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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Clean up the Kitchen for Two

Sometimes our menu is dictated by what needs to be finished up.  We'd had leftover pork tenderloin on salads for lunch.  But the other pork tenderloin was sitting in the fridge and needed to be used up.  So, that became the basis for dinner.  Connie loves pears.  I'd bought four and they were ripe.  Another addition to dinner.  Along with the pork and pears I was thinking couscous.  There was a container of chopped green onions.  And, a jar of tahini that needs to be used.  A great addition to couscous. 

Here's what I was thinking...  We have a fantastic recipe for pork tenderloin.  It's marinated in a mixture of whiskey, brown sugar and soy sauce.  It's beyond fantastic.  What if I switched a couple of the ingredients just a little bit and used Hangar One Spiced Pear and Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce with the brown sugar?  We did a taste test beforehand.  I mixed about a tablespoon of the proposed marinade and took a little sip.  Wow.  Lot's of alcohol.  Connie took a swig.  Sputter, cough.  "Oh, that'll do."  Really?  You about choked on that?  Yeah, I know but it'll be fine.  So, I mixed the marinade and in went the pork tenderloin.

Down to the basement to the Kinect.  I have once agained realized why I HATE the game of golf.  It is boring.  No, it is BORING.  After playing RallyBall we switched to the Sports disk.  And, I said let's play golf since we've not played that yet.  Last time for me.  UGH!  No wonder I quit playing the stooooopid game about 1977!!!!  We started with the three hole game and I left at the end of two.  Mind you, we were tied but I had had more than enough.  Ok, fine.  You get the message.  I don't like golf.  Fortunately, I do like cooking.

Next up was brown rice to mix with a chopped red onion and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and Trader Joe's Cuban Style Black Beans.  That's for lunch tomorrow.  Then, I started assembling the couscous ingredients.  Finally, the pork and the pears went on the grill.  

What did we think?  Grand Slam.  We rarely give out five's.  And I only remember one other time we've given every dish a five.  This was truly a grand slam.  Not only was it super easy and pretty darned low cal, but it was also VERY good.

Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pears and Mediterranean Couscous

for the pork:

1 pork tenderloin (actually two will fit in the marinade if you so desire)
1/4 c Hangar One
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
1 Bosc pear (Connie's favorite - use whatever you like best)

for the couscous:
1 c water
1 c uncooked couscous
1 T tahini sauce
1/2 can chickpeas
feta cheese
1 c diced carrots, cooked
1/2 c diced green onions


Mix the marinade ingredients and pour the mixture into a gallon storage bag.  Add the pork tenderloin, seal the bag and leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes while you assemble the couscous ingredients.  Put a cup of water in a large saucepan and put it on a burner.  Don't turn the burner on yet, just get this ready to go.  Then, measure out a cup of dried couscous and set it aside.  Dice the carrots and cook them until very tender.  Crumble the feta cheese and set it aside with the green onions.  Open and rinse the can of chickpeas.  Set out the jar of tahini and a tablespoon measure.  Ok, you are now ready to assemble the couscous once the pork is cooked.  It'll cook in five minutes and you can assemble the dish in about three so it's perfect to do while the pork rests after coming off the grill.  Last but not least, you need to wash and halve and core your pear. 

Once your pork is up to room temp and marinated, it's time to grill it.  We like ours pretty pink in the center so rarely grill it past 130 since I know the temp usually goes up about 10 degrees after it comes off the heat.  I'd actually prefer to take it off the grill at 125 but on occasion the grillmeister gets preoccupied and doesn't pay enough attention.  cough, cough, cough.  While the pork is grilling, put the pears on the grill cut side down.  You'll either get lovely grill marks or slightly blackened pears.  That depends on whether you remember to remove the pears from direct heat and move them to indirect or not.  Your choice.

Turn the heat under the pan with a cup of water to high.  Now, take your pork and pears off the grill and put them on a nice carving board and tent it and set it aside while you cook the couscous.  The water should be boiling right about now.  Remove the pan from the heat, dump the couscous in, stir it well, cover it and set it aside for five minutes.   Tick tock, tick tock.  Take a sip of wine.  Make sure the candles are lit and the table is set.  Ok, it should be ready to be assembled.  Stir the couscous again.  Add the tahini and stir it well.  Then add the other ingredients and stir them in gently.  Slice the pork and serve the pear and couscous.  We loved a bottle of Due Uve with this.  It's a mix of pinot gris and sauvignon blanc. 


Eliotseats said...

I am absolutely stealing that marinade!

wendyweekendgourmet said...

Ha...we're the same way, Kate! Some of my most inspired dishes are from what I call Chopped: Home Edition. The day or two before payday, I sometimes get really creative with bits of this and that in the pantry, fridge and freezer. It usually is really tasty too...and very liberating to cook free-form!!

Lizzy said...

What an amazing dinner! You and Connie are quite a team. Hoping the time between now and mid April goes quickly and smoothly! After that, we must plan our next get together :)