Grilled Peaches and Pork Tenderloin

I have definitely been remiss in my postings...

It probably has more to do with the fact that I haven't really been cooking up anything very newsworthy. Let's face it - I've been writing this thing since 2005. There are 2016 posts and 1259 recipe pages. Needless to say, there's a lot of repetition in there. I suppose I could write about grilled pork chops again. And again. And again. Or... I can just post something when the mood strikes - like today.

I never monetized the site, I'm not trying to make a living from this and I'm not vying for Food Blogger of the Year. I do it because I like to - not because I have to. There's a big difference.

Besides, I'm retired. This is the time of life when I get to be old and crotchety and scream at kids to get off my lawn. Well, except that we don't have a lawn.

But that's beside the point.

What I will be posting more about is our vegetable garden once Summer hits and we have produce coming out our ears. Our niece, Christine, gave us a couple dozen starts of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants that she started from seed, We added blueberries, a lemon bush, lots of herbs, zucchini... They are growing like crazy and should eventually [hopefully] overwhelm us.

I can't wait for the panic of trying to figure out what to do with a dozen zucchini or five pounds of assorted peppers all at once!

It will be fun.

In the meantime, here's a bit of a start to the Grilling Season...

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Peaches with Ricotta, Maple Syrup, and Candied Pecans. 

I did a quick marinade for the pork with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fennel powder, and a bit of S&P. Onto the grill - no muss, no fuss.

The peaches had a drizzle of olive oil, a teeny-tiny bit of balsamic, and a teeny-tiny bit of brown sugar. Onto the grill and, when heated through, onto the plate with ricotta, a drizzle of maple syrup, and chopped candied pecans.

It was a sweet and savory dinner - the pork was delicious dipped into the maple glaze.

In the meantime, I just received a shipment from Anson Mills and I have a small bag of Blue Grits... I guess I'll have to write about them soon...


Italian Sausage

Homemade Italian Sausage

We're back from California after a whirlwind visit. The occasion was my nephew's wedding.

I hafta tell ya - my family does great weddings! Loud and boisterous while still reasonably civilized. We had a blast. The wedding was in Capay, California - about an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco. The venue and the weather were picture perfect and it was great spending time with the family. Even more fun was walking into a restaurant the following morning with 35 people for breakfast. Needless to say, we tipped well!

But all good things do come to an end, and we're back...

First thing we did was hit the garden - five days of not picking tomatoes meant we had a lot to deal with.


Victor made more sun-dried and I made more paste. And then we made Italian Sausage.

Italian Sausage

A nice, spicy Italian Sausage!

3 pounds of pork gave us 12 4oz sausages. 10 went into the freezer and two were saved for dinner. Perfect.

As per usual, the recipe is a bit vague.

  • pork butt, ground
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fennel seed
  • fennel pollen
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • brown sugar
  • aleppo pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • red wine
  • paprika

Grind pork, mix in spices, regrind, stuff into casings... It really is up to you to add how much of something you like. Ya want spicy - add a lot of the hot spices. You want it sweet - leave them out. You could get by with just fennel, salt, and pepper...

And then we got to eat it!

First, I caramelized a couple of onions. Then I grilled the sausages. I cooked the orecchiette, drained it, and added some tomato paste - the awesome homemade stuff - and 2 chopped tomatoes from the garden. Then went a pinch of S&P and a bit of oregano.

It went onto the plate, a sausage on top of it, and the onions on top of it all. Some freshly grated pecorino romano topped it off.

Italian Sausage

It was a great combination of flavors.




Korean BBQ

BBQ Pork Tenderloin

In my quest for fun, new - to me - spicy peppers, I ordered some Korean Gochugaru Pepper Flakes online. While I know that I like eating Korean food, I haven't cooked a lot of Korean food. We used to frequent a Korean restaurant on 9th & Judah in San Francisco that had fantastic food - there was no reason to cook it if you could get such wonderful food right down the street.

Fast-forward many years, and Gochugaru pepper flakes are on their way. My first use was going to be on a pork tenderloin.

Sadly, the package was damaged in transit and never arrived. It was sent back - with full refund. I ordered another.

On to Plan B.

I had a container of Korean Gochujang Paste in the 'fridge, so I started there.

Gochu in Korean, is pepper and garu means powder. Gochujang is a paste that has gochugaru in it - along with other ingredients. The things you learn...

I decided to make a BBQ sauce of sorts, so I broke out the blender. I put in a half of an onion, 6 small radishes, 3 cloves of garlic, about 3 tablespoons of gochujang paste, and three tablespoons of ketchup, along with a pinch of salt and blended it all into a smooth sauce.

I sliced the tenderloin into about 3/4-inch slices and placed them into the sauce for about an hour. From there, they went onto a very hot grill for just a few minutes.

Onto the plate, topped with chopped scallions, and served with white rice.

Korean BBQ

It wasn't the most authentic Korean BBQ, but it did have a lot of flavor. Not overly hot and not overly sweet, it had a nice balance of flavors.

The gochugaru pepper should arrive this weekend. We shall see what other concoctions we can come up with...



Ground Pork and Vegetable Galette

The latest batch of grilled vegetables is almost gone. I really do love having them in the 'fridge - they are so versatile.

Tonight, they got worked into a galette filling - a perfect summer-y dinner.

I started off by making a pie crust. Pretty much the easiest thing in the world to do. Half went for dinner and half went into the freezer for another day...

Pie Dough

When making pie dough, I make a few variations on a theme... this is the basic. I add a couple tablespoons of sugar if making a dessert pie.

Pie Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup pastry/cake flour
  • 2 sticks butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Using a food processor, add flours, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix.

Chop up frozen butter and add. Pulse until butter is incorporated and mixture looks grainy.

Slowly add ice water and pulse until mixed.

Turn out onto counter. Press and form mixture into two disks . Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about an hour to allow the flour to properly absorb the water and to relax the gluten.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and fill.

The filling was a clean-out-the-'fridge affair...

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 cups roasted vegetables
  • 2 tomatoes
  • chopped fresh herbs
  • 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa

Brown pork in skillet. Add vegetables and heat through. Stir in tomatillo salsa and mix well. Remove from heat and cool.


I rolled out the crust, lined the bottom with sliced tomatoes, added the pork and vegetable filling, and topped it with more sliced tomatoes. Folded over the crust and baked at 425°F for 40 minutes.

We ate half of it and will have the other half for dinner tomorrow.





Stuffed Artichokes

Gnocchi and Stuffed Artichokes

Tonight's dinner was a bit of a tag-team affair - Victor made the artichokes and gnocchi, and I made the sauce.

I never had stuffed artichokes as a kid - they were always steamed and served with mayonnaise for dipping the leaves. Stuffing them brings them to a whole new level.

The basic recipe is breadcrumbs, grated parmigiano, garlic powder, some crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together, trim the artichokes, and then pull the leaves apart and stuff the breading into all the cracks and crevases. Place in a steamer and cook until tender.

The gnocchi came out of the freezer - Victor made a double batch the last time he made it.

For the sauce, i started by grilling a pork tenderloin. When it was mostly done, I brought it in to rest.

Into a skilled went a chopped onion, chopped zucchini, about 2 cups of Victor's pasta sauce, and the pork that I sliced.

Everything simmered a few minutes, and dinner was served!

Stuffed Artichokes



Potato salad

Potato Salad

We've been watching The Mind of a Chef on Netflix and have been following a couple of fun folks. Having been in the business for so many years, it's easy to relate to a lot of the madness - and to really be happy both of us are retired and get to just watch and no have to deal. It is a really intense business - not for the weak of heart.

One theme that keeps popping up is tradition and authentic - whether It is in how something is made, when it's served, or the ingredients used. For the most part, the chefs involved respect tradition but also understand that food naturally evolves. Immigrants coming to America brought a style of cooking, but they used the ingredients available to them in the new world. A classic hollandaise sauce is made a very specific way, but the butter or the eggs used will change the result. And trying to replicate classic dishes night after night gets old.

I see the dilemma when making things my Mom used to make. I make her potato salad - or, at least, a reasonable facsimile of it. Same with her stew and a few other things. They're pretty much done the way she made them - but they've evolved a bit, just like hers did - she never made the exact same thing the exact same way, either.

So, tonight, I decided to channel Mom and play with her classic potato salad. Amounts are based on how much you're making.

Mom's Potato Salad

  • potatoes (russets, yukon gold, red bliss)
  • pickles
  • hard-cooked eggs
  • celery
  • shredded carrots
  • mayonnaise
  • catsup
  • mustard
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Mix and chill.

She generally used russets - peeled - because that's what we always had in the house. I also think she used some Lawry’s seasoned salt in hers, but it’s not something I generally have….

We had the aioli left over from yesterday, so my first thought was using it in place of the mayonnaise. I had a bottle of chili sauce in the 'fridge, so that went in in place of the ketchup. It had all of the other basic ingredients. The end result was a great salad - not quite mom's, but close enough that someone who had eaten hers would recognize it - and then lament that she really did make the best potato salad and was no longer here to make it.

That's a fitting tribute - and it's honoring tradition.

Potato salad

Fresh from the garden

Cucumber and Bean Salad

The garden is starting to produce! Beans and cucumbers abound, beets are almost ready, eggplants and tomatillos are starting to poke their heads out, peppers are coming in, and in a few weeks we're going to be inundated with tomatoes. We may even see a few leeks!

I love it!

Produce fresh from your own garden is so rewarding - and so good. The factory-farmed-picked-before-it-is-ripe produce of the grocery stores just can't compare.

After bringing in our haul, Victor jumped in and made a really good salad with the beans and cucumber.

Cucumber salad

He started by blanching the beans - those purple beans turn green the minute they hit the water - and then peeled and sliced the cuke. From there, he added thinly sliced radishes and thinly sliced onion. The dressing was lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. We had started a new batch of Limoncello earlier in the day, so we have lots of lemon juice! A sprinkling of feta finished it off.

Very simple and very refreshing!

I sliced up a pork tenderloin and marinated it in Pistachio Liqueur. I pan-fried it and added some mixed mushrooms and pine nuts along with another splash of pistachio liqueur. I would have added pistachios, but we were out. On the shopping list for tomorrow.

Pork and Beans

Really simple and really refreshing.

Pork and Pineapple

The End of Week Forty-Nine

Forty-Nine Weeks. We have survived Forty-Nine Weeks. There are three weeks more to go before we begin our Summer Hiatus.

I can't wait! We're planning on returning to the trainer in September - once a week - for probably another 6 months. We'll still be at the gym regularly, but we're taking the summer off from Training.

The weight has stabilized, the energy is still increasing - and my legs are sore as hell. Just the quads, actually. Forty-nine weeks ago the only quad I knew was a college lawn. I now know lots of different muscles - and how much pain they can produce. I need a break from this routine.

On the other hand, I see muscle definition that has never been present on my body in its 67 years on this planet. It's not quite in the Mr Universe category, but... I know it, I feel it, I see it. I have absolutely ZERO desire to have six-pack abs and rippling muscles. That is not who I am or who I want to be. Knowing that there is a peek-a-boo bicep or the faintest outline of a quad on my leg is more than enough for me. It's the fun little things.

It's my first year of retirement. I'm happy and I feel good.

To quote The Grateful Dead... What a long strange trip it's been.

Part of the long strange trip is all the produce we now buy. While we were always pretty good on the fresh stuff, we now do a Monday run to Gentile's every week and have a lot of fun figuring out what's new, in season, or just looks too good to pass up. Victor pretty much focuses on the fruit and I head towards the vegetables. Meals now revolve around what produce we have and what needs using - it's a lot more fun than planning things in advance!

Tonight's dinner came about because of a pineapple.

We picked up a reasonably ripe pineapple on Monday but with all the other stuff we bought, never made it into the fruit salad. Last night we noticed it was ripe and ready to be eaten. A pork tenderloin came out of the freezer.

Pineapple, onion, a bit of bell pepper, and beans from the garden were the vegetable base, the pork, sambal oelek, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine were the rest.

fresh vegetables

Those lovely purple beans turn green the minute they get hot. 20 years ago we spent a fortune per pound at a farmers market for them, went to blanche them, and almost died when we saw our purple beans turn green in front of our eyes!

Live and learn.

The final ingredient was a can of bean sprouts. No one sells fresh sprouts, anymore...

A few things harvested from the garden, a fun dinner, and another week of intense workouts behind us.

Retirement really is pretty good.

Pork and Pineapple




Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps

It's 89°F outside with 98% humidity. We're under a Tornado Watch, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, a Flood Advisory, and a Flash Flood Watch. And it's still May. A perfect time to move back indoors with the air conditioning running and contemplate some good food - something not normally in the rotation...

I picked up a pound of ground pork the other day with no actual plan for it - we didn't have any and I thought we should. Victor saw it and he thought he should use it to make lettuce wraps. I thought that was a really good idea.

The beauty of not planning meals - but having lots of ingredients in the house - allows for these impromptu feasts - and feast, it was! It's amazing how something so simple just bursts with flavor. Of course, having lots of things to wrap into your wrap makes all the difference...

Lettuce Wraps

The pork filling is really pretty easy to make - it's cutting up all of the accompaniments that takes the time. Fortunately, Victor knows his way around a kitchen.

Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 hot pepper, minced
  • 1 head lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 watermelon radish, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, chopped


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add ground pork and cook until no longer pink. Add hot pepper, hoisin sauce and Sriracha and stir until combined.

Spoon pork into lettuce leaves and top with carrots, scallions, watermelon radish, and cucumbers, and drizzle with additional hoisin and sriracha. Fold up and enjoy!

Perfection on a plate.

Lettuce Wraps

Like a taco, they're fun to eat and just slightly messy. Lots of crunch, lots of flavor, and just the right amount of heat. I can see these happening a bit more often.

The leftovers are going to be reworked into a chicken and pork salad, tomorrow, since I roasted a chicken last night and there's plenty left over. I'm thinking lentils, right now, but that is subject to change.

What I do know, is there are more fun meals yet to come!




Pork Tenderloin

The End of Week Thirty-Four

Another week, another pound. Life is good.

The word of the week, this week, is breathe. I think it is the word we both hear the most when we're with the trainer. There is something about the intake and exhaust of breath that really makes a workout well... work. I'm not quite there, yet. There are times when I have the perfect rhythm, but they are still not a natural phenomenon. Often, it seems that I really have to think it - and thinking it screws up the natural rhythm. Inhale nose, exhale mouth, inhale mouth, exhale mouth, inhale, inhale, hold breath, what am I supposed to be doing? screw up, sweat pouring down, repeat. One would think that after this long, I'd have a better clue.

On the other hand, he leads us through routines where I can actually feel improvement with each rep and his constant reminders to breath do help to keep me focused on not dying. More often than not, though, it's reaching 18 of 20 reps the third time around and knowing that breath or no breath, there is just no way that 19 is going to happen.

None of this is natural to me and all of it has been a struggle - but, for the most part, it's getting easier even as it gets more difficult. And the recovery time is almost instantaneous compared to when we started. Fewer aspirins...

I don't think I will ever consider this fun, but it continues to be rewarding. And that, boys and girls, is what's important.

Food is also important, and Victor made sure we had an awesome dinner, tonight!

I had pulled a pork tenderloin out of the freezer with no clear idea of what I was going to do with it. Victor decided he was going to stuff it - and I never argue when someone else wants to cook!

Victor did a bit of a clean out the 'fridge stuffing, with:

  • dried apricots
  • celery
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • mushrooms
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • cheese

He sauteed everything but the cheese in olive oil, and then added a bit of crushed red pepper, salt & black pepper. Then a bit of white wine and some chicken stock and cooked it down. He added a few breadcrumbs at the end.

While it was cooling, he butterflied and then pounded the tenderloin. He laid it flat, spread on the stuffing, and then added a bit of quattro formaggio down the center. Rolled and tied, and into a 350°F oven for 30 minutes with cubed sweet potatoes on the side.

Perfection on a plate and the perfect end to our workout week.

Week Thirty-Five starts on Monday.


Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin and Sweet Potatoes

Today needs to be filed under Leave Well Enough Alone...

Since the weather gods were predicting anywhere from 5"-8" of snow overnight, we thought it prudent to switch our 9am gym training to Tuesday. You really never know with the weather forecasts around here - and shoveling a half-foot of snow before working out just didn't seem like fun. Better to change the day and shovel at our convenience.

We woke up to reasonably cleared streets and just a few inches in the drive - nowhere near the catastrophe predicted. I went out to shovel the drive. I could have just driven over it but Victor's mom's aide was due at 8am - I did it so she could navigate a bit easier.

Having a free morning meant I could go shopping today instead of tomorrow. And, since I wanted to pick up some pods for our wifi, I thought I'd hit the Xfinity Store across the street from the grocery on the way home. And since I was going to the Xfinity Store, I figured I'd trade in our old bedroom remote for a voice activated one. What the hell... I like fancy.

Well... let's just say it would have been easier if I had left the original remote at home.

I got the pods and set them up - immediate wifi improvement in the kitchen - and went to set up the remote. I've done this many times. Not a problem. Until today.

It would not sync to the TV. I followed all of the instructions to a *T* - but to no avail. I could change channels but not adjust volume or turn the TV on or off. I headed back to the store and they gave me another - a different model. Same thing. I went through 20 or more set-up codes - nothing would work. I tried and tried. Frustrated, I headed back to the store. A third guy - you never see the same person twice - gave me a voiceless remote. I tried it. it didn't work. I went back to try and get my original back. Nope. Wasn't gonna happen. Guy tells me it's probably the box. I could bring back the entire system - main box, satellite boxes in the bedrooms... I told him I wasn't disassembling my entire TV system for a remote. He gave me another of the same remote I had last time that didn't work. I walked out, pissed.

I did try it, again - and - you guessed it - it didn't work. I went online. I got even more codes from the Comcast website. Nothing worked.

I called tech support. Spoke with a nice woman who transferred me to a nice guy - who had me jumping through hoops for 35 minutes. He could not get it working. Finally, I told him to send out a tech - I wasn't going back to the store and he wasn't going to get it fixed over the phone. Set it up for tomorrow. Not bad.

Ten minutes later, the phone rings. Comcast tech on the line. He says he can walk me through it. I tell him I've been walked through and start explaining what I've been doing. He says he'll be here in 15 minutes.

In no time, he's here. Picks up the remote and starts playing. Within minutes, it's working perfectly. I'm flabbergasted. Pleased, but flabbergasted. He said it had to do with the sequence of button pushing and I was given the wrong instructions. I didn't bother mentioning I was following the written instructions in the set-up guide. It was working - I didn't care how or why. I mentioned the original reason for all of this was for a voice remote and he says he has one in the truck - we have one remote working, so if he can't get it to work, no big deal. In under a minute, he had it up and running, as well.

I don't know what, how, or why I couldn't get it done, but we now have two functioning remotes in the bedroom - one on each nightstand.

Let the games begin!

While all of this was going on, I was also baking bread and trying to get dinner together. The bread was very therapeutic - I shaped the loaves while calming down before my fourth visit to the store. You can't be mad when working with dough.

I was going to do a boneless turkey portion for dinner, but went for a pork tenderloin, instead - it was easier. Turkey tomorrow night. I dusted the tenderloin with chipotle powder and cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper and put it in the oven with cubed sweet potatoes dusted with chipotle powder and garlic powder. 15 minutes before coming out of the oven I added some broccoli.

Quick and easy, and calming. A perfect ending to a bit of a chaotic day.





Happy Chinese New Year! It seems that I've been saying Happy New Year wrong for the past whatever years. Or, at least, not entirely right... Gung Hay Fat Choy - is Cantonese for wishing someone a prosperous new year. Cantonese is the language of Hong Kong and the surrounding area, but Mandarin is the predominant language of the mainland. In Mandarin, one says Gong Xi Fa Cai. And, technically, neither are wishing someone Happy New Year as we occidentals mean it. That would be Xīn Nián Kuài Lè - pronounced sseen nee-ahn kwhy luh in Mandarin. One is never too old to learn something new about a different culture.

The first time I actually remember Gung Hay Fat Choy was in Hong Kong when I was there for Chinese New Year back in 1973. I probably saw and heard it plenty of times in my youth, but a guy I worked with - a Hawai'ian named Nick - just kept repeating it over and over while we were there. He was one of four of us who rented a room at The Excelsior Hotel- then Hong Kong's newest luxury hotel - for a week while we were in port. One of those indelible memories. I thought San Francisco had a wild Chinese New Year - it paled by comparison. Of course, I was 20 at the time. Thursday afternoons could be wild back in those days - and usually were if we were in port. And Hong Kong was definitely wild. Besides the obvious eating, drinking, and general debauchery, I had a set of gabardine dress blues made for me - talk about form-fitting. If I still had them, they wouldn't fit this form, today, but they were pretty slick back then.

As I have said many times, cooking Chinese food is not really intuitive for me. I can make a reasonably decent dish, but I'm not going to be hired at the local Chinese restaurant any time soon.

That doesn't stop me from making things, though - I just don't pretend they're even remotely authentic.

Like tonight's noodle dish.

We have a packet of Hong Kong Noodles - made in Hong Kong - and thought I'd do a noodle dish of sorts. I get confused with chow mein, lo mein, chow fun, et all. One is cooked noodles, one is noodles with sauce... rice noodles vs wheat noodles... It's all rather daunting.

I took ground pork - it's the Year of the Pig - and marinated it in hoisin sauce, sambal oelek, soy sauce, black vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and rice wine.

I fried it up in a large skillet, and then added onions, red bell pepper, celery, carrots, water chestnuts, and green onions. I added a splash of chicken broth and a drizzle of rice wine, and then thickened it with cornstarch. Finally, I stirred in the cooked noodles and some bean sprouts.

On the side were pork pot stickers, pork shu mai, and chicken egg rolls with a dipping sauce of ketchup, soy sauce, sambal oelek, and sesame oil.

It was an occidental homage to an oriental celebration.

Not bad.