Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stuffed Pork Loin and Burst Tomato Pasta Salad

Okay, so here's what came of the great "Pick My Meal Plea" of yesterday.

I went to the store. I didn't give in to temptation and order a big, fat, juicy burger with all sorts of goodness on it (though I may today). I didn't cop out and order a pizza. I didn't cop out and buy pre-made pizza crust and top it myself.

No, I went shopping folks. And it felt good.

Staring at the produce section like I was 7 in the Toys 'R Us with my last batch of Christmas cash and one choice to make: Blow the whole wad on the AT-AT walker or piece it out with some figures, some legos, some board games, etc. I pieced then and regretted it (C'mon, friggin' AT-AT Walker!).

This time, a little of this and a little of that was the way to go.

My premise was pork loin. My purpose was stuffing.

Shrooms it was, and the baby bellas were the right price and the right flavor. On to...wait. What's that? Ginger? Yeah, I see where this is going. Where's the garlic? Okay, one more thing. Pivot, turn, scan. Disco! Cilantro to round it out.

Side dish? Zukes look good, I'll saute them with a red onion. Oh, those tomatoes look nice. Grape or Cherry? Ah-ha! Here's where I get to be all Napa-refined Chiarello and get the Cherry tomatoes so I can 'burst' them. (Insert 'put them on a roasting pan with oil, salt, and pepper and roast them on high heat until the skins 'burst' so you can peel it off easily...).

And then...since there aren't any pork loin roasts among the five thousand pre-seasoned with gunk tenderloins, I must wait for the butcher man to get back from break. So I browsed, and picked up wine, and decided the veg was going to be a pasta salad, and browsed more, and looked ONE more time under all the pork tenderloins. And then Josh arrived. Blessed Josh. Butcher-boy extraordinaire, and I was done, and I was heading home.

Okay, let me tell you something. I have not cooked in my apartment in MONTHS. I haven't sliced, chopped, roasted, sauted, baked, stirred, folded, etc. And it SUCKED. I needed green things to slice, aromatics to chop, meat to butterfly and stuff, water to boil, ovens to pre-heat.

God it felt so good to rinse off a roast and butterfly it, then stuff it with ginger, garlic, cilantro, and baby bella mushrooms. That happened while the tomatoes were in the oven bursting and the water was on the stove-top boiling for the pasta. Then the roast went in, the zucchini was sliced and sauted, the tomatoes were peeled, the red onion was sliced, and it all went into the bowl. Acid from the tomato juice would mellow the red onion while the roast cooked. Salt, pepper, and olive oil were the only seasonings in the salad. I al dente a mean pasta.

Run on what? Paragraphs? Yeah, that's me about now.

Chez came over. Krista too after her shift. I forced myself to clean off the coffee table.

Funny aside...came into the living room from around the corner in the kitchen after taking a close-up shot of the roast and showed it to the ladies. Chez looked at me, at the photo, then at the ground and asked "D, what's dripping?" "Oh," I said as I looked down, "I'm dripping onion." Note to selves, clean off elbow room on counter before leaning down to get close-up pork shot.

We ate. It was, in the immortal words of Hibble-Scribble, bangin'. Jesse at the bar thought so too. The immortal Italian-putanesca stallion behind the bar complimented me on the al dente-ness.

The moisture from the shrooms turned the cilantro, ginger, and garlic into what Chez described as a 'relish.' And the word fits as well as any other. Fantastic bright flavors, perfectly done loin roast. A crust on the outside, tender-fine-swine on the inside.

Pasta salad was the simplest thing ever. No mussing and fussing, unless you count that whole 'bursting' thing. But I don't, so you shouldn't, and lets move on to the closing.

Thought about some of the aromatics in the salad, then realized that was thinking too much and getting to complicated. Four ingredients plus salt, pepper, oil, water, and heat. Keep it that way. Maybe some crumbled feta next time if I'm in need of one more thing.

Yes, I forgot to take a plated photo. I just got excited to eat. It was fun. Next time, presentation for the masses will be better. Not sure if the food can be though

[UPDATE] But wait, you know have Full-Plated-Version-Vision thanks to: 1) No doorman or cocktail waitress at Sam's taking up more of the leftovers; and 2) remembering to take my camera home with me at lunch time today so I could get a plated shot of the meal.

Look at that golden crust people. Just look at it. You know you would have torn that apart.

And man, I still have the taste of cilantro and ginger heat. If you think that's gross and un-kissable, we needn't date further!


Unknown said...

looks tasty!

Mrs. L said...

Your post had me cracking up and I think I'll be saying "Pivot, turn, scan. Disco!" most of the day. The stuffed loin looks great too.

kitchengeeking said...

@Ryan - it most certainly was.

@ Mrs. L - Glad to put a smile on readers' faces. As for me, I think my favorite line was "My premise was pork loin. My purpose was stuffing."