Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Messy One

Some pictures I'm not very proud of.
But some dishes taste better than they look.
James decided pretty late that he did want something for dinner (or maybe I wasn't listening -- oops) so I needed to whip something up in a hurry. I still haven't been shopping (I really do like the food from nothing game) so I got to be a little creative.
I sautéed some jarred broad beans (found those at a little Spanish import store -- delish!) in a bit of olive oil, prosciutto, and onion heavily spiced with chili peppers and oregano and garlic. While those flavors melded I fast cooked some potatoes -- dare I say it in the microwave. The beans topped the split open potatoes, tangy sheep's milk cheese topped the beans, and after a few minutes in the broiler dinner was served.
Not pretty but not bad.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner

My otherwise bare cupboard is overflowing with eggs. Including a super giant spectacular one from Connie -- a double yolker. So I had to find a dinner dish to highlight sweet Connie's efforts.
I cooked up some sliced chorizo (kitchen magic I swear) and let the fat render with some sliced garlic and chopped shallot until the chorizo was crisp and the pan tinged with red. In went Connie's pride (sorry honey I broke one yolk), lightly fried and I served the whole package over a toasted flat bread sprinkled with roasted paprika.
Thanks Connie!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last Minute Grilled Skirt Steak

Easy. Quick Cooking. Delicious.
Before I left for work I whipped up a quick marinade of equal parts (3 TB) soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and four cloves of garlic pureed in the blender. I left that along with the thawing steak in the fridge and while I drove home James pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees and started the grill so it was nice and hot when I walked in the door.
I dressed chopped broccoli rabe with olive oil, salt and pepper and popped it (on a sheet pan) in the hot oven to roast. The meat marinated for 15 minutes in the sweet savory glaze. While the steaks grilled I sprinkled the broccoli with a good dose of shredded parmesan and set it back in the oven until the cheese melted and I dressed mixed re-heated cooked beans with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, chili peppers and S&P for a warm bean salad side. Another weeknight dinner that feels slow but is ready in a hurry.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dinner From Nothing: Our favorite Game

I am finally home. Back in my own kitchen.
The cup board is pretty bare but by the time we were about an hour away from the house stopping -- even for a few minutes at the grocery store was totally out of the question -- besides . . . where is the food adventure in that?
Cheese is pretty much a staple in our house and long storing Parmesan is generally on hand. I'm not sure there has ever been time we didn't have at least one package of pasta (we could be welcomed as Italian citizens by quantity of pasta consumed alone) so I started to plan my "just walked in the door" version of cacio e pepe, the Roman "cucina povera" classic. Generally made with spaghetti or tonnarelli, for this quick favorite black pepper is quickly sautéed in olive oil, pasta cooking water in added along with the drained noodles and a hefty quantity of finely grated pecorino Romano and parmesan cheese. Everything is stirred vigorously until the cheese and the liquid form the creamy sauce. Classic Roman cuisine in an instant.
I made a few changes. I started with some hot oil, oregano, cracked black pepper, chile peppers, and sliced garlic in a frying pan while I cooked the pasta. Instead of the usual spaghetti I offered up creste di gallo (rooster's comb) as a little celebration of being home with the "girls" again. I tossed the pasta, the warm oil with the spices, about a cup of pasta cooking water, and nearly 1 1/2 cups of shredded (that's what we had) parmesan cheese together in the warm pot from cooking the pasta and threw in some fresh mozzarella I found in the fridge (cut into cubes) and stirred and tossed and stirred and tossed until the cheese and the starchy warm water came together into a creamy, cheesy, stretchy sauce without breaking the pasta ridges. Creste di Gallo Cacio (cheese) e Pepe (pepper) al Telefono (telephone in Italian but used to mean dishes that form strings of melted mozzarella) -- a mouthful -- and a delicious one at that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pizza To Dream About

Pizza at work.. A strange and delicious pizza I never would have imagined. Tomatoes, roasted peppers, prosciutto, "flash fried" eggplant, and gorgonzola cheese all drizzled with a slightly sweet balsamic glaze. Pizza with blue cheese -- divine. The "Village" from the specialty menu.
In most places I've lived pizza is the perfect anytime food. Easily delivered, ready when you are. Santa Fe's Pizza Centro -- little more than a step up from a carry out shop, is only open until 8:30, and is tucked inside a "design center" (or their second location in a suburban strip mall) that is pretty tough to find. I tried a few times to get there after work and never made it until tonight.
I could hardly take the picture. Think crust, juicy toppings, melty piles of blue cheese and crisp fried eggplant. I've never had a pizza like this before and I may think about it long after I'm gone -- or at least until I try to make one like it at home. Home Sweet Home. Coming Soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Breakfast No Toast

When I lived in Colorado and headed South on 25 I would veer off (if it was before 2 pm) and swing into Tecolote Cafe. That was nearly 20 years ago (eek! can that be true?). I hardly recognize the city around this stalwart diner -- now dotted with gift shops and tattoo parlors -- but inside nothing has changed.
Every diner is greeted warmly -- my waiter called me "dear" and oddly enough I kind of liked it. Portions are hearty and spilling over with chili sauce, New Mexico's specialty (Tecolote makes no apologies for chili being too hot, the menu cautions).
Carne Adovado, pork (generally though sometimes beef) simmered in red chili sauce, is one of Santa Fe's and my favorites. I've tried it everywhere. Tecolote's is spicier than most. The meat is cut in small cubes and meltingly tender. The corn tortillas and posole (hominy) side dish serve to take just enough of the heat in this enchilada -- covered in green chili sauce.
Aside from New Mexican favorites, Tecolotoe specializes in pancakes (well those are pretty NM too -- blue corn atole) and bakes at least half a dozen kinds of homemade bread for their delicious French toast.
You'll find bakery baskets of toasty biscuits and muffins, warm tortillas, and even bowls of sweet granola, but, as the menu proudly states, no toast -- don't even ask.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Tried To Hate It

Cafe Pasqual's is the kind of place I try to avoid, snobbishly try not to like. It is super popular, mentioned in every guide book, and packed with visitors any time of day. Hardly the secret local find traveling foodies like to brag about. It's not a great bargain. The ingredients are organic (they have copies of Michael Pollan's latest book for sale on the counter). The waitstaff is nearly unbearably cheerful. Sitting at the communal table, I tried to hate Cafe Pasqual's, but I couldn't -- the food is just too darn good!
I'd already been a few times when I took this picture of house specialty, Huevos Motuleños which the menu describes as "Eggs Over Easy on Corn Tortillas with Black Beans Topped with Sauteéd Bananas, Feta Cheese, Green Peas, Roasted Tomato-Jalapeño Salsa, Served with Green Chile or Tomatillo Salsa." On each previous visit I'd avoided this dish, I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea of the bananas in that combo. Once (another stop at the communal table) the man next to me (a retired history professor I've decided) ordered this dish (his "usual") and when -- while making conversation I said I felt unsure about the bananas, he offered me a bite. I declined, but it is that kind of place.
The chili sauce is delicious and unexpectedly a great match with the feta cheese. The peas -- well, they seemed like pleasant visitors -- not bad but not really adding much to the overall. The beans were plainly cooked and tasty enough -- I'd probably have liked a bit of a sauce on them. All in all, well executed but not really the dish for me. In fact, I wonder, if I had ordered Huevos Motuleños on my first visit would I have been back.
As luck would have it my first time in the door I ordered Eggs Barbacoa with Chile D'Arbol. Sheer breakfast bliss -- "slow Cooked, Marinated Niman Ranch Beef with White Onion, Cilantro and Queso Cotija on White Corn Tortillas and Two Eggs Any Style with Refried Pintos and Chile D’Arbol Salsa. I've eaten barbarcoa and it's international relatives at restaurants around the world, and this may be the best version I've ever tasted. The succulent, slow cooked Niman Ranch beef whispers with flavors of chiles and onions. Deeply spiced and yet delicately flavored, it's a dish that could keep me coming back for decades.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"We don't need a sign . . . we're Duran's"

In Albuquerque everyone knows their way to Duran's (witness the headline, my waitress' charming and cheeky response when a visitor suggested making the corner spot easier to find). Tucked away inside this New Mexico institution close to downtown is a tidy 1930's era lunch counter most visitors likely miss while heading to the newer hipster bars and sushi restaurants of the University/ Nob Hill neighborhood.
Late in the afternoon, seated at one of the tables walled off in the back of a vaguely busy pharmacy and drugstore I am probably the only customer under 60 (or maybe 70). To reach my table I pass customers filling prescriptions, racks of seeds, a display of toothpaste, greeting cards and shelves of cough syrup, pantyhose, and baby bottles.
This is the kind of restaurant every Woolworths and downtown department store used to have. The sort of place where as a kid I would beg to sit at a counter stool, spin and sip soda through a straw. The kind of place I suddenly, as I wait for my order (not very long at all), fear may soon be gone for good.
Instead of the club sandwiches and, since I'm from Maryland, crabcakes of my youth, Duran's -- a real New Mexico institution -- offers, along with the usual bacon and eggs or grilled cheese sandwich, a variety of dishes trimmed with your choice of red or green chili sauce. Everything is made in house and Duran's chili sauce is very good (so good they sell it to go and in gift boxes). I opt for a bowl of chili, generally regarded as Duran's best dish. Although in Texas or Cincinnati chili may be meat slow cooked in tomato sauce (with or without beans, the debate rages on) in New Mexico chili is your choice of ingredients (meats, beans, potatoes) layered in a bowl and smothered with chili sauce, usually with cheese by request. My bowl has carne adovado (pork cubes braised in red chili sauce), potatoes, beans, and both red and green chili sauce, called "Christmas" by locals.
But, as everyone in Albuquerque knows, the highlight of a meal at Duran's Central Pharmacy are the fresh homemade flour tortillas. Thick, chewy, and not at all like the limp breadstuff that grocery stores and fast food Mexican joints pass off as tortillas, these plate-sized, hand formed treats are served warm off the griddle ready to be buttered and quickly devoured. I'm full but I would gladly eat another (or maybe two) if it came to the table. Chili quickly becomes an excuse to dip warm tortillas. Everything is a side dish to the best tortillas I've had in New Mexico.
For the best Duran's has to offer go during the "lunch rush" 11:30 to 1 pm, the service may be a bit slower but the food, and the people watching is at it's freshest and most appealing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

San Marcos Feed Store and Cafe

Another stop on my solo tour of New Mexico "mom and pops."
I'd read a few reviews of the San Marcos Cafe. Everyone mentions the hearty breakfasts, the cinnamon rolls, the free ranging birds that greet you as you stroll to the front door . . . but not once had I read that the cafe is actually part of, and listed as, The San Marcos Feed Store. My kind of place.
If you are from out of town, or don't know what you are looking for, you could easily drive by the plain Jane adobe wall with a tiny "Cafe Open" sign. Once inside you find what I've come to expect in these seemingly rural (the decidedly not rural city of Santa Fe and it's nearly 150,000 residents is a mere 10 minutes away -- at most) cafes -- hearty food, red and green chili, and waitresses that greet customers by name. Although the city has changed quite a bit since I first drove through the Santa Fe Plaza some 25 years ago, Northern New Mexico has largely escaped the suburban sprawl and repeating collection of chain stores that makes one city in California (or the Eastern seaboard for that matter) indistinguishable from the next. There is open space to enjoy and in the openness, if you look hard enough, you'll find places like the San Marcos Cafe waiting for you -- waiting to know your name.I'm not really a fan of breakfast sweets. I generally pass by cinnamon rolls (although they are one of James' favorites). But when a roll, home made on the premises, gets as much press as the lofty version at the San Marcos Cafe it seems like a must try. These aren't the doughy tightly baked in a sheet pan and thickly iced versions most American restaurants label cinnamon rolls. There is something vaguely French about them -- the dough is flaky and delicate, the thin spread of cinnamon filling only barely sweet, and the outside, because they are baked in individual muffin tins (or popover pans or something close), are slightly dry and irresistibly crisp. The roll could very well set a new standard. If you look around the homey restaurant you'll see at least one on nearly every table.
Breakfast is a favorite meal in Santa Fe and its environs and there are a variety of restaurants dedicated to the first meal of the day -- serving lunch almost as a sideline (the San Marcos Cafe is open daily until 2 pm). The menus generally offer a choice of meats -- that might be pork carnitas, carne adovado (pork stewed in red chili sauce), braised or grilled beef or bacon, eggs, tortillas, potatoes, beans and sometimes cheese. Similar combinations of ingredients surface as burritos (usually without the eggs) or chili bowls for lunch. After you order the question is always the same in this part of New Mexico. "Red or Green?" Chili sauce that is. I opted for carnitas, eggs, and a side of their delicious, deeply flavored (not just hot) red chili sauce -- one of the better versions I've had on my informal chili eating tour.
There are daily specials which often seem to be a couple of soups, enchiladas, an egg salad sandwich (they do have a lot of birds around -- I didn't ask where the eggs were from) and -- though some might find it odd, the quiche (more eggs) of the day. Tempting offerings but I don't think I'll ever be able to resist their red chili sauce.
Now that I know my way, I'll go back to the San Marcos Cafe (well actually I've already been again). If you happen to be on Hwy 14 South of Santa Fe -- stop in for breakfast and maybe a bale of hay to go, they'll be happy to know you, and breakfast will be worth the trip.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe

I'm on my own again here in New Mexico -- James' visit -- all too short -- has ended. James has gone home to our pups, birds, and cozy orange cat. So I figured I'd assemble a backroads tour of the roadside diners and cafes of New Mexico -- basically a what Kathy is Having for Dinner (and breakfast and lunch). Starting with The Bobcat Bite.
The Bobcat Bite, just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the kind of "mom and pop" diner travelers hungry for local, authentic experience dream of stumbling into. Good food, good prices and waitresses that greet regulars by name and treat every customer like an old friend waiting to happen.
Perched along historic route 66, the Bobcat has been serving it's trademark burgers since 1953 when owners of the nearby Bobcat Ranch opened this friendly roadhouse to entice hungry motorists. It's changed hands a few times over the years but I imagine this small (about 8 tables and a 9 seat counter) is pretty much as it stood when the doors first opened. The menu -- thick burgers cooked to order, a few steaks and sides like grilled jalapenos, vinegary cole slaw, and home fries -- is simple, executed well (the menus describes the cooking -- medium was indeed pink throughout and perfectly juicy a feat more high-end chefs often struggle with), and served quickly.
There are a few other things on the short menu -- a few steaks, pork chops, ham, and of course grilled cheese. On my first visit I took some local advice -- "the steaks are awesome, but we're famous for our burgers." I'll be back for the steaks.
Open Wednesday through Saturday this time of year (winter hours -- October to June), and always crowded, the biggest problem with the Bobcat Bite might be getting a table. List your name on the dry erase board by the front door and wait. It won't be long until you're digging into a New Mexico specialty, the green chili cheeseburger.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home Style Away from Home

We cook at home. Even when home is a vacation cottage or a hotel room. In my usual kitchen I have all my spices, my herbs (and my garden), my pantry, my knives -- everything I need, just where I can find it. Away from my home kitchen, dinner takes a lot more thought. I try to just buy the ingredients I need (no bottles and jars to cart home or waste), use the minimum of pots and pans (hotel selections are usually pretty limited) and get maximum flavor with minimal effort (everyone needs a little vacation). It's a dinner time puzzle waiting to be solved.
This simple sauté is perfect for any location.
I bought about a cup of polenta from the bulk food section of the local grocery store -- bulk foods are great for gathering little bits of grains, flours, nuts, pastas . . . whatever ingredients you might need -- a carton of chicken broth (that's 4 cups just about right for a cup of polenta), some pre-shredded parmesan from the deli section, 2 hot Italian sausages, one head of garlic and a bunch of broccoli rabe -- James' favorite. Farmer's markets are also a great place to only by the vegetables you need that day.
First I brought a saucepan of salted water to a boil and blanched the broccoli florets. I drained the broccoli and set it aside and used the same saucepan to bring the chicken broth to a boil. I stirred in the polenta and allowed the pan to simmer (stirring every now and then -- I don't stir constantly as most recipes dictate) for about 30 minutes until the polenta was cooked and smooth.
Meanwhile I splashed a bit of olive oil in a frying pan, removed the sausage from the casings and added it, along with thinly sliced garlic, to the oil already over medium heat.
To finish the polenta I stirred in butter, shredded parmesan cheese, a bit of butter (you can usually "borrow" that from a hotel breakfast), S&P, and a bit of fruity olive oil (some things are always worth the splurge at home or away). When the sausage was browned and cooked through I added the broccoli to the pan and tossed it around until heated through and flavored with the spicy sausage ( a good way to forgo vacation bought spice racks).
Creamy polenta, crisp bitter broccoli, spicy sausage -- an easy meal that always feels like home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Easiest Best Dinner Ever . . . Maybe

In spite of the fact that the Native Americans in this part of New Mexico threw off the Spanish (well sort of-- for a while at least) hundreds of years ago, my New Mexico abode is barely a stones throw (hmm maybe that's what the Indians used) from a Spanish and Portuguese import store. Trying to pass the afternoon and wondering what to serve James in a hurry late at night when I come bustling in from work I wandered through to see what they shelves held for dinner.
Dry chorizo is one of those magic foods. Like bacon (and any really good pork product) it adds immeasurable, instant flavor to simple dishes and makes a quick sauté something special. I quickly put a few links in my basket. Next I spied a small glass jar of lovely light green (sometimes they are white) Pocha beans, a favorite of chefs in Northern Spain. These gently flavored beans show up in casseroles, soups, and in favorite Pintxos (Basque tapas) mixed with clams, tomato sauce, and hearty chorizo - delicious. Right there in the store James' late night tapas-style dinner was born.
I sautéed the sliced chorizo over medium-low heat allowing the delicious paprika flavored fat to render out. Next chopped onions and a bit of minced garlic joined the chorizo and I allowed the mixture to cook until the onions were soft, adding a bit of olive oil here and there as needed to keep the mixture moist. In went the jar of delicate beans with their liquid (that's unusual for me but these beans had a tasty delicate broth in the jar) and a sprinkle of S&P. The beans simmered for five minute or so until everything was warmed through, the flavors were blended and the liquid magically became a red-tinged sauce.
Ladled over rustic toast, drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and finished with flakes of crisp tasting sea salt this was maybe too hearty to really be tapas but flavorful, quick and Spanish style just the same.
I'm going back for more beans.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pasta Is Our Standby

I've been coddled at sea level for a long time.
As I set out to make a quick pasta dinner for James in the dreaded hotel "kitchenette" I remembered my time in Colorado and my neighbor Roger (a flatlander and a Kansas native) saying -- "it's darn near impossible to fry chicken at 10,000 feet." Years of California cooking have nearly erased the memory of special instructions for baking cakes and the lower temperature, slower cooking boiling water dishes from my mountain cuisine. At higher elevations water boils at a lower temperature -- great for a braise or a simmering stew but not exactly the ticket for pasta which becomes tender and magically still toothy in rapidly boiling, super hot water with the shortest cooking time possible. An easy 10 minute dinner in California became a half hour of worrying and stirring in New Mexico.
All I did was sauté some chopped bacon (pancetta would have been the thing if I'd had it), onion, garlic, and lots of pepper (wish I'd had some crushed red pepper handy -- bought a bunch for gifts but none to use it seems) in some olive oil. When the bacon was getting crisp -- that took a bit, still have the smoke alarm issue -- and the onions softened I tossed in about a cup of artichoke hearts (chopped) I bought from the olive bar at Whole Foods and gave it all a good stir around with a healthy knob of butter.
When the pasta was finally cooked I reserved about 3/4 of the nice starchy water and stirred it, the drained pasta, the sautéed mixture, a good dose of parmesan cheese and a quick squeeze of lemon over medium heat until warmed through and nicely combined.
Hmm . . . spaghetti at 7000 feet, no wonder slow simmering rice and polenta took hold in the Alps. Next time a nice risotto.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not Every Day Is Gourmet

Okay -- I admit it finally, I have been working out of town for the last few weeks. James' dinners have been a series of carefully labeled stews, bean dishes and easy-to-bake-from-frozen casseroles I left in the freezer for him along with a detailed "fridgeventory" describing the location and cooking method of all his future dinners. James eats while I pine for him in a hotel "kitchen" that consists of a two-burner electric hot plate from around the middle of the last century, a low-wattage microwave, and a fridge so small that it would be embarrassed by most Holiday Inn mini-bars.
But now His Highness has come to visit and this kitchen, as the hotel proprietors would call it, has to rocket into action.
Luckily I'm close to the local farmers market and, although it's still a bit cold for spring fruits, peas and asparagus here in Northern New Mexico, I found winter greens, lettuces and quite a few near-by growers of grass fed meats, pastured dairy produced farmstead cheeses, and locally made pork sausages flavored with my choice of New Mexico green chiles or garlic.
But, best of all, just when I am missing the garden and the "girls" and our little animal family . . . James got off the plane with a bag of fava beans picked that morning from our front yard (street side) garden. These fresh green pods were barely past delicate black and white flowers when I left and now they hold delicately flavored fresh tasting beans. Normally fava beans have to be blanched and peeled of the bean's thick outer skin before being used in recipes. Only the smallest, youngest and freshest beans can be used straight from the pod.
For this simple late night hotel sauté I sliced the sausage along with an onion and several cloves of garlic and popped them into a frying pan with a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat while I baked potatoes in the mini-microwave. About 7 minutes in I tossed in the fava beans.
Truth be told, all things being equal, I'd have liked to cook over medium-high heat. After all these years on the restaurant-style stove I have come to appreciate and rely on the quick-cooking, high heat 18,000 BTUs can provide. But, another quirk of the hotel kitchen -- there is no exhaust fan. In fact unless I open the window and the door even boiling water for tea can set off the room's smoke alarm. And, as I found out late one Saturday night when I met three charming, handsome men in uniform from the local fire department, the alarm can only be turned off by a central switch in the hotel office which is only maned until 9 pm. You can't imagine the melodic tone a smoke alarm makes after 45 minutes. But, I digress . . .
Simple as can be I tossed some fresh lettuce leaves with olive oil, lemon juice, grated parmesan cheese, and S&P for a side salad. Opened the baked potatoes (a variety called Mountain Rose with delicate pink streaks through the otherwise creamy yellow flesh) and ladled on the combination from the frying pan, left to sauté just until the sausage was cooked through. Drizzled with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with salt this wasn't a fancy dinner but the big man has already asked for it again. Call it my room service success.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Lahey Bread That's Not For Me

This loaf is a bit of departure for Jim Lahey, bread genius and founder of Sullivan Street bakery. I've been cooking my way through his cookbook, My Bread, since James bought it for me this past Christmas. Lahey's specialty are crusty, artisinal Italian-style breads made easy for the home (and I guess, professional) baker.
This crisp brown "Irish" bread is Lahey's take on that nation's traditional soda bread. Just as the name suggests soda breads -- whether whole wheat, chocolate, or, as tradition prescribes, dotted with sweet raisins are generally leavened with baking soda and buttermilk for the acidic reaction. Lahey's uses yeast and buttermilk and pretty much follows the no-knead method he pioneered for all his other breads.
I can't say I was wowed by the results. When in the presence of greatness (or great recipes) I am always willing to admit I may be at fault or have made some mistake along the way, but honestly this bread seemed like a poor compromise. It had neither soda bread's slightly tangy flavor and hearty texture or Lahey's usual airy, soft "did you really make that yourself" crumb.
Lahey's breads are great the way they are -- I say don't dress them up, don't make them into something they are not, don't pretend to be (although Lahey himself might actually be) Irish. Bake where your heart is and the results will always impress.

Friday, April 2, 2010

6 (Maybe Should Be 5) Hour Pork

James has been feeling his way around the kitchen. I've gotten him to a point where he can set the crock pot going, add a few ingredients,and pop pre-made dishes in an oven he has preheated. One night I even left him a brown sugar honey glaze to spread on cooked corned beef before he finished it in the oven.
Why not a long cooking roast I thought. One that would benefit from extra time covered in a tasty spice rub and fatty enough to withstand some extra cooking time if work ran late. Obviously pork was the only answer.
Based on a recipe from Mimosa restaurant in LA I slathered a pork shoulder roast with a paste made from sage (2 heavy TB, chopped), rosemary (2 heavy TB, chopped), garlic (about 15 cloves), fennel seeds (1 TB), S&P, white wine (2 TB), and olive oil (1/4 cup) whirled together in the food processor.
I made, I think, 6 cuts of about an inch deep in a tied pork shoulder roast and rubbed the paste into the slits and all over the fatty side of the roast. I let the dressed roast sit -- fatty side up -- covered, in the fridge overnight until James pre-heated the oven (275º) and took the roast out to come to room temperature.
After 6 hours slow cooking the big man had slices of juicy roast pork with some quick sautéed asparagus and a fluffy baked potato -- plenty for dinner and plenty for sandwiches during the week.