Fun and Snow Games & Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms

It’s been a crazy winter. A winter when up is down and down is up. El Niño has brought snow to the south with flakes flying from the nation’s capital to Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. And in New England, where we expect snow, we’ve had drought followed by rain followed by drought. On top of the dearth of snow, the winter winds have been fiercer than ever. Of course, it could be my imagination but it seems to me that we’ve suffered more than our fair share of windy days. I swear I’ve come this close to being blown off course more times than I care to count. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid lift-off and an inadvertent trip to Kansas or Oz.

Way out to the west, California is drowning in rain. And up to the north in British Columbia, it may be February but Vancouver and the neighboring mountains are in the middle of a spring thaw. Not great news for the Olympics. In spite of the rain, fog and grey skies the Olympic spirit is soaring over the Canadian Rockies.

Maybe it is because I grew up on skates and skis but the winter games are always a special treat. When we were kids we spent all day Saturday on the slopes. When we were too tuckered to take even one more run, we headed home to watch the professionals. With a mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of popcorn, we sprawled in front of the television and watched the joys of victory and the agonies of defeat. It was a weekly ritual.

Now I either need to subscribe to a whole lot more channels or I need to do a better job at ferreting out the skiers, bobsledders and speed skating on the channels I have. Except during the Olympics. Once every four years I can get my fill of winter sports. I can tune into the artistry of the figure skaters one night and the terrifying speed of the bob and luge the next. The ski jumpers, downhill skiers and the speed skaters are amazing with their power and control at high speeds. And then there is the pure joy and whimsy of the snowboarders.

Yes, I know they are serious athletes. Yes, I know that they train hard throughout the year and have been at it for most of their lives. I even know that there is big money involved with sponsorships and endorsement contracts. But in spite of all that, there is something about the spirit of snowboarding that reminds me of being a kid on the mountain.

It doesn’t take all that much imagination to picture your favorite snowboarders at nine or ten. They were the kids with hats askew over unruly curls, unzipped jackets flapping in the breeze and arms flailing. And most of all, theirs were the smiles so big and broad they could light up the greyest day. Or maybe I’m just remembering my own fun-filled childhood on the slopes.

I’m a skier and always have been. Even though I’ve never tried snowboarding, I was pretty raggle-taggle as a kid and maybe I still am. But there’s at least one thing I knew then and still know; there’s nothing like fresh snow on the mountain to bring out a smile and inspire joy.

Enjoy the Olympics. May it be filled with lots of joyful victories and not too many agonizing defeats. Bon appétit!

 Pork with Mushrooms and White Wine Sauce

Bring friends and family together for an Olympics party. Pork tenderloin with mushrooms and white wine sauce is a sure winner; quick, easy and delicious. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1-2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons Cognac (optional)

Heat a little olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan and reserve.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add a little more olive oil to the skillet and raise the heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes or until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 140-145 degrees. Remove the pork from the pan and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Transfer the skillet to the stovetop – be careful the handle will be hot. Add the wine to the skillet and deglaze the pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the mustard and herbs. Return the mushrooms to the skillet, toss to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the cognac and butter. Whisk to combine.

Cut the pork into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately with the mushroom sauce.

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One Year Ago – Raviolis in Broth with Meatballs & Escarole

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Feel free to visit my other, cleverly named blog, Susan Nye’s Other Blog, or website at www.susannye.com. You can find more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010

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