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 »

Roasted orange chutney

January 24, 2012 § 12 Comments

English is a language with a lot of great idiomatic phrases, so I take slight umbrage at the fact that there is no good taste equivalent for the saying “I could see it in my mind’s eye.”  At least, I don’t think there is.  If anyone out there knows one, will you please share it with me?  I would use it all the time.  I would probably drive everyone around me to drink, I would use it so often.  (So maybe it’s actually good I don’t know such a phrase.  It prevents the need for an intervention – for my overuse of it, or for the induced drinking problem in those who are sick of hearing it, I couldn’t say…)

It’s how I think about recipes, ingredients, and cooking.  I think many people who cook a lot do.  I imagine ingredients and preparations and I taste what they would be like in my mind’s mouth (ergh, see, that sounds ridiculous) before even cracking open the cupboards in the pantry.  And, when I see a dish of some sort, I do the same thing.

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Vindaloo curry with parsnips and halibut

November 21, 2011 § 5 Comments

Yes, vindaloo with parsnips and halibut sounds, well, weird, for lack of a more graceful word.  But it tastes really quite amazing.  So, you should give it a chance.

It’s alternate name is fish-nip-aloo, which, of course, really makes it sound awesome.

Actually, I rather like the name fishnipaloo for the dish.  It’s quirky.  It sounds a bit like the name of a Bollywood dance, and that fits this particular curry incredibly well.

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Lamb chops with coconut mint sauce

May 17, 2011 § 11 Comments

Gratulerer med dagen!  It’s Norway’s national day, so I’m all in a tizzy getting ready to celebrate, and I’ll get back to you with some delicious treat from the day, but for now I’m going to share this post, which I wrote yesterday but didn’t get a chance to publish…

As I’m sitting writing, I’m looking through the windows watching a couple of little neighbor girls outside playing in the rain.  They are a whirl of colorful rain coats and spindly legs, executing awkwardly graceful dance moves as they boogey around and over the picnic table, over and over again.  It’s sweet to see.  It’s giving me a better attitude about the rain, actually.  And, it also has me thinking about books.

I feel like I’m not a very good reader these days.  What can I say?  Something about the process of spending long days reading papers full of painfully passive sentences or obtuse allusions to social theory that I do not remotely understand (this, for example: “Structures exist paradigmatically, as an absent set of differences, temporally ‘present’ only in their in their instantiation, in the constituting moments of social systems…”  Do you understand that?  Because I don’t.) leaves me feeling rather loathe to crack open a novel at the end of the day, at least one that’s at all high quality since it’s almost bound to be depressing and require more thought than I’m willing to expend.

I have, though, been reading children’s literature.  These books are the opposite of convoluted, but still tell wonderfully engaging tales.  I just made my way through my favorite trilogy of dragon stories, and I suddenly remembered a book that I loved when I was younger that I might have to seek out to read again, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  Did you read that book?  It’s the story of Peter, a well meaning and generally well behaved fourth grader who has a younger brother called “Fudge.”  And, Fudge is a little hellion but somehow he almost always manages to be the one who gets the attention and gets his way because he’s so cute.

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Baked risotto with Indian spices

February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

My maternal grandfather was an antiquarian, supposedly one of Europe’s best. By many accounts he was also a dead ringer for Roger Moore, and on business trips to England would get stopped and asked for his autograph. You know, I’ve never actually asked whether, in response, he tried to explain, or forged Mr. Moore’s signature, or just signed Asbjørn and left people to puzzle over it…Anyway, my mother grew up in a house full of gorgeously bound old and rare books. And because we inherited many of the books after my grandparents died, my brothers and I grew up surrounded by them as well.

There’s something about old books that insinuates itself into your psyche so that you become more at home and at ease when surrounded by walls of red leather bindings, gold embossing, marbled end pages, than almost anywhere else. Old books have a soul. And perhaps it’s actually genetic, but all of us in my family have a deeply rooted love of them. Their looks, feel, contents.

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