Crown Roast of Pork

[Crown Roast of Pork]

Crown Roast of Pork with Wild Rice, Apple and Dried Cranberry Stuffing.

This year we splurged on our Christmas Eve main course and had a local market put together a crown roast of pork. Their minimum size was larger than we needed however it made for an impressive center piece on our holiday table.

The crown roast is formed from two regular bone-in pork loins. The butcher removed the chine bone, cleans up the tips of the ribs and formed the crown with butcher twine. I chose to roast it without stuffing, adding a separately baked stuffing once the roast was sitting on the serving platter.

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Saturday night – 12/26/2015

This week we had a ‘canned good apocalypse pot luck’. The guidelines were that guests we asked to bring any combination of canned foods to help make a meal (or maybe just a mess). While they could mix canned goods together the only “extra” ingredient allowed is water. Cooking via stovetop, oven or microwave was encouraged ’cause raw canned goods are kind of nasty. Or they could cook their tasty canned good offering at home and bring it along pot-luck style.

Deviled ham with mustard on crackers (Ted)
Canned spray cheese wtih crackers (Gary)
Green Bean Casserole (Bob)
Tomato Soup (Michelle and Tom)
Vegetarian baked beans (Jenith and kids)
Beef-a-roni (Jenith and kids)
Fruit cocktail (Jenith and kids)
Carrots, peas and creamed corn – not mixed together thankfully (Jenith and kids)
Canned Brown Bread (Jenith and kids)

Canned Steamed Pudding and canned custard (Gary)
Peaches (broiled w/Golden Syrup)
Canned cookies (Bob)

Notes under the cut

Christmas Eve 2015

For the past 8 years or so we’ve had a few friends over on Christmas Eve. We cook something little outside our comfort zone, the little one gets to open a present or two and we celebrate as one should, with family. Here’s a few pictures from last night’s menu.

[Christmas Eve 2015]

Baked Brie using homemade Puff Pastry
Watercress and Endive Salad with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries
Crown Roast of Pork
Wild Rice, Sourdough and Apple Stuffing
Creamy Smashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Homemade Fruitcake flamed with brandy. Optional whipped cream.

Notes under the cut

Toasted Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts, Parsley and Thyme

Couscous is just about the simplest side dish you can make. If you can boil water then you can make couscous. It can be customized in dozens, maybe hundreds of ways. I get amused when I walk down the aisle in the grocery story and see the section with couscous mixes. These mixes add some extra flavoring (and a heap of sodium) in exchange for doubling the cost of the base ingredient. Free yourself from the preboxed couscous mix; it’s so easy.

By the way, don’t confuse couscous with Israeli (or pearl) couscous. Couscous is made from semolina and water and, uncooked, looks a bit like course sand while Israeli couscous looks a bit like those hard white balls they decorate cakes with and is more akin to pasta. I have a recipe using Israeli couscous elsewhere on this site if you are interested.

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Braised Kale and Radicchio

[Braised Kale and Radicchio]I’m surprised I haven’t added a recipe like this yet given the frequency that I make braised greens of some type. We belonged to a CSA in 2011 and with it came an abundance of leafy greens I had never tried except in the “baby” form via salads at restaurants. Through a bit of cookbook and web surfing we came up with several uses for whatever leafy greenness the CSA threw at us, braising being the chief one.
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Saturday night – 12/12/2015

Smaller, for us, gathering this week so I was able to make use of one of my favorite appliances, the slow cooker. I spent 10, maybe 15, minutes on the prep for the main dish, tossed it all in the slow cooker and walked away to do other things.

Ted’s co-worker provided the radicchio and the kale came from the food co-op to which we belong.

Pork Loin with Pears and Cherries
Toasted Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts, Parsley and Thyme
Braised Kale and Radicchio
Homemade Bread

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Notes under the cut

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Our go-to cooking method for Brussels sprouts is to roast them. A couple of the cooking shows I watched over the last month though did a cooktop preparation of shredded sprouts. I was low on oven space one Saturday night and thought it was worth a try.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar or lemon juice


  1. Trim the bottom of your Brussels sprouts, removing any excess stem. Don’t worry if a leaf or two fall off.
  2. Fit a food processor with the slicing disk. Fill the feed tube of the processor with whole sprouts and processor. Repeat until you’ve shredded the lot. I had to empty the processor once due to the amount of sprouts I was cooking.
  3. Heat butter and olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until bubbly. Add the shredded sprouts, salt and pepper to the pot. Toss everything together in the pot and ignore for 4 minutes.
  4. Give the sprouts another good toss and once again ignore for 4 minutes.
  5. Toss once again and then taste. The sprouts should be tender; if not give them another minute or two.
  6. When cooked to your liking remove from the heat, add the balsamic vinegar and toss until well distributed.

This recipe can easily be halved. I basically doubled the quantities in recipes I found to come up with this.

Recipes consulted include this one from Alton Brown, one from, and one from Ina Garten.