Hi, *kiss* how are *kiss* you? The *kiss* weather has *kiss* been lovely.
Have *kiss* you had *kiss* a chance to *kiss* use your *kiss* pool?
That's how greeting another couple goes, here in the Vendée.
Four kisses; each person. Two other couples = 16 kisses hello; 16 kisses goodbye.
We went out for a pizza last night with some friends; sort of the last hurrah before we leave. They are all off on fall travels next week; and we're off permanently at the end of the month.
Going out for pizza, like so many other things, is different here.
First, one may be having a pizza for the main course, but that certainly doesn't mean that one should not have a starter, dessert and a coffee.
After all, we are in a proper restaurant, with cutlery, tablecloths and napkins!
The starters were fairly typical: plates of crudites, smoked salmon, vegetable terrines, avocado cocktail…
What I thought might be of interest to those who have never eaten pizzas in Europe were, well, the pizzas.
Six people; six pizzas. They're slightly larger than a dinner plate, with a wafer thin crust and are meant to serve one. One does not get extra cheese and the toppings, in general, are not piled on, but arranged artfully.
We all opted for the traditional tomato based pizzas, although the crème fraiche versions looked wonderful, as well… Next time!
Coque: thinly sliced ham and mozzarella, with a sunny side up egg in the center
Indienne: lamb, peppers, onions and mushrooms with lots of hot, spicy curry seasoning and a lacing of Greek yogurt
Campagne: country ham, chicken gizzards, mushrooms, goat cheese and mozzarella
Kebab: onions, peppers, courgette, with 2 small ground beef kebabs criss-crossed on top, finished with couscous seasoning and feta cheese
Vegetable: avocado, artichoke, asparagus, mushroom and mozzarella
Fruits de Mer: shrimp (unpeeled), scallops, mussels (in the sehll) and smoked salmon
And Crème Brûlée and Tarte Tatin for dessert, bien sûr!
All that kissing works up an appetite!
Barbecued Stuffed Pork Loin to serve 4
This is marinated for a few hours in a cross between a brine and a classic pork rib sauce.
1 pork loin roast, 24oz (750gr)
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) coffee 1/2 – 3/4 tsp instant dissolved in hot water or brewed coffee
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) maple syrup
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) ketchup
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
4 – 6 mushrooms, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
2 slice Prosciutto
2 tbs dry bread crumbs
3 tbs marinade
At least 2 hours or up to 8 hours earlier: Mix all ingredients for marinade/barbecue sauce. Cut a lengthwise slit down the center of the pork loin almost all the way through. Leave about 1/4" (.5cm). You want to be able to open it like a book. Spread the pork out in a deep dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the pork to coat, cover and refrigerate.
Dinner time: Finely chop mushrooms and Prosciutto. Mix mushrooms, Prosciutto and bread crumbs in a small bowl. Add 3 tbs of marinade and mix well. Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and let drain a bit. Lay pork out with cut side up. Spread the stuffing on one side up to 1/4" from the edges. Fold the other side over and tie well with kitchen string. Cut five 10 inch lengths of string and wrap around pork and tie every 2 inches or so – making certain that you do one as close to each end as possible. Cook pork on barbecue grill for 45 – 60 minutes or until done, basting 3 or 4 times with the Barbecue Sauce. When done, slice and serve with more Barbecue Sauce on the side. Could also be baked at 400F for 45 – 60 minutes or until done but you won't get the sugary crust. It is done when 'juices run clear', so – either poke it, slice it and take a peak or use a meat thermometer. An instant read meat thermometer is best for a nice, juicy roast. Cook it to an internal temperature of 160F (70C).
To make barbecue sauce: Put reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove 1/3 cup to use as a basting sauce and reserve the rest to use as a dipping sauce.
When I buy a roast here it's always very nicely tied… and very completely. I can never be sure of what kind of cut I'm getting. I bought a pork loin roast a few weeks ago and it was a perfect round when I untied it. This one had been rolled to make a 'round' roast. I ended up with a more shallow, off center cut then I had planned on, to stuff, so I put some stuffing on the narrow bit before I rolled it back up and tied it again…. That's why the photo is a little strange. We work with what we are given!
Oh, and I'm hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week – You want to send me an entry – don't you!!!!?!