- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

A roast dinner from the oven may be the last thing on your mind during the hot summer. Unlike most cooks, who will

tell you to use the grill instead of the oven, I’m suggesting a radical departure from such conventional advice.

To avoid summer’s heat and discomfort, I recommend, prepare your meal indoors. Then as the outdoor temperature cools in the evening, bring dinner outside. You’ll have a relaxing meal without the smoke and heat of the grill.

Roasting is effortless. Once the food is in the oven, you can chill. Your food is cooking while you’re relaxing, not facing the burning coals.

You’ll get best results with an oven-cooked meal if you choose foods with similar cooking times.

For example, pair salmon steaks with tomatoes or boneless, skinless chicken thighs with sugar snap peas. Pork tenderloin also lends itself to vegetable partners.

A combination of pork, zucchini, shallot and bell pepper is a delicious and simple dinner.

If you want to get ahead on your cooking, you can roast food tonight for tomorrow’s meal.

Roast pork and vegetables, then cover and chill overnight. Follow the directions for the salad.

Here is the recipe for the pork dinner, along with a salad variation.

Roast pork dinner

1 8-ounce pork tenderloin

Salt and pepper

Dijon-style mustard

1 large zucchini

1 large shallot

1 large red bell pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Arrange pork tenderloin on flat rack of shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and brush with 1 teaspoon mustard. Cut zucchini into quarters lengthwise. Cut each quarter in half widthwise to make thick wedges. Add zucchini wedges to rack of pan.

Trim shallot and cut into quarters. Add to rack. Core and seed bell pepper. Cut into 8 pieces and arrange on rack. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast in preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into center of pork, not touching pan, registers 160 degrees. Set pork aside for 5 minutes to firm up.

Thinly slice pork in diagonal slices and serve vegetables on the side. Accompany pork with additional mustard if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

Pork-and-orzo salad

Cooked pork tenderloin

Cooked zucchini

Cooked shallot

Cooked red bell pepper

1½cups cooked, cooled orzo

1/3 cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Cut pork into bite-size pieces and place in large salad bowl. Cut zucchini into bite-size pieces and add to salad bowl.

Repeat with shallot and bell pepper. Stir in orzo, olives, oregano and parsley.

Combine mustard, olive oil and vinegar in a cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over salad. Toss gently but well.

Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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