MAPLE GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN OVER LEMONY ZUCCHINI

After the caloric content of my previous post, it’s time to get back to our regular routine. Pork tenderloin is a favorite of ours, we like the texture, the subtle flavor, and the fact that it’s quite lean, which obviously poses problems for the cook.  This recipe is super simple, if you have time to marinade the meat hours in advance do it, but if not, offer it a 30 minute marinade-party, and move on. Or rather, grill on. You could go all fancy and put the meat on skewers, but this time I just laid every little morsel of goodness on the grill grates. I like the way those grill marks work on the flat surface of the meat. And, contrary to what most chefs recommend, we like our pork cooked past medium-rare.  Adjust your cooking time according to your personal preference.

MAPLE GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN OVER LEMONY ZUCCHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the pork:
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut in 1/2 inch slices and lightly pounded
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sal
1/2 tsp black pepper

for the zucchini:
4 small zucchini, shredded on a food processor
1 tablespoon ghee (or olive oil)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
salt and pepper
juice and zest of one lemon

Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add the pieces of pork to a plastic bag or small dish, and pour the marinade all over. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to overnight.

Heat the grill.  Remove the pork from the bag, letting the marinade drip off. Lightly pat the pieces with a piece of paper to avoid excessive moisture to stay on the meat.  Grill the pieces to your preference, we like about 5 to 6 minutes per side on a very hot grill.

Prepare the zucchini.  Heat the ghee or olive oil on a large skillet. When very hot, add the shredded zucchini, season with salt and pepper. Leave undisturbed for a couple of minutes so that the layer in contact with the skillet will get brown. Move it around gently, keeping the heat high at all times. When the zucchini is almost done, make a small opening in the center of the skillet, add the almonds, let them saute for a couple of minutes, then mix them with the zucchini.  Squirt some lemon juice, add the zest, incorporate and serve immediately, with more lemon slices on the side.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are looking for a low-carb meal that satisfies, this is a good option.  Zucchini – either shredded, simply sautéed, or the more elaborate spiralized version – is a perfect match for pork tenderloin. Especially if you add a lemony touch to it, and a few nuts for a bit of texture. I was patting myself on the back after this dinner. Simple, quick to prepare, and mighty tasty. I hope you give it a try.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Danish Rye Bread

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THREE YEARS AGO: Mini-Quiches with Duxelles and Baby Broccoli

FOUR YEARS AGO: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Bolo de Fuba’ Cremoso

SIX YEARS AGO: Citrus-crusted Tilapia Filets

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EIGHT YEARS AGO: Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

 

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PORK TENDERLOIN ADOBADO

One of the cuts of meat that is always present in our weekly rotation is pork tenderloin, because it cooks fast and goes well with many types of seasonings. For that reason, I am always searching for new ways to prepare it. I found this recipe through a Google search, decided to give it a try without any  intention of blogging about it. Sometimes it’s nice to simply cook and eat dinner like normal people do. You know, without the need to scream at your partner “DO NOT DARE TOUCHING IT, I HAVE TO TAKE A PICTURE!”. It does get old after a while. So, I sliced the meat, served it, and Phil, very surprised asked me “You won’t be blogging about this?”.  No, I’ll let this one slide by.  Then, he took a first bite, and told me “Sally, this has got to be in the blog, it’s very good!”.   I had to agree, it turned out super tasty, and deserves to be shared with my readers. A picture was quickly snapped,  and we moved on with our dinner.

PorkAdobado

PORK ADOBADO
(adapted from Elly Says Opa)

1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup ancho chile powder
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
1 pork tenderloin, around 1.25 lb, butterflied

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the chile powder, vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt, and water. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until flavors are combined. Let cool to room temperature (or, if making ahead, refrigerate). Set aside about 1/4 of the marinade.

Place the remaining marinade and the pork tenderloin in a shallow bowl or resealable bag, making sure to coat the pork with the marinade. Marinate for several hours or overnight.

Sprinkle a little extra salt on the tenderloin. Grill to your desired degree of doneness, brushing with the reserved marinade half way through cooking. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to learn more about the concept of “carne adobada” in Mexican cooking, Wikipedia is waiting for you with a click here. This preparation ends up with a subtle heat, and the acidity of the vinegar brightens up the flavors. Very nice take on pork tenderloin, which should work equally well on boneless chicken breasts. You can cook the pork on a cast iron pan and finish it in the oven, or use any type of preparation you are comfortable with.  I always butterfly it to speed up cooking, but the original recipe did not call for it.

As I mentioned many times, we grill 12 months of the year. Phil grew up in Michigan and a little snow (less than 3 feet, that is) doesn’t scare him.  Me?  I inform that we will be grilling, which means “Darling, you light the grill, monitor the cooking, and bring it all back to the warmth of our home once it’s done”.  Sometimes I amaze myself at my efficiency.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Braised Fennel with Saffron and Tomato

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THREE YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts

FOUR YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

FIVE YEARS AGO: Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta

 

CIDER-MARINATED PORK KEBABS

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I’ve been on an apple cider kick, as this region of the US brags the right to make top quality cider.  One sip of  this brand  was all it took me to become addicted. Phil and I always buy a huge bottle and before it gets half-empty, we get another one, just to be on the safe side.  We keep wondering for how long cider will be available at our grocery stores, and hope the feast won’t end anytime soon.  So far, so good.  I used some of this wonderful apple cider in a marinade for pork tenderloin.  Coupled with a few spices that seemed right to play with the cider, voila’: a very simple and tasty main dish was served!

CIDER-MARINATED PORK KEBABS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pork tenderloin filets
1/2 cup apple cider
1/8 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 tsp fennel pollen
1/2 tsp pimente d’Espelette
salt to taste

Remove the silver skin of the pork tenderloin, and cut the meat in large cubes.  Make a marinade by whisking all ingredients (except salt) until fully combined.   Place the pieces of pork in a large bowl and add the marinade, coating all pieces well with it.   Leave it in the fridge, covered, for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade, thread it into skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for a few hours). Season with salt, and grill to your liking, turning the skewers once during grilling.

Serve with slices of lemon to squeeze over the meat.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

At first, my idea was to include a fennel bulb and a red bell pepper that were laying in the fridge to make a more colorful kebab with the pork.  But, the day was long, and the patience was short.  I kept it ultra simple and the meat went to the grill all by itself.   Still, this was a great weeknight dinner!  The meat was juicy and the addition of agave nectar gave that extra dark grill mark that I find a must…   We had the pork with a little orzo and green beans, simple and delicious.   Leftovers were still quite juicy next day, even when subjected to microwave torture.

Of course, I think fresh slices of fennel would be perfect in these kebabs, echoing the fennel pollen in the marinade, so if your day is shorter and the patience longer, go for it!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Golden Age Granola

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THREE YEARS AGO: Stollen

BOURBON & MOLASSES-GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN

Do you use Feastie?   It is one of my favorite sites to find interesting recipes and new blogs. Not too long ago, I did a search for pork tenderloin and a recipe using bourbon, coffee, and molasses popped up. I saved it right away.  A simple marinade, with very complex flavors.  Plus, as a bonus I got to know a new (to me) food blog, with a cute  name:  Ezra Pound Cake!

MOLASSES-GLAZED GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN
(adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Two 1-pound pork tenderloins
1/4 cup strong black coffee, cold or room temperature
1/4 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the tenderloins, pat them dry, and trim off the silver skin and any excess fat. Place them in a shallow container or large resealable bag. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee, bourbon, molasses, vinegar, olive oil, and thyme.

Pour the marinade over the pork, and turn to coat on all sides. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Turn the pork a few times to evenly distribute the marinade.)

Light your grill.  Remove the pork from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the pork to your desired degree of doneness.  I like to use the 7-6-5 method (seven minutes over a hot grill, brush with marinade, flip the meat and grill for 6 minutes on the other side, turn the grill off without opening the lid, and leave it inside for the final 5 minutes).

Remove the pork from the grill, and transfer to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice the pork into small medallions and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This recipe reminded me of a favorite of mine, blogged about a couple of years ago. It made me realize how much I love to use coffee (and also tea) in savory recipes.  I must say, though, that Phil prefers when I butterfly the meat before marinating and grilling it.  He likes his pork well cooked, and the 7-6-5 method makes the thickest region of the pork a tad undercooked for his taste.   Of course, you can always grill it a little bit longer to please your guests.   Because of the molasses in the marinade, if your grill runs super hot, you might want to tone it down a little.   I said it before, but it’s worth repeating: pork tenderloin is the busy cook’s best friend!  😉

A cool feature of Feastie: you can find a nice database for recipes of many food blogs, including the BK. Check my collection here.

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THAI-INSPIRED PORK TENDERLOIN

The combination of marinade and hot-sour sauce for this recipe came from Rachael Ray’s show, “Week in a Day”.  She used it to flavor chicken legs and pork ribs, but I went on a slightly different route and applied it to butterflied pork tenderloin.  The marinade is superb, but what made the dish ultra-special was the sauce to be served alongside.  Heads up:  the sauce starts with a ginger-infused simple syrup that must cool down before the other ingredients are added. Start early… 😉


GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH THAI-MARINADE
(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day)

1 pork tenderloin, butterflied, lightly pounded to even thickness

for marinade:
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup  soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 stalk lemongrass, white part chopped
1 lime, sliced

for sweet and sour chili sauce:
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced

For the marinade: Combine the cilantro, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, chile peppers, ginger and the white part of the lemongrass in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. It will be fairly thick.

Place the butterflied pork inside a plastic bag or a pyrex baking dish, and pour the marinade all over it, massaging the pork to coat well. Add the lime slices, close the bag or cover the dish with plastic film. Place in the fridge for 1 to 4 hours, the longer the better.

While the meat marinades, make the sweet and sour sauce. Combine 1/2 cup water, the sugar and ginger in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook gently for a couple of minutes to infuse the syrup with the ginger. Pour the syrup into a small bowl and let completely cool. Remove the ginger, then stir in the vinegar, cilantro, mint, Sriracha, fish sauce,  and lime juice.

Remove the meat from the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.  Heat the grill on high. Right before grilling, brush off most of the marinade, and cook the meat to your liking (about 12 minutes total, flipping the meat halfway through the cooking time).   Let it sit tented with aluminum foil for 10 minutes before slicing at an angle.

Serve with the sauce alongside.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This recipe was a big winner, it crossed the finish line like Usain Bolt , leaving all other recipes behind! Intense flavor all around, I swear I could eat that sweet and sour sauce by the spoonful, it is addictive.  Thick, sweet, gooey, spicy, hot, I could not stop pouring it over the meat… Phil at some point asked “would you like some meat with your sauce?”    😉   I blame the Sriracha. It gets me every single time.  I hope you try this recipe, don’t let the number of ingredients scare you, once you get the marinade and the sauce ready, it’s pretty much a done dinner deal.

ONE YEAR AGO:  A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba

TWO YEARS AGO: Summer’s Tomatoes

THREE  YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

EVERYDAY FOOD TO THE RESCUE

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!  😉


PORK TENDERLOIN WITH SOY, GINGER, AND LIME
(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


TOASTED ORZO WITH OLIVES AND LEMON
(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).

ENJOY!

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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PROTOCOL FOR A FIFTEEN-MINUTE DINNER

Materials
1 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs  soy sauce
2 tsp ground chili pepper
fettucini (I used whole wheat)
big bunch of baby spinach
lemon zest
red pepper flakes
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
1. Put a large pot of salted water to boil and turn your grill on.

2. In a small bowl, make a little paste with maple syrup, soy sauce, and chili pepper.

3. In a large bowl where you’ll serve the pasta, mix the olive oil with red pepper flakes and lemon zest.

4. Cut the pork tenderloin in 1/4 inch slices, pound each very lightly with a mallet, and brush each side with the maple/chili glaze. Season with a little salt.

5. Place the pasta in the boiling water and start the timer.

6.  Grill each slice of pork tenderloin for a couple of minutes, turn, and grill for 2 minutes more on the second side.   Remove to a platter and keep warm.

7.  Two minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add the baby spinach, and finish them cooking together.

8.Reserve a little of the cooking water, drain the pasta/spinach, add them to  the serving bowl, mix well to combine, add some of the cooking water if necessary.   Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

9. Serve some pasta with the pork tenderloin.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The basic inspiration from this recipe came from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times.  Adding the spinach to the same pan the pasta is cooking works quite well, but you need to be careful about the timing – overcooking the spinach could ruin the dish.

The pork tenderloin is a recipe I jotted down by hand from some online source years ago, I wish I could give proper credit, but I was unable to find it now.  If you’ve never mixed maple syrup with pepper, keep this combo in mind, it’s a winner.  Another great example is a recipe by the Surreal Gourmet that marinates salmon steaks with maple syrup and coarsely ground pepper for a few days before grilling.   I need to make it soon in the Nano-Bewitching Kitchen because it’s an old favorite of mine.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cauliflower au Gratin

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