Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Make Ahead Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Dressing, and Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.

~Paul Pearshall

I just love Sundays. In fact, I love them so much they've officially become my favourite day of the week. And oh what a Sunday dinner this is. I'm telling you, if you want to impress your family with an amazing  meal, the following is something to try. Best of all, the entire thing can be  made ahead and re-heated!

Delicious Pork Roast with Apple Dressing and Crispy Roasted Potatoes

You start this recipe off two days before by putting the roast into a brine - brining is the secret to incredibly tender, flavourful pork every single time.

Brine Recipe

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Kosher salt (or 6 tablespoons of table salt)
  • 3 cups of hot water
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  1. In a large, wide pan or bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt in 3 cups of hot water
  2. Add the Bay leaves, Allspice, peppercorns, garlic and 5 cups of cold water; stir to combine
  3. Add the pork loin to the brine and cover the container with plastic wrap
  4. Refrigerate 12-24 hours
  5. Remove the pork loin from the brine and rinse well in cold water, removing the spices from the meat
  6. Dry the pork loin thoroughly with paper towels

Pork Roast

  • One 4 pound boneless pork loin
  • Apple Sage Dressing Recipe (if you want to serve your pork with this delicious dressing)
  • 1 large jar of apricot or apple jelly (apple is better but its hard to find)
  • 1/2 an onion cut into quarters
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into large chunks
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and cut into quarters
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, herbes de provence (or thyme if you don't have any)
  • 2 packages Pork Gravy mix

  1. After removing your roast from the brine and drying it with paper towels, sprinkle with salt (about two tsps) pepper (about one tsp) garlic powder (one or two tbsp), and herbes de provence or thyme (about one tbsp) and rub it all into the meat.
  2.  Place your carrots, celery, onion, and apple into the bottom of a roasting pan that has been sprayed with PAM or lightly rubbed with oil, and place the roast on top. Your vegetables will act as a roasting rack.

Roast it in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, heat the jelly in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until melted (5-7 minutes) and set aside.

After it's been in for 20 minutes, remove the roast from the oven and brush all over with jelly. Using tongs or a meat fork, turn the roast so that the bottom side faces up (it really is better with apple jelly - you can find it in specialty food stores - but the apricot is a fine replacement)

Return the roast to the oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees F, cover and continue cooking for two hours basting again with the jelly after an hour.

When the roast is done, remove it to a carving board and let stand about 30 minutes.

While the roast is resting, its time to make the gravy.

Remove the celery from your roasting pan and then mash all the remaining vegetables and apple into the pan juices. Add two tbsp of flour to make a paste, two packages of gravy mix, and four cups water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, taste to adjust seasonings, set aside.

Carve the meat into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch thick slices, place on a cookie sheet and ladle gravy over top. Cover with foil and refrigerate when cool.

Cover, cool, and refrigerate the additional gravy.

Apple and Sage Stuffing(make ahead the day before and then refrigerate until ready to bake)

  • 6 stale hamburger buns ripped into stuffing size chunks
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 1 green apple diced small
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp dry sage powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup craisins (optional but they add a nice colour)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  1. Saute onion, celery, and apple in the oil and butter until onion is soft and translucent, add craisins just to mix.
  2. Add that mixture to the torn buns.
  3. Add spices, almonds, and salt, mix well with hands.
  4. Add chicken stock and butter mix well
  5. Spray a casserole dish with PAM.
  6. Pack it all into the casserole dish, cover, cool, and refrigerate.

I know!

Finally, the potatoes...

I LOVE this recipe!

Crash Hot Potatoes

Boil a whole bunch of little Yukon gold potatoes with their skins on.

When they're tender, place on a cookie sheet that has been well oiled and smash each down with a potato masher.

Brush the tops with a mixture of half extra virgin olive oil and half butter. Be generous - this ain't diet food ;)

Sprinkle the tops with kosher salt (again, be generous, potatoes like salt - taste a little piece), pepper, and chives if you have them.

Cool, Cover on the cookie sheet, and put in the fridge.

The next day you will look like the most brilliantly organized cook because the hard work has already been done. This way you can enjoy a cocktail with your guests.

Now, here's what you do:

  1. An hour and a half before dinner, take your potatoes, roast, and stuffing out of the fridge and let them warm up a bit on the counter.Preheat your oven to 450 and after they've sat out for 20 minutes, put your potatoes into the oven on the top rack.
  2. When the potatoes have been in the oven 25 minutes, turn oven down to 325.
  3. Uncover your roast and add about a half cup of water to the bottom of the cookie sheet. Cover with tinfoil and put into oven along with your stuffing. Leave it all in, including the potatoes for another half hour.
  4. Reheat your gravy on the stove.
  5. After a half hour pull it all out. If the stuffing isn't heated through pop it into the microwave for a couple minutes.

I like to serve it all up on a platter with a jug of gravy on the side.

In this rendition, I put the stuffing into mushroom caps, but actually prefer it on its own.

Make sure you have chopped fresh parsley on hand to make it look pretty ;)

And that's the blog...

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
~Erma Bombeck

Here's wishing each of you a lifetime filled with happiness, family, and Sunday dinners.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mave's Fish Tacos

These simple and healthy little tacos were just delicious!

Throw them together for a quick weeknight dinner or a relaxed Saturday evening meal.

Either way, these zesty rolls will be sure hit with family and friends...


Mave's Fish Tacos

Marinade for Fish

In a large bowl combine...
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper diced
Marinate 6 sole filets (or other mild white fish) 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

When fish has marinated, transfer it, and all of the marinade, to a baking sheet that has been covered with tin foil and brushed with olive oil. Make a pocket.

Fully cover, including the top - the fish will steam in the marinade mixture creating a beautiful flavour.

Slaw Mix

Meanwhile, mix together

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 salsa
2 tbs cilantro
1 cup shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix (enough to make a nice slaw)
1/2 can corn

Bake fish just until tender (about 20 minutes) put into soft taco shells, top with fresh tomatoes and salsa mix, roll and enjoy!