Battle Pork Loin

So as I mentioned in my first post, my husband and I like to play what we call "Kitchen Stadium" on the weekends - exhilerating, I know!  Our Kitchen Stadium rules change often, and aren't very rigid by any means.  We just have fun doing it.  This edition of Kitchen Stadium involved picking one main ingredient (we decided on pork loin), and each of us made a dish to see whos pork loin would "reign supreme"!

Mr. Happy Plate made a yummy spice-rubbed pork loin with a grilled poblano sauce.  I made a yogurt and spice-marinated pork loin with my version of romesco sauce.  We did not have any impartial judges around (like we did last year for the Iron Chef football tailgate!), so we came to a mutual agreement that the winning dish was Mr. Happy Plate's pork, with my romesco sauce!  So here are the recipes for the winning dishes...  (finally a healthy recipe for my blog!)

Back - Mrs. Happy Plate's losing pork loin
Front - Mr. Happy Plate's Winning Spice Rub Pork Loin
Pork Loin Spice Rub
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and rub evenly to completely cover the pork loin.  Place in a ziploc bag to let the spices season the pork, and refirgerate for at least an hour.  Remove the pork from the fridge for about 30 minutes before grilling to let come to room temperature to keep moist during grilling.
Mr. Happy Plate grilled both of our pork loins on the charcoal grill since he is the grill master - and very nice to his competitor!  Grilled for about 45 minutes over high heat.  Flip the pork loin to get a good sear on each side.  Remove from high heat after searing to a cooler part of the grill and flip occasionally until firm to touch.

Romesco Sauce
2 red bell peppers - charred on the grill
1 cup almonds, toasted over low heat until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
1/4 sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the grilled peppers of seeds and roughly chop the peppers.  Combine with everything else in a bowl and puree with an immersion blender (or food processor) until smooth.

We had a lettuce and whole pasta salad on the side to round out our healthy meal.  I grabbed some lettuce leaves from our garden and gave them a rough chop, along with some bell peppers, tomato, and cucumbers.  I made a quick vinaigrette to dress the salad (chipotle olive oil from our favorite shop in Charleston, SC and some sherry wine vinegar).  Topped off with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Lettuce and Whole Wheat Pasta Salad