Readying Menus for Cooler Temps
It might not feel like it yet, but according to the calendar, it’s fall. The kids are back in school, Labor Day has come and gone, and pumpkins are poppin’ up in the grocery stores. Yes, it’s time to pull out some of those recipes we put aside during the summer months.
At the farm last week, we cooked a pork tenderloin. As a main dish, it couldn’t be easier or more flavorful. With the help of a meat thermometer, you can’t go wrong.
But first, to insure a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth tenderloin, marinade the meat in a gallon-size freezer bag with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, water and salt. No more than 20 minutes, or the meat becomes mealy. (You can buy a Smithfield, that’s already marinated, but expect a few additive in most of the pre-marinated meats.)
Sear the tenderloin in a skillet until nicely brown to seal in the juices. Foil the meat and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers at least 145 degrees
Take meat from the oven and let it rest 5-10 minutes. Anywhere between 145-160 degrees works, according to the new guidelines for doneness. The internal temperature of the meat will rise another 5 degree while resting.
The lower temperature makes for a slightly pink inside and the higher temp will show no pink.
I cooked two of the tenderloins for 9 people and had a few leftover slices. Most often the prime pork comes two loins to a package in the meat department.
Kitchen Alert: Remember a pork loin roast and a pork tenderloin are different cuts and cannot be substituted in recipes! The pork loin is wide, thick, and light in color. The pork tenderloins is long, narrow, darker, super tender, and more expensive. They differ in flavor, appearance and cooking time.
Side Dishes Make the Meal
I coupled the tenderloin with fried apples and a pan of cornbread made from the recipe on the cornmeal carton. The salad called for figs, which I didn’t have, but it suffered little from the omission. The salad dressing carried the day. The classic Maple Mustard Vinaigrette is best committed to memory, as it glorifies any bowl of greens.
My neighbor, Martha, brought an old-fashion dessert that her grandmother used to make—a German Apple Cake, perfect for the season and delicious with a scoop of ice cream.