My bachelor brother is growing up... He moved into a new house, cares for some ridiculously beautiful house plants, and even owns an apron! Let me remind you of his previous living arrangements. From beer bottles and pizza boxes, to aprons and marble countertops. Quite a transformation.
The time arrived for our second cooking lesson. So, me (and my giant baby belly) came over to teach the bachelor a basic meal, fit for his new digs.
I wanted to show him how to create a balanced meal in roughly 30 minutes. Having plenty of leftovers is still a requirement, so we decided on a Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and an Arugula salad. All man-friendly and fairly well rounded.
First up . . . Pork Tenderloin. The brother followed instructions like a champ. He let the pork rest until it reached room temperature before we began. He didn’t put the raw pork on his wooden cutting board. Kudos on all fronts.
Then we got started. A healthy coating of salt and pepper on both sides of the tenderloin.
Then peel the garlic and slice into thin slivers. He made some sort of funny comment about making garlic shafts or blades, but I forgot. Growing a human has sucked all my brain power and my ability to remember (anything) words.
Notice the extremely large blade in the photo above. You will see it in all the photos. It’s a horrible blunt object, barely connected to a plastic handle. (Note to self: hook a brother up with a nice knife for his next birthday present.)
Brother bear plunged that crude knife all over the tenderloin. Then he slide the garlic slices into these slits. We’re all having fun now.
Now for the cooking. Brother remembered that searing meat before cooking helps keep it juicy. Searing also gives meat good color and a crispy touch to add texture.
So we heated oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat. Once the oil was sizzling hot, the pork went in for a quick 1 minute sear on all four ‘sides’.
Once there is a nice sear, we added about a cup of chicken broth to the pan to keep it juicy. Then into a preheated oven at 400° for about 20 to 30 minutes.
We removed pork from oven, and covered with foil, making sure to let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This keeps all the juices from running out to quickly.
Meanwhile . . . the sweet potatoes get their turn in the spotlight.
I cook and share these often. They are easy, nutritious and compliment almost any main dish.
The potatoes got a quick peel from the large knife-like object since the brother doesn’t own a peeler. No harm, no foul.
He chopped those sweet potatoes with confidence. We had a little chat about the benefits of chopping into even size chunks to make sure it all cooked evenly.
The artist admires his work:
I wanted to teach my brother that a light coating of corn starch helps these ‘taters get crispy. Always the adventurer . . . I see my brother take a bite of corn starch, which he astutely observes “does not taste good.” Well, now he knows.
Then a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt from the hand of God (as it appears below.)
And into the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes. Give a stir, and then broil for a few minutes to help them crisp up.
Mmm, sweet potatoes. You know they are ready when they have slightly charred edges, and you can easily pierce with a fork.
Now every meal needs a little green, and a simple arugula salad gets the job done. Peppery arugula is spread on a plate, then topped with shaved pecorino cheese. Pecorino is very close to parmesan, but I find it to be saltier (i.e. better!) Drizzle a little olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar (which my brother had stored in the fridge?) and an additional sprinkle of coarse kosher salt. Altogether, Yum.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Salt & Pepper
- A little olive oil
- Let pork tenderloin rest at room temperature before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, while you liberally coat both sides with salt and pepper. Get crazy.
- Peel garlic cloves and slice into very thin slivers.
- Stab pork with a knife to create slits, and place garlic slivers into the slits.
- Heat oil over medium/high heat in a pan that can easily transfer to the oven (cast iron, copper, stainless steel, etc.)
- When oil sizzles AGGRESSIVELY if you splash a little water in it, add the pork, and sear on all four ‘sides’ for about 30 seconds - 1 minute each side. You should see each side turn a crispy, golden brown.
- After the pork is seared, add about a cup of chicken broth to the pan. You could also throw in a little white wine.
- Place in the 400° oven for about 20 minutes.
- Remove and let rest covered with foil for 10 minutes.
- Slice into 1-inch slices. Pork should be slightly pink in the very center, but definitely cooked through.
Roasted Sweet Potato recipe
And thank you to the man who makes this blog (and my life) beautiful: