Friday, June 6, 2008

10 Years Ago

Ten years ago I went on a first date with a guy I had been corresponding with on I didn't know how it was going to turn out. He was a bit older than what I was looking for, but I couldn't resist his emails. When I first laid eyes on him, I couldn't believe how cute he was. He definitely didn't look his age. We had dinner at Chef Antonio and then headed to Rye Playland to play minature golf and stroll along the boardwalk. Was it the beginning of something beautiful? Well, once the first date was over, I'd say it was a total mess for quite some time. It was the kind of relationship I wasn't sure why I was in for those first few weird months. Nonetheless, three years and four months after our first date, I married him. I'm glad I stuck it out those first few months because the ensuing years have been wonderful.

It's sometimes hard for Kevin to get home at a reasonable hour to go out on weeknights, so it's nights like this I make what I call a "compromise dinner". I make the kinds of things we might order when we go out, which are the things that only one of us likes. I'll make myself some meat and I'll make him some kind of seafood. (You know it's love because he's the only guy I have ever made seafood for.)

I have been in a crazy mood for pork lately. I don't know why it is, but I'm constantly craving pork. Something is making me want pork all of the time. I just had to have some pork for some reason. For me I opted for a pork tenderloin rubbed with jerk-ish type seasoning, seared and finished in the oven.
For Kevin I went with crab cakes. They're one of his favorites. Although I've winged it and come up with my own recipe before (I use mustard, mayo, and scallions for flavor and use Ritz crackers for filler), it's a little scary to wing it with seafood because I'll never taste the results. For this special occasion I opted for a recipe I found on Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy (whose lovely host get an unofficial award from me for "Sweetest Person in the Food Blogsphere").
Even though I don't like crab, I liked the flavor combination in these. Do you know why I liked the flavor so much in these?

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

The side dishes on these plates are cornmeal hoecakes and a tropical cole slaw with mango, avocado, and lime juice.

Dessert was dulce de leche ice cream layered with toasted almonds and bits of crushed biscotti. I splashed the whole thing with amaretto and topped it with fresh whipped cream.

Nothing like a wineglass to make an idiot-proof dessert look classy

I wish I could come up with even more rewards for him for putting up with me for the past 10 years. He deserves more than just dinner.

Spicy Jerk-ish Pork Recipe
1 Pork tenderloin
1 Tbp Allspice berries
1 Pinch cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbp brown sugar
A few grates nutmeg
1 habenero pepper*
1 Tbp olive oil

Toast allspice and cloves in a pan for a few minutes until they are very frgrant. It should smell like Christmas in your kitchen.

In a grinding/chopping/mashing method of your choice (I used the mini food processor attachment on my stick blender) blend allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, pepper, salt and olive oil into a paste. It should smell like Christmas in Hell in your kitchen.

Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and let sit for as long as you possibly can. Massage it in well. Pretend you're the Neeleys. Make dirty jokes.

Brown the tenderloin on all sides in a lightly greased pan. Get that rub to form a nice crust.

Put the pan in a 400 degree oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees.

*I know in jerk seasoning traditionally uses scotch bonnet peppers, but Whole Paycheck only had habeneros available. (Yes, I do mean Whole Paycheck. You would not believe the cost of this meal!)

Hoecake Recipe

2 Cups cornmeal
Enough cold water to make a paste
Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and vegetable oil to a pan and heat well. Form cornmeal paste into cakes. Brown on each side until crispy. Takes about 30 minutes.

Tropical Cole Slaw
12 oz Cole Slaw mix
1 diced mango
1 diced avocado
2 Tbp fresh cilantro
1 Chopped scallion
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbp olive oil
1/4 Cup lime juice

Combine olive oil and lime juice and set aside. Combine other ingredients and mix well. Pour lime juice dressing over salad and mix well again. Let sit so flavors combine.


Lo said...

Jerk is one of my favorite ways to prepare pork! And I'll confess to frequently subbing habanero peppers in my recipe. The difference is almost too subtle to catch in this context... so more power to you!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Oh my goodness! You, my dear, are the sweet one! I'm flattered that you made the crab cakes. I hope that Kevin liked them. He is lucky to have you!

Your "love story" is very sweet too. The Internet is a magical thing! I got a bit misty when I saw that you went to Rye Playland. I used to go there often as a child and it was one of my favorite places in the world! I was born in the Bronx and we lived in Westchester for several years too. Aah! The memories! :)

Emiline said...

Aw. I'm so glad you found each other.

The whole meal sounds really good. I' hungry for crabcakes now.
I love the dessert in the wine glasses! It does make it look more elegant, doesn't it?

Adam said...

Great job with the jerk pork. I love the combination it has between spicy and sweet. There's this one place in Brooklyn you should try out called 'Islands' if you're ever around for Jerk chicken.

Anyways awesome dinner... Kev is a lucky dude

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

lo - I think once you get to a certain number of scoville units, the pepper type starts counting. I don't think I could handle eating them side by side to notice the subtle difference in flavor.

SGCC - Playland is definitely a fun place to spend an afternoon or evening. It's totally cheezy, but I never have a bad time there. Hope you get to come back some time and visit!

Em - Presentation is everything, isn't it?

Adam - Thanks for the rec. I don't get to Brooklyn much these days. My father lived there for years, but moved to Manhattan a couple of years ago. If he were still in Brooklyn I'd be telling him to take me there when I visited. There is a dearth of good Carribean in Westchester.