What a crazy day! I thought this evening, "Man, I should really blog... it's been a few days..." Nope, just one. I've just been doing do much that it seems like a much longer time!
First off, I just have to say, I made the most fantabulous pork roast tonight that I have ever made! No joke. My pork roasts are usually very lightly seasoned, and focus more on the natural flavor of the pork and the veggies I roast it on, but this was something new... this had maple syrup.
I love maple syrup. Why wouldn't I? It's fantastic! But I rarely have it in my house since it's often quite expensive. A couple of summers ago I made a Blueberry Peach Cobbler with fresh blueberries and peaches, cinnamon sticks and real maple syrup and it was divine, but I've never made it again, because I used the last of my maple syrup making it and I hadn't bought any since - until last week. Walmart had maple syrup on sale, and it was cheap enough that I let myself buy it. I'm so glad!
Tonight I had a Pampered Chef show that I needed to be gone for by 6:15 so I wanted to make sure Matt's evening would be as 'taken care of' as possible, starting with dinner. I prepped all of Nathaniel's dinner (rice, peaches and carrots) but wanted something special for Matt and Gabe. I had pulled a portion of pork loin from the freezer last night and I remembered that gorgeous bottle of thick, bronzy syrup. I looked up a recipe (why do I even bother?) and I decided I was better off winging it. So, into the bowl went syrup - a fair bit, since that's what I was most excited about today. And then I had some grainy mustard that I thought would add a nice touch. And I was thinking about cider vinegar today, so I threw a splash of that in too. The ginger really made those Breakfast Cookies that I had posted about the other day so I thought it might do the same in this, and I figured garlic powder always is a nice way to rub out that fine line between sweet and savory. I sniffed it and thought I was on the right track - but it needed pepper... a few good cranks of it. Then I paused and remembered that I would be baking this for a long time and the high sugar content of the syrup might cause some issues, so I threw in some chicken broth! Lastly, it needed rosemary because, well, pork always needs rosemary. (How's that for a whacked out cooking method?) I baked it for nearly two hours at 350, and I basted it once or twice in between. I pulled the pork out and sliced it and plated it, then I drizzled the remaining juice overtop. I didn't taste it until we were getting the boys up to the table, just as I was realizing that I wouldn't have time to eat dinner myself. Perhaps it would have been better had I not tasted it, because then I wouldn't have known what I was missing. In any event, this was the most fantabulous pork roast I ever made (I already said that, I know, but it needed to be said again) (Seriously.)
So I went off to my Pampered Chef show, had a great time there actually, and now I'm home, writing this, instead of eating my scraps that I insisted Matt leave for me. Why? Because it's 11:00 and my baby is still awake and screams if I leave the room. Ugh. But really, my Pampered Chef show did go really well. It was for a girl who really, really loves the product, which always makes it a better show, and she ended up getting about $200 in free product, so that kind of made her day. I've decided to step up my Pampered Chef attempts. Partly because we could use the extra money, but also because I always intended to do this thing well, and lately I've been coasting through it, but I've decided that if I'm going to do it at all, I might as well try at it! I have a friend in town who sells Arbonne, and my darling sister in Calgary who sells Avon, and we're going to partner and do "Spa Parties" where I bring the food and they do face masks/mini-manis/mini-pedis, etc. It think it will be really fun, and probably the best part - I'll be helping them to meet a whole bunch of potential clients.
I've been busy in other endeavors lately as well, one of which is potentially doing recipe development. A friend is starting a business selling stone ground whole wheat flour, and he and are in talks for me to develop some signature recipes for his product line. I figure I can make a really good bread recipe in about 3 tries, a good muffin in 2 tries, and pancakes in one. He'd get to promote the recipes as his Signature line and use them to help sell his product, and I'd get to retain the recipes as my intellectual property in the future, so if I ever want to publish them or reference them in a portfolio, I can.
But, while that's in the works, I suppose I'll stick with whippinng up my own concoctions for family dinner! I wonder if those would count towards a professional portfolio...
Grainy-Mustard Maple Pork
2 lbs pork loin
3/4 c. maple syrup
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp rosemary
3/4 c. chicken stock
Whisk together, pour over pork and roast at 300-350 for 1.5-2 hours
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)