Thursday, February 25, 2010

Living in the Twilight Zone

When I awoke early today, in New York City, it was pouring rain. I immediately sat down at the computer to shoot a quick email to a daughter who’s flying in from the left coast and update her on the weather. No sooner did I sit down then the rain changed to a heavy snow. By the time I had finished my 2 line email, the snow changed back to rain. I was thinking that I must be the reincarnation of Rod Serling and live in the Twilight Zone. Anyway, now it’s all snow, heavy wet dense snow, which is making slush, rivers and squishy sounds beneath my boots. Yes, I did go out because, except for marmalade, the larder is empty and I need to feed said daughter some dinner. Beside which, while the snow never lasts here due to the heat of the pavement and the millions of folk trampling on it, it does, always, make me smile while it falls.

I spent the morning trying to learn about RSS feeds, widgets, FB groups, and joining social networking sites to position Berkshire Preserves because our products are too good to keep just to ourselves. Even before registering with these sites we've been getting wonderful interest in our products. The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is featuring us in it's monthly E-newsletter We received an email from the Editor-in-Chief of the premier Berkshire magazine and hope to continue our dialogue and perhaps be featured in an article on locally produced foods. We've been approached by the Old Egremont Country Store who's proprietor wants to carry our preserves. We're HOT.

I've decided that for dinner we’ll have pork tenderloin with a mustard and Seville Orange Marmalade glaze, salad with lemon vinaigrette, bulgur with scallions and for dessert, Sharon's coconut sorbet with a topping of some Berkshire Preserves Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, just a bit.

Here are the recipes I'll be using. Try them in your home and let me hear your comments.

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Marmalade Glaze

A Dijon mustard and Seville Orange Marmalade rub flavors this roasted pork tenderloin. I use salt and pepper to season the meat before rubbing on the glaze.

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 ½ pounds each

salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Berkshire Preserves™ Seville Orange Marmalade

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar*

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 350°.

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Wash pork and cut away excess fat and silver skin if there is any. Season with the salt and pepper or grill seasoning. Sear on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a baking pan.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Roast for about 12 minutes, brush generously with the glaze mixture, then continue roasting for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the pork registers 165° on an instant read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of a tenderloin. Reheat the remaining glaze and serve with the pork.

Slice in ½ inch slices and serve with the pan juices.

Serves 6

* For an Asian flavor you may substitute low sodium soy sauce for the balsamic vinegar. Just omit the salt in the initial seasoning, but do use the pepper.

I'm not a big fan of commercial balsamic vinegars, but prefer an older vintage balsamic that has a mellow, ripe flavor. True, these better balsamics are price, but a little really goes a long way and it mellows as it ages. Balsamic should be drizzled over food, not poured on it and, in a salad, it should be judiciously mixed with a good wine or cidar vinegar for an added dimension.

Bulgur Pilaf

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 scant cup fine bulgur (see note, below)
  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cook scallions in oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened a bit, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, wrap coriander seeds in a clean kitchen towel and coarsely crush by pressing with flat side of a large heavy knife.

Add coriander and bulgur to scallions and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in hot water, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, until bulgur is softened, about 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in almonds, salt, and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter in the Berkshires

Winter in the Berkshires

It is now mid-winter in the Berkshires, an area of quiet, elegant beauty, located in Western Massachusetts. Even when the snow falls the sun shines brightly, shafts of its light cutting through the trees, through my tall windows and into my life. I can think of no better season in which to be in my kitchen cooking up batches of my delicious BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ Seville Orange Bitter-Sweet Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade and Blood Orange Marmalade.

In 1969 I traveled to England for the first time. (My then-husband was meeting with the Beatles and he DID NOT introduce me. Really!!!!) It was, then, a country still emerging from the vestiges of the Second World War and it immediately won my heart and mind. The food was dreadful, the people were warm and kind, and the shopping for European clothing was fabulous, (and at prices that were VERY favorable for an American). Wow, how time has changed all that! What I remember most, though, are the gorgeous English soaps at the hotels and the extraordinary marmalades and jams at breakfast.

I've been on a quest these last 40 years to find marmalades like those I had on that visit. Bitter-sweet, loaded with fruit peel, dense yet spreadable, and tasting of fruit as fruit was meant to be. Not one supermarket brand, "gourmet" or otherwise, has met the challenge. They're either cloyingly sweet, or have had fruit peel marched somewhere near them but never actually "in" them, or they taste like fruit made from chemicals. So, I've begun to make my own under the label BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™

Our Seville Orange Bitter-Sweet Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade and Blood Orange Marmalade will soon be available in two popular stores in the Berkshires, Guidos Marketplace in Great Barrington and Lenox, and Bizalion's On March 25, 2010 we having our launch "tasting" at Guido's in Great Barrington and the products will be on the shelves from that day forward. I'm very excited about this and hope that all of you who are within driving distance will join me there that day.

My plan for BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ is to produce small-batch marmalades, jams and preserves made, whenever possible, from local, seasonal ingredients: always all natural, always nut-free and gluten free. Look for our products in the spring when carrots and ginger come into season, in the summer when the crops are peaches, strawberries, rhubarb and berries, and in the fall when pears are at their glorious best.

BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ has a website in construction through which you'll eventually be able to purchase directly from us using PayPal. In future blogs I'll give recipes in which you can use our products for things other than schmearing on toast, and talk more about travels and food and the warmer side of life. So, please keep an eye out for us and come back soon.