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Holiday Cheer

December 4, 2006

I love to cook. It has been my profession most of my life and while I do not get paid for cooking most every meal at my house for my family I see it as a job that I must do. I have some recipes that I would like to share and they are inspired by my friend Genie and her wonderful garden. Living in the City and fearing rats I rely on my local farmers market for most of our fresh produce, cheeses and flowers/plants. So if you garden, dig it up and put it to good use. If not, find a farmers market or make friends with folks who may have too many of whatever they are growing. Go apple picking and make a pie in the fall/winter. Get pumpkins and make a pie from them. So, without delay, here are some good things to eat this holiday season. Feel free to add your favorite recipe also in the comments.

Pork Roast Roulade

6 lb pork roast—butterflied. DIY or ask your butcher it will be no extra charge even at the grocery store. Trim off excess fat.

1lb Country Bacon–you will lay this across the roulade after you are done stuffing it.

Saute in a deep pot:
1 lb mixed mushrooms (use a variety for depth of flavor) chopped fine
3 large apples (again use a couple different kind, like a Macintosh, a granny) chopped fine and peeled
1 small onion finely diced
2-6 cloves garlic finely minced (to your taste)
2 stalks celery finely diced
2 large carrots finely diced

Use some EVOO and some butter, about 3 tablespoons of each to saute until just cooked but not mushy.
When done, add some fresh chopped sage or dry to your taste (atleast a tablespoon of fresh and a tsp of dry)
some thyme (same measurements)
Take off the stove and set aside to cool.

Salt and Pepper lightly both sides of butterflied pork roast

When the mixture is cool enough spread it over the flat meat and then gently roll it up, placing it seam side down in a large rectangular pan–glass is good.

Lay bacon over the top of roast overlapping it slightly and tucking ends under the roast. Try to get NO NITRATE bacon, applewood smoked bacon is really good for this.

Use large wooden skewers or steel skewers to keep the beast together during cooking. You can tie it but don’t get silly with the string it just sticks to the bacon and you don’t want to rip it off after it is cooked! I like to pierce the roast through the bottom sideways through the beast so that the skewers are level with the baking dish,not sticking up out of the top of the meat. They might burn if you use wooden ones.

Place a small cut up apple, a few whole mushrooms, a small onion just cut in half with the skin on inside the baking dish with the beast. Put about 1/2 cup apple cider, sparkling cider or juice in pan and add about another cup of water.

Put it into the fridge for about 20 minutes and let your oven preheat to 400 f.

Cook at 400 for about 20-30 mintues. Turn heat down to 350 and cook for about an 1 1/2 hours. Use a thermometer to make sure it is cooked to about 185 f. If the bacon is not crisp enough turn up the heat or use a broiler to brown off bacon. Watch it carefully so it does not burn!!

When thoroughly cooked, remove it from the pan and place on a serving dish to rest. Strain pan juices, all of them into a saute pan to make gravy. When boiling, add a milk and flour mixture (about 2 tblspns to about 1/3 cup milk) Using a whisk, drizzle it in and whisk away.

Slice along the lines of bacon for portions using a bread knife or serrated knife. Pour gravy over each slice.


Stove top Pumpkin Pie

Buy a can of pumpkin and follow ingredients on label EXCEPT…just pour contents into a large pot on stove and cook it until it becomes thick and creamy. You will stir like a crazy person for about 10-15 minutes while it thickens. Scrape the bottom and don’t burn it. Keep the heat low if you are nervous and just cook for a bit longer.

Use prepared (or homemade) graham cracker crusts tartlett shells. Cool pumpkin filling slightly and fill each tartlett with mixture. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Serve with Ginger Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Chill a metal bowl or ceramic bowl and beaters for best results. Finely!! mince some fresh ginger, about 1/2 tsp. Add about same amount of cinnamon. When cream is firm peak stage, add 1 1/2 tsps vanilla. Add about 2-3 tblspns of powdered or superfine sugar. Use a pint of whipping cream. Make sure your bowl is big enough and deep enough to hold 3 times the volume of cream when done.

Top each tartlett with a generous heaping of cream and LIGHTLY dust with Cinnamon.

Roast Sweet and White Potatoes

Dice into 1 inch cubes a bunch of sweet and white potatoes…figure about 1 whole potato per person.

Toss with EVOO and your favorite spice. I like Mrs. Dash but don’t go crazy. Also Herbs De Provence are so nice. Add a bit of course salt and some black pepper if you use the herbs only.

Preheat oven to about 450 and bake for about 45 minutes. About 1/2 way through stir them using the back of a thin spatula to unstick them and turn them over to brown evenly. We like them crispy in our house so we would cook them about 15 minutes more.

Spinach Salad

1 bag spinach (with no E.coli in it please)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup dried cherries chopped up a bit
Toast in a pan or in oven about 2/3 cup of nuts ( I like pecans but you can use walnuts, pinenuts…whatever)
Some crumbled favorite cheese / Suggestions: Red Dragon, Blue, Ricotta Salada, Goat, Sharp cheddar….whatever!

Dressing: Classic French Vinagrette

1 part balsamic vinegar
2 parts GOOD EVOO
1 clove garlic minced finely
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
dash pepper and salt
good pinch of sugar or a drip of maple syrup
1/2 tsp tarragon (dry is fine)

Toss with salad just as you are about to serve and sprinkle cheese on top.

More to come …..

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2006 2:50 am

    OK…there’s some major yum going on here — the pork roast sounds really fabulous. I’m going to have to give that one a whirl. And the rest of them — also fabulous! The stovetop pumpkin pie sounds really cool!

    Thanks for sharing…and for the shoutout!

    🙂 Genie
    The Inadvertent Gardener

  2. December 4, 2006 1:51 pm

    I’m going to be brave and make the pork for Christmas dinner – it’s soooooooooo good!

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