Roasted Pork, Tuscan Style

Stick your fork in a juicy slice

You know how people say we talk about the weather when we can’t think of anything else to say? Well, today I want to talk about the weather because that’s all I’ve been thinking about.

I took myself on a walk this morning after dropping the kids at school – it’s such a glorious postcard-perfect day someone needs to take a picture of it (because, obviously, I didn’t).

The sky is pristinely blue, a chilly breeze is blowing leaves around, and the trees are still holding on to their brilliant array of fall foliage. It sounds so sappy, but the sight of it really took my breath away.

And then, I started thinking about what I wanted to eat.

So much of what I find myself craving depends on the weather; like a cool cucumber and ripe tomato salad on a humid summer day or fresh green things in early spring.

Now that it’s so close to Thanksgiving, I love grocery shopping more than ever. It really is the only time of year when I can walk into my favorite store and find an array of food I won’t see again until next year, unless I place a special order for it. The meat department especially draws me in – I’m tempted by fresh duck, goose and quail and big, beautiful pork roasts.

A roasted rack of pork is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. I rub it with olive oil, honey and some of my Tuscan Spiced Salt, and slide it into a hot oven. It turns out so much better than a boneless pork loin ever could – because the rib bones are intact, the meat stays juicy. Plus, it just tastes good.

Roasted Rack of Pork, Tuscan Style

for 4 servings

1 2-pound pork rib roast, trimmed
Honey
Olive Oil
Tuscan Spiced Salt, about 2 tablespoons

*note: I noticed I had “3” tablespoons here – better to use about 1 tablespoon per pound*

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Rub the pork with a little honey and olive oil and the Tuscan salt.
Arrange in a shallow roasting pan and roast about 30 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads 140 degrees. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

 

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake

Swirls of spiced cake with chocolate glaze
My neighbor’s maple tree is wearing its glorious fall coat. If you walk by at the right moment in late afternoon, the generously leafy canopy appears to glow with golden light; like a sequined Hannah Montana in the spotlight.Meanwhile, I’ve seen crocuses poking up out of lawns, and my gnarly old crabapple is blooming bright pink blossoms. Poor thing – it’s getting on in years and must be easily confused by the unusually spring-like temperature. Unpredictable weather is typical for us here in St. Louis; last year at about this time we were huddling around the fireplace with our winter coats on after an ice storm knocked out our power for a few days.

Despite the freakish weather I still have fall cooking on the brain. Plus, I was inspired by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice – she’s got a great idea called Magazine Mondays going. Find all those flagged recipes in your food magazine stack and get cooking!

I loved the colors in this cake – it’s from Sunset magazine – I found it at Myrecipes.com.
Since I made this for a treat on Halloween night, I used my extra-dark cocoa powder in the chocolate batter (as in the Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread)- it looks great swirled with the pumpkin-orange cake.

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Pound Cake
from Sunset Magazine, November 2003

1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk
Chocolate glaze (recipe follows)1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half the mixture into another bowl.

2. To make pumpkin batter: Beat pumpkin into half the butter mixture until well blended. In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with a flexible spatula just until blended.

3. To make chocolate batter: In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

4. Spoon half the pumpkin batter into a buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half the chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) the pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run the blade of a butter knife around the center of the pan several times, then draw the knife across the width of the pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.

5. Bake in a 350° regular or 325° convection oven until a wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.

6. Pour warm chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle glaze with peanuts if desired. Let stand until glaze is set, about 2 hours, or chill about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Glaze: In a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler, combine 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon corn syrup. Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a pan that the bowl can nest in or in bottom of double boiler, then remove from heat. Place chocolate mixture over water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food