Cider-Sage Pork Roast

Sometimes dinner just comes together; at least in the beginning; I’ll explain more about that in a bit. I had picked up a pork roast on my last shopping trip. There was a little cider leftover in the fridge and some of my herbs are still going strong especially the sage.
IMG_3582.JPGLast Tuesday I think I was a little over ambitious; I blame vacation and not having a kitchen for a couple of weeks and the weather; fall is coming, well actually weather wise it is here and I love cooking roasts; it helps take the chill out of the air in the house. My husband keeps saying “winter is coming” but he is a Game of Thrones fan and he loves to ski.
IMG_3570.JPGThe front cover of one of my favorite foodie magazines Fine Cooking had a roasted pork loin on the cover that I wanted to try. It does help to actually read a recipe through before jump in and start making it. Which I hadn’t done; thankfully there was exactly 4 cups of cider left in the fridge; it was meant to be. If nothing else the brine was easy and made the pork taste exactly as I thought it would. A little sweet from the cider, just enough salt and very juicy – which you need to cook it to the correct temperature to help with the juicy part.
IMG_3575.JPGI had to run to the store after work to pick up the things I didn’t have on hand and that’s when it went and usually does go sideways. I needed a couple of apples and ended up grabbing enough to make an apple pie. Really Donna on a Tuesday night; what is wrong with me? There were going to be 5 of us for dinner and I started with making the pie crust around 5:30 I think we finally ate dinner around 7:30 – 8:00.
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While the pork was outstanding and cooked to perfection, I will admit it wasn’t because I had a firm grasp of the cooking process. It smelled like something was burning so I checked the oven and my potatoes, apples and onions were mostly charcoal. Since it was getting late I flipped the convection switch and the oven was on a ridiculously high temperature plus everyone was around the island looking at vacation pictures. Needless to say I was distracted and shit happens. But I made apple pie 🙂

Cider-Sage Pork roast

Brine
4 cups apple cider
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup kosher salt
3-5 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 lb. center cut pork loin

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together 2 cups of the cider, sugar, salt and garlic and bring to a simmer until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the other 2 cups of cider and cool to room temperature. Add the roast to a bag or bowl and cover with the brine, seal and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
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Roast
16 fresh sage leaves
3 large granny smith apples, 2 inch wedges
1 ½ lb small potatoes, similar to Yukon gold, halved – I used my potatoes from our garden
1 large red onion, ½ inch wedges
3 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups apple cider

Preheat oven to 425’F with the rack in the center of the oven
Bring the roast out to the counter to come to room temperature about 20-30 minutes.
IMG_3578.JPGIn a large roasting pan, toss the apples, potatoes and onion with half of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Roast until they are mostly tender around 20 minutes. While they are in the oven remove the pork from the brine and place on some paper towels. Discard the brine. Dry the pork. Using kitchen twine or if you are lucky enough to have silicon bands like mine. Tie in three evenly spaced spots. Take 12 sage leaves and place them under the twine. Season roast with black pepper.
IMG_3579.JPGWhile the veggies and apples are roasting, in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, Add the rest of the olive oil, and when hot sear all sides of the loin, don’t move the pork until it releases from the pan, which will ensure a nice brown crust.

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sorry about the lousy picture – but you get the gist

Place the pork roast onto the apples, potatoes and onions in the roasting pan. Reduce the heat to 350’F (which I didn’t do, another part of my problem) roast for about 60-80 minutes or until the roast registers 145’F check on it after 60 minutes. Once done let it rest for about 15 minutes.

I also missed this step. While the pork is resting, make a pan sauce. Pour off and discard any of the fat. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter, flour and the rest of the sage leaves torn into large pieces. Cook making sure to stir up ant brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cider and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
IMG_3574Remove the twine and thinly slice the pork. Serve with the apples, potatoes and onions along side the sauce.

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Easiest Pork Shoulder – slow cooker

I have heard a lot lately from people really interested in quick easy meals. I too really like it when you can throw together something quick and easy but doesn’t taste like you just threw some things on a plate. While we do like an occasional hotdog, beans and fries dinner; we for the most part want a little more love for dinner.

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I browned mine in my cast iron under the broiler in my oven

Even though most people think of their slow cooker more for warm, comfort winter meals, you really can use it all year long. Just yesterday the weather was supposed to be the nicest on the weekend so i knew i was going to be working in the yard for most of it and while I don’t mind raking a bit, I knew it was going to be more than that and that I would probably be too tired to pull dinner together. Yup I was right! I was out there for four hours raking ugh! But the yard is starting to look so good; as predicted I was spent!

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Adobo spices are one of my favorite – I put it on everything!

Luckily I had most of what I needed for a quick chicken chili, quick, easy and delicious! My slow cooker did all the work, all i needed to do was shred the chicken add top each bowl with some shredded cheese, sour cream and some scallions.
IMG_2688I have another recipe that is too good to be true. All you need is 5 ingredients plus your slow cooker. And you have the start of several dishes though we all really liked it as is.
IMG_26913 – 5 pound Pork butt or shoulder
¼ cup soy sauce
1 large onion sliced
Salt and pepper
½ cup water
also add any other spices you like onto your pork

Salt and pepper the roast liberally all over, either brown on top of the stove all over or place it in the pan and broil till browned.  In the oven is less immediate clean up which is nice too.

Place a few slices of onion in the bottom, lay the roast on top, cover with the remaining onions. Cover with the soy and water. Cook on low for the day and enjoy!
IMG_2689To make a complete dinner, I also cheated and bought a bowl of mashed potatoes and opened a can of corn.  I boiled down some of the leftover juice and used it it as a little au ju – it was so good I’ve already made it again and might be doing it again soon!

Leftover meat can be used in sandwiches, quesadilla, nachos.  That is if you have any leftover!

Sauteed Scallops & Swiss Chard

I have been craving scallops lately; when I order them out I love them fried; when I make them at home I tend to always sear them.  They take no time at all to cook so this could be a wonderful quick weeknight meal. Even though I made them; I still want to go out for some crispy, tender, juicy fried scallops. They are just plain delicate and delicious!
IMG_5359My husband has taken over the task from my son who is now living with his girlfriend; of asking me “what are we having for dinner?” When I said sauteed scallops & Swiss chard over rice. His face lit up and said Risotto? Well I was thinking wild rice but we haven’t had risotto in quite awhile so why not? Now I can tell you why not; since scallops are on the lighter side for flavor the heavy Parmesan flavored risotto overpowered my sauteed scallops.  Not to say dinner was a disaster; it was absolutely delicious and I would make it again, but with either a wild rice or jasmine or even a basmati rice. IMG_5355

Ingredients

Scallops – I buy by the quantity I want to serve each person plus a couple of tasting
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, add a couple of swirls of the olive oil. Add the chard and season with salt and pepper. Saute until just softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm
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Scallops; remove muscle, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. In the same pan over medium high heat and another swirl of olive oil. Add the scallops and cook; without moving so they get nice and browned; after 3 or so minutes turning once to finish cooking. They are done with they are still springy to the touch and no longer translucent. Approximately 3 minutes on each side. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm.
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Add another swirl of olive oil and saute the shallots till they are softened a couple of minutes. Add wine and boil until it’s almost evaporated. Stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add the broth, lemon juice, mustard and the thyme. Boil until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir till melted. Season with salt and pepper.


Place a spoon or two of rice on a plate or in a bowl; top with the chard and then arrange the scallops on top and then spoon the sauce over it.
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Pan-Seared Swordfish Steak w/mixed peppercorn butter

I was recently called out for not having any fish recipes; mentioned were two fish that yes I have never blogged about; one being salmon and I am just not a fan. If anyone wants to share their favorite salmon recipe, I might consider trying it but I make NO promises. I think it is a little too fishy tasting for me. The other fish mentioned was swordfish and I will admit I do make this for my guys as they both love it. I don’t / didn’t really have a “recipe” for it. My husband said to treat it like a steak so I always put my steak standard kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper with a little Adobo seasoning that I just can’t do without. They have never complained that it is the same all the time.

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roasted beet and marcona almond salad on fresh garden greens with a light lemon mustard vinaigrette

I will admit that we love most all seafood but we definitely don’t eat it enough. I have great intention of eating it at least once a week, but I am going to bow out by saying we don’t have a fish market anywhere close, but that is a pretty lame excuse even for me. While I do love fresh fish my local market at least has the white fish I like flash frozen and I do always have some in the freezer and it thaws super quick; though I would prefer fresh.

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So to appease my good friend SF I made swordfish steaks just a little different this time and I thought I would share it with not only him but with all of you.

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Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

1/2 stick of butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4  1-inch thick swordfish fillets

Mash together the first 5 ingredients and season with a little kosher salt.

Heat your skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil. Sprinkle swordfish on both sides with Kosher salt and mixed peppercorns. Place in skillet and cook till browned one first side; 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes till done.

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Transfer swordfish to plates and add the seasoned butter to the same skillet. Cook over medium heat, scrapping up any browned bits, until melted and bubbling. Pour butter sauce over swordfish and serve.

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this was way easier than crushing my own!