Eighty Nine years ago today, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, thus repealing the ill-fated 18th Amendment. In other words, Prohibition was over and the bars threw open their doors (legally) once more.
Prohibition is a great example of what happens when morality is over regulated and legislated. There are moral issues that need to be regulated in order to keep members of a society protected. The Ten Commandments – thou shalt not kill or seal – are a great examples. The Ten Commandments are the bases for many laws today. However not everything can be regulated for the good of society. Some regulations, like prohibition, opened the doors to a far greater evil.
The movement to ban alcohol began in the early 19th century. Temperance Societies began springing up all across America, fueled by a belief that alcohol consumption was an attack on the family and would lead to the destruction of marriage. Alcohol was the work of the Devil. By the late 19th century, these concerned groups had grown into a powerful political force, campaigning on a state level while calling for a national ban on liquor. So great was the pressure that several states outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcohol ahead of the 18th Amendment.
Those pushing to outlaw alcohol and the lawmakers in Washington did not see the consequences of their actions. It was like closing the barn door after the livestock was out. Before Prohibition, criminal gangs were local menaces, running protection rackets on neighborhood businesses and dabbling in vice entrepreneurship involving gambling and prostitution. The term “Organizes Crime” didn’t even exist before Prohibition. With an end to the legal sale of alcohol, gangsters saw a void that needed to be filled.
However; running alcohol and operating speak easies required organization. Small, localized gangs began banding together, making deal and becoming a big business operation. The more money that was up for grabs, the more territorial and deadly these gangs became. When Prohibition was finally repealed, the cash grab was over; but the sophisticated operation of the organized crime syndicates didn’t end. Black-market business schemes and money-laundering tactics of organized crime were here to stay.
No matter, with the appeal of Prohibition, America was ready to celebrate. In anticipation of the bars opening, crowds gathered as people wanted to be among the first to celebrate. It was like the war had ended on New Year’s Eve.
Today is also National Comfort Food Day. To me, comfort food means two things – a fond memory and foods we love. I love Italian Food. And since Prohibition is a faint memory, a little wine to cook with brings both the Repeal of Prohibition and Comfort Foods together beautifully.
Pork Medallion Marsala
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
1 cup Brown Mushrooms
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 tablespoon Dried Oregano
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Marsala Wine (more to taste)
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 tablespoon Brown Gravy Mix (the powder stuff)
Cut pork tenderloin into eight medallions, about 1/2-inch thick . Place medallions, one at a time, between two pieces of plastic wrap. Flatten pork with the smooth side of a meat hammer until about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
Clean mushrooms. Slice and set aside.
In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat pork pieces in flour mixture.
In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Place pork in pan and lightly brown on both sides. If necessary, brown in batches.
Add mushrooms. Pour in wine and chicken stock, cover and simmer pork for 10 minutes, turning once, until meat is no longer pink in the center.
Taste and adjust sauce as needed – if too sweet, add small amount of Chicken stock, if not sweet enough, add small amount of Marsala Wine. Remove pork from the pan and transfer to a rimmed serving platter. Tent and keep warm.
Add Brown Gravy Mix and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes or so to allow sauce to reduce and thicken. Return pork to the pan, roll to coat with sauce.
Place medallions on a serving platter, spoon sauce over and around pork.
Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
8 medium Red Potatoes
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Crushed Rosemary
Rosemary Sprigs for garnish
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Scrub potatoes, cut into quarters and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.
Peel and finely mince garlic, scatter over potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary. Toss to coat well.
Transfer seasoned potatoes to baking sheet. Spread out evenly. Place in oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and tender.
Garnish with fresh rosemary as desired and serve.
2 Garlic Cloves
1 bunch Asparagus
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush garlic, remove skin. Mince and set aside. Zest lemon, set aside.
Trim asparagus, spread out on the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the minced garlic.
Place asparagus in the oven to roast until the garlic is fragrant and the asparagus tender, about 18 minutes.
Transfer asparagus to a serving platter. Sprinkle zest over the asparagus. Cut lemon in half. Juice half, slice remaining half for a garnish. Serve and enjoy.