Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fast food, kind of

Garlic and lemon marinated pork loin, grilled vegetables, fire roasted bell peppers, chimichurri sauce.

In the local Safeway they have several kinds of ready-to-cook marinated pork loins on sale for half the price, and this is one of the few processed foods that I don't mind buying when in a hurry, cooking just for myself or making sandwiches to take on a trip. From the list of ingredients in the "Garlic and Lemon" marinade I know it's not very good for me, but it does taste fine and is ready to go on the grill. With the weather changing as it was recently, I don't feel like marinating my own for two days - by the time it's ready it may be so cold and windy that I won't feel like going out and grilling.

So here it is, prepared almost according to the directions on the package: take it out of the plastic, wipe most of the marinade off, you may want to wash and dry it because, at least to my taste, the marinade is very salty, and grill it on a hot grill for about 30 minutes turning four times. Remove from the grill and let sit for a few minutes. Slice against the grain and serve. This pork is also very good cold, so save some to slice for lunch salad or sandwiches the next day.

While it's grilling, prepare the vegetables: wash the carrots, scrubbing them with a sponge, don't peel; quater a small squash; halve a tomato. Brush on some EVOO with salt and pepper. Grill on all sides for 5-10 minutes.

Fire roasted red peppers, done the day before: grill the peppers on a very hot grill, turning to blacken almost all the skin. Remove to a bowl, cover with a plate or plastic wrap, and set aside for 20-30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the burnt skin, working over the bowl to catch the juices, remove the center with as many seeds as possible, cut into strips; put peppers and the juice in a covered glass jar, season with salt, pepper, EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Chimichurri sauce: in a blender or a food processor, combine a bunch of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped, 4-5 large garlic cloves, chopped, 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano or a teaspoon dry oregano, a teaspoon of Spanish (toasted) paprika, a little over 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt to taste. Blend until almost smooth, leaving some chunks for texture. Can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator, for a couple of weeks. It looks scary, with green dots of parsley in the light brown paste, but it's so good over any grilled meat or vegetable!

I had this with a glass of California Sauvignon Blanc, the acidic and herbal flavors in the wine and sauce balance very well, and the warm grown CA wine has enough body to support the pork.

As to the last weekend's paella, the pictures didn't come out well again.
So we'll have to make another one before I write about it. We keep practicing.

I think we got the dish right, now it's time to learn to photograph it. Check this blog often, it's coming.

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