Friday, October 9, 2015

Aromas of Fall


      I love walking up to my front door and being greeted by the aroma of roasting garlic and herbs. It’s  like a big yummy welcome home, the scent wafting along the air and making me eager to step inside. Everywhere I’ve lived, my neighbors have commented that when they walk outside, they can smell my cooking. I love that. It reminds me of my childhood, when I could tell what my mom or Nana was making for dinner from halfway up the street.
     This week’s recipes are a tribute to fall, when Brussels Sprouts are sprouting and hearty greens like kale are filling on chilly days. These are easy and quick to prepare.  The roast pork recipe can be thrown together in the morning and put in the oven a few hours before dinner. The longer the flavors mingle during the day, the better the meat will taste later, so feel free to prep the pork roast before work and pop it into the fridge until cooking time. The salad is best when made ahead as well.
     Warning – the aroma of this dish is like an invitation to all who pass by. It will perfume your street with garlic and herb goodness.

Garlic Studded Pork with Aromatic Herbs
1 3-5 lb pork roast (pork loin is great)
12-15 cloves of garlic
A handful of each - fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme, loosely chopped
1 tsp. each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 onion, sliced round
2 T Olive oil to drizzle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Poke small holes into the roast with a knife, then stuff the roast with the whole garlic cloves and herbs, reserving some of the chopped herbs for the top of the roast.
Season the roast with the salt, pepper and garlic powder all over. Place in a roasting pan.
Lay the sliced onion on top of the roast.
Drizzle olive oil all over top of the roast.
Roast, uncovered, for 2-2 1/2 hours or until juices run clear.
Slice into 2 inch thick pieces and serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles for the kids. 

If your children are anything like my brother and I were, they will search for and then fight over the roasted garlic gems that reveal themselves once the meat is sliced down. Yummmmm!! This roast will make the entire neighborhood smell like Heaven!

Brussels Sprouts Napolitano
     So Named for my BFF who taught me to like the only vegetable I ever refused to eat. As my readers are well aware, I rave about my mother’s cooking. She is a genius in the kitchen almost always. The only exception is Brussels sprouts. She used to make steamed or boiled Brussels sprouts with butter and salt, and I HATED them. I hated the way they smelled and tasted. I hated their texture. So, when Brussels sprouts became a popular menu item at restaurants over the past couple of years, I was in no way up for ordering the stinky little mini cabbage balls. That is, until my fab friend, Jeni Napolitano, taught me how to make them taste yummy. I never thought it was possible, but it is! Now, not only do I love these veggies, but my kids do too. In fact, my finicky six-year-old can’t get enough of them. Brussels sprouts are in season right now, so go to your local farm market and get some!

1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
2T Olive oil
1t Salt
½ t Paprika
3T Balsamic glaze

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium low. Add Brussels sprouts,salt, and paprika. Saute until sprouts are brown and slightly crispy on the outside. Remove from heat. Add balsamic glaze and stir to coat.

Kale and Cranberry Salad
This salad is best after it sits in the fridge for awhile, so make it ahead. It’s even good the next day. Kale does not wilt as easily as other greens; its thicker leaves are on the hearty side. This is so healthy and simple, and the pretty red cranberries look like candy. Your kids will want to try it.

5-6 C Fresh Kale leaves – you can buy the pre-chopped bags or chop it yourself. Either way is great.
½ C dried cranberries
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 can mandarin oranges in juice
½ C crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
3T olive oil

Drain mandarin oranges and reserve the juice.
Toss together the kale, cranberries, red onion and mandarin oranges.
Top with feta cheese.
Season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Drizzle with the reserved mandarin juice.

This salad makes kale yummalicious, I promise. It’s a great party salad as well, if you want to use it as a side dish. Also, you can make this a filling lunch salad by adding some store-bought rotisserie chicken.  Superfoods rock!

Until next week, mangia!

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