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It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Spacer issue eight, volume eight  

Santa in Car

If you are of a certain age like Tracy and I, you may remember the Chatty Cathy doll. Winter TimeMy sisters had them and unfortunately, one was given to me one very memorable Christmas. I was seven that year and more than anything (even more than a Red Rider B-B Gun with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time!) I wanted a toy train. Well, about a week before Christmas I barged in on my parents wrapping the ultimate of toy trains (a Marklin) for my present. Being discrete, I spent the next seven days telling all who would listen (ad nauseam) exactly what I was getting for Christmas until my parents wanted to strike me. Somehow I must have gone a little too far with my perpetual present announcements Christmas Timebecause on the day, while the self same box that I had seen my parents wrap was under the tree waiting for my greedy little hands, the train was not within. Unbeknownst to myself my dear little locomotive had been replaced by one of my sister's old dolls. A trap was ready to be sprung! I ripped through the paper, threw open the box and...(in the words of Marlon Brando) the horror, the horror. My sisters thought it was hysterical, my parents thought it was funny, all right, I even thought it was funny, after I stopped crying. SnowmenParticularly since the next present was my train! The moral of the story, never barge through closed doors at the holidays and if you do see your present beforehand, keep it to yourself! So what does this have to do with Woodhouse Chocolate? That (now) wise young boy grew to manhood with but one goal in mind; never again. Never again would another individual suffer the tyranny of being given the wrong gift. At Woodhouse we have a wide selection of the right gift. From our Hanukkah, Christmas and Winter items to our Traditional Boxes of DreidelChocolate to our new section of Gift Ideas that are ready please anyone/everyone on your list. If your list is a Corporate one and extends to dozens or hundreds we can help with that too and you may find yourself with special pricing in the bargain. Remember time is winding down and old dolls are rarely appreciated so give the gift that everyone appreciates. Happy Holidays!

John & Tracy Anderson

Prager Logo

Many of you may already be familiar with Prager Port, but if not, tucked in between Sutter Home and the Harvest Inn in St. Helena is a wonderful family winery that since its inception in 1979 has been making a terrific line of ports. Founded by Jim and Imogene Prager, it is now run by their children and their children's spouses. Theirs is a typical, but no less charming Napa story from the 1970's (much like my parent's); leaving Southern California and a steady career to take a flyer in the Valley on their true love, Wine. We are all the beneficiaries of these wonderful stories as in their case, we now have wonderful ports to enjoy as a result! Port is of course a wine that has been "fortified" toward the end of fermentation, leaving it a little sweet and raising the alcohol to about 19%. They are typically consumed with sweets or cheese. We tried their 2004 Royal Escort Port "Paladini Vineyard" ($72) and found a bouquet of rosemary, cedar, black cherry and blackberry and palate of cherries, cocoa, black pepper and even, peppermint. This pleasing port was a wonderful match with chocolate, as expected, but it particularly shone with the spiciness of the Cinnamon Toast and the Quatre Epices, the hazelnuttiness of Praline Noisette and the Gianduja, the chocolateness of the Heart of Darkness and the Sur Del Lago, the mintiness of the Fresh Mint and finally, the richness of the Milk Chocolate Caramel Mousse. If you are not trying ports after special meals, particularly at the Holidays, now is a good time to start and Prager is a good place to look.



Serves 12

Okay, you're probably wondering what the heck is that all about with the title. Quite honestly, I usually call it "that pork rosemary thing I made that one time at the place with those people", but that seemed a little long. This recipe started out as an homage to John's mother Carol, who, unfortunately is no longer with us. Boy, did she love pork. We still tell wondrous tales of her breakfast in Cancun over 20 years ago when she was able to load her plate with about eight different forms of pork. We have always referred to it as the "porkfest". Well, while this does not even begin to equal the glory of that porkfest all those years ago, it is a nice elegant solution for a holiday cocktail party!

For the Pork Loin:
1 lb. pork tenderloin, silverskin trimmed off
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (ironic)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of this spice "rub" all over the pork. Cover in plastic wrap and let sweat for about 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pork loin on a foil lined baking sheet or dish. (It doesn't have to be lined in foil, but it sure makes clean-up easier.) Put the pork in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes, or to 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. Remove from the oven and let rest. I serve this at room temperature, so you can make this hours or a day before you wish to serve it (refrigerating in between, of course).

Rosemary Pork

For the Bacon: (my go-to cocoa glazed bacon)

8 Pieces thick-cut bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Your oven is already preheated to 325 Fahrenheit, right? Okay, thoroughly combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder in a shallow bowl or pie dish. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Dredge the bacon pieces in the cocoa brown sugar until they are well coated. Place on a foil lined baking sheet (you will hate yourself if you do not line this one with foil). Bake for 15 minutes, turn bacon pieces over and bake another 15 minutes. Turn over again and assess wether you think they are done or not (my sister is tearing her hair out over that one). Really, you can tell - if they still seem sort of raw fatty, put them back in for 5-10 minutes, if they seem more caramelized meaty, they're done. They will firm up as they cool.

For the Rosemary Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (that means Hellman's or Best Foods depending upon which coast you live - I like the olive oil Best Foods for this - or you can make your own if you are totally awesome and have the time)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Mix all together. Ta Da!

To Finish:

12 pieces thinly sliced prosciutto
a handful of arugula leaves (48 leaves, to be precise, but you you stand there counting them out in the store people will wonder about you)
24 pieces thinly sliced baguette (this will only use about 1/3 of a typically sliced baguette)

Here we go with the final assembly. First, cut the pork loin into 24 rounds - about 3/16ths inch thick (1/8th was too thin and 1/4 was too thick! Leave me alone.) If you like things well seasoned, sprinkle a little more of the remaining spice rub over each slice. If you are watching your salt, don't do it. Next, spread a nice layer of rosemary mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Put a piece of cocoa glazed bacon on each bread slice. Spread a layer of rosemary mayo on each slice of pork. Place pork over the bacon. Put 2 leaves of arugula over the pork. Cut each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise to for a long strip. Wrap the prosciutto around the middle of your beautiful stacks of pork. It is done.


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