Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The satisfaction of Hospitality

While the eating within the cycle of the ripening season is palate exciting, nutritionally potent and socially correct the more rewarding component of preparing a meal is sharing it with others. Nature in her wisdom tends to produce items that are willing to feed more than a single. Clusters of grapes, that head of cauliflower, or golden skin roasted chicken all ask to be shared.

Even as I wait for the first harvest of asparagus and foraged bundle of ramps I set the table for my family. Offering food and its subsequent filled-belly is a tacit expression of love. Both the perusing of stalls dazzling the eye with earth born bounty and the enthusiastic forkfuls rising to welcoming mouths gives equal satisfaction needed to feel complete with the idea of cooking. Now, there are many days when I cook for one, and as I eat these feeds there is not a sense of place within a community and the joy I experience when others have gathered to eat with me. Lets not forget the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving, was about the autumn harvest and the shared table. It is my goal to make that acknowledgement of thanks is experienced and embraced, not annually, but daily.

Pineapple Roast Pork – yields 6 to 8 servings
2-cups chopped pineapple
1 lime – peeled
2-green Thai chilies
4 to 5 whole black cardamom
3-garlic cloves
1-teaspoon whole black peppercorn
2-teaspoons whole coriander seed
1/2-teaspoon whole cumin seed
5-pounds pork shoulder (bone-in)
2-large onion – sliced
6 stems of thyme
10 stems of cilantro
Salt to taste

In a blender place the pineapple, lime, chilies, black cardamom, garlic, peppercorn, coriander and cumin. Process until it is completely pureed and the seeds have been broken down.

Pour over the pork, and refrigerate for 10 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking,

In a roasting pan scatter the onions, and lay the thyme and cilantro down. Season the pork with salt. Place on top of the onions. Cover the roasting with aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Reduce the heat of the oven to 250-degrees.

Cook the pork for 4 to 5 hours.

Then remove the aluminum foil, and turn the heat of the oven back up to 400-degrees. Return the pork to the oven, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes to crisp the top.

Once you take the pork out of the oven let it rest 10 to 15 minutes – then pull it apart.

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