I am visiting my daughter Lexy and her husband John for the week and we collaborated on a great dinner the other night. When I was packing for the trip, I packed the most unusual item I’ve ever taken with me on a vacation, – three pounds of new potatoes. I was afraid they would spoil while I was gone and hated to see them go to waste. She had a pork loin in the freezer and I was starting to get an idea.
I looked through her collection of recipes, some from the family, others from friends, and some that she had collected from a variety of sources. I found a recipe that she had used and enjoyed that called for a pork loin to be roasted with garlic and rosemary. Since one of my favorite ways to prepare new potatoes is to roast them, I suggested cooking them part of the time with the pork. She agreed and so we had the basic menu planned.
After the pork thawed, she rubbed it with olive oil, patted it with three or four minced garlic cloves and some rosemary leaves, not too much rosemary because it is so pungent. She seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and put it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. I washed the potatoes which were nice tiny ones that needed no cutting into pieces. We rolled the potatoes in a little olive oil, salt and peppered them and, after the 30 minutes was up , we put the potatoes in with the pork.
At that point I started cooking some “baby” carrots in a little water in a skillet. I stirred the potatoes after about 15 minutes in the pork drippings which added some garlic and rosemary flavor to the potatoes. 10 minutes later, we removed the pork from the pan, set it aside tented with foil. The potatoes stayed in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. When the carrots were tender, I poured off the little water remaining in the skillet, added 2 tablespoons of butter, 4 green onions, cut diagonally in 1 inch pieces, a tablespoon of honey and some salt and pepper. I stirred this around for the remaining time the potatoes were in the oven until they were nicely glazed.
Lexy had made some salad dressing earlier in the week and we had a nice green salad prepared in no time flat.
The meat was sliced into nice 1/2 inch slices and it was tender and juicy, deliciously flavored with the garlic and rosemary. It was a pretty plate, as well with the shiny orange carrots, and the crispy browned potatoes and the dark green lettuce with radicchio.
With the meal, we enjoyed a bottle of Xplorador Chardonnay, a nicely priced Chilean wine that was available at their neighborhood wine shop. At the same store, I bought another wine that I had tasted a few weeks ago at a restaurant that was a pleasant surprise. It was a grenache from down under called “Bitch”. I was put off by the name, but having read a description of the wine, I was intrigued enough to try a bottle. It was great and I was eager to find a bottle to buy for home. Coincidentally, my daughter and her husband had tried a bottle of “Bitch” at about the same time and liked it as well.
I brought the bottle to my hotel glad that it had a screw top since I had forgotten to pack a wine bottle opener. However, the metal cap was so tightly attached that I was unable to open it with my bare hands. I had no scissors, or knife with me to break the connecting metal tabs. What I needed was a rubber type gasket to get a good purchase on the cap in order to break it away from the tabs. I searched through my purse and suitcase and found nothing of use except for a stretchy headband that had rubberized dots to keep it from sliding out of one’s hair. I wrapped this around the cap and Presto! I had my glass of wine after all.
Lesson learned. Always pack a wine bottle opener, some scissors, and a small tool kit for such “emergencies.”