Smothered Pork Roast

Donald Link’s Real Cajun is a must-have cookbook.  Everything – and I mean everything – in that book is a keeper.  One of the easiest recipes is for a smothered pork shoulder or Boston butt, and, given that I was not feeling particularly adventurous on a cold winter night, I felt like trying something simple.  Six pounds of pork shoulder and a roux later, the entire house smelled like my fattest dreams.

First the pork is browned.  The pork is removed and a stick(!) of butter is added to the pot.  Once the butter melts, add 1/2c flour to make a peanut butter roux.  Throw in a couple of large onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary and let them get to know each other.  Then add 4c chicken stock, bring to a boil, throw in the pork and into a 275-degree oven for about three hours.  Serve over rice, eat leftovers for two meals in a row (and counting) and be happy. Throw some brussels sprouts on the plate to make it look healthy, but don’t tell anyone that you sauteed them in garlic butter.

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Mezza – Madison, MS

MC and I recently had lunch at a new Mediterranean restaurant in Madison, a restaurant called Mezza. Located in the former Roma’s Brick Oven, Mezza screams Madison. Strip mall location? Check. Beautiful view of Highway 463? Check. Chili’s within 50 yard proximity? Check. All snarkiness aside, we are always excited to try a new place.

The lunch menu looked very interesting. Mezza has a large selection of small plates/appetizers, a few salads, and a few entrees. To get a taste of the place, we chose a couple of small plates, a couple of salads, and a dessert.

We spent 10 days in Greece on our honeymoon and devoured moussaka nearly every day. Unfortunately, the moussaka at Mezza was nothing like that of Greece [edit – because it is Lebanese moussaka].

moussakaNo bechamel, no spicy meat, and just a little eggplant.  This dish needs to be completely reworked I am apparently not a fan of Lebanese moussaka.

Next up was the fried cheese.  We ordered this small plate on the waitress’ recommendation.  She claimed to “sell a lot of it.”  It was only described as unbreaded, fried Mediterranean cheese.  That proved to be an apt description.

fried cheeseThe cheese was a salty, presumably sheep’s milk cheese.  When combined with the cucumbers and tomatoes, it made a satisfactory appetizer, although probably not one that I would order again.

We also had two salads, both of which were half eaten before the camera was even discussed (sorry, we are new at this!).  Of the two, the house salad was an arugula salad (a.k.a. “rocket” to the Greek) that was fine, if a little boring.  However, the fattoush salad was full of flavor and very garlicky.  It made my wife’s breath stink but it also made her happy, so I consider it a win.  The baklava was well-made and a good finish.  The bill came to around $28 pre-tip, which was a tad on the high side for the portion sizes but we were both comfortably full after cleaning our plates.

I’m on the fence with Mezza. On one hand, the menu is creative and offers Mediterranean fare that cannot be found in other restaurants. However, the food took forever and was just OK.  The salads are very good. The fried cheese is fine, but I wish they would have specified that it is sheep’s milk cheese. The prices seemed a tad high and the service was very slow.  Being that it is a new restaurant, we will give it a month or two and report back.

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