Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Earned It!

OK, I said I'd stay away until the New Year rolled around, but I just couldn't resist sharing what a dear friend sent to me in a Christmas card this year:

How cute is that?!
I was never a Girl Scout as a child. I was too busy playing softball, riding horses, and dancing after school to be part of any other organization. Plus I hate uniforms for the most part, as well as people who sell things door to door.
However, I am so very very proud to have earned this honorary Cooking Merit Badge.
At least, I've earned it according to Beth.
And she's a very smart girl.
So I'm just gonna go with it, and it is now hanging in my kitchen!
Thanks again, lady, and Happy Holidays!
(& Happy Birthday Beth!!!!)

And for those of you still snowed-in, I feel your pain. As we were originally snowed-in in NJ, I spent my day making French Onion Soup and roasting 2 chickens. When we finally felt the need to get back home to NYC, it took a Jeep in very slow traffic to a train, which was then shifted off track to another station that it was not supposed to go to (I saw flames on the snow-covered tracks as we passed them but I doubt that was the reason, but still, FLAMES on SNOW-COVERED tracks. WTF?!?!) which lead us to the PATH train as suddenly NJ Transit was not leaving NJ, which then dumped us in the wrong part of Manhattan, and we then walked in the wrong direction carrying 4 bags and 2 cats, as though we were freakin' TOURISTS! 
So we had to take 2 more packed local trains home.
But we made it.
And all is well.
Merry Merry.
Stay warm.
And pay young people to shovel for you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Leftover Gnocchi

You might ask, "Who ever has leftover gnocchi?????"

Well if you have company coming but you're not sure quite when they'll arrive, or how hungry they will be, and your hubby gets overly excited when you send him to the store for gnocchi... sometimes you can cook off too much.

In which case, this is a great way to use the leftovers as a quick side dish.

What you see above is about a teaspoon of duck fat.
The heat in the pan is NOT on.
It's just gloriously melting at room temperature.
However, you should put your heat at about medium high to melt the duck fat and heat the pan.

If you do not have any saved duck fat, say, from a recipe like this one, you could use a combination of butter and oil (so the butter doesn't burn).
You're going to finish this dish with butter as well, so don't use too much oil.

Mmm... bland.
Get your leftover cooked gnocchi well coated in the duck fat, season with salt, and toss every few minutes until browning.

Once your gnocchi is beginning to color, add 1 TBSP of butter to the pan and whatever fresh herb you prefer. 
In this case I used sage because this was the side dish for my porchetta-inspired tenderloin.

When the butter is just starting to brown, turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with a few fried sage leaves if you feel like showing off, and enjoy your revamped gnocchi.

Note: I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday Season and New Year.
I expect to be too busy between now and New Year's to post anything new, so enjoy yourselves, eat well, hold your loved ones close, party hearty, and please check back come 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Express Porchetta

Craving porchetta but don't have a 4 lb. pork shoulder and 6 - 24 hrs to cook it?

I've got you covered.
You won't get the crispy skin cracklins, but at least you can hit all the flavor notes and quell your craving in about 30 minutes.
If you've got an hour, make this with a 2-3 lb. pork loin and you'll have enough to feed 4-6 people. But I'll write about that one another time.
This version is for a quick cooking 1lb pork tenderloin.

Sauté 1 small shallot (for a tenderloin) finely chopped, and 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced, in the fat of your choice. Olive oil will be the easiest, but if you have extra time, rendering a little pancetta fat will make your dish that much more delicious. (And keep that pancetta for the filling!)
Throw some chopped fresh rosemary (maybe 1 1/2 tsp) into the pan at the end to soften and become more fragrant, and let that cool.

Once more I butterflied the tenderloin and sprinkled 1 tsp ground sage, smoked salt (for more of that BBQ pit flavor, but regular kosher salt is important on the inside as well as the outside of the tenderloin, if you don't have smoked salt), a little black pepper, and only the lightest pinch of fennel pollen.
If you really like fennel, use more. We're fennel light-weights.
Top that with the cooled garlic/shallot/rosemary/pancetta mixture and tie shut.

Awaiting the sautéed goodness
Season the outside with salt and pepper, and sear in a touch of olive oil on medium high. Once fully browned, place in a preheated 425º oven until pink in the center, about 140º.

It's not cracklins, but it's crusty goodness.
Allow to rest about 10 minutes before slicing into it (but don't forget to remove the kitchen twine!)
While it rests, make some gravy.

Turn your pan drippings into the gravy of your choosing. Along with some chopped shallot and garlic, I used fresh sage and rosemary in mine, chicken stock, lemon, just a pinch of fennel pollen, and a pat of butter to finish it.

I served this up with carrots and a side of sautéed gnocchi instead of potatoes.

While it may not be a traditional proper porchetta, it should hit similar bells and whistles for you, and also be delicious in its own right.
And leftovers are fantastic on a crusty ciabatta for lunch!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Holiday Elves!

Oh my gosh!
I got this in the mail today and it came without a note, and tho I eventually found out who sent it to me...(I have an awesome mother-in-law. Thank you Terri!!!!) it was quite a surprise and mystery for a few hours.
I am now slightly more Official, as well as well protected from splatters and spastic hand flailing.

It's a bitchin' apron...
And yes, it was 22º-feels-like-9º in NYC, so I was in full turtleneck-sweater-mode indoors when I tried it on. It's not even officially Winter yet. Eep.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leftover Lamb Lusciousness

So I apologize in advance because I forgot to take final pictures of this dish! My in-laws arrived safe at last from the airport and we all just sat down so fast that I never even thought of my camera once I'd dropped the pasta.
You'll just have to imagine the luscious end result.

So with all that leftover sauce/stew from the braised lamb shanks, I decided I could turn it into another lovely meal if I just gave it a bit of a face-lift. It's kind of  a cross between stretching leftover stew and a pasta sauce.

I started by peeling and slicing 4 carrots, and setting them in a medium sauce pan with 2 TBS olive oil, 1 tsp of agave nectar, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of water.
Place the lid on and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the liquids are bubbling & the carrots are softened. Normally at this point I would say, "Cook an additional few minutes until all the water in the pot has boiled off and the carrots are left with a sweet glaze on them."
But this time around I added 2 whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped into chunks, as well as 1 chopped clove of garlic, and once that had become aromatic, a few splashes of beef stock.

I wasn't kidding when I said there wasn't much meat left...
But what there was I finely minced and threw into the pot with the bubbling carrots, tomato and stock.

To that I added enough of the leftover lamb sauce/liquids to serve 4 people, and had salted water at the boil and ready to drop some gnocchi as soon as the fam arrived.
Once the gnocchi float to the top, they're done, so I portioned them out, topped with with the revamped stew mixture, and finished it with a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese to melt into everything and make it brilliant and decadent.
And it was.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks

According to the news, this is the coldest streak of weather NYC has seen since last February. In fact, NY1's Pat Kiernan officially gave permission to bitch about how cold it has been all week.
Thanks, Pat...

Frankly, weather like this just makes me want to stay in my apartment and cook warm things for hours.
And then, of course, eat them.
Hopefully by now everyone has recovered from Round 1 of Holiday Indulgence and is once more ready for a hearty dish.
I know I am.

I didn't follow a recipe for this meal. Instead I kind of winged it off of what I did with the red wine-braised short ribs, figuring what's good for beef is good for lamb. At least when it comes to braising.
And you know what?
It worked.
It was really good.
Tho I cannot stress enough the importance of making this a day in advance so it has time to meld and become truly fabulous.

For this recipe I used:
2 lamb shanks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 TBSP oil and brown your shanks, one at a time.
Remove and allow to rest.
If there are any burnt bits, remove them from the bottom of the pot with a wet towel.
Caramelization is flavor, and you want to keep that.

With just enough oil/fat to about cover the bottom of the pot, add onion and carrots and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
Then add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and cook until fragrant, another 2-3 minutes.
I place the peppercorns and bay leaf in cheese cloth or a loose-tea bag for easy removal later.
Add spice bag, lemon zest, crushed tomato, stock, and wine, and submerge the shanks in the liquid.
Bring everything up to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low and cook gently, lid on, for 2 hrs.

Uncover and cook another 30 minutes until the meat is very tender.

Remove shanks and crank the heat on the liquids until they have reduced to your desired thickness. Mine took another 30 minutes or so because I used so much stock and wine.
But then I love having loads of leftover sauce that I may or may not eat in small bowls like the richest consommé... or wateriest stew.
Whatever. It's delicious.
And warm.

Meanwhile, note the bone on the left has offered up its marrow to the sauce, while the one on the right still has marrow inside it.
Delicious on toast.

Return the meat to the reduced sauce, allow to cool, and refrigerate, covered, overnight.
The next day there will be a lot of solidified fat to remove from the surface.
Slowly bring the pot back to a simmer, and serve each shank with a few ladles of sauce and vegetables. 

I chose to serve this with quinoa and some fresher, sweeter carrots to offset the heaviness of the braised ones. This would go well with almost any starch: potato or vegetable mash, polenta, or couscous.
While there wasn't a whole lot of meat left over, there was a LOT of sauce, which I of course snacked on over the course of the next few days.
The rest of the leftovers got  a fancy kick as a pasta sauce, but I'll save that for another post.

This is by no means a perfected recipe, in my hyper-perfectionist opinion. I felt it was missing something to make it truly "wow" worthy. But it is certainly a solid method to follow with highly satisfying results.
Now pardon me while I go camp out by the radiator...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Comfort 102

So a very good friend came over for dinner after WEEKS of scheduling conflicts, and the only thing she really requested of me was that it be low-to-no carb as she had been rather indulgent of late.
(Who hasn't lately?)
I aimed to please.
And also, it is FREEZING out there, so this soup is just right.

(No really, the first day of December was 65 and pouring rain. The 3rd of December was 35-feels-like-24º and it remains as such all week. Major Suckage.
Major Suckage
At least it could have the decency to snow...)

For starters: Silken Vegetable Soup
For main: Shrimp Fra Diavolo

For the soup:
Not unlike my Comfort 101 Chicken Vegetable Soup, this one includes:
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped
1 small yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 medium yukon gold potato, mostly peeled and cubed
roughly 1 TBSP chopped fresh dill
roughly 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
roughly 2 tsps ground savory
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken stock

Start by dicing all your veg and properly cleaning your leek in a bowl of water to remove any grit. Then dry it in a kitchen towel and decide how you'd like this to play out.

I either roast or pan sauté the zucchini and leeks until just beginning to brown while dealing with the soffritto/mirepoix trifecta. However, you could also roast the carrots so they got a bit of color as well.
I highly suggest this when making winter soups full of root vegetables and squash. It lends a lovely depth of flavor and added richness.

Once the onion, celery, & carrot are all softened, add the lightly browned leek and zucchini into the pot, as well as the garlic and halfof the dill, some salt, and the ground savory, fresh thyme,  & cayenne pepper. Cook another minute or so for the garlic, stirring occasionally.

At this point add the white wine and allow to cook 3-5 minutes.
Then add the chicken stock, potato, bay leaf, and remaining herbs, and allow to simmer, lid-on, for another 30-40 minutes.
(Optional addition of a parmigiano rind before the simmer, for richness.)

Remove the bay leaf and purée soup, preferably with an immersion blender. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

I toasted up some crusty bread with a bit of olive oil, garlic salt, and grated pecorino to serve alongside the soup.
(I mean, I needed SOME carbs in my meal...)

Garnish with fresh dill, and enjoy a very guilt-free soup.

Little did I realize that I make "Fra Diavolo" sauce all the time!
It is basically just tomatoes, red pepper flakes, white wine, garlic, and onion.
I make that ALL the time.
Sauté onion, add garlic, add red pepper flakes, add crushed tomatoes, white wine, salt, basil, reduce.

Before making the sauce I cooked up some shrimp with salt and a pinch of old bay seasoning, quick in a skillet with olive oil, then set aside.
Add the cooked shrimp back into the sauce when you like the consistency.

Garnish with fresh basil.

The perk of serving this low-carb meal is that the soup keeps, and the shrimp fra diavolo leftovers make a lovely dinner over linguine the next evening!

Note: The soup would also be delicious spruced up with some fresh cilantro and smoked chipotle peppers. Another option for the cold months to come.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dessert Fail = Breakfast Brilliance

You'd think since this is the post immediately following the one in which I describe how I perfectly cooked two 14lb turkeys for five people, I would tell you how to do something interesting with all that leftover meat.
Maybe a stew, or soup recipe?
Or curried turkey dinner like the one I made on Tuesday night with the very last of the leftovers?
I'm going to talk about pie.
But I'm not going to tell you how I made the pie. That would be too easy!
(And require me getting the recipe from NJ...)
Instead I'm going to tell you what to do when pie goes wrong.
At least with the crust...

Since the hubs's favorite dessert at the holidays is pumpkin pie, my mother and I made one for him from scratch.
And it was DELICIOUS.

However, our first attempt at pre-baking the pie crust left us with a slightly burnt crust, and we did not want that to be our final product. So we tried again.

My mother was ready to throw away the slightly over-cooked crust, but I would not let her because I have a thing about making use of as many leftovers as possible, and I had an idea for the extra-toasty crust:

I looked in the fridge and found smoked salmon and cream cheese, and instantly had a lovely breakfast planned for the next morning.

Crappy kitchen photography. My bad.
Five eggs for five people, whisked with a hefty splash of cream, seasoned with only a pinch of salt since salmon is salty, pepper, and poured into the crust.
I then used kitchen scissors to snip pieces of smoked salmon into the mix, along with some fresh cilantro (because that was also in the fridge) and little dollops of cream cheese.
Next time I will make it big dollops...
Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs have set.

It may not be the most picture perfect quiche in the world, but it was tasty, it was quick to assemble, easy to clean up, and allowed me to get on with cooking Turkey #2 before noon.
And the slightly burnt crust was just fine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My First Thanksgiving

No, I'm not going to post some picture of me at 10 months old gumming cranberry sauce. That was the first time I was around for a Thanksgiving holiday.

This was my first Thanksgiving because it was the first time that I was in charge of cooking the turkey. Or rather, turkeys.
There were two.
For 5 people...

Being 30 has brought a number of milestones and Life Truths to light, and the first time cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey for the family was another one of them. I am always sous chef in my mother's kitchen: peeling, chopping, dicing, hefting, and generally helping to make our meals happen.
I still did all of that this year, but with the additional 100% responsibility of the birds.

And you know what?


I mean, I couldn't retain my blog name if I didn't knock it out of the park now and again. (As well as go out singing until all hours every so often.)

Turkey # 1, moderately golden, totally juicy
Popular opinion seems to be that the entire purpose of Thanksgiving Dinner is just to have the leftovers as sandwiches, so my mother makes sure we have a LOT of turkey.

Specifically, two 14-pound birds. For 5 people.

I basically brought half a turkey back to NYC as leftovers.

(And I'm so full of fatty foods that I had to make some kale and white bean soup to detox over the weekend!)

And it SNOWED on Thanksgiving (in NJ)!
Granted it didn't stick to the ground, but it was still a surprise to see it falling for a couple of hours.
I maintain that our planet is actually a month ahead of our current seasonal calendar.
It's just insanity. 
And reason.

Back to the food...
We had stuffing and baked potatoes, both white and sweet, and corn and cranberry sauce... and turkey.

Turkey #2: Food Porn
LOOK at that bird! It's a friggin' masterpiece.

And no, it those dark spots are not burnt skin. They are the brown bits that were on the bottom of the pan when I cooked off the bacon that I mixed with the brandy and then poured over the turkey.
Sound familiar?
I mean really, if it works for chicken, why wouldn't it work for turkey?
I now proclaim my motto of the Three B's of Thanksgiving:
Bacon, Brandy, & Butter

(Optional 4th B of Booze for the Cook)

Close-up Turkey Porn
Ok, so the method I used was as follows:
Allow the bird 45 minutes to an hour to come to room temperature before you even think of cooking it. You want ALL of the chill off of the meat.
And you will be able to tell because you'll be getting your hands all up in that bird's business.
(Same goes for when it comes out of the oven. 45 minutes of rest before you carve it or all the juices will run out.)

Naturally, both of our "fresh" organic birds came largely frozen, so I spent the first few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday doing the cool water bath, changing the water every 30 minutes, until the birds were completely defrosted.
Don't forget to remove the bag of giblets and the neck from inside the bird's cavity.

Using about half a stick of butter per bird, I let it come to room temperature and then spread the softened butter under the skin of the bird over the breast meat.
I was NOT going to chance dry meat.
I salted the cavity of the bird as well as the skin and tossed 1 medium onion, quartered, into the bird's cavity along with some fresh thyme, because that's what my parents had in the fridge. Sage or rosemary would also be great here.
 2 cans of chicken stock + water went into the bottom of the roasting pan along with another chopped onion and 3 peeled and chopped carrots.
Preheat oven to 325º
Follow the steps in The Greatest Roast Chicken for the bacon and brandy part.

That weird looking thing is the turkey neck.
Even if you don't like the giblets that come with the bird, use the neck!
I tossed it into the bottom of the roasting pan, turning it once halfway through cooking, and not only did the meat on the neck taste like roasted thigh meat, it also exuded collagen into the drippings which make for a thicker gravy later on.
Also, it's fun to snack on.

Using my grandmother's rule of thumb, I roasted the birds at 325º for 12 minutes per pound.
I basted every 20 minutes or so, and when the skin on the breast meat started to look like it was pushing the line between crispy and burning, I covered it with tinfoil.

And now for the extra brilliant part.

I took the skin I reserved from Turkey #1 (roasted and carved the day before, so the skin would be soggy Day 2) and put that skin ON TOP of the foil so that it would re-crisp for the final 20-30 minutes.
I even basted the skin once. 
It was delicious.
Cracktacular skin
Don't believe me? My brother posted this the day after Thanksgiving:

And as it was his idea for me to take over The Bird this year, and he's quite particular about the quality of his food, I was over the moon when he posted this online on Thanksgiving:

Pardon me while I get a bit weepy, and also walk around pumping my fists at the sky and calling myself The Queen of Turkey.
(And no, that's not a political statement.)

Back to cooking points:
Finally, and most importantly, you must let your turkey rest for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size it may be longer, or else all the butter under the skin, bacon fat and brandy in the world will not stop the juices from running out and giving you a dry bird.

A note on carving:
I find it easiest to loosen the legs and remove first the drumstick, and then the thigh. Next remove the wing as a whole piece. Any joint you have trouble with, place the tip of your knife into the meeting of the bones, and wiggle a bit until it separates.
Finally I carve the breasts off as one large piece each and slice them crosswise so each piece has a bit of skin attached.
And of course afterwards I get in there with my fingers to tear all the little scraps of meat that are missed by "pretty presentation" carving so that no part of the delicious bird goes to waste.
Except for the bag of giblets.
Oh well.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, that you have come out of your Turkey Comas feeling rested and rejuvenated, and that the rest of the holiday season treats you well.

Queen of Turkey, out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roasted Squash Polenta w/ Sage-Pistachio Mascarpone & Sautéed Mushrooms

OK - I'm getting one Thanksgiving-esque food related post in before the holiday is upon us. Then I'm back to my regularly scheduled randomness.

I totally winged this recipe in an attempt to recreate a new dish from one of my long-standing regular haunts, Five Points. 
The owner is now the chef and there have been a lot of overhauls, not all of which are stellar.
(Ahem: the "Limit 2" on the $5 Happy Hour Martinis. Boo hiss.)
However, this has been a starter on the menu lately, and I decided to try to make it at home.

The major reason I avoid making polenta at home is that a) it's time consuming, and b) I don't actually want to know just how much butter, cream, and cheese restaurants put in it to make it tasty.

However, I risked it tonight, and knowing full well that it would be both a fattening AND healthy dish.
And I did a pretty decent job recreating it, if I do say so myself.
And I do.

Raw and ready to roast!
I started by carving up an acorn squash, drizzling it with olive oil and salt, and roasting it in a 425º oven for 45 minutes, turning it once halfway through.

Serious color = serious flavah
For the mushrooms I used a combination of dried (reconstituted) porcini mushrooms and fresh baby bellas. I sautéed them in a combination of olive oil and butter until they were really catching color, at which time I added salt and one grated clove of garlic.

Once the garlic was fragrant I added some of the reconstituted-mushroom liquid and a splash of dry sherry and let it cook out a bit.

Bland base...
I used quick-cooking polenta because... well... it only takes 5-8 minutes! I was extra harried in the kitchen since I was experimenting without a recipe and juggling FAR too many things at once.
(Three pans on the stove as well as the oven and I just did not have 35-45 minutes to stand there stirring regular polenta. Why so many pans? Well I had to make something the hubs would eat as well, what with his anti-mushroom feelings. Grumblegrumblegrumble...)

If you were to eat the quick-cooking polenta plain it really is sub-par.  It needs LOTS of help.
Luckily all the additions here make it fabulous. I followed the instructions on the box, made about 1/2 a cup dry to the one acorn squash, heavily salted it, and about a minute before it was done cooking I added a mix of milk and cream.

It was still rather dull, until...

... now super tasty
... you add the roasted squash! I just carved the flesh out of the skin and mixed it all together with a knob of butter. Suddenly it was an interesting flavor and texture. (Check for seasoning again.) But it was missing the big finish:


I used about a tablespoon per serving (hefty but worth it), and had previously mixed 3 TBSP of mascarpone with 2 fresh leaves of sage, finely chopped, as well as a couple shakes (probably only 1/4 tsp) of dried sage, and 1/4 cup of chopped pistachios. 

Serve up the squash-polenta mixture, top with a dollop of the sage-pistachio mascarpone, and then top with the sautéed mushrooms and extra pistachios.
Be sure to stir the mascarpone into the mix while it's hot to create a really decadent mouth-feel and flavor.

Of course, when I served this to the hubs, I omitted the mushrooms and served it as a side dish to some rosemary & pecorino-stuffed pork tenderloin. But that's his own problem.
Well, technically it became my problem as that made for the extra pan on the stove and in the oven while doing other things for the first time.
But it all worked out, and he really liked the dish sans mushrooms. 
So he gets to live.
I mean, hey, 'tis the season and all that.

While I do not suggest trying a new dish if you have company coming for the holidays, I definitely suggest trying this before squash season passes us by, because it is a VERY satisfying dish.
And I am seriously looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Outside The Box

OK - I have a backlog of posts I need to write up, so my cop-out post of the day is the following:

The Best Pizza Box Ever
(or that I have found thus far...)

Click to enlarge

But whoever designed this box is clearly someone I need to be friends with, because this is the kind of thing that I would write on a pizza box! Except for the waiting for hours part. I am not cool with delivery that takes longer than 30-40 minutes. That's just uncool.
They could also use a little help in the spelling/punctuation field, but I forgive that because it still made me laugh out loud.
And the pizza was pretty good.

Soon: actual posts about food...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Smoked Chipotle Pork

This meal came about for two reasons:
1 - The Spanican Chicken was über tasty, so the hubs requested more meals in that vein
2 - I bought some new smoked chipotle pepper flakes, and wanted to use them.

The marinade for this started out very much in the same vein:
1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1/4tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked chipotle pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of cayenne (less than 1/8 tsp)
(above measurements are all approximations)
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil

Stir all into a paste to combine and then rub into the tenderloin and refrigerate 3-4 hours.
When you're ready to cook and have let the tenderloin come to room temperature (20 minutes minimum) cook in a nonstick pan with only a splash of olive oil, about 6 minutes on the first side.
Then flip and place in a 425º oven for another 7 minutes or so, depending on the size of the tenderloin.

(.85lb-1lb tenderloins take roughly 7 minutes per side in my kitchen. 1.25lb - 1.75lb can take as much as 12 minutes per side. Read your package to determine the weight of your portion. These times are intended to leave you with a light pink center to the pork, but also, use common sense. If after 8 minutes your tenderloin is only opaque 1/4 of the way up, it needs more time before flipping.
For exact internal temperatures, refer to this post.) 

The char bits are flavor!
Remove the tenderloin to a separate plate and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the vegetable I made haricot vert, lightly sautéed with 1 very small clove of garlic, olive oil, salt,  and lemon juice. (Only about 1/4 of a lemon, or 1/2 tsp)
The brightness and crispness was a nice counter flavor to smokey tenderloin.

I rounded out the meal with a delicious side of leftover quinoa with chorizo, because what meal doesn't need more porky goodness?

If your family is craving something flavorful and smokey, this is your new go-to meal.