I like to keep this food blog about food and just that. I don’t like to bring too much of my other interests into it—I don’t talk *much* about my favorite TV shows, authors, or political candidates. You came to see what’s cooking and I respect that. But, sometimes I experience something that’s just too good to not talk about. That happened this weekend—and since I also experienced some food that is certainly worth mentioning—I figure there’s no harm done in a movie-plug.
There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day Lewis, is in my opinion, the best movie in years. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. Reviewers have been raving, and the movie sales are going swimmingly despite it being in limited release. The movie is a spectacle to watch and the acting is untouchably superior. I could watch Daniel Day Lewis all day long, whenever he’s on screen it’s impossible not to be in awe. And the story, though grim, is exciting and eye-opening. There Will Be Blood is an American epic of an oil-man and of the ill-effects, and the nation-building, of capitalism and greed at the turn of the century.
Jim and I walked out of the movie floored and talked about it for hours while preparing and eating a meal—probably the only meal—that could rival what we just experienced. We had a succulent, heirloom pork tenderloin from Cherry Grove Farms in Lawrenceville (their “Tiffany’s of meat”), roasted with a sweet-spicy rub and set on a bed of blood-orange and avocado salad with an orange-mustard vinaigrette. The intense flavors stood up to our electrified moods—the pork, in our opinion, was the best meat we’d ever tasted. A record-breaking night, huh.This season’s blood oranges are the first that have come close to being as tasty as those I had in Italy years ago. They are similar to oranges, but with a distinct flavor—with notes of raspberry and tangerine. They are smaller than oranges, so don’t use that criteria when picking them out, but otherwise pick them out as you would oranges–trying to get ones without soft spots and that feel heavy for their size. Also, the color of their skins don’t correlate with the usually bright red color of the flesh. Because they are a little less acidic that regular oranges, blood oranges are superb in salads. Or in cocktails. Or sorbets. Or, well, anything.
Island Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Bon Appetit//serves 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1.2 pounds) (preferably heirloom pork from a good farm)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
for the glaze:
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minces
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco
Method:Preheat oven to 350º
Rub pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon into pork. Add olive oil to large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total.
Mix all ingredients for glaze in a bowl.* Place pork in a roasting pan with a wire rack. Spread glaze over the top of the tenderloin. Roast in the oven about 20 minutes (or until pork registers at 140º).**
Let stand 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve on top of salad.
*I thought the glaze was a little grainy, but it might help if you heat the glaze up before spreading. Also, I didn’t use the whole amount of glaze (only about 1/2 that much). I don’t think it would need anymore.
** I turned on the broiler at the very end to help make the glaze crispy.
Blood-Orange and Avocado Salad
for the salad
- 1 head red butter lettuce
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 blood orange, peeled and coarsely chopped (zest reserved)
- 1 avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
for the orange-mustard vinaigrette
- 1 ½ tablespoons raspberry (or white wine) vinegar
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- zest of blood orange
- drop of honey
- 4 tablespoons good-quality olive oil (I think Spanish olive oil works well here)
- salt and pepper to taste
Arrange lettuce, orange, avocado, and pepper on a platter. Whisk together first six ingredients of vinaigrette. In a slow stream, whisk in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and toss. Serve with island pork.
Try not to let the cat eat it all.