Ever have a night where you need a real dinner but just can’t be bothered to cook? I often forget to take a fruit break at 3:00 pm and feel totally wiped out by the end of the day, and then just want to eat something, anything, but the ole bod wants food, the real deal, and that’s when I thank my lucky stars that my friend A___ thawed pork tenderloins for me to consume while I puppysit.
I had a substantial, savory and tender dinner on the table in under 35 minutes! Forget RR and her 30 minute deal, no one has everything prepped and prewashed like her staff does for the show. In *real life* things go much slower and you have to do all the work yourself. Sob.
Last night, after enduring this mob scene trying to get out to the Beach House, finally I had a glass of wine in my hand and my stomach was complaining bitterly that I only had a bagel all day.
My dear pal mentioned she had taken out a packet of pork tenderloins from Costco from the freezer for me, and to check the cheese drawer for a special treat. What did I find in there? A whole block of Redwood Hills goat cheddar. Aw, how sweet, right?
Before leaving, A___ had consulted with me on how to make a classic Italian vinagrette to put on a ciabatta in lieu of mayonnaise for a large sandwich for her road trip. The sandwich sounded delicious and there was a few tablespoons of her dressing left, which was delicious too! I put it to good use, pouring it over the tenderloins and adding a hefty slosh of the house red to the pan too and giving it all a good swirl.
Meanwhile, I attacked the cheddar and added a few slices of our local salami to a serviette, stashed this in a pocket (which fascinated the waist high tall doggies who sniffed me eagerly) and headed to the garden with my glass of vino.
Later, when the fog had returned with such force and effect that my hair and sweater were heavily misted and my hands could no longer feel the wineglass, I headed back in the house to warm up in the kitchen. I love summer evenings in SF: 52 F, with 25 ft visibility and matching knot winds!
But the kitchen was lovely and warm as somehow my brain cells functioned to a degree to think it would be clever to preheat the oven during my cocktail hour.
I found the giant All Clad skillet and got it heating up while I poured another glass of wine, and discovered grapeseed oil to add to the pan. In went the pork tenderloins to brown richly while I found a cookie sheet and popped a piece of foil on it. It was time to turn the tenderloins to Side 2, after which I pulled a couple of small Yukon potatoes from the pantry, cubed and placed them in a pot with water on the stove and cascaded salt in from the salt pig on the stove. 5 minutes have elapsed.
Time to turn the pork to Side 3, and I topped and tailed some green beans, just a handful, and left them uncut. The pork was ready for Side 4, and I went out to the living room and turned on PBS for their Friday showing of Poirot. A step back to the kitchen (10 minutes total from returning from the garden) and the pork was fully browned on all sides. I lifted them out of the skillet with tongs, plopped them onto the cookie sheet, and banged them into the oven for 12 minutes. I poured off the oil from the skillet into a little bowl, and turned off the burner. The potatoes were boiling nicely by this time. I repaired to the dining room to watch Poirot and scratch a few willing dog chins and avoid great sloppy dog kisses on my face.
The timer recalled me from my perch on the ottoman, and I retrieved the meat from the oven. A little probing with the meat thermometer showed the pork was perfectly done at 125-130 F. I shut off the oven and ignited the burner under the skillet, put the tenderloins on a plate, poured the juices from the foil into the skillet and used the foil to cover the meat. Then, I added a slug of wine into the pan and scrubbed off all the beautiful fond or browned bits from browning the meat, and added the leftover marinade. While that simmered furiously, I tossed the green beans on top of the potatoes. Crazy, right? Five minutes later they are perfectly crisp tender. I fished them out with tongs and added them to the meat platter, drained the now-tender potatoes, put them back on the stove to dry a bit while I tasted the sauce. It was a bit tart, so I found a spoonful of apricot jam in the fridge and let that melt in from the ambient heat of the pan. I quickly mashed the potatoes, adding a dab of butter, salt & pepper, a good 1/4 cup of chevre or soft goat cheese, and milk to thin.
It was 35 minutes from when I returned from the garden. Dinner was done!
I carved a few slices of rosy, juicy and tender pork from one tenderloin, poured the contents of the skillet over the platter, and fixed up a little plate. A handful of green beans, a few (well, quite a few) spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and the pork, and I munched away contentedly. It was hardly any work, I had a fabulous dinner and only two pots to wash (the cookie sheet never got dirty).
(I made this recently with a port, cherry and prune sauce – equally fast and fancy looking! Get the recipe!)
And, I have leftovers for another dinner, lunches, and a whole tenderloin for A__ and her family to enjoy when they return home after their long weekend. Maybe I will even share with the doggies….