Monday, January 08, 2007

Pork Loin and Cheddar Dill Scones

These recipes are provided courtesy of Karren, as part of my ongoing feasting series (see The Feasts of Christmas at Melville). Good goo, they're delicious.

Pork Loin
The pork loin is easy to prepare:
Rub entire piece of meat in olive oil, then rub lemon pepper into the fat portion.

Broil fat side up for 20 minutes at 450 F. (This sears the meat so that it does not get too dry.)

Adjust oven temperature to 325 F. Continue baking until internal temperature is 180 F (use meat thermometer to monitor).

Remove from oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes to finish cooking.

The sauces are by American Spoon and can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma.

Cheddar-Dill Scones

2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-inch pie pans.

Beat eggs, buttermilk and minced fresh dill in medium bowl to blend. Combine flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt in large bowl. Add butter to flour mixture and cut in until mixture and grated cheddar cheese. Stir to mix well. (Dough will be stiff and crumbly.) Knead gentrly until dough just holds together.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into prepared pans to 1-inch thickness. Using long knife or pizza wheel, score each round into 6 wedges. Bake until toothpick inserted into each center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pans to rack and cool scones slightly. Cut into wedges.

Another Meal Commemoration

It's the day before classes start up again, so I've been (as I told Jackie B.) trying to be productive while simultaneously taking it easy. This lifestyle.

As part of that, I ate a great lunch, which as a nod to my youth spent reading Farmer Boy while lying hungrily in my bed, I will now record.

Hot pieces of peppered pastrami, with thin-sliced sourdough bread, and spicy, grainy mustard. Steamed caulifower, no salt, no butter. Pieces of cheese from last night's cheese-eating: provolone, black diamond white cheddar, french gruyere, sharp cheddar. Halved cherries in plain yogurt, the brand Karren says is the strong kind. Water (again, poured from a glass pitcher). And a small dessert of leftover pear gingerbread pudding and cold milk.

I'm feeling like I should open a restaurant. That's a seriously good meal. (But oddly old man-ish, I think. Are my tastebuds getting more masculine as I age?)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Feasts of Christmas at Melville

I wrote this for my own notes, and to relive the goodness of the food of today, but with such teasing tonight (and the reminder that this blog exists), I decided just to post it. Unless there are objections. It was such a good day--my roommates and I celebrated Christmas today (we live at a house we call the Melville House). Among other things, we ate so well. Dickensian well. And I'm feeling a particular need, of late, to sing the praises of the good things in my life.

For Christmas at Melville breakfast, we had cinnamon rolls made by David C (Karren’s dad), reheated until the creamcheese frosting was melting off the top. We each had a bowl of degreened strawberries and half of a banana, still in its peel. Next to each plate was a bright navel orange. I served crumpets, with clotted cream (brought by Nate in an ice-filled bag in his car from Georgia to South Carolina, then by Mom in our car from South Carolina to New York, then by me in my suitcase to California; this afternoon I found some at the Milk Pail), and two kinds of preserves—peach and strawberry. We had a glass—our small orange juice glasses—for water, which we poured out of my clear glass pitcher. And Karren served us Ghirardelli hot chocolate, with real whipped cream, and rainbow dot sprinkles on top, in little coffee cups and saucers she got as a Christmas present—in soft rainbow colors with multicolored polka dots. And when we drank the hot chocolate, the sprinkles stained the whipped cream. We talked for over two hours at the table, and ate everything but the oranges, which we each cupped or rolled or held until it was time to clean up, at 1, and begin the day.

For dinner tonight, on Christmas at Melville day, we invited Chris and Reed, who was in town, and Karren’s brothers, Gordon and Stu. We ate pepper-crusted pork loin with plum and ginger and mango curry sauces. Spring greens salad with craisins, walnuts, pears, and crumbled blue cheese. Red potato chunks baked with green peppers and red onions. And cheddar cheese and fresh dill scones, on which (at Karren’s suggestion) I put my good spicy mustard, which I’ve been craving. To drink, grape and apple Martinelli’s and water. Reed provided a post-dinner, pre-dessert snack—small, Halloween-sized packages of Toblerone and those good hazelnut chocolate balls, totally famous but the name of which I’ve forgotten right now. I served dessert—a warm mixed pear and gingerbread pudding (baked) and cold, new (newly bought) milk. The pears had been soaked in honey, and the molasses was full flavor, just like I'd hoped.

Pear Gingerbread Pudding



2 pears, peeled, cored and cubed

2 tbsp (25 mL) liquid honey

Gingerbread Topping:

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)

1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (50 mL) fancy molasses

1 egg

3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour (or wheat flour)

1 tsp (5 mL) each ground ginger and cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves

Pinch salt

2/3 cup (150 mL) hot water


Spread pears in greased 8-inch (2 L) glass baking dish; drizzle with honey. Set aside.

Gingerbread Topping
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in molasses and egg until combined. in separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and salt; stir into molasses mixture alternately with hot water, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of water. Pour over pears.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until pudding is bubbling, but cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.

Nutritional information

Per serving: about 357 cal, 3 g pro, 17 g total fat (10 g sat. fat), 51 g carb, 2 g fibre, 79 mg chol, 271 mg sodium. % RDI: 5% calcium, 13% iron, 16% vit A, 3% vit C, 12% folate.