Today is our
tenth anniversary of moving to Tucson. Ten years and two weeks ago, all our
friends in New England were shaking their heads, thinking, "What the hell
are they doing?"
We moved to Tucson
on a whim. Some might have said it was a mid-life crisis; we prefer to think of
it as our mid-life epiphany.
We were happy
living in Southern Maine, but we longed to live in a place with bigger skies,
warmer weather, less rain, no snow, fewer bugs, and a lot more sunshine. Tucson
reports sunshine on an average of 335 days each year.
and visited many places, and several were on our “maybe” list, but Tucson was
the frontrunner. Many of the contenders were very nice, but when confronted
with our full list of requirements, Tucson won hands down.
We decided to
check out Tucson on the recommendation of our friend Michael, who had spent
extended time here doing legal research. Our first visit was in June of 2004.
We picked June because all the sources said, "June is the hottest
month. "We'd see what it was like. Show us what you’ve got, Tucson!
We got off
the plane and the daytime temperature was 105°F (40.5°C) in the shade, with
blank skies of an intense blue we’d never seen before. We looked at each other
and said, "Hey, this isn't bad at all!" You see, our experience of
heat always included high humidity. Here, the famous dryness of the heat really
did make a difference to us.
to grouse, "I haven't been warm since Truman was in the White House."
To this I would add that I’ve never been both warm and dry at the same time.
later, we are still loving our "new” home in the Sonoran Desert. We
discover new things all the time, and have yet to be bored. Never does a
day go by that we aren't stunned by the beauty of this vast and floriferous
more than all its beauty, makes this place so very special to us: its people.
The warmth, friendliness, and openness of the Tucsonans makes this a wonderful
home for us.
moved here, we dreamed of living in a Tuscan farmhouse. Who hasn’t? Mark was
fond of telling people we got off the plane here only to realize we had misspelled
our destination. Tucson instead of Tuscan. Silly boy.
while Mark potted up annuals for winter color in the garden, I made roasted
pork tenderloin with herbs, pommes Duchesse, and sautéed leeks Niçoise. We shared a bottle
of 2007 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence from Château Vignelaure. (The wine pairing
notes can be seen on the Provence WineZine.) We celebrated our tenth anniversary
here with this winter’s first outdoor meal under our portale.
a(nother) perfect Tucson day.
1 small bunch
culinary lavender buds
1/4 cup fresh
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound pork
tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin and fat
olive oil, plus extra for pan
1/4 cup red wine
to 400°F. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
mezzaluna or a spice grinder, mince together the parsley, rosemary, fennel, and
lavender. Place in a small bowl. Add in the minced shallot and bread crumbs.
You should have about 1/2 cup of this mixture.
ovenproof pan, and place the trimmed tenderloin in the pan. Slather the top and
sides of the pork with the mustard, and press the herbed crumbs into the
mustard. Melt together 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, and
drizzle over the pork.
roasting pan in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
the oven and place pork on a cutting board. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter
and the wine to the pan, and place over medium heat. Stir to make a
sauce, and keep warm.
and place on a warmed platter, and drizzle pan sauce through a sieve onto the
pork. Served immediately.
The recipe for the Pommes
Duchesse is from Saveur Magazine, and the Leeks Niçoise are loosely based on a recipe from the Silver