Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Friday, October 27, 2006

To the ham roast

I would like to issue a public apology to the ham roast, which I grossly mistreated this afternoon. I took a perfectly good piece of meat and dumped it into the crock pot with some chicken broth, an onion, and some fresh herbs -- without even browning it. Sure, I eventually came to my senses and removed it to a baking pan, covered it with grapes, and roasted it in the oven for 30 minutes or so. And true, when I removed the ham and grapes and reduced the sauce with butter and mustard, stirring in a little balsamic vinegar at the end, I came up with a delicately sweet and rich sauce. But with a ham roast there should have been a glaze. There should have been a variety of textures. There should have been fatty juices oozing out. Instead, the meat was mushy, almost mealy. Oh I failed you, ham roast.

To see the recipe that inspired this sad tale please see below from the New York Times.

What a difference a morning activity followed by a solid nap makes! For Jasper, not me. Well, maybe for me, too. Jasper and I had two great days even though he came down with a cold this morning. I got to remember what a swell, fun little guy he is. Those of you who don't have kids -- please, be patient with your parent friends who insist on strict naptimes and rigid schedules. It's probably a drag, but they're doing it for their own sanity. I would adhere to a schedule, too, if I had any sort of discipline at all.

Happy birthday to my beautiful sister, Angelica!

Pork Loin With Grapes

1 3-pound boneless center-cut pork loin
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme, plus 6 whole sprigs
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped rosemary, plus 3 whole sprigs
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped sage, plus 3 whole sprigs
½ cup Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
6 shallots, peeled and halved through the root
1 pound red seedless grapes, snipped into 6 small bunches
½ cup port
½ cup chicken stock.

1. Tie the pork loin with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals. In a shallow dish large enough to hold the pork, whisk together the chopped herbs, mustard, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, teaspoon salt and teaspoon pepper. Add the pork and coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

2. One hour before cooking, bring the pork to room temperature. Scrape off and reserve the marinade, then season the meat with salt and pepper.

3. Place a roasting pan in the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a large saute pan over high heat. Add 2 more tablespoons of the oil and heat until smoking. Add the pork and sear about 4 minutes on each side, until well browned. Transfer fat side down to the roasting pan. Set the saute pan aside. Rub the reserved marinade over the pork and top with half the butter and the herb sprigs. Place the pan in the oven and cook the meat for 75 minutes, or until the center reaches 125 degrees.

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the potatoes, shallots and grapes with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. After the pork has cooked for 15 minutes, place the potatoes cut side down around the pork. Lay the grapes and shallots over the potatoes.

5. Drain the saute pan of fat and return to medium-high heat. When hot, add the port and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. When nearly evaporated, add the chicken stock and return to a boil. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve set over a serving bowl. Cover and keep warm.

6. When the pork is done, transfer to a cutting board. Cover lightly with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve on a platter over the grapes, potatoes and shallots, accompanied by the sauce. Serves 6. Loosely adapted from ”Sunday Suppers at Lucques,” by Suzanne Goin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those who is strict about nap and bedtime for the sake of my own sanity. With most kids, a lot of misbehavior can be tied to being tired and hungry. When my kids act up, my first thoughts are to a) whether there has been any change in the routine, b) whether they are getting sick, and c) whether they might be having a growth spurt. For a and c, more and more regular food and sleep is almost always the remedy.

I think the rigidity about nap and bedtime is also for the benefit of the childless and other friends, though they may not appreciate it at the time (when it impinges on spending time with their parent friends). We have friends with a three year old and a one year old, and from what I can tell they are NOT strict about bedtime (the dad is frequently out of town, so when he is in town he wants to spend time with his son even if it means staying up late), and their kid is frequently a whiny nightmare as a result. Even though I know why he's being a crab, it only makes it marginally less annoying (especially when the issue persists because they don't change their habits). So sometimes I'm not all that excited to spend time with them (though I love the parents) because I can be pretty certain that their kid is going to have a temper tantrum when I tell him not to drive the huge Tonka truck on my living room couch (to give just one real-life example).