Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A New Day, A New Modem

Hooray, we're back up and running chez Diva. Turns out my modem had died for good - which is what I suspected. So frustrating! I hope this will be the end of my connectivity woes for a while now. I *need* my internet!

You'd think that with the internet down and all that free time that I'd have been cooking up a storm ... or at least penning some brilliant new posts ... and you'd be wrong. We had the left-over chard soup for dinner on Friday night and on Sunday we went to a local Greek place for a quick and yummy meal.

I did make a lovely roast pork loin for dinner on Saturday - to go with the rest of the lemon roast potatoes. Sadly, there will be no picture to go along with today's recipe. I couldn't find my camera. Where was it? Hiding in plain sight on top of my computer armoire. No one knows why. If I had to guess I'd say it was because Zelda was busy launching herself onto the desk and I must have moved it out of her reach. She is one destructive little cat!

Anyway, that's why you're looking at this picture of our roving garden gnome instead of my delicious roast pork. This little gnome travels the garden in hopes of scaring off the bunnies who live beneath Mama Diva's pine trees. I guess he must be working because so far bro hasn't lost any crops. I wonder if he'd be able to protect my internet connection? Must look into that.

And now for the recipe of the day. I've combined two favorite recipes here. The rub for the pork is courtesy of my friend Deb - she of the Talapia fame - and the garlic and rum I used come from Julie Rosso's "Fresh Start" cookbook. Julie Rosso was part of the "Silver Palate" duo and "Fresh Start" was written after she had some health issues. Its a collection of wonderful, healthy and flavorful recipes. I do recommend it, but I think it must be out of print - because I could not find it on Amazon.

Normally this rub is used for pork tenderloins and I must say it is outstanding. Deb passed this one on to me years ago and it has been a favorite ever since. This is the first time I've tried it on a full loin roast and it worked just as well. I almost never make this rub the same way twice - sometimes I'll add in some herbs de Provence, or maybe some thyme ... I use the basic ratio of salt/pepper/spice and just add in whatever sounds good to me at the time. It is as delicious as it is versatile.

Garlic Infused Salt and Pepper Pork Roast:

For the rub:
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. good quality dried rosemary*
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
Combine the pepper, salt and rosemary in the bowl of a mortar and pestle and grind until the consistency of a fine powder is achieved. Add the minced garlic, stir to combine and reserve.

* By good quality, I mean not the dessicated stuff that has been hanging around your cupboard for six thousand years. Keep your spices fresh - so they will have some flavor.

For the Pork Roast:

  • one 4.5 pound center-cut loin of pork roast*
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 1 tbsp. dark rum
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, cut into large slices
  • some low-sodium chicken broth
  • water
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, make several vertical slits all over the top of the pork roast and insert a sliver of garlic into each. Pour the tablespoon of rum over the roast and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved salt/spice/garlic mixture over the roast and rub it in over all sides. Cover and allow the seasoned meat to rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Heat oil in heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat. (I use a cast iron skillet.) Add pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced onions to the bottom of the pan and transfer the skillet to the pre-heated oven. Roast at 350 degrees for approximately 1.5 hours - depending on the size of your roast - or until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 165 - 170 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer.

Remove from oven, transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, deglaze the bottom of the skillet with a mixture of chicken broth and water to form a thin sauce. You can certainly reduce it, or make a proper gravy - but I don't usually bother with that. Just serve the pork, topped with the pan sauce and call it dinner!

*I used a 4.5 pound roast, but if you're cooking for a larger crowd, you'll need a bigger one and will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. As written, this will make @ three servings. The rum will cook away and the meat will be left with a nice savory, garlicy flavor. A perfect accompaniment to the lemon roast potatoes. I hope you'll try it!


Miss Caught Up said...

The recipe sounds really good! I'll have to try it out when I go on my anti-shopping and anti-eating out challenge! :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Uh oh ... I'm not sure if I like the sound of that challenge. I mean, as a kitchen Diva, I can get behind the "anti-eating out" part ... but the "anti-shopping" ... surely you jest!


Lisa said...

You're making me hungry! Thanks for your visit to my blog.

Deb said...

I make a similar roast pork but deglaze the hot pan with a nice red wine - yummy.

I also found a fabulous maple mustard roast pork on eatingwell.com. It has maple syrup and sage and dijon and is to die for. I recommend it highly - everyone I've cooked ot for or given the recipe to has loved it as well.

Glad you're back on line - we've missed your posts dreadfully Diva.



Anti-shopping!? Are you mad woman!? Seriously, I would imagine this is quite a difficult little task!

Anyway, at first when I looked at the little gnome I thougt you were going to say that it had travelled the word a la Amelie - but I guess this is enough excitement for a gnome!

Scarlet xx

The Diva on a Diet said...

Lisa - loved your blog and thanks for stopping by mine!

Deb - mmm, maple syrup! The combination of maple, sage and mustard sounds divine. I will def. seek out that recipe. Thanks for the tip!

Scarlet - I must make a shameful confession ... I still haven't seen "Amelie" ... I have to remedy that!