sally, the planner, the compulsive list maker would consider making a large batch to enjoy at a later day, right?

      well, she somehow is unable to put such complex plan in practice (sigh)


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