- Citrus Pork Loin Roast
- Artichokes Stuffed with Fennel and Fontina Cheese
- Swiss Chard Braised in White Wine, Lemon and Butter
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
So, why did I choose this menu? I was inspired by a TV show, Alex’s Day Off. She made an entire meal of Italian comfort food that reminded her of her parents. On the show, she made stuffed artichokes, pork meatballs in a marinara sauce and topped it off with a chocolate tart. I was enamored with all of it, but for what I was looking for, way too rich. I really wanted to make the stuffed artichokes, so I did, and paired them up with a pork loin roast and braised swiss chard. And I know I made rhubarb custard last week, but hey, it’s in season, so I made rhubarb again this week. I made a warm rhubarb and strawberry crisp with vanilla ice cream.
Pork loin roast is very lean and can get dry and tough if not cooked properly. A good citrus marinade can help tenderize the roast. I read several different takes on citrus pork and decided to incorporate Florida grapefruit in the marinade. I used a combination of grapefruit, orange and lime along with cilantro, onion and garlic for the marinade. As usual, I include olive oil, salt and pepper. I marinated it overnight and then cooked it on high heat (450 degrees F) for about 40 minutes, basting regularly and checking for temperature. When the meat reached 125 degrees F, I took it out of the oven and draped it with tin foil and let it rest for 15 minutes. While the meat was resting, I strained the marinade and cooked it down into a syrupy, yum that I drizzled over the meat when it was served.
For the artichokes, first make a water bath with lots of salt and lemon. This is because, while you are prepping the artichokes, they will turn black in a hurry if they are not submersed in lemon juice. If you have a giant bowl big enough to hold all the artichokes, great, but if not, pull out a big pot and fill it up with water. Process enough lemons to produce between one half and one cup lemon juice. Trust me, you need lots of lemon juice to keep those chokes from turning black on you. To process the chokes, peel off most of the outer leaves by going round and round the choke, peeling off the tough leaves until you reach the tender edible leaves. At this point, chop off the top half of the remaining leaves. Using a paring knife or spoon or both, scrape out the “choke” from the middle of the vegetable. Pull out all the hairy, spiky, inedible looking inner leaves. It’s a little tricky, but keep at it until you have a lovely little artichoke cup. You want to peel the tough outer layer of the artichoke. So, using a paring knife, start from the end of the stem and peel toward the base, removing the tough outer layer off the artichoke. You will be left with a lovely little cup, ready for stuffing.
Make the stuffing up by cleaning and chopping up a bulb or two of fennel. Mix it up with some olive oil, bread crumbs, cubed fontina cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Arrange the chokes in a baking dish and stuff them. Arrange the excess stuffing around the artichokes. Te prevent the chokes from burning, cover the baking pan with foil. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. Remove the foil and place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the stuffing.
Check the recipe section for the braised Swiss Chard.