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…went to market (and bought pork). This little piggy stayed home (and cooked pork). And this little piggy cried, “Weeee, weeee, weeee!” (when she ate the pork ’cause it was delish).

Stretching oneself in the kitchen. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I love to cook but for the most part, need a good recipe to follow. I aspire to be like my cousin Joe one day who is simply intuitive – and amazing – in the kitchen.

Today’s stretch was the cover recipe of the October 2011 Bon Appetit –  a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with roasted apples, domino potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Deep breath in…exhale slowly and begin.

The Roast
So who wants to try a multi-step recipe for the first time on company? I’ll pass. But this is not a ‘don’t try this at home’ kind of dish. Just test it without company the first time.

Halving the recipe, a lovely 1.5 pound pork roast was butterflied [note to self: invest in a good boning knife and keep it impossibly sharp] and pounded to 1/2″ thickness.

After seasoning, cover meat with a layer of blanched kale followed by a mixture of fully cooled reconstituted porcini mushrooms and dried apple, softened onion and garlic, plus rosemary, thyme, brandy and ground pork.

Then the beast is tightly rolled, draped with prosciutto, trussed and spiked with fresh rosemary sprigs and roasted at 400. Next time (and oh, yes there will be a next time), I will rely on my trusty Williams-Sonoma leave-in cooking probe with its temperature alarm (so handy when a glass of red distracts) instead of the instant-read thermometer recommended. And next time, will lose the bed of fresh apples which turned to mush, and will keep plenty of liquid in the roasting pan. Rest, make a quick sauce from the drippings, some broth and some butter.

The ‘Taters
Whether you call ’em Roasted Domino Potatoes or just plain ‘taters,  these are KEEPERS. So easy, so beautiful, so yummy. Choose evenly sized, boxy Idaho’s. Peel, cut into a large rectangle. Slice 1/8″ thick with a mandoline, stack like a deck of cards, then fan out in a 9″ x 13″ buttered baking dish. Place a few bay leaves (fresh or dried) in even intervals between the layers. Drizzle with more butter (ala Paula Deen), lightly salt and roast in a 425 oven until the edges are golden and the centers soft.

Garnish with fleur de sel. Serve at room temperature or warm (I made mine in advance, then warmed while the roast was resting. Genius!)

The Sprouts
Not everyone loves Brussels sprouts as much as I do. I think people have a tendency to over cook them so they turn an unpleasant shade of green and become quite stinky. Here is a recipe that will convince the masses that Brussels sprouts rock!

Cry “Weee, weee, weee!”
You will. Really.
The Vino
As someone who has a tendency to select wine based on a clever name and/or label, I admire those that can actually pair a wine with meal. The name and label on this bottle are clear indicators that I did not select this wine, but it was a delightful nonetheless.

Lessons learned:

  • when halving this recipe, use the full amount of liquids in the roasting pan
  • don’t rely on the instant-read thermometer – monitor during entire roasting time (the half recipe cooked in 50 minutes versus the one hour, 40 minute recipe time)
  • don’t believe the magazine photo; the roasted apples turned to mush
  • tuck the bay leaves way down in between the potato slices so they don’t crisp in the hot oven
  • invite company
  • Notes from 12/31/2011: replace the apples beneath the roast with onions halved crosswise; double the liquid amount. Don’t forget the insta-read thermometer!
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