Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Special Summer Dinner

I don't usually cook during the summer for the Sunday Super Supper Squad, but sometimes I get tired of grilled meat patties on bread or I find something interesting at the store. Recently, that was a bone-in pork shoulder, which made a fantastic, low-
maintenance main dish.

It weighed about 11 pounds. I cut the fat cap/skin into a diamond pattern (sort of, because none of my knives was really sharp enough and I wound up using the kitchen shears, so not so pretty.) Then I made a rub of fresh herbs: rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, mixed with garlic cloves and kosher salt. This I rubbed all over the meat. Then it went into a very hot oven (450 degrees F) for 45 minutes, until the fat cap was browned. I added some carrots and a couple of cups of chicken stock to the pan, put it back into the oven, turned the heat down to 225 degrees F and pretty much ignored the roast for the next 8 hours or so. I did occasionally baste and turn it, and about an hour before it was done I threw in some lemon soda (to make up for the alcohol I try not to use when I expect some of my friends to attend dinner; I would have used apple juice if I had any.)
The roast in progress.

When the roast was done, I took it out of the oven, removed the fat cap, covered the roast and let it sit while I crisped up the cracklings (cut them into pieces and put them back into a 400 degree F oven for a short while) and strained and reduced the pan drippings for a very tasty gravy.

I also threw several pounds of "baby" carrots in the crock pot with some salt, brown sugar, and butter, and let them cook on high for about four hours for an easy vegetable side. I made baby white potatoes by covering them whole in olive oil, garlic, salt, and rosemary and roasting them for about an hour at 400 degrees F.
Carrots before cooking in the crock pot.

While the roast was being ignored for so many hours, I made my first batch of Sorbet in my new Cuisinart Supreme Ice Cream Freezer. This one has a built-in condenser and can make 1-1/2 quarts of ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, or frozen drinks at a time. First up, raspberry-peach sorbet. I've been increasing my reference cookbooks to make the best use of this wonderful new toy. It has a large footprint, but more than makes up for the fact that I never have room in any of my freezers for the two quart tub that needs chilling before I can use my other ice cream maker.
 Raspberry and peach purees.

Mix the two purees with simple syrup and chill well before churning.

It takes about an hour in the ice cream churn 
(add frothed egg-white about 15 minutes before finish) 
for lovely, not so sweet as store-bought, sorbet.

I got an amazing deal on the Cuisinart Supreme at Tuesday Morning: $100. It usually runs $199.99 there, but it was half-prince for the end of summer clearance. The same machine will cost anywhere from $200 to $500 and change on-line, so it is one of my better recent finds at Tuesday Morning.