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This week our friends Ashley and Martin visited us from Ann Arbor, MI.  Martin attended med school with Dr. Matthews at Indiana University and spent most of his childhood growing up in Indiana (also Dr. Matthews’s home state).  Without even realizing it, I decided upon the perfect meal to prepare for our guests: pork tenderloin.  For those of you who didn’t know, pork is a very popular meat in the state of Indiana (specifically, the pork tenderloin sandwich).  This is a breaded and fried sandwich that is very popular among Hoosiers (AKA Indianans) and can be found at many restaurants throughout the state.  I personally have not been brave enough to try it, as I do not care for it’s aroma, but after this post, I feel I must take the plunge the next time I get a chance.

Pork tenderloin sandwich

Pork tenderloin sandwich

I was curious as to why pork is so popular in the Hoosier state.  Dr. Matthews provided the enlightening reason: “Because there are a lot of pigs.”  When I asked why, he said “Because there is a lot of corn to feed them with.”  I wanted more answers, so I did a little research.  After reading up a bit on this site, it turns out that his explanation was pretty much dead on.  Go figure.

Indiana, however, is not the largest pork producing state (in fact, it is 6th).  Iowa is #1, followed by none other than our soon-to-be home state of North Carolina.  Go figure!  Pork is still pretty important in Hoosier culture – the first pork tenderloin sandwich was traced back to Huntington, IN, and the Tipton County Pork Festival takes place annually in Tipton, IN (which is pretty much awesome and something I would love to see).

Cannibalism is seemingly NBD (no big deal) at the Tipton County Pork Festival

Cannibalism is seemingly NBD (no big deal) at the Tipton County Pork Festival

I am a fan of ham, bacon and pulled pork BBQ, but for whatever reason have never been really into pork chops or pork tenderloin; however, this recipe got such amazing reviews that I had to try it:

Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds Pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic; crushed (or 3, or 4.  I minced, rather than crushed, the garlic, which, when mixed with spices, produced a paste which I thought was easier to rub over meat)
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ cup Brown sugar (I used half the amount called for and it was plenty sweet for my taste)
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch (I added a bit more to make a thicker glaze)
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce

Instructions
  1. Mix together the seasonings: sage, salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. Rub over tenderloin. Place ½ cup water in slow cooker; place tenderloin in slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (I did mine on low for just over 3 hours.  Lean meat cooks more quickly and pork tenderloin in considered done medium rare at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  After just over 3 hours, my tenderloin measured 165 degrees.)
  4. 1 hour before the roast is finished, mix together the ingredients for the glaze in a small sauce pan: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, soy sauce.
  5. Heat over medium and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
  6. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. (For a more caramelized crust: remove from crockpot and place on aluminum lined sheet pan, glaze, and set under broiler for 1-2 minutes until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat 2 to 3 more times until desired crust is achieved.) (I did the broiler method.)
  7. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

I doubled the glaze recipe to make plenty to go over the rice and served it with this cauliflower side dish:

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Ingredients
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower florets about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 chives, Chopped, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.

DSCN2192

Even though I took the meat out of the crockpot earlier than suggested, I still felt it was slightly overdone (although much less so than other times I’ve had tenderloin).  Dr. Matthews and our guests raved about it, though, so I overall considered it a success.

Happy hoosiers

Happy Hoosiers 🙂

I also made magic cake again, and this time added raspberries.  I am not a baker at heart and part of that is because, once you mess up, there’s often no going back.  For example, this time I forgot to add the flour before I put in the egg whites, then tried to add it after, and ended up with this:
See those lumps?  Those are not supposed to be there.

See those lumps? Those are not supposed to be there.

I think some sort of curdling situation occurred.  Anyway, I started from scratch and things went a little better the second time:

In closing, the title of this post is a quote from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.  I’m not entirely sure what it means – anyone have a guess?
And that concludes this educational post.  I hope you learned as much as I did this week!
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