|Pork Medallions with Capers|
Meakin’s Dad Jim
Jim was a tremendous influence on the way I cook. In the early seventies he was the one who first introduced me to the different varieties of lettuces available at the markets, such as romaine, spinach and varieties of baby lettuces. It was Jim who taught me how to make a French vinaigrette, now a staple in my kitchen. An avid cook himself, Jim dreamed of his own cookbook and during the fifties and sixties wrote down many of his favorite recipes in pencil on lined paper and stored them in a 3 ring binder. In 2002 I took those faded copies and typed them into a Word document and, along with Meakin and his two brothers, we were able to have Jim’s cookbook “published” for the family. Needless to say he and all of us were thrilled.
I would like to share one of Jim’s recipes that he created after his cookbook was finished. He put together this very flavorful dish for us one day when we were visiting. In honor of Father’s Day, may I present my father-in-law Jim Hoffer’s pork medallions with capers.
|Jim's Pork Medallions with Capers|
Jim Hoffer – serves 4, 3 slices each
16 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 12 slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (or more to taste) chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup apple juice, preferably organic
½ cup water
1 tablespoon drained small capers
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Slice pork tenderloin into 12 medallions and between pieces of wax paper, pound flat. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick 12” skillet and brown the pork slices, taking care not to crowd the pan (may have to do in batches), turning once, until almost cooked. Remove the pork slices to an ovenproof dish.
Add chopped garlic to the hot oil in the skillet, sauté for a minute, then add the flour and stir to make a roux, then add apple juice and water and stir until incorporated. Pour the sauce over the pork slices and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove slices to a serving dish and sprinkle with drained capers. Taste the sauce for seasonings, correct as necessary, then spoon over pork and serve right away. Easily doubled or tripled. French Potato Salad, recipe here, makes a nice accompaniment.
|Craig Claiborne's Shrimp & Grits|
One of the most popular posts on My Carolina Kitchen is Craig Claiborne’s Low Country Shrimp and Grits, link here to the post and recipe. Early on in our marriage Jim gave me a copy of Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook, complete with notes above his favorite recipes. The New York Times Cookbook sold over three million copies and was eventually translated into seventeen languages.
“Craig Claiborne was the founding father of the American food revolution. From his first day in 1957 as the food editor of the New York Times, Craig Claiborne was going to take his readers where they had never been before. Claiborne extolled the pleasures of exotic cuisines from all around the world, and with his inspiration, restaurants of every ethnicity blossomed.
So many things we take for granted now were introduced to us by Craig Claiborne— the Cuisinart, chef’s knives, crème fraîche, arugula, balsamic vinegar, even the salad spinner. He would give Julia Child her first major book review. He brought Paul Bocuse, Paul Prudhomme, and Jacques Pépin to national acclaim. He turned home cooks such as Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, & Diana Kennedy into stars.” - from Amazon.
To read more about Craig Claiborne and his influence on the way we eat, I highly recommended a fascinating book apply named about his life – The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and The American Food Renaissance, available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.
|Morrison Wood's Chicken Marengo|
My first cookbook was With a Jug of Wine by Morrison Wood, one of Jim & Meakin’s favorite cookbooks. Born in Chicago, Morrison Wood was the author of “For Men Only!” a syndicated column for the Chicago Tribune. I’m on my fourth copy of the cookbook and I still go to it often. Many of his recipes are of French origin. In my opinion Morrison Wood was one of the best at writing an introduction to a recipe and an inspiration for today’s writers. Like Ina Garten, his recipes always worked. One of my all time favorites in Jug of Wine is Chicken Marengo pictured above, the famous French dish invented by Napoleon’s battlefield chef to celebrate Napoleon’s success in northwest Italy in 1800. You may remember this dish – link to post and recipe here. Chicken Marengo is one of the most popular dishes on the blog.
|Morrison Wood's Chicken Country Captain|
My husband Meakin
I’ve obviously saved the best influence for last – my husband Meakin. He is the one that inspired my love of cooking in the early days of our relationship. He and the cookbooks I read, including Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, taught me how to cook. Our philosophy has always been that “we do everything together.” My Carolina Kitchen will celebrate its sixth anniversary this fall and I don’t know what I would do without him. We share responsibilities in the kitchen and work together as a team. I have always found food prep relaxing, so it is I who does the most of that. Because of my persistent back pain in recent years, Meakin steps in and does a great deal of the actual cooking when I can no longer stand or I get tired. I choose the recipes, style the plates with Meakin’s sharp eyes closely watching, and then he painstakingly photographs each dish. Afterwards when I’ve finished writing the posts, I depend on him for the final critique before it goes live. Without Meakin’s help there would be no My Carolina Kitchen.