Dinner with a neighbor provides great therapy for the cook
Our neighborhood is filled with generous, funny and very bright folks who are also great cooks. It is just one of the many reasons that my husband and I love living here. We lend a hand when we can or a shoulder to lean on. We enjoy wine and conversation, occasionally sharing a meal or simply a bowl of popcorn.
For the past six weeks, one neighbor has been going it alone while his wife tends to her dying mother in England. Other neighbors pitched in to help with dinner invites, sharing their tables and boundless enthusiasm for a good time. We all understood how hard it had to be on the couple with her so far away and tending to her mother while he kept things running smoothly at home.
So last week I extended a dinner invite so that he and my husband could get better acquainted. Over a meal of pan roasted pork tenderloin, Greek crushed potatoes and green beans, we had a wonderful time, accompanied by a couple of bottles of wine and him sharing his memories of growing up in England. He devoured every bite as we devoured his wonderful stories and laughter filled the room. For dessert, I made a peach crisp served with pecan ice cream and, once the bowls were scraped clean and the bottles empty, we called it a night.
When his wife returns home, I will invite them both to dinner. Life is good when you fill it with funny, smart people.
Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Olives
Recipe adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper.
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 ¼ pound)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
Zest of 1 small orange
Juice of the orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful pitted black Kalamata olives (about 10-12)
½ cup dry white wine
Trim any excess fat from the tenderloin. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a blender or food processor, mince together the garlic, orange zest, a few tablespoons of orange juice (save the rest for roasting and basting), olive oil, basil, and light sprinklings of salt and pepper.
Make 8 deep slits into the meat and stuff with almost all of the mixture. Rub the rest over the meat. Lightly film a 12-inch ovenproof skillet with olive oil. Sear the pork on all sides, add the olives, remaining orange juice and wine to the pan and place in hot oven.
Roast 20 minutes, or until an instant reading thermometer inserted in the center of the tenderloin reads 150 degrees. Baste once or twice with the pan juices as the meat cooks. Add ½ cup water to pan if juices begin to burn. Remove pan from oven and let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. Slice the pork into about ½-inch thick rounds, swiping the meat through the juices. Serve moistened with the pan juices and olives. Serves 3.
Per serving: 342 calories; 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 37 percent calories from fat); 6 g carbohydrates; 0 g sugar; 119 mg cholesterol; 358 mg sodium; 43 g protein; 0 g fiber.