Now that my father has turned his mantle over to my brother, I suppose it was inevitable that my mother should take a break from this column and see what culinary talent lies in her daughter’s repertory.
Cooking and eating (and later drinking good wine!) were a very essential part of my childhood. As you know by now, my mother is a very talented chef. But aside from the wonderful taste of her food, her cooking always had a message.
Meals were presented so as to please the eye, as this added to everyone’s enjoyment of the meal. They were rarely too complicated to prepare daily – for mom needed time for her community activism. And by watching her I was taught to experiment freely, as cooking was a creative outlet above all else.
The time in the kitchen with mom served me well. I am a busy working mom; the mother of two pre-schoolers, both of whom were born while I was in law school. I currently work full time as a law clerk to a Federal district judge here in San Diego. I wish my mother had not taught me so well, for even during the busiest weeks I try to fix something new for my family.
Here is my latest invention. I got the idea from some tips from James Beard on the affinity of pork for basil and slow cooking.
Savory and Tender Pork Roast
2 to 4 lb.’s boneless tied pork loin (ask the butcher to tie it for you)
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 tablespoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to your liking
Light, first press olive oil
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly brush the bottom of a heavy covered roasting pan, just large enough to fit your roast, with olive oil. Lightly brush the roast with olive oil, as well. Rub the roast with the garlic, basil, and’ salt. Grind pepper over the roast. Place in the pan, cover, and bake for 2 hours, turning it once. Use your judgement for doneness–the larger the roast, the more time. After two hours check each half hour for firmness and color (should turn golden brown). This dish is wonderful with applesauce, cabbage or brussels sprouts sauteed in a bit of butter. Slice it thin for left over sandwiches.