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Pork loin rubbed with fennel makes an ideal companion for sticky, glazed balsamic vegetables. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

This roast pork loin is about as easy and flavorful as it gets. It's also a great way to feed your crew without a lot of fuss, since everything cooks in the same pan.

Getting the timing right on the vegetables and meat can be tricky, though. If your meat (or your vegetables, for that matter) finishes first, remove the item from the oven and tent it with foil to keep it warm. Just continue cooking the remainder while the finished fare waits.

Note: It's fine to use whole fennel seeds in equal measure in place of cracked fennel. Just toast it in a pan over medium heat until fragrant. Then, bash it up using a mortar and pestle.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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