"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Spring!

I love Corgis. I love painting. I love cooking. I thought I would share a bit of each with you on this Spring Equinox Eve.  Here is a pork recipe that turned out pretty well. It is tried and true. The butternut squash that accompanied it was a new one for me. Probably because of my New England roots I tend to always reach for the buttery, brown sugary or maple type flavors when I pick up a butternut squash. This one was a little different. If you like the ingredients in the recipe, chances are you will enjoy this dish too. 
 First, for me, the torturous task of peeling the butternut squash. Christmas Corgi Facebook friends have suggested a few good ways to make this easier. A good steel peeler would probably be a good place to start. Lacking one of those, my weapon of choice was a good knife. Did I mention I really really hate peeling butternut squash?
 Cut the squash into pieces. Try and cut them into cubes the same size so they cook evenly. They do not need to be perfect. Only God is perfect. And maybe Julia Child.
 Mince up some garlic. Lots. Pretend you are trying to repel vampires. 
Yes, garlic is good.

 Let's start with the pork loin roast. Rub it with lots of freshly ground black pepper. 
Rub it with a big bunch of that garlic too. Put a pat of butter in a saute pan with a good splash
of olive oil. Sear it on all sides till it gets golden brown. This is a quick process over a medium high heat, you are not trying to cook it through, just sear it.

Put the seared roast in a small pan. This is a small roast which fits perfectly 

into a bread loaf pan.

Add about a half cup of port wine to the saute pan if you have some. You can also use red. Pour some for yourself too. You still have some cooking to do.
The wine will deglaze the pan, which will get all of those good juices loosened from the pan. This is a quick process so just let it sizzle for a minute while stirring up all of those good bits from the pan with a wooden spoon. To this pan, add a spoonful of this beef base. Add some water. Start with a half cup, maybe a cup. You want enough of this delicious pan juice gravy to pour over your sliced roast afterward. The beef base pictured below says lower sodium but is still salty, which is why I resist the urge to salt the pork when I rub it with the pepper and garlic. Trust me on this one. You can also use a little beef stock or broth instead of the beef base but I think this is lots more flavorful and a little goes a long way.
Pour the pan juices over the roast and cover it tightly with foil. 

Pop the roast into the preheated 400 degree oven. It is a small roast, especially if you are using pork tenderloins so watch it. The pork board people are now saying you can safely cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees farenheit. I always do 160 degrees. You want it juicy and cooked through but not dried out. The 400 degrees may seem a little high but with the juices in a small space and covered, I find it does a nice job.
 On to the butternut squash.
Add a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil with some of that minced garlic to a saute pan. Heat the pan until the garlic just starts to sweat. Add the butternut squash. If you had it soaking in water from rinsing it or cutting it up earlier in the day, just make sure it is mostly dry so you can get a nice golden brown on it in the pan. Add some black pepper and a few sprinkles of sea salt. Once it has mostly achieved that nice golden brown, you can add a little water and simmer just till the squash is cooked through but not mushy. Find that perfect moment between just undercooked to just done. You won't be sorry. Remove the pan from the heat.
Chop some nice fresh scallions. I like using the tender light green parts especially.

Fork crumble some feta cheese.

Clean up as you go. (Mantra drilled into me by Sr. Mary Ellen during extra curricular French cooking class in high school. She could be a little bit scary.)
Tell this one to chill. The smells in the kitchen are no doubt driving him mad at this point. 
Slice your lovely pork roast on a cutting board. Pour a little of the gravy on top when you are done.
Plate your meal by pouring a little gravy from the baking pan over the pork. Sprinkle some feta and scallions over the butternut squash. Everyone seemed to enjoy the feta and scallions on the squash more than I did. I could have had it either way really. But the garlic and black pepper saute was a nice change from the usual as I mentioned. 

Oh right, almost forgot my sous chef. 
Sr. Mary Ellen also said patience is a virtue. 
A Corgi will also say patience and standing near the cook brings great rewards. 
While my high school French is tres tres rusty, I understand Corgese very well. 
For example, this is Corgese for "I know you just painted this egg but I am getting really, really bored laying here while you take all of these pictures, Cathy." Patience, Amy, patience.

They just don't understand that I love to take their picture. I let Amy take this one. She was bored.

She preferred the sides with the sheep. Well, she is a herding dog after all.

Harley took this one. He is a bouncy boy so it is a little blurry. Learning to press the camera button is an art when you have paws.

She has had enough.

Harley is a little sad because he thought he could keep it for his very own. He really has big plans for decorating for Spring and Easter. I really need to regulate how much he peruses Pinterest.

While this little egg is no longer available in my Etsy shop, The Christmas Corgi shop is open and new things are added all the time. The Corgis are thrilled and are eagerly anticipating more photo sessions. Can you tell? 
 Wishing you a happy first day of Spring tomorrow! 
Until next time, Love & Corgi kisses, 
Cat xo xo


Susan Gorman said...

Fabulous post, recipe and photos!
Have missed you!

Susan Gorman said...

Great recipes, photo and post.
Have missed you!

Mazie's Mom said...

YUM! Love the sound of this recipe. I always roast my butternut squash in a 400 degree oven with olive oil, salt & pepper. Easy peasy! Oh and Cathy, Trader Joe's sells cut butternut squash in a bag...easier peasier!

Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

Cathy Santarsiero, "The Christmas Corgi" said...

Thank you so much! :)