This week’s French Fridays assignment was Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin!
The hubby and I were busy all day getting only one errand run – which is saying a lot. It’s one of those things where you just show up and wait and wait and wait and wait some more and when your kids are on their last straw and you are trying to find creative ways to keep them entertained without bellowing “twinkle twinkle little start” loudly to all those in the waiting room, you get to wait some more.
Once all that waiting was over (just over two and a half hours worth), the errand we had to run (renewing some ID cards) took all of ten minutes to accomplish and we were finally free to leave! PHEW!!
It took about an hour and a half longer than we had planned though, so I sent the hubby to the store for the ingredients for tonight’s dinner.
That is essentially all that we needed to make this weeks assignment.
The girls and I headed home so I could get them their lunches and naps.
For an appetizer, we grazed on the Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Nuts that we have now made a few times and ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!
I have learned a secret though to these. You know how we are meant to dunk the nuts into the lightly beaten egg whites? You want to beat the egg whites until they are light, bubbly and frothy THEN dump in the nuts and stir them around. Then dump in the seasoning mixture and when you spread the nuts out, they won’t bake all stuck together as they tend to if you skip beating the egg whites a bit.
We also learned something else, back in December when we first made these – I had run out of cinnamon (I know, I know! How embarrassing!) so we went ahead with the recipe with absolutely no cinnamon and hoped for the best. They turned out so amazing, there are simply no words to describe it! This time around, we had cinnamon and used it and we didn’t like them as much with the cinnamon… go figure – and I was all excited that I actually had the cinnamon on hand this time too!!
But the exciting thing about this go-around, is that we made these as a part of our Eat Your Pantry Challenge, so basically any nut that we had in the house wound up in this mix! So this one included the following: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts and macademia nuts! It easily made two gallons worth, but there were absolutely no complaints since all you could hear is munching and small snack bowls pinging and clinking with the sound of nuts falling in them. These are simply amazing. If you haven’t made these yet, YOU SHOULD! I might even add some rosemary to the next batch… just for the fun of it…
Back to the main event! The orange tenderloin…
It was easy enough to put together – and the resulting pork was incredibly tender and oh so delicious! The sauce however left much to be desired. The oranges we used weren’t too sweet so the sauce was just a bitter and tart orange backed up by onion and cardamom and it was just, well, not great. It tasted pretty flat. It’s fair to say this was the most bland dish we have made with FFWD so far. It’s certainly not memorable.
Too bad too, since we do love pork around here! I think I will do some different seasonings but prepare the tenderloin again in this way – it was quick, had great color and I enjoyed cooking it.
We served ours over some Go-With-Everything Celery Root Puree (finally!) and steamed broccoli. The celery root puree has been long overdue. When that was first assigned, we actually had received celery root in our CSA box and it all seemed rather kismet but it was one of those Fridays that just smacked me in the face and I wasn’t ready for it. And there is something to be said for missing dash slacking on the recipes, this dish complimented the celery root puree perfectly! I wouldn’t be shy about serving this one again!
In fact, I may steal the idea to make my mashed potatoes this way in the future as well!
For dessert, I had made up some Spice Poached Pears since we got a great deal on pears at the market and we wanted to share this lovely dish with company – but at the last minute, they were unable to make it, so we ate it ourselves. And still have plenty leftover. And just for the heck of it, I drizzled some chocolate sauce over the pears that I served with vanilla ice cream and a light dusting of cinnamon and I have to say that it made this dish taste THAT MUCH BETTER!! The spices and chocolate really go together and it made for a great finish to very Dorie meal!
One last catch-up item on the agenda today, we had the Brown Sugar Squash and Brussel Sprouts en Papillote as a side for dinner a few nights ago with some fabulous roast chicken and Yorkshire puddings…. fantastic. The brown sugar on top gave the caramelizing taste that everyone was afraid would be lacking with wrapping them up en papillote and they were perfectly cooked! This was easily one of the best meals we have had all week!
For all the Doristas that are participating in the Valentine’s Day Cookie Exchange, I hope you are all enjoying your baking and creating! By now, many of you are receiving your Valentine’s cookies – for those of you that havent mailed them yet- please consider paying to get them to your Valentine a little faster than parcel post so that they have time to write up a post with your recipe and wonderful creations! Otherwise, all of the cookies should be mailed off by now! On Valentine’s Day, please write up a post that includes photos of the cookies you received plus the recipe for them and anything else about your Valentine that tickled you. Then check back to the FFWD main site for a special LYL page for that day!
If you would like to join in our cooking adventures, check out the French Fridays website here! You just need some enthusiasm, an appetite and a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table!”