Monday, June 4, 2012

Summertime and the Grillin’ Is Easy
What's cooking? Honey-Gingered Pork Tenderloins

Grilling makes me happy, and not just because it’s a way to get my husband to do the cooking, though that certainly helps. Back when we were first married, for reasons I’ve yet to figure out, we divided household chores into “Woman’s Work” and “Man’s Work.” The rule seemed to be “If it’s inside the house, it’s Woman’s Work; if it’s outside, it’s Man’s.” (And if this sounds sexist to you, ...well, you have to find some way of divvying up the chores.) So trash cans inside the house were my problem; trash cans outside were his. Cooking inside the house was my job; cooking outside became his. And over the years, he’s developed into quite an accomplished grillmaster, even though he professes each time to have forgotten how long, how much heat, whether to baste, etc. I think he just wants to be able to share the blame if something goes wrong. I tell him that if it goes up in smoke, we’ll order pizza.

But my fondness for grilling goes beyond the work-avoidance factor. The wonderful smell of meat roasting over an open fire, the crispiness of the outside of the meat that you really can’t achieve in an oven, and all the wonderful marinades that work with grilled meats.

As we cruise into summer, I offer you one of my all-time favorite marinades for pork tenderloin. (You can even use it with oven-roasting, but don’t tell my husband.)

While we’re on the subject of summer, I want to call to your attention a wonderful summer read by my friend Leslie Davis Guccione, called The Chick Palace. It’s available only as an e-book, on either Kindle or Nook. And in either case, it’s only $2.99 – what a steal. Here’s the review I posted on and

“Look, Muffy, a book for us.” Like the Preppy Handbook, The Chick Palace speaks to a generation – or two – of women who have reached a certain stage in life and could use some guidance. But what Guccione offers is not so much guidance as consolation that we all hit these seminal events in our own ways, and the awareness that mostly what we need is the warmth of a solid female friendship as we rethink and reassess our lives. Ever since we discovered that we were all getting underpaid, that no one really wanted to change diapers, and that it was ok to have sex for fun, our collective knowledge has brought us back to center every time. Ms. Guccione uses her delightful storytelling to reaffirm this aspect of feminine bonding.

And what a fun read! Ms. Guccione has such a smooth style and such an ear for dialogue that you will find yourself effortlessly floating along with the story. I laughed out loud at Lilly and her wickedly funny retorts to the man she has twice married and divorced; I teared up with Johanna as she sees herself suddenly as The One in Charge - the Mother Superior of her birth family - and wonders how she matches up with her own mother. And the appearance of Dean Delaney, the boy who broke Johanna's heart in the summer before college, adds a twist that makes you just want to keep on reading.

So download a copy of The Chick Palace, grill up some of this scrumptious pork tenderloin, and celebrate the arrival of summer.

Honey-Gingered Pork Tenderloins
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, August 1998
Yield: Serves 4

two ¾-pound pork tenderloins
¼ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Garnish: fresh flat-leafed parsley sprigs

Pat pork dry and arrange in a shallow dish or heavy-duty sealable plastic bag.

In a bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour marinade over pork. Turn pork to coat well. Chill pork, covered, turning it once or twice, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Remove the pork from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and arrange tenderloins on a lightly oiled rack set 5-6 inches over medium-high heat. Grill pork, basting with reserved marinade and turning it every 3-4 minutes, for 10 minutes total. Remove marinade, continuing to cook pork, turning it every 3-4 minutes, about 10 minutes more. Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing in ½-inch slices.

Once you no longer need the marinade for basting, pour it into a small saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons of water, and bring it to a boil. Keep the marinade on a low boil for at least 5 minutes, or long enough for it to thicken slightly.

Serve pork garnished with parsley sprigs, and with a small pitcher of the thickened marinade on the side.

Kitchen Goddess notes: 1. If you have guests who are allergic to shellfish, you can substitute Asian fish sauce for the oyster sauce. 2. If you have no grill or a monsoon has just struck your neighborhood, you can roast the meat at 400º for 25 minutes, basting and turning it occasionally. 


  1. Eileen from AtlantaJune 5, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    I do so enjoy your blogs! Augusta Scattergood suggested that I 'tune in' to you, and I am so tickled that I did. I am looking forward to Leslie's book AND fixing these pork tenderloins...sounds like a wonderful combo, right?
    Eileen from Atlanta

    1. Thanks so much, Eileen! And yes, it's a great combo. Have a wonderful summer.

  2. That's a terrific review. I think you have missed your calling. Please continue to let us know what you are reading. And cooking.

    1. Thanks, but good writing is easy to review.

  3. Making these for Jay's birthday dinner with the sisters tonight. I'd forgotten how good this marinade is.