The winter funk has set in as it usually does once the Christmas festivities and New Year excitement has worn off and I realize gardening and warm weather are still months away. A childhood friend, who is now a witty, fabulous writer, posted her views on the wintertime blues on her blog just when I was beginning to wonder if our ongoing cloudy weather would ever break. Homesickness for the sunny peninsula we both grew up sweltering upon has yet to rear its ugly head in my direction this year, but I was able, for the most part, to relate to Misty’s account of the cold weather doldrums she’s experiencing at the edge of the mountains in which I live with my family.
Simply wishing that, in the least, the moisture in the air would turn to snow rather than running ceaselessly through the gutter pipes so it would feel more like winter and less like the gloomy summer of last year, was bringing no results. It has now reached the point in which every morning I wake up and think that if I were looking at a movie screen rather than out my bedroom window, at any moment, the lurid faces of a herd of zombies will become visible as they move in a stiff legged march from the leafless treeline into the misty open. The haze doesn’t seem to dissipate but, like the torrential rains and alternating cold fronts, continues to roll in over the mountain tops to settle on my front porch.
When I perused the list of the few recipes I have posted over the past weeks, most of them as dull as a foggy, gray, winter morning, I realized that my creativity was being affected by the seasonal melancholy as well as my mood. Misty Barrere’s post, The Itch, had me digging through the pantry, throwing open shutters, and pining for a change of scenery all around. Jimmy Buffett’s book, Swine Not?: A Novel Pig Tail, which was given to my husband by a relative for Christmas, called to me from where it waited on the bedside table for me to finish the other nine or so books that I’m reading at the moment, but no, there was work to be done. Some spunk was required to deal with this funk and if it hadn’t been raining I would have taken my pork loin to the outdoor grill to create this dish.
In a further attempt to spice up my life and the blog a bit, I have allowed it to jump in line ahead of a list of not so interesting recipes that I haven’t gotten around to blogging. Forgive me my procrastination and, as always, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who take the time to read the ramblings I have been posting for the last year.
3 to 4 lb. pork loin, trimmed…or not
2 to 4 dried pasilla negro chiles, soaked in boiling water, cleaned of seeds and finely minced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. finely minced green bell pepper
1/4 grated or pureed onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. coriander
1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1 egg yolk
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare marinade. Slice pork loin into 3/4 inch portions. Place in marinade, turning to coat well on all sides, and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.
Prepare aioli by placing the cilantro in a food processor to puree.
Add the egg yolk, salt and pepper. Drizzle in a little lime juice and whir until thickened. Alternate drizzling in the remaining lime juice and the oil until a thick mayonnaise is created. The finished aioli was a bit bitter at first, so I contemplated adding a touch of honey, but by the time dinner was served, the flavors had melded and the mellowed. We ended up using a little on our salads. YUM.
Grill the pork until almost cooked through then finish to an internal temperature of at least 145 in a 350 degree oven for very tender and juicy boneless chops.
Serve with the cilantro aioli.
Grilled polenta and a salad were great side dishes to this. If you need more spunk to beat your wintertime funk, consider adding hot sauce or cayenne to the marinade and even to the aioli. Margaritas would take it all the way to Mistyland. 😉