Down to basics – roasted pork chops with pan sauce

October 25, 2012 § 9 Comments

Two weekends ago Joel was out of town camping.  He went with my good friend Kaitlin’s husband, which meant Kait and I were both home alone.  Not for long!  Quickly it turned into a weekend of yoga workshops, coffee time, and a hot tub with wine.  Talk about awesome.  And continuing the awesomeness, my parents invited us both over for dinner.  My mother had purchased four pork chops, but there were just two of them, so the addition of two more was, in her words, quite perfect.

There were also figs.  Clearly, you don’t say no when there are pork chops and figs involved (which has been rather an obsession for me this fall – I think I’ve made it 3 times myself).

My mother had a plan.  Obviously.  After all, she had bought the pork chops and figs and is well-versed in the art of getting dinner on the table.  But, I am one of those people who, if I am not doing the cooking, hovers obnoxiously in the kitchen observing and asking questions.  And, at a certain point I, truly obnoxiously, butted in because it became apparent that my mom had never made seared pork chops, finished in the oven, and followed by a pan sauce.  And then I learned that Kaitlin never had either.

Which leads me to the question, have you???  It’s so easy, when you are familiar with something, to forget that that doesn’t necessarily make it common knowledge, to forget that other people may not know that particular information.

Of course, even if you are intimately familiar with pan roasted pork chops with pan sauce, well, too late, because I have already fashioned a blog post about it at my mother’s and Kait’s request, and who knows, you may still learn something!  Or you may discover you have some good tips to offer me (I hope)! « Read the rest of this entry »

Plum and bourbon swirl ice cream

September 5, 2012 § 24 Comments

Hello dear friends.  How are you?!  It feels like an age since I’ve been here.  Maybe it has been an age.  I’ve lost all track of time as we’ve been in a blur of activity and change.

I meant to come back with a roar, with all sorts of things to say and stories to tell.  Instead, I think I’ll go for something more along the lines of a purr.  Roaring takes too much energy for the moment.  Shifts and adaptations, however positive, are tiring.  So is moving and unpacking boxes.  Sheesh.

But we are, in fact, wondrously unpacked.  We still have a small stack of boxes to attend to, and the art needs to be hung.  But, most of the important things (read: kitchen and dining room – and even the living room, actually) are set up and functioning.  We had the most amazing help.  I mean really, that’s part of why we wanted to be here.  The kindness and sense of community are palpable. « Read the rest of this entry »

Since we were talking about butter – smoked salmon quiche

May 2, 2012 § 24 Comments

As any self-respecting, French speaking, art and food obsessed college student would do, I spent a semester abroad in Paris my junior year.  According to my transcript, I was studying something along the lines of French language and literature.  According to me, I was doing an intensive independent study in hot chocolate and pastries.  Intensive.

I made a point of going to a different spot and trying a different pastry every day.  I roamed the city, exploring quaint neighborhoods and corner bakeries, charming cafes and hyacinth-lined gardens.  If my study-abroad major was pastries, my study-abroad minor was people-watching.  And dodging men who were intent on getting to know me – solely because I was blonde, and because they were French, and that seems to be the way of things.

Choosing walking as my preferred mode of transportation, I also wandered through plenty of neighborhoods where I quite possibly shouldn’t have, or at least wouldn’t have selected as a destination.  But, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get from point A to point pastry.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Warm custard spoon bread

December 13, 2011 § 12 Comments

Does’t that just sound like the food version of cuddling on the couch in front of a fire?  Warm custard spoon bread.  Every word there is like a friendly little squeeze.  Every word there says to me, “I am unbelievably amazingly delicious and decadent.  You should probably drop everything and make me right now.”

I don’t know why but I am an absolute sucker for foods that have the word spoon in their title.  (I am a sucker for warm, custard, and bread as well.  But, those are more standard enticements than you’d expect an eating utensil to be.)  It’s like a short hand for something being so ooey gooey, soft, and tender that you have to eat it with a spoon.  Like Nutella right from the jar.

I have been actively yearning for this dish for a year now.  At least I have whenever it has been brought to my attention.  Then, as with most other things that are actually important to me to remember (as opposed to random facts and other people’s schedules which stick in my mind with remarkable fortitude), I promptly forget about it as soon as I am not looking at the recipe.  I don’t know why this happens, but I know I’m not the only one who does this.  I’ve heard from all sorts of people that it can somehow take months or years for them to get around to making a dish that they desperately wanted to try upon seeing it.

Maybe it’s a built in mechanism to allow us the great pleasure afforded by deferred gratification.  Maybe people did experiments on us when we were little, telling us not to eat the marshmallow in front of us, and this is the strategy we developed to succeed.  Most likely we’re just scatterbrained by virtue of the way the information stimuli in our society are fed to us. « Read the rest of this entry »

Homemade ricotta (and a honeyed grape compote)

August 15, 2011 § 15 Comments

If you are of the ilk of people who spend a considerable (some may say disproportionate – I say proper) amount of time thinking, preparing, and reading about food (My people!  Hello!), or if you are an Italian nonna, then making your own ricotta cheese may be old news to you.  Old news, but then hey, you have no excuse for not having some sitting freshly made in your refrigerator right now, now do you?

If it is not old news to you, well then my friend, do I have some news for you!!!  Run, don’t walk, gather the ingredients, and make some.  Now!  Well, read this first.  I give you permission. 🙂

I will make no secret of my love for ricotta.  It is a profound adoration, really.  It’s nearly as passionate as my love for whipped cream (and it may be slightly healthier). I know it’s a fairly commonplace activity to imagine what clouds taste like – come on!  don’t even try to tell me I’m the only one who thinks about that – and while most dream up clouds of marshmallows or cotton candy, I think they taste like ricotta.  Smooth and airy, billowing in your mouth and then melting into a pool of cream on your tongue…

I would just eat it with a spoon.  I do just eat it with a spoon.  Though, generally only when no one is looking.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Swiss chard gratin

April 19, 2011 § 3 Comments

I tried to make caramels yesterday.  It was a spectacular disaster.  Tasty judging by the mess I licked off of my fingers , but also crazy sticky, goopy, runny, and in sum, disastrous.  I knew it was not something I ought to be doing, even before I started.  A large batch of caramels was the last thing we needed around the house to tempt us to snack on.  And, I knew I had a focus group guide to edit and a conceptual model to draft and shouldn’t be distracting myself.

And yet, somehow I found myself in the kitchen caramelizing sugar to a dark amber and pouring it into a foiled pan and patiently waiting for it to cool and set.  But, it never set. It remained barely stiffer than the consistency of caramel sauce, so when I took it out to cut it and wrap it, it flowed like an unstoppable saccharine mudslide all over the cutting board, the counter, my hands, everywhere.  Obviously the universe was sending me a signal.  ‘Get back to work.  Cook vegetables.’  At least, that was how I interpreted it.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with cream at Five And Spice.