I had a dream the other night that Claud and I were in high school and he kissed me for the first time. I felt like I was in heaven.
Ahhh, the feeling brought on from a first kiss; it's magical.
Even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face and butterflies in my tummy. When I woke up, I still felt giddy and knew I was living the dream. I ended up having the best day realizing how lucky I am to be in love.
This is a photo of the pork loin.
The finished dish by Wendy Monro
Later that day, I told Claud I wanted to make a stuffed chicken for my food column recipe.
I think the dream rustled up some memories of when Claud and I were first together. I thought about our wedding day. Claud and his best friend Ned cooked the dinner for our wedding reception twelve years ago. The meal included chicken breasts stuffed with cheese, ham and spinach. We also had dauphinoise potatoes and broccoli. Oh, dauphinoise potatoes are the best.
They are thinly sliced potatoes layered with heavy cream and onions and garlic. We peeled and chopped garlic all morning.
Stuffed Pork Loin
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes Serves: 4
3 lb. pork loin
1 C. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 C. sun dried tomatoes
1/2 C. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. thyme, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 C. fresh spinach
1 C. feta cheese
1 Tbsp. rosemary
Cut the pork loin into one flat piece (please see video at simplyfoodify.com to watch how to cut the loin into one flat piece).
Cut into the pork (about an inch deep) all the way to one side, but not through.
Then, cut the same way over to the other side, in a zig zag. It should fold out flat.
Cover the pork with a sheet of foil or plastic wrap and pound it out to flatten it a bit.
Combine the bread crumbs, sun dried tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp. thyme in a food processor. Mix well. Add 1/4 C. olive oil. Mix well. Add spinach to the food processor and mix well again. Spread this mixture evenly over the pork. Top this with the feta cheese. Roll it all up into a log shape. Tie it with cooking twine or stab it with a couple of skewers to keep it from falling apart. In a casserole dish, pour a little of the remaining olive oil into the bottom. Place the stuffed pork on the oil. Drizzle the remaining olive oil onto the pork along with the rosemary and thyme. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
You'll have to cut into it after an hour to make sure it cooked all of the way through. Slice the pork about an inch thick. It should look like a pinwheel.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 C. chicken stock
The remaining liquid from the pork
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
Creamy Dijon Sauce
Saut the onion in the olive oil using a skillet or sauce pan.
Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add the thyme and mix well.
Add the stock and mix. Pour in the remaining liquid from the pork dish. Add Dijon mustard and cream cheese.
If this becomes too thick, you can add a little milk to create the desired consistency.
Pour the sauce on the plate and place the sliced pork on the sauce.
Add some vegetables sauted in butter on the side.
Then, Claud and Ned cooked it all for seventy people at my mom's house, using her kitchen and three of the neighbor's kitchens.
At the reception, our guests devoured the food and complimented the chefs. Remembering that meal, I thought it would be a good idea to make the stuffed chicken again.
There's something about Claud that I should have counted on; but, he still takes me by surprise.
He always takes things up to another level of quality.
If I am cleaning the house, he starts some industrial cleaning and scrubs walls and doors and dusts light bulbs and fixtures I can't reach.
If I am staining the deck, he gets out the sander and makes it perfect for staining first.
Actually, if I am staining the deck, Claud stains the deck. I have never stained the deck. Who am I kidding?
If I am making a meal and he feels like helping, he makes it much better. Claud will throw in one or two ingredients that will just bring it up a notch or add a sauce that makes it restaurant quality. I call him into a room and say, "Claud, can you help me quality this?" I use quality as a verb for what he can do.
So, it shouldn't have been a surprise when he suggested I change my recipe to a loin of pork stuffed with cheese and spinach. I chose feta for the cheese and sundried tomatoes.
As I prepared the dish, he decided it needed a sauce. It did need a sauce; but, I didn't think of it.
He pulled the Dijon mustard from the fridge and some cream cheese and I knew we were in for a treat. We made a creamy Dijon sauce with sauted onions that was incredible. The pork would have been amazing without it; but, the sauce made it divine.
Once the pork came out of the oven, I was first consumed by the smell of roasted rosemary which was sprinkled over the top.
Then, I couldn't believe how beautiful it looked when we sliced it into pieces, like a Christmas pinwheel with red sun dried tomatoes, green spinach and white cheese surrounded by the juicy pork outer layer.
We added some vegetables cooked in butter, salt and pepper. The Dijon sauce added a tangy creaminess which complimented the salty flavors of the sun dried tomatoes and feta so perfectly.
The blend of flavors was like heaven or that first kiss.