Foodie In Training

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Roast Beast

Over the past few weeks Erin and I have made a pork loin roast and a beef sirloin roast. I got the pork loin roast idea from my mom. While I was home for Christmas break she made a great tender pork loin roast that was bought already seasoned with garlic and lemon. She slow cooked it in a crock pot for 6 hours and added potatoes, onions, carrots and celery and some water. It made for an easy and great dinner. The pork was so tender you didn't need a knife.

Erin and I tried to recreate it. It didn't work, but we aren't sure why. I think the pork that I bought was about the same as my mom used, preseasoned and everything. I even consulted her before cooking. She said to just be creative and use what we have and cook it on low for 6 hours or on high for about 4 hours. We cut the loin in half, added carrots, potatoes, onion, apple, sun dried tomatoes and a hot red pepper; we set the crock pot on high for about 4 hours. We seasoned with salt and pepper, parsley, garlic and a bay leaf.

I think the flavors worked ok together. But, the pork ended up a little dry and tough. The potatoes were ok, but the apples were just mush.

In one of the funniest cooking moments we have had together, Erin took a big bite of what she thought was a sun dried tomato. But, it was the hot pepper. Erin isn't the biggest fan of spicy stuff, although she is starting to come around. But, the look on her face after biting into that pepper was of pure horror. She immediately ran into the kitchen and asked what would help cool her mouth. I told her milk and bread. She shoved a slice of bread into her mouth as her eyes welled up with tears. She laughed/cried in anger and pain. I poured her a glass of milk as I tried to keep from cracking up. She kept mumbling with the piece of bread in her mouth and looked oh so helpless. I kinda wish I had the camera out, but I don't think she would let me post a picture even if I took one. Anyway, the meal overall wasn't a big success.

Last week, we decided to go for a beef roast. I saw a Giada episode where she made roast beef with a spicy tomato sauce. Here's the recipe. As a bonus, she used a food processor for the sauce, and we are still looking for every opportunity to use our new kitchen machine. We bought a top sirloin roast from the grocery. We seasoned the meat with lots of salt and pepper and seared the meat on all sides.

Then we put it into a roasting pan and dumped a can of diced tomatoes and put in the oven for about an hour. Our only semi-mistake was that I only put the oven on 300. I wanted it to be medium or even medium rare, but I should have kept to Giada's suggestion of 375 for 30-40 minutes.

As I sliced the roast beef, it was a little rarer than we were going for, but it looked great. The sauce was pretty easy, we stayed pretty true to the recipe, adding some dried parsley to the little fresh parsley we had. Some how Erin's home grown parsley had survived the cold of winter up til January, but we didn't have enough. We also added the tomatoes that cooked with the roast, red wine vinegar, olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. The food processor did its work and we were left with a great smelling, if not the most appetizing-looking sauce.

We finished the meal with a simple salad with a homemade vinegar and olive oil dressing that we tossed with the lettuce, sunflower seeds and croutons. The meat was flavorful and tender. It was a good cut of meat, even though it wasn't too expensive (I think it was about $4/pound). The star of the meal though was the sauce. The vinegar and tomato combo really "popped" in your mouth. Erin has since named it "pop sauce". We should have invited some one over for dinner, it was far too much food for Erin and I. I cut the rest of the roast in to pieces about 3/4 inch thick and they made for good steaks for dinner and sandwiches the rest of the week. All in all it was a very good meal. Here is the finished product:

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