|A Valentine's Day celebration in the garden.|
"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."
Choosing your favorite meal ever, is a bit like naming your favorite book, album, or film. So many fabulous options to choose from that it is difficult (at least for yours truly) to narrow it down. Top Ten lists work for David Letterman five days a week, but for me, not so much! I find it is easier to begin by breaking all my favorites things down by category... and in this instance I am writing about my favorite Valentine's Day Dinner. Ever! Or maybe it would be more apropos to say "so far", as I hope to celebrate many more Valentine's Days with old and new sweethearts before the credits roll on this lifetime.
A great meal is about so much more than the food, however fabulous it may be. It's about the setting, the people gathered around the table (or a fire pit with the grilled offerings carefully balanced on one's knees), and the occasion at hand. I adore the film Babette's Feast, however when I look back at my favorite meals, the one thing they have in common is well-crafted simplicity.
My favorite Valentine's Day dinner was one prepared by Linda in the cozy kitchen at the old house on Elm Street in Solvang. We shared a simple, yet memorable meal of Fettucini Alfredo (yes, she did make the fresh pasta by hand), Italian Sausages, Caesar Salad, and our family's garlic bread. For dessert we enjoyed a decadent heart-shaped Amaretto Mousse with fresh berries and a raspberry sauce. And of course, a lovely bottle of champagne... divine! I am ever grateful that I was able to share that wonderful meal with people I love so deeply – and perhaps they are what made it so special. Valentine's Day should not be a day just for lovers. It is a day for love... period. Family, friends, or lovers: I encourage you to spend it with those close to your heart, and share some lovingly prepared food. Amore!
When Michelle and I were tossing around ideas for our Valentine's Day post this year, she suggested a recipe that I had completely forgotten about. At first I didn't know what she was talking about when she suggested that we feature our "Passionate Pork" dish. However, a quick search through my email did indeed turn up an exchange between us and included a recipe. In the original email, Michelle was raving to Juliette about how good the dinner was that we had prepared. In Juliette's customary fashion, she had some rather crass comments in return... and we will not be including those here.
It seems that way back in 2001 when I had moved in with Michelle in San Jose while I was relocating from the Central Coast of California to the South Bay, we cooked up delectable pork tenderloins for a Valentine's dinner. The pork was delicious, and since it was in honor of celebrating Valentine's Day, we came up with the name "Passionate Pork" for the dish. Regretfully, the recipe that was the origin of our inspiration has been lost, and we cannot now acknowledge the source of our culinary creation.1 large knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup of water
3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
Hoping that the "Boss Lady" appellation was meant with the deepest affection from
the Meat Team guys.
Ingredients:1 cup bourbon, or 1/2 cup brandy and 1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup of water
3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
10 garlic cloves
2-3 pounds pork tenderloins
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 cup ketchup
1-2 Tbsps oil for the pan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
|Any mincing of garlic, ginger and chiles is best done in the food processor.|
1. To make the marinade, in a bowl of a food processor, combine the first 6 ingredients and process until minced. Marinate the pork tenderloins in the refrigerator overnight, or for 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade; brush off any excess and allow to come to room temp. About 30 minutes.
|These pork tenderloins are one pound each.|
4. Heat the 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large oven proof skillet. Season the tenderloins with sea salt and pepper, and then sear the pork in the skillet over high heat, turning occasionally until browned (5 to 7 minutes). Pour half of the barbecue sauce over the pork and transfer the skillet to the oven.
5. Roast for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through, occasionally turning the meat in the sauce. Transfer the pork to a work surface, cover with foil and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Thickly slice the meat across the grain and serve with the remaining sauce. Approximately 1/2 pound serving per person. Yield: 4-6 servings.
To be continued next week with Part Two by Michelle featuring dessert: Amaretto Mousse with Berries and Raspberry Sauce.
|The 2007 Eberle Zin has just the right amount of peppery fruitiness.|