I love to feed people. And, even though our family has an extremely busy lifestyle, I don’t mind taking time out to cook for family, friends and sometimes even strangers! My husband, Doug, and I have a 350-sow hog operation and grain farm, and I have been volunteering with pork producers’ organizations for almost 20 years.
So it’s no surprise that pork stars on many of my menus. During the holidays and on other special occasions, I enjoy showcasing an elegant yet easy-to-prepare Crown Roast of Pork.
A crown roast makes Christmas dinner extra special. I order the roast by how many ribs I want—figure on one per person. Just talk to your butcher or grocery store meat manager a few days ahead.
A simple herb rub accents the pork’s flavor. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to guarantee that your roast is done to perfection (see tip below).
I like to make the Wild Rice Pilaf Bake a day ahead, which allows the rosemary and other flavors time to blend and makes mealtime preparations go smoother the day of the dinner. The pilaf reheats well in the microwave. I frequently take it to potlucks—the only thing bad about that is I rarely have any leftovers to bring home!
Garden Bounty Bonus
I ran across the Cashew-Peach Sweet Potatoes recipe while hunting for variations on the old standby sweet potato bake. I plant a large vegetable garden and found the recipe one particularly prolific year. This year, my tomatoes have been bountiful. As I am writing this, I have a huge pot of jalapeno chili on the stove (Doug’s a big fan of chili).
When I cook, I tend to focus on the main meal. The dessert oftentimes is an afterthought. That’s why I was thrilled when my sister-in-law, Nicki, showed up at a gathering with scrumptious Devil’s Food Caramel Torte. It was definitely one of those recipes I had to add to my collection.
“While most people travel to sightsee, I travel to eat!”
Family: Dianne and husband Doug have a 350-sow farrow-to-finish hog operation and raise corn and soybeans. Their two children, Tyler and Marisa, are university students.
Jobs: Dianne operates her own financial records firm for farmers and small businesses, works part-time for adult farm management and administers a tech education grant for high schools.
Activities: Serving a second term on National Pork Board; state pork organizations.
Hobbies: Gardening, cooking, cheering on daughter Marisa at her track meets.
I love food and confess that while most people travel to sightsee, I travel to eat! Even when I go to our famous Mall of America here in Minnesota, I spend more time eating than shopping. My favorite stop is a wonderful sushi bar.
As a member of the National Pork Board—an industry-nominated, government-appointed position—I help promote pork across the country and even overseas. I enjoy cooking new foods that I find on my travels, especially if they involve pork! Doug and our children—Tyler and Marisa—are good sports about trying everything I put in front of them. And they like most of it.
Doug and I enjoy traveling and camping. Although the farm doesn’t give him much free time, he manages to accompany me to some of my out-of-state meetings. We also enjoy time at the lake and around the campfire!
With our youngest off to college, our life will be very different now! I hope to fill some of the void with trying new recipes, especially tried-and-true ones from Taste of Home.
The kids will be home for Christmas, looking forward to this meal I’ve shared with you. I hope you’ll “pick pork” and enjoy it for your own holiday dinner!