April 21, 2008

Dinner Snafu

Pork Roast with Corn Bread Stuffing
1 2-2.5 lbs. boneless pork top loin roast (single loin)
1 tbl. cooking oil
4 cups corn bread stuffing mix
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. mixed dried fruit bits
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. peach spreadable fruit
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Lightly coat slow cooker with cooking spray. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit in cooker. Sprinkle meat with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss together stuffing mix, chicken broth, dried fruit, and onion. In prepared cooker place stuffing mixture. Add meat. In a small bowl stir together peach spreadable fruit, lemon peel, and cinnamon. Spread over meat in cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5-6 hours or on high for 2.5-3 hours.

This was the new recipe I tried last night.

Now, I'll have to admit, when I started putting everything together in the crock pots yesterday after church, that age-old advice did flit through my brain: Never try a new recipe on company. But I quickly dismissed it. I'd talked to Mom about it beforehand, making sure everyone in her household would like it. Wasn't sure how Jason would like the stuffing, but he'd promised to try it anyway, and I was very excited to cook pork, because we don't eat it all that often.

But I was also coming down with a cold yesterday (which fully blossomed this morning, but that's another story). So in the interest of time and engery, I skipped Step #1 listed above.

While I skipped Step #1, I ignored that nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, I should follow the recipe. See, I regularly change recipes. It's a habit I've developed over the years. Whenever there's an ingredient Jason or I don't like (mushrooms, for example), I see if I can make do without. Maybe some would consider that a little risky, but as Jason reminds me, it's good to take risks every now and then (of course, he usually says that in referrence to my play style in wow . . . eh, details). A little culinary courage is good for the soul (and the stomach). And on the whole, I'd say I'm usually quite successful. Unfortunately, yesterday was NOT one of the "usuallys".

Because Step #1 wasn't the only thing I changed.

After reading the recipe, it ocurred to me that perhaps I wasn't supposed to cook the stuffing beforehand. I was already adding in a lot of liquids, and I thought to myself, Why, I bet the stuffing is supposed to cook in the crockpot with the meat! I'll save myself some time and mess that way!

Of course, the fact that I didn't have all the ingredients to make the stuffing on the stove top helped in this persuasion. :)

Well, I proceeded to *follow* the rest of the recipe, and got the two cookers going on High about 3:30pm. At 6:30 pm, with Mom and Co. all gathered in the livingroom and the house smelling absolutely delicious, I lifted the lids off.

Ahhhhhh! The pork was a nice dull brown on the outside. And a positive pink on the inside. It was then I realized, much to my dismay, that the roasts were each about five lbs. and the recipe above called for a 2-2.5 pounder. The high-heat setting notwithstanding, the meat had not cooked. And the stuffing? Oh my. . . it was . . . burned? dried out? Not sure which word aptly describes it here, but a good portion of it was inedible. Apparently, I was supposed to cook it first before putting in the crockpot.

I was dumb-founded. My culinary courage does not usually lead to such catastrophies!
While I cried rivers of tears and repined at the way stars in their courses conspired against me, Mom and Uncle Jim cut up the biggeset roast and microwaved it to a more eatable color. Then Mom set the second roast on low heat, telling me to let it cook over night. With the green beans and mashed potatoes that Grandma had made, dinner was saved.

But as we ate (and I nibbled at the stuffing, determined to like it), Jason looked over at me with his laughing eyes and said:

"You know, they say you're not supposed to try new recipes on company."

I just looked at him.

Then we burst out laughing.

And the laughter, together with peach pie and vanilla ice cream, made the evening a much happier one. Harry assured me that he and Mom did not want to be considered company, and that I had his permission to try new recipes on them whenever I wanted. ;) Then Mom told me we'd try the recipe again sometime, because it really did look yummy in the cookbook. :) And I felt loved, safe, and secure again, in spite of my inadequecies in the kitchen.

Until this morning, when I went to check that second pork roast. The one that had cooked all night.

Let's just say, if today had been December 25th, I would've assumed Santa left coal for me in the cooker instead of in a stocking. :(

Next time, I'll just follow the recipe. Cross my heart.

1 comment:

Ashleigh said...

You sound like me, lol! I love to change recipes, and have definitely had my share of mishaps. ;) But, hey, you ARE more adventurous than I am... you try new recipes much more often than I do.