08 May, 2006

sick as a parrot?

Don't say anything. Come on.

Last time, I promise. Give me a break, it's a picture of him in Tribeca. Just one little picture and I promise I'm finished.

OK, that's over. On to the subject line of this post: a completely new one for me! Sitting in the taxi coming back from taking Anna home, I heard the radio announcer talking about the World Cup this summer. "Sven Goren-Erikkson has named his team for this summer's effort in the World Cup. After the break, we'll give you the list. Who is over the moon, and who's sick as a parrot?"

OK, as silly as "over the moon" sounds to a novice in England, at least it's jolly familiar nonsense language for "really happy." Therefore, one assumes that to be "sick as a parrot" means really, really disappointed, but... from where can this expression derive? Are parrots particularly sick, when they're sick? Very odd.

I feel bad, now, that I gave you two such difficult recipes. So to make up for it, here's a super easy entire dinner that we had over the weekend, thus providing me with leftover pork for the fried rice the next evening (and more than enough for pork sandwiches in between, if you can bear that much pork two days in a row -- I certainly can).

Pork Roast with Potatoes Anna and Roast Beetroot

1 2 lb fillet of pork
1 bunch beets (usually 4)
four large white potatoes (not baking, though)
1 bunch rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps olive oil
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
3 tbsps balsamic vinegar

An hour and a half before you want to eat, cut the tops off each beet and wrap them as a group in foil. Put them in a hot, hot oven (425).

Then get a couple of grocery bags you've been saving for when you scoop out the litter box and put one inside the other (bags, I mean, not the litter box). Then put in the pork roast, the rosemary, the olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper in the bag and shake and squeeze until you're sure the roast is coated. Leave until the beets have 45 minutes left to cook.

At the 45-minute moment, put your roast in a foil-lined pan (then when you're cleaning up you just ball up the foil and throw it away, and put the dish on its blameless shelf wherever) and put it in the oven, taking care to put the bunch of rosemary underneath it. Then quickly peel and thinly slice your potatoes, or happily run them through a slicing blade on your cuisinart (my OCD self delights in the hand-slicing, which is saving me thousands of dollars in therapy). Then melt the butter in a heavy skillet and arrange the potato slices in as even a fanned series of layers as you can. Salt and pepper them and put them over a low flame. LEAVE THEM. Do not succumb to the temptation to stir, poke, turn or in any other way interfere with their lives at this point. You can just sit around in the kitchen reading your book for about 20 minutes.

Then, put a plate over the skillet and turn the potatoes out upside down. Then slide them back into the skillet to cook on the other side. Again, resist the temptation to play with them! The point is to give yourself a break while also letting them cook undisturbed so they'll come out all nice and intact and crispy.

Finally, when the beets are done, take them and the roast out of the oven. Let the roast rest while you peel the beets and cut them up, and splash them with balsamic vinegar. Then carve the roast and slide the potatoes onto the plate again.

Done. It's easy peasy, as they say here, and completely comforting and GOOD for you. Well, there is that stick of butter, but don't be picky, please.

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