Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day of Culinary Adventure Part 2 - Pork Roast and Harvest Salad

I think Hubby was starting to experience some cabin fever. He suggested we go out to dinner, but eating out still tends to be frustrating and I'd already defrosted a pork roast so I convinced him to stay in, instead.

I wanted to do something a little different than my usual plain boring roast. I poured through dozens of recipes that called for things like pineapple, white wine, cornstarch or barbeque sauce and finally stumbled across this one from It was simple and sounded really yummy and walked this still very novice cook through prepping & roasting a pork roast step-by-step.

Herb Rubbed Pork Roast

1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1 Tbsp of oregano
1 Tbsp of  EVOO
3 pounds of boneless pork

Put the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Measure one Tbsp of EVOO in a small dish.

Add salt, pepper, dried oregano to the oil. Mix this spice rub together and rub it all over the pork roast.

Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up, and put the roast in the 450 degree preheated oven.

Roast for 10 minutes, then RE-SET THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 250 DEGREES.

Continue cooking for about 50-80 minutes or until the meat registers 150 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Remove the roast from the oven and set on a cutting board. Cover the meat with tin foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing it.

I served this with mashed sweet potatoes and Harvest Salad.

This salad has quickly become one of my favorite things to eat lately. I keep a container of the spiced pumpkin seeds in the cupboard & a little jar of the salad dressing in the fridge for quick lunches or quick sides for dinner.

Harvest Salad With Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

mixed greens
maple vinaigrette (recipe follows)
chevre (goat cheese)
dried cranberries
Bartlett pears, chopped in one inch pieces
spiced pumpkin seeds (recipe follows)

Toss mixed greens with maple vinaigrette. Arrange on plates.

Garnish greens with crumbled chevre, dried cherries, pear pieces, and pumpkin seeds.

Maple Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp EVOO
pinch of salt and pepper

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

4 Tbsp organic evaporated cane juice (or regular sugar)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups raw, shelled pumpkin seeds (the green ones)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp butter spread
1 tsp EVOO

In a medium bowl, combine evaporated cane juice, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and salt. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, toast pumpkin seeds over medium heat until they become slightly fragrant and begin to puff up and pop. Remove seeds from heat, and return skillet to the stove.

Over medium heat, mix sugar and buttery spread and cook until sugar carmelizes. Add pumpkin seeds back into pan and stir until seeds begin to stick together and the caramel gets stringy. I've not had very good luck getting the dairy-free, soy-free buttery spread to cooperate in this manner, so I just use a tsp of EVOO. Stir into the pumpkin seeds then mix in the spice blend. It probably doesn't hold the spice on quite as well as the carmel would but I sprinkle some of the spice blend onto my salad & pretend that it's stuck on the seeds. I promise, it's just as good!

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