When last we left our culinarily crazed cooking competitor - aka, me - I had just discovered my brilliant - albeit somewhat labour intensive - recipe for Philly Nibblers did not pass go in the appetizer round of The Real Women of Philadelphia recipe contest and knew it was time to re-group and get back to work...
To read How a Pork Tenderloin Saved My Life from the beginning start HERE
If you missed last week's installment, check it out HERE.
At the same time I was at work swallowing my pride and disappointment, I had a support team on the sidelines comprised of my mother, and my best friend from childhood, Cindy, who were both hard at work trying to analyze why my nibblers had not been selected. Feedback from both camps was surprisingly congruent: I needed to change things up, lose the Determined Dieter outfit, and do a better job at displaying my food on camera.
Timing wise, I had already submitted a side dish that I didn’t hold much hope for, and had shot my last determined dieter video for a recipe I really liked called Philly Chicks in a Blanket; Tex Mex inspired chicken wrapped in delicious cream cheese infused crepes.
Although I had a lot of hope for this last dish, the appetizer round had taught me an important lesson to not put all of my eggs into one basket and so I set to work researching the components of what I would do next.
I began by checking out the food trends; what foods were hot and what foods were not, narrowing my search until I finally settled on something that would feature pork tenderloin, pistachios, and mango chutney.
I worked on the recipe into the wee hours of the morning researching the best methods for roasting and stuffing a tenderloin, trying to come up with a formula that would result in a moist and tender cut of meat.
I already knew cream cheese was going to be included as part of a couscous, cranberry, and pistachio stuffing for the pork, but I still felt the dish needed that extra bit of wow factor – and that’s when I came up with an idea for the sauce: a creamy, decadent mango chutney libation that would be drizzled over a savoury, stuffed pan seared and oven roasted pork tenderloin.
With that settled, I shut my laptop at app 3 am and went to bed literally dreaming of cream cheese.
The next day was a Saturday and after a first cup of coffee and planning session with Vaughan followed by a phone consultation with my mother, I headed for the grocery store and brought home enough for two complete dishes: One for the prototype, and the second for the recipe I would be submitting.
By now the man I married and I had filming down to an art and we would set up the kitchen with our well used and time worn table on DVD storage boxes to replicate an island - cream cheese strategically placed on the table to cover old paint splatters from my crafting days.
We cooked the first tenderloin that Saturday morning according to recommendations from Google that the meat be roasted to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Unbeknownst to me, though - a person who grew up in the 70's when pork chops were cooked to within an inch of their lives - 145 degrees resulted in a roast that was still pink; and as my latent fear of tape worms began to grow more powerful, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to eat my creation.
Rare pork prototype #1 ended up in the garbage.
Two tenderloins and a box of couscous later, I believed I finally had the recipe perfected.
When we were done filming I got into my car and drove it across town to my mother’s house (because who could eat anymore of it?) and still thinking my Philly Chicks in a Blanket were my ticket to the big time, I promptly forgot all about the tenderloin and carried on with the rest of my day.
Stay tuned next week to find out what happens next!