The Living’s Easy

The weather this past weekend was spectacular with a capital S. Friday was coolish but I left my jacket in the car as we made our rounds. We ate lunch outside at our favorite vegetarian haunt on Saturday. I actually had to move chairs as the warmth from the sunshine became too much on my back neck. Casualty of war having short hair I suppose. After our veggie burgers and salads decorated with Bosky Acres goat cheese, raw cashews and zucchini noodles, we moved around the corner to another prized spot and opened up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a tall boy of Miller Light. Both were enjoyed on picnic tables as Tribe Called Quest echoed in the background.

On Sunday, we tackled the weekly cleaning and opened all the windows and doors. The fresh air was absolutely splendid. Later in the afternoon, I kept Matthew company on the back deck while he grilled. Following, we set up our patio table for an al fresco lunch. It was simply marvelous. Matthew brought out the disposable plates and cutlery. Keep it classy San Diego. We both had on shorts and t-shirts; end of story. Later in the day, the weather was so inviting we went for a long walk. We and everyone with a dog on a leash in a four mile radius was out and about. Gallivanting in the sunshine at its best. Weather like this is reminiscent of Spring, which is very famous in our southern city. Rumor has it we might be seeing more snow this week but who can think about that?

For our Sunday lunch, we had another piece of pork tenderloin to tackle. It was actually the twin of that pulled from the wrapping on Thursday evening. As a nod to the stunning weather, I wanted something light and fresh. I mixed the zest of an orange with fresh rosemary and dried fennel. To this I added a dab of olive oil and made a paste, which I slathered over the meat. Into a bag it went with another couple of sprigs of rosemary. We let it sit in the fridge for a good four hours before bringing it out to convene with the grill. No surprise here, I found a recipe on Food52 calling for carrots, which one steams and then roasts. Same dish, same oven.

I deviated from the recipe slightly and mixed four spices, cut the amount of olive oil by three and again, used my hands to decorate two pounds of bright orange vegetables. This is a super easy dish; you don’t even need to remove the carrots heads. I then tucked them into a Pyrex dish along with ¼ cup of water and tightly covered the spectacle with aluminum foil. After due time, I removed the aluminum foil and let them continue cooking. When done, they were soft on the interior and roasted on the exterior. Hot to our hands we literally pulled them from the tray to our mouths. To finish off the meal, I mixed Greek yoghurt with thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and Harissa paste. They were intended for the carrots but complimented the meat beautifully. I love a good dollop of anything on my plate.

We dished up, uncorked the wine, pulled our chairs into the sun and enjoyed the grub. What more can be said? It is February in Charlotte. Summer time, the living’s easy.

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Zest, Rosemary, Fennel Seeds
2 lb organic pork tenderloin
Zest of 1 orange
2 TBS fresh rosemary – dried will work too
1 TBS fennel seeds
1 TBS olive oil

1. Mix everything in a bowl, slather on the pork, wrap or place in a Ziploc bag, put in the fridge to relax and max for a finite period of time and then grill.

Steam Roasted Carrots
Adapted from Food52 
Recipe from Kenzi Wilbur

2 lbs of organic carrots
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
4 cloves garlic - chopped
1 TBS olive oil
¼ cup of water

1. Throw your carrots into a large dish for baking. Mix the dried spices with the olive oil to create a paste. Spoon it along with the garlic over the carrots and then roll up your sleeves. You are going to rub the paste all over the carrots. Your hands should be a lovely dark crimson once all is set and done.

2. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan. Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast at 400 for 25 minutes. Once the clock strikes 25 remove the foil and put it back in the oven to roast for another 30 minutes. You’re done.

Harissa Yoghurt
Adapted from Bon Appetit 
Recipe from Bobby Flay

½ cup of Greek yoghurt
1 TBS Harissa paste
1 TBS thyme – fresh or dried
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. In a small bowl, mix the Greek yoghurt with the thyme, lemon juice and zest. Now add the harissa paste and gently stir until you see a swirl. 

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