Sunday, August 26, 2012

You had me at bacon

I have not been doing the cooking I have in previous summers for a variety of reasons. One, it's too darn hot (cue the Kiss Me, Kate music) and I haven't always felt like eating.

I have tried a few recipes but I have just not been happy enough with them to share with y'all. If something goes wrong, I want to be able to figure out exactly what. The chicken stew recipe from last entry came out okay. Nexx (the sweetie) loved it. I thought it needed a slightly richer flavor. Unfortunately at the time I was out of chicken broth and only had dark beer in the house. Which reminds me, I want to make chili again soon.

Anyway, we hadn't had pork in a while, and I like making a good pork roast or loin. This time I got a 3-4 lb roast and found this recipe to go with it. Too easy to be true? My kind of recipe, in other words. Let's take a look:

1 pork loin, about 4 lbs.
7 cloves garlic, mashed
7-8 slices bacon
kosher salt, optional
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp. rosemary (dried or fresh. Like the Hungry Mouse, I used dried because that was what I had in the house)
I think I used a few more garlic cloves than requested. It seemed more logical to just use the entire bulb. I've been having trouble getting just the right atmosphere to keep my garlic in. In the fridge, it sprouts. On the counter, it dries up. I've considered a garlic keeper, but then I thought I'd take the advice of a family member who said I obviously wasn't using enough garlic.
For bacon, I used Applegate Farms' Sunday bacon. I have no idea what makes bacon good for Sundays (sundaes are a whole 'nother story). We had this on a Thursday night.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet or roasting pan with foil and fit with a roasting rack. Set it aside.
  • Mash up the garlic. (a garlic press is a beautiful thing and quite the time saver)
  • Set the pork roast down, fat side up, and cover with the mashed garlic and spread the garlic all over the pork (you may want to soak your hands in vanilla extract after you get the garlic out from under your nails)
  • Sprinkle the roast with kosher salt (optional)
  • Starting at one end, lay the bacon on top of the roast. Overlap a little bit to account for shrinkage. tuck ends under.
  • Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sprinkle with rosemary
  • Roast at 450 f for fifteen minutes. (this will get the bacon cooking)
  • Turn the heat down to 375 and cook until the pork is at about 150 degrees on your meat thermometer
  • Remove from oven, tent your roast for about 15 minutes at it will come up to about 160 degrees, which is medium for pork.
  • Slice and serve
I cut and onion into eights and roasted it along with my pork when I dropped the temperature--usually a half an hour to forty-five minutes will do for an onion. You want the edges black and the insides soft. Brush it with a little olive oil first.

I served this with snow peas onto which I put just a touch of lemon juice. I loved the resutls. Nexx bit into his and said, "I don't know what you did to the pork, but this is delicious!"  Always nice to have validating feedback.

Comments, questions? Got a recipe you'd like me to try? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Not my day

A while back, I had some rewards points to spend with my bank. They went to an Amazon gift card, and then they threw in some magazine subscriptions. I picked Outdoor Photography, Wine Spectator, and Bon Appetit. Tonight's entry (long overdue, thank you for your patience) was supposed to be a chicken & chickpea stew from their pages.

I ran into a small problem. Seems I ordered chicken thighs with skin on them, and the recipe called for skinless, so I put the thighs in the sink, de-skinned them, trashed the detritus and scrubbed out the sink, thinking I'd been rinsing most thoroughly.

I browned the chicken, mixed up the spices, let the chicken stew for a bit, then put a strainer in the sink and dumped the chick peas in the strainer and started to rinse. And they kind of foamed--the disposal backed up some soapsuds into my chick peas. I was not going to take any chances, so out they went, to be replaced tomorrow. Tonight, I sent out for gyros.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. . .