These past few weeks have been really hectic for me. First, school is back and I’ve been fretting over classes, syllabi, and meeting new colleagues and students. I have been stressed and out of shape intellectually, and going back to a full work schedule has proved nothing short of exhausting. Second, my mom’s recent flight back to Europe was delayed for several hours, causing her to miss a connecting plane in London and to arrive at her destination well after midnight. My mom is a senior citizen who doesn’t speak English, and the whole experience was a nightmare for her, as it was for us. Such stressful events are definitely not conducive to creativity in the kitchen. 🙁
Getting back to cooking and blogging was hard. In the end, I found inspiration in an email exchange I had with my cousin, who is a passionate gardener. This summer he has grown tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers galore, and he was writing me that he had just finished sun-drying some of the tomatoes. My mind instantly went back in time, to the years we spent in England and to a recipe we used to like a lot: pork roulade stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and herbs.
I’ve been growing sage and oregano in my tiny garden, so I finally could use these very aromatic herbs fresh instead of dry. I bought a pouch of sun-dried tomatoes from the local grocery store, and I kept the tomatoes I was about to use in warm water for about an hour to rehydrate/reconstitute them.
1 piece pork tenderloin (the one I got weighed a bit under 2.5lb)
1 cup reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 handful fresh oregano
1 handful fresh sage
Salt and pepper to taste
2+ cups water (for roasting)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes, sage and oregano and put them in a large bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and olive oil and mix with a spoon until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
What a gorgeous look – or so I think!
Tenderize the pork with a meat mallet. I’ll be honest and admit I asked hubby to help me with the tenderizing – and he happily obliged 🙂
Once the meat is tenderized, spread the sun-dried tomato, cheese and herb stuffing evenly on top of the meat, leaving a 1-inch margin all-around. Roll the meat slowly and carefully, making sure the stuffing does not get out. Tie the roulade with a string and place it in a good size, lightly oiled roasting pan. If you have any stuffing left, spread it evenly on top of the roulade. Add 2 cups of water to the pan and put it in the oven for about 1 hour, adding extra water from time to time if needed.
I let the roulade cook until my meat thermometer showed an internal temperature of 160F. I then took the roulade out of the oven and let it “rest” about 15 minutes before slicing.
Serve slices of pork roulade with a side of your choice. We love mashed potatoes with lots of fresh chopped parsley, so this is what we went for. I also made a simple tomato and cucumber salad.
I’m still not 100% back “in spirit” in the kitchen, and I still eat lots of sandwiches because they’re quick to make – yet, I’m hoping this phase is just temporary. With a newly reborn love for sun-dried tomatoes under my belt and a fresh pork roulade to inspire me, who knows what tomorrow might bring? I’m hoping for the best 🙂