Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Cooking

So I've been enjoying having more freedom in my cooking since it's summer now. I had really reduced the cooking and dinner options to the bare essentials just to get through the end of the school year (blogged here). The whole 4-week menu rotation (and pre-made shopping lists) made cooking and eating regular dinners possible while I was working (now with two babies at home) but the freedom that has come with summer is really a big relief. So I've been trying some recipes from my recipe queue, and tonight I made a wintry menu, but it's something that I love and don't normally have time for during the school year. It's yum, just try it.

Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks

4 large leeks (2 ¼ lbs.)
½ c. water
1 T. butter
½ t. salt
½ t. pepper
2 lb. boneless pork loin
½ c. dry white wine
chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. Chop and wash the leeks. (You should have about 6 cups)
2. Put sliced leeks, ½ c. water, 1 t. butter, ¼ t. salt, and ¼ t. pepper in large Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Cook 10 minutes or until leeks have wilted. Pour the leeks into a bowl.
3. Heat 2 t. butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Add ¼ t. salt, ¼ t. pepper, and wine, and cook for 15 seconds, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Return leeks to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until pork is tender [it was better when I cooked it only 1 ½ hours; moister]. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to reduce leek sauce. Serve pork slices with leek sauce and garnish with parsley. Serves 6.

Source: Cooking Light
Ease of Prep: easy, but it has to cook for a while.
Rating: Excellent.

I also made some roasted vegetables from Linda Collister's Cooking With Children (shown above) and indeed Dieter really did cook with me--he helped sprinkle salt, toss the vegetables in olive oil, and arrange the rosemary in the pan. So basically what you do for this one is cut up in medium sized chunks potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots. Toss in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sea salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the veggies in a single layer in the pan and tuck in 3 sprigs of rosemary. Bake at 425 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. These were very very yummy. I overbaked mine a tad, but they were still extremely good. It occurred to me afterwards that although I didn't have the large amount of veggies called for, I still used the full amount of olive oil, and that is why they were particularly yum. Either way, I do encourage you to try these too.

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