Garlic and Honey Pork Tenderloin with Stir-fried Vegetables

Even though I’ve always enjoyed cooking I’ve done more cooking and baking in the last few months than ever.   I’m sure that it’s no different in most households since this pandemic.  We aren’t going out to restaurants and, where we live, there are no delivery places.  There is even a facebook web site, maybe several, with names like  “crap I’ve cooked during this pandemic.”  We all keep looking for new ways to make the same old things.  Changing things up a little.  And we also need to vary recipes based on what is in our pantry and refrigerator because we are going out for groceries less frequently.  I had a very nice pork tenderloin in the freezer and decided that would be dinner.  I looked through several recipes and got an idea that I modified based on ingredients I had on hand.  It came together pretty quickly and was very tasty.  I’ll definitely make this again.

Rub Ingredients:

1 T paprika

1 T brown sugar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 T kosher salt

Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 head of garlic minced (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup honey

3 T soy sauce

3 T rice vinegar

1 cup broth

1 T cornstarch

Using a paper towel, pat the tenderloin dry.  Combine the rub ingredients and sprinkle on both sides of the pork.

Heat 2 T of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or dutch oven.  Sear the tenderloin on all sides and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter and garlic to the pan drippings.  Cook until the butter melts and the garlic becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes, scrapping up the browned bits in the skillet.

Add the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar and broth.  Bring the sauce to a simmer.  Return the pork to the pan.

Cover and roast for 10 minutes.  Uncover and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 145.  Total roast time for me was 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Set the tenderloins aside and cover with tin foil.  Mix the cornstarch with a little water and add to the sauce.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens.  Return the pork to the sauce.  Ladle the sauce over the tenderloins.

While the pork is roasting, get your vegetables ready to stir-fry.  Any combination of vegetables work fine.  I had pea pods, onion, sweet peppers, summer squash, green beans and mushrooms.


Just before you’re ready to serve, heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or heavy sauce pan until it’s screaming hot and stir-fry the vegetable until they are just tender crisp.  Top off with a little toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.

I also served ours with jasmine rice.  To plate, scoop rice, vegetables and slices of pork onto the plate and top with the garlic honey sauce.

Our dinner was excellent.  And the leftovers were equally tasty.

NOTE:  Any combination of vegetables work well for stir fry.  Or just serve with a steamed or roasted vegetable of your choice.  We also like lots of garlic, but if you’d like less just use a few cloves.

Pork Meatballs Asian Style

Since this pandemic has had us sheltering at home, most of us are doing a lot more cooking than usual.  And, if you’re like me, you keep trying to come up with new dishes to break the monotony.  Unless, of course, monotony is what you actually prefer.  I do know people who could easily survive on pizza or burgers or Mac and cheese as a steady diet. Yesterday I had a pound of ground pork thawed and was trying to think of something different to make for dinner.  I was talking to my daughter and she shared this recipe which they had recently made.  Based on what was available in my fridge and pantry I modified the recipe a bit, and I’m sharing my own take.  This was a quick and easy dish to prepare and packed a lot of flavor.  We devoured all but 4-5 meatballs!

Meatball Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

2-3 green onions finely sliced

1 inch of fresh ginger grated

1-2 cloves of garlic grated

3/4 cup of fresh bread crumbs

Add all of the ingredients to the pork.

Before you start mixing the meatball ingredients, cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix well and shape into 12-14 meatballs.  Place the meatballs on one end of the baking sheet.

Cut vegetables of your choosing into bite size pieces.  A generous 2 to 3 cups.  I used broccoli florets, sweet peppers, mushrooms, and pea pods.

Toss the vegetables in a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil or olive oil and put them on the other end of the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  While the oven is preheating prepare your sauce.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 T toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup orange juice

3 T hoisin sauce

3 T honey

2 T rice vinegar

1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less based on personal preference)

Measure out all of your ingredients in a medium size heavy saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat and keep it at a slow boil for 8-10 minutes until it is reduced by about a third.   Remove from the heat.

While your sauce is cooking, put the meatballs and vegetables in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.  At this point, ladle about a third to half of the sauce over the meatballs and return them to the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve the meatballs, vegetables and sauce over rice.  I used brown rice with quinoa, but use your favorite rice.  I garnished ours with thin sliced radishes, green onion, and cilantro.

NOTE:  The original recipe called for ground chicken or turkey but I really liked the ground pork.  I think that beef might be too heavy for this dish but, as with all recipes, it’s all about personal preference.

You can use vegetables of your choosing; zucchini or summer squash, onion, green beans.  I did not have low sodium soy sauce so I did not add any additional salt and none was necessary.

Use garnishes of your choice including sesame seeds or a little fresh basil.  It all makes a beautiful plate of food.  Enjoy.


Challah is a special bread in Jewish cuisine.  It’s usually braided and is typically eaten on Jewish holidays and the sabbath.  I am told that the three strands of the braid symbolize truth, peace, and justice.  And the poppy seeds are said to symbolize the manna that fell from heaven.  Challah is very similar to a Finnish bread called Pulla which is what I grew up eating.  In fact, in one of my very favorite bread books, the breads are listed together along with the exchanges.  For pulla milk vs. water, sugar vs. honey, and the addition of cardamom seed.  Since this pandemic started, and as we have sheltered at home, I’ve been doing a lot more baking than usual.  There are only two of us sheltering in this house and I’m working on my fifth five pound bag of flour.  My daughter and son-in-law, also sheltering at home, have been doing as much bread baking as me, maybe more.  I recently had a copy of my fav bread book sent to them.

My grandmother made the best pulla.  She would make several loaves at a time and whenever anyone came to visit she would put the coffee on and slice some pulla.  It was a staple at her house.  When we were kids we called her bread biscuite…some kind of bad  Finnglish.  Actually, maybe not Finnish at all, but it’s what we called it.  My mother-in-law, Goldie, made the best challah.  All of her baked goods were amazing.  My husband remembers his mother making challah every Friday, covering the braids with a towel while they proofed, and saying a prayer over them.  Whenever we would visit her there was always challah.  I would never profess to baking like my grandmother or my mother-in-law but I sure love making the effort.


2 tsp dry yeast

3/4 cup plus 2 T of warm water

3 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 T honey

2 eggs beaten

4 T butter melted

poppy seeds (optional)

In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast into the water and allow about 5 minutes for it to dissolve.  Mix the flour and salt in a larger mixing bowl making a well in the center.  Once the yeast has dissolved pour it into the well and draw just enough flour into the water and yeast to form a soft paste.

Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and allow it to sponge for about 20 minutes until it’s frothy and risen.

Add the honey, beaten eggs, and melted butter to the flour well. Mix in the flour to form a soft dough.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic and shiny.  About 10 minutes.

From shaggy to smooth and shiny.

Put the dough into a lightly buttered bowl turning the dough once to coat the top.  Cover with your towel and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, one and a half to two hours.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.  Divide the dough into three equal balls and, with your hands, roll each piece to form a rope about 16 inches long.  I weigh my dough sections out in an attempt to make them more equal in size.  Otherwise I end up with a fat strand and a skinny one.  Braid the strands together tucking in both ends.  Put the braid on a lightly buttered baking sheet or use a sheet of parchment paper.

Cover the braid with a towel and allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  Whisk together one egg yolk and 1 T of water and brush the egg wash over the braid.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds if you choose.  Preheat your oven to 350.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden and hollow  sounding when tapped underneath.

Cool on a wire rack, slice, and enjoy.  This bread makes excellent toast and French toast.

NOTE:  I think I have a little edge in the bread baking department because I always use my grandmother’s bread bowls.  I think she would be happy about that.

If anyone is interested in the bread book I referenced, the authors are Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno and the title of the book is Ultimate Bread.  Happy bread baking.