Friday, January 29, 2016

Free Range Friday ~ Pork Loin

Awhile back I was wandering the aisles of Costa del Sol, hoping, as I so often do, that the food fairies had come along with a surprise. And they had! There, a boneless pork loin. Not the kind we get at Milka's (though delicious) in the super sealed bag. No this one looked like it just came off the farm. The organic, pasture raised pig farm.

credit: Harmony Valley Farms
the farm I wish that pork came from
I'm sure this pork come from some farm somewhere. But to let myself buy it, I couldn't think about where that somewhere might be, so I didn't.

(slowly, I am running out of things to eat while thinking..soon it will be pasta and clams and booze only, I can feel it coming)

This would feed me for quite awhile so I wanted to take my time making it, that whatever I chose I didn't want to get tired of it in whatever incarnation it became later; sandwich, tortilla filler, snack alone on a plate. 

Also, I was tired of my regular marinades. I needed something different. Something new. Something like balsamic vinegar super simple marinade, yeah! I'd never done much with balsamic but drizzle it on avocados, though I know it is a super versatile vinegar. I'd start scratching its surface.

When I saw this recipe only had four ingredients I was immediately leery. Usually this means a pre-made product would be involved and it did. 

2 lb (or so) boneless pork roast
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons steak seasoning rub 

What? I, the condiment Queen, have never bought steak seasoning rub, so what's in it anyway? 

The recipe I found had black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, dill seed, coriander and red pepper flakes. I had everything but the garlic powder and dill seed and...well I didn't have half the ingredients. 

No worries. I did have black pepper, real garlic, red pepper, cumin and celery seed, how about that instead? That worked. 

So into a gallon baggie (sometimes I well lose the plastic bag fight with myself and this would be one of those times) went, after the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil:

Black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Celery seed
5 thinly sliced garlic cloves (they weren't that big, hey! I like garlic) 

I mixed that all up and it still looked a little wimpy so happily off the recipe trail I went, adding some grapefruit juice, a spoonful of jam, a small hit of red wine and there! That was better.

In went the pork. Sealed up with as little air as possible, the marinade surrounded the meat. Into the fridge, overnight. Delayed gratification can be a beautiful thing. 

Luckily the woman from this blog did NOT forget to take photos.
And even with her steak seasoning, it looked exactly the same.
Why didn't I take photos of that part? Why ask why? 

The next day, it was seriously marinaded. Yippee! 

Yum. Oh, better cook it first.
I took a number of the sliced garlic bits and studded the roast with them, much as you would do a leg of lamb. There was plenty to leave all over it as well. 

At 350 degrees, this took about an hour and a half, despite being told less time. But it was a really big, dense piece of meat. I personally don't mind a tinge of palest pink with pork so if you do, cook it at that temp for an hour and then lower it to 250 and keep cooking until you're happy. Just don't cook it so long that you are UNhappy! Include a 10 minute or so resting period in that time if you go much over the palest of pink stage. 

It doesn't look much different but it is. 
Remember, just because the meat isn't in the oven, it's still cooking for awhile there.

credit: The Girl Who Ate Everything
I had great intentions of taking this particular photo of my own roast, but somehow it kept getting eaten instead of getting photographed. But I swear, it looked JUST like this (unless you are so good you can see coriander seeds rather than celery seeds). It was really pretty.

As was the salad I made to go with the first meal from the monstah.

The last thing I made with it, a few days later, was sandwiches. There was lettuce and avocado and provolone cheese, some shallots and the last of the pork roast.

And bread, brought by the friend I shared the sandwiches with. Hooray for friends with bread who like pork sandwiches!

And that was what the food fairies made happen. The next time I looked there were no more. A woman I know a few days later was in the store, she did exactly what I did the day before. We saw a few of the loins in there and thought, nah, get 'em tomorrow. It was tomorrow. They were gone. We know better and yet still do these things! I'll probably never see a pork loin like that in there again. Thank you, food fairies. 

Have a food fairy Friday. Do something flybynightly fortifying.

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