Monday, October 18, 2004

Pork Roast: Cure for the Common Cold

It's official: I am battling a headcold. After a weekend of chills, I woke up with the sniffles, a sore throat and a sinus headache. I am not getting out of bed.

Mordecai and Zachary kept me company while I stayed home from work. They took turns warming my lap and purring and nuzzling my cheeks. At noon, I took a break from all this feline affection to peel a grapefruit and to make a peanut butter sandwich. When I'm ill, I don't cook; I assemble food.

Which, of course, depresses me. By midafternoon, I was determined to haul myself into the kitchen and reclaim the Karena who walks upright, not the hunched, shuffling caricature staring back at me in the mirror. I opened the refrigerator to see what I could do given my deadened olfactory senses.

When I'm not feeling well, I'm drawn to comfort foods. I pulled out a Niman Ranch pork roast and bunches of sage and rosemary. I crushed the herbs with some olive oil and rubbed this paste over the roast. I set it aside to marinate while I chopped shallots and minced garlic. Their pungency cut through the fogginess and I felt more alert.

I peeled and turned carrots and stemmed handfuls of green beans to simmer in a rich chicken stock. I spotted two russet potatoes on the counter, peeled them, and dropped them into a pot of beef stock.

John came home just as I was searing the roast. I quickly browned the shallots, added the garlic, then deglazed the pan with white wine and chicken stock. The roast returned to the pan and went into a 350-degree oven to finish cooking. I enlisted John to rice and mash the potatoes. He had a restrained hand with the milk, but added enough Plugra butter to bake a cake. But isn't that the reason we love mashed potatoes?

I carved the roast and arranged it and the vegetables on a platter. The buttery mashed potatoes were steaming hot. John opened a bottle of 2002 J Russian River Pinot Noir, a soft fruit-forward red with a slightly smoky nose. I had just half a glass; with my stuffy nose and cloudy tastebuds, I could not fully appreciate this wine.

A hot meal has healing powers, but for me, the act of cooking was even more restorative. Which is important, because the dishes almost sent me diving for the covers.

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a Cold Sore site/blog. It pretty much covers Cold Sore related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
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