Thursday, February 19, 2009
Feet and Food and Taxes
Today we have to be measured for our newest orthotics so have to get a move on this morning as we go some distance for this. Can't complain, get some good shoes, lined with orthotics, for nothing. Since I had a hip replacement I have one leg slightly longer than the other which causes a bit of a problem. Takes about three weeks to get the shoes. I will probably have runners again as I seem to live in those more than anything else. Last night we had a nice visit with some friends - had to chuckle though, we were talking about things they don't eat which included sweetbreads which I love and brains, which I know I have eaten but don't remember; in England we eat lamb's brains in the Carolinas they eat pig's brains (brains and eggs for breakfast). Also kidneys and tripe (I don't like tripe I'm afraid) and of course lamb. They DO NOT like lamb or any organ meats (offal) so its always a joke that when they come to dinner I am going to roast lamb and serve maybe kidneys or something. I am told, by those who know, that sheep are the stupidest creatures by the way. This conversation all came about because of the Shepherd's Pie discussion. I did my taxes on Tuesday too, I am quite pleased with myself that that is out of the way. I use an on line tax preparing programme which costs me $26 once I decide to print or file it. I can actually do all my calculations and everything else without paying a cent although I am not quite sure why you would. You can then download the forms and later transmit them to the tax office on line. Its so easy these days. Beats paying over $100 to get someone else to do them for you. We have done that when our stuff was a little more complicated, but I always resented paying so much money for it. Get a small refund and most of it goes to the tax preparer. I am pleased to say we do get a refund. I always remember that April 15th is tax day in the States, it is also a friend's birthday so the two are synonymous in my mind. The following recipe was sent to me by email from My Gourmet Connection and I thought it sounded really delicious. I can see this appearing at our dining table in the not too distant future. I have posted a second picture as I thought you would like to see the meat sliced. Pastry-Wrapped Pork With Brandy-Cider Reduction If you are looking for a recipe with a perfect blend of rich flavor and an elegant presentation for a romantic dinner, you may want to give this one a try. Adapted from a holiday recipe published by Cuisine At Home in 2003, it has become a favorite in our home for a number of years. It is surprisingly easy to prepare, and with a little planning in advance, it really doesn't require a lot of last-minute fuss. For the filling ~ 3 ounces cream cheese 1/3 cup dried apples, chopped 1 tablespoon brandy 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped 2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped For the pork ~ 3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto 1 lb pork tenderloin 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water For the sauce ~ 1 tablespoon butter 1 shallot, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1-1/2 cups apple cider 1/4 cup brandy 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped Preparation ~ In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, dried apples, brandy, garlic and sage. Trim any fat and silver skin from the pork, then cut a slit down the length of the tenderloin, about 3/4-inch deep, for the filling. Spread the cream cheese mixture inside the slit and push the tenderloin back together gently. Lay the prosciutto slices side by side on a flat surface. Place the pork, filling side down, on top of them and wrap the slices around the tenderloin until they overlap. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the pork. Sear the tenderloin on all sides, turning frequently with tongs, until the prosciutto is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Trim a strip about 1-1/2-inches wide from one side of the pastry sheet and reserve for decoration. Roll the balance out to a 12 x 15-inch rectangle. Place the pork on the pastry and fold the long sides up over the tenderloin. Press the edges to seal, crimp the ends and fold them under to make rounded ends. If desired, use the reserved pastry to make some decorative cutouts for the top of the pork. Place the tenderloin, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Gently press the pastry cutouts on top of the pork and brush the entire tenderloin with the egg wash again. Bake the pork for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. While the tenderloin bakes, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the apple cider and brandy. Turn up the heat and boil for for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half and it reaches a syrup-like thickness. Stir in the chopped sage and transfer to a serving dish. Makes 3 to 4 servings Recipe Notes ~ If your pork tenderloin tapers a lot at one end, try to fold that under a bit prior to wrapping with the prosciutto. Also, when carving the finished tenderloin, make your slices fairly thick ~ about 3/4-inch. I've had the best luck using an electric carving knife, but a sharp bread knife works well too. This will help to keep the pastry intact and give the nicest presentation. Have a great day.