I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much we spend eating out, especially after our trip to Australia, where we had little choice in the matter. I’m not complaining, we enjoyed every minute (especially the French bakeries that were so plentiful in Sydney), but we were all happy to come home to our kitchen. My girls are always amazed when I point out the difference in the cost of preparing food from scratch at home vs. dining out or getting takeout, so I’ll start emphasizing that a little more in my blog posts because I know they are not alone.
For example, I bought this pork tenderloin for $5.99 per pound at Safeway. I think it was on sale from $7.99, but even at that price, it works out to be about $4 for a generous 8-ounce serving (we generally eat more like 5 ounces per person). I just looked up Costco’s price on Instacart, which is only $3.60 per pound, bringing it down to $1.80 for the same size serving. I’m done doing math now; I think you get the picture. Even with rising grocery costs, the total cost of our meal with a baked potato and salad could not have topped out past $5 per person (I’m rounding way up on the side dishes).
Keep that in mind the next time you get sticker shock at the market or think twice about indulging in the convenience of using a delivery service like Instacart. I recently read a comment from someone online who figured groceries had gone up so much they might as well eat out. Um, no, food cost has increased for restaurants too. That statement alarmed me. I know most people know better, but I felt compelled to speak out, lol.
Of course, I still think it’s important to support local restaurants! They are struggling and need us more than ever. But I’m trying to be more mindful of how often and for what purpose we eat out. Special occasions, and food I can’t prepare as well at home, like the croissants at those French bakeries, Ocean Rolls at our local Sparrow Bakery, or our favorite Thai takeout, come to mind as good reasons. And, of course, sometimes I’m just tired and need a pizza delivered. It’s all about that ever-elusive balance.
Pan searing is my favorite way to cook pork tenderloin to keep it from drying out. I’ve included a link to my recipe for Seasoned Salt, which made a great, flavorful rub, or you can use your favorite pork seasonings.
Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin
(about 4 servings)
24 – 30 ounce package pork tenderloin
2 cloves garlic, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned salt or your favorite pork rub mix (add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt if salt-free)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Trim the pork tenderloins (if necessary, a little fat is good) and dry them with paper towels. Excess moisture will slow or prevent proper searing.
Grate the garlic with a microplane or chop it finely. Add the seasoned salt and olive oil and stir.
Rub the mixture all over the pork and allow it to sit, refrigerated, for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Preheat a cast iron pan on the stovetop on medium-high heat. If you don’t have cast iron, make sure you use a pan that is going to give the meat a good, caramelized sear and is oven-safe (though you can transfer to an oven-safe pan if necessary). Most nonstick pans will not work; carbon steel or stainless steel are better choices.
Sear all sides of the tenderloins in the hot pan, 3 – 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, depending on the size of the tenderloin. Use an instant-read or meat thermometer to test the internal temperature, it should be at least 145º F in the thickest part of the meat.
Allow the tenderloins to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
The past few weeks have been an exercise in extreme bravery for me. Traveling with my daughters to Australia, launching a new website, Wit & Thyme, and allowing my cookbook, Living Legacy: Stories of a Restaurant Family, to make its way out in the world. So far, I feel that moving forward has been a success despite the fear, doubt, and imposter syndrome that make frequent, dramatic appearances. My deepest thanks go to all who have supported me.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.Joseph Campbell