Posts Tagged With: recipes

Cooking from Memories

pork tomatillo stew

Memoir is an interesting genre. The work is autobiographical, but the author chooses to emphasize a specific theme and/or focus on a shorter period of their life rather than telling their whole story. I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies, because I can learn about worlds that are completely different than mine without leaving earth. Sometimes I am tempted to covet their wealth and opportunity.  At other times the character’s struggle and despair are such that I am reminded to be thankful for the eternal hope that I have.

One of my favorite popular authors is Ruth Reichl. When she shares stories from her past you can feel along with her. When she describes the aromas, flavors, and textures of an amazing meal you are as satisfied as if you had been sitting at the table with her.

Recipes are sprinkled through Reichl’s books. This morning I took inventory of the ones that are included in Tender at the Bone.  A stew made from pork and tomatillos was especially interesting to me, because the bag of tomatillos from Produce Junction was larger than I had needed for a large batch of green sauce.

Ruth instructs the cook to prepare the stew on the stovetop. However, my Saturday plans wouldn’t allow me to babysit a simmering stew for two hours. Instead, after browning the pork and sauteeing the garlic and onions, I tossed everything into a crockpot.

Four hours later, we were home and ready for supper. My husband said the “juice” was good, but he isn’t so sure about the beans being included. I can’t say that the stew was amazing, but I can’t say that it is the recipe’s fault, either. When I cut the recipe in half some of the ratios didn’t quite match.   Also, I don’t keep “dark beer” on hand, so my blackstrap molasses substitute certainly affected the flavor.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Books, Food and drink, Pork, stew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technical Challenge

mu-shu-pork

Sometimes when I’m trying out a new recipe, I have only a vague idea of how it is supposed to turn out. Because I only have a photograph of the final product, my mind doesn’t always trust the instructions when my eyes watch the ingredients changing into different shapes and textures along the way.

This weekend I had chosen to attempt Mu-Shu pork with curry-scented pancakes. One of my coworkers had pointed out the entree on the menu of a local Chinese restaurant, and a few days later I had found the recipes in an old Martha Stewart magazine.

After lining up all the ingredients to make sure I had everything necessary, I read the recipe for the pancakes. I had to go through the instructions several times, because it sounded like there were unnecessary steps. If it was a pancake you would think that you could just make a liquid batter. However, the instrucions said to form what sounded like a tortilla, brush one side with sesame oil, then put a second flattened disk of dough on top of the first. My dough was almost too wet, so I added enough flour that I could handle it.

While my fingers fought the sticky dough, I reflected on technical challenges that amateur bakers in the GBBO episodes face. The contestants are given a minimal amount of time to bake a (usually) unfamiliar product with just a list of ingredients and very basic instructions. My time limit was self-imposed rather than one given by a television show judge, though. Somehow the doubled-up disks made their way to the frying pan, and I could even peel them apart later when the pork-and-vegetable filling and the balsamic-plum sauce were ready.

If I choose to prepare Mu-Shu pork in the future, I think I’ll look at some other recipes to see if other cooks follow the same method for curry-scented pancakes, or if the sandwich method is something that can be improved upon.

Can you think of any reason not to just make a pour batter or a single layer tortilla instead?

 

Categories: Bread, Food and drink, Pork | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.