Photo Finish: Pork Tenderloin!



The massive king bed nearly disappears beneath the volumes upon volumes of books and newspapers. The curtains are drawn and the light is so dim that a lone figure laying on the only open space on the bed is barely visible. He faintly resembles Mr. R. under the scruffy beard, only this man seems more portly and full than the fit, handsome actor.

The door to the bedroom creaks open, letting in a blinding stream of light. The man shifts to one side and turns the page of the book he is reading. The deep, baritone voice confirms his identity.

MR. R.

Thanks, Flora.

The woman puts the tray down on top of the books and he hungrily takes a look. A healthy green salad, some red potatoes dressed in rosemary and olive oil, and just pink slices of tender pork dabbed with a creamy mustard sauce. His mouth waters and he reaches for the fork tucked under the plate.

But he freezes before taking a bite. Poking out from under the linen napkin is a picture of Miss A.’s smiling face. Mr. R. slides the dinner items aside to reveal the full cover of the tabloid magazine currently sold on every grocery store shelf across the country.

He inhales deeply at the incriminating photo of the exuberant actress linked tightly to his own arm. The slow exhale is an extended effort to release wrath before speaking again.

MR. R.

Tell Caryn I don’t think this is humorous.


Why don’t you tell her yourself?

Mr. R. guility looks up just in time to see his chef offer him a wicked smirk before slamming the door behind her.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce

This is another of my mother’s recipes that my sister and I love. Pork tenderloin is one of the simplest dishes to make, and yet it turns out a very elegant, tender meat. If there are leftovers the next day, the pork slices nicely for sandwiches or to top a salad. The mustard sauce grows more intense the longer it sits.

2 pork tenderloins (about 1-1/4 lb each)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup bourbon or tequila

2 TB. brown sugar


1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 TB. chopped scallions

1 TB. dry mustard

1-1/2 TB. vinegar

1. Combine soy, bourbon (or tequila) and sugar. Mix well. Marinate pork in mixture for 2-3 hours, basting occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Remove pork from marinade and bake for 1 hour, basting occasionally with reserve marinade. When internal temperature of 150 degrees is reached, remove from oven and set aside for five minutes (temperature will continue to climb slightly).

4. Combine all sauce ingredients and mix well.

5. Carve pork into thin, diagonal slices and serve with sauce.

Serves 4-6.


Curve Ball: Risotto Cakes!



Caryn stumbles into the kitchen, trying to carry way too many grocery bags in at once. She unloads the bags in the middle of the floor and takes a breath.

Flora is sitting at the table. The baseball game plays from the television in the corner.


I’ve been trying your cell phone for an hour!

Caryn grabs the phone from her back pocket and flips it open. Dead.


Sorry, Flora.

Flora starts to pick up the bags.


Oh, it’s just that he wanted those rice balls again.

Caryn bends down to hear her.


Rice balls? You mean the risotto cakes?

Flora nods.


Yes, those cakes. With artichokes.


But I don’t have any more artichokes. And I was just at the store!

Flora smiles apologetically. Caryn tosses the phone on the counter and heads back out.


Stupid cell phone.


Caryn scampers around the corner armed with the artichokes to discover that the only open checkout lane has a long line of HOLLYWOOD MISFITS. Their carts are filled as if expecting a blizzard.

Caryn gets in line. She smiles hopefully at the PINK-HAIRED MAN ahead of her and nods toward her two artichokes. He turns away as if he never saw her.

She sighs loudly, but no one in line hears. She picks up a copy of Cooking Light and flips impatiently through it. No interest in reading, she goes to replace it when she GASPS so dramatically that the whole line turns around to see if she’s okay.

Caryn doesn’t notice the attention of the crowd. She slowly lifts a large, glossy tabloid off the rack.


Oh nooooo.

Sprawled across the cover is a huge photograph of Mr. R. and Miss A., arm in arm, laughing. In bright yellow letters, the headline reads: “Secretly Married?”. Caryn holds the magazine loosely in her hands, afraid to turn the page.


Are you getting out of line, lady?

Caryn dazedly looks up to see the line moving ahead. The TEENAGE GIRL behind her taps her foot on the tile.


I’m missing the game here. Are you getting out of line or not?


Yeah. I am.

Artichoke-Leek Risotto Cakes

2 large artichokes

1 TB. lemon juice

2 large leeks

1 garlic clove

2 TB. olive oil

3/4 cup arborio or carnaroli rice

2-1/2 chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups panko, or crisp breadcrumbs

1. Hack out the heart of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Clean all the fuzzy parts off and dice into large chunks. Douse with lemon juice. Slice white and light green parts of the leeks into 1/2″ slices.

2. Pulse artichokes, leeks and garlic in food processor until finely chopped.

3. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan.

4. Heat oil over medium-high heat in large skillet or risotto pan. Add the artichoke, leeks and garlic and saute until tender. Stir in the rice and cook over medium heat until opaque, about 1 minute. Pour 1 cup of the hot broth into the rice, stirring constantly until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring the rice while it simmers. When all the stock has nearly been absorbed and the rice is thick, stir in parmesan until melted.

5. Remove risotto from heat and spread out in a tray to cool until room temperature (or refrigerate overnight). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet.

6. With wet hands, form risotto into compressed round balls about the size of a fist. Flatten slightly and dip each one into egg and then panko. Space cakes evenly on oiled cookie sheet.

7. Bake until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 10-12 cakes.


Eclectic Edibles: Blogging By Mail 2!



Crumpled newspaper spills from an open box on the floor. Punky dives in and out of the box, sending the newspaper flying.

Caryn lays comatose on the couch with the television remote in her hand. Matt appears outside the screen door, shirttail deliberately untucked in his stylishly rebellious way.


What happened in here?

He steps through the door and into the mess.


Oo! Biscotti!

He helps himself to the crunchy cookie dotted with almonds and sorts through the rest of the loot sprawled across the coffee table: rich brownies, chewy ginger candy, green tomato chutney, exotic spices.


Where’d you get all this stuff?

Caryn finally shows signs of life.


Blogging By Mail.

Matt coughs on the crumbs still in his throat.


You got this from someone you don’t even know?


I know her. I read her blog.

Matt peers carefully at the biscotti in his hand.


Do you still have a blog?

Caryn sits up and takes another brownie.


Tread lightly, my friend. Or I won’t share the Mallomars.


Mallomars? She sent you Mallomars?

She pulls out the box from under a blanket and hands it to him.


There’s only a few left.


You ate the whole box?

Caryn nods and grimaces.


Yeah, and now I don’t feel so good.

Matt bites into the marshmallowy goodness of the rare California Mallomar.


Then I don’t suppose you’re up for dinner and a movie.


Mmmmm…maybe just the movie.

She stands up, dumping crumbs and wrappers on the floor. Matt looks her up and down.


You should clean up. It may be dark outside, but I can’t be seen with you like that.

Caryn begins stuffing the edibles into a bright blue tote bag. Punky scowls at the face of the dog printed on the side.


Seriously, don’t you want to change or something?

She snatches the Mallomars out of his hand, shoves them in the bag and straps the bag over her shoulder.


Let’s go.

Blogging By Mail is like having a penpal who cooks! I received my package last Friday from Samantha at The Samantha Files. I was so excited to sample all the treats that I promptly gave myself a tummy ache. The bounty included:

-A sampling of Penzey‘s French style peppercorns and Indonesian cinnamon

-Homemade almond-hazelnut biscotti and pecan brownies

-A bag of Ginger Chews

-a grinder of a spice mix called Solar Power (not pictured)

-a colorful totebag from Fishs Eddy (not pictured)

-Homemade organic green tomato chutney (not pictured)

-a box of the very-difficult-to-find-on-the-West-Coast Mallomars (not pictured, not for sharing).

Thanks Samantha for brightening my day with such a versatile and delicious mix of goodies!!

If you want to participate in the next Blogging By Mail event, read about how to participate at My Little Kitchen.