Seeking comfort in faith and St. Valentine’s Day

This article was posted on: December 27, 2016

I love this time of the year! I like to reflect on the beauty and the grace of the quiet stillness of the winter. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the time of St. Valentine’s Day. I hold this day so close to my heart not only because our first child was born on this day but it’s the day I felt like I became part of a new family, my church family. Like so many other young couples, my husband and I never really became involved in our church until we had children. I was blessed to meet so many other young couples seeking the same comfort of our faith and fellowship. We have been gifted with the most amazing friends of 30+ years that we met through church. Some of our friends have moved and joined different parishes but we don’t lose touch. We raised our families together and we have secrets and stories that only family share.

I’m sure we all have recipes over the years that will take you right back to a special time, place or person. For instance, the first meal my husband made for me was pork steaks on the grill, mushrooms and canned corn, all swimming in butter. On occasion, he will surprise me and make this special meal for me. I smile because I can almost smell the singed hair when the grill flames took a turn and melted his mustache. I guess it was love at first mishap! I also think of my wonderful friends that have brought so many gifts of nourishment to my life. The friends in my life have taught me the gift of hospitality. It isn’t just about the food but the art of enjoying the preparation and then sharing it. Each time I make pork tenderloin it takes me right back to St. Valentine’s Day. A dear church friend brought this meal to us when our son was born and it is probably the number one recipe in my arsenal.

It has been an important meal because it got me my current job as the coordinator of dietary services for the Holy Cross Diocesan Center. One day I was at work and the person making dinner for a small party that evening couldn’t make it at the last minute. Everyone in the office knew I loved to cook and I was asked if there was any chance I could help. I called my husband and told him I would be late. I said a prayer to St. Martha and to the store I drove! The next day I was offered a new position at the diocese and I am grateful to this day for this simple recipe. I guess the meal was a success! I often make this meal at this time of the year even though the tomatoes and basil are not at their best but I love reminiscing about a younger, busier time. Do yourself a favor and share this meal with someone special or someone new and I hope it will bring more happy memories for others.

By Cathy Cooper,
Coordinator of Dietary and Services for the Holy Cross Diocesan Center

Photography by Monica organ


2 pork tenderloins (approximately 1lb each)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 crushed garlic cloves
Marinate all overnight

Roast at 425 for approximately 30 minutes and rest 10 more minutes before slicing

Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon water to pan drippings to pour over sliced meat

6 large diced roma tomatoes
4 cloves crushed garlic
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Toss tomatoes with 12 ounces of cooked pasta in heavily salted water. Do not rinse pasta.

Toss the tomatoes and pasta, place slices of pork on top of plater. Finish with drippings and extra fresh torn basil. May also serve with shredded parmesan cheese.

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La Crosse, WI 54601

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