Mojo Roasted Pork Loin with Pineapple Salsa!

I’ve been kind of busy doing things, so this post has taken a while to happen. Hopefully, I can get back to posting more often.

A while back I started talking to Jill, a friend from college on Facebook, and we decided to get together and I would show her some things about using a knife. She was interested in learning more about cooking, and this is what we decided to do.

For me a knife is  one of the most useful tools in the kitchen, and I feel that it is important for a number of reasons to develop a good understanding of how to use it. The knife is probably one of the oldest tools developed by humans. I’m sure that the earliest knives man created bore little resemblance to the modern kitchen knife, but in many ways it is not greatly changed. A place to hold on, and a part that was sharp. Technology, user’s needs, and most recently ergonomics have caused the many variations in form that the knife has had over the last two million or more years.

Although she does cook she doesn’t always feel super comfortable cooking things and wanted to learn more. I wanted to try to come up with something that would be a little more adventurous, but not get her to far out of what she was comfortable with. I also wanted to make sure that it would be something her kids would eat. (As it turns out, the whole family loved this!)

I decided to make a Cuban roast pork with a pineapple salsa. I figured some black beans would work nicely with this as well, and maybe some sautéed veggies.

First thing, lets work on getting the pork ready.

In a blender
8 cloves of garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2 limes, and 3 oranges
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dry oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add all but the oil, and run until everything is blended. Drizzle the oil in slowly.
Place a 2 to 2.5 pound pork tenderloin in a ziplock bag, and pour the marinade over it. Allow to sit for 3 to 4 hours.
Sear over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, and then move to low temp area of grill until temp reaches 140-150F. Remove from the grill, and allow to rest covered for 10 minutes. If grilling is not your thing, place it in a 300F oven and roast for about 30 minutes and check the temp. Once you reach 140-150F remove it from the oven and allow it to rest. (Or if the weather is against you, like it was when I was visiting Jill. I ended up racing a massive thunderstorm home!)

 

While the pork is marinating you can get the salsa started. This is easy, and you will not believe how good it is. It can be used on grilled fish such as salmon, or chicken too.
This is where I figured I would be able to get Jill to use her knife, and she did a fantastic job!

Pineapple salsa
1 pineapple (Buy a whole fresh pineapple, don’t be afraid!)
lime juice
2 green onions
1 red onion
1 jalapeño
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
With this recipe the biggest challenge is the pineapple. You’re really only going to be using about 1/2 to 2/3 of it. First, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. This will give you a nice flat place to stand it up so you can skin it. You will be able to see some of the eyes along the side of the pineapple. You want to slice down following the curve inside the eyes as much as possible. Then, turn the pineapple and continue. You shouldn’t have too much trouble following the curve, but you will need to turn it over and finish slicing off the skin. Then you can go back and slice off any of the eyes that you missed.

Stand up the pineapple, and slice down through the core. (You’ll be able to spot it pretty easily, it has a different texture.) Set one half aside, and cube it up later. Cut the half you still have on your cutting board in half. You’re going to have two long wedges of pineapple. Turn them so that the corner is down, and turn your knife at a 45 degree angle and slice out the cores. Slice the remaining pineapple about 1/2″ thick. You’re going to be looking for 1/2″ dice.

Thinly slice the green onions, and finely dice the red onion, and red bell pepper. Cut the stem end off the jalapeño and then cut it in half. Scrape out the seeds and ribs with a spoon or your finger (your hands will burn, wash them before you touch your eyes or anything else sensitive.) Then slice into thin strips and dice it very finely. Mince the garlic. Pull the tops of about 1/4 of the cilantro off and chop it up. Mix everything well toss with a generous splash of lime juice (to taste), and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

Black beans:
1 cup black beans soaked overnight (They soak up a lot of liquid. I’d try to have a quart total of water and beans.)
1 small onion fine diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1/2 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon ground ancho chili (or chili powder, in that case, skip the oregano)
salt, but not yet!!!!

Beans are a fantastic food, and we should all eat more of them. They are also easy to cook! Soak your beans over night. When you are ready to cook them drain the water off and put everything in the ingredients above in the pot, except the salt! Cover them with water, and turn on the heat. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Now, comes the tricky part… when do you add the salt? “When the beans are your bitch.” When the beans are at the point that they are tender, but chalky when you bite them is when you salt them. This gives you seasoned broth, and the beans absorb the salt too.

Now, I would probably serve this with some rice, brown rice is healthier, so go with that, or maybe some quinoa.

What do you do with the left over pineapple? You could actually slice it up, and grill it, and then top it with a little bit of whipped cream! Or you could just eat it. (I think that is mostly what happened that day. We all had a tasty snack while we were cooking.)

Photo by Jill Phillips

From what Jill has told me she’s really started to enjoy cooking quite a bit since that afternoon. Of course I had to leave due to a massive hail storm coming, but it was great getting together with an old friend to catch up and spend the afternoon cooking!

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2 responses

  1. Jill Phillips

    Laugh! It was a very good day…despite the 4″ hail! Thanks so much for coming over and teaching me how to use a knife…I had no idea I was that clueless about it…or how dangerous my previous knives were! Learning this simple thing has made everything more fun. Now I look for recipes where I HAVE to cut stuff up! Thanks Chris!!

    June 21, 2012 at 5:23 am

    • Of course there is still more stuff you can do, but we got you started.
      With tools that don’t work against you and a little understanding of how to use them it can actually be a lot of fun.
      My second favorite day at work is knife day! (We rent knives, and every two weeks they bring us freshly sharpened knives, and take the old ones back!)

      June 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm

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