Time for Oktoberfest and all the traditional harvest-time celebrations. Making my weekly foray into the fragrant vale at framers market to pick up special supplies for company, it occurred to me that I could fill a veritable cornucopia just using the letter "P":
Small compact pumpkins, sweet red peppers, Asian pears, pecans and pomegranates are my traditional favorites, and there they were.
Soon to come are Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons and pistachios.
McCall’s gigantic "alligator pears" (avocados) will ripen over time, but will meantime grace my table, alongside Eufloria’s purple roses.
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Maria Wright always has interesting exotics, and I got some patula, an oversized Filipino okra fresh for salad or stir fry. Her Santa Rosa plums won me over, also!
Then I followed the unmistakable fragrance of passion fruit to the next stand, and stood there awestruck.
Last week Jamba Juice in Fresno had posted a sign that they had discontinued using the latter as an ingredient due to the ruined crop in the tropics. Yet here they were "in the flesh" in Cambria. (Marcus Tribelhorn sells the unique fruit grown in Cayucos, and promised us three recipes.)
Meanwhile, I took mine home and infused the fleshy seeds in simple syrup for a variety of uses; the flavor is so pervasive, a little will go a long way.
For our Oktoberfest entrée, what else but pork? Today’s nicely trimmed lean meat makes fine choices.
Flemish Pork Chops
2 large apples, peeled and cored
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tblsp. granulated sugar
4 tblsp. butter or Smart Balance, divided
4 THICK BONELESS PORK LOIN CHOPS
SALT AND PEPPER
Unbleached flour (browns better)
Slice apples thickly; toss with lemon juice and sugar, and set aside. Dredge chops in seasoned flour tossed in a brown paper sack, shaking off the excess. Melt two tblsp. butter in an ovenproof skillet; turn heat to medium high and brown the chops about five minutes on each side. Remove from pan; add the other two tablespoons butter and quickly sauté the apples.
Return the chops to the pan and top with the apples. Finish cooking loosely tented with foil in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve with boiled new potatoes, of course.
Betty Swierk makes this outstanding Herbed Pork Tenderloin in Wine Sauce. Use two pork tenderloins in a package from Costco or your local market, following package directions for the time. Mix herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, according to your taste.
Roll the meat in the mix, coating it thickly. Brown all sides in a little canola or peanut oil in a large Dutch oven (Betty’s is Le Creuset.)
Cover and cook on the stovetop or place in a 350-degree oven until just done. Remove meat from the pan, loosely tent with foil, and set aside. Pour the drippings into a container, skim off the grease, and replace the meat juices in the Dutch oven.
Add one cup of Chardonnay, one tablespoon ketchup, two tablespoons chicken boullion, some finely chopped thyme and oregano to equal one teaspoon; bring to a boil with one and one-half cups water. Thicken with a medium slurry of cornstarch dissolved in water, and serve over sliced pork. (If you like the sauce a little sweeter, add a packet of Splenda or use a different wine.)
Please send your seasonal recipes to Consuelo, c/o The Cambrian, 2442 Main St., Cambria CA, 93428; or e-mail to cambrian@thetribune news.com.
Consuelo Macedo cooks on Happy Hill in Cambria