Foodie

I adore good food and wine. A perfect meal can perfect a special occasion or a random Tuesday evening.

I occasionally review restaurants on Yelp and TripAdvisor, have contributed a few recipes to cooking web sites, and talk about my cooking triumphs, mediocrities, and misadventures as much as people will listen.

Recipes and Such

I am a whimsical chef. I don't, per se, use "recipes," or "measure" ingredients as I go along. I think I have a good sense of how to build a flavor profile, I've trial-and-errored enough to guess well most of the time now, and can usually tell friends who are interested approximations that are close enough for them to reproduce what I've done. My favorite cooking is what I call the MacGyver Meal™*—making something delicious from the ingredients that are available.

Jeannette's Pork Tenderloin in Peach Salsa

I love pairing meats with complementary fruit garnishes. This recipe came to me in a flash of inspiration in the summer fruit aisle. I served it with some Israeli cous-cous simply prepared in chicken stock. Nice with a crisp white, a pinot noir, or the right rosé

First, we take the (unbrined, see notes) pork tenderloin out of the fridge and rub it with a generous amount of salt, smoked paprika, and just a whisper each of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. We leave the rubbed pork out at room temperature to warm up a little. It occurs to us that now is a good time to preheat the oven to the temperature indicated by The Joy of Cooking.

Then, we make Jeannette's Peach Salsa. We need 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 2 peaches, 1/2 red onion, 1 jalapeno, salt. photo of peach salsa ingredientsDice the bell peppers, onion half, and peaches into close to equal sizes. Mince the jalapeno, and, because we love ourselves, we don't touch it while we do so—we use food gloves or a paper towel to protect our fingers from the capsaicin. Then we mix these salsa ingredients with a little sprinkling of salt. photo of finished salsa in a bowl

In a cast iron skillet, we brown the pork in olive oil, then add the salsa just long enough to sweat. photo of pork tenderloin and salsa in skillet on stovetop Then we place our skillet in the oven and set the timer for however long indicated by The Joy of Cooking. Then we remove it from the oven, and let it rest 10 minutes before carving. We are just absolutely delighted by the result. photo of finished pork tenderloin and peach salsa

Notes:
Most of the heat of the jalapeno is in its seeds. Ergo, you can adjust the heat of any dish in which you use a jalapeno by ditching some or all of its seeds.
I've found three ways to perfectly cook a pork tenderloin:

  1. Brine it, then cook it almost anyway you want as long as it gets to temperature.
  2. Choose a small tenderloin—1-1 1/2 1bs— and brown it, then roast it at high heat—450-500℉—for 20-30 minutes, then let rest, tented in foil, for 10 minutes.
  3. As in this recipe, follow the cooking temperature and time indicated by The Joy of Cooking.

Jeannette's Orange Chicken and Green Rice (another take on chicken and rice)

Various combinations of orange and chili is one of my favorite flavor profiles to experiment with. My friend had a whole, frozen organic chicken, white rice, some red onions, a can of refried beans, and normal pantry items. I did this:

Notes:
The self-basting method forgives overcooking.
Orange is a beautiful aromatic for the chicken.
If your chicken is too big, cooking time will be too long for the onion and chili underneath it.

Bread

Other than the occasional batch of cookies, I've never been much of a baker. I say, hoping that it will eventually become a famous quote, "Cooking is alchemy, baking is chemistry." Baking requires exactness and patience where most cooking has room for embellishment and recipe interpretation no matter how many glasses of wine you've had*.

Inspired by bread freshly baked by a friend at a weekend retreat, I decided to research if there was an extremely lazy way to produce it. There is. If you search for "no-knead bread," nearly every recipe you'll find will be based on this popular recipe published by the New York Times. I followed the recipe exactly (a challenge for me), and ended up with a tasty, if unhandsome loaf. A few more attempts finally resulted in this most bread-like product: a golden brown loaf of bread

Things You Should Always Stock In Your Pantry

*Mostly

**Just kidding. I can't trademark MacGyver. It was, like, a totally famous TV show. But I coined the phrase "MacGyver Meal," and don't you forget it.