Family Dinner Meets Biggest Loser Bowl
January 11, 2008
I may have just planned my last Family Dinner for quite some time. Oh, don’t worry: the Family Dinners will continue. Its just that I might only be cooking and enjoying them, rather than menu planning for them. Let me explain.
Ali, Kevin and I have entered into a friendly wager involving the latest season of The Biggest Loser. Let’s face it, the TV pickings are slim these days. What’s more, we don’t have a team in the NFL playoffs, the Bulls are completely awful and March Madness is half a January and a whole February (complete with an extra day for Leap Year!) away. So, folks, we’ve created our own sport.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe)
After week one of this season of The Biggest Loser, which is a “couples” edition (husband-wife, best friends, mother-son … you get the picture), nine couples remained. So the three of us staged an elaborate draft, during which we each selected three teams. From there, the rules are simple: each time one of your teams is eliminated (they are not! the biggest loser!), you have to plan the menu for the next Family Dinner.
And because my team is obviously so stellar, so untouchable, I probably won’t be planning another Family Dinner for weeks! But my swan song, at least, was lovely: a pork tenderloin, roasted in a succulent hoisin glaze. This was my first pork tenderloin (lots of firsts around here lately), though I’ve watched my parents make it dozens of times (theirs usually goes on the grill and is always downright delicious). And, I must admit, there’s something a little intimidating about a larger cut of meat. Maybe it’s because screwing it up means you’ll ruin everyone’s dinner, not just one portion (which you can then discreetly serve yourself — do I sound like I’m speaking from experience here? I am.).
But I couldn’t believe how easy it was to infuse this tenderloin with incredible flavor (a two-hour marinade in hoisin, soy, rice wine vinegar and what I’ll call Asian aromatics did the trick) and roast it to the perfect degree of doneness (those meat thermometers really work!). And the intimidation you might associate with a larger cut of meat will melt away when you are delighted by the stunning display it’ll make. Gosh, I hope Ali (owner of Team Mallory and Curtis, who unfortunately were not! the biggest losers this week) can come up with something just as good for the next family dinner. (Yes, that’s a thinly-veiled threat. And a public one too. Game on.)
Hoisin Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons sliced green onions, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Combine the hoisin, 2 tablespoons of green onions, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a large zip-top bag; add pork to bag. Seal and marinade in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag once.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Spray the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan with cooking spray. Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade and placing the pork on the sprayed rack. Roast at 425° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle pork with sesame seeds; bake an additional 5 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink) [note: this took me closer to 15 additional minutes]. Place on a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into (1/2-inch thick) slices.
Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to desired consistency. Spoon the sauce over the sliced tenderloin and garnish with the remaining green onions and red pepper flakes.