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Monthly Archives: May 2017

An Elegant Meal at any Time – Oven Roasted Rack of Pork

An elegant meal for a weeknight is not something I typically consider. Like most families, we are just too busy to make something like that happen too often, but every once in a while our calendars all seem to mesh together, and we are all home at a reasonable time. This gives me the opportunity to make something a bit fancier during the week than what I might normally make. Of course, an elegant meal can be easy too if you take the right approach and have the right recipe. I had picked up a five bone rack of pork from the store the other day at a really great price and knew that this would be a great meal to make on a weeknight without much fuss. I found this recipe as I was searching online at Ask Chef Dennis for a simple oven roasted rack of pork that promised great flavor. In the recipe, he uses McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning spice (which I also use on occasion and have on hand), but he also provides you with a recipe for a spice blend that mimics the flavors so you can make your own if you cannot buy it near you.

Oven Roasted Rack of Pork

1 – 8 bone center cut rack of pork

Olive oil

Montreal Steak Seasoning (McCormick’s, or try the recipe that follows, or use your own favorite spice blend)

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

6 garlic cloves, peeled

Copycat Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon dill seeds

1 tablespoon granulated onion

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon paprika

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

To make your own spice blend, place the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dill seeds, granulated onion, red pepper flakes, granulated garlic, salt, paprika and black peppercorns together in a spice grinder or food processor and blend the spices together for about 5 to 10 seconds.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a roasting pack, add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic to the bottom of the pan. Pat the rack of pork dry with paper towels and apply a liberal amount of olive oil all over the pork, rubbing it into the meat. Season the pork with the Montreal Steak Seasoning, your own spice blend, or salt and pepper. Season all of the rack to coat it well. Place the pork on top of the chopped vegetables and roast the pork in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting the pork for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer or until the internal temperature of the outside racks of the pork reach 160 degrees. This will ensure that the outside of the pork is well done while the center cuts are not cooked as much. Remove the rack of pork from the oven and place it on a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing the meat. This will allow the juices to remain in the rack and keep the meat moist.

While the pork is resting, place 2 cups of water in the roasting pan with the cooked vegetables and place the roasting pan on the stovetop on a burner set over medium heat. With a wooden spoon, loosen all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stir together for about 1 to 2 minutes to make a quick pan sauce. Strain out all of the vegetables to get a smoother sauce.

Cut the rack of pork along the bones, making even portions of the pork (basically pork chops) and serve with the pan sauce and your side dishes.

I enjoyed the spice blend on the meat, and the spices lent the perfect flavor to the dish. The spices formed a great crust on the outside of the pork so that you could get great flavor with each bite you took. The pan sauce was a nice touch as well and goes well with the pork and just about any side dish you make with it. I made some fresh broccoli and rice to go with the pork, and the sauce kicked up the plain rice a bit. You could serve this with potatoes as well, and the potatoes would work nicely roasted under the rack of pork with your other vegetables to help pick up some additional flavors. There is not much to the recipe itself and you do need a little bit of extra time to cook this meal during the week, but if you have the time to do it, it can be quite a nice meal to change things up.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Spices

 

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Dessert in a Flash – You’ll Love These Lemon Squares

Very often I find the need to make a dessert item at the last minute. It could be that someone is stopping by for a visit or coffee, we get invited someplace, or we just feel like having something sweet for dessert ourselves at home. Whatever the reason, sometimes I want to go beyond what a box of brownie mix can offer. There’s nothing wrong with boxed brownies; we use them often, and you can jazz them up in a number of ways to make them seem like they are homemade. However, I don’t always want to have chocolate, so having a good fallback dessert that you can make with what you have in your pantry is a good option. That is why these lemon squares are perfect. They only require a few ingredients, and they are all things you always have around in the house so in under an hour you can have a great tasting dessert that seems like you put a lot of work into it. I got this recipe from Dena Kleiman at New York Times Cooking, and it worked out perfectly.

Lemon Squares

2 cups flour, plus 1/4 cup

½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

cup lemon juice (from about 1 to 2 lemons)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together two cups of flour, 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar and the salt. Add the melted butter and stir the ingredients to thoroughly combine them. Spread the crust with clean hands in an even layer into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, baking powder and the remaining flour. Pour the lemon mixture onto the hot baked shell and bake it for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is just set. Using a small, fine-meshed sieve, sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar on top of the lemon squares once they have cooled. Cut the dessert into equal-sized bars.

It’s quite simple to make, and it tastes great. You get that fantastic lemon flavor you love in desserts like this with just the right amount of chewiness and crunch. These squares are perfect for any occasion, whether you are looking for something to bring to someone’s home, are making a bunch of cookies for a cookie swap or holiday party or just want to have a tasty treat at home to go nicely for a dessert or with a cup of coffee or tea.Depending on how big you cut the squares, you can get about 16 to 20 squares, so there are plenty to go around. I’ll be using this recipe again because it is so easy to make.

That’s all I have for today. Work has kept me pretty busy lately, so I don’t have as much time as I want to blog, but I am going to try to get here a few times this week to try and get caught up with things (though getting caught up seems to be a rarity these days). Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Cookies, Cooking, Dessert, Snacks

 

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