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With Much Love and Strawberries

Marinated Strawberry Salad with arugula, Fennel and Pepitas

Marinated Strawberry Salad with arugula, Fennel and Pepitas

I think love and strawberries go together.  After all, you can dip strawberries in chocolate, or drop them into champagne, or slice them up and serve with ice cream drizzled with chocolate.  All of these are romantic and put you in the mind for love.  And between Yes!Chef! and myself, we have been making quite a few strawberry recipes lately.

It is Yes!Chef! and my 30th anniversary this week and so in honor of that, I present a few strawberry recipes.

The recipe for the strawberry salad above I got here:

Pickled Strawberries with Tender Greens and Goat Cheese

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Pickling brings out the flavor in the strawberries, so don’t shy away from trying it.  This is a great, refreshing summer salad.  Serve it to your friends.  They will wonder at your ability to put together interesting flavors that never would have crossed their mind.  You will be the talk of the town.

It’s a very easy recipe, but don’t leave off the fennel.  Somehow we forgot to include it when we served it to our friends,

Fennel-less strawberry salad

Fennel-less strawberry salad

…but after taking a couple of bites, I asked Yes!Chef! if he had decided against the fennel and he jumped up out of his chair, ran to the refrigerator, and dashed back outside (where we were eating) and quickly distributed fennel to each plate.  Everyone agreed that the addition of the fennel greatly improved the dish.  We also added pepitas which added a little salty flavor and another crunch.

Beautiful marinated strawberries are the star in this salad.

Beautiful marinated strawberries are the star in this salad.

We used arugula in this salad.  I think it adds an unusual flavor that you don’t really get with any other type of green.

Now, before I get to Yes!Chef! recipe for strawberry-lime sauce for a pork loin, I’ll speak a minute about love.  But just to make sure you don’t stop reading here, I’ll give you a little teaser…

Grilled Pork Loin with spicy rub and strawberry sauce

Grilled Pork Loin with spicy rub and strawberry sauce

This week, Yes!Chef! and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  Yes, 30 years together with the love of my life.  We both wondered about where the time had gone.

Chart House, South Lake Tahoe

Chart House, South Lake Tahoe

He made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants in South Lake Tahoe, The Chart House.  It’s perched high upon a hill overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Enjoying a drink while we look at the menu

Enjoying a drink while we look at the menu

The menu is mostly fish, although they have some great meat dishes on the menu.  I ordered Lobster (I can’t remember the last time I had lobster) and Yes!Chef! ordered a steak with mashed potatoes.

To start, he ordered a martini and I had a mango mojito.  We split an appetizer of Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Corn Avocado Salsa.

Chart House 3

Chimichurri grilled Shrimp with Roasted Corn Avocado Salad (top), chopped fresh greens salad (bottom)

The grilled shrimp was quite amazing.  I love Chimichurri flavors (cilantro, parsley, lime) and the roasted corn and avocado salad was a perfect pairing.  We also split a chopped salad.  Although the salad was very fresh and had a lot of fresh greens and veggies, the salad also included large chunks of raw garlic, which really overpowered and ruined the taste of the salad.  I wish restaurants would not use raw garlic in their dishes.  It’s just too sharp, overpowers everything else on the plate, and ruins my palate for the next dish or taste of wine.

Yes!Chef! bought a great French Bordeaux (I can’t remember the name right now), which paired beautifully with his steak and did not overpower my lobster. The Chart House charges a $20.00 corkage fee.

View of lake from our window (top) lobster dinner and steak and potatoes dinner (bottom)

View of lake from our window (top) lobster dinner and steak and potatoes dinner (bottom)

I think Yes!Chef! has spoiled me forever with his food.  We don’t go out to eat very much because it is our opinion that he can generally make better food than any restaurant that we go to.  I’m afraid my opinion has not changed with this meal.  I thought my lobster was a bit overdone.  Instead of a nice snap when you bite into the lobster, it was a bit stringy.  It had a beautiful sweet taste, though.  The jasmine rice was quite tasty.  It had fresh ginger in it and it was piled up in a little pyramid.  The grilled tomato was perfect.

My lobster dinner and view

My lobster dinner and view

Yes!Chef!’s steak was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender.  His mashed potatoes were good but should have been called smashed potatoes because it was very, very chunky and not the creamy kind of mashed potatoes that he likes.

Yes!Chef! and his steak and mashed potatoes (top) View from window along with Yes!Chef!'s reflection (bottom)

Yes!Chef! and his steak and mashed potatoes (top) View from window along with Yes!Chef!’s reflection (bottom)

So, what was the problem?  Improper or no seasoning.  The steak was not seasoned (or not seasoned very well) before cooking.  The potatoes tasted a little bland and needed salt.  Even my clarified butter was unsalted.  Sigh.  I do not understand why so many chefs at high end restaurants are afraid of seasoning.  I hate to salt my food after it has been cooked.  It is just not the same as layering a dish with seasoning as it is being cooked.

However, the grilled shrimp appetizer was tremendous.  The service was excellent.  The view was too beautiful for words.  And the food was good…just not great.  We got there at 6:30 and were able to watch the sun set over Lake Tahoe with some beautiful clouds going on.

Sunset over Lake Tahoe from The Chart House window next to our table

Sunset over Lake Tahoe from The Chart House window next to our table

Right?  I would highly recommend this restaurant because of the view, service and generally tasty food.  It is a little pricey, but worth it.  Make sure you have a reservation if you are here during the summer months.  They also have a Happy Hour at the bar starting at 4:00 where you can order appetizers.  Every table in the restaurant has a view of the lake.  Quite amazing.  And everything is better when you are with the love of your life.  Happy Anniversary, Handsome!

Okay, so now about the roast pork loin with strawberry-lime sauce.  First, trim up the artichokes, cut them in half and boil them until just soft.  Season them with salt, pepper and other interesting seasonings to your liking.  Meanwhile, use the dry rub on the pork and set aside.

rubbed pork and seasoned artichokes

rubbed pork and seasoned artichokes

Make your strawberry sauce and grill up the meat and veggies!

Seasoned, grilled pork loin with grilled artichokes

Seasoned, grilled pork loin and grilled artichokes

Strawberries and Lime together and in love

Strawberries and Lime together and in love

Here’s the recipe.

Spicy Grilled Pork Loin with Strawberry-Lime Sauce

For rub

  • 3 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. ground Chipotle Chile Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp. coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Mix this altogether and rub over entire pork roast before grilling.  This is the basic mixture for a spice rub.  You will not need it all, so save it for another occasion.

For the Strawberry Lime Sauce

  • Sugar to sweeten strawberries to taste (1-2 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, chopped
  • 1 zest of lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a saucepan on low heat to thicken.  Taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if necessary.  Once it thickens, remove from heat.  Serve warm over roast.

Grill your roast until done.  Yes!Chef! always uses a charcoal grill and moves it around on the grill to get the best heat.  He does not leave the grill while he is cooking, consequently, his meat is rarely overcooked.  Yes!Chef! removes the meat just before it reaches 145 and lets it rest for 5 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer.  Don’t guess.

Serve to someone you love!

LOVE-ly Strawberry sauce on grilled pork loin

LOVE-ly Strawberry sauce on grilled pork loin

Enjoy!

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your grilled pork loin is wonderful. I love the sauce recipe! Happy Anniversary. :)

    August 9, 2013
  2. I really enjoy your blog and I especially like that you are in California. My husband and I (50 years for us in November) live in Redding, California. We will be in Lake Tahoe in September so we may just give the Chart House a try. Thank you for all of your commentary and the beautiful photos. My compliments to Yes! Chef!

    August 9, 2013
    • Your post makes me very happy. You must try the Chart House! The view is spectacular and the food is good. Happy 50th! a couple sitting at the next table from us were celebrating their 59th. Happy days for all.

      August 9, 2013
      • Karen, thank you for responding so quickly. I think we will try the Chart House in September. I forgot to wish you and Chef a happy anniversary. 30 years is an accomplishment. As my mother in law once told me, It’s all done one year at a time. I will drink my next Mojito to you and your Chef.

        August 9, 2013
      • Thank you and enjoy your time in Tahoe! September and october are the best times to visit.

        August 9, 2013
  3. mmmmm…

    August 9, 2013
  4. Never tried strawberries in a savoury/sour version, now I’m curious. Happy Anniversary!

    August 9, 2013
    • You should try it! I’m rather partial to the strawberry sauce for the pork, which is a little sweet and savory. Thank you for your happy anniversary wishes. It was a very happy one. (Saving to go to Italy next year.)

      August 10, 2013
  5. Oh wowy! Congratulations on the 30th anniversary – I’m gonna have to find me a man if I ever want to get anywhere near that … I hope you had a lovely time.
    I agree with you about eating out – you can rarely find anywhere that provides food as satisfying or as much to your taste as you can cook at home. But I feel that (unless it’s REALLY bad) it’s often exciting just to have the experience of going out and being somewhere different. And with views like you had at Lake Tahoe, it must have felt quite special :)

    August 11, 2013
    • Everything about it was special. Maybe it sounded like I was a little hyper-critical, but I think the chefs are probably very talented and I think they could at least season their food properly. But everything considered, we’d go there again and I would recommend it.

      August 11, 2013
  6. Great blog. Keep up the good work!

    September 4, 2013

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