Saturday, October 20, 2012


Every weekend that I'm in town, I try to make at least one dinner that's healthy, delicious and not too complicated. Chopping or marinating I don't mind. But, I'm not crazy about any recipe that leaves me perplexed or questioning how things will turn out. I want something I know will be good. With cooler temperatures... also warm and comforting to those I'm serving. This combination never fails me....

Fresh local fare picked up from The Produce Place

MENU (serves 4)

Roasted Vegetables
Italian Pork Roast
Salt Roasted Onions
Honey Roasted Applesauce (the best condiment on the planet)

To keep every dish from having the word 'roast' involved, I always serve a salad with lots of greens and a very light dressing for a bit of balance.


Chop 6 cups fresh, ripe vegetables and toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup garlic-infused olive oil (I make my own, but you can find options at Fresh Market) along with 1 tsp of course salt and 2 tsp of fresh ground pepper. Put all pieces onto baking sheets in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Toss slightly with a spatula halfway through cooking time to brown evenly. Serve warm. 

I use whatever looks best at the market (in season). Two cups of each veg in approx 2" pieces. This time it was carrots, zucchini, asparagus and purple onions. Next week it might be butternut squash instead of the zucchini. Sometimes I toss in brussels sprouts instead of asparagus. Basically, anything you like works. Leftovers are ideal to use in cold salads.


One 2-2.5lb (room temperature) organic boneless pork loin
3 cloves garlic, each cut into 2 even slices
2 TBSP Lucini olive oil (this is my favorite all-natural choice, always)
2.5 TBSP dried Italian seasoning (I prefer using my own dried oregano and basil, but store-bought blends work just as well)
2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

Prep and clean up is super easy with a simple roasting pan.

Place roast (fat side up) in shallow roasting pan. Cut slits evenly at 1-2 inch intervals and insert garlic pieces. Brush oil evenly over entire roast. Rub with seasoning and pepper. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, take out garlic and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 2/3" pieces. Once sliced, top with a thin layer of the applesauce.

Most of this menu has evolved based on things I've learned over time in seeking quick, accessible dishes. But, the onions are an adaption from chef Michael Chialrello's At Home Cookbook. I love his recipes, and also purchase many of my salts and other seasonings from his store, Napa Style. I pick up a few items when visiting each fall (replenishing via online orders throughout the year). The quality is consistently suburb. I order frequently, and always receive fresh, potent product.

Suggested wine with this meal? The Feast from Cultivate Wines...


 4 yellow onions, unpeeled
 Kosher Salt
 1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar 
 Finely ground grey sea salt from Napa Style
 Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the stem off of each onion. Spread a 1/4 " thick layer of salt in the bottom of a metal baking pan. Arrange onions evenly on top of salt (nestling each a bit). Roast for at least an hour, up to 90 minutes (until they are dark brown in spots). Near the end of the cooking time, in a saucepan, simmer the vinegar over low heat to reduce by half (20 min). Once onions are removed from oven, pick each one up with a towel, remove ONLY the very outer layer of papery skin. Cut a deep 'X' in the top and drizzle balsamic syrup evenly over each one. Season with gray salt and pepper. 

** I have these cooking for at least a 1/2 hour and then put the chopped vegetables in the same oven -the result is amazing. I also usually double the onion recipe and place the extras in a ziplock in the fridge and add to soups, sautés and even sandwiches. They keep well for 6-8 days.

What is your go-to meal for your family or for company that always turns out well?  Do share!