There's nothing quite like coming home on a weeknight and knowing one of your best friends is heading over to have a casual dinner, vent about their week, and watch HIMYM on Netflix (How I Met Your Mother, for those of you not obsessed). My brother was stopping in too and it was a snowy, freezing cold night.
I had recently received a copy of Eat In My Kitchen, by Meike Peters, from the publisher and was so eager to try it out. Flipping through I had bookmarked about 20 pages of recipes that I wanted to make right away. They were all simple, bright, healthy, and had an aura of coziness. Between the cozy comfort food, the snowy night, and great company, it was hygge.
After much deliberation we chose to make 3 recipes: cucumber, arugula, and orange salad with turmeric and mint (page 31), crispy fried potatoes with fennel (page 44), and pork loin with orange-thyme crust and balsamic-orange sauce (page 176). Three recipes may sound like a lot but we were able to get all three done in about an hour and the cost of the meal was actually quite reasonable as several ingredients overlapped, some were pantry staples, and pork in an inexpensive protein.
We began by slicing and frying the potatoes as they had to be done in batches. Next time I would use a little bit less oil, and I'd also read the recipe more thoroughly and realize that I was supposed to boil them first (whatever it was a long day). Nevertheless they were really tasty and crunchy and we enjoyed them quite a bit. After frying the potatoes we sauteed the fennel and then tossed them together, served on a bed of arugula, and grated orange zest over top. I love fennel, especially cooked, because it has such a nice mild flavor and is something we always eat at my Nona's house at the end of a meal. It's a nostalgic veggie, you might say.
This recipe was already free from dairy, nuts, peanuts, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and wheat, so there were no alterations necessary.
While the potatoes were frying we began the pork roast. How amazing does a bread crumb crust with orange and garlic sound?
One of the best things about cooking with a close friend is that when you've had a really long day at work and are too distracted to read the recipe properly, they judge you openly and relentlessly. I totally missed the instruction to sear the pork before putting it in the oven so after the allotted roasting time the meat was still raw. At that point Karrie decided to read the recipe and pointed out that I totally skimmed over the first half and what the hell, man. I had also bought twice as much pork as the recipe called for and didn't bother factoring that into the time. Ok I really can't stress enough how long of a day I had.
After the pork was (finally) cooked Karrie let it rest while she made the orange and balsamic sauce. This recipe smelled delicious from the first step. Blending the bread crumbs with garlic and orange juice was so fragrant and it only got better once it went into the oven. The only alterations we had to make were to use Earth Balance instead of butter, and a brand of bread crumbs that I knew to be safe for my allergies. Aside from that it was already free from nuts, peanuts, egg, soy, fish/shellfish.
Our final step was to make the salad. Karrie cut up orange segments and cucumber and arranged them on a plate with fresh arugula and mint. We actually decided to forego the dressing because we both like our salads dry (yeah we're weird but at least we're weird together). The salad recipe is free from all top 8 allergens so we didn't need to change a thing.
Our meal was delicious and more than enough to feed Karrie, myself, and my older brother. We settled in on my couch, started binge-watching HIMYM, and dug into our feast. There's nothing quite like a night with good company.
You can purchase your copy of Eat In My Kitchen here.