A few weeks ago Chris and I planned a nice trip to the Hill Country. We were planning on staying at his parent’s house while they are summering in Maine. We asked a couple of our friends Mat and Christina Thompson to go with us. We had an excellent weekend planned – breakfast at Bluebonnet Cafe (a Texas, breakfast legend), wine tasting at a few of the Hill Country wineries and then a nice grill-out on Saturday evening. Well, when Chris and I arrived on Friday night we noticed it was a bit hot at his parent’s place. We decided it was nothing and we would wait for the air conditioner to kick in while we sipped on some wine. Well, after the bottle was done we went inside. Somehow it felt hotter. So at midnight we gave up and drove the hour back to Austin.
I was really looking forward to the weekend, mainly because I really enjoy the company of the Thompsons. So while the trip was out of question we still finagled a dinner invitation out of them. We figured since we had already gone shopping why not turn lemons into lemonade. And I must tell you Chris and I were both blown away by Mat’s chef skills. I had heard he was pretty good in the kitchen. But I was not prepared for his presentation. As I have stated many times in my blog lots of our friends are great cooks. Mat might be one of the first that made his food look as good as it tasted.
We did not have appetizers so I will jump right into the meal. Mat cooked a yummy pork tenderloin in a Big Green Egg. For those of you who do not know this is a smoker/griller contraption. It produced super tender meat with a nice, smokey flavor that was not overpowering. He topped the tenderloin with sauce made from fresh peaches,, ginger, cumin, chipolte and . He simmered the ingredients reducing it a bit and then he pureed the sauce. After pureeing he strained the sauce again and reduced it a bit further into a thick sauce. Mat then finished it off with a little red pepper/chipotle sauce for color and a little heat. For sides he roasted Oca potatoes with a little salt and pepper and olive oil. Oca potatoes are Peruvian and are a little chewier than normal potatoes. I found them to be awesome. They were not as heavy as normal potatoes and they were spiced perfectly. Mat also whipped up a perfect, light watermelon and cucumber salad. It was kind of a gamble since the meat and potatoes had a bit of a theme going and then the salad had some ginger and sesame oil, giving it a more Asian feel. While it was different, I thought it went together wonderfully!
My only contribution to this gorgeous meal was the salad, which was fine, but hey it’s just a salad. And I also made dessert. I few weeks ago at The Gypsy Kitchen class, master pastry chef Sandi Reinlie gave me some extra short dough. In honor of the season I made a Summer Berry pie. I love, love, love making fruit desserts – peach cobbler, apple spice cake, pumpkin bread, whatever! If it’s a dessert with fruit in it, I am all over it. And not to toot my own horn but this pie was awesome. Mainly because of Sandi’s great crust.
Below is Mat’s recipe for the absolutely fabulous Melon and Cucumber Salad. It’s in photo form – Enjoy!