Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lovely Dinner

Last night's dinner was quite pretty, but you'll have to take my word for it. When I'm hungry, I tend to dig in quickly without thinking about taking a picture first. I'm working on that. I do want pictures for this blog.

Anyway, dinner was one of those "this is what I have, what do I do with it?" kind of meals.

I'd taken pork shoulder steaks out of the freezer, but had no particular inspiration in mind. So about an hour before the dinner bell rang, I figured I best get busy.

Mustard and maple syrup. Oh, that sounded good. So I mixed some up, sprinkled salt and pepper on the steaks and rubbed on the syrup. I browned them over medium-high heat in an oven-proof pan, then covered with a lid and tossed it in the oven.

350 for - about 50 minutes. Good have been in for less time - 40 might have been enough. But they were still tender and juicy.

Then what? Well I put the steaks on a plate (covered to keep warm), leaving lots of juice in the pan. I put the sauce over medium-high heat to reduce. I threw some frozen greens into the microwave, then made a batch of polenta.

I make it a no-fuss way most times, being a sort of impatient person. A cup of broth, 2/3 cup cornmeal, mixed in a bit of water to make a mush. Pour the cornmeal into the boiling broth, stir with a whisk, cover the pan and let it simmer on low for a while. I whisk it once in a while and when it's thick and creamy, it's done.

Then I did something, I don't usually bother with. I plated it.

A mound of polenta went on the plate first. The greens went on top of that, then slices of the tender pork were placed on top of the greens.

It really was very pretty.

Tasted good, too.

But you have to take my word for it.

Monday, April 19, 2010


My friend Nicole has a thing for roasted cauliflower. I have tried do this, but never got more than an "eh" reaction. I just can't seem to get into cauliflower, certainly not with Nicole's passion.

Mind you, I've eaten Nicole's roasted cauliflower. Somehow, she manages a sweep of magic that eludes me. Hers was marvelous. Mine is "eh."

I do like it steamed.

Truly. A full head, washed and placed in the steamer basket and cooked to a fork-denting softness. Brush a little olive on it, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper...

It's really quite good.

But I just might have gotten the hang of this roasting thing.

Instead of breaking the head into dozens of tiny florets, I slice it thinly. All the way across. I brush the slivers with olive oil, apply the salt and pepper, and oh... oh... then I sprinkle them with vinegar.

Yeah. Vinegar.

And roast. Until crisp.

Have you ever had those salt-and-vinegar potato chips?

It's kind of like that.

I could nibble away at the entire bowl, except then I'd be doubled over with gas pains.

Yeah, I've learned to make awesome roasted cauliflower.

It just hasn't learned to get along with me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Falling Behind and Ketchup

Our schedule's been off the last couple of weeks. I find myself overwhelmed with uncooked veggies and another box comes today!

Time to get busy.

So at this moment, I have the following roasting in my oven:

Celery root

Simmering on the stove are carrots, which I'll probably turn into soup, seeing as how I love carrot soup. But that calls for broth, so also simmering on the stove is BIG pot of leek stems, fennel fronds, beet greens, chard, and cabbage leaves. Odd for broth, I suppose, but it's what I had.

The other day, I made pesto with a bunch of parsely, and tossed it with steamed cauliflower. That was good. I have a little pesto left and I think it will be very nice mixed in with last weeks' leftover sauteed greens.

Now all I have to do is eat everything!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cooking Club

My latest venture is a local cooking club I started through Meetup.com. We had our first "meeting" today:

That's Suzi and Evelyn preparing the Margarita Chicken Thighs.

Hi Ladies! You were awesome!

We had a disappointing turnout. It wasn't disappointing to us, mind you - we had a great time! But out of seven people signed up, only three of us were here. And it was my house - so I don't really count.

Evelyn makes sure I whip up the Lemon Vinaigrette the right way.

I love the idea of cooking with others. Not every day, but often enough for meal preparation to be a social event. This was a good start. We have about twenty people signed up for the club, and I hope the turnouts will improve as time goes by.

I should start planning the next one.