Got a AeroGrow for Christmas from Mike

Got a AeroGrow for Christmas from Mike

Every year we plant our herbs in the garden and on the deck some from seeds, some from seedlings bought and others like the Thyme, oregano, chives etc. just keep coming back . The start of February always bring thoughts of better start so if I want to have plants ready transplant.

It’s not just herbs for me no there was the one year that Lyn lost her dinette area I decided to start Lillies from seed all summer and fall where ever I went I inspected pods to see if they were ready to gift their gift of seeds. I walk a lot – 2 miles every work day at lunch- and  on my journey whether from neighbor’s house, CVS or the local mall I inspected and collected many seeds. I had some great success and now the plants are here and there in the yard across the street…. It was a one year thing but a lot of fun for me. I even tied cross pollination to create my own breed but I think the bees did a better job than I did. Anyway………

Growing fresh food and flowers lifts the spirit and nurtures the soul. But for most people, the nurturing ends when winter begins. AeroGrow founder Michael Bissonnette said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have fresh herbs, flowers and veggies growing in your home, any time of year?”. So he and a group of like-minded innovators married that notion to aeroponics, a highly efficient gardening technology in which plants grow in water, nutrients and air.

Here is our progress so far in about a month – thanks Mikie already and basil on pizza and chives on the baked potato and parsley on the frittata!

1234567891011

Advertisements
French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

Don’t you think that it is funny how when the leaves start to turn and cover the ground stews and roasts creep back into our diets? I suppose it’s because cooking something in the oven during the summer just heats up the kitchen and during the fall with windows closed the aroma fills the house. That is good because when you go out for the sweater weather walk and return to the house you are hit with that drool starting blast of goodness.   Pork Loin is one of my wife’s favorite cuts of meat, there is just so much you can do with it and we have. I saw this today and it reminded me of others I have tried and thought I would share it with you. Also included the how to double butterfly instructions on the bottom.

 

From America’s Test Kitchen

Why this recipe works:

Enchaud Perigordine is a fancy name for what’s actually a relatively simple French dish: slow-cooked pork loin. But given that American pork is so lean, this cooking method leads to bland, stringy pork. To improve the flavor and texture of our center-cut loin, we lowered the oven temperature (to 225 degrees) and removed the roast from the oven when it was medium-rare. Searing just three sides of the roast, rather than all four, prevented the bottom of the roast from overcooking from direct contact with the pot. Butterflying the pork allowed us to salt a maximum amount of surface area for a roast that was thoroughly seasoned throughout. And while we eliminated the hard-to-find trotter (or pig’s foot), we added butter for richness and sprinkled in gelatin to lend body to the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

We strongly prefer the flavor of natural pork in this recipe, but if enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) is used, reduce the salt to 2 teaspoons (1 teaspoon per side) in step 2. For tips on “double-butterflying,” see step-by-step below.

Ingredients

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1(2 1/2-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4-3/4cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl and refrigerate.

2. Position roast fat side up. Insert knife one-third of way up from bottom of roast along 1 long side and cut horizontally, stopping ½ inch before edge. Open up flap. Keeping knife parallel to cutting board, cut through thicker portion of roast about ½ inch from bottom of roast, keeping knife level with first cut and stopping about ½ inch before edge. Open up this flap. If uneven, cover with plastic wrap and use meat pounder to even out. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt over both sides of loin (½ tablespoon per side) and rub into pork until slightly tacky. Sprinkle sugar over inside of loin, then spread with cooled toasted garlic mixture. Starting from short side, fold roast back together like business letter (keeping fat on outside) and tie with twine at 1-inch intervals. Sprinkle tied roast evenly with herbes de Provence and season with pepper.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on fat side and sides (do not brown bottom of roast), 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, apple, and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, thyme, and bay leaf; cook for 30 seconds. Return roast, fat side up, to pot; place large sheet of aluminum foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until pork registers 140 degrees, 50 to 90 minutes (short, thick roasts will take longer than long, thin ones).

4. Transfer roast to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. While pork rests, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup chicken broth and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf from jus. Pour jus into 2-cup measuring cup and, if necessary, add chicken broth to measure 1¼ cups. Return jus to pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk softened gelatin mixture, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and parsley into jus and season with salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices, adding any accumulated juices to sauce. Serve pork, passing sauce separately.

How to “Double-Butterflying” a Roast

Steve says: I have tried this on a lot of different roast and my god does it enhance the flavor

When butterflying a narrow roast like pork tenderloin, a single bisecting cut will usually suffice. But to open up wider roasts like the center-cut pork loin used in our French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin, we make two parallel cuts. This technique exposes more of the meat’s surface area to flavorful seasoning.

1. Holding chef’s knife parallel to cutting board, insert knife one-third of way up from bottom of roast and cut horizontally, stopping ½ inch before edge. Open up flap.

 

2. Make another horizontal cut into thicker portion of roast about 1/2 inch from bottom, stopping about 1/2 inch before edge. Open up this flap, smoothing out rectangle of meat.

Step-by-Step

Secrets to Juicy, Rich-Tasting Pot-Roasted Pork Loin

Thanks to their well-marbled pork, the French can get away with pot-roasting the loin, one of the leanest cuts of the pig, without drying it out. Here’s how we adapted their approach to super-lean American pork loin.

 

“DOUBLE-BUTTERFLY” AND SALT Opening up the roast like a tri-fold book creates more surface area for seasoning, ensuring that the salt thoroughly penetrates the meat.

ADD FAT Spreading garlic butter over the surface enriches this lean cut, bringing it closer in flavor and juiciness to well-marbled French pork. We then fold up and tie the roast.

 

 SEAR TIED ROAST ON 3 SIDES Browning only the sides of the roast that are not in contact with the pan during roasting prevents the bottom of the meat from overcooking.

COOK IN LOW OVEN Roasting the pork in a gentle 225-degree oven until medium guarantees that the meat will cook up tender and juicy, not chalky and dry.

 

ADD GELATIN Adding gelatin to the exuded meat juices replaces the body and richness lost by omitting the pig’s trotter used in the French original.

 

 

There is a good video of this recipe

 

Thyme, Celantro, Oregano, Garlic Grilled Chicken

Thyme, Celantro, Oregano, Garlic Grilled Chicken

The spring brings some of my favorite things asparagus, winter hardy herbs popping into life. I love cooking a whole chicken stuffed, no jammed packed, with fresh thyme, orange, garlic and lemon wedges. I love cooking with the fresh herbs and have no objection to picking out the leaves and stems before using. So I was off to the garden to pick a handful of this and that.  This is the kind of meal you can use over and over in salads, sandwiches and other dishes throughout the week you can even freeze a chicken breast or two for a quick meal later on.

This can actually be made with rosemary or any other herbs you might have ready to pick.

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast
  • A handful of oregano maybe 1/4 cup chopped
  • A bunch of sprigs of thyme leaves only
  • A handful of celantro about 1/2 cup chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic smashed in 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

How

In a plastic bag combine all ingredients and cover chicken

Place in refrigerator for at least at an hour turning occasionally

Grill on medium heat for about 6-8 minutes preside until it is about 164-50

Remove from heat loosely cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes before slicing or severing.

Ingredients  Let's Eat

We served this with mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli. and apples and cinnamon roasted on the grill in tin foil.

We go about 4 oz. of protein about half a breast each and pile up on the veggies.