Reversing things around today. Because this pesto? Rocked my little world. Star of the show. Measurements are very flexible, get a little tortilla and taste as you go.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 small bunches of cilantro, mostly the part with leaves, little stems still attached
1 Serrano pepper, minced (seeds removed if you want less spicy)
1/3 cup pepitas (or substitute pine nuts)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
olive oil to adjust consistency (around 1//3 cup)

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process it for 20 seconds or so to get things started. With the machine running, pour the olive oil until you reach the consistency you like. Reserve. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 pork tenderloin, butterflied
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of Sriracha (or more, if you like)
1 tsp salt

Make a marinade whisking all ingredients together. Place the butterflied pork in a plastic bag and add the marinade to it. Leave it in the fridge for 4 hours or longer.

Remove from the marinade, season lightly with salt and grill on both sides, until done to your liking.

Serve the pork with the cilantro pesto. Swoon.


to print the recipes, click here

Comments: Cilantro haters better stay as far away as possible from this post. But I don’t expect them to be still here to read the comments. We are both cilantro-addicts so this pesto pressed all the right buttons. Fresh, bright, nutty in a slightly different way since it has pepitas, great ingredient to play with.

The pork tenderloin was also delicious, sweet and spicy. The combination of pork with cilantro pesto was perfect. We enjoyed it with carrots and zucchini simply sautéed in high-heat on the stove with lemon juice and a touch of soy sauce. Simple meal, satisfying and light. I hope you give this combination a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sunburst Pumpkin Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Four-Play

THREE YEARS AGO: World Bread Day 2018

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spicy Cotija and Black Olive Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

EIGHT YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

NINE YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

TEN YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

TWELVE YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day


Since all my requests to bring Spring back have been ignored, I resign myself to celebrate the season by baking a pumpkin loaf coated with a fantastic maple icing which found its way to a few of my fingers. First encounter was by accident. The other seven were intentional.  The recipe is from Sue’s site, The View from Great Island, a blog you must visit regularly. I’d like to make pretty much everything she shares, our taste in food is quite similar.  Although I must say she is a lot more daring than me, facing projects like this one that leave me in complete awe. Never in a gazillion years I could go for it. But, this pumpkin loaf? Doable and absolutely wonderful.  Make it. And don’t forget to lick your fingers…

Pumpkin Loaf with Maple Icing

(from The View from Great Island)

for the pumpkin bread:
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

for the maple glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4 tbsp maple syrup (more or less)
1/4 tsp maple extract (optional)

Set oven to 350F.

Spray a non-stick standard loaf pan with cooking spray and line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper with long ends to help remove the bread later.

Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and spices. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Turn the batter into the pan and even out.

Bake until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it, about 50 minutes. Let the loaf cool almost to room temperature before glazing.

To make the glaze, whisk together the sugar with enough maple syrup to make a thick, spreadable glaze. Keep whisking until all the little lumps are dissolved. Whisk in the extract, if using. Spread thickly onto the cooled bread.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  Guess what? I brought this loaf to our colleagues at work. I am sure you are not surprised. One of the most frequent compliments I heard was “OMG, that icing!”, which made me feel a lot better about the obsessive finger licking I went through while preparing this delicacy.  But please, don’t think it’s just about the icing, the loaf itself is wonderful, I guarantee that even pumpkin haters will fall in love with it.


Sue, thank you so much for such a great recipe, I know I’ll be making it again before pumpkin season is over because one of our graduate students said it was one of the best things I shared so far. She’s been around for 2 years! How’s THAT for a compliment?  


ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

TWO YEARS AGO: Grilled Steelhead Trout

THREE YEARS AGO: Brown Butter Tomato Salad

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Spelt and Cornmeal Rolls

FIVE YEARS AGO: Roasted Potato and Olive Focaccia

SIX YEARS AGO: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire


Two of my favorite bread baking sites are Wild Yeast and The Fresh Loaf.  Every Friday, I look forward to Susan’s Yeastspotting event,  that showcases  breads baked during the previous week by folks all over the world.  And The Fresh Loaf is a discussion forum with help and advice for beginners as well as experienced bakers.  Through my visits to both sites over several years,  I got to know – virtually, at least  –  some amazing bread bakers like MC, who runs the blog with the cute name “Farine.”   Not too long ago she raved about a bread from Orchard Hill Breadworks, a bakery in New Hampshire owned by Noah Elbers.  During her visit to the bakery, she learned how to make one of their signature breads, with two flavors I am quite fond of:  oatmeal and maple syrup.

I won’t lie to you, the preparation is a bit involved: the day before you’ll need to bake the oatmeal, refresh your sourdough starter, and make a poolish with commercial yeast. But your hard work will pay off, big time…   😉

(reprinted from Farine‘s blog, with permission from Noah Elbers)

447 g all-purpose unbleached flour
151 g whole-wheat flour
151 g steel-cut oatmeal, baked
328 g water
151 g liquid starter
151 g poolish
121 g pure maple syrup
16 g salt
The day before baking the bread:
1. Refresh your sourdough starter, to make sure it is bubbly and active when you make the dough next morning. I do that about 12 hours before mixing the dough, by mixing 2 tsp of mature starter with 150g water and 150g flour.  Next morning remove the amount you need and keep the rest in the fridge.

2. Make the poolish by mixing 100g flour + pinch of instant yeast + 100 g/ml water recipe: Leave to ferment overnight. You will not use it all, weigh what you need for the recipe.

3. Bake the oatmeal.  Boil water, then mix it with the oatmeal in a baking dish (200g oatmeal + 200g/ml boiling water).  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 400F oven for 40 minutes.  The mixture will turn into a brick.  Once it cools, break the bits of oatmeal with your fingers, and weigh the amount needed for the dough.

On baking day:
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl (except the salt),  kneading briefly to form a shaggy mass.  Let the mixture resting for 30 minutes.    Add the salt and incorporate by gentle kneading.

Let the dough rest for 40 minutes.  Knead by folding the dough in itself 4-6 times.  Let the dough rest for 40 minutes more.  Knead it again by folding.
Let the dough rise for 40 minutes, do one final cycle of kneading, then allow it to sit undisturbed for a full hour  (total bulk fermentation will be about 3 hours).

Shape the dough as a large batard, or divide in two and shape as a small round (that’s what I did).  Let the shaped bread rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then retard it in the fridge for 12-15 hours.

Bring the bread to room temperature for 2 hours before baking in a 450F oven for 45 minutes (25 minutes under steam, covered, 20 minutes uncovered).  Cool the bread for at least one hour before indulging in it.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Even though this bread takes oatmeal and maple syrup, it is not sweet.  I think its sourdough nature creates a nice counterpart to the sweetness, so that the bread is quite versatile:  you can enjoy it with peanut butter and jelly (like my husband did), or go for a bit of Brie or Camembert (my favorite take).

I highly recommend that you visit Farine website, and click on the video made in the bakery during the preparation of this bread.  It is amazing to see how those talented bakers handle a huge amount of dough, from mixing to shaping.   And while you are net-surfing, make sure to stop by the bakery website and read about how it all started, a fascinating story told by Noah himself.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Trumpet-Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin (one of my personal favorites!)

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1 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs  soy sauce
2 tsp ground chili pepper
fettucini (I used whole wheat)
big bunch of baby spinach
lemon zest
red pepper flakes
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Put a large pot of salted water to boil and turn your grill on.

2. In a small bowl, make a little paste with maple syrup, soy sauce, and chili pepper.

3. In a large bowl where you’ll serve the pasta, mix the olive oil with red pepper flakes and lemon zest.

4. Cut the pork tenderloin in 1/4 inch slices, pound each very lightly with a mallet, and brush each side with the maple/chili glaze. Season with a little salt.

5. Place the pasta in the boiling water and start the timer.

6.  Grill each slice of pork tenderloin for a couple of minutes, turn, and grill for 2 minutes more on the second side.   Remove to a platter and keep warm.

7.  Two minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add the baby spinach, and finish them cooking together.

8.Reserve a little of the cooking water, drain the pasta/spinach, add them to  the serving bowl, mix well to combine, add some of the cooking water if necessary.   Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

9. Serve some pasta with the pork tenderloin.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The basic inspiration from this recipe came from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times.  Adding the spinach to the same pan the pasta is cooking works quite well, but you need to be careful about the timing – overcooking the spinach could ruin the dish.

The pork tenderloin is a recipe I jotted down by hand from some online source years ago, I wish I could give proper credit, but I was unable to find it now.  If you’ve never mixed maple syrup with pepper, keep this combo in mind, it’s a winner.  Another great example is a recipe by the Surreal Gourmet that marinates salmon steaks with maple syrup and coarsely ground pepper for a few days before grilling.   I need to make it soon in the Nano-Bewitching Kitchen because it’s an old favorite of mine.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cauliflower au Gratin

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