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.

Comments:
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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