I made a fast trip home this past weekend to celebrate my Ma's birthday, and part of the deal was that Pops, my Sis, and I were going to treat her by cooking dinner. Normally, Ma does the cooking at home, and she's mighty good at it, but this day was meant for her to relax with her feet up, a drink in hand, and watch us do the work.
We feasted on a grilled pork loin with a sweet and sour apricot sauce, lemon-rosemary roasted asparagus, macaroni salad, a ramen salad, and various appetizers (spinach dip, fresh fruit and cheese, etc.)
The Pork Loin: Fire up the grill. Get 'er nice and hot, and slap that big ol' hunk of dead pig on the grill. Sear the outside on high heat, then turn one burner off and put the loin on that side, using indirect heat to cook. Our loin was about 5 pounds, and took a good hour and twenty to cook. Aim for an internal temp of 150 or so. Remove from the grill, cover with foil, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to gel.
The Sauce: Mix roughly equal parts of tangy Italian Salad Dressing and Apricot Preserves in a microwaveable dish. Stir, microwave about a minute or so, and stir well. If it's too tangy, add more Apricot preserves. If it's too sweet, add a splash more Italian dressing. Let folks add to their liking over the slices of pork.
Asparagus: Break off the bottoms of the stalks, and spread the 'gus on a plate or cutting board. Lightly drizzle some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) on them, and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary (a general "Italian Seasoning" would work.) Add some VERY thin slices of lemon -- just lay 'em on top -- and put all the asparagus in a paper grocery bag, fold it over, and rub more EVOO all over the bag to keep it from burning. Place oil-coated bag in the oven, 400 degrees, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Macaroni Salad: Finely dice three or four green onions, one large tomato, and four or five stalks of celery. Set aside. Cook up 2 cups of elbow macaroni, drain, and rinse with cold water. In a third bowl, combine 1.25 cups REAL mayonaisse (don't use Miracle Whip, because it sucks donkey balls) with 5 tsp white vinegar and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Mix well. Combine all ingredients, pour the mayo mix over it, and toss well to coat. Chill the whole thing, and just before you serve, top with real bacon bits.
Ramen Salad: You'll have to ask my sister for this one, cause I didn't make it. But it was pretty damn good.
The guys in the office all laughed at me when I told them I flew from Colorado to Indiana and back in two days, just to have dinner, but they don't know how good that dinner really was. Even my two nephews said so, and ain't no palate that discriminates like the palate of a 9 year old boy.