Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sunday in the Kitchen: Pork Roast & Tacos

Our first week home after the wedding and the honeymoon, we didn't feel like cooking much, so we simply made our usual citrus & salt roast chicken (using lime instead of orange or lemon) and ate it with salads, potatoes, frozen vegetables - whatever we found in the house! I think we ate the chicken every night for dinner (except for CSA pasta night) and by Friday the roast chicken was gone. So we took inventory of the freezer & pantry and found that we had the ingredients to make one of our go-to quickie meals: fried rice. This time, we used frozen shrimp, snap peas, carrots, and egg. Of course SP got out his beloved Sriracha Sauce and we got to get out one of our wedding gifts, an adorable Alessi Lily Bird Soy Sauce Container.While we enjoyed our fried rice and cute new soy sauce container, we had 'The Dinner Discussion' and tried to make our grocery shopping list. We really wanted to grill so we decided to grill one of the pork tenderloins in the freezer. Since SP had Cinco de Mayo on his mind, we decided to make our other dinner meal tacos. Thus, this past Sunday, there was lots of action in the kitchen!

In the morning, SP made me Lemon Simple Syrup for my iced tea. It's that time of year again - time to switch from the afternoon coffee treat to afternoon iced tea and I love adding lemon simple syrup to my iced tea. No stirring and stirring to dissolve sugar crystals. No need to take the time to cut a lemon wedge and squeeze it, then be all sticky and need to wash my hands. Just one squirt from the bottle - instant sweet lemon flavor!

We also made two batches of brownies for SP to take into work as a thank you to his co-workers for the wedding gifts they gave us. So thoughtful and generous of them! We 'cheated' and used our last 2 boxes of Ghiradelli brownie mix. One box we made the 'regular' way, the other box we swirled in a cream cheese mixture to make cream cheese brownies.Next up was making the marinade for the pork. By lunch time on Sunday, we had decided that the weather was not going to allow us to grill. It was just too windy. I've really been wanting to enjoy grilling and eating on the deck, especially now that the trees have all their leaves and are therefore shielding our eyes from the view of newly built McMansions, but it just wasn't meant to be this past weekend.

So instead of making the pork on the rotisserie on the grill, we roasted it in the oven. But first, the marinade.

We adapted this Pork Kebabs Marinated in Honey, Rosemary, & Orange recipe. We didn't make kebabs, but we had 2 tenderloins from Costco. We omitted the garlic and bay leaves. Instead of strips of orange peel we simply grated some zest into the marinade. Rosemary with fresh squeezed lemon and orange juices - it smelled so good!SP put the pork in the marinade and squished everything together. We used a Ziploc bag for marinating the pork and we marinated it for probably about 4 hours.We bought some eggplant because we were hoping to grill the eggplant. We both love grilled eggplant. Can you tell we've been craving grilling out on the deck?! Well, we couldn't grill, but we could try out our new grill pan! We had sort of wanted one for some time now but always wondered if a grill pan was really worth it - would it really make nice grill marks? Cook the food before leaving burnt black grill marks? We registered for one and received one. Time to try it out!I am happy to report that our first grill pan use turned out well. We sliced the eggplant and brushed each round with olive oil. We heated the grill pan and used our new tongs to place the rounds into the grill pan. The grill pan did indeed make lovely grill marks and the eggplant was thoroughly cooked and nice and soft,but not too soft, when we took the rounds off. This grill pan is going to be great for grilling veggies throughout the year. I'm looking forward to trying some meat on it.

We still had some potatoes in the pantry, both red potatoes and sweet potatoes. We peeled and cubed them (peeled because they were sprouting eyes) and mixed them with chopped onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and then roasted them. Yum!After the pork is removed from the marinade and cooking in the oven (or on the grill), you pour the marinade into a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Then, periodically, you baste the pork with the marinade. Here's the pork just out of the oven:Mmmm look at that great sauce in the bottom of the pan. After letting it rest, SP used one of the new knives to slice the tenderloin (and his finger - oops):I really like this marinade. The pork turned out excellent - moist and flavorful. Sometimes I am amazed that I cooked meat for so long without using a meat thermometer - I can't imagine not using one now.

While the pork and potatoes roasted, we made our second meal for the week - tacos. You can see in the photo that by this time, we were having our Sunday cocktail: a margarita in a martini glass for SP (Horrors! We used up all the tequila!) and an orange martini for me. The juicer got quite the workout this past weekend!Here's my taco meat (beef) simmering away. SP uses ground turkey for his. He adds his own seasonings; I add some spices and just a little bit of the seasoning packet that comes in a taco kit. I know, it's full of yucky sounding ingredients and is powdery, but...We each divided our meat into 2 portions. Monday evening, we each reheated one portion and enjoyed tacos for dinner. For me, more of a taco salad of broken shells, meat, cheese, olives, tomato, cucumber, and sour cream:And as usual SP made nice, neat, normal tacos:Two delicious meals for this week.


  1. That marinade looks awesome -- you guys are sooo good at those! Glad you like the grill pan. We got one as a wedding present and I LOVE it.

  2. That pork looks great... so do the tacos. Everything you guys make looks so good! Wanna come cook for me? :)