I had been wanting to roast a whole pork loin with some sort of stuffing so I figured there is no better time than a Friday night. I love cornbread stuffing but hardly ever make it, so I figured I would do a cornbread stuffing. What I usually see at Whole Foods in the meat case is the whole pork loin without the bone, so I figured that is what I will get. When I got to the store early on Friday morning they still hadn't stocked the pork roasts in the case so I asked for one and he asked me "do you want it with or without the bone?" Well I had to say with the bone, because I never see it like that anymore. So the pork would be slightly different than my original thought.
Fried Cheese atop Button Mushroom and Parsley Salad
I know mushroom and parsley salad, it sounds weird, but let me tell you it's fantastic! I never was a big mushroom person but I like them much more these days. When I saw Giada De Laurentiis do this on Food Network one day a couple years ago I thought, "I won't be making that any time soon"... But just a couple weeks ago my boss at work was talking food with me and he said they had this salad and he's not a big mushroom fan either and he raved about it. So of course I had to try it. Giada shaves Parmesan Reggiano on top which is good too (we had that for lunch today, Sunday) but while I was coming up with the menu for Friday I was looking though Laura Calder's book "French Food at Home" (also the name of her show on cookingchannel) and she has a dish called "Fried Cheese", which is Gruyere, Emmental or Comte cheese that is cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces and its dipped in egg then a combination of ground almonds and bread crumbs then browned in butter in a non stick pan. After a couple minutes they are done and she suggests serving it with a salad so that's when I thought of the mushroom and parsley salad. The mushrooms to me tasted like a very mild radish, but really the main taste is the lemon in the dressing, it's fresh and clean tasting and perfect with the cheese.
Corn Bread Stuffed Bone-in Pork Loin Roast with Spicy Caper, Port and Madeira Sauce
I could have figured out a corn bread stuffing but I just looked on line to see if there was a recipe that caught my eye, and there was one by Micheal Symon that everyone loved so I gave it a go. His is made with red bell pepper, onions, celery, garlic, corn, smoked ham, heavy cream, cilantro and parsley. I didn't do the corn or smoked ham, but I followed the rest of it and it really was good. I brined the pork for about 3 hours and hollowed out the middle of the pork (which killed me because it looked like it would be perfect to leave it as is), but I had a plan so I used a long skinny knife and my knife sharpener iron to stretch it a bit. I stuffed the corn bread stuffing in the center (after it was cooled down) and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to cook it. About an hour before cooking I brought it to room temperature then seasoned with salt and pepper, then seared it in a hot pan for about 5 minutes then into the oven (set at 350) until it registered 155 degrees. I removed it from the oven and covered with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes while I finished cooking the vegetables and sauce. The sauce was reduced port and madeira wine with stock, shallots, thyme, bay leaves and it called for green peppercorns, but they were out of them at the store so I used capers instead with a bit of red chili flakes. Just before serving you swirl in some butter and as it melts it becomes glossy and slightly thicker.
Ginger Onion Swiss Chard
This was also in my new Laura Calder cookbook. When ever I make Swiss chard it's usually just with some garlic and I usually finish it with a splash of vinegar. So when I saw this with fresh ginger and lemon, I had to try it. Basically you soften the onions and garlic in oil then add the finely chopped chard stems and ginger, after they are softened you add the leaves of the chard and cook them until tender. Finish with lemon and season with salt and pepper. It was yummy.
Coconut Cakes with Caramel Sauce and Brown Butter Ice Cream
Again from Laura Calder, I came across this coconut cake recipe. They are baked in individual financiers pans (I don't know really what they are but she says they are shallow rectangular shaped). But she says if you don't have these pans you can use muffin tins. I happened to have 4 mini rectangular pans so I used those along with a muffin pan for the remaining batter. They are so easy to make, you combine melted butter with confectioners sugar, shredded coconut, flour, egg whites and vanilla. There are no machines or anything just a bowl and a whisk. You are done in about 5 minutes then they bake for a total of 15-20 minutes. I decided to make a caramel sauce to accompany the cakes and well...ice cream always makes things taste that much better. I remember a brown butter ice cream from my new "Avec Eric" cookbook. I decided the combination of the three of those would taste nice together...and I was right. Wow, this is really a great combination, I will be making this again and again. On our trip to the Key's a few weeks back I had a coffee with my dessert that has Tuaca and Brandy in it and I keep thinking ..."we need to do that, it was so good"... so we didn't have Tuaca or Wiskey (for the Irish coffee) but we had brandy so we had a splash of that. I topped it with sweetened and lightly whipped cream. It was good but I remember the one on the Key's being even better. We gotta get some more Tuaca...