Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Crackling (and Apple Chutney)

Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Crackling

A hearty family roast, done right, is a cause for celebration – and a great reason to know your local butcher! This roasted pork loin is flavored with herbs and served with spiced apple chutney. And look at that crackling! 

As a Brit living in the US, there are times when I’m asked to explain a particularly confusing aspect of my native culture. One of these is the age-old conundrum of what, exactly, is the difference between lunch, dinner, tea, and supper, and how and when the terms can be used interchangeably. The full answer requires a lot of hand-waving about geography, generational differences, and social class, but inevitably will touch at some point upon the concept of a Sunday lunch which is often a large family gathering involving a roast of some kind, at which the most important element, by far, is crackling.

Note: This recipe is part of our series with Serious Eats. You can also find this, and other fantastic recipes on their site!

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One-Pan Baked Chicken, Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

One-Pan Chicken with Sausages and Brussels Sprouts

Who wants to juggle three pans on the stove for a hearty fall or winter evening meal? This crispy chicken, sausage and brussels sprouts dish bakes in a bed of spiced flavors and best of all, it uses a single skillet.

Note: This recipe is part of our series for Serious Eats. You can also find the recipe and many others on their site.

If there’s one single food that universally divides childhood from adulthood, it has to be the poor old Brussels sprout. If you weren’t commanded as a kid to “eat your sprouts!” you were either very lucky, or you had good family recipes and were able to learn early on that the sprout can be one of the most delicious vegetables imaginable. Our formative years had more “ugh” moments than “mmm” when it came to sprouts, so we’ve had to rethink our approach. Fortunately, it’s not hard to come up with a recipe that highlights the strengths of the smallest brassica.

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Quick-Marinated White Bean Salad With Feta

Quick-Marinated White Bean Salad With Feta

A white bean salad doesn’t have to be boring. Creamy cannellinis absorb the bright flavor of a vinaigrette in just a few minutes. Paired with briny olives, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese, and served in lettuce cups, they make a quick and substantial dinner.

Note: This recipe is part of our series for Serious Eats.

We’re as guilty as anyone else of “lazy salad syndrome”. If we can get away with opening a box of pre-rinsed greens and throwing on a dab of supermarket dressing, we’ll do it. As a side salad, that might just about be acceptable. But if we’re making a salad as its own dish – for a quick summer meal, for example – it’s inexcusably lame. But with just a little effort and really no time at all, I can prepare this white bean salad with ingredients I already have in the pantry. Most of the ingredients for this recipe are kitchen staples, and the only things I need fresh are cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and lettuce.

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Basil Green Goddess Dressing

Basil Green Goddess Dressing

A creamy, herb-packed basil Green Goddess salad dressing that’s also light and refreshing. Our version uses basil in place of parsley, adding a sweet, summery note.

While you can’t throw a carrot without hitting a bottle of ranch dressing these days (seriously, Americans are obsessed with the stuff), in the 1960s and 70s, Green Goddess was king. Or Queen, I should say.

Invented in California and named after its distinctive color, the original version was a mix of tarragon, parsley, chives and scallions. It really took off in the 60s, the era of wedge iceberg salads and cream cheese stuffed celery sticks. Eventually, as trends  always do (sorry kale, your time is almost up), it fell out of favor. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen it on a menu.

And that’s a real shame because when made well, it’s absolutely delicious and so much better than ranch.

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The Pollinator (aka Sage Bee’s Knees)

The Pollinator (aka Sage Bee’s Knees)
The Pollinator (aka Sage Bee’s Knees)

A million years ago when I lived in Williamsburg (an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn that has since become incredibly trendy) with my roommate, Paola, we set up a massive garden on the roof of our loft. Being poor artists, we couldn’t afford planters so we used … brace yourselves … caskets. Yes, there was a casket factory across the street and every couple of months, they would throw out dozens of full-size aluminum caskets (for some reason that we never bothered to question). We dragged these crazy things to our roof, filled them with soil, and grew the most amazing herbs and vegetables that ever came out of something meant for a dead person. Of course it must have looked unsettling, all these caskets lined up in rows with plants growing out of them, but we didn’t care. In fact, we had enough sweet Roma tomatoes to make “casket sauce” as we called it (mostly to horrify our dinner guests).

Now I’m a big shot and have a deck and a yard and no longer have to resort to funeral paraphernalia to satisfy my green thumb. This year we’re growing more herbs than ever and for the first time, our sage plant bloomed with the most beautiful purple flowers. Nature, man.

Flowering Sage
Flowering Sage

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Chicken Piccata with Fried Capers and Roasted Tomatoes

We served it over linguini, but grilled bread would also be a good option.

Fresh tomatoes, fried capers and butter-lemon flavors combine with chicken cutlets to create this perfect zingy summery piccata recipe. We served it over linguine, but grilled bread would also be a good option.

Very early summer can be frustrating for a cook. The garden beds are filled with all our favorite vegetables. We planted six different kinds of tomatoes, chard and kale, loads of garlic, eggplants, tomatillos, jalapeños, broccoli rabe.But nothing is even close to ready yet. They’re all just beginning to sprout and bloom, so it will be at least a month before anything can be harvested, except for the herbs which are happily taking over the back deck. So while our bounty is bounty-ing, it’s back to the grocery store to see what looks good.

We found pretty, if not very sweet, tomatoes, still on the vine and perfect for a quick roasting. Just 15 minutes in a hot oven concentrated the flavor and turns them jammy and soft. A perfect accompaniment to bright, zingy Chicken Piccata.

Tomatoes on the vine
Tomatoes on the vine

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