It is hard to remember the cool days of May in this 100° heat. So enjoy a cool day as I try to catch up my writing with my cooking of “Rebecca on Ree.”
MAY 18, 2012–CURRIED CHICKEN PASTA SALAD AND HERB ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN
On this May morning I woke up early to get Little Man an early morning bottle. The windows of our room and all the house were open to let in the cool Michigan night air. The birds were already awake and in full volume. I tried to go back to sleep, but the birds and their early morning excitement kept me awake. And since I was awake, I used that early morning time to. . .
to. . .
to. . .
I know. A waste of time. A waste of a beautiful May morning filled with birds calling and chattering. I worried about our new business. I worried about all of my failings with the kiddos. Failings in discipline. Failings in schooling. Failings in expressing my love. Failings in myself. And then I went full circle and began to worry about the business again. I repeat. A waste of a beautiful morning.
I wasn’t the only one who woke up grumpy.
The Hunni needed to use the mini van for a trip to Home Depot, so he unloaded the van so he could lay all the seats flat. He came in and asked exactly what really needed to be re-loaded into the van, and after looking over the pile, I said, “All of it.” Folding chairs for viewing baseball and soccer games, a bag of toys for Little Man for baseball games, blankets for baseball games (warmth or to lay on), a bag of catching gear, a bag of soccer gear, a basket of CD’s and tapes, a stroller, and a cushion for our outdoor chairs that needs to be replaced.
Lunch arrived, and I decided to take the left-over BASIC CHICKEN SALAD and make some CURRIED CHICKEN PASTA SALAD (pg. 52) I started the pasta and then headed to the computer to book at ticket for the Dallas Trade Show in June. I was going to have a booth for the Ypsi Doll clothing line that we started. That business that I had wasted time worrying about this morning.
I knew I had a time limit on the pasta so I tried to hurry with the ticket booking. And since I am writing this after the fact, I can here tell you that I booked the ticket for the wrong month. I booked the ticket for July instead of June. And once booked online and paid for, a ticket is about as changeable as the law of the Medes and Persians. Oh you can change it, but the change fees add up to almost the price of the original ticket.
Lunch was delicious. CURRIED CHICKEN PASTA SALAD has a two tablespoons of curry powder and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. I omitted the 3/4 cup of raisins as the BASIC CHICKEN SALAD already had grapes in it.
Soccer practice for three kiddos tonight, so I need to have supper coming out of the oven right when I get home. HERB ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN (pg. 190) sounded like just the meal. I started.
This is that recipe that uses celery root. Now I had never cooked with celery root before. In fact, I had never bought celery root or even picked it up at the store.
I picked up the celery root and gave it a peasant sniff. It smelled celery-ish.
The celery root had a tough skin that I cut off. Then the celery root cut about like a turnip. It is obvious how the vegetable got its name, but I wanted to know more about celery root. Celery root is also called celeraic or turnip-rooted celery, and is in the celery family.
“It is edible raw or cooked, and tastes similar to the stalks (the upper part of the stem) of common celery cultivars. Celeriac may be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed. Sliced celeriac occurs as an ingredient in soups, casseroles, and other savory dishes.
Unlike many root vegetables, celeriac contains little starch: 5–6% by weight. ” (from Wikipedia)
Here is a website with many celery root recipes website.
I timidly tasted the raw celery, and it really did taste like celery with out the green and strings in it. I added the chopped parsnips and carrots for the ROASTED VEGETABLE MEDLEY. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, they were ready for the oven.
The ROASTED VEGETABLES were ready, so I started on the HERB-ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN. The only problem is that I didn’t have a pork tenderloin. I had a pork loin center cut. The Hunni had gone shopping. Life is never exactly like the “suggested recipe ingredients” here at My Whit’s End, so we work with what we have.
On this image, pork tenderloin is labeled with an 8, and the pork loin center cut I had is labeled with an 7. This link answered the question of the difference between the two.
The recipe called for Herbes de Provence. I did not have that spice mix, but googled it to make my own.
“Herbes de Provence (French pronunciation: [ɛʁb.də.pʁɔ.vɑ̃s]) is a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence. Formerly simply a descriptive term referring to herbs typical of Provence, in the 1970s, commercial blends started to be sold under this name. These mixtures typically contain savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender flowers and other herbs, though lavender was not used in traditional southern French cooking.” (from Wikipedia)
This is lavender. It has not yet bloomed with its purple flower, but still has a wonderful aroma when handled. I snipped some lavender for my homemade Herbes de Provence blend.
I also had thyme. I snipped some fresh thyme to add to my blend.
I did not have any savory. In fact, I didn’t even know what savory tasted like, so I snipped some rosemary. . .
. . .and some tarragon, and some sage, then headed in with my own bouquet of Herbes de Provence. Later searches showed that savory can be substituted with thyme and sage. You might find this herb substitution chart helpful.
I added some dried fennel and a little more dried rosemary, as I was hesitant to snip my very tender rosemary plant too severely. PW’s recipe also called for the HERB-ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN to be served with warmed preserves. I had some peach preserves in my pantry that I warmed with the suggested tablespoon of vinegar.
The pork was ready and looking lovely. The root vegetables were sliced and diced and ready to roast. The preserves were warmed and ready to re-heat and pour over the top of the melt-in-your-mouth pork “loin”, but I was running really late.
I also looked like a frumpy house-wife, so I dashed around yelling at the kiddos to get in the car with all their gear, rummaging through the laundry pile for a clean shirt and jeans, locating a baseball hat under which to hide my hair, and adding some deodorant and a splash of perfume. At least that was the plan. I remembered to put the deodorant on under my shirt on the first side, but in my rush, I put deodorant directly on my shirt on the second side. Great. Now I had a big gel smear on my shirt!! “Maybe I can just keep my arm tucked close to my side and no one will notice,” I thought as I raced out the door into the car.
We arrived at the soccer fields only to be the only ones from the team in the parking lot. What happened?
“OH NO!” I realized, “Practice doesn’t start for another half hour!”
“Oh well,” I thought. “That is how my life at My Whit’s End is. I waste time worrying, then try to make up time by rushing, only to look frumpled and unkept, and arrive too early.”
Sigh. “When will I ever get it together?”
“Will all the food survive an extra 30 – 40 minutes of cooking?”
What should I do with the extra half hour? Why dash off to the library next door and try to find some summer reading titles, and then arrive back at soccer practice 10 minutes late, of course.
Here is a site that has a suggested kid’s reading list. I haven’t read all the titles on the list, but know enough of the titles and author to feel confident recommending this list. The list is for chapter books. “Honey for a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt is also an excellent book AND book list. The author and I share similar views on books and reading, and I greatly enjoy and benefit from her book list for children. I just discovered that Gladys Hunt has a blog . It seems to focus on books, grammar, and words.
Soccer practice has ended, so let’s head back home to see how the HERB-ROASTED PORK TENDER LOIN fared with 40 extra minutes of cooking.
They look rather. . . .crunchy. And the ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES look rather. . .crunchy.
The “crunch” was about 1/2 inch thick all the way around the pork roast. The meat inside was very dry.
I have one more step to complete this meal by Ree Drummond–CORNMEAL CAKES.
I had grits left over from breakfast that I thought I could just pat flat and then cut with a biscuit cutter. But grits don’t “pat flat”, they crumble apart. The oil was hot, so I fried up some CORNMEAL CAKES anyway. I finally was able to cut a few triangles that kept their shape.
Now to assemble the plate.
COMMENTS: There is no dodging this one. I failed. This recipe is a repeat. The ROASTED VEGETABLES were good despite being rather dried out. Celery root was interesting and a likeable flavor, so I might look into some celery root recipes. Then again, I might not. It tastes so similar to celery, that I don’t think I would miss life without celery root. Roasted root vegetables are always delicious and you can add in squashes and sweet potatoes and onions. . . The HERB ROASTED PORK had a beautiful start. Unfortunately, that is the only good thing I can say about my cooking of this pork loin. The CORNMEAL CAKES could be fun to repeat. I think I might even try using left over grits again, only this time pouring the warm grits into a shallow pan and letting them cool and harden into a layer. Rolling and patting left over grits only causes them to crumble. That’s my assessment
Your failing friend,
Your funny, failing, friend,
P.S. Lesson. Don’t start your day with a waste-of-time worry session. You might end it with a waste-of-food supper.
P.S.S. Enjoy your Fourth of July. I am at my parent’s on the farm which means I will be surrounded by fabulous cooks!