TND – Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (err, not really)

July 25, 2012

The other week as I was standing in the check out line at Wilsons and ruefully surveying my weekly purchase of bags of lemons, limes and oranges I made a flippant comment about how apparently I was worried we were all going to die of scurvy.  The teenage checkout clerk shot me an alarmed look and asked in concerned tones, “Ma’am?  Are you alright?”

And okay, first can we pause to consider the fact that I got ma’am-ed while wearing a tank top, barely reputable cargo shorts, and had my hair in pigtails?  I did not look like a ma’am.  I barely looked like a credible m’selle.

Anyway.  I gave the checkout clerk a bemused look and clarified that no, I was not in danger of dying from scurvy given the amount of citrus I was buying/eat on a weekly basis.  He gave me a blank look and because apparently I’m my father (or a frustrated history teacher – not that these two things are not actually kind of synonymous) I was compelled to give him a potted discourse on 19th C seafaring, scurvy, and the discovery that packing limes to take with out on long sea voyages meant that you had a greater chance of reaching wherever it was you were going with most of your crew intact.

It’s possible (okay, probable even) that I transgressed over the border into No-One Cares World*, but really what are they teaching in high schools these days?  However, since everyone who works at Wilsons is ridiculously well trained in how to be polite and helpful no matter what you ask them – and trust me, I’ve asked some bizarre questions/favors** – the check out guy smiled, nodded, and evidenced a credible amount of interest in learning about the dangers of Vitamin C deficiency and the expansion of Empire.  I’d love to know what their training regime looks like – I’m assuming it does not involve rum, sodomy & the lash – if for no other reason than I’d like every where I shop to be as helpful and charming as the staff at Wilsons (who, yes, all know me).

* No-One Cares World – originally discovered and named (there should be a flag!) by a friend during the nth hour of a staff meeting filled with corporate jargon and no content.

** Including asking them to hold a 7lb pumpkin for me for a month – apparently the produce manager kept it on his desk like some kind of avant garde piece of statement art.

Pork Chops
Sweet Potato Hobo Packs
Green Beans
Tomatoes w/ Buttermilk Sauce

Pork Chops

Recipe previously given:  In Which I Fail at Birthdays, But Am Graciously Forgiven

Sweet Potato Hobo Packs
(serves 8-12, depending on whether it’s Dinner or normal people)

These are seriously fantastic, and absolutely worth heating my kitchen up to 90+ degrees last night.  The sweet potatoes and the onions are tender and just barely charred along the edges to create a little chewy crust.  The oranges caramelize and almost turn into candy.  It seems like it might almost be too sweet with the raisins and the honey, but the lemon juice and the orange rind temper that nicely and while the finished dish is sweet it’s not in candied yam territory.

The recipe was originally written for outside grill cooking, and involves creating foil packs that you throw on the grill and cook.  I don’t have a grill, but this oven method works just fine.  If you wanted to have a little fun you could do individual parcels and let everyone get their own little hobo pack to open and eat, but I went for easy instead of cute this week.

5 lb sweet potatoes, unpeeled, quartered length-wise & cut into 1 ½” chunks
2-3 large red onions, peeled & cut into ½” wedges (depends on how much you like roasted onions, I always err on the side of more roasted onions)
2 large naval oranges, unpeeled, quartered & thinly sliced
1 cup raisins (or other small dried fruit of choice – cherries, cranberries, etc)
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt/pepper/cinnamon/all spice
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450.

Line two baking sheets with a double layer of tin foil (I’ve done it just in the pan, and trust me you want to line the pan – see the photo at the top of the page as evidence as to why this is such a good idea).  Toss the sweet potatoes, onions, oranges, and raisins with the olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and all spice.  Cover tightly with foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Uncover and continue to roast for 20 minutes, until vegetables are slightly blackened in places.

Mix together the honey, lemon juice.  Drizzle over the roasted vegetables, and return to oven for another 10 minutes to caramelize the sugars.  Serve.

If your oven is anything like mine you’re going to need to rotate your baking pans between upper and lower racks as you roast to get everything to cook/brown evenly.  I rotated my pans halfway through the covered stage, and then again halfway through the uncovered stage, and halfway through the honey/lemon/caramelizing stage (so 15/15 minutes covered; 10/10 minutes uncovered; 5/5 minutes after I added the lemon/honey mixture).

Green Beans
Topped with lemon zest, garlic, and minced fresno chili which is my new favorite thing to put on top of vegetables.

Tomatoes with Buttermilk Dressing

Recipe previously given:  How Dinner is Like  a Computer Game


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