Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pork and Pinecones

A long time ago, John went away to work for some very talented chefs (who now live in Talent OR in fact) in Boonville CA. He came home with a recipe for perfect pork chops and a perfect salad.
So you take soy sauce, minced fresh ginger, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro ( you can use other fresh herbs, but this is one of the highest and best uses of cilantro), mix together and marinate the pork chops in that for 1-4 hours, in the frig. While you get the BBQ going. Another perfect BBQ night: Crystal clear, light seasonal dusting a sparkly snow. When the coals are ready and the folks have nearly gathered, you grill 'em.

While you do that, clean and cut up a big bowl of romaine. Sprinkle liberally with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss all that together. sprinkle with some good chevre. We found cute little "pillow" of chevre at the good cheese shop.
Then in the excess in moderation vein, heat up a generous bit of olive oil in a pan, and sauté 4 slices of bacon which you have chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. oo la la. Wehn the bacon is crispy but not completely done, add chopped walnuts, and some minced fresh garlic. When all hot, alert the folks to get to the table, pour the hot oils all over the salad, hopefully hearing a cheerful sizzling as it hits the chevre, and carefully, using your clean hands, toss until the chevre is dispersed throughout the salad. Pull the pork off the grill, and serve it all up with fresh bread, some steamed green beans, and oven roasted potatoes.

Splendid news: One of the couples (the guests of honor, visitors from the East) announce they have become affianced! A toast! There's Ringbolt Cab, Vitiano Cab-Merlot-Sangiovese, Sokol Blosser Meditrina, and not one but TWO unoaked Chardonnays, one from Villa Maria, the other from Yalumba. (Following careful taste comparisons, think I like the Yalumba best, but who's going to get picky? We might have to try again to be sure.) So nice to have such happy tidings.

Dessert: Cuzzin Martha's Lemon Bars (thumbs up), some wonderful chocolate snowball cookies and peppermint bark sent by friends, and little mandarin oranges from Japan, and conversation that turned to Christmas trees, which revealed an unusual phobia: A dread of pinecones! The best the rest of us could come up with was a fear of heights. Like who doesn't have a fear of heights? But pinecones! How unique, how interesting! How worrisome at holiday time! Luckily, our tree has no pinecones, and now has a lovely origami crane carefully folded from the perfectly square papers that wrap the little oranges.

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