Sweet As Honey

We are in the final stretch of what has been my hometown for the last 25 years. Saying goodbye to my friends has been happening for the last few weeks. It’s painful, but I know that they all are in good places and exactly where they should be.
A friend from high school came over last night for dinner. We looked through pictures from back then, reminiscing about the times in the photos and all of the crazy hairstyles we had. And my eyebrows, dear God, my eyebrows. They were HUGE and bushy. They slowly traveled up my forehead. I remember someone trying wipe dirt off my forehead, then realizing it was hair. It was the early nineties though, that was in, right? Thank goodness someone introduced me to waxing, that’s all I have left to say about that!
I know I have been very nostalgic in my last few posts, but I have never been that great with change. As comfort I love to remember all of the reasons why I love the place I am leaving and people I am saying goodbye to.
I got the rare and wonderful opportunity to cook for my friend last night. Because of the occasion I stepped out of the pantry raid and bought a couple things at the store. Luckily, I had quite a few things already at home so I didn’t totally stray from my mission to clear out the cabinets.
This dish was one of the first post-vegetarian meat dishes that I mastered. Needless to say I served it a lot in the beginning. Basically every time someone came over for the first time. It was working, so I rolled with it. It has been a while since I made it, so it was time to pull out old faithful.
Honey-Thyme Pork Tenderloin
with Shitake Mushroom Risotto
serves 2

1 lb pork tenderloin
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 honey
2 Tb + 1 Tb olive oil
1 c chicken stock
In a bowl mix honey and 2 Tb of oil with a fork. Pour mixture in a ziplock bag and set aside. Using a sharp knife, remove any silver skin and excess fat off the tenderloin. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle thyme on all sides. Place tenderloin in ziplock bag with honey mixture. Squeeze out as much air as possible, and close top. Massage honey into the pork, making sure it is covered. Set in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
After pork has marinated, remove from refrigerator and set on counter. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a pan over medium heat on the stove top. (Make sure the pan has on oven-safe handle.) When pan is lightly smoking remove tenderloin from bag and place in pan. Let pork sear until nicely browned, about 1-2 minutes per side. After all sides have been browned, place pan in the oven and cook for 15-18 minutes, until internal temperature of pork is 160F. Remove from oven and place pork on a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Place the pork’s pan on stove over medium high heat and add 1 c of chicken stock. Stir, making sure to pick up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes while pork is resting. Pour sauce from pan onto pork after it has been cut and placed on a plate.

Shitake Risotto:
1 Tb vegetable oil
2 Tb butter, separated
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/2 c arborio rice
3/4 c sliced shitake mushrooms
2 1/2 c chicken stock
1/2 dry white wine
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Cook stock over medium high heat until hot.

Saute chopped onions in 1 Tb butter and and vegetable oil. Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add rice and continue cooking and stirring until the grains become shiny. Pour in white wine.

When wine is absorbed, add hot stock to rice 1/2 cup at a time, constantly stirring until it is all absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 and stirring until absorbed. Do this until rice is tender and creamy. Stir in remaining butter,and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

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