This morning I woke up to snow on the ground. Again.
Welcome to my least favorite time of year: Early spring. Early spring is an evilly deceptive couple of weeks. Starting in late March and extending, sometimes, all the way into May, it pairs the hope of warmer weather with the brutal reality of frigid, subzero days, days weighted down by one’s horrible 10-pound jacket and the awful knowledge that spring — real spring, t-shirt weather spring, put the coat in storage spring — probably won’t turn up until June. IF EVER!
If February depresses me, March and April make me feel vaguely murderous. There is sunlight now, thanks to Daylight Savings, so I no longer want to spend all day in bed reading trashy mystery novels — and yet some higher power, the soul-crushing force that is Mother Nature, is conspiring to keep me indoors, miserable, bored, deprived of Vitamin D, and in the mood to spill blood.
Violence isn’t really an option for me, because I am dedicated to therapy, and acting on my rage impulses would probably “hurt my practice.” (Also, there isn’t anyone to go after.) Instead, I like to project my emotions onto my meals. Which is why I enjoy cooking with blood oranges. They’re delicious and beautiful, which is great, but more importantly their juices have this very cool bloody look to them, which is key if, like me, you want to feel a little bit savage without having to actually kill something.
I’ve always enjoyed a nice, juicy pork tenderloin, and marinating the meat in a citrus glaze is a nice way to lighten things up a bit. Also, did you know how easy it is to cook pork tenderloin? So easy.
PORK TENDERLOIN WITH BLOOD ORANGES
1.5 lb pork tenderloin
2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
For the marinade:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 blood orange, juiced
For the rub:
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
Whisk the olive oil and orange juice together, and generously spread it on both sides of the tenderloin, preferably with one of those fun little glazing brushes I’m always too cheap to buy. In a covered bowl, let it marinate, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes or several hours if you have time for that sort of thing.
Once you’ve made the rub (by throwing all those spices into a little bowl and mixing them around with a fork) and you’re ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Cover the pork with the rub. Put the pork on either a cookie sheet or an oven-safe roasting dish (I use a Pyrex) and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until brown on the outside and the internal temperature is 140 degrees.
Peel and slice your remaining 2 blood oranges and serve them with the pork, preferably in a way that looks attractive. Note that while this fruit gives off a satisfactorily blood-red juice, it is also beautiful and luxurious, a little citrus jewel, and that it would not even be on your plate if, truly, there were no hope of summer. Look at your cat and feel grateful that, even if you are miserable, she gets another few days or weeks draping her body on top of the heater — her very favorite activity. Eat your pork like a civilized person. Know that things are looking up.