Tag Archives: pork

Sunday Dinner

I love the idea of Sunday dinner.

The kind that takes several pots and pans and generates a huge mess in the kitchen.

There’s something about taking the morning to peruse cookbooks and old issues of cooking magazines, thinking about what you want to make. Strolling to the market to pick up odds and ends, the things that may have run out in your cupboards or you haven’t tried yet but you are excited to get them to make Sunday dinner special. And then spending the afternoon in the kitchen with the music on and the windows open. And having the evening in the company of your loved ones, one last moment to savor the quiet of the weekend before Monday hits us on the backsides of our heads. Just being. Well fed and content.

Doesn’t it sound lovely?

You can see why I am enamored with this particular idea.

So that’s not exactly what my Sunday was like … instead I was writing an exam and grading homework and rearranging my bedroom in a desperate attempt to get closer to the air conditioning. But I did manage to squeeze some cooking into my day (even without my loved ones here to appreciate it).

Because Sunday dinner is important.

And delicious.

This week’s inspiration is from my continued love for rhubarb. I really wanted to do something savory with it and felt that pork would be the perfect pairing. And I needed to do something with all of those vegetables I got in my CSA box this week.

Cumin-crusted pork tenderloin with spiced rhubarb-cranberry chutney, yukon gold potatoes and sauteed green beans with garlic and toasted walnuts.

Oh yeah, and apricot galette with rum-spiked whipped cream for dessert.

Spiced Rhubarb-Cranberry Chutney

adapted from Epicurious

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Zest from 1 lemon

Combine sugar, cider vinegar, cloves, cumin, ginger and cinnamon stick in a small pot.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add rhubarb and cranberries, cook until rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes. Take off heat, add lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it. Put it on roasted pork tenderloin. Have it for Sunday dinner. The combination of sweet, tart and savory works beautifully.

As for the dessert, I dug past all of the ice creams and found some leftover pastry dough from a previous dish in my freezer. And decided to pair it with some stunningly sweet apricots (and so brightly colored!)

Apricot Galette

1/4 recipe of pastry dough
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 apricots, each cut into 8 slices
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

In a small bowl, mix together flour, almonds and sugar. Set aside. Roll out pastry dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet. Pour flour-almond-sugar mixture on top of dough and spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch border.

Cut apricots and arrange over the sugar layer. Fold dough up over edge of fruit gathering as needed. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes longer. Sift powdered sugar over the top of galette while it is still hot – this will melt into a glaze.

I was pleasantly surprised at how little time this took – given that I was fairly occupied with exam writing and formatting and didn’t have has much time to cook as I would have liked for a Sunday afternoon.

There (and over there) and back again

I have been traveling (and not blogging) a lot lately.  In the past three weeks, I don’t think I spent more than 4 days in any given place.  First was the visit to Orlando, which I’ve already shared with you.  Then there was a brief stint back in Minneapolis  (mostly to check in on Puck and Kudzu), which lasted all of about 12 hours before I was back at the airport.  Then it was off to Durham, NC to spend a few days working on experiments those fickle reviewers like to ask for – and of course to see near and dear friends.  Next was a couple of days in Minneapolis and an attempt to get some work done, but mainly consisted of more edits and resubmission of the manuscript.  And then I was back on a plane, heading south to Gainesville again, to celebrate an anniversary.  Finally, I am back in Minneapolis and have no plans to get on an airplane again until Thanksgiving.  My mentor, and my cats, are thankful that my traveling days are behind me.

But let me share some highlights of the past couple of weeks.

First, Duke and Durham.

Working in a lab where it is not forbidden to drink coffee or have an afternoon treat.  Not to mention, a place where you know everybody’s name (and the people you don’t know – know your name), you know where everything is and how to do everything – and the data speaks for itself.  Man, I miss knowing what I am doing.

A dinner, or two, at The Federal.  I don’t even know what else to say about this – anyone who has eaten at The Federal understands what I am talking about . Those who haven’t been has fortunate – if you ever find yourself in Durham, North Carolina – get yourself to The Federal and order anything from the Daily Specials menu, especially if it has anything to do with pork.  The fates were smiling upon me during my visit and pork belly was on the menu (and a steal for only $8).  I had nearly licked the plate clean before I thought to take a photo.

And savoring quiet moments in a cozy home, discussing things monumentous and trivial, as good friends are inclined to do over a cup of coffee.  It did my heart good.  The list goes on and on: wine bar, trivia at The Joyce and backyard BBQ’s.

Now on to this past weekend in Gainesville.

I may have gone into domestic overdrive.  Boxes (from over a month ago) unpacked, broken down and put away.  Furniture arranged.  Photos hung on the wall.  Loads (and loads) of laundry.  I think the place now feels more like somebody lives there, rather than somebody just moved there.  I do admit to indulging in some fantasies about painting the walls…but managed to restrain myself.  I even made it to one of Professor Scott’s math lectures.  But it wasn’t all work.  There was lazy weekend mornings, complete with blueberry pancakes (alas, no syrup…the kitchen isn’t completely stocked yet) and cuddles on the couch.

There may have been a number of sporting events on the TV, but an equal amount of Food Network viewing.  I may have even fallen asleep watching Mad Men – which has nothing to do with the show (which I adore) but speaks to how relaxed I was.  A fancy anniversary dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in Gainesville – which sadly isn’t saying much.  At least the company, if not the food, was good.  I think that the food scene in Gainesville is trying really hard to sound delicious and be community minded, with local, organic foods – but isn’t doing much to actually taste delicious.  It’s not all bad.  There is some decent BBQ at Adam’s Rib Company – but I think they key is that they aren’t trying to be pretentious and ultra foodie. (I mean, how can you be when you serve a plate of cream and brown food?)  But it’s tasty.  And it works.

We even got the screened-in porch in order.  A good place for a shared dessert, a game or two and even some work.  If only it weren’t so hot outside…

Now I am back in Minneapolis and there are things that are only here that I appreciate after spending time away.  A decent bowl of grilled pork vermicelli noodle salad (I am realizing I may have a serious pork addiction).  Crisp, cool mornings and bright afternoons.  And snuggles with the cats, who are justifiably attention-starved.