The Mind of Bluesleepy

Less than successful 17 August 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 8:15 pm

Dinner tonight was a bit of a fiasco.

You know, I’ve gotten so good at my meal-planning that I hate it when things don’t fall into place.  Kurt’s always impressed when everything is finished at the same time, and I put a hot main dish on the same time as the veggies and homemade rolls.  He is usually so focused on getting just the main dish done that he usually forgets everything else.  Then he remembers at the last second, which means that the main dish has started to cool off by the time the veggies are done.

He still cooks wonderfully, so you’ll hear no complaints from me.

But when things just don’t go well, I get frustrated.

Tonight’s dinner was Red Chile Pork Tacos with Caramelized Onions.  Kurt had made some “roquemole” — guacamole with the addition of Roquefort cheese — earlier in the day, and he wanted something Mexican to go with tortilla chips and the roquemole.  I was in the midst of making up my menu plan for the week when I noticed the recipe for the pork tacos.  Knowing that Kurt loves pork, and that I probably don’t make it enough, I decided to go with it.

The only changes I planned on making from the get-go was to omit the green onions, and to use tortillas instead of taco shells.  Neither of us are fond of raw onions; they don’t taste right to us.  Reading the reviews, a lot of people had substituted cilantro to add some green, fresh taste, and I’d already bought some at the commissary for another recipe.  So cilantro it was.  Kurt prefers tortillas over crunchy taco shells, though he won’t turn down a delicious taco if you offer it to him, where I don’t like crunchy shells at all.  They always seem to break on me and make a mess all over everywhere.

The recipe itself was fairly simple.  Take a pork tenderloin, trim it, and pat it down with a rub made from ancho chile powder, brown sugar, and salt.  Roast at 425º for twenty minutes or until the pork registers 160º.  Let rest for five minutes, then slice.  While the pork is roasting, thinly slice some onions until you have three cups worth, and caramelize them in a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil.  Once everything is cooked, add some sliced to a tortilla, and top with the caramelized onions, some chopped tomatoes, and the cilantro.

That was the plan, anyhow.

The pork was not cooked after twenty minutes.  We have a digital thermometer, so I didn’t have to slice the darn thing open to realize it was still raw inside.  It was reading just 80º internally after twenty minutes in the oven.

The thing is, I know my oven is off.  This is why I have an oven thermometer, and why I know if I need the oven preheated to a certain temperature, I have to wait at least five minutes after the oven beeps to tell me it’s preheated.  It’s usually 50º cooler than it’s supposed to be when it beeps.  Knowing that, I started the oven preheating well before I started preparing the rest of the meal, and I gave the oven another ten minutes after it beeped before putting in the pork to roast.

Yet the stupid pork wasn’t done when it was supposed to be, and everything else ready.

And to add insult to injury, my silicone mini-mitts decided to fail on me as I was pulling out the meat for the umpteenth time to check its internal temperature.  I now have two burnt fingertips on my right hand.  Grrr.

I ended up having to roast the pork for at least forty-five minutes before it was ready to eat.  I went back to the recipe and read the reviews again, and one person had mentioned she had cut up the pork, added the rub, and then stir-fried the meat because she didn’t want to spend the time in roasting the pork.  But you know, roasting it is, I think, the way to go.

I cannot begin to describe to you how juicy the pork turned out.  I mean, it was pretty much wet when I finally sliced into it after letting it rest.  Kurt cut the slices into slightly smaller pieces to go into his tortilla, and he didn’t even need a knife.  That’s how tender it was.  And the crust surrounding the outside that resulted from the rub was just amazing.  Kurt suggested that next time maybe we should forego the tortillas entirely and eat the pork with just the caramelized onions.

That might be the plan next time.  Only I will know that I have to roast the pork for far longer than the recipe calls for.  I think I just figured out the problem, though; I may have used the wrong cut of pork.  Whoops.

Oh, and I haven’t even talked about the caramelized onions.  I have no idea what it is, but I love caramelized onions.  And they’re so simple to do.  Just add a bit of oil to your pan, add a ton of onions, and sprinkle a bit of salt on top.  Cover and cook until the onions have reduced down considerably, and they’re golden and sweet.

They’re like candy at that point.  I could not stop eating the darn things when I was waiting for the pork to cook.  Kurt left me a few onions in the bottom of the bowl when he finished his portion, so I gobbled them up — straight out of the serving bowl.

They were good!!  You would have done the same thing, I assure you.

I know I will make this meal again because it was just that good.  Next time I’ll make sure I have enough time to roast the pork thoroughly and have everything else done at the same time.  And I’ll be sure to use my big, heavy silicone oven mitts too.


12 Responses to “Less than successful”

  1. Shear-Madnez Says:

    Oh my. That sounds so delicious. I may try this recipe soon.

  2. shipjumper Says:

    Well it sounds like it all turned out well in the end. And you know I would love those…..pork tenderloin is my forte hey hey hey!! lol Make that pork mexican, and I’m in heaven! (Yikes, it sounds like I’m rhyming or making a cheerleading yell. ugh)

  3. Rosie Says:

    Perhaps you used a pork loin, instead of a tenderloin? All I could think of while I was reading was that 20 minutes wouldn’t be enough time for pork loin to cook, but if you use a tenderloin, I can see that it wouldn’t take nearly as long.

    Interestingly enough, I made some Carnitas last night, and it was very yummithy! I even had some left over after lunch today!

  4. Blue Opal Says:

    Yummy! I dunno what you did wrong, but it sounds like it was good by the time you were done 😉

  5. becca Says:

    sounds really good, and omg!!!!!!!! JUST 5 weeks left!!!!! 🙂

  6. Elle Says:

    Dinner didn’t stay a fiasco, it ended in the yummy category. You did good after all, and next time, you’ll have perfect execution. (Picturing you striking an Olympic dismount pose, complete with five weeks to pop belly and silicone oven mitts. 🙂 )

  7. Aimee Says:

    On swimmers shaving….I was a swimmer from age 5-10. Yes, all swimmers shave and they would even if the suits were cut higher. Did you notice any men with hairy pits???? Probably not. I think the only thing they don’t shave is their eye brows. We would have shaving parties before big meets (my Mom wouldn’t let me shave though)

  8. terri t. Says:

    Even when your menu plan goes wrong, it turns out great! Sounds like a new recipe for your “keeper” pile. Now, as usual, I am hungry and have nothing in the refrigerator that could equal your menu…

    Where are the Wheat-Thins when I need them!

  9. michele Says:

    I am sorry you got burnt. Does sound like you had a lovely dinner after all. Some of the best recipes happen accidentally like the girl in the review who mentioned stir-frying the pork.

    I am not sure I’ve ever had caramelized onions. Maybe I have and just didn’t know it.

  10. Michele Says:

    hey, what if were an industrial sized bottle of the other stuff????? LOL! 😀

    (seriously tho’ it was a trial size bottle of the glue)

  11. Kate Says:

    Oh man that sounds DELICIOUS. I am very amused that this was a dinner that did “not quite come together” because it would have been an A++++ Success in my house, an extra 25 minutes in the oven and all.

  12. […] cheese.  So I made the now-infamous pork tacos with caramelized onions that I mentioned in a previous entry on […]

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