Saturday, March 21, 2015

It's-Almost-Spring Visit

After a long, gray Ohio winter, Piper and I were ready for a little Merry Mount visit, even though the weather was a bit chilly and the land a bit muddy. We didn't care! It was great to be back at the farm!
 All I had to do was don some super-hefty farm boots.

And head out to the barn with Rett. Why hello girls!

A little exercise.

Showing off their climbing skills.
And a kiss from "mom"!
I was lucky enough to get the chance to gather some still-warm eggs from the hen-ladies. Breakfast tomorrow, of course!
We are all ready for spring. . . and Rett is busy planning the expansion (serious expansion) of her rose garden. She showed me a catalog that she'd ordered some rose bushes from --  this one, and that one, and oh yeah this one too. I think she happily ordered at least 10 new rose plants -- beautiful colors and names like Sunset and Moondance and Summer Nights. Can't wait to see the results!

That evening, while Ella enjoyed her dinner, we made a pretty fabulous meal too -- blackberry pork tenderloin, roasted asparagus and brown rice. Enjoy!
Blackberry Pork Tenderloin
2 lb pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
¼ cup salt
3 cups warm water
2 T apple cider vinegar
dash red pepper flakes
2 T brown sugar
1 cup ice cubes

1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper

½ cup blackberry preserves
¼ cup soy sauce
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t grated ginger
dash red pepper flakes
2 T apple cider vinegar


In a gallon size freezer bag, place brine ingredients and pork. Brine for exactly 20 min, remove and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 425. Meanwhile, prepare blackberry glaze. Melt butter in small saucepan; add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in blackberry preserves, soy sauce, vinegar and pepper. Let bubble for a minute or two.

Rub pork w/ olive oil and salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T of olive oil in skillet; add pork and sear each side until browned, about 1-2 min per side. Place pork on baking sheet (covered with nonstick foil).

Divide glaze in half. With one part, brush pork with glaze and roast for 15 min. Brush with glaze again and roast for another 15-25 min or until it registers around 150 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 min.

Warm the reserved sauce. Slice pork, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with scallions. 

Goodbye til next time, Merry Mount!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Farewell to Jackie

Here's my little tribute to Jackpot, truly a one-in-a-million doggie. Jackie will be missed by all. . . but we trust he is frolicking in dog-heaven with his pals Sweetie and Rio.


I usually add a recipe at the end of the MFBAF posts so I was trying to find one that Jackpot might like. Well, he would like anything, really. I decided the family he left behind might want some comfort food today, so here's a warm and cozy soup recipe that might help:

Roasted Tomato Soup
Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 shallot, quartered
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a mixing bowl, combine the drained whole tomatoes, olive oil, light brown sugar, carrots and shallot, and toss to coat. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until foaming. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the red wine and bay leaf. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the alcohol has cooked off, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf

Add the heavy cream and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until uniform in texture. Add more chicken stock to adjust the consistency to how you like it.