From Russia with Love

We all see things and experience them differently. I heard this somewhere recently and it struck me as tremendously profound. It is indeed true. When my family took the Baltic last July, after a day's adventure it was remarkable to recap and hear what everyone took away from the day. This especially rang true for St. Petersburg, Russia, where we spent three jam packed days. By jam packed I mean manic. We squeezed a lot into these 72 hours. St. Petersburg was once known as the Venice of the North a cause of its many canals. Once through customs and back on the ship, over drinks each evening we discussed our favorite parts of the day. The Hermitage, too many palaces to count including the incredibly opulent Winter Palace, Peterhof Palace and Catherine Palace and the very room where Rasputin was shot. Also included was Saint Isaac's Cathedral (pictured above), Church of the Savior on Blood and the Russian Museum. It was very interesting to hear Matthew's account of what he witnessed that day considering I was by his side for most of it. No shocker here but we voiced two entirely different experiences. From the interesting art to gold leaf ceilings to sights in the streets even down to a demonstration taking place that he watched from a window. Where was I? Probably eating the pickles we bought from a happening food vendor. No doubt I was also fanning myself (heat wave in Europe), admiring the women's clothes, listening to Russian being spoken and click, click, clicking with my SmartPhone and camera. I took over 1,600 on that trip. Yikes, filter please. One thing that we both did agree on however was our lunch that day. We enjoyed borscht, a dish traditional to the region. It is a hearty beef broth made with beets garnished with cream and fresh chopped dill.

Camera police aside, we are all guilty of traveling and insisting on capturing every single moment with our cameras. I am the very worst in this regard. My mother always tells me to keep my eyes open and enjoy. Put the bloody camera away. Do I listen? Sadly not usually. When in Hilton Head this past week I almost flipped my bike trying to take a picture of a pond with me in the forefront. I am not saying stop grabbing these moments but am a proponent of putting down the camera just for a moment and taking in scenes, smells and sounds with your very own eyes, noses and ears. I am preaching to my own choir here but work in progress. There is no reason you cannot get off the bike, stop the car or pause to capture something magnificent after you truly see it for what it is the first go around. In fact, I read that cameras are now available that click, click, click for you so that you can enjoy everything firsthand and then see what was captured later. Brilliant how our wonderful world is adapting to our needs.

Aside from almost falling victim to an alligator pond to capture a selfie, the Breyer's have been vacationing in Hilton Head every June for the past 33 years. My sister was married there two Mays ago. Once upon a time it was four of us and then we were five - I am talking about you Keith! In short, Hilton Head Island is a special place for my family. It was hot as blazes last week. Never in all this time (nearly my entire life) has it been this steamy. The ocean was like bath temperature and shark attacks aside, everyone was swimming in an effort to seek some reprieve from the heat's grip. Unlike years past, my siblings were not there so it was just the parents and moi. We had a grand time indeed. Every morning started with tea and breakfast together followed by a 5 to 6 mile walk along the beach. After getting our schwitz on we set up camp on the beach. 

My Dad managed to find a UV protected umbrella for my mother who despite growing up in Africa is no longer a fan of the sun. Or rather perhaps I should say that the sun is no longer a fan of her. I sat under said umbrella with her for many of the days as it lent a nice break from the rays. Around noon time, we all dove into my Dad's famous sandwiches. I don't know the method to his madness but he makes a mean, filling sandwich brimming with goodies. They are usually a concoction of meat leftover from the night before, oven roasted turkey or French ham, Swiss cheese, greens, mayonnaise and fig jam. All these lovely goodies are then stuffed into toasted rosemary bread. Bonjour. We were also armed with big bags of ripe cherries. We napped, swam, read some outstanding books (Luckiest Girl Alive and All the Light We Cannot See). I also packed a book about cooking chemistry and the origins of wine as I need to nourish my learning curve in both arenas. Circa 5 pm we headed home, showered up, went on bike rides to different spots and watering holes for cocktails as well as live music and returned home to cook, grill, enjoy wine and the women's soccer. Go team USA. Side note, I got a nasty burn one day. Don't ask me how as I am very cognizant of my skin at 35 but I returned home closely resembling a pomegranate.

Each and every night we grilled. Lamb shoulder (recipe coming this week), sirloin burgers, Indian chicken marinaded in yoghurt and cumin and of course, pork. Pork is where it's at these days folks. Economical, easy to bathe and a breeze to grill. Pick up an organic tenderloin or two, marinade them for a handful of hours or even better, overnight and throw your slab(s) on the grill. The below is terrific for the grill - never mind I do not envy he or she who is manning it in this heat. They pair marvelously with just about any and everything. Leftovers are the jam because pork tastes marvelous chilled. Wherever you are this summer, I hope your time is halcyon and that you are managing to Bleib cool.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard based Marinade


1 tenderloin - I usually go for a 2 lb piece as Matthew likes leftovers
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 TBS dijon mustard
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS maple syrup
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
Kosher salt

Get Cracking

Mix all your goodies in a bowl and slab on the pork. Wrap the pork with cellophane and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or over night. Prepare on the grill with ye Midas touch. 

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