Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And tonight's guest is... brother, who, bless his little pea-pickin' heart, drove almost 1400 miles in 3 days from Virginia to see his sister.  And, on top of all the honey-do's he did today (hey, he asked for it), he even cooked dinner for us tonight.  I swear, I have not heard my husband make so many appreciative noises in quite some time.  Clearly, the honeymoon is over.  I'm not jealous--no, not one little bit.  Really.  It was a wonderful thing to walk into the house just after 7 p.m. and smell something incredibly delicious, pour a glass of wine and then visit about our mutual days until dinner was on the table.

What we ate was absolutely stunning.  Garlic Peppercorn Pork Brisket, Roasted Jumbo Sweet Potatoes with Ancho Chile, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Butter, Roasted Tuscan Kale and Flash Fried Spinach with Garlic and Nutmeg.  And to drink along with: Talmadge Pinot Noir 2008 (CA), rich with spice and cherry-berry flavors, light enough for pork and just enough body to hold its own against the rich peppercorn and mushroom sauce that accompanied the brisket.  A lovely combination.  Do try it.

Garlic Peppercorn Pork Brisket

This recipe is a keeper.  The only thing I would do differently is add more beef broth to the pan gravy, since I like a thinner sauce.  If you like a thick, rich sauce that clings, however, then leave things as they are.

Roasted Jumbo Sweet Potatoes with Ancho Chile, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Butter

Roast jumbo sweet potatoes, either in foil or just in their jackets at 375 degrees for at least one hour.  Meanwhile, combine 4 Tbs. butter with 1 tsp. ground ancho chiles, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar.  Use the chile/cinnamon butter to season the potatoes.  Oh, yeah.  Seriously yummy.

Roasted Tuscan Kale

OK, I admit that I'm having a secret love affair with Tuscan kale.  If you can find this variety, with its beautiful deep green spear-shaped  leaves that have the texture of fine pigskin leather, then you are in luck.  Wash it, trim the stem ends, then toss the whole leaves with EVOO, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roast on a baking sheet, using tongs to turn a few times, at 375 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until it reaches the desired state of crispiness.  I will eat this on the astral plane long after I leave this world.

Flash-Fried Spinach with Garlic and Nutmeg

Make your saute pan screaming hot, add a little EVOO and then quickly add about 8 oz. baby spinach leaves.  Add a few thin slices of garlic and some kosher salt. Toss and stir fry quickly.  Remove from heat and grate a little nutmeg over the top.  Serve immediately.

May your tastebuds dance!

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