Heading into the fourth week of school, I realize that I haven’t really gotten much to updating this blog very recently. Between schoolwork, extracurriculars, working, and hanging out with friends, it’s felt great to be back at school for so long. It goes by on such a week-to-week basis that I find the only real time to cook a good meal is either on Friday night or on the weekends (weekdays can consist of sandwiches, hot dogs, or eating out, depending on what mood we’re in). The occasional time does come along where we’ll whip up something from scratch, but anything that requires a little more elaborate prep work and cooking we save for the weekend.
It’s been a bad day in the health department for me. Breakfast consisted of some McDonald’s, lunch was some fried chicken, and dinner was a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich with some fried pickle chips. Needless to say, I’ll have to hit up the gym a little more often this week.
Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Makes 3 – 4 sandwiches
~ 1 egg
~ 1 tbsp milk
~ 1/8 tsp garlic powder
~ 1/8 tsp onion powder
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
~ 1/8 tsp pepper
~ 1 cup panko bread crumbs
~ 3 – 4 pork loins, thin cut
Start off by mixing the egg, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper together until it’s all blended together nicely. Set the bowl aside, and then take out another bowl or shallow rectangular container to put the bread crumbs into. Ensure that your pork loins are about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick (if not, you can use a meat tenderizer to pound it out a little thinner) so that you can be sure to cook them all the way through. Dip the pork loin piece into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, turning it over a few times to get a nice, even coating. By using the panko bread crumbs, you’ll get a nice added crunch to the sandwich over using regular bread crumbs.
Take a large skillet and coat the bottom with a layer of oil. Heat up the oil on medium-high until it starts to shimmer. A good way to test when the pan is ready is to take a pinch of flour and throw it on there. If it sits, that means the oil isn’t hot enough yet; if it fizzles, then it’s ready. Just ensure that the oil isn’t smoking, like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, or else you will definitely burn the food. Lay each piece of pork down into the pan, and cook each side for 3 – 4 minutes. Be diligent to watch how the sides look and adjust the stove temperature, as you’re trying to achieve that perfect golden brown color.
After it’s all done, you can take it off the stove immediately to some bread or onto a wire rack to allow some of the residual oil drip off. I had mine over some ciabatta with some mayo and pickles slices. It was really great, since the bread and the panko gave everything a nice crunch, while the pork was still really moist inside. The mayo and added saltiness of the pickle definitely helped give some depth in flavor. The outer coating of the pork loin also had the taste from the spices added in the egg mixture earlier, which helped to round it out.
Beer-Battered Pickle Chips
Makes around 24 – 30 chips
~ 1 can beer
~ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1 tsp pepper
~ 1/2 tsp garlic powder
~ 1/2 tsp chili powder
~ 1/8 tsp salt
~ Pickle slices (I used Vlasic Hamburger Slices)
~ Additional 1/2 cup flour
I was relatively surprised by how easy this beer batter was to make, and how versatile that it could apply to other foods as well (fish fillets, shrimp, vegetables, etc.) You could also play with the spices a bit to draw out some different flavor combinations too, which would be pretty fun to do.
Take the flour, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt, and mix them all up in a bowl. Take the can of beer and pour it right into the dry mixture and stir. The froth will probably flare up for a little while, but after some stirring, that will go away. Take the additional flour and place that into a bowl next to the batter. The assembly line is now finished.
Take a medium saucepan and then fill it up about halfway with oil. Set the burner to high, and wait for the temperature to be good for frying. You can use the same method as before by throwing in a bit of flour into the oil to see if it’s hot enough. Dip the pickle slices into the batter first, then coat it with some flour, and lay it right into the oil. It will fry for roughly 1 minute, and you can turn it during that timeframe to make sure that it has a nice, even golden color to both sides. Take it out and put it onto a wire rack to cool off before serving it up.