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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce and Green Beans

I swear to God last night's dinner was like being transported back to the holiday season. Never mind the colors of the meal, but the flavors were rich, decadent and thanks to the port in the sauce, downright merry.

I got this recipe from Country Cook's Illustrated's 30 Minute Suppers section and in a true moment of laziness, instead of writing out the recipe here, I took a picture of the recipe card.

Now, CCI and I have butted heads in the past because there's no way to verify to them that you're already a paid member when browsing their recipes online; they want a credit card number for a two week trial membership, and that really pissed me off. But I will say that if you're in the market for a new food magazine subscription, then give these guys a shot. And not just Cook's Illustrated, but Country Cook's Illustrated, as the latter has those handy cards. Like so:

And yes, some cherry sauce got on the card during my haste to plate this dish up and snap a photo before I tore into it like a rabid dog. This recipe was beyond easy, and we all have seen that selfsame green bean recipe but if you want it OMG NOW, here:

Green beans: trim and parboil green beans til you can pierce them with a fork, then drain and place in ice water. Once cool, wrap them in a clean dish towel to dry.
When ready to cook green beans, put skillet over medium heat with a couple tsp - one tbsp butter. Once they're heated through, add half a minced shallot and about 1/4 cup finely snipped parsley. Toss to coat and cook a further couple of minutes to soften the shallots. Donezo!

Friday, March 14, 2014

First Kisses.

I know by know a vast lot of us have seen the video circulating Facebook newsfeeds and gracing the front page of Reddit and other websites, you know the one I'm talking about, the one where all those pretty strangers are paired up to share a first kiss even though they don't know one another. And how beautiful it is, to see strangers lose themselves in one another. Sure, it's actually a commercial for a fashion line, and sure, the strangers are all gorgeous actors, models or musicians, but the fact remains that they are indeed strangers.

The kisses range from shy to reckless abandon but all are beautiful. Some couple decided to gaze at each other first, others just dove right into it. It was beautiful and sexy and tugged at heartstrings to watch. Todd and I have been together nine years, yet I still remember our first kiss clear as day, and I remember a handful of other powerful kisses we'd shared during our first few months together.

But it seemed so girly to bring up to him, to be all "Hey babe? So these hot strangers on this video on Facebook kissed each other? And it got me thinking? About like, our first kiss and what that felt like nine years ago?" Still though, the video resonated with me, and it did not leave me all day. Finally that night, while ensconced in his arms as he twirled my hair and we watched TV on the sofa, I brought it up. He didn't roll his eyes or think me silly, but he did smile.

So I asked him if he'd like to kiss and pretend it was our first kiss ever. OH MY GOD JIL I JUST THREW UP YOU ARE SO SAPPY. Yeah, yeah. Todd grinned and was like, sure. And we briefly talked about the first kiss, where we were, what side of the booth we were sitting on, the identical cocktails we'd ordered just minutes before.

And then we kissed. And it was perfect, just like our first kiss, and then we both got lost.

It's not like I imagined myself transported back in time, because there's no way to erase so many years together, a marriage and a child, the world we'd created together, and also who would want to? No, it was just that we took the time to kiss each other properly, all focus and intent, just like sexy strangers would do in a fashion line commercial. The TV was gone, the dishes we had to do were gone, there was no dog lounging on the couch beside me, no chores to do the next day. It was just Todd and me, together, kissing each other for no other reason besides kissing.

And you know, it felt good for other reasons (get your mind out of the gutter) because part of me wondered if we were so far along in our relationship that those butterfly moments during a kiss were only in our past. Watching these lovely strangers open themselves up and fall into a kiss made me wonder about those precious beginnings to relationships where we are consumed with the now and with each other, and absolutely nothing else. You can't ever re-do a beginning, a lot of the magic and heady rush of it does get lost as we strip away the skin of a stranger and become someone far more interesting and intimate to the other.

But kissing Todd in my yoga pants and he in his stretched out long sleeved baseball t-shirt, my makeup washed off and his muscles tired from teaching kung fu, we got the butterflies back. No, wait. They'd actually not gone anywhere, they were just resting, and waiting for the moment when we'd call purposeful attention back to them. They are always there, ready to spring up and scatter just as soon as we devote some time to them, to us, to kissing.

I highly recommend you stop one day, look at the person who has been by your side all this time, and conjure up memories of that first kiss, that first taste of love you shared in your relationship. And you give him or her that first kiss all over again; not those kisses that are shared on the threshold before or after you come home from work, or before you go on an errand or drop your weary head on your pillow after a long day of wrangling the children. Kiss like that's all there is left to do in the world. Lose yourself.