Sunday, February 24, 2008
My mother-in-law Jeanne has a toy poodle named Henri. Henry is approximately 8 pounds of hair and attitude.
Two years ago my in-laws were planning to spend some extended time in the Caribbean and Henri wasn't going to be able to make the trip. While the official story is that there was some confusion regarding his immunization record, there has always been a nagging suspicion that in our post 9/11 world, Homeland Security had placed Henri on its "no-fly" list. Regardless of the reason, Henri came to live with us. What made the experience interesting is that Seashell Sal has always been allergic to animals, yet for some inexplicable reason she was perfectly fine around him (I know, I know, everyone says poodles are OK for allergy sufferers).
A visit that was supposed to be a few weeks turned into nearly three months. In fact it went so well that when it came time for Hank to go home, we decided to get our own poodle. You'll be hearing about Marley in the future (by the way, he's named after Bob the singer, not that spastic dog from the book).
As a thank you gift, Jeanne bought me an oval, 6 3/4 Quart, cast iron, enamel coated Le Creuset Dutch Oven. While it took me some time to get fully acclimated to the pot, it's become one of my indispensable tools in the kitchen. The pot is versatile, heavy and retains its heat superbly. At 6 3/4 quarts it can handle a 5 lb. chicken, a 5 - 6 rib pork roast, any kind of soup and undoubtedly an eight pound toy poodle, though that would be a recipe for another day.
Le Creuset products are expensive. But it's my personal opinion that you're better off buying a few high quality pieces instead of repeatedly spending money on throw away products. You'll have this pot forever. You'll leave it to your kids. They can bury you in it. The uses are endless. I'm sure other people make good enamel coated cast iron products, but I've only had experience with Le Creuset. I'm a fan, if you get one you will be as well.
Today's recipe is from The Silver Spoon Cookbook (Phaidon Press). It's my understanding that this cookbook is the Italian equivalent of The Joy of Cooking, it's a great book and we'll be seeing a number of recipes from it.
Roast Pork with Orange
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Orange Juice (strained)
1 teaspoon orange rind
1 garlic clove, chopped
Pinch of Red Flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like things)
Pinch of dried oregano
4 rib Frenched Pork Loin roast (Frenched means the ends of the bones have been scraped clean)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Melt the butter in a pot, add the orange juice, orange rind, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano. Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Place the roast in a dutch oven (uncovered) or in a roasting pan. Pour on the butter and juice mixture. Baste occasionally while roasting. Remove from the oven after 1 1/2 hours. Lightly cover the roast with foil and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes. Carve, serve with potatoes and steamed asparagus. Sit back and bask in your new found talent.
Wine ideas: German Riesling, California Sauvignon Blanc or California Merlot
Sorry no pictures today, if you've done it right, and you have if you've followed the directions, the roast will have a glossy brown color and the potatoes will have an almost candied flavore.
Tip 1: You can do the same thing we did with the chicken and place small potatoes under the pork and roast them together.
Tip 2: You can go half lemon juice and half orange juice in the butter for a bit more bite.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Active Cooking Time: 5 minutes (melting butter, come on how hard is that?)
Passive Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Clean-Up: One roasting pan and the pot for the butter.
OK crablings, that's it for meal number two. Go forth and roast. You may have noticed I've added a link to Amazon on the side bar. You can get the cookbook and all sorts of Le Creuset stuff there if you're interested. See you in few days, until then...
Remember, you can do it, you can cook.