Garlic and Herb Crusted Pork Loin


Years back I wasn’t a big fan of pork. It always seemed chewy and tough and flavorless to me. Then my mom tried a new recipe for pork tenderloin and it opened my mind to world of pork. Now I think it’s safe to say that it’s one of my favorite meats to prepare and eat at home. Just as versatile as chicken and when it’s prepared correctly, and not overcooked, the result is tender and juicy, the perfect vehicle for a huge variety of flavors.

I think you already know about my love of Pulled Pork, and this Island Pork Tenderloin really knocked my socks off. Now I can add this Garlic and Herb Crusted Pork Loin to my list of pork loves.

Knowing that I was going to be making the Lemon Garlic Potatoes for a side dish, I added just a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the crust. Not only did it add a nice flavor to the pork, but it also gave the crust a beautiful golden brown color. The inside of the pork was juicy and even though the crust was on the outside, the herb and garlic flavor was infused into the pork. Really a simple dish you could throw together for company. Or if you’re in the position I was in, pack while it’s cooking, plate and photograph, then eat on the floor surrounded by half full boxes. Whatever fits your needs. 🙂


Garlic and Herb Crusted Pork Loin

Ingredients
1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, with fat left on
1 Tbsp kosher salt (scant 1/2 tsp if using table salt)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2-3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried thyme)
2 tsp chopped fresh basil leaves (1 tsp dried basil)
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (1 tsp dried rosemary)

Directions
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Place the pork in the bottom of a roasting pan. In a small bowl combine the salt, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, thyme, basil, and rosemary to form a thick paste. Spread the mixture over the entire surface of the pork, massaging it into the meat with your fingers.

Roast for 25 minutes at 475 degrees. Then reduce the heat to 375 and roast for 45-60 minutes, using a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. *Once the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145 degrees (Fahrenheit), remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

*When it comes to cooking meat it’s always best to go off of temperature. 30 minutes into the second roasting start checking the temperature every 5-10 minutes. You may find your pork has reached 145 degrees in less than an hour. You should also note that these times and temperatures have been adjusted from the original recipe from which I made my adaptations. My research has shown that 145 degrees is now the standard for cooking pork and in my experience 155 degrees will yield dry, overcooked pork.

Adapted from Paula Deen via Foodnetwork.com

Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

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If you’ve read this little blog for any amount of time over the past year you have probably noticed that I mention China a lot. That’s mostlybecause it seems like Jesse is always there. In 2011 he was there for a grand total of almost 6 months. That’s a lot of time apart. Of course I was happy to get to spend time in China with him last summer but it still seemed like we were apart so much. Now that we know he is going to spend a significant amount of time there again this year, I’m headed back!

This trip is going to be almost 2 months and I couldn’t be more excited. There are only a few weeks before I leave and I have been so busy getting ready for the trip.

With traveling to another country and living out of a hotel for 2 months I probably won’t be cooking much but don’t worry. Part of my getting ready for the trip has been making a plan and building a nice back-log of recipes and pictures so I can continue to post while I’m gone. I’m still deciding exactly how I want spread things out, but I will have recipes to post and I’ll also probably be doing a weekly recap of foodie finds and exciting sites in China. I may have other tricks up my sleeve, but you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

I know the food is what really makes a food blog, but I hope you’ll stick with me as I work my way through this craziness. In the meantime I bring you Shanghai Style Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage to celebrate my traveling to Shanghai.

This recipe jumped right out at me as I was flipping through last months Food & Wine Magazine. Of course I was immediately drawn to the name and the picture sealed the deal for me. The ingredient list might not look that exciting and you may wonder if you should tweak it and make some additions. Trust me, it doesn’t need a load of garlic or dash of ginger. It’s one of those “less is more” kind of things. The pork is juicy, the mushrooms are savory, the cabbage is a little tangy, and it’s all brought together nicely with a simple sauce.


Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

Ingredients
3/4 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
8 dried shitake mushrooms
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup peanut oil
Kosher salt
1 pound Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into thin strips
Cooked rice and Red Chile Sauce for serving

Directions
Place the pork loin in the freezer for 15 minutes to make cutting easier.

While the pork is in the freezer, reconstitute the shitake mushrooms by covering with boiling water and letting stand for 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and press out the water. Remove stems and cut mushroom caps into strips. Set aside on a paper towel.

In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch, rice vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, pepper and sugar. Remove the pork from the freezer and cut into 1/4″ slices. Stack the slices on top of each other and cut into 1/4″ strips. Place the strips of pork in the sauce and stir to evenly coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat until the oil just starts to smoke. Using tongs, carefully add the pork strips to the hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the pork is no longer pink and the edges just start to turn golden brown, using tongs to stir the pork to evenly cook . Remove the pork from the wok and set aside on a paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of oil and a pinch of kosher salt to the wok and allow to heat for about a minute. To the wok, add the shitake mushrooms and half of the cabbage. Stir-fry over high heat until the cabbage has wilted. Return the pork to the pan and add the other half of the cabbage. Cook just until the cabbage is tender, but not completely wilted.

Serve with rice and red chile sauce (I was so hungry I forgot to add the sauce and get a picture, don’t be like me, don’t forget the red chile sauce!).

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, January 2012

Island Pork Tenderloin

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A few years ago, when I was blogging over on the old blog, I watched on the sidelines as some of my favorite blogs participated in a little event called Eat to the Beat (EttB). EttB was hosted by Elly from Elly Says Opa and it called on bloggers to tap into their inner creativity by relating a song and a food or drink. How fun is that? Like I said though, I was watching from the sidelines, just call me a whimp. But when Elly announced that she was bringing it back for her 5 year blog anniversary, I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines.
Deciding to participate in the event was the easy part. Coming up with a good idea, not so easy. First, I kept thinking of really weird songs, and not coming up with anything to relate them to food. Then I thought it might be easier to make a dish and then try and match it up with a song. Which oddly enough led me to a song with the name of my dish in the title… and “explicit” lyrics. Not really the vibe I was going for. So I took a little break from thinking about it.

Realizing the deadline was fast approaching, I had to start thinking again. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! This was one of my favorite meals this month AND the song is one of Jesse’s favorites and one I also like. Oh, and no explicit lyrics. Ready for the reveal? For my EttB entry I made Island Pork Tenderloin and the song is ‘Islands‘ by the XX. Sounds like fun? There’s still time to participate! Deadline is November 27th! Read more about it by visiting Elly’s blog!

This pork is possibly the best pork tenderloin I’ve ever had. The meat could be cut with a fork it was so tender and the flavors are dynamic with just a touch of sweet and heat. I can’t wait to make it again when Jesse’s back from China! In the meantime I’ll listen to this song and send him pictures of delicious food with the caption “Wish you were here.” Ok, that last part might be a little mean, I’ll just leave the pictures caption-less. 🙂


Island Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients
*2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 – 2 1/2 pound total) trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spice Rub:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
2 Tbsp Pineapple juice
Splash of Tabasco sauce

*I cut this recipe in half when I made it, halved it would feed about 3 people.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients for the spice rub then rub into the pork tenderloins.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, sear the tenderloin on all sides for a total of about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, leaving in pan.

While the tenderloin is browning, stir together the ingredients for the glaze. Spread the glaze over the tenderloin and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast until a a thermometer inserted into the meat reads 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the oven and tent with foil, let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Pennies on Platter, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Last week the family I nanny for went on vacation so that meant two things for me. One, STAYCATION – which after the craziness of this summer was very, very welcome. Two, lots of cooking and baking. Well the staycation was awesomely relaxing and my kitchen took the beating like a champ.

Since getting back from China I have really wanted to get back into a groove of meal planning and I figured a week at home was the perfect time to get started. I have to say it’s AMAZING how many more vegetables I include when I plan my meals in advance. Every night I was just enamored with the beautiful colors included in all of my meals. Especially this meal.

I came across this recipe the morning I made my meal plan and it went straight to the front of the line. Besides Jesse jokingly saying, “Wow that appetizer looks great, what’s for dinner” (Do you know what popular chain restaurant he was thinking of?) these lettuce wraps went over really well. I loved the punch of veggies and the fact that I was able to not only cook a meal without dairy or a major carb, but that it was actually really enjoyed by all.

Recipe Note: The most time consuming part of this whole meal is chopping the veggies. I recommend doing all of the chopping and throwing the veggies in a bowl before starting up the stovetop. Once you start cooking everything goes really quickly. Also if you’re feeding people with big appetites, I would recommend multiplying the recipe time 1.5 or 2.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

(Adapted from Good Thymes and Good Food, previously on Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients

Sauce

4 tsp hoisin sauce
4tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper

Filling

2 tsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 lb. ground turkey, chicken, or pork (I did a combination of ground chicken and pork)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup carrot, very finely diced
1/2 green apple, finely diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Lettuce, for wrapping

Directions

In a measuring cup, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the canola oil to the pan along with the garlic, shallot, and ginger. Cook for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the ground meat to the pan, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink then create a well in the center of the pan by pushing the meat to the outside edges. Add the onion, bell pepper, frozen peas, and carrot to pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the sauce, apples, and green onion. Stir to evenly coat and cook for 1 minute to allow the sauce to slightly thicken.

Serve with fresh lettuce.