Thursday, November 18, 2010

Honey Pork & Disgusting Green Sprouts

Last Monday evening was pork roast night! Cooking the roast was all up to me. All SP did was get it out to thaw and then put it in a baking dish with the meat thermometer stuck into it. I really wasn't sure how to season it - I wanted something easy but yummy but I just couldn't figure out what! Finally, I remembered a 'Honey Marinated Pork Chops' recipe in one of my binders and I decided that even though it was for pork chops, it could be used on a roast.

It also made use of some of the CSA honey we've received. It's a very simple marinade:

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground mustard

This recipe is one I cut out from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette long, long ago. Salt & pepper seasoned pork chops are marinated for 5-10 minutes then cooked in a bit of oil in a skillet.

I tripled the marinade recipe for the roast. I stabbed the roast with a knife to make 'holes' for the marinade to seep into and then salted & peppered the roast. Next I drizzled about 3/4 of the marinade over the roast and then put it in the oven at 350 (around 5:30 pm).

With the pork in the oven and the meat thermometer set to 'Pork - Medium' I moved on to the potatoes. We had a bunch of different kinds of CSA potatoes in our potato 'bin' (a large plastic container). I decided to use them all! I washed the potatoes and tried to pluck of some eyeballs that were sprouting while I washed them, but quickly decided to just peel the potatoes since they were a bit older, a bit too eyebally, and a bit bruised/brown in some spots.

I do not enjoy peeling potatoes. We have 2 peelers. One seems to be slightly duller than the other and of course there's no way to tell them apart and of course I grabbed the dull peeler. I struggled and of course peeled the knuckle on my thumb. This resulted in cursing, a trip to the bathroom for band-aids, and me grabbing the other peeler. It worked much better.After I peeled and cubed all the potatoes, I chopped some onion and added it to the casserole dish. Then I seasoned it all with salt & pepper, sprinkled in dried rosemary, and drizzled in olive oil. A few quick stirs with a large wooden spoon to make sure the oil coated everything and the potato & onion dish got plopped into the oven.

When I put the potatoes in the oven (at 6:23 pm), I also drizzled the rest of the pork marinade over the top of the pork.

Next up: brussel sprouts. Far from my favorite veggie. But we received some in last week's CSA box so I figured I should do something with them. Roasting sounded good!! This was my first time cooking fresh brussel sprouts. My mom only served the boxed frozen ones when I was growing up and I dreaded brussel sprout night. Many years later, I found out that mom & dad never really liked brussel sprout night, either. Mom was just looking for variety and wanted us to try a lot of veggies.I wasn't sure how to prepare them. As I washed them, I decided that chopping off the hard stem bottoms seemed like a good idea and peeling off the outer leaves seemed like a good idea. I plopped them in a small casserole dish and thought a bit more. I had read online that brussel sprouts should be well salted, more than you would normally salt a veggie, so I salted away and peppered away and drizzled on olive oil and then thought that lemon would be a nice addition.

Unfortunately I was running behind schedule and I feared the sprouts wouldn't cook in time so in the interest of saving time, instead of washing and zesting and squeezing a fresh lemon, I grabbed a jar of dried lemon peel that we have in our spice drawer. I guessed and just dumped some lemon peel in. I got a clean spoon and stirred it all up and plopped the sprouts in the oven at 6:39 pm.

Since I figured I wouldn't really like the brussel sprouts and since SP really likes veggies and since I feel like we haven't eaten enough veggie lately, I decided to make a salad, too. Spinach salad. We have a big container of spinach from Costco and it'll probably take us all week to use it. Even though we used a large bowl of spinach on Sunday for the polenta pizza and a side salad, it looked like we hadn't even opened the container of spinach.

I washed the spinach and added the last of the CSA goat cheese feta and some of the jarred roasted red pepper. We used the homemade olive oil-red wine vinegar dressing that was in the refrigerator.SP got home around 6:55 pm and the roast had just hit its target temperature (160). We took it out and covered it with foil. While it rested, the potatoes & brussel sprouts continued roasting. They were still firm.

So we ate our salad while the pork rested and the other stuff roasted. We sliced the pork around 7:15 pm. It was still quite juicy and it was very tasty with the caramelized honey. Yum! But I also couldn't help but wish the marinade had a bit more zing to it - maybe a Dijon mustard instead of ground mustard? Maybe add an herb like rosemary?

The potatoes came out of the oven at 7:20 pm - so almost an hour in the oven. They could have roasted a bit longer - they were still a bit firm for my liking and not browned enough plus the onion I added wasn't browned/caramelized, it was just white & soft. I was disappointed and mad at myself for not getting the potatoes in the oven sooner. Then again, I hadn't factored in time for peeling because I didn't realize they were so sprouty and I hadn't factored in time to deal with my peeled & bleeding thumb knuckle not once but twice since the first band-aid quickly fell off. I had to go back in the bathroom to wash it and apply a fresh band-aid. I wrapped bandage tape around the second band-aid to ensure that it stayed in place!

The brussel sprouts. SP said they were done after about 35-40 minutes roasting. He liked them. I tried a half of one. And then washed the taste in my mouth out with lots of water and pork!This is one veggie that I am not changing my mind on as I get older. I still think they're gross, just like when I was a kid. Good thing SP likes these little leafy balls of grossness!

As usual, making lots of food gives us leftovers for 2 more dinners so easy dinners during the week! Hopefully the potatoes & onions will cook more and get crispy brown when they get reheated. And happily, the brussel sprouts are gone.

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