Friday, October 28, 2011

An Autumn Dinner:
Homemade Applesauce and
Apple-Glazed Pork Loin

I recently found a lovely pork loin on sale 
at my local grocery store (sorry, Sandra Lee speak:
what, would I travel to someone else's local grocery
store to buy food?)
That got my mind grinding and sparking
on an Autumn menu.
Pork and apples.
The food of the Gods.
I can taste it already.

The first task was homemade applesauce.

I used Honeycrisp apples.
These apples are my favorite apples.
They are sweet and they keep almost forever.*
I have been able to keep these beauties in the
crisper of my fridge for over a year, with little
discernible loss in quality,
other than a slight bruising of the flesh.
They still taste good and are good for cooking.

*Forever may be subjective and 
cannot be qualified in legal terms.

Sarah's Applesauce Recipe

4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and
cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes,
or until apples are soft.
Allow to cool and mash apples with a fork or
potato masher.

This is my new favorite applesauce recipe.
Thanks, Sarah.
(Folks, this may be a first:
I actually followed the recipe!
And you didn't think it could be done.)

Next up was an Apple-Glazed Pork Loin.

Of course, I couldn't stick with the recipe here, 
starting with the brine.

Here is my riff on the recipe:
4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cider vinegar*

*Whoever heard of a brine without an acid?

Pork Loin:
1 boneless pork loin
 Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons apple jelly
2 tablespoons F.R.O.G. preserves.**

**Fig, Raspberry, Orange, Ginger preserves

Nuke the brine in microwave-safe container
on high for five minutes.
Take out and stir, stir, stir, 
until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Add ice cubes and cold water 
to the hot brine to bring the brine to room temp
and to double the volume.

Then and only then can you safely add the pork to the brine.
Submerge the pork in the brine completely for at least four hours.
Since we have added acid to the mix, we have cut down
the brining time significantly.
Place in the fridge.

One to One-and-a half hours before
it is time to start cooking the pork,
take the pork loin out of the brine
and leave out at room temp.

Season the pork with the ground black pepper and sprinkle with
the minced sage.

Heat grill and place pork loin on preheated grill.

Cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees
and not one degree more.***

Do not make me hunt you down!

Trust me on this!

Baste with the glaze at the last minute,
lest the pork burn excessively.

Remove from heat,
cover and let rest for five to ten minutes
before carving.
***Despite what your lovely grandmother may have told you, 
pork does not need to become hard and tough
like shoe leather to become edible.
With today's food safety practices
pork is perfectly safe 
cooked at 140 degrees,
before carry over heat adds an additional 5 to 10 degrees.
And the reason we all worry about undercooking pork?
That nasty little tape worm,
or teniasis****, used to thrive in pigs,
thanks to the fact that pigs were historically fed
scraps and garbage.
Now their diets are vastly improved
and science has shown that
heating the meat to 138 degrees
will kill the eggs of this nasty parasite
if it manages to manifest in the modern
porcine population.

Recently the FDA has relaxed
its rigorous standards
and has suggested that
pork can be cooked to 145 degrees.
I still maintain that this is overkill,
as the final resultant temperature would be 155.

Pork should be just slightly pink in the middle
and oh, so tender.
Try this and you will be a convert.
Just don't forget the meat thermometer.

****Oddly enough,
it is rumored that around the turn of the 20th century,
there were tapeworm diets available
for those wishing to lose weight.
Whether or not that is actually true
has not been determined,
but it would have to have been a desperate person
to have even contemplate such a thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Marilyn,

Your photos have inspired me to make some applesauce with the random farmer's market apples I have sitting here. And if I have a pork loin in the freezer (a pretty safe bet) I may make the pork roast, too. It looks great!

vera charles