Saturday, March 05, 2011

Pork Roast and the Plan - Part ONE

What do I have on hand?
What use of leftovers can I make?

One of my main strategies in planning for a week is to cook one 'large' item that I can use for several leftover meals during the week. Not only does this save TIME it also can save money. Here is an example from last week.

First: what do I already have on hand? So....delving into the freezer, I see that I still have several pork roasts that I bought about 6 months ago when they were on sale. Pork Blade Shoulder Roasts or also known as Boston Butt. Looking at the label on the packaging it is an 8 pound roast and I see that I paid .97 cents per pound. Woo Hoo!!! SCORE!! The same roasts now are $1.90 to $2.10 per pound now. (Tell me all about how we don't have inflation again?).

How do I know the price and poundage? Whenever I buy meat in bulk to freeze, I write this information on the label, along with the date so that we can use the older stock first. LIFO in accounting terms.

OK. Pork it is. However, an 8 pound pork roast is a lot of meat for two people. We don't want to eat pork ALL week long.......... I know. Let's have company!!

( 4 people..links to other recipes in this blog)



8 pound pork roast (because I already owned it)
8 or more large cloves of garlic
8 tablespoons of Kosher Salt (1 tbsp for each pound of meat)
2 tablespoons coarse ground pepper
6 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 tsp each dried oregano, marjoram, thyme

Place the pork, fat-side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert, and using a sharp knife, score the surface of the meat with small slits Mash the garlic and some of the salt (about 1/3) until it is a paste. I used a mortar and pestle, but you can also use the flat side of a cleaver on your cutting board. Mash in the spices and pepper to make a coarse paste. Place the paste in a bowl and stir in the rest of the salt and the oil and vinegar. You don't want to completely dissolve the salt grains. Rub the garlic paste all over the pork, being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture - this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast the pork 45 minutes to the pound, uncovered, until the skin is crispy-brown. Using an instant read meat thermometer the internal temperature should be at least 145 to 160 degrees. Don't let the thermometer touch the bone when testing or you will get a false read.

Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing. If longer, just tent loosely with foil and let it sit.

This is the most juicy and tender pork that you will ever eat.

Ricotta Cheese: The Potato Gnocchi recipe calls for some Ricotta Cheese. In order to make good use of the rest of the cheese, I chose to make the dessert that also uses the Ricotta.

Caesar Salad: Don't buy those packaged salad mixes. They are expensive!! and often the romaine lettuce is not all that fresh. Instead, invest in a salad spinner and buy romaine by the head and either make your own Caesar salad dressing or buy a jar and keep in the refrigerator. Caesar is our favorite salad and we eat it or a variation at least 2 to 4 times in a week and the head of Romaine will last that long.

How to keep it fresh? Breaking the whole leaves apart first (I don't mean tear the leafs up...leave them whole, I put the entire head of lettuce into a big zip lock bag and insert a just damp paper towel. This keeps them fresh and you can pick an assortment of outer and inner leaves for your salad.

Cost of a pre-packaged salad (single use) $4.00

Head of Romaine $2.00
Salad Dressing $3.50

For a little bit more, you get 4 to 6 salads instead of just one!! That's FRUGAL.

Now that we have had a great meal with friends, what am I doing to do with the rest of this pork???

Stay tuned for part TWO.