Really? It's been since February that I've blogged? How sad and pathetic. Of course, I've cooked since February - guess I've just kept all my recipes to myself.
But, it's summer, and my teaching load has been reduced from 6 sections to 1 for the months of June and July. Hooray! More time for, well, everything. So what am I doing with myself all summer? In typical LBD fashion, here's a list:
1. Reduce dissertation into neat little articles and publish
2. Revise & resubmit that thesis article that just won't go away
3. Update the blog as much as possible (both here, and at Adventures of Team Dawmilam)
4. Get a tan (laugh)
5. Maintain fitness enough to get through two triathlons, a 10K, and begin preparing for the next half marathon this fall
6. Travel, a lot
7. Work on an assortment of school-related stuff
8. See Dave Matthews Band at least once
9. Watch as much Mad Men, 24, and other worthy tv shows via Netflix
10. Continue to figure out what happened on LOST this year
Yep, that should keep me busy until at least August.
In the meantime, how about a recipe? Of course, again, with no picture. This one falls into the "sounds fancy but was super cheap" category. At my local Kroger on Sunday, I picked up a small, 1.5 pound pork tenderloin (plain - what's up with Hormel shoving all those marinated versions in our faces lately?), for $2.93. Score! Manager's special. I just had to make sure I used it or froze it by yesterday. Sometimes, I like buying food "on condition" that I'll do something with it or to it by a certain date. It's like a game.
I followed the directions provided in my trusty America's Best Recipe cookbook that truly is the very best recipes for everything. And, they did not lead me astray on this one. The grilled roast was delicious - perfectly juicy (thanks, I'm sure, to the brine) and had a tasty, tangy crust on the outside. I served it with leftover rice and some grilled asparagus, and it provided 4 portions. After we ate dinner last night, and I fixed Dave lunch with some of the leftovers, I still have some of the pork in the fridge for me... the next challenge is coming up with how to use those leftovers!
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Maple Mustard Glaze
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine/heat the following until salt and sugar are dissolved:
-about 1/4 cup salt
-about 2 tablespoons sugar
-some black peppercorns
-some crystallized ginger
-about 3/4 cup water
After that's all dissolved, dilute it in 2 1/2 - 3 quarts of ice cold water. As soon as the entire mixture is sufficiently cold, soak a small pork tenderloin (mine was about 1 1/2 pounds) in the brine for at least 8 hours/up to overnight. Make sure your pork is neatly trussed as such:
(if you're like me, and mechanical engineering isn't your strong suit, you'll stand there in the kitchen for about 10 minutes trying different ways to truss the pork, knowing full well you won't be able to do it the way you want to because you forgot to look it up before you started to handle the raw pork, and by the time you realize you should just quit and look it up, you decide instead to whine/curse loud enough so that your husband comes in to check in to see what's wrong but ends up taking over & doing it for you because he's an engineer and is much more efficient at knot-tying than you are... which is okay because I'm much more efficient at, like, cooking than he is. Division of Labor FTW!)
Preheat grill to at least 400. While grill preheats, generously salt, pepper and olive oil the meat (discard the brine). Also prepare the mustard/maple glaze:
equal parts grainy mustard and maple syrup
about a teaspoon of soy sauce
whisk together, use most of it to baste the pork during grilling, and reserve some to serve on the side if needed
Throw the meat on the grill, searing both sides for at least 4 minutes. Turn off one of the burners, leave the meat over one active burner, and roast until cooked through. After it's been seared on each side, start to baste it with the maple-mustard glaze until it's cooked.
Now, about "cooking through"... USDA regulation suggests that pork is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees before consumption. Foodies will tell you that if you leave the meat on the grill until it reaches 160, the pork loses all its juiciness, and instead you should remove the pork when it's reached 135. I am more conservative with pork temperatures, so I cooked mine until it reached about 152, then covered it and allowed it to rest for 5 minutes, and it turned out perfect, in my mind. True foodies might have complained it was overcooked. However, neither Dave nor I felt that the meat was dry or overcooked, and neither of us got trichinosis either.
We sliced it up into small medallions and really enjoyed this grilled treat. Hope you do too!