Sunday, October 4, 2015

Finally Saturday…

I woke up on Saturday at 3:00 a.m. and could not fall asleep! That sucked. I tried everything (except for warm milk) but it was a no-go.

When it finally got light outside, I shaved, showered and got dressed for my massage appointment.

Margaret had been busy and she had ripped out the flooring in her laundry room. She put down ceramic tile, but it looks likes wood. Her goal is to put it in her kitchen. It looks fantastic and I told her so…

From there, I went to Kroger’s. That’s when things went wrong…

Sidebar: My success with the Slim Jim sandwiches led me to yearn for a Cubano sandwich. I have all of the ingredients, except for slices of roast pork. In looking up recipes for Cuban roast pork, I realized they were very similar to Puerto Rican Pernil (pork roast).

So, my simple goal today was to find a five pound pork shoulder roast with the skin on.

But Kroger’s only had a 10 pound one, no skin. So, I went to Westborn. They didn’t have any pork shoulder roasts. Then I went to the Village Market at 6 Mile and Inkster. Nope!

So, I ended up driving back to Kroger’s and buying the giant one. We need a Latino butcher in this white-ass town!

It just started sprinkling when I was taking the groceries in. I put them away, leaving the roast out to come to room temperature.

Then I started making my spice mixture. I put 12 cloves of garlic, two teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 cup of fresh oregano (from my herb garden) into the food processor. I pulsed it until it was a mash. Then I drizzled in a little olive oil, to make it workable.

I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees.

Sidebar: This isn’t a specific recipe, BTW. It’s more a combination of four of them (one of whom was Emeril’s and that required a 24 hour marinade in sour orange juice – that’s not gonna happen). So, I’m kinda winging this.

I rinsed off the roast and patted it dry with paper towels. Then I took one of my Shun paring knives (deadly daggers, now that they have been sharpened) and stabbed it a couple of inches into the “meat” side.

Sidebar: Since I didn’t have any skin on the roast, these instructions left me momentarily puzzled. But I decided (right or wrong) the fat layer on the roast would “probably” be under the skin. So, I went with the other side.

Using the paring knife to hold the hole open, I stuffed the herb mixture into it. I repeated that over and over until all the herbs were gone.

Then I mixed two dried Latin spices: Three teaspoons of Sazon and one teaspoon of Adobo.

Sidebar: Believe it or not, Kroger’s carries them. They are not the usual Goya brand, but La Preferida.

I rubbed that over the whole roast. Then I put it in my roasting pan (with the V-shaped rack). To sorta mimic Emeril’s marinade (nobody else suggested a marinade, but I trust the dude), I added two cups of orange juice and two lemons, cut in half and squeezed and the rind thrown in as well in the roasting pan. That’s as close as I could get to sour oranges here in Michigan.

I stuck it in the oven and set the timer for four hours.

That gave me time to make tonight’s Bean and Bacon soup.

Sidebar: Unfortunately, when the weather doesn’t permit me to go outside, I don’t resort to, say, cleaning the house, like I should. I just cook. Which is why the house looks like shit and I get fat in the winter.

Anyway, back to bean and bacon soup. Now, I must confess, I have no problem with the Campbell’s version. I know people on the Internet rant about the “liquid smoke” flavor and so on. But, I like it. I also like their split pea with ham and chicken noodle soups. It’s a quick, one pot dinner when I’m rushed or tired.

But, I wanted to improve on it today. So, I cut a half pound of thick cut bacon into lardons and fried them in the large cast iron skillet (I never put it away, LOL).

Meanwhile, I prepped the veggies. I got one cup each of diced onions, diced carrots and diced celery.  I also minced two cloves of garlic.

When the bacon was crispy, I removed it, set it aside and got out the Dutch oven. I added two tablespoons of bacon fat and dumped in the celery, onions and carrots. I sautéed them until they were tended and then added the garlic. I cooked that another minute or so and then added a box of chicken stock. I seasoned that with salt and pepper and then added three 15 ounce cans of Great Northern beans I had drained and rinsed. I threw in a handful of stripped thyme leaves and some chopped fresh flat leaf parsley to give it some pop.

I brought that to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour.

Meanwhile the timer went off for the pork roast. So, I flipped it over and added more orange juice (I didn’t have any lemons left) and set the timer for another four hours (it’s a big chunk of meat!) I also set my remote thermometer I stuck in it for 150 degrees.

Sidebar: I was pretty confident with 165 degrees. But, not wanting to screw up twenty bucks of meat, I double checked on line. Seems like the USDA changed their standards. Modern pork is not as fat as when I was a youngin. In fact, today’s pork had the same fat content as chicken. So everybody (including me) who cooks it to 165 dries it out. They now recommend 145 degrees. Good to know.

When the hour was up on the soup, I removed 1/3 of it. I pureed that with the stick blender.

Sidebar: My kitchen was totally trashed, at this point.

I added it back to the soup, along with 3/4 of the reserved bacon. I taste tested it and decided it needed more black pepper. I added that and let it warm back up.

Meanwhile the thermometer in the pork roast went off. So, I pulled it out and tented it with foil to let it rest.

I dished out a bowl of soup, added a sprinkling of bacon bits and then some saltine crackers to my plate and ate it watching the last of the evening news. It was delicious!

I put the pork roast in the refrigerator when it was cool.

I was tired. It seems I am always tired these days.. So I went to bed.