Sunday, January 28, 2007

East meets West

Thanks to Nonni’s willingness to scope out some recipes and shop for ingredients, we were able to have dinner tonight, despite the fact that I’ve still just been working throughout the weekend. We started with an Asian inspired Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin that was absolutely amazing. We only marinated an hour, but that was enough time for the flavors of the honey, lemon, and garlic in the marinade to meld nicely together. What really stood out for me was the way each individual flavor introduced itself to the tongue. Usually, it seems that the flavors of a marinade bunch up like children in a schoolyard, leaving a pleasant impression, but little hope of identifying individual elements. In this case, every flavor stood out, creating a lovely harmony.

I also got a bug to do a little baking, but I needed something quick and easy. I decided to give the Barefoot Contessa’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars a try. Judging from the reaction of a foreign exchange student who stayed with us when our oldest daughter was in high school, peanut butter is not as well known other places as it is in the US, although for many of us it is the stuff that childhood comfort is made of. If I want to head straight back to golden summer days of my childhood, a peanut butter sandwich and glass of Kool-Aid will do the trick!

At any rate, these bars went together quickly, and are impressive beyond what you would imagine given the humble list of ingredients. They are tender, but not fragile. The bottom crust is firm and flakey, and the strawberry jam and chopped, salty peanuts bring it all home. If I cut these in circles, would they count as a well-rounded breakfast?

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