Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daddy Can Cook: Dinner For Two

Fathers have a lot of responsibilities.  We want to be everything to everyone, and we often find ourselves spread too thin.  Projects at work, raising the kids, and keeping the home in good repair all take time out of our schedule.  And more often than not, the only time you have left to spend with your wife is in a state of mutual torpor.  

The husband with too little time to spend with his wife is one of my most hated stereotypes.  Nevertheless, I often find myself wishing for a few hours to unwind and enjoy the company of my mate.  I find that one of the best ways to get that time is to share a meal.  If you really want her to swoon over you, cook that meal for her.

Here's a tasty (and fairly healthy) meal that will impress.

First off, here's what you'll need.

Main Dish:  Pork Tenderloin with Candied Onions

1 unseasoned pork tenderloin
1 medium red onion
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Side Dish #1:  Rosemary Potatoes

3 medium potatoes
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Side Dish #2: Asparagus Spears

1 Bunch of Asparagus Spears
1 Tablespoon Butter

Salad: Spinach and Strawberry Salad

1 Bag of Spinach
10 Medium Strawberries
1 Package of plain crumbled Feta cheese
1 bag of slivered Almonds
Bottle of Raspberry vinaigrette Dressing

Heres how to prep it.  

Call a babysitter or grandparent and have them take the kids to dinner and a movie.

Now wash your spinach and slice your strawberries.  Toss them together in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Start your oven preheating to 400 degrees.  Remove both ends and all of the papery skin from the onion and slice thinly.  If you cut it vertically, you'll get slices, cut it horizontally and you'll get rings; use whichever you prefer.  Next you need to cut the pork tenderloin into 1 inch thick medallions.  Place the pork medallions into a very hot skillet for 1 minute on each side, just to get a nice brown crust.  Remove the pork from the skillet and put it into a shallow baking dish.  Do not clean out your skillet, put your sliced onions right in there and let them start cooking.  After the onions have cooked for about a minute, add the olive oil, sugar, and cider vinegar.  Cook onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they become soft and slightly translucent.  Spoon the onions into the baking dish, using a spatula to scrape all of the sauce over the meat.  Put the baking dish into the oven and bake uncovered for thirty minutes.  When finished, serve medallions covered with a generous helping of onions and juices from the dish.

Now the side dishes.  Peel and wash the potatoes, then cut them into 1 inch cubes.  Put them into a covered microwaveable dish and microwave on full power for five minutes.  While these are cooking, cut the bottom two inches off of the asparagus stalks and put them into a microwaveable dish with 2 Tablespoons of water. Heat the 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a skillet (either clean the one you cooked the pork in or a use a new one) over medium-high heat.  When the potatoes have finished in the microwave put them into the hot skillet and sprinkle the salt and rosemary over them.  Put plastic wrap over the asparagus and microwave on full power for five minutes.  Depending on your confidence in the kitchen, either toss or stir the potatoes until all sides have become a nice golden brown.  When the asparagus finishes in the microwave, drain the water, add the butter and re-cover until the butter melts.  Once the butter has melted, use tongs to toss asparagus until evenly coated.

Now get your salad out of the fridge, portion it into two salad bowls, use your fingers to crumble feta cheese and almonds over the top and drizzle lightly with dressing.  

Plate and serve main dish and think of some conversation to remind your wife why she chose you in the first place.

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