Saturday, July 24, 2010

Better with bacon?

One of my favorite and most anticipated activities each summer is sitting on the deck of Grant Pool night after night watching my children's painstakingly slow progress towards their illustrious Olympic swimming careers while "reading" my book. This year however the swim lessons are slow in more ways than one...

Normally I glean the best information about life in NE Portland right here on deck. Forget PDXCAFEMAMA or the bulletin board outside of New Seasons. Sit on the deck at Grant Pool and you will learn which Pre-schools are the best, the new hot spot for birthday parties, how much blueberries are selling for at Fred Meyer, or when the annual sale at Footwise starts. You will hear tales of woe - unemployed neighbor has to put their house on the market as they can no longer afford the payments, (...very much are they selling it for?) Tales of lust - aforementioned neighbor is also getting divorced, too much free time led to some afternoon wanderings, (eek!...with who?) You will hear tales of joy - so and so is having a third child, 2 months along now found out she is having two, (OMG!...better her than me!)

This year however just about every conversation that you eavesdrop, um I mean happen to overhear - at Grant Pool is the weather. We all want it HOT and it is not. The annual summer 3 weeks of 90 plus degree weather we have in PDX is as anticipated as it's counterpart "Artic Blast 2011 - Storm Team Coverage 24-7 right here on this channel!" This year no dice. The big box stores are up to their ears in fans and air conditioners that Portlanders run out and buy annually when Matt Z. tells us we might see temps in the 90's. Grant pool is still advertising that the water is heated and the moms are still promising their little blue lipped babes "hot showers" if they do a good job in their swimming lesson.

Generally I tune out of the conversations at the point of the weather and wait for more interesting spicy NE PDX mom subjects to pop into my in-inadvertently (of course) eavesdropping ears as I attempt (pretend?) to read my summer book group pick on the pool deck.

Unfortunately this summer the next hottest topic is also really a bore...and perhaps more bothersome to me than the weather - the mosquitoes. Everyone seems to have more bites, complaints, remedies, repellent strategies and scientific factoids about mosquito breeding theories than the next person. These conversations do drag. People love to go on about the state of the blood sucking populations of their own backyard domains forever and of course they have to "1-up" their neighbors on this subject. If you say you are not bothered or affected by these beastly loathsome little creatures that interfere with BBQ's, camping, gardening, and summertime evening porch sitting - you are plain lying. If you breath out CO2, you are as miserable as me - period. No point making me more miserable chatting incessantly about it at the pool.

And how in the world does this have anything to do with bacon? Hell if I know. I do know that everything IS better with bacon. Unless of course you are converting to a vegan lifestyle in the interest of boosting your thyroid health...and even then maybe..? I could convert to Vegan-ism if they invented a "Vegan Plus Bacon" diet. Worth a try I think. We are doing a bit of BBQ-ing this year despite the mosquitoes and cold weather - we just bring our vittles inside for consumption. Our favorite new discovery on the grill this year - "Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels" from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book. This entire book is meaty - way way more meaty than the chat at Grant Pool this year. And these pinwheels in particular are pork wrapped in pork. Yes, PIG - in the shape of smoky succulent bacon tucked neatly and deliciously inside of PIG in the fom of juicy tenderloin - whoa! Unreal decadent goodness...this is deliverance people!! Deliverance from cool weather, mosquitoes and idle vegan chat on the deck of the Grant Pool...Enjoy.
Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels
1 pork tenderloin
6 bacon strips
1 cups finely chopped pecans
Salt & Pepper
Plus on recipe Carolina Mustard Sauce:
(combine all ing. and wix well - store refrigerated up to 2 weeks, great on burers as well)
3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBL ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Cut the tenderloin lengthwise (yes-lengthwise) into 6 long strips about 1/4 in. thick.
Place a strip of Bacon on top of each strip of tenderloin,
roll into pinwheel and secure with toothpicks.
You can also secure with 2 toothpicks and cut between them for smaller,
appetizer size pinwheel medallions.
Stir together pecans with Salt and Pepper to taste in a bowl.
Coat the pinwheels with Carolina Mustard Sauce and then roll to coat with pecan mixture.
Grill over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, less if doing mediallions.
Enjoy with extra Carolina Mustard Sauce.


  1. We lost a good friend and absolutely great person this week who loved to BBQ! He hosted a pre-wedding shower/BBQ for Marty and I back in the day and he even taught us how to home brew our own beer. He was well loved by many many people for his generosity and easy going nature. Somehow he always knew how to make us feel like a welcome part of the family. We will miss you Stids! This BBQ recipe is in your honor!

  2. Where do your kids take swimming lessons? Non-Native Oregonians-R-Us? I don't know anyone (except you, I guess) who likes it over 90. Most of us tolerate those three too-hot weeks only because it's the rest of the summer is so nice!

  3. I'm with Sue! Even though I don't know her! I love 70's, begin to whine in the low 80's, upper 80's I'm grumpy and over 90 ... you don't want to know me!