Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lazy girl dinner


On weekends, especially Sundays, I like to put together a nice-ish dinner. Sometimes this means something rather involved, like coq au vin or baked ziti. But just as often, I make dinners that look like they took some work but in reality required very little effort.

Such as roast loin of pork.

Here's my method. Combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and any other spices or herbs you like. Sometimes I chop up garlic and rosemary and throw that in; other times I grind up fennel seed and coriander. Many nights, I'm too lazy to do either and just rely on salt and pepper to do the work. Rub the mixture over the pork roast and place in a pan. Roast at 425 for about 40-45 minutes, turning once. I usually take the pork out when a thermometer registers about 137-140, which is medium on the side of pink, but cook as you prefer. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

When I'm feeling a little fancy I make this fig and port sauce to serve alongside it; it's a simple, gorgeous, shiny sauce that smells of Christmas. This sauce would be divine on almost anything: duck, quail...I've even dreamed of pouring it over vanilla ice cream.

Of course, you need sides. Last weekend while the pork was in the oven, I rummaged around and found some cauliflower and a couple of carrots. I roasted them with some olive oil, and at the end threw in some slivered almonds and currants left over from Captain Chicken.

I decided to make some polenta, too, because I pretty much always have cornmeal around. I cook polenta in a mix of chicken broth and water and at the very end stir in some milk or half and half to make it extra creamy. You could always put some cheese in but sometimes I can't be bothered to pull out the grater. I also don't think you have to stir it all the time, the way some recipes say. I stir mine for awhile, then turn it down, cover it, and go do some other stuff. It turns out fine. And I'm lazy, see?

The best thing about this kind of dinner is that it requires no recipes. I've made the pork enough times to know it by heart, and all the side dishes fall into place, depending on what I have on hand and what I'm in the mood for. In the end, this looked like a pretty nice dinner, and almost like I put in some effort. But that can just be our little secret.

25 comments:

  1. Ilove those effortless yet impressive dinners! I'm with you about the polenta - I never do the stirring-it-constantly thing that most recipes advocate. It comes out fine every time.

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  2. I don't know, this all looks and sounds like you did put a lot of effort into it. Lots of delicious effort, at that. Looks great!

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  3. Mmmm, I love soft and runny polenta like that. I also love mashed potatoes soft like that. And I also love risotto runny and loose like that (which, like polenta, I also never stir as much as they say to). Pete

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  4. THIS is your lazy gal dinner? impressive. care to take a guess at what mine is? if you answered 'cereal,' you're exactly right. :)

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  5. Oh this is delightful for a lazy Sunday! I am glad you enjoyed it...though I am with Grace...lazy for me is cereal! LOL!

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  6. camille: I am glad I'm not the only "cheater"! :) Maybe the constant stirring makes a difference to some but not to my palate!

    oneordinaryday: thanks!

    Pete: Me too, I much prefer polenta this way as opposed to set. Of course, I will eat it that way too...

    grace: Well, I have lazier dinners, of course--packaged ravioli, anyone?

    Chef Aimee: I know, this is lazy but not lazIEST.

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  7. Awesome dinner. I love things like this, our lazy dinner is roast chicken :) Can't remember the last time I actually attempted polenta, good to know not too much stirring involved.

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  8. Mmm, I recently had polenta which I really enjoyed... it's been a long time and I forgot how much I like it. I agree, this sounds not so lazy, but in comparison to coq au vin... It looks delicious!

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  9. I have tons of cauliflower in the fridge - this is what I am going to make as a side this week!!

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  10. You can read Chinese characters? Wow. You have even more hidden talents than I realized. I'm guessing that says, "Ho sik wa!" [Read: "Tastaay, good eatin'!"] I concur.-cwt

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  11. shaz: oh yes, roast chicken is probably the most common lazy dinner of choice--and the most comforting!

    foodhoe: polenta is a good go-to. You can make it with amost any liguid and make it as simple or fancy as you like.

    simran stacie: have fun with the cauliflower!

    cwt: No I can't read any chinese. Are you serious in your translating? I didn't realize you could read some chinese.

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  12. Hi, I saw your blog on Gypsy Chef and thought I'd stop by... great recipe and fun blog... glad I found you!

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  13. Great method, I love pork tenderloin. You know, baked ziti can be pretty easy. I have a one pot version posted on my blog, although I need to update it since I've done some work on the recipe.

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  14. Your "throw together" meal looks considerably better than my pathetic efforts to do the same. This looks like a perfect meal for a Sunday afternoon. I'm sure it was delicious.

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  15. This looks like a beautiful meal without too much effort. I haven't made pork tenderloin in awhile because the last one I made required roasted garlic and wrapping the whole thing in bacon. Delicious, but time consuming.

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  16. Oh, I love roasted pork loin. I agree, it's super easy and tasty with just the simplest of spices. But the thing for me as the single guy is I get sooo much leftovers from one loin. If only I had a hungry dog to feed! ;-)

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  17. Beautiful colors, very painterly.

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  18. That is plated very beautifully! The pork is perfectly cook!

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  19. This does look like a nice dinner!

    Polenta is one of my favorite things. I actually had some baked polenta last night - topped with a mushroom sauce.

    I agree with you about the stirring. When I cook polenta on the stove-top, I find that the texture is better if I don't stir it too much.

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  20. lostpastremembered: thank you for stopping by! I'm looking forward to checking out your blog too!

    Bob: I'll have to search your blog for baked ziti. I have a great recipe but it takes a bit of time.

    Mary: thank you!

    Deanna: wow, that sounds delicious but definitely more work than I sometimes am prepared to put in. Thank you for stopping by!

    Jessica: thanks!

    Ben: yeah, a roast is too much for one person-sometimes even with two we end up with a lot of leftovers (food for Frances!)

    Stace: That's a great compliment to get from a painter! :)

    3 hungry tummies: thank you!

    Domestic Adventurer: Polenta is so great--it can take almost any flavors!

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  21. made a version of the veges last night and added some cumin.....yum!

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  22. Simran Stacie: Cumin is a great idea--I'm stealing it!

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  23. looks like we both stealing ideas :). i stole the cauliflower and carrots....

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