Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"It's a Keeper" - Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I have always enjoyed cooking and trying out new recipes, and even as a child would beg my parents to allow me to cook them dinner during the summer months when I had nothing better to do. Back then it was usually mini personal pizzas and alphabet soup, served under candlelight with Mozart softly playing in the background of course :) I love that my parents always welcomed the opportunity to allow me to experiment, and ALWAYS told me my food was delicious.

Now that Matt and I are married and living together, I've been having fun taking on the challenges of cooking for someone else and livin' up domesticity! Since I leave the house at 7:00 am, and get home around 6:30 pm, I really don't have the time or energy to start chopping and sauteing. This tenderloin recipe is PERFECT for those of you who don't have the time during the day to prepare dinner because of work, children, school, etc.. Simply make the marinade at night, and let the pork hang out in the refrigerator until the next night before slapping in on the grill . . .so it's great for summertime cooking too!

I was worried about how it would turn out because I "tweaked" the recipe a bit due to what I had in the kitchen (see notes below), but according to Matt "it's a keeper"! Thanks Alton Brown, maybe I'll actually try your complete recipe next time. *I also used our gas grill on low and not a charcoal grill like Alton*

- 1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound (next time I'll use 2 so we have left-overs)
- 1 lime, zest finely grated (I had a lemon, so that's what I used)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce (I used 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder to save a trip to the store)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves (didn't feel like going to the store for garnish, so I didn't)

Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt, and garlic powder in a small, lidded jar and shake to combine. Pour half of the marinade mixture into a 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle pepper (or powder), and move around to combine. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through the time. Place the remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the grill. Remove the reserved marinade from the refrigerator.

*This is where you can get crazy with the charcoal grill, or simply use your gas grill*

Fill a large chimney starter with natural lump charcoal and light. Once the charcoal is ashy and white, approximately 30 minutes, dump the hot charcoal onto the lowest grate of the grill and spread into an even layer using extra-long tongs. Place the cooking grate back on the grill and cover with the lid; heat the grate to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the grill and place on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil folded at the edges to create a basket, and pour on the reserved marinade. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remembering the past, with eyes on the future . . .

Through many friends, old and new, I have become more and more intrigued with the world of "blogging". I have always found a therapeutic freedom in documenting my thoughts and expressing myself in the shape of written words, and preserving memories with pictures. So it just seems natural for me to join in on the 21st Century mega-journal/scrapbook . . . and become a "Blogger"!

It is probably obvious to most of you that it will be I, Amanda, doing the blogging 'round these parts. Through marriage, Matt and I have become "one flesh" and I want to share our life together with you. For our friends and family, near and far, the hope is that this blog will be one more way to stay connected.

So, being reminded of my love of this "documentation therapy", I dug out my old journals dating back to 1997 for a stroll down memory lane. I was refreshed, entertained, and reminiscent as I read my old poems, songs, quotes, and random thoughts. To commence the life of this blog I am (nervously) going to share a bit of my past with you, and am looking forward to sharing the future as "Mattanda" with you as well.

(Written on a late-night flight)

This ocean of clouds has me floating,
today I'm breathing new air.
My journey may be somewhat abrupt,
but at least I'm going somewhere.

The horizon is calling my name,
as the sunset shines in on me.
Uncertain on what's waiting below,
as I descend down through the white sea.

Darkness suddenly surrounds us,
and then flashes of light catch my eye.
Then, in a heartbeat I see them;
twinkling lights below the sky.

Culture Shock 12-8-02
(written just after my move to Seattle)

Heads buried in books bobbing up and down in rhythm
Conversation is overrated
Marching on through the crowds, eyes and minds focused on something else
Greetings dissipated

Can't look them in the eye, might have to give them the
Presidents in your pocket
Swallow all your pride, beg just one more time
All in the conglomerate


Look patiently elsewhere
And heaven will awake
Time found heaven
To be times' true break


Excuse me ma'am, could you spare some change?
I've lost my bag to a man down the street.
He ran so fast it wasn't worth my time.

Hey sir, could you spare some time?
I've lost my way to a man with a big gun.
He took my car, but left me my life.

Pardon me, could you spare my life?
I've lost my soul to a man down below.
He lied to me, and left me with nothing.

Could you spare my life, and some time, and a little change?
I've lost so much time and my life needs rearranged.
Mistakes, I've made plenty
and faults, I have many
but lives, I only have one.

(Finally, a new one added to the book)

Poems, prayers, songs, dreams
Written so neatly in ink
Memories burst their way back in
They seem so distant, so foreign

Learning, growing, breaking, healing
Could that have really been me?
The change is overwhelming
I'm the only one who truly knows

Guided, carried, pushed, loved
For where I am is a blessing
For the blessing
I am forever grateful

He knew my pain
He is the reason
From the inside out
Made new