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low effort, maximum return


A few years ago Brian and I bought a house.  Its a small house, just 800 square feet, but it has a large backyard for the dogs and a great central location in the city.  Its been a work in progress since before we moved in - first the bathroom, then a new air conditioner and after that a full replacement of all of our plumbing, with lots of little projects in between.  The kitchen has been on the list for quite some time and while we’ve been able to make a few changes, it still hasn’t gotten the full overhaul that it needs deserves.


We love to entertain and, as everybody knows, company gravitates towards the kitchen.  Why wouldn’t they, when that’s where the good smells, conversation and open bottle of wine are located?  Because our kitchen is small with little space for two cooks let alone extra conversationalists, our guests typically wind up in the doorway, leaning on the frame and trying to stay out of the way as Brian and I hustle about preparing a meal.  We’ve gotten good at the “kitchen dance”, one of us putting a hand on the other’s back as we pass behind them with a hot pan or using a hip to “bump” the other aside so that the oven door can be opened.  Its fun and amusing, but less than ideal.


Eventually the kitchen will be re-designed and our guests will have a proper place to sit with a spot to rest their drink as they watch us cook.  Until then, when entertaining, we will continue to try and prepare as much as we can ahead of their arrival so as to limit the amount of time that two of us are required in the kitchen together.  Getting the meat in the oven, assembling the cobbler for dessert, chopping the veggies to be sauteed just before the meal - anything that will allow us to enjoy our guests without worrying that in our frenzy we might miss a step of our dance and burn an arm.  


If you’re looking for a main dish that has a maximum return for your relatively low effort, - that you can dress quickly, pop in the oven and after 40-60 minutes and a few bastings be rewarded with a beautiful and delicious star component of your meal - this is it.  Not only does it make a lovely presentation, but the pork stays incredibly moist with the figs at its center and the flavors compliment each other wonderfully.  There is a wine and fig sauce that came with the original recipe but in the interest of saving time and minimizing effort we chose not to make it.  I’m sure it would be delicious.

And the pork is perfect for sandwiches the next day, if you’ve got any leftover.


Pork Roast Stuffed with Figs

recipe from The New York Times


  • 1 boneless pork loin, about 2 pounds

  • 1 cup dried figs

  • about 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

  • salt and pepper

  • wine, if necessary


  1. Cover figs with hot water and allow to soak.  Preheat oven to 425.

  2. Trim pork loin of excess fat as necessary.  Wriggle a thin, sharp knife into each end of meat, making a hole.  Then, use the handle of a long wooden spoon to force a hole all the way through meat, making it as wide as your thumb.

  3. Drain figs when they are tender, but not mushy.  Reserve the liquid.  Stuff the figs into the roast, all the way to the center from each end.

  4. Combine salt, pepper and rosemary and rub it all over meat.  Place meat in a roasting pan and pour about 1/2 cup of fig liquid over top of it.  Roast undisturbed for 20 minutes.

  5. Lower heat to 325 and continue to cook, basting with pan juices every 15 minutes or so.  Add liquid (wine or water) if necessary.  

  6. When an instant-read thermometer registers 145-150 degrees - probably after 40-50 minutes - remove roast to a warm platter. (when checking temperature, be sure that thermometer is in meat, not fruit)

  7. Let sit for 15 minutes.  If you wish, make sauce described here.  I did not, and the roast was still delicious.


In The Blog World:

My cousin Meghann is hosting an Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods Giveaway!  Be sure to check out her blog and enter to win by midnight Friday. Also, don't forget that she is hosting another Blogger Bake Sale starting next week.  She's been posting daily Baker's Spotlights to introduce all of the talented and generous bakers who are donating their goods for a great cause.  Get to know the bakers so you're ready to bid on your favorite items!

The lovely ladies over at Keep It Simple Foods are hosting a Quaker Giveaway...who wants a free box of Quaker Simple Havest Trail Mix Bars?  Me!!!

Click here for a FREE Barney Butter sample!  Thanks Hangry Heather for mentioning it.  I'm intrigued by this stuff, aren't you?

Bobbi of NHerShoes is giving away a Danskin workout jacket in a beautiful honeysuckle can never have too many workout clothes!

I hope you all have a great Friday and weekend!!!