Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kitchen Disaster Averted

Not all goes well in my kitchen. Baking comes easier to me than cooking. Last night a near mealtime disaster was avoided by some desperate action. I had purchased a small, boneless pork roast from the grocer's butcher, less than three pounds. The butcher (who looked like a teenager) told me to cook it for 20 minutes a pound. I made little slices on the surface of the roast and inserted slivers of garlic. I covered the whole thing in paper-thin rings of onion. I set the roast on a rack of thick apple slices, and poured a balsamic maple glaze over the top. While it was in the oven, I boiled up six red potatoes for mashing. When the potatoes were cooked, I poured some of the potato water into the roasting pan. When the roast came out of the oven, I let it sit for a while while I made the gravy. All sounds good so far, right? Well, it went down hill quickly as the gravy refused to come together and I had to pour it in to the blender and whirl it into oblivion to get it to the right consistency. Then I sliced the roast into 1/2 inch servings only to realize it was far from cooked - very pink inside. I know that they say you can eat rare pork these days, but I still remember the warnings about NOT doing that, so I just can't do it. (Note to self: buy a meat thermometer.) Everyone was ready but my dinner wasn't. So the slices went on to a blazing hot grill pan for a few minutes on each side.

When it came time to plate it all up, I wasn't optimistic. But soon I was hearing "Wow. Ummm. This is good." I was truly surprised at how delicious this dinner was. The pork was still tender and very flavorful. The roasted apples were the perfect compliment. The gravy was very good--savory with hints of apple and maple--but not sweet. With mashed potatoes and green beans, my near-disaster ended up a success. I was so relieved that I didn't really mind the mountain of dishes facing me after dinner!

Photo image: http://www.nolaybrooklandfill.co.uk/images/auction/chefs-hat.jpg

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