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January 11, 2015

Food Thread: Free Speech Edition [CBD]

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A small brewery in Connecticut has been peacefully making this beer for several years. It is, according to Beerslinger, a very good ale indeed. But the shrieking harpies of infinite insult and offense took notice, and the torches and pitchforks are out.

I'll make this short and sweet. We are Americans. We have certain rights, but the right not to be insulted is conspicuously absent from the Constitution, and I suggest that it was not an oversight.


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Polystyrene containers are ubiquitous in the prepared food industry. It's cheap, light, doesn't leak or soak through like paper, and can be formed into any shape desired. It does not degrade in the environment (or so slowly that it's unnoticeable), which seems to be a selling point. But our favorite idiot socialist has decided that clam-shell takeout containers are an existential threat to his political life the environment, and is trying to ban them in NYC

The profound stupidity of this ban is hard to fathom. The claim that it will remove 30,000 tons of plastic waste from the landfills and waterways sounds marvelous to LIVs, but for those of us with two firing neurons it suggests the obvious question: What is going to replace the polystyrene?

Paper? Oh, you mean paper that has been bleached, so that when it hits the landfills it leaches dioxins? Glass? Uh...how much power will it take to make that much more glass? How much more fuel will be required to transport those heavier containers?

And who will this affect? Per Se and Le Bernardin don't serve take-out in clam-shell containers. This will raise the cost of food for the poor and the working class, which may be the goal.

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Roasted acorn squash is one of my favorite foods. But I go the savory route, with minced garlic, butter, salt and pepper. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds and threads, and take a very thin slice off the bottom so each half stands straight. Melt some butter with minced garlic, brush it all over the inside and the cut edge, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes.

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Pork Roast With Shallot Reduction

Pork Loin roast* (tied), about 3 lbs. This recipe can be easily doubled to feed 8-10 people.
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into pinky sized pieces
1.5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 large Garlic clove, minced
Good Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black Pepper
Unsalted Butter
1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream

Boil two quarts of water.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a small dish, mix the herbs, the garlic, one teaspoon of Kosher salt, the pepper and two tablespoons of the olive oil.

Parboil the vegetables for a few minutes to give them a head start. Drain and set aside.

Heat a roasting pan on medium-high heat for a few minutes. While it is heating, lightly salt the pork roast. Turn the heat to high and place the pork roast in the middle of the pan. Sear each side for a minute or two, just until it has some nice color, resisting the temptation to move the roast around in the pan. Adjust the heat if it looks like the meat is burning. When the roast is nice and brown, remove the pan from the heat. Take the roast out of the pan and put it on the platter you will be using to serve it.

While it is cooling a bit, toss the potatoes and carrots together with some salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil.

Smear the herb mixture all over the roast and return it to the pan. Toss the potatoes and carrots artfully around the roast and place in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 150F. The timing will vary, but count on 45 -60 minutes. I use one of those neat probe thermometers with the cable so I don't have to keep opening the oven and stabbing the roast with a hand-held thermometer.

Remove the roast from the oven, place on the serving platter and cover with aluminum foil. I put the carrots and potatoes into a bowl in case I want to reheat them.

Add the shallots and two tablespoons of butter to the roasting pan over medium-low heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently so the shallots begin to soften and the pan is deglazed. When the shallots are soft, add about a glass full of red wine (use less if you use port, it is sweeter and more intense than red wine) and two tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar and continue to deglaze and reduce, whisking occasionally. When it has reduced by half, take it off the stove, let it cool for a minute, and then whisk in about 4 ounces of 1/2 & 1/2.

Return the pan to the stove over low heat and reduce for a minute or so, and then spoon the sauce over the pork roast. Or, slice the roast into 1/2 inch slices and spoon a bit of the sauce on each portion. Whatever works. And don't forget to serve the potatoes and carrots.

*Pork takes very well to brining, so if you feel like doing a bit of extra work, give it a shot. Don't salt the pork before you sear it though; the brining adds plenty of salt! And use only 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the herb mixture.
Brine: 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup kosher salt in 24 ounces of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Add enough crushed ice to make 1 quart, then submerge the roast in the brine. Make sure that it is completely covered, and refrigerate for a few hours. Remove from brine and pat dry.

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posted by Open Blogger at 06:30 PM

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