I got this crazy idea earlier this week to cook something.
And I don't mean throw some crap in the crock pot.
And I definitely didn't mean call Saint and ask him to throw something on the BBQ.
No I meant, pull out my Martha Stewart Cooking School book (thanks mom) and cook something that took time and preparation.
Which is code for eating after cussing and burning of the skin. My skin that is. Not the meat's.
After a day of pampering for my mom (pedicures and manicures, eyebrow waxing, lunch and Target) I got home, picked up the eight ton book and started flipping. Because it was after 3pm, closely rounding 3:30 I figured something quicker was more appropriate.
I chose Roasted Pork Loin with Pancetta and Sage (the recipe on Martha Stewart's website is a bit different than the one from my book) and sided with double baked potatoes (Saint's recipe). It sounded good and right up my alley - simple ingredients, few ingredients and enough work that I would feel accomplished.
When shopping, the store had all but butcher's twine which was okay because they ended up just giving me a good long piece of it for free. Whoot! Another reason why Martha is correct in saying "Making friends with your butcher is a good thing!"
The pork roast they had to choose from with either, over 5lbs or under 1.5lbs. Since there was only the two of us, I went for the smaller of the two. (and the cheaper) The pancetta was fun to locate because I had no idea what it was. I assumed it was some sort of bacon or similar to it, but the butcher cleared it up for me. (he was so helpful) I even filled out a guest comment card!
My biggest problem when cooking is figuring out how to make all the pieces come together at the same time. I usually end up with one item coming out, ready, about 15 minutes before the other(s). This time I tried to coordinate it, but didn't realize til later that the potatoes took about an hour to cook just to get ready to scoop and fill, then cook. (are you laughing yet?)
I sprinkled the meat with salt and pepper and then put it in the pan to sear all sides. It said brown all sides, but I wasn't sure exactly what brown meant til it started to really cook. Brown meaning: slightly brown? dark brown? different shades of brown? (but I was excited when it turned out to look brown)
I was trying so hard to make it look like the photos in the book that I cut the strings too short. After much cussing, I tied the strings together and then recut so they barely fit around the edges. (I had forgotten that my cut of meat was smaller by quite a bit) Thankfully, I am resourceful so I was able to make it work.
Once again, thanking mom, for her awesome pans that can go in the oven, I was pretty pleased that the pork loin looked like the picture. (close enough anyway after it had been beaten up a bit)
I then focused my attention to the potatoes that I pulled out of the oven and put in the microwave to cook a bit quicker. (again a mom trick) I cut each one in half, cutting off the top of the potato, scooping it into the bowl, then scooped out the inside of the half of potato and then mixing it with cheese, sour cream and half and half. (notice my mistake here? I didn't) Mixed, scooped back into the two halves and put in the oven for baking.
I checked the pork loin a few times, spooning the little bit of the juice on to the top. (seriously how did I end up with little to no juice in the bottom of my pan - it wasn't even at full med-high heat?) I burned my hand twice on the metal piece on the handle. OUCH!!
Mental note: buy more pot holders because holy cow the one I have isn't enough!! Also, very much appreciate the book and movie, Julie & Julia, because it is crazy hard to cook sometimes. (or all the time in my case)
First time I pulled out the potatoes to check the baking, Saint came over to observe and give the ever needed kisses of support and says, "where are the other halves of the potatoes?"
Me: "What other halves?"
then it dawned on me
Me: Oh crap, I cut it in half and then mixed it in, like deviled eggs. Oh crap, I don't do that with deviled eggs either. Since I had two potatoes, there should have been four halves. I had two. Heavily filled, I might add.
He smiled and I had to laugh.
This is so me and cooking. We don't go together so well, but I manage to keep a some-what healthy some-what distant relationship. Which I try so hard to limit the gap, but we have a bit of a low tolerance relationship.
After about twenty minutes of the pork loin cooking, I pulled it out to check the temperature to make sure it was good. It hit 130 degrees and then started to slow. I am silently praying it would hit the required 138 degrees. I turn around for two minutes and all of a sudden Saint starts telling me the temperature - 137, 140, 145 - and still rising.
Okay, it's done. Yes? Uhm, yes.
It requires 10 minutes to sit and . . . whatever it does for that time. So technically the meat was done with the potatoes.
They turned out yummy and despite the fact that I burned my hand three times - once badly enough to require neosporin and a little lovin' from Saint. (the man wanted to go out and get a gauze wrap to maintain my lovely hand)
Here's the Martha link for the recipe, but you should really get the book. Really. Seriously, I would love for a personal lesson from Martha. Course, she'd probably not survive.
Or it could be the funniest episode she's ever had.