“Meat makes me nervous,” a new cook confided. His nervies didn’t apply to drive-through food, as amply evidenced by an expanding waistline and elevating credit card debt.
We talked it through. He soon proudly reported, “I’ve cooked meat twice. It’s not that hard!” He’s right. With a few tips, it’s easy to cook meat safely.
Starting at the grocery, keep meat separate from other items. At the meat counter, slip it into nearby plastic bags. At check-out, ask for separate sacks.
At home, thaw meat in the frig or (especially vacuum packs) submerged in cold, not warm! water.
Wash your hands with soap before cooking, then again each time after touching the raw meat. This can mean several hand washings so designate one towel for drying.
Once a cutting board, platter or knife touches raw meat, don’t use it again until cleaned in hot soapy water. I use two boards, one for trimming the meat (then straight into the dishwasher), another for veggies and later slicing the cooked meat.
Get a meat thermometer! The new ones chime when the right temperature is reached.
After supper, use a fresh dishcloth to clean the counters, stove and knobs, faucet, microwave handle, frig door and anything else you may have touched. For good measure, use a second dishcloth and wipe again with hot water primed with a tablespoon of bleach or the ever-so-convenient disposable bleach wipes. Then send the dishcloths and towels to the washing machine.
Tropical Pork Tenderloin cooks with bright island heat that stands alone or pairs beautifully with Tropical Salad Supper, salad greens tossed with a citrus vinaigrette, fresh-sliced mango, sweet peppers and avocado.
TROPICAL PORK TENDERLOIN
Time to table: 40 minutes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce
(Wash your hands!) Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a large, oven-proof skillet on medium high, then heat olive oil. (If skillet has a wooden handle, wrap it in two layers of foil.) While skillet heats, mix spices in a small bowl. With your hands, coat meat all over with spices. (Wash your hands!) Sear meat (see ALANNA’s TIPS), turning occasionally, for 4 – 5 minutes.
Combine glaze ingredients and pat atop meat. Place skillet in oven for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 140F. Remove skillet from oven, cover with foil for about 10 minutes, the internal temperature will rise to about 155F. Slice thin on the diagonal and serve immediately.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
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