Friday, October 14, 2011

The Family Meal: Pork Loin with Roasted Peppers and Polenta and Parmesan Gratin

My first dinner from The Family Meal was quick and easy, and the flavors were very pure and unmuddied (ah, what a refreshing change!). There were a few steps that I thought were odd in the preparation of the Pork Loin with Roasted Peppers (pg 124-125).

The peppers roast easily enough with a bit of oil for 40 minutes. Once skinned and sliced, the peppers and their juices are moved to a pan and simmer away for a few minutes. Maybe that concentrates their flavor? No salt, no pepper, nothing. Perfect.

The pork loin cutlets (thin cut) are similarly straightforward, cooked briefly in olive oil, then sprinkled with salt and pepper after they're done. A parsley garlic oil is drizzled on top. A strange step with the oil was that I had to blanch garlic in boiling water, then ice water, three times. Maybe it takes the sting out of the garlic?

Conclusion: Liked it. Especially the peppers. Mmmm.
My polenta looks like scrambled eggs.
I've never had polenta before. Now that I've tried Polenta & Parmesan Gratin (pg 112-113), there's no turning back. I'm in love. This recipe mixes parmesan cheese into the polenta, and then more parmesan is sprinkled on top, and the whole shebang is broiled until brown. This was creamy, nutty (from the browned cheese), and rich.

Conclusion: Love it. Plus, it's Charlie-approved. This was so easy to make, with such great reward, that I know I'll make it over and over again.

We're off to a good start.

Also, I made Raisin Swirl Bread from Baking. I love cinnamon raisin bread, and have been thinking for a while that homemade, it's probably crazy-delicious. I was right. It's a wonderful thing to have control over the cinnamon mixture and the raisins. As far as I'm concerned, a good cinnamon raisin bread can't have too much of either of those things. Mmm. The dough has a nice hint of orange zest. I know I've said I don't like orange flavored baked goods, but this is so slightly orangey that it hardly counts. Dorie suggests an optional pinch of nutmeg. I could have used a bigger pinch. 
Conclusion: Liked it. I'm looking forward to making french toast out of it. This is also Charlie-approved. Hooray!


  1. Great to hear you're having some successful dishes for a change! They look great!

  2. Glad to hear you've discovered polenta! It's great - I love it with a simple red sauce and Parmesan on top. (And they way you've done it here, of course!)

  3. Wow, you're very brave to take this one on. Books by fancy chefs scare me. For years I have had a signed Charlie Trotter book which I can't seem to throw out, even though just reading the instructions makes me dizzy. But it looks like you are off to a good start.

    Oh, and I'm so happy to hear that you have discovered polenta. I LOVE it! Like mashed potatoes, it just seems to be the perfect base for pretty much everything.