THE RECIPE BOX - Bacon-wrapped pork loin is a perfect fall meal

THE RECIPE BOX - Bacon-wrapped pork loin is a perfect fall meal

LINCOLN – I’m wondering, do people still do a big annual fall cleaning? As I look around my dining and living rooms, the hutch looks a little bit dull since I have not actually polished it since the summer began.

I know this is somewhat shocking as I am a reformed compulsive “vacuumer.” Of course, I have spot dusted here and there as needed. Now that the windows have been closed more often than open it is time for a lemon Pledge kind of day. In fact, I’ve pledged to myself as soon as the weather no longer permits an outside kind of day, I’ll do it!

Fall also brings thoughts of comfort food. Jody Esposito, of Chepachet Farms & Sugar House, shared this week’s nice fall recipe with us in 2015. Her recipe for the bacon-wrapped pork loin is delicious when served with mashed potatoes and squash infused with a little cinnamon maple syrup.

A roast and potatoes on the dinner table is a welcome sight after lots of grilling and salads over the past summer, I naturally go there (to comfort foods) once the hint of a chill hits our autumn air. I also miss the family sit-down dinners and entertaining.

I like to use fresh produce of the season (any season) as a centerpiece for my dining room table. Like many of the great painters, I find such simple beauty in nature and my round wicker basket lined with a plaid cloth full of fresh apples is just a beautiful sight. I also use rustic and natural items such as colorful leaves, acorns, small pumpkins and gourds to name a few.

To me, it does matter to take the extra time to “stage” a meal and make it more special. A white runner placed down a seasonally colored tablecloth sets a stage for a dramatic statement. You can carve out small pumpkins and line each with a small votive candle to put at each place setting, or use a carved out pumpkin as a serving vessel for soup. Pumpkins can also be spray painted in a glitzy gold or silver to add a degree of sparkle and filled with fresh cut mums.

Every so often, simple changes like swapping out the area rugs and curtains make all the difference in a home’s ambiance. Likewise, a couple of new dinner plates, glasses and cloth napkins can too.

If you shop the clearance section at the end of each season – and put it away for the next – you feel like you really scored when it comes out of storage. I do this with those overpriced adorable dish towels – paying merely a quarter of the original asking price once the season changes. The same is true of mismatched plates, placemats and glasses.

As for the pork tenderloin, it was delicious. I followed the cook-time for the recipe exactly and it was a bit overcooked to my liking, so next time I’ll try a smaller tenderloin and adjust my time. Pork is done at between 145 and 160 degrees but it will continue cooking once removed from the oven. The bacon and the glaze were wonderful. I served it with baked acorn squash infused with butter, brown sugar and a little maple syrup.

So while I’m pondering when I’ll actually polish the furniture, wash the windows and dust off the ceiling fan blades… my incentive is that fresh new feeling that will come with the little extra touches. Enjoy the harvest season, sweep off the cobwebs and share some hospitality.


Bacon Maple Crusted 
Pork Loin

Ingredients:

4-6 lb. pork loin (Or use a smaller tenderloin and adjust cook-time)

approximately 2 lbs. bacon (in strips)

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Glaze:

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Directions:

1. Remove layer of fat from top of pork. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

2. Wrap the pork with bacon strips, covering the entire top and sides. (To make it look nice you may “weave” the strips.)

3. Mix together all glaze ingredients and drizzle over the top of pork loin. Cover with foil and bake for about one hour at 375 degrees, or until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.

4. Remove from oven and with the pan drippings re-glaze the meat with the juices.

5. Continue to cook uncovered for about 15 minutes longer or until the bacon becomes brown and crispy. (Use a meat thermometer for correct doneness.)

6. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Nothing says autumn like this nice bacon-encrusted pork loin with a special glaze, baked acorn squash and mashed potatoes. (Breeze photo by Rhonda Hanson)