Last Saturday we cooked up quite a storm. We were kind of stuck at home, since Jon managed to throw his back out a few days before and was still on a fun variety of medications and spending most of his time on the couch. So why not cook?
To start, I made up a batch of carrot dip. I made this for friends a week ago, and it was so good it vanished instantly, so I wanted to do it again just for the two of us. It’s just roasted carrots pureed with olive oil, salt, fresh mint and a pinch of caraway or cumin seed, served with a sprinkling of feta cheese, and it is great. Plus it did a fantastic job of using up the six-pound bag of carrots we bought at the last farmer’s market.
Then I threw together another recipe from good old Art of Braising, which is rapidly becoming one of those cookbooks that I want to make every single recipe out of. I had tried the “Best Braised Cabbage in the World” already, but I saw a rave about the “Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint Marcellin” on Orangette that made me head straight out to the co-op to look for French triple-cream cheeses. I ended up with Delice de Bourgogne, which I thought worked splendidly [huh. I just realized that’s what Molly ended up using, too. Weird]. The final dish was smooth and sweet, with a delightful funkiness about it from the cheese. Leftovers have been singularly tasty.
To support the cabbage, then, I invented a pork braise. Years ago, my father came up with a nifty preparation for pork blade steaks (which are excitingly cheap!), roasting them slowly in the oven with lots of preserved lemon and garlic. It occurred to me, though, with all the braising I’ve been doing, that blade steaks should braise wonderfully. So I seared the pork, deglazed the pan with a bit of dry Riesling and some chicken broth, tossed in half a preserved lemon and some slivered garlic, and let it braise for an hour, tossing in some olives partway through. Then I took the pork out and boiled the liquid down into a fabulously unctuous gravy. That’s made pretty darn good leftovers, too.
To go with dinner, we had a bottle of beautifully dry, delicate Riesling from Pacific Rim, and an olive baguette from the Breadfarm.
Then we made brownies.
Think of it as training for Thanksgiving…