May 12, 2015

Let us have a moment of thanks for the first caprese of the year.

Let us have a moment of thanks for the first caprese of the year.

As promised, the Amish farmer had tomatoes Saturday morning. Lovely, big, bright red tomatoes — that taste like tomatoes!

So of course, this weekend it was time for the first caprese of the season. I stopped off by Kroger and got mozzarella, and snipped some basil from my front yard herb garden.

It was as good as it looked. Judging from the taste of this first tomato, it’s going to be a good tomato year. Last year wasn’t, particularly. The year before was exceptional. Don’t know if it has to do with weather, or what. But this was a sweet, ripe, flavor-bursting-all-over-your-tongue tomato, an ideal tomato to have for your first “real” tomato of the season.

I had another slice of it yesterday with some bacon and mayo (didn’t bother with bread), and I’ll finish the first one off today or tonight. Then I’m on to the second one.

The sous vide circulator. It's a wonderful thing.

The sous vide circulator. It’s a wonderful thing.

Saturday night’s dinner was all market stuff — a pork tenderloin, cooked in th e sous vide bath at 125 degrees for three hours, then cooled, and roasted at 425 for about 15 minutes in a honey-chipotle glaze. I probably should’ve upped the heat and cut the time just a tad; it may have been a touch overdone. Tenderloin is SO easy to dry out. This one came from the pork vendor at the market, same one who has the breakfast sausage. And with that, I had some roasted sweet potato wedges with smoked paprika and brown sugar.

Confession. This pork. I have to say I’m not as crazy about free-range farm pork as I am about beef. Whereas with beef, you get much more flavor and a much better texture with the farm-raised variety, I don’t find the same results in pork. For one thing, you can’t take thick loin chops and just grill them to barely done; they’re tough enough they want that additional simmering or sous vide cooking to tenderize the more-used muscle fibers. And the taste is just…different. This tenderloin actually tasted more like beef than like pork. And I don’t want my pork tenderloin to taste like beef.

(As an aside, I’ve had issues with farm-raised pork shoulder roasts, too; they don’t cook up good and moist to the pull stage the way a packing-house shoulder or butt will.)

I’ll go with farm sausage any day; there’s no comparison in the taste between commercially produced sausage and that made on the farm by someone who knows what he’s doing. But roasts and chops? Ummm, I’ll go to a good quality meat market, and take my chances with antibiotics and hormones.

Anyway. To cook this tenderloin — which was not a bad piece of meat at all — I used a seasoning blend and some black pepper, sealed it in a vacuum bag, and sous vided it at 125 degrees for 3 hours. Then I brushed it down with honey chipotle butter — some of the last of the stash I brought from Hot Springs, and I’m going to have to try to recreate that here before too long as I can’t source any more of it, and it’s wonderful stuff — and roasted it at 425 for about 15 minutes. I let it cool, sliced it, and then brushed the remaining glaze over the slices.  Yum.

The sweet potatoes were just peeled, cut in wedges, tossed in olive oil, and dusted with salt, smoked paprika and brown sugar, and then roasted, also at 425, until they were tender all the way through when tested with a knife.

Tonight I think the rest of that tenderloin is going to get chopped up and warmed in some sort of sauce, and served inside some arepas, because I’m in arepa mode. We’ll have that with some asparagus and another caprese. I could fix green beans and new potatoes, but that’d be overkill, I think.

There was no cooking on Sunday since it was Mothers Day and the kids cooked out, nor yesterday because I had my head buried in work all day, so today will be catch-up day in the kitchen. I have strawberries-and-cream bread on my mind. Doesn’t that sound marvelous? New recipe I’m itching to try. I’ll let you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em know.



2 Responses to “Ahhhhh….tomatoes”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    It makes me feel good that you are so enjoying the ANOVA. 🙂

  2. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    I am indeed, and thank you for it every time I use it.

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