9.26.2012

Tropical Memories

This past week, I had the luxury of working out of the office back in my hometown. I stayed with my family for the week and it felt like old times. I enjoyed our dinners together and even staying in my childhood bedroom (which resembles nothing from my pepto-pink decorated room when I was growing up, I loved pink! Wait, I still do!) I also came across this adorable photo of my sister and I, one of my favorites.

We were very little when we lived in Hawaii, but I do have fond memories of the beautiful tropical island we lived on. I also have fond memories of the flavors and foods we got to experience. Tropical fruit is still my favorite, pineapple, coconut, papayas. We had a banana tree in our backyard, very special memories.

So feeling a little tropical, I was on the search for a different taste for dinner. I was inspired by not only this picture, but attending a conference on the health benefits of pork. There are 7 slim cuts of pork and this is the perfect time of year to experience them. October is also National Pork Month and I encourage you to incorporate this amazing protein into weekly menu. Did you know pork tenderloin has less total fat that a skinless chicken breast?  Try this new favorite and fun recipe that took me back to tropical memories of the 2 little girls in the picture.



Coconut-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Lollipops

Recipe from PorkBeInspired.com

Times:

Prep Time: 15 minutes prep, Cook Time: 25 minutes cook

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderlion, (about 1 pound)
1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Apricot jam
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
ground black pepper
12 6-inch wooden skewers

Cooking Directions:

New USDA Guidelines
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread coconut on baking sheet. Place in heated oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through baking.
Meanwhile, place honey, jam, ginger and garlic in blender container. Cover and blend until well mixed.
Rub tenderloin with oil; season with salt and pepper. Prepare a medium-hot fire in covered grill. Grill tenderloin, over direct heat for 5 minutes or just until entire surface is brown, turning occasionally. Adjust grill to indirect heat; generously brush entire tenderloin with honey-apricot mixture. Cover and grill over indirect heat for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F., brushing generously with additional honey-apricot mixture halfway through grilling. Transfer pork to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil; let rest for 10 minutes.
Brush tenderloin again with honey-apricot mixture. Coat tenderloin in coconut, firmly pressing coconut on pork. Skewer with lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers, from the top straight through to the bottom, at 1/2-inch intervals. Slice between sticks into lollipop-shaped pieces. Pat edges of “lollipops” with remaining coconut, if necessary.
Makes 6 appetizer servings.
Recipe courtesy of Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet

Serving Suggestions:

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy these coconut-apricot “lollipops.” For an unusual presentation, Blumer likes to serve the skewers sticking out of an inverted watermelon wedge or cantaloupe half.

Nutrition:

Calories: 251 calories
Protein: 17 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Sodium: 180 milligrams
Cholesterol: 50 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 28 grams
Fiber: 1 grams

Random Cooking Tip:

Do not overcrowd pork cuts when sautéing. Leaving space between them will allow them to brown and cook more evenly.