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Culinary guidance for bride, groom


Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook

By Gayle Pirie and John Clark

Betty Crocker Cookbook, Bridal Edition

By Betty Crocker Editors

Wiley / 2006 / $29.95

If the newlyweds you know are more the practical type, or they simply are new to the kitchen, this is a fail-safe, if not-too-exciting, cookbook for them.

This book is Betty Crocker's famous "Big Red" cookbook in a pastel package. Many of the 1,000 recipes in the collection will be those the newlyweds remember their moms or grandmothers making. It is a far-reaching book with chapters on techniques, food selection, entertaining and table decorations. The recipes run the gamut from breads, cakes and cookies to meats, rice, salads, soups and vegetables. There are also chapters on slow cooking and quick meals.

The recipes aren't as elegant or as exciting, perhaps, as those of the Williams-Sonoma book. The pork loin is encrusted in bread crumbs and herbs (dried are acceptable) rather than being stuffed with fruit. The chocolate-cake recipe calls for cocoa powder rather than unsweetened chocolate. But for a young couple just learning to cook, this is a practical guide to help them along their way.

Roast Pork Loin With Apricots

Serves 4

1 boneless center-cut pork loin, about 2 pounds

1/2 cup dried apricots

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed

One day or at least 6 hours before cooking, stuff and season the pork loin. Use a thin boning knife to make an incision from each end that runs the length of the loin through its center. The incision should be no wider than 1 inch. Stuff the dried apricots into the center, one at a time, until the incision is completely filled with apricots. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper to taste. Rub with the rosemary, cumin seeds and fennel seeds.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan and put it in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 135 degrees for medium-rare, about 25 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. This allows time for the juices to redistribute evenly through the roast.

Slice the pork, about 1/4 inch thick, to show off the center stuffing. Arrange on a platter or individual plates and serve.

From "Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook"

Per serving: 453 calories, 50 grams protein, 23 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 139 milligrams cholesterol, 1,278 milligrams sodium

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