Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sweet Kugel, Peppery Pork Roast, and Braised Greens

Considering it was the 'day of rest', we at the Byway did anything but. We got up, made a big breakfast (french toast, bacon, and fruit salad), and then set to cleaning the basement. It looks SOOO much better now! The shale foundation still seeps water when it rains (as it is currently doing), but now at least we got rid of most of the clutter, cobwebs, and fixed a dryer ventilation problem. To reward all our triumphant and weary workers I decided to make a nice dinner. I'd been wanting to make a sweet kugel, what with the high holy days rolling around (not that I'm religious--I just like the food), and I thought this would be a good night for it. I wanted to accompany it with a beef roast, but since Melanie can't eat beef we had a pork roast instead. I really have a habit of making one dish from a kosher or halal culture and accompanying it with pork--probably because pork is so versatile and I'm burned out on chicken.

This will be lengthy:

Roast Peppery Pork
  • 5 lb. bone-in pork loin roast
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. white pepper + some more
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander + some more
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 1 c. broth
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
Preheat the oven to 450. Allow the roast to warm up to room temperature, then pat it dry. Combine the seasonings to make a rub, then press it onto the roast. Place the roast directly into a lightly oiled roasting pan with the ribs facing down (they will serve as the rack). Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 and roast for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 155 degrees. Allow to rest for 5-15 minutes before carving. (If the drippings get too hot while roasting, add some hot water to the pan from time to time).

Remove the roast from the pan and set it on a carving board. Deglaze the roasting pan by setting it over a burner with the white wine and broth and allowing the alcohol to cook off. Season with more coriander and white pepper. Dissolve the arrowroot in 3 Tbsp. of cold water, and whisk in slowly, simmering the sauce for 3 more minutes. Carve the roast into pieces and serve it with the sauce on the side.

Sweet Kugel
  • 1 bag extra wide egg noodles, cooked
  • 1 lb. container cottage cheese
  • 1 lb. container ricotta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted and divided
  • zest and juice of 1/2 large lemon (or 1 small one)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar + 3 Tbsp.
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds, divided
  • 1/2 c. sultana raisins
  • 1/3 c. matzo meal
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • a few grates of nutmeg
This recipe is really off the hook--it's like eating dessert for dinner! Traditionally it, and other sweet food, are eaten at Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a large casserole dish with 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter. Mix the eggs and sugar together very well in a LARGE bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, 5 Tbsp. melted butter, cinnamon, garam masala, and nutmeg and mix well. Stir in 2/3 of the almonds, and the raisins, cheeses, and noodles (you may need to mix with your hands). Pour the noodle mixture into your casserole. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. melted butter, the matzo meal, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, and remaining almonds. Sprinkle this topping over the kugel. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Braised Greens
  • A big bunch of kale or collards, washed, ribs removed, and sliced into thin ribbons
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. oil or fat
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • dash of tabasco
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of sugar
Heat the oil/fat in a frying pan with a close-fitting lid. Sauté the garlic slowly so that it softens but doesn't turn brown. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 min. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and put the lid on, simmering for 15 min. If it runs out of water, add more. Remove the lid and add the pepper, nutmetg and salt, cooking the liquid off. At the end, add the lemon juice, tobasco, and pinch of sugar. As you can tell, this isn't a very exact recipe but it comes out great every time ;-)

So this meal turned out to be a great combo, as well as having good individual dishes. The pork was tender and juicy (definitely get the bone-in roast), with a crisp, flavorful rub and simple, complimentary sauce. The sweetness of the rub played along well with the sweet kugel, but had enough spice to balance it. I made the kale because, well, I have tons of kale and thought we could use some roughage. It also has a slight sweetness that highlighted the meal, along with some lemony zing.

The only trouble with the meal was that the roast cooks at such a low temperature that I had to cook the kugel after it was done. Fortunately I started early, but I wouldn't recommend making it with another baked dish for this reason.

I really should have taken some pictures this time because it looked fantastic, but I couldn't move another inch after this crazy day. It is such a relief to have the basement cleared out, and will keep all our belongings from rotting into the earth. I guess we'll have to find somewhere new to hide all the dead undergrads.

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