AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books

back to normal blogging: food & shoes & unrelated pictures

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I had a fine, mostly relaxing, albeit too short weekend. I capped it with a delicious dinner that I was so pleased with, I have to share it with you.

I started with a small pork tenderloin (about enough for two people with no leftovers) and marinated it for about 5 hours in:

1 cup white wine
3 tblsp. Dijon mustard
5 garlic cloves, minced
fresh Basil, chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º. Place meat in small roasting pan, with the remainder of the marinade poured over it.  Cook 45 mins, turning once, until internal temp is 140º.

Then we had a leek gratin.  I was a little leery of this, but it was incredibly delicious

3 leeks, trimmed, split lengthwise, and well rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tblsp. unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half & half because it’s all I had)
6 Tblsp. grated cheese (I used Edam, the original recipe called for Gruyere, but depending on what you’re going for, most any mild cheese would work)

Preheat oven to 350º. Arrange the leeks cut side up in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, dot with butter, and gently pour the cream over the top. Sprinkle with the cheese, cover with a lid or foil and bake for 35 minutes. Carefully uncover and bake 5 – 10 minutes more until the top is golden brown and the leeks are tender.

Even better than they cook for same amount of time at the same temp!

We had it with crusty whole grain bread and white wine.  I used too much butter (I never referred back to the recipe after I first saw it) to no ill effect, but I’ll probably try and do it right next time.  I also would cut the leeks into about 3″ pieces after splitting them, to make it easier to serve (although having a knife that’s actually sharp in my house would have gone a long way toward helping that).

I have been looking for a menswear styled woman’s oxford for close to two years now.  18 months ago I could find one pair and those weren’t real leather.  Now they seem to be the ubiquitous shoe for fall.  Although, as ever with something like this, I know exactly what I want and my need for detail often means the thing I want doesn’t exist.  But sometimes, as I did on Friday, I stumble on the exact thing I’d been hoping to find.  This time the bar was even raised: they come in purple.   Alas, I’m going to be saving my pennies for a while.  And I’ll probably get the grey ones for practicality’s sake.  Still in the interim, while the weather is still warm here, I will fantasize about fall outfits, with sweaters and the perfect oxfords.  In purple.

Today’s picture brought to you by my desire to have eaten such a lovely dinner in Catalan France, while wearing a vintage patterned shirtdress and purple oxfords.  Someday I’ll have a castle too.

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