A good friend spent this past weekend in Vail – at this time of year some of the airlines fly directly from NYC to Vail – Puff Puff. Anyway, she texted me an overview of the scene at the airport: Moms and Dads on Blackberries, kids being tended to by nannies while waiting to board the plane. Yeah, it’s private school spring break in New York. Check your FaceBook or Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean.
For six months a year, on Monday nights, I have book club (read: The Bachelor Watching). My hosts cook a lovely dinner, we catch up on life and then spend two hours soaking in The Most Dramatic Season Ever.
On one such recent Monday, this UWS couple admitted to me that they were the ‘worst parents ever’. Why? Well, because, GASP! Their son’s spring break was rapidly approaching and they had nothing planned for him. To make it worse, their son is, indeed, in private school and is sure to be the only five-year-old to return after the hiatus without tales of skiing, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and all around hobnobbing with the rich and famous.
I tried to console them and ease their shame with the story of my own upbringing. OK…I went to private junior high school. There I said it. And, while other families were jetting off to Eleuthera (yes, I had to google the spelling on that) and Jackson Hole and Little Dix Bay, we stayed home. Sure, my mom might take us to the mall (aka The Stamford Town Center). But, for the most part, we spent the two weeks of vacation in the affordable comfort of our own home. And I turned out ok. (Zip it, this isn’t a question).
Staying home for spring break never bothered me. But there were other cost cutting measures that did make me feel different than my well-traveled classmates.
Growing up less fancy than some of my friends may be why I have always been a little prejudiced against cheaper meats…like pork: The Other White Meat.
Truth be told: I don’t like pork. Sure, I love bacon…but that’s not the pork I mean. I’ve never been a fan of the pork chop. It’s not the more interesting or expensive lamb chop. And, until three weeks ago I thought that I hated pork tenderloin…It’s not the fancy beef tenderloin after all.
But, at a recent ‘Book Club’ dinner, my gracious hosts prepared an amazing pork tenderloin that may, if you’re like me, change your mind about the other white meat.
Pork Tenderloin (serves 4)
Tiny apartment tips:
- Always mise en place – IOW set up your ingredients and take a pretty picture
- You always have to buy more fresh ginger than you need for any one recipe, so when you buy it, peel it, wrap it in Saran and then put it in a baggie and into the freezer. It’s easier to grate this way and lasts a long long time
- You’re going to need a meat thermometer…OXO sells a small one that’s tiny apartment friendly. The face has a smaller diameter that fits nicely in a drawer
- A 1 – 1.25 lb Pork Tenderloin – I priced these at several UWS locations and found that the ones at Whole Foods are not only very competitively priced at $14.99/lb, but also the prettiest.
- 3 TBSP Freshly Grated Ginger – I go heavy on ginger because I just love it
- 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
- 2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
- 2 TBSP Low-Sodium Soy Sauce…OK, I used the packets from a Shun Lee delivery
- 3 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil. Yes, there’s a difference between sesame oil and toasted sesame oil…it’s about $6 – but go for it.
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together creating an asian marinade
2. Unwrap the pork tenderloin and place in a ZipLoc baggie
3. Pour the marinade over the pork
4. Seal the bag and place the marinating pork into the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. I marinated about 5 hours…During the marinating process, flip the bag every hour or so to ensure the meat is evenly marinated.
5. About :20 minutes before cooking, take the pork out of the fridge and temperate (bring to room temperature)
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
7. Place the pork tenderloin on a cookie sheet lined with Reynold’s Wrap and into the oven
8. Roast for :25 – :30 minutes – until the meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees
9. Remove from the oven and place the pork on a cutting board and cover with tin foil
10. Allow the meat to rest for at least :10 minutes..the Pork will continue to cook during this resting period
11. Slice and serve
I gotta tell you, I was a lot skeptical about pork tenderloin. I was even a little nervous when my hosts told me they were serving it for dinner. But this was really good.
I’m not going to try to convince you that staying in NYC for spring break is the same as skiing in Val D’Isere. And, a trip to the Stamford Town Center in March may not be exactly as fabulous as a sun-soaked villa in Nevis.
But, don’t be ashamed of The Other White Meat. When done well, the super-tender asian marinated pork tenderloin can be just as satisfying as other much more expensive competing meats.