I promised that I would share with you one of the “grilled out” dinners from last week. This Brined, Grilled Pork Loin with Kale Pesto was the bomb, as were the sides so you will get all three today. But before I get there, I gotta tell you I am moving a bit slow today. I even needed another cup of coffee after I drained the pot. This cup is even topped off with a shot of espresso! Cheers everybody.
You see, we had our new neighbors over for happy hour. A great couple and their two young daughters moved here from Hawaii. We had chatted a few times, but I decided it was time for a happy hour at the Church of the Screened-in Porch. (that is our three season room that is engulfed by our natural habitat backyard – well, it feels heavenly!) You get asked a lot when you first move here, “if you have found a church yet,” so we assigned that title to our screened-in porch. This way we could say yes, and well, the name stuck. Natalie joined us, and her kids and their kids played all afternoon-evening long. Yes, the happy hour turned into happy hours thus the moving slowly and also explains why a post did not get done last night.
Appetizers and wine, on the first evening since last Spring that was cooler than 80 degrees. We had a ball. And I think we got lucky again with some fun new neighbors.
Ok, let me first apologize for not having enough pictures, but I decided to blog this after we got it almost all done. It looked beautiful, was super simple to make and was beyond delicious. This grilled pork loin is now one of my favorite pork dishes, so I had to share.
Brined, Grilled Pork Loin with Kale Pesto
1 2lb Pork Loin
1 cup salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves, stems removed, chopped
1/4 cup garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, smashed & chopped
2 quarts water
The evening before (18 hours before grilling):
Add all brine ingredients into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Allow to completely cool. Add the pork loin and brine for 12 hours. Remove the pork loin from the brine and all the pork to dry in the fridge for six hours. (this is an important step when grilling to smoke the loin as it cooks)
Prepare and then light your grill. Bring the temperature up to 325 degrees. (if using a gas grill or briquette style charcoal you will want to soak some wood chips and spread out on your coals once at temp to create a good smoke).
Grill the pork, turning to sear all sides for about 1 hour or until internal temperature reads 145-150 degrees.
Let the pork loin rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts
2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (just a few minutes in the toaster oven and because they burn fast!)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely minced/chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine.
Top your pork loin with a generous dollop.
Download Recipe Here: Brined, Grilled Pork Loin with Kale Pesto
Roasted Sweets with a Thyme, Lemon Vinaigrette
4 Large Sweet Potatoes, rubbed with olive oil, salt & pepper
2 tablespoons fresh Thyme leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1/3 cup Olive oil
2 Lemons, juiced and zested
salt and pepper
Roast the sweet potatoes on the grill along with the pork loin. The skin may burn but that is fine.
It should be roughly 40 minutes to an hour depending on the thickness of the potatoes. Cook until al dente. While sweet potatoes are roasting make your vinaigrette. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Once cool to the touch (not cold), peel or rub off the skin and slice each potato into 1/2 slices. Toss vinaigrette with potatoes and serve.
Download Recipe Here: Roasted Sweets
Napa Cabbage & Radish Salad
4 cups Napa cabbage, cleaned and sliced thin
1 cup radishes, sliced thin
1 cup tender celery leaves
Lemon juiced and zested
1/3 cup Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all vegetables in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest and olive oil and salt, and pepper. Toss vinaigrette to coat. Allow salad for approximately 20 minutes before serving.
Download Recipe Here: Napa Cabbage – Radish Salad
Well, that is all for now….