Monday, November 16, 2009
I Cooked for Mom - AND WINNERS WINNERS in the O OLIVE OIL Contest
I did check, and although my mother has never heard of the words; spice, seasoning and flavor; she did not have any issues with tasting spicy items. She just chooses to boil the life out of everything she cooks??? See yesterday's post for an example of Mom's cooking.
BUT, the good news is that she let me cook for her the last night we were there... ANDI did get to use a Weber Grill to cook on!
Here's what I did...
It was a little difficult, as Mom does not have easy Internet connection, nor any cook books worth talking about. So whatever I was going to make was going to have to be simple and from memory. Mom eats a salad every day, so that was her contribution. I had plans to make... Taters on the grill, easy, Bacon wrapped stuffed peppers, easy and my now famous - bacon wrapped spiral cut stuffed pork loin with raspberry sausage stuffing (pork, wrapped in pork, wrapped in pork!!!).
First thing I did was take Mom to her local grocery store. My lives in a suburb of Phoenix. There are some wonderful Mexican ingredients just waiting for her to experiment with... But, she loves her Betty Crocker food, but I wanted to see what they offered. I found a wonderful Mexican Chorizo sausage. Again, I checked, and Mom assured me they would have no problem with spicy items... OK, the Chorizio would be my stuffing. I also found some wonderful fresh raspberries. But I especially loved the peppers. I went nuts and bought 5 different kinds of peppers to stuff. In Kansas, we have 4 standard, but Mom has an option of over a dozen varieties.
I have made this before, and I have detailed instructions and complete recipe if you click this link - Raspberry Chipotle Marinated Spiral Stuffed Pork Loin with a Bacon Lattice. But I had a problem. Mom's knife was very dull. So, my spiral was not going to be very long this time. I got about three cuts out of it, where I can normally do about 6-8. But, it was going to have to do. Real basic, real quick, cut the loin as thin as you can and just keep working towards the center (again, click the link above for better instructions). Lay out a layer of the sausage (cooked a little to get most of the fat out), and top that with pureed raspberries.
And now, my next problem... I forgot to get any butcher's twine, or those wonderfully convenient cooking bands I have been talking about for a few months. So, without those aids, that wonderful bacon lattice I have made in the past was just not going to work. Instead, I basically used toothpicks and bacon as the ties to keep the opening sealed up...
Not pretty, but it worked...
And here I am with my Weber... I used standard Kingsford coal. They had no chimney, and my step-father used lighter fluid to start the fire. Here's a little tip, well, a BIG tip - DON'T EVER USE LIGHTER FLUID. It has an odor that will get into your food. however, alternatively, let the fire get started, and burn for at least a half hour (or longer) til you do not smell the fluid anymore, then add a few additional uncooked coals over the cooked coals. They will start on their own.
Even though it is a charcoal grill, I set it up as a smoker. The coals were on each side, with an aluminum drip pan in the center keeping the loin away from direct heat. I only had about 12 coals on each side, but that was plenty of heat to get up around 225 (I used an instant read thermometer inserted in the hole of the lid to measure. Not the best, but it gives an idea. Also, I used the hand test to measure the heat. Directly over the coals, I could only hold my hand there to the count of 2. Over the drip pan, I could easily hold over 5 seconds. My Mom has lemon, oranges and grapefruit trees in their back yard. I was allowed to get some of the cuttings to use for smoke wood! I cut them into 2 inch strips, soaked them for a half hour, and then added just as I was adding the meat.
I cooked the loin for 5 hours. I added 5 fresh coals each side every hour.
At the three hour mark, I added some sweet potatoes and white potatoes to the grill over the coals for direct heat. I had poked a few holes with a fork, and wrapped in tin foil. I also rubbed with a little chili infused Olive Oil prior to wrapping. At 3.5 hours, I added the wrapped peppers...
I made a pineapple cream cheese to stuff the peppers with... Just mixed a little diced pineapple to the cream cheese. Cut the peppers in half, stuffed some with the cheese, and a few with some chorizio sausage. Wrap with bacon, secure with a toothpick and pop em on the grill! they take about an hour and a half to cook nicely.
Look at that red one in the middle... Some of em had the sausage and some of the Cream Cheese!
Just as good as they look!
As was the meat, perfect about 170 degrees internal. I have been preaching the benefits of a spiral cut for a long time. The sausage in the center was just right, with some of the fat steaming the meat from the inside. Makes an incredibly moist pork loin, even after cooking that long.
and the verdict... THEY LOVED IT. the sausage had a little kick to it, but not so hot that they would not eat it. Some of the peppers were hot, but i took those. I guided them to the more gentle ones, and they really liked those. Mom has lived in Arizona for 6 years now. I do hope she tries to cook with some more of those excellent local ingredients (she said she would). But it was so much fun cooking for mom for a change! Happy everything worked out so well.
Oh yeah, I didn't get a photo, but I did grill some pineapple rings for dessert we had them with ice cream for a fantastic finish!
Thought I would show you all the view out my Mom's porch. Those are her lemons on the tree to the right. We had REAL lemonade every day!
OK, as promised, I have TWO winners in the O Olive Oil giveaway! First, over at my guest post at OUR KRAZY KITCHEN, JOY from JOY OF DESSERTS won the set of Olive Oil and Vinegar! From this site, Kerstin from CAKE, BATTER and BOWL won the box set of the fall collection of O Zinfandel Vinegar, O Blood Orange Olive Oil, O Porto Vinegar. Thanks to O Olive Oil for their generosity. And I have submitted the recipes for their judging, and will be getting back to you shortly with their decision!