Posted in food, personal, recipes
April 10, 2010

The worst food blogger?

That’s right. I know of the worst food blogger, and I’m going to name names. It’s me. Maybe it’s because I’ve become so accustomed to food blogs filled with delicious looking food. You see, I have a big problem. When I make something- usually I’m so excited to dig in that I completely forget to take pictures.

Which is what happened yesterday for Easter dinner. Typically Easter dinner’s a big deal, with ham, all the family and a formal dinner. But it seemed time to scale it back a bit, and so I got to make dinner. I had the recipe in mind- a roasted pork loin with mustard crust, veggies and homemade macaroni & cheese. However, supermarkets aren’t known for their butcher’s counters, and there was no pork loin. So there I stood in Albertson’s with my phone out, looking for recipes with pork tenderloin (which they did have). I bought some Brussels sprouts and fresh broccoli, and it was back to home I went.

I sat down, mapped out the timing of the preparations and realized that I’d forgotten to buy more cheddar for the macaroni and cheese. But I had plenty of other cheeses… So I invented my ‘anything goes’ mac & cheese- made up of everything I had in the fridge. So I started prepping in the dinner. I put water in the pot for the large elbows and turned on the oven to preheat. While waiting for the water to boil, I cleaned up the Brussels sprouts… started to grate cheese, poured the milk into a saucepan… and the water still wasn’t boiling. But it should have been close, so I still put the brussels sprouts in.

To make a long story short, I got all my prep work done while I waited for the water to boil. And sadly, the brussels sprouts, which took the longest to cook were done well before I’d even put the macaroni & cheese in the oven.

I set my timer for the pork tenderloin and went off to watch the boys, who were playing in the background under the watchful eye of TheBoy. It smelled wonderful, and I went back inside shortly to put in my broccoli into boiling salted water. Which wasn’t quite boiling… but close enough. (I will never wonder why Chopped contestants have problems boiling water again.) So I grabbed my handy dandy digital thermometer and put it into the center of the tenderloin in…. it read 127 degrees. Which couldn’t possibly be right. So I grabbed the other meat thermometer, and sure enough, it was actually 155 degrees. I guess I need to get a new handy dandy digital meat thermometer. I let it rest, as was the macaroni and cheese… and everyone dived in.

The surprise of the night? Everyone loved the Brussels sprouts. I knew they were good, but my in-laws tend to be people who stick with the tried and true. But they each took one piece gamely, and commented that I should have made more.

(The other surprise of the night was the earthquake we felt. It was a 7.1 centered in Mexicali, but was certainly felt up here. By everyone other than me. I had sort of forgotten to eat most of the day, so when I felt the quake- it was a rolling quake by the time it got up to LA- I assumed I was dizzy from not eating. It wasn’t until I saw the light fixture in the dining room really swaying that I knew)

The meal:

Mustard Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4 hungry adults, 6 if you have lots of sides.

2 pork tenderloins (1 lb each)
3/4 cup dijon mustard
2 cups bread crumbs
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, put a rack in the center of the oven.

Season tenderloins with salt & pepper, then coat with mustard. Place the tenderloins on a baking sheet (if your baking sheet has a tendency to stick, spray it first with cooking spray or oil lightly).

Mix garlic, bread crumbs and thyme- sprinkle to form crust over mustard.

Roast until the crust is golden brown and a meat thermometer registers the center of the roast as 155 degrees (this should take approximately 25 minutes). You’ll smell the mustard as it roasts, but gradually you’ll be able to smell the pork as well. When it starts to smell wonderful, odds are it’s close.

Let rest for at least 3 minutes, slice and serve!

‘Anything Goes’ Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb pasta, large elbows or shells
1 quart whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter (divided: 6 tbsp, 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
(This is why it’s called Anything Goes- the original recipe called for 4 cups Gruyere & 2 cups Cheddar. I didn’t have that amount, so I went with all the cheese I did have- making sure it was roughly 6 cups of cheese)
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (Since I was already using the oven at 400, I shortened the cook time by a few minutes – and it turned out just fine)

I’ll be honest, I used Ina Garten’s Mac & Cheese recipe as the basis for this- which I detailed at the link. The only difference was that I cut out the nutmeg (it was lovely, but I thought my brothers-in-law might not like it) and used whatever cheeses I had in the fridge. The key is to balance out flavors. If you’re using an especially strong cheese like blue cheese for part of it, make sure you also use a milder cheddar to help balance it out.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Clean brussels sprouts- cut back the woody stems and remove the yellow/thick outer leaves. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss the sprouts into the oil mixture and pour onto a sheet pan. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re tender when pierced with a fork.

Shake the pan from time to time while in the oven to ensure that they cook evenly. Salt the finished brussels sprouts, and serve while warm.

(Note: Because these finished cooking first, they were room temperature when everyone tried them, but they were still enjoyed!)

Tagged with: , , , , ,