Main Courses,Outings,Traveling

NYC to Santa Fe and a side of pork by Anjuli

Posted on 12-29-09 · Tags: , , ,

Santa Fe

Matt and I did some driving during Christmas break. Quite a bit, actually. We finally, after almost 10 years, moved out of NYC. It involved not only an anticlimactic exit culminating in hours of Jersey traffic, but also countless hours packing our car chock full of everything we felt was worthy of making the trip. It was a liberating and slightly nauseating experience.

We drove 2,300 miles through PA, Ohio, and Missouri, narrowly missing the snowstorm I’m sure covered many of you back east. We then met up with the Mother Road, Historic Route 66 and drove through the heartland, across the Panhandle and into the Southwest. Our little car and all our worldly possessions headed up the mountain to Santa Fe, New Mexico on Tuesday, December 22rd. The following day we surprisingly found an adorable adobe house, were all starry-eyed at how this would never have been possible on Christmas Eve in NYC, and settled in for a dry, snowy Christmas.

Santa Fe

I’ve been on the verge of leaving NYC for years, it seems. My departure is both abrupt and also epic. But it’s from the point of departure from the “biggest” city on the planet that Matt and I seek a journey, not a destination. We will rely on a solid net connection for work and seek out any and every experience in between.

Growing up in rural Connecticut, I wanted the big city so badly I started spending one weekend a month there (more if I could have) when I was 14. Just like most who grew up rural, I hated Colonial houses, golden retrievers, polo shirts, and lawn mowers. It’s in our nature to retaliate against our childhood. As we get older, we learn to appreciate at least some of where we came from. I love bright lights, big cities, but I also love trees, clean air, and people with time to smile. I love the cacophony of noise, grittiness, and endless expanse of people going in every which direction, but I also love being in the middle of the woods without a human for miles. For now, I’ve decided not to choose between the two.

In six days, after many meals of chilies, Mexican hot chocolate, enchiladas, and tortilla soup, you could safely say we are enjoying both cooking in and eating out. While it would be too soon to say we understand the meaning of the “Land of Enchantment,” our winter respite is sizing up to be an incredibly friendly, outdoorsy, delicious, big sky creative sort of an affair. Just as those who moved here 30 years ago and never left would probably agree. While we’re only just beginning to explore this new culture, cuisine, and terrain, we are getting plenty of meat to help relieve some of the altitude weakness. This pork loin was especially tasty on this cold afternoon in December. I thought I’d share it with you all. Its fieriness reminds me of the Southwestern cuisine, its sweet richness of the people, and its bite like the refreshingly cold winter sun in Santa Fe. Happy New Year all!

Serves 2 for lunch
Ginger mustard sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil (can substitute sunflower or sesame)
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin or sweeter red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
2 scallions, sliced thinly
A few grinds freshly ground black pepper

In a small sauce pan heat the peanut oil on medium. Once hot, add the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and allow to come to a boil (it’ll bubble a bit). Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Santa Fe

Ginger mustard seared pork loin
1/2 pound pork loin
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs rosemary, cut into smaller sprigs
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
2 tablespoons Dijon
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Make shallow cuts into both sides of the loin. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff with the ginger and rosemary, and then paint with mustard. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In a saute pan, heat the oil on medium. Once hot (around 250 degrees), add the loin and sear on all sides, about 6 minutes, turning with tongs. Turn down to medium-low and covered for 8 minutes, until reaches an internal temp of 140. Let stand for 10 minutes. Slice thinly. Serve with ginger mustard sauce.

Route 66

Driving along Route 66 was as much iconic and fascinating as it was barren and many times deserted. I hope you enjoy the below photo essay. Go to my flickr to see our full set of NYC to Santa Fe. These photos were taken by both Matt and myself.

Signage in Missouri
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Gardenway in Missouri
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Meramec Cavern
Meramec Cavern

Meramec Cavern
Meramec Cavern

Meramec Cavern
Meramec Cavern

Truck-bed caroling
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Sunset in Missouri
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Ultimate fat kid mascot
Route 66 to Santa Fe

15 well-marked minutes in Kansas
Route 66 to Santa Fe

The “real” Mater in Kansas
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Matt’s General Store in Oklahoma
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Red dirt in Oklahoma
Route 66 to Santa Fe

The biggest soda
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Welcome to Shamrock, TX
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Not picking cotton
Route 66 to Santa Fe

A recently abandoned gas station
Route 66 to Santa Fe

The state of Texas in cement
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Barren Cactus Inn
Route 66 to Santa Fe

The BIG crossing
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas
Route 66 to Santa Fe

Big Sky, Texas
Route 66 to Santa Fe

  1. Watercress salad with sesame tofu, ginger chicken, and mystery dressing

  1. Susan wrote:

    Congrats on making the plunge into new adventures! I love driving through small town america. America at it’s best really. A whole lot interesting then the super highways!

    January 2nd, 2010 at 11:58 pm
  2. Elizabeth wrote:

    Wow, great post. Love the photos and the recipe sounds to die for. Your story is great too, I wish I could just pick up and leave like that without somewhere to ultimately be. Congrats!

    January 7th, 2010 at 12:15 am
  3. Dawn Hutchins wrote:

    What a great mix of flavors. Delicious!

    January 7th, 2010 at 11:29 am
  4. Snottyboy wrote:

    I really appreciate this post, it speaks directly to my situation both in travels and food. I grew up in tiny southern IL town (populations 300), in a family that had moved to IL from Kentucky and Tennessee to work in the coal mines.
    I dreamed of moving to a real city, shaking off the dust of rual IL, living in a 2 flat, spending time on the stoop talking to my neighbors, slowly reading the newspaper in a busy cafe… Sound familiar?
    After many years of moving in, out and around Chicago my partner and I are ready for severe change and will be moving to Savannah, GA in the next year or two. I can’t wait to hear frogs and crickets at night.
    Oh – and the pork loin looks really, really tasty.

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
  5. Anjuli wrote:

    Elizabeth: There probably aren’t many times in life where you look around and say, most of the important loose ends in my life have been tied up. I CAN MOVE! So I took advantage as quickly as I could.

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:17 pm
  6. Anjuli wrote:

    Dawn: We’ve had the pork loin three times in the last couple of weeks. So I guess the flavors don’t disappoint. We poured some beer into it the last time and it made for an even deeper, more complex flavor.

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:18 pm
  7. Anjuli wrote:

    Susan: Thanks! I watched Pixar’s Cars on the way there which was adorable, sad, and also enriched the experience of driving along, weaving back and forth along the highway, etc.

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:19 pm
  8. Anjuli wrote:

    Snottyboy: Thanks for the comment. It seems us small town folk get distracted from all the bright lights. I am exceedingly glad to have lived there, feel a veteran of sorts, and now have moved on to things that I will hopefully grow to appreciate more. Savannah is beautiful. We were there in a rain storm last year and walked around for an afternoon. The drooping trees, cool stone, and flickering candle light do make for an old feel one could grow accustomed to.

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
  9. MSH wrote:

    “Once hot (around 250 degrees), add the loin and sear on all sides, about 6 minutes, turning with thongs.” I don’t have any thongs; can I use tongs instead? :-D

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:18 am
  10. Anjuli wrote:

    MSH: I find thongs to be more flexible than tongs. But I guess tongs would work as well.

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:21 pm

What do you think?