Behind every blog is a real person with real feelings and insecurities, just like you and I, and through their writing and storytelling many bloggers share evocative stories of their childhood and personal aspects of their lives and you begin to know them as one knows a friend, albeit an online friend – but that’s a large part of connecting with people in our technology driven world, and its a good thing 🙂
I usually don’t talk much about my personal life and my writing style tends to be fairly straightforward – what I call journalistic, but today I’m feeling sentimental for some reason – maybe it’s the rain… My fur kid Tank won’t be getting a walk today because I’m a wimp. I hear my non-Cali friends snickering 😉 Curious, what do you all do to exercise your dogs when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground?
While many bloggers work tirelessly to build their websites into a money-making entity (that is everyone’s first question when they hear you’re a blogger: “Do you make money at that?”), I fall into the category of those that work at cooking, writing, and photographing food mostly as a creative outlet and to promote cooking at home. All of us share a passion, yet may have different goals. In the beginning, my goal was to keep busy, engaged, and creative so that I wouldn’t end up on the couch watching talk shows or Real Housewives episodes once my daughter, known here as the Young Baker, went to college. Without a job since mid 2009, I decided it was more important for me to be flexible, focus on my evolving family, and be able to travel for college visits and family matters that required my attention.
I’m amazed that many of the food bloggers and “mommy” bloggers that I know have young children and juggle their hectic work, school and activities schedules while maintaining a household and burning the midnight oil at their computers. I’m past that stage and on to the next stage in life: the one where we start taking care of our parents. See, this is where I have difficulty because I don’t want a pity party; my mother has Alzheimer’s dementia and I travel nearly every month to Northwest Arkansas to see her in the assisted living home where she now lives. Much heartache and emotional baggage comes with this stage of life, especially when you’re clearing out their house and decades of memories, good and bad, flood your psyche.
What brought all this on – the beginning of my great reveal? A peak in hormonal activity? Possibly. I’ve been missing my girl and getting all teary-eyed, my mind wandering to the many joyful and painful experiences of her childhood years. For her sake, and yours, I won’t go into those.
The other trigger was being a cohost in the Cooking Connections virtual cooking class this week which sparked an epiphany of sorts – I was amazed at the moms who expertly juggle the demands of babies and children and still make providing home-cooked meals a priority, and one that is accomplished with an efficiency and organization that rivals any business model. There is just too much information to share here – this post has already gone longer and sappier than I like, but the next week will see a series of posts focusing on helpful tips for an “Efficient Kitchen”, highlights from the class are available online. For now, it’s time to move on…
Thanks for bearing with me and here’s the recipe for the main course of the Red Dinner that’s been my focus this week. Another fresh and easy recipe from Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce cookbook, written by Cathy Thomas.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Relish
Serves 6 | From Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced crosswise
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon coarse salt, such as kosher
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup water
1 (10-ounce) pork tenderloins, sinew trimmed if present
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons orange zest (colored portion of peel)
2 cups cherries, pitted*
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
½ cup cherry preserves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
*Cherries are not currently in season, so I used dried bing cherries and the sauce was fantastic, plus I didn’t have to pit any cherries 🙂 Also, since I’m cooking for two, I used only one tenderloin and cut the marinade recipe in half but made the whole relish recipe. The left over relish is delicious served over cream cheese, or alongside a hard cheese such as manchego, or in a panini.
1. To prepare tenderloin: On medium heat, heat oil in deep, medium saucepan. Add garlic and cumin; cook until garlic is very pale golden color, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cautiously add fruit juices, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to boil on high heat. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Set large zipper-style storage bag in a bowl to hold it upright. Add the pork tenderloin and cooled marinade; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute marinade.
2. Prepare relish: Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until softened, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cherries, zest, cayenne, pepper, rosemary, preserves, vinegar, and cloves. Boil on medium-high heat until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
3. Preheat grill. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Clean grate and brush with oil. Grill tenderloins over medium heat about 3-4 minutes on each of their 4 sides. Check for doneness with instant-read thermometer. Interior temperature should be between 155 and 160 degrees. Remove from heat and set on cutting board. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes. If the weather isn’t conducive to grilling, oven roast at 350º or pan fry – using the same method to test for doneness and allowing to rest for 5 minutes.
4. Cut meat crosswise into ¾-inch slices. Serve pork slices accompanied with cherry relish.
Have a great weekend everyone 🙂 And don’t forget to hug your kids, even on the days when they’re a pain!