Pork with Herbs and Shallot Confit, and Synesthesia

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I was organizing my office this morning and couldn't find the right color folder for February. 

I felt immediate kinship with all of the ditsy blond secretaries portrayed in the movies.  You know the one: she and only she can find the file the boss wants.  It's filed under some obscure system that makes perfect sense to her but is incomprehensible to her long-suffering boss….  And hilariously funny to us, the viewer.

I needed a turquoise folder for February because, well, 'February' is turquoise, isn't it? 

I mean, everyone knows that, don't they?

Just like August is orange and September is brown.

All of my files are colored (but not labeled) and I can always find what I want: by the color.

I have synesthesia

Don't tell me you've never heard of it!?!  Really?  No?

I hadn't either until a few years ago.  I was reading an article in 'Discover' magazine that started out by saying that Sunday was black.  How ridiculous, I thought… Sunday is red.  Monday is black…well, more of a charcoal…

The article was on synesthesia… and, as I discovered, I have it.

I see words that refer to time: months, days of the week, hours of the day (3:00 is pink) in color.  I also see time in shapes but that's much harder to describe. 

Some people see letters in color, some whole words, some numbers:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9; some all of the above. 

Others can taste music.

Sensory perception is, just slightly, askew.

The thing that I found most amazing, in reading that first article about synesthesia, is that not everyone has it, and those who do, often don't know it has a name.  Most people who have this 'neurological condition' view it as a gift: from minor, like mine: to something wonderfully big and marvelous; producing art or music.

It doesn't effect a large part of the population; about 1 in 23. 

How is your world colored?

Is this way I have such a love of pretty food?

This pork tenderloin has a lot of things that would qualify it for Weekend Herb Blogging, that wonderful event founded by Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by Claudia, of Fool for Food.  There is parsley, rosemary and thyme, all lovely herbs; but it was the gorgeous deep red of the shallot confit that really made this a favorite.

And I don't think enough attention is paid to the shallot! 

Like other members of the Allium family (onions, leeks, garlic) shallots are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are a little sweeter than onions with just a hint of garlic.  I'm not a fan of raw onions, but I love raw shallots… as well as fried, stewed, braised and caramelized.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Shallot Confit

1 pork tenderloin, 14 oz, (400gr)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs red wine
1 tbs olive oil

Mix all ingredients except pork in a small bowl to make a thick paste. Spread some of the paste on one side on the pork. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the pork, herbed side down on it. Spread the paste on the rest of the pork. Drizzle the top with the olive oil. Roast in 400F (200C) oven for 30 – 40 minutes, depending on size, until done. Use a meat thermometer. Remove when internal temperature is 150 F (65C). You can also slice it and take a peak. Slightly pink is okay. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Red Wine Shallot Confit
4 – 5 shallots, 1 cup sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tsp water

Peel and thickly slice the shallots. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let cook until browned, about 30 minutes longer.
To finish: Add brown sugar. Stir well to melt sugar and combine. Add red wine and cook for a few minutes longer. Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir in to thicken. Serve on the side.

Be sure to visit Claudia, of Fool for Food on Monday for the complete recap of all the wonderful foods from around the world.

In the meantime… Color your world!

24 thoughts on “Pork with Herbs and Shallot Confit, and Synesthesia”

  1. Are you telling us that you are Dolly Parton a la movie “9 to 5”? That would be funny. I don’t see things in colour, rather, as number. Weird.

  2. this is so interesting, i see january as white and february as blue, march as green, april as pink, etc… but not numbers, well maybe. i have been thinking about this as well.
    anyways— shallots! i have been eating them pickled! so good. i adore shallots, amen for france its abundance of shallots (i see them as red, and leeks as green but maybe that is normal, lol)

  3. Synesthesia? I’ve not heard of it, but it makes perfect sense. I don’t see numbers or months in colors, but I do notice strong reactions to colors if I feel they are somehow “wrong.” Must look into this more.

  4. That is so interesting! Have you read “Born on a Blue Day”? The author sees days as colors, and he was born on a Tuesday, which is blue to him. Also, the red wine shallot confit has been bookmarked!

  5. Very interesting. I’ve never heard of Synesthesia. I think I’m more like Lydia; I don’t see things as certain colors, but when things are off (like when people wear colors that aren’t flattering to their skin tones) it really hurts my eyes.
    I love shallots. This sounds really wonderful. I buy shallots whenever they have them at Costco (which is not all the time.) At my regular store they’re really, really expensive.

  6. The Shallot Confit sounds wonderful – will get ingredients today! My version of synesthesia is seeing time in a weird way – whenever I draw what I visualize, people are surprised that I thought of that, but it does help them to “see” time, too.

  7. I was a happy synesthete as a child. My mother looked at me strangely when I told her “J” was purple.
    I think it’s a sense that needs to be nourished, because I’ve kind of lost my powers. (But I can tell you that “2” is yellow, not brown.)

  8. Colleen – the quintessential ditsy blond…
    Now I have an ear worm with that song…
    Riana, I don’t see any colors in numbers… but how can you say April is pink? It’s bright yellow with orange outlines… hahaha!
    I planted shallots last year – so easy to grow, and pretty fast, too!
    Bellini Valli, I’m always so amazed at what things people take for granted that other people have no concept of… we humans are marvelous, indeed!
    Maryann, I repeat…we humans are marvelous, indeed! (Handy thing with kids…)
    Lydia, I’ve been very interested in color perception since I found out about this.
    Pam, my Tuesday is light yellow – with a black outline…for some reason I like outlines. The shallots were great! (she says, humbly)
    Kalyn, thankfully, shallots are very cheap here – I use them a lot. Still have never been in a Costco. Maybe I’ll find one this trip!
    Zoomie, I see time in shapes, too – but I can’t esplain it…
    Tanna, red wine and shallots one can always use…
    cookiecrumb, mothers can be so ‘not understanding’ of their wierd, I mean, exceptional children… Are you sure about the 2? Maybe I made it brown because 12 is brown and I wasn’t thinking…er, seeing, clearly..

  9. i sometimes a bit confused about shallots as some people from some different places refer shallots as a name for practically different stuff. anyway, there’s some logical explanation over those coloured numbers hehehe… many books like written by Lois Daish and another one by Nigel Slater are based on seasons, what’s the best in season, and that is wonderful. i suppose, it is interesting to really consider season in colours hehehe…

  10. Hmmmm….I’ve never heard of Synesthesia. Thanks for telling us about it! Your pork and Shallot Confit looks wonderful. I made a pork chop that was so dry – this one may bring me back to trying again. 🙂

  11. Katie, I’m back already to say that I made the Red Wine Shallot Confit this evening and it was really delicious! Look for my post later this week about it – I’m giving you full credit! 🙂

  12. I’ve never heard of that — intriguing!
    When I read something that strikes me, I can always remember exactly what part of the page the passage was positioned on: left or right; top, middle or bottom.
    I don’t know if there is a name for that, but it’s kind of an interesting memory quirk.

  13. Arfi, I used to get confused to – in the U.S. it seemed that shallots, scallions, whatever were mixed up. Here they are almost the national allium…. I’ve seeen those books, food grouped by color. Interesting!
    Chris, that’s such a kind way of telling me I’m weird…that’s okay, you’re not the first ;-))
    Colon, yes, the day is sneaking up, isn’t it!
    Zoomie, YAY, you liked it… I’m so glad!
    Betty, I actually do the same. I can remember where on the page…. but I can never remember where the page is… And sometimes, not even the book…

  14. Cool, I had never heard of synesthesia either!
    So do you dream in colours two or black n white?
    Your pork and red wine confit are very enticing…yum!

  15. The synesthesia thing is interesting and makes me wonder about myself. I associate sounds with lots of odd things, so now you’ve got me thinking…or maybe, now that I know a little, I’ll just wind up inventing the “symptoms” for myself. Either way, interesting!
    The dish sounds delicious! I’d heard of meat-based confits before (duck, pork, etc), but never shallots or other veggies, and I have to say, I like the sound of it! I agree that shallots don’t get enough attention. I use them in just about every dish as the wife has a strict rule about no onions…and a shallot, technically, is not an onion…so its all good…shhhh!

  16. Never heard of this either…but when I write in my journal, I do some of the writing in symbols like I draw a picture of a sun and put the day behind it. Or if I mention a cat, draw a cat instead of printing the word..those are the easy ones. Hummm…wonder if someone digs my journals up from the rubble a 1,000 years from now if they will think we still do our communication in hieroglyphics…nice post as it is great “food” for thought!

  17. Bron, very, very vivid colors… sometimes that’s all I remember are the colors!
    Mike, I think the most interesting aspect is those who can taste music…. How fun that could be…assuming it tasted good, hmmmm
    You are absolutley correct: a shallot is not an onion! Your secret is safe.
    Deb, if someone digs up my journals in 1,000 years they’re going to be bored… – yours sound like fun!
    Nuria, Pork Rules!

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