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Monday, October 28, 2013

Date Night

I took this picture of dates when we were at the Woodrow Wilson Market in Paris.
I'm making an effort to at least look as though I'm into this cooking for two thing.  Back when it was just two of us, before kids, before private school, carpools, sports, and enrichment classes, I never cooked.  We went out or we just made it work.  Mostly I think we went out.  I never really cooked for just the two of us.  We were young.  We were energetic.  We had a ton of disposable income.

It wasn't until I was retired from my paying career that I actually learned to cook.  There was no cooking honeymoon period.  I went from zero to a family of four and no nanny in the time it took me to say "I quit" to my bosses at Wells Fargo Bank.

Now, after years of cooking for a family and assorted dinner guests, I find myself in unfamiliar territory: cooking for two without ending up with a freezer full of leftover that most likely we'll never eat.  As Ted has become fond of saying, "It's just you and me, babe".

I'm back to the drawing board.  I don't want to end up with vats of coq au vin, but I also don't want to succumb to the two little chicken breasts mentality.

The really nice thing about pork tenderloin is that they are small.  One small  tenderloin is just the right size for a meal, with just a couple of slices left over for lunch.  The date and cilantro relish in this recipe really dresses up a very simple roasted tenderloin and makes it feel more gourmet than it is.

After all, it's just the two of us, babe.

Recipe:  Pork Tenderloin with Date and Cilantro Relish
Bon App├ętit Magazine, November, 2013


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pork tenderloin (about 1½ lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅔ cup Medjool dates (about 4 oz.), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving


Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 140°, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.

Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon relish over pork and top with cilantro leaves.

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