Subscribe

Get updates sent to you for free by RSS, or by email:

Archives

Currently Reading


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Just finished reading The German Girl: A Novel by Correa. It chronicles the story of a wealthy German Jewish family in Berlin, as the Nazis arrive and make life a living hell. The family is lucky (I guess you could say this) to be allowed to purchase passage on the M.S. St. Louis, a passenger liner, to take them to “the Americas.” The destination is actually Cuba. The story is told from two voices – the teenage daughter in this story, and from a current-day distant family member who is trying to learn about her ancestry. Of the 900+ passengers on the ship, only a few were allowed to disembark since the Cuban President decided he needed more money to accept them. Most families had no money left, as the Reich had taken nearly all of their assets. The daughter and her very eccentric mother were allowed to stay in Cuba.  The remaining passengers are rejected by the U.S. too, and eventually return to Europe, where most of the Jews end up dying in concentration camps. The story goes back and forth from the 1939 journey to current day as the link between the two women is slowly revealed. I had a tough time sometimes, tracking the people in this book, but the story was very riveting. It’s based on facts about the ship (see Wikipedia link above if you’re interested). A shameful chapter in history.

Recently finished reading a magnificent historical novel. Not new. Philippa Gregory has been a favorite author of mine for a couple of decades. You may remember her most famous book, The Other Boleyn Girl, published some years ago. I thought that was a really great book. I’ve read other books by Gregory, but most recently I read The King’s Curse (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels). The time period is the 1450s to 1541, mostly under the rule of King Henry VIII, the infamous womanizer and wife/Queen-killer. The man who cursed Rome/the Pope because he wanted his first marriage annulled because Queen Catherine couldn’t produce a living male heir. And subsequently made himself the head of the church in England in order to do so. It was a Catholic country at the time. This story (it’s fiction, but woven with intricate historical detail) is from the voice of a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine, Margaret of York, later titled Countess of Salisbury, but a Plantagenet in her own right (which is key to the later events in the book). Certainly I’ve read other novels over the years that dealt with Henry VIII, but not with this much breadth of info. What a wicked, sinful man he was. And did I say tyrant. Wow.  I could hardly put it down, through its nearly 600 pages. In the author’s notes at the end, she shares relatively recent medical info that suggests Henry probably suffered from a rare problem, Kell positive blood type, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and infant deaths IF the mother has the more common Kell negative blood type. And that in his later years, he may have had McLeod syndrome, a disease only found in Kell positive individuals. Around the age of 40 it causes physical degeneration and personality changes resulting in paranoia, depression and irrational behavior. All of those King Henry VIII had in spades. If you read the book, you might read the author’s notes (at the end) before reading the book. If you like historical fiction (I love any book about English history) you’ll just love this one. It’s interesting, though, as I think about the many books I’ve read covering this era in English history, that each book presented its hero/heroine as the most innocent and worthy individual vying for the crown of England. I remember thinking Anne Boleyn was dealt with so badly during her life (and certainly her beheading), and yet reading this book, I completely reversed my opinion. Anne Boleyn was called a wh–e by most people during the years she shared Henry’s bed. The “curse” from the title pertains to Henry’s inability or the curse on the Tudors, that caused him to fail in producing a male heir. In any case, none of Henry’s wives should have died for it – likely it was all Henry’s fault anyway. Just read this one, okay?

Also recently read News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles. One of my book-reading friends said this is one of the best books she’s ever read in her life. That kind of praise required me to read it and I just LOVED it. It’s about an old man (a widower), who was a former military captain, during the 1800s, who goes from town to town to read out loud the current news of the world (yes, there WAS such a free-lance job.) Newspapers didn’t make it to small towns back then. By chance he’s asked to take a 10-year old girl to East Texas to reunite with relatives. The child had been captured by an Indian tribe as a baby (her family was killed in the raid), raised by the Kiowa and as was often the case of such children, she wants nothing to do with leaving. So the “hero” in this story has his hands full. And yet, they learn to trust each other on the journey. Reaching the destination, there are lots of complications (of course!). This book is truly a wonderful read – I didn’t want it to end. The author has a gift of description and the severe dangers and difficulties of an old (wild) west horse and wagon journey. The relationship is tender. Now I’ve got to investigate the author’s other books, of which there are many. Just read this one, too!

Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong. Have you ever read about forensic dentistry? I sure had not, so I found it fascinating reading. It’s a debut novel for the author, and what a story. Halina, an Australian, with Polish roots, specializes in this obscure profession as a forensic dentist, and is asked to go to Poland, to help identify bone (and tooth) fragments, to put to rest a sad event in the story of this small town, when many, many people (Jews) were murdered. Was it the Nazis? Or was it the local townspeople who disliked the Jews. What a tangled web of intrigue, including Halina’s own mysterious past. I really enjoyed the read. The author does a great job of developing the characters (which I always like). This is no light read if you consider the subject matter, although it IS a novel (but based on fact). Nor is it a spy thriller – it’s more just an historical novel with lots of interesting people throughout. There’s a romance thrown in too, and a whole lot of angst about the discoveries found in the mass grave. But, the subject expanded my knowledge about forensics.

The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. I just LOVED this book. I’ve never been much of a fan of Caravaggio’s paintings, although I’ve seen plenty of them (many are extremely large) in museums around the world. His paintings were dark, often with dark subjects. But as with many of the old masters, occasionally some obscure work surfaces, perhaps credited to another artist, even, that turns out to be one done by “the” master. In this case, Caravaggio. Although this book is written as a novel (with dialogue, etc.) it’s historical through and through. It begins with two young women art scholars, in Italy, who are asked to do a research project. One thing leads to another, and to another. All true.  If you enjoy books about art – I learned some things about the paint and the canvases of the time – you’ll be intrigued as I was.

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

Scroll down to the bottom to view my Blogroll

Posted in Pork, on April 17th, 2010.

Oh my, was this ever sensational. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ll understand when I say this recipe is going onto my Carolyn’s Favs list. I’ve posted about 550+ recipes here on this blog – to date – and I have a list of about – oh, 40-50 of them that rank as 5-star, or blue ribbon worthy, or whatever superlative you’d like to use. This one, and it’s a simple one at that, is going onto the list.

This was the entree I served to friends who came to dinner a couple of nights before we left on this last 2-week trip. It starts with a pork tenderloin. Our Costco carries tenderloins and I usually bring them home, open up the package and seal them individually and freeze them. There were 5 of us for dinner that night, and two tenderloins were just enough.

Here’s another photo – I sliced the meat, a little bit on the diagonal, then pounded the pieces a little. Pork tenderloin is a very lean and soft piece of meat to begin with, so it took only a couple of flat pounds for each piece. Don’t make it super-thin, just thinner. Each tenderloin was cut into 6 slices (above) and pounded.

The sauce was SO simple. Since the pork did have to be cooked just before guests were served, I got everything all ready ahead of time – for the sauce – so once I cooked the meat I could make the sauce in a jiffy. Then it’s garnished with the sliced green onion. Everybody raved about this dish, me included. It had been in my to-try file since 2007 (Bon Appetit). I’m so glad I did. The only caution is about the red chili sauce – if you’re at all sensitive about spice-heat, reduce the amount. When I made it, I adjusted down the amount (to the tablespoon listed below) so it’s really spicy if you were to use the full amount. Taste as you go – that would be best!
printer-friendly PDF

Pork Medallions with Chili-Maple Sauce

Recipe By: Bon Appétit | April 2007
Serving Size: 3

NOTES: Be sure to reduce down the chicken broth until it’s started to thicken. Otherwise it’s too watery. And be careful about the amount of chili-sauce you use – it’s hot. Add it sparingly until it suits your taste.

12 ounces pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup — (the real stuff)
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 whole green onion — chopped

1. Cut tenderloin crosswise into 6 slices. Using meat mallet, pound medallions between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 1/2-inch thickness (this doesn’t take all that many swings with the flat mallet). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add pork; cook until brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Add next 3 ingredients to skillet. Boil until reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over pork; sprinkle with green onion.
Per Serving: 212 Calories; 9g Fat (37.4% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 74mg Cholesterol; 193mg Sodium.

A year ago: Blueberry Lemon Drop
Two years ago: Sopa de Calabacitas (a Southwestern style vegetable soup)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Get Recipes by Email, Free!

  1. Karen

    said on September 23rd, 2012:

    Just found your blog and want to tell you that I have spent many hours going through your archives savoring each and every recipe and story that goes with them!! I have chosen many recipes to try, and value the extra advice with each (as above recipe with the heat of the chili garlic sauce!) I also am drawn to the picture above…yum! and absolutely love the plate your served it on…any idea where you purchased it?

    Hi Karen – welcome to my website! As for the plate – I THINK I got it at TJ Maxx, but I’m not positive about that. Might have been at Williams-Sonoma, but it was several years ago. Oddly enough, the center of the plate has begun to craze, which means it wasn’t fired properly. So that probably means it was a TJ Maxx purchase. Although I also have another platter I purchased at WS, and it’s begun to craze too. I paid full tilt for that platter, and it was expensive. The platter might have been from Home Goods too. Am just not sure!
    . . . carolyn t

Leave Your Comment