June 2, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

We lead busy lives that are haphazardly, if not intentionally, guided by rather large to-do lists pushing us in multiple directions. If I’m not careful, these tasks of everyday living can leave me hanging on for dear life, drinking water in spurts, and eating out of to-go containers. In order to maintain a sense of self and my hard earned cooking style, my mantra in the kitchen is “Keep it easy. Keep it fresh. Keep it fun.”

When it’s time to plan my favorite meal of the day (dinner) in the middle of busting through work and homework assignments, I think about one ingredient, and then I ask the Google Gods for help. This google search started with “bacon wrapped pork tenderloin” and a million recipe links popped up.

Five star recipes for a “pork on pork” bonanza had me bouncing from page to page probing the internet for the most amazing bacon wrapped pork tenderloin recipe ever, only to be left torn and confused, oversaturated, like I myself was bacon wrapped pork tenderloin about to get broiled in the oven.

I almost gave up and ordered from my favorite Indian restaurant, ironically named Philly’s Best (welcome to Baltimore), because I couldn’t handle the pressure. Then I remembered I’m not rich and famous enough to eat out every night, not to mention the expanding waistline and my love of cooking being put on the sidelines for far too long. I calmed down, repeated my mantra, and remembered to listen to my gut because it always guides me in the right direction.

This recipe for bacon wrapped pork tenderloin has four ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) and is a cinch to make for us busy people. It can feed a family of four with enough piggy goodness to cover a couple meals. I foreshadow it becoming a staple in your week night dinner routine.



It took me a few tries to get it right. The first time, I didn’t cut the bacon in half and wrapped it around twice leading to bacon shrinkage and a less appealing finished product. The next time, I tried cooking it at an even 375° until the bacon was crispy brown which dried it out. Then, I remembered my all-time favorite way to make pork tenderloin: a 500° oven baked for 5 ½ minutes per pound, then, without opening the oven, turn OFF the heat and let it sit in the unopened oven for 45 minutes until it is cooked to a perfect 155°F. While I didn’t follow the above temperature variation exactly, the technique of high heat then low heat followed by a quick broil cooks the bacon perfectly while the middle stays tender.

Please read this recipe FIRST before starting. You have to change the oven temperature three times and use a timer to get it right, but it comes out perfectly every time. It’s crispy on the outside with a moist center creating the succulent savory dish you dreamed of during your mid-day google search.


Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Prep time: 10 minutesTime in Kitchen: 55 minutes
Serving size: 3 ounces
Servings per tenderloin: about 5

Ingredients:
  • 2 pork tenderloin (1-pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems discarded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices thin-cut bacon, cut in half
Directions:
  1. Arrange a rack at the top of the oven, and Preheat to 500°F.
  2. Coat each tenderloin with Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary leaves. With thinly sliced bacon that has been cut in half, wrap the bacon around the tenderloin starting at the top and tucking under the bottom overlapping as you go. Repeat until the tenderloin is completely covered. Place on a baking sheet side by side and roast until the bacon starts to render; about 11 minutes (remember, 5 1/2 minutes per pound). 
  3. Without opening the doors (I'm serious. Don't touch those doors!), turn off the oven. Leave the tenderloins in the hot oven for 45 minutes. 
  4. Turn on the broiler and watch carefully. Broil until the bacon is golden brown and sizzling; about 5 minutes. 
The timing above is fairly accurate to get the temperature of the pork to 155°, but all ovens are different. If you aren’t sure the tenderloins are cooked thoroughly, the internal temperature can be tested with a digital meat thermometer placed directly in the middle of the thickest part of the meat. Be sure not to poke through to the bottom of the pan to get an accurate reading.




April 14, 2015

A Book Review: The Dragonfly Effect


As a blogger and social media addict I often wonder how we can use the influence of these relatively new forms of communication to create social change. I use social media to connect with old and new friends, share pictures, post tidbits about my life, and to simply stay in touch with the world around me. But what if each person made the effort to to use social media to create social change and make a difference in each other’s lives? The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith sheds light on the power of social media and how it can be used toward the greater good. The authors discuss how social media users and organizations can use social media to drive social change in small, impactful ways as well as on a massive scale using a simple four-pronged method.

Below is a brief video synopsis of The Dragonfly Effect by its authors:



As Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker discuss in the video and in the book, the effective model to create an integrated effort towards social change is illustrated using the Dragonfly, an insect that can propel itself in multiple directions with tremendous speed when its four wings are working in unison. The co-authors identify a four-step process symbolized by the wings of the dragonfly to achieve your social media 
philanthropic goals: 

The four wings symbolize the four major areas below:

Focus: Identify a tangible goal. What do you want to accomplish?

Grab Attention: Cultivate a message that appeals to an audience and makes them pay attention.

Engage: Go further than publicity and grow a personal connection. Make your audience care enough to motivate them to take action.

Take Action: Provide your audience with the tools and resources they need to take action. Be eager to make changes to your strategy to inspire more of your audience to change from a consumer to a member of your team.


The clout of an engaged social media community can be ground-breaking. The author states “Tweeting 
isn't just sharing what you ate for breakfast this morning; Facebook isn't just for poking friends. You can leverage these social technologies, strategically and integratively, toward a specific goal that deeply matters to you.” In today’s world, communication tools to interact in real time with people across the world are at our fingertips. Social media tools allow us to share stories, organize support, and possibly save lives with the click of a few buttons, and the impact can be enhance by using this systematic approach . We no longer need exponential sums of power or money to start a revolution.

The Dragonfly Effect opened my eyes to the power of social media and how it can be used for the greater good. In the near future, I would like to participate and be engaged in a social media campaign that fosters social change, and I am currently looking for a cause that I can be a part of. 

What about you? Do you think effective social change can be cultivated using the power of social media, and have you ever been a part of a cause that was accomplished using social media?

March 24, 2015

Top 5 Social Media Tips


The pressure to keep up with communication practices can be an intimidating task, especially in the ever-growing world of social media. Over the last few years, it is becoming more and more obvious that social media is a requirement  in order to expand professional networks, attract clients, and generally be more marketable. The professional objective: to stay in the know, expand in to new realms of communication, and never be afraid to go with the flow. As social media becomes a more visual tool for companies to express themselves and connect with the community at large, consider these steps to stay ahead of the curve.

One by One

New social media platforms are being created every day, and experts are never quite sure what will become the next Facebook or Twitter. In order to keep up, choose one or two new social media platforms and immerse yourself in the culture for a week. Become part of the community, learn how to get noticed, and study the types of people and organizations that can use the platform to increase brand awareness. For example, Food Trucks used Twitter to connect with potential customers, and were able to grow rapidly in national popularity with the use of this social media tool.

Create Your Own Content

Bloggers, photographers, and social media users who create original content have a talent for sharing across multiple social media platforms. Becoming a content creator will ensure your original content gets shared. 80% of the content on Pinterest is shared content. Be part of the 20% that creates content to showcase your skills even further. Using original images that link to websites, blogs, and further content will help you remain an expert in the field. And if you can't use original images, please give credit where credit is due by linking the content.

Be a Follower, Not a Sheep

We are told time and time again that the key to creating a large community with social media is to follow anyone that follows you. This is not a best practice. If you are a public relations firm trying to building a social media community, do you really want to follow @JoeSmith from the Netherlands who’s only tweeted once or twice? No. Follow top brands and bloggers you want to build relationships with. If your time is limited, choose ten or fifteen innovative people or companies and follow them. We don't need to cast a wide net to get noticed, but we do need to think of followers as target markets, and find followers who want to be part of the conversation.

Use Free Monitoring Tools

Become familiar with different types of monitoring tools so you can measure and analyze your social media presence. And don’t have to pay for it! There are great tools out there for social media analytics that don’t cost a dime. For example, Buffer has a free package that provides all major engagement stats for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin.

Connect in Real Life

Whenever possible, connect with your social media followers and friends in real life. Attend meetings, workshops and symposiums (like those offered through AWC) that place you in direct contact with thought leaders and communities who have new ideas and inspiration to share.


- Kimmi Bright is a food blogger, photographer and graduate student at Johns Hopkins University studying digital communication. She can be found on twitter (@grubarazzi) or through her blog at www.grubarazzi.com

February 24, 2015

A Book Review: Your Brand: The Next Media Company



Like an old oak tree, Grubarazzi has grown very slowly and with intention over the years. I sway back and forth in the wind. Sometimes, I want to use this blog as a personal space to share recipes and nurture my hobbies, but the communication practitioner side of me wants to use the blogging platform to grow my brand. Grubarazzi could very well be that kind of blog. It already encapsulates me, my unique brand, and provides content that people share across social media. But I have so many questions. Can I utilize what I am learning in grad school to turn Grubarazzi in to the next food media company, like Food52 or theKitchn? Can my content be more rich and provide my readers with relevant conversation? And, do I want to? These are the questions organizations ask themselves every day, and it’s becoming increasingly important in this oversaturated marketplace.

Your Brand: The Next Media Company, by Michael Brito, reviews how social business strategy can enable better content, smarter marketing and more effective relationships. As a grad student studying digital communication, Your Brand: The Next Media Company is required reading for my Social and Digital Media course. The book explores the idea that “content is king”, and if we want to make a name for ourselves in this inundated market, brands need to transform into successful media companies. Brito provides a practical approach for changing a brand in to a media company by laying out strategic insights, operational frameworks, and taking a heavily applied step-by-step approach.

Check out this cool video about the book:



Although Brito’s book is geared towards larger established organizations, his ideas are relevant across many platforms. For example, Brito clarifies that by focusing on the right content, brands need to build relevant content to make audiences pay attention. A brand can accomplish this by making unique content that is easily consumable on multiple platforms. Brito believes content rules, and being proactive with social media efforts as well as following trends can provide a never ending audience flow. Brito drives these points home by reminding the reader that “consumer’s lives are dynamic and unpredictable, making it impossible for any brand to reach them consistently.” To this point, Brito argues that the new social media landscape makes all consumers more influential. In his opinion, anyone looking to grab an audience’s attention needs to have a clear content marketing strategy.

If I were to take my brand, Grubarazzi, and turn it in to a media company, I would strategically adopt the five characteristics of any successful media company: storytelling, content, relevance, ubiquity, and agility. These five characteristics are explained in further detail Lee Odden in his article “Your Brand: The Next Media Company”. Micheal Brito does a brilliant job at guiding large organizations to grow social media strategy and expand overall presence in our digital world, but he misses an important opportunity to direct smaller organizations to build a media company with less resources. Brito is so focused on deploying social media strategies in a large way with content organization and real-time command centers operated by multiple employees, that he loses his engagement with smaller organizations that want to transition to a highly relevant content narrative.

I did take away a few key learnings from the book that I will utilize for my brand:
  1. The importance of visual storytelling.
  2. Creating content that people want to share can increase engagement.
  3. Everything must change to stay relevant and competitive. 
I’d like to hear from you! Have you read Michel Brito’s book? Do you think “content is king” and every company should be the next media company?

February 10, 2015

Reflections

It’s been very quiet around here. So quiet I can hear a pin drop. Poink. Poink. Although Grubarazzi has been flying under the radar, my life is full of wonderful things and exciting developments. And real life stress.

Let’s recap.

The list of wonderful things and exciting developments:

My kitchen is shiny and new. I spent one year scrupulously redesigning the awkward space/layout that was my 1984 kitchen. For two months I searched high and low for a custom kitchen designer willing and able to work with my design, and three months completely gutting and renovating it. I have so many posts regarding the kitchen remodel process that I will be creating a new section on the blog solely for that. Stay tuned!

A preview:



I am now a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, and it has been a nerve-wracking yet exciting process. I am working towards my MA in communication with a concentration in digital communication. It’s a perfect fit. I couldn't be happier.



I have a new niece! She’s so beautiful. Her name is Eleanora. Right now, she's a milk monster and her mom (below) dresses her in the cutest clothes. I can't wait to cook and play with her in the kitchen.



So, there you have it folks! I’m sure you can imagine how demanding number 1 and number 2 have been on top of my full time job. Number 3 is just the cutest. I miss creating and sharing with you. I’m back, and I’ll be talking a lot about kitchen design, working with contractors, project management ideas, DIY projects, and how wonderful it is to cook again.

XOXO

Kimmi

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