Sunday, December 10, 2006

Roast Pork of Loin & Petites Madeleines

On Sundays, Scott and I like to cook. It's the only time we have where we can spend a few hours uninterrupted making the delicious things that we love. Today, Scott made Petites Madeleines and I made Roast Pork of Loin with Fennel (with Scott's help of course). The Petites Madeleines have a story (see below) and I modified the pork loin from the Food Network's Barefoot Contessa show. Both are fabulous, very easy, and impressive to other people. I hope you decide to give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

Roast Pork of Loin with Fennel
(Good for groups of 6-8 OR a week of leftovers for two people -- very easy to do)

Photo: Roast Pork of Loin with Fennel
(cooked in electric turkey roaster)

Mustard Glaze:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied

Total prep time; 5 minutes.
Mix garlic, pepper, salt, rosemary, and thyme leaves with the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork (fat side up) and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Vegetable Medley
1 small fennel bulb, tops removed
1 bag of carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced diagonally
1 bag small potatoes red, cut in quarters
1 bunch of celery stalks, thickly sliced
1 red onion, thickly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons of course sea salt

Total prep time: 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss with your hands like a salad to evenly coat all the vegetables. Place the vegetables in a large turkey roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes.

Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads 175 degrees. Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

We just ate it and it was unbelievably delicious. Word of advice, don't skip the fennel.

Petites Madeleines

Photo: Petites Madeleines
(because Scott's French)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix sugar and eggs until you get creamy white mixture. Add flour little by little with softened (not melted) butter (mix well so that plenty air whips into the batter). Drop from teaspoons into buttered Madeleine molds. Bake for ten minutes at 375F or until golden brown and spongy.

Petites Madeleine pans available at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

History of Petites Madeleines

"18th Century: Madeleines are always associated with the little French town of Commercy, whose bakers were said to have once, long ago, paid a "very large sum" for the recipe and sold the little cakes packed in oval boxes as a specialty in the area. Nuns in eighteenth-century France frequently supported themselves and their schools by making and selling a particular sweet. Commercy once had a convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdelen. Historians thing that the nuns, probably when all the convents and monasteries of France were abolished during the French Revolution, sold their recipe to the bakers.

According to another story or legend, during the 18th century in the French town of Commercy, in the region of Lorraine, a young servant girl name Madeleine made them for Stanislas Leszczynska, the deposed king of Poland when he was exiled to Lorraine. This started the fashion for madeleines' (as they were named by the Leszczynska). They became popular in Versailles by his daughter Marie, who was married to Louis XV (1710–1774).

19th Century - Another story lays the origins of the madeleine with Jean Avice, considered the “master of choux pastry,” who worked as a pastry chef for Prince Talleyrand (1754-1838). Jean Avice is said to have invented the Madeleine in the 19th century by baking little cakes in aspic molds.

20th Century (1923) - They were made famous by Marcel Proust (1871-1922) in his autobiographical novel À la recherche du temps perdu, translated Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1, Swann's Way. This novel was left unfinished upon his death, and his brothers published the book in 1923. He wrote:

She sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called "petites madeleines," which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell … I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses …

And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray … when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane …. and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea."


Anonymous said...

The pork loin turned out great. The roaster does a great job of keeping the meat moist and tender. The vegetables were excellent. This was my first experience cooking with (and eating) fennel and it wasn't bad at all.

The Madeleines are indeed good with tea. I discovered that last night. Who knows, there might even be some left for the office party on Wednesday. I think they'd be good with some lemon zest or maybe even some crushed mint.

- Grouchy

Emily said...

I got to have a Madeleine and it was delish! I wish I had another right now. Work is boring.

K&B Brown said...

That looks delicious. I wish you lived near me so I could try a Madeleine too.

CarrierFamily said...

You can have some. They are wicked easy to make, and it is well worth the investment in the pan. We make these several times during the year.

Also, you could eat my food if you came for a visit (wink, wink).

Karen B said...

I can attest to the deliciousness. I can also tell you, whoever you are that wonders, that the roaster rocks.

CarrierFamily said...

Thanks for your taste bud validation of my cooking Phil.