Rain, Rain Go Away

The Spring weather had been testing our resolve for months. First the cold, then the super-hot, then cold again and finally a rain event or three, every single weekend. Our latest “outdoor” party wasn’t going to get a break either. In fact, Mother Nature was playing with us all day long with on-and-off showers and little bits of sun as a tease—while it was raining! Then two hours prior to company’s arrival, it starting pouring in earnest and the assault continued for hours… So much for patio-cruising…

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The ladies line up and couch-cruise; from left, Paula, Kim, Lynn and Jo.

Joining us for the evening were friends Paula and Mike Graham, and his very spry 92-year-old mother Jo, in for a visit from Seattle. Rounding out the party were Kim and Jeff (who we met through Paula and Mike nine months prior at the Graham’s daughter Kelsey’s wedding.)

As much as everyone wanted to get comfy on the patio furniture, we made the best of the situation and hunkered down indoors enjoying some tasty apps, sipping wine and laughing hysterically over our collective way of saying certain things. With Kim, a transplanted southern peach from South Carolina, Jeff hailing from Canada, me from Michigan, Jo and Mike from Seattle and Russ and Paula from the “Picksburgh area” there was quite a comical disparity in the way we labeled or said certain words.

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Kim and Jeff brought a delightful Carolina Citrus Pickled Shrimp appetizer packed with at least two pounds of plump pickled shrimp. We were the lucky recipients of the leftovers.

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We also munched on some deviled eggs from Paula and Mike, and my homemade guacamole.
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On Father’s Day Eve, the guys stand tall; from left, Mike, Jeff and Russ.

But there was still the matter of grilling the pork tenderloins and asparagus in less than ideal conditions. Russ manned up with a ginormous umbrella. The poor guy, it seemed each time he went out the clouds opened up with rain, but then would temporarily stop when he came inside.

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Needless to say, the picnic-style dining occurred indoors. Our first course was the “what’s-old-is-new-again” wedge salad, assembled as a group effort by me, Kim and Paula. The main entrée was a new rendition of a grilled pork tenderloin that I blogged about last month that contained a stuffing of piquillo peppers, manchego cheese and pine nuts.

Although the original recipe called for a brown sugar coating on the outside of the meat, we omitted that step the first time, and also this time around. Russ said it would give the meat a caramelized exterior, but we weren’t keen on the idea of a sugary coating. This version was also supposed to have baby spinach, but somehow it never made the shopping list, so we just omitted it altogether. But the black olive and sun-dried tomato stuffing was so full of flavor that it wasn’t missed at all.

Completing the menu was our “go-with-everything” baked rice and a new recipe of grilled asparagus with a tarragon chimichurri sauce.

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Grilled asparagus with a tasty tarragon chimichurri sauce.

For a final sweet note at dessert time, Kim made a sinful Pecan Maple Pie Cake and Paula brought a choice of numerous mini cheesecakes and custards. After coffee and dessert, when no one could possibly eat or drink anymore, it was time to bid adieu, for folks all had a bit of a ride back home to get a good night’s sleep before partying all over again for their Father’s Day celebrations.

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Grilled Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Black Olives

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped coarse
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup baby spinach, optional
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pulse all ingredients except salt and pepper in food processor until coarsely chopped, 5 to 10 pulses; season with salt and pepper to taste.
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  2. Cut each tenderloin in half horizontally, stopping 1/2 inch away from edge so halves remain attached. Open up tenderloins, cover with plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Trim any ragged edges to create rough rectangle. Sprinkle interior of each tenderloin with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
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  3. With long side of pork facing you, spread half of stuffing mixture over bottom half of one tenderloin followed by 1/2 cup spinach, if using. Roll away from you into tight cylinder, taking care not to squeeze stuffing out ends.
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  4. Position tenderloin seam side down, evenly space 5 pieces twine underneath, and tie. Repeat with remaining tenderloin, stuffing, and spinach (if using.)
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  5. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
  6. Clean and oil cooking grate. Coat pork with oil. Place pork on cooler side of grill, cover, and cook until center of stuffing registers 140 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pork once halfway through cooking.
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  7. Transfer pork to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove twine, slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and serve.
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