Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make a Meal: Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Sweet Potato Hash

Since this pork tenderloin was so simple to make, I decided to just combine it with the sweet potato hash post for a meal bundle. Let me start by saying, this one was really awesome once it was done, but the process was a wee bit on the frustrating side. However, don't let that turn you off from the meal, it was largely because of my direct circumstances as I began the cooking process. I haven't done a personal diatribe in a while, so I think I will do that right now... scroll down to Grocery List if you just want the recipe.

After a week of skipping, I made it to my Tread class last night. It was a new one that I haven't tried before and it kicked my arse, bad. I love this place, I recommend it but yesterday I was not singing that same tune. So, in a weak and wobbly state, I had to go and hunt down a pork tenderloin because in our Sunday grocery run, Whole Foods didn't have any. Whole Foods is right next to Tread so I did look there again, but they were still out. It's like the braised short ribs all over again! Then I had to go to the Kroger in my neighborhood which is my personal version of hell. Nothing against Kroger in general, there is one across town that I absolutely love, problem being, it is across town and it was now 7 pm. I didn't have another choice so I went to this one that is a huge unorganized mess of aisles and food with employees everywhere, yet they don't know where anything is. Half of the store is under construction, meaning complete disarray and the parking is horrendous. It always baffles me that there is always a large crowd but no one working the registers. Last night was the same, they didn't have express lanes open, only 2 check outs and the rest self check out. Let me express to you that I loathe self check out. There is nothing easy about it, something malfunctions every time I see someone use it, the cashier by far does a faster job of ringing you up than the do-it-yourself pay station. So, me and my one item stand there on wobbling legs for 15 minutes before a check out is ready. As I approach it, THEY SHUT IT DOWN. Dude looks at me and says, "sorry ma'am you need to go to the next register, I'm on break." With a line that goes to the state line, you do not take a break sir, you just don't. Oh, but he did. So being the first one in that line, surrounded by the racks of sodas, gum and trash magazines, I am the last one to scurry out to a new line. In a perfect world, people would make sure that it was only fair for that first in line to get to a new line before the rest of the minions but no, this is survival of the fittest, dog eat dog. I had a Mean Girls moment where Lindsey Lohan is picturing the cafeteria as a jungle of teenage behavior. I envisioned myself scaling and hurdling over aforementioned racks of crap to beat them to the next line but alas, just a vision. I made my way into the other checkout lane and finally got through about another 15 minutes later.

The time is now 7:37 PM when I get into my car. I get home, start to get it all ready by laying all of my ingredients out on the counter. It is at this point that I realize that I will need to utilize both the Egrill and the griddle - so note to self, having both of these at your disposal is important, unless you want to just bake the tenderloin but I was determined to grill. Well, my shoebox onesie apartment has a tiny little balcony, however, I only use this balcony to put the grill on so that my apartment doesn't get to smokey.

My love seat couch blocks the door to the balcony and I have a curtain rod that sits perfectly along the double door and side window fixture, nicely concealing the fact that it is a patio door. This rod is not affixed to the walls because if it were, I wouldn't be able to open it. This means that it ends up falling down whenever I do open, yet I forget this every time. So I'm suck-it-in-shimmying my way between the couch and the door that is ajar trying to get this blasted grill outside to begin heating. Then I notice the plug is too short to reach inside. How the heck does Mr. Max make this happen? He is the grill guy, I don't play with this toy. As if it were kismet, I get a text saying he's leaving work - hallelujah, but he still has to stop by his place before coming over for dinner.

I couldn't mess with that grill anymore, I was about to toss it over my balcony if I spent another minute on it. Make the marinade for the pork, easy, done. Begin the chop work for the Sweet Potato Hash, 10 minutes later, done. Now, here's where I mess up. As you'll see in the ingredients below, this calls for sweet corn. I bypassed the ears of corn, not reading far enough into the recipe that the corn is grilled, so I got the bag of organic sweet corn to defrost. This just made it a little messy to dump out on the griddle along with the onion, sweet potato and poblano chunks. I was too concerned with the corn not burning due to its size compared to the other things, I was messing with it too often instead of just letting it cook. Ears of corn would have been better, then cut off the kernals later.

At 8:22, Max Man comes through the door and laughs at my face of frustration and my pointing grunt to the grill. Little do I know that he reallocates the use of the extension cord surge protector from my bedroom to the patio to help plug in the grill - and of course, I do not think of these things. Within 5 minutes the grill is ready, the sweet potato hash is ready, I grumble that the pork is marinating on the island, time to throw it on the grill. About 20 minutes later, we were seated, eating this delicious dish that was like taking little bites of springtime.

The sweet potato hash is a creative dish that would be great at a barbecue with friends! This recipe yields about 4 servings which you can easily double for more. What's even better is the nutritional facts below!

Chili Pork Tenderloin: 232 calories, g total fat, 100mg chol, 7g carb, 31g protein, 12 mg calcium per serving
Sweet Potato Hash: 190 cal, 6g total fat, 10mg chol, 31g carb, 5g protein, 112mg calcium per serving

Grocery List:
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • Sweet corn (here's where I messed up, I used a bag of corn, defrosted when I should have gotten 2 ears of corn for better grilling)
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 1 red onion, ends removed, halved
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Unlike me, you are going to want to start by pre-heating your grill to medium high and brush the grate with oil. In a large bowl, combine the honey, chili powder, salt and lime then add the tenderloin. Let marinate for 10-15 minutes.

While your meat is marinating, chop all of your veggies.

Turn on your griddle to medium-high heat and coat in vegetable oil cooking spray. Coat the sweet potatoes, corn , poblano and onion with oil in a bowl, then throw it on the griddle.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until veggies are soft and there are some good looking grill marks going on. Move them back into a bowl and toss the vegetables with the cheese, chives, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Put your meat on the grill when ready and cook on both sides for 10 minutes each. Once the meat internal temperature has registered to 150 degrees, remove from the grill. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice into 1 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

Scoop the sweet potato hash onto the plate and serve with the sliced pork tenderloin!

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