Thursday, March 24, 2011

Citrus Teriyaki Pork Loin and Whole Baked Cauliflower - 3/23/11

The pork loin did come out moist and tasty, and if you can find one of those nice 4 or 5 bone loins, I recommend this highly.

Citrus Teriyaki Pork Loin

1-11.8 oz. bottle of Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze
1 cup orange juice
grated peel of one large orange, grated on a microplane.  Reserve the orange.
3 cloves of garlic, either grated on a microplane or smashed and minced
kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, granulated garlic powder, all to taste
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder (I think next time I will increase this)
a few drops of Tabasco sauce, or to taste, or not at all

Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a screw top lid, and shake until combined.

1 - 2 1/2 lb. bone in pork loin (4 to 5 bones, each about 1 inch)
orange segments ("supremes") from the reserved orange

Place the pork into a ziploc freezer bag, and pour 1 cup of the marinade over.  Add the orange supremes, zip the bag closed, and place into the refrigerator overnight.  Turn the bag occasionally.

The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the pork from the bag and place it on a rack in a baking dish or roasting pan.  Pour some of the marinade over the pork, then place in the oven and roast for about an hour, or until internal temperature reaches 140 - 145 degrees.  Take it out of the oven and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil while the meat rests.  Slice between the bones for 4 or 5 lovely chops.

Remember to discard any unused marinade.

Now about the cauliflower ... I love all cruciferous vegetable, included the dreaded Brussel sprout.  Cauliflower is one of my favorites, but it has to be fresh.  Frozen broccoli is pretty good, but cauliflower does not, in my opinion, keep it's texture once frozen.  Mushy cauliflower is not very appetizing.

I usually break apart the florets and then steam them just until done, but I got it into my head that I wanted to bake or roast a whole head of cauliflower.  I roast vegetables all the time, with uniformly positive results.  The recipes I came across on line were all pretty similar.  Some called for briefly steaming the cauliflower head first, and then putting it in the oven, while others were oven all the way.  Before the oven, all of the recipes called for a little olive oil to be rubbed onto the outside, which is also standard for roasting vegetables.  Different recipes recommended different seasonings.  I decided to go whole hog and did a riff on bagna cauda, a butter - olive oil - garlic - anchovy sauce that is often used as a warm dip for vegetables.  The sauce was rather tasty, and the cauliflower came out of the oven perfectly tender, but the flavor from the sauce just did not permeate the vegetable. 

So if you want to roast the cauliflower and add a sauce or vinaigrette afterwards, here's the basic recipe:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Remove all the green stems and leaf, and shorten the core.  Then using a thin sharp knife, like a boning knife, to remove a piece from the center of the core.  Place in a baking dish, core-side down, and drizzle over some olive oil.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Because of the high cooking temperature, I wouldn't use any herbs, fresh or dried, as they will start to burn.  Same thing for the bagna cauda.  Bake for 45 minutes, then check for doneness.  Don't cook more than an hour or it will get overdone and mushy.  Once done, it breaks apart rather neatly.  Serve the cauliflower with butter, or more olive oil, maybe a little lemon juice, and more salt and pepper.  The simpler the better.  I tried to get too fancy, and it didn't work.  I was able to salvage the cauliflower with just a little outside carmelization, and it is pretty tasty.  Try it, and enjoy.

Cook like there's nobody watching, and eat like it's heaven on earth.

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