Barbecued Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

The challenge of being a personal chef (I opened EAT! in March of 2007) is creating meals for my clients that can be reheated and taste like it was just made. One technique that helps achieve my goal is using the microwave for reheating. But, some different heating procedures need to be used to not overcook the food. In my pre-personal chef life, I would heat everything on full power - the quicker the better. I have found that by reducing the power level to 70%, reheating of food is less intense and actually the food comes out as if it was just prepared. I also employ the oven for food that needs to be crisped up.

Last night I used my personal cheffing knowledge to prepare my family's dinner. We were off to a lacrosse game at 5 p.m. and wouldn't be home until after 7:30 p.m.. I get somewhat cranky when I don't eat on a regular basis so I knew I had to prepare dinner in advance or get takeout. After spending our nest egg over the Holidays, I was making dinner at home. Besides, I just spent over $300 on groceries 3 days ago. I decided on making Barbecued Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and added a couple more sides of Sauteed Zucchini and a Fennel and Apple Salad with Gorgonzola and Pecans.

I made the pork and sweet potatoes while I ate lunch (and some good Shortbread Brownies). All that was left to do was the salad and zucchini when we got home.

The results were as I hoped. The pork tenderloin came out juicy and flavorful upon reheating at 70% power in the microwave. The sweet potatoes were enjoyed by everyone including No Thank You Boy who has a renewed interest in vegetables. I was the only one who liked the fennel salad, but I was glad everyone tried it. My family and occasional dinner guest (usually one of my kids' friends) are getting better at trying everything I make so they can tell me if they liked or disliked a particular food. My kids' friends now know that they could get a mention in my blog and are more then happy to try something new on their dinner plate. They did not like the licorice taste of the fennel. I guess it was too much to ask them to like endive and fennel both in one week.

This was a quick meal to prepare and reheat. Try it out for your next busy night.

Barbecued Pork Tenderloin

serves about 6

2 pork tenderloins, about 2 - 2 1/2 pounds total
olive oil
barbecue seasoning, I use Barbecue of the Americas from Penzeys, or use any one in the spice section of the grocery store
about 1/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce - I like Sweet Baby Ray's

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat an ovenproof saute pan to medium high and drizzle about 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom. Pat the tenderloins dry and season with the barbecue seasoning. Add to the preheated pan and brown on all sides. Put pan into the oven and roast the tenderloins until they reach an internal temperature of about 135 degrees. Turn once during roasting. Brush with the barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes.

Remove tenderloin from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Package in a ziploc bag and refrigerate until dinner time. When ready to serve, slice in 1/2 inch slices and reheat on a cover microwaveable plate for 1 - 2 minutes at 70%. Check after each minute to see if heated through. Heat at additional 30 second, in intervals, as needed.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

3 medium sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and slice into wedges, about 12 wedges each. Toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, turning once. Potato wedges should be lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool. Package in a reusable plastic container and refrigerate until dinner time. When ready to serve reheat in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 - 15 minutes or until heated through.

Fennel and Apple Salad with Gorgonzola and Pecans

2 bulbs of fennel, sliced very thin
about 2 tablespoons of the fennel froids, chopped
1 apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 cup pecans, chopped - even better if toasted
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

In a large bowl combine the fennel, froids, apple, Gorgonzola, and pecans. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the fennel mixture. Toss to coat.

For the Sauteed Zucchini, thinly slice 4 zucchinis. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Add the zucchini and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until lightly browned and beginning to soften. Serve with grated sharp cheddar cheese.

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