Friday, October 1, 2010

Is French Cuisine Dying? Blue Collar Comedy, Bowling

Last night I read something terrible, the French are losing their ability to cook (see French Marilyn’s blog). What a terrible thing to happen. When I was young you could go practically anywhere to any household and be assure of Madame cooking you a good meal, now apparently electronics have taken the place of interest in learning to cook. I am sure this is happening elsewhere, but in France this is, to me, a dreadful tragedy. I have never had a bad meal anywhere I have been in France whether in a restaurant or ‘en famille’ and I just cannot believe this is happening, but I guess young people just don’t want to know any more.

Last night we watched The Blue Collar comedy show, not sure if that is the right title, but what a hilarious group they are, Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White; we were in stitches. I think they are all very good but I particularly love the “Here’s your sign” jokes and the “You might be a redneck if…” then of course there is Larry’s “Git ‘er done” and Ron White’s hilarious ‘drunk’ stories. I have seen their show a couple of times and there is always some new material which makes it fresh, but even the old jokes are really good. You can hear some of their comedy at this site Matt wondered what I was laughing at all alone in the computer room.

Today we go back to 5-pin bowling, funny, a week ago we were doing 10-pin. I have seriously thought about pursuing 10-pin here too, there is an alley not far from us. I quite enjoy both games although the balls are so very heavy in 10-pin but no doubt one gets used to that and develops more strength of arm.

I had an email from a friend in NC this morning, boy were we ever lucky with the weather, they have had 23 inches of rain since we left and lots of generally bad weather. We have some other friends who were heading down there this week, bad timing by the sound of it.

Apples have always been considered a healthy food, we all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, maybe I should start eating more of them. In fact I generally am not fond of cooked apples other than with pork, and an apple pie leaves me cold. Matt, on the other hand, loves an apple pie although in the UK we make them with cloves, not cinnamon which, if I am going to eat it at all, I prefer. Matt loves to eat apple pie with cheese - as he often quotes “an apple without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze”.   Eating Well have sent out an email with lots of apple recipes promoting healthy eating this week and here is one of them. Very similar to a recipe we have been doing for years, but with a few different twists.

Apple-&-Leek-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

From EatingWell:  September/October 2009

Stuff pork tenderloin with apple and leek to take it from ordinary to elegant. Our easy method of tying the roast together keeps the filling inside while you brown and roast it. We use applejack, brandy made from apple cider, for depth of flavor in the pan sauce, but you can use 1/2 cup cider if you prefer.

4 servings

IngredientsApple and Leek Pork Tenderloin

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon, divided

1 cup chopped leek, white and light green parts only, rinsed

1 sweet apple, such as Braeburn, Honeycrisp or Macoun, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 sprig, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1-1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup applejack or apple brandy

2 cups apple cider

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add apple, chopped thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool. Rinse out the pan.
  3. To butterfly the tenderloin, lay it on a large cutting board. Holding the knife blade flat and parallel to the board, make a lengthwise cut through the center of the meat, stopping short of the opposite edge so that the tenderloin remains in one piece. Open as you would a book. Cover with plastic wrap. With a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy pan, pound the pork to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Spread the apple mixture in the center of the pork, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting at a long side, roll up the pork to enclose the filling. To keep the stuffing from falling out during roasting, fold in about 1 inch of the two short ends. Tie kitchen string firmly lengthwise around the roast to secure the two ends. Then tie it crosswise with string at 2-inch intervals. Lightly brush the roast with 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the roast on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer the roast to a rimmed baking sheet (set the pan aside). Place in the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F, about 15 minutes. Let rest on a clean cutting board for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add applejack (or apple brandy), thyme sprig and the garlic; bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Whisk cider and cornstarch and add to the pan. Return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by just over half (to about 3/4 cup), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the garlic and thyme. Whisk in mustard and any juice from the baking sheet. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

Have a great day


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