Saturday, April 5, 2008

Dinner with Friends

Today we had friends of ours that just had a baby a few months ago over for dinner. It gave us a chance to check up with them and for me to try a few new recipes. What to make, what to make....I always get stressed when it comes time to think of a menu. But I kept it simple and everything turned out great. What I made you might ask? Pork Roast with Thyme, roasted potatoes and asparagus. Oh and dinner rolls. The new recipes were the dinner rolls which I have been wanting to try for a while (They were in the December issue of Everyday Foods) and the pork roast.

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

2 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for pan and brushing
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping dough

1. Pour warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add sugar, butter, eggs, and salt; whisk to combine. Add flour, mix until incorporated and a sticky dough forms. Brush top of dough with butter; cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, roll dough into a think log. Cut into 18 equal pieces (halve log, cut each half in thirds, then cut each piece into thirds again).

4. Brush a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with butter. One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, pressing to secure, until a smooth ball forms. Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up (you should have three rows of six).

Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400. Remove plastic wrap; brush rolls with butter. Bake until golden and rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (tent with foil if browning too quickly) Pull rolls apart and serve warm.

My Review: For my first try with making rolls from scratch, this was an easy recipe. I would definitely make it again. I received rave reviews. The only thing that I did wrong was forget to brush the rolls with butter before I baked them. But they turned out great without it. I did have to tent with foil also because they were browning quickly. Yummy!!

Sorry no picture of the roast, but here's the recipe

Pork Roast with Thyme

5 pounds pork roast
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

2. With a small knife, pierce top of roast. Force garlic slices into the cuts. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper. Place bay leaves in the bottom of the roasting pan, and set roast on top of bay leaves, fat side up. Mix vinegar and thyme in a small bowl, and pour over the top of the roast.

3. Bake in the preheated oven 3 hours, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F is reached. Using a baster or spoon, baste the drippings over the roast frequently while it is cooking. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes when done before slicing.

My review: It turned out great. I did a few things differently. First since there were only going to be four of us for dinner I bought a 3lb roast instead, so I reduced the measurements slightly. I also didn't insert the garlic into the roast, but laid the pieces on top. Another thing I did was since I had just finished making the rolls I reduce the oven to 350 and cook the roast for an hour and a half. The only thing was that at first there was enough drippings that I could bast the roast, but towards the end of the baking time, there wasn't much left. I did a one point add a little water to the pan. All in all it turned out moist and had great flavor. I would make this again.

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