Grilled pork tenderloin; pilaf; kale with pancetta – 15 January 2012

R was over for dinner and to look at old family slides. D and I and gone to Costco in the morning and bought pork tenderloins, and I grilled one of those for dinner.

Looking for instructions on the grilling part (how long and how hot?) I ran across a recipe for a garlic-rosemary rub that sounded good. Since D had suggested rosemary to begin with, I went with that.

For one pork tenderloin (about a pound), I cut up a couple of tiny cloves of garlic in attempt to equal “half a clove”, and ground it in a mortar with 3/4 tsp salt. I stirred in 1 tsp finely minced rosemary leaves from our plant out back, 1/8 tsp pepper, and a bit over a Tbsp of olive oil. I rubbed this onto the patted-dry pork and left it at room temperature for about 1/2 hour, then grilled on a pre-heated, oiled grill, covered, between medium and medium-low for about 8 minutes on the first side and possibly 10 on the second, till the internal temperature approached 150. I sliced it into rounds maybe 3/8″ thick, 4 each (though R went back for seconds 🙂 ) and served over pilaf.

The pilaf recipe is based on one from The Sultan’s Kitchen. I start by putting 2 1/2 cups water into the microwave for 5 minutes, and then dropping in two chicken bouillon cubes (sometimes I use “Better Than Bouillon” veggie stuff – it’s all good). Then I heat some butter – this time it was about 2 Tbsp – in our 10″ Revere frying pan and sautee 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (unwashed) for a few minutes. When the water is done, I crush the bouillon cubes to let them dissolve, and mix the liquid into the rice, being careful not to let the boiling water spatter on me. I bring back to a boil and simmer, covered, till done, perhaps 15 minutes.

The kale: I cut about 8 large, ruffled leaves from our 3-foot plant in the garden, and washed them carefully, then cut into about 4 sq in pieces, excluding the thick stems, and immersed in water for a final wash. I boiled these in salted water for a few minutes until the most stemmy parts remaining were nicely tender but not overdone. I put this to drain in a colander while everything else cooked. I cut up one round of pancetta into maybe 1 cm square pieces and cooked in olive oil till mostly crisp, and added a few tiny cloves of garlic (about = one normal clove), minced, and cooked very briefly, then turned off the heat. Just before serving, I tossed in the kale and heated it, tossing over and over so it would be covered with pancetta taste. The guys added salt to theirs but I didn’t think it needed it myself. From dinner to dinner, it probably matters how much salt you put into the cooking water, which for me is pretty random.

The last thing on the plate is some hottish roasted peppers we found in the freezer, a gift of departing friends, but unlabaled. We thought it was a mole, but that is somewhere else. The peppers weent really well with the pork, heated over the grill for a bit.

We had a glass each of our wonderful Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which we bought two cases of in the morning, and then a new Rioja from Vintage Berkeley that was on sale this weekend. It was the first time I’d actually tasted a Rioja-tasting Rioja in ages; since the discount increased with increasing purchases, we bought a case for $16/bottle, with the understanding that it shoudl age nicely in the cellar and we won’t drink it all at once. I’m really happy we bought it. R called our attention to the sale, so it was especially nice that he was over to taste the first bottle.

 

Have to put in pictures of the bread we baked for lunch. It was unusual in that the crust did not  split on top, possibly b/c it was warmed in the oven for a couple hours before baking, and the top dried a bit. It looked interestingly different. Very good bread – 100% King Arthur white bread flour this time.

Lunch:

When we got home from Costco, we had to face the problem of too much in the fridge, and we took out some random things and ate them up (see peppers, above). I had bought Gyozas from Peko Peko wometime back at the now terminated pup-up general store, and had six left. I cooked these according to the instructions – from frozen, brown bottoms in oil for one minute and then add water and cook 10-12 mins. The problem I have with these is that they freeze together and pull each other’s sides off, so they get holes in them. They are quite delicious, however. We didn’t have sauce for them, but D poked around in the fridge and found some Pad Thai sauce from Thai Kitchen, the gift of departing neighbors; I dropped a Tbsp or more into the little pan and tossed the finished gyozas in this before serving, and that worked quite nicely. We also had 6 pints of strawberries, bought during a super sale in the summer. D pulled out one pint and made a smoothie by putting strawbs and one banana into the blender. It was super delicious, and served two easily. We also ate up the small bit of yellow squash and tomatoes left over from last night’s dinner.

{Written and posted the 16th}

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