Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I like to cook. A lot. Monday night I made one of the more delicious dinners I've had in a long time. The pasta dish was inspired by a recipe I'd seen on Smitten Kitchen for asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta, but I simplified it for my own ingredients, using peas instead of asparagus, and leaving out the tarragon. The peas were actually really nice in the dish because it offered a subtle sweetness rather than the subtle bitterness asparagus has.
The herbed cucumber salad was inspired by a dish I saw in my latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine. I didn't actually go look at the recipe; I just gawked at the picture with its chunks of cucumber tossed in fresh herbs, and thought, I could do that. I just peeled a hothouse cucumber, sliced it, and tossed it in the Splendid Table's Basic Vinaigrette, and snipped some fresh dill and fresh mint I had on hand. I lightly salted and peppered it before serving. It was fresh and delicious.
It is the pork chop I'm most proud of. Safeway was having a 30% off special on thin-cut pork chops, so I snagged a package of three. I rinsed the chops under cold water, patted them dry, let them sit at room temp for about 30 minutes and rubbed them with Montreal steak seasoning before putting them on a pan to sear them. Andrew always gives me a face when I suggest pork, probably because of a bad past experience he had with over-cooked dry pork. One bad experience and he tends to write off an entire food. Same thing happened with an over-garlicy lamb burger (not mine), but I've done lamb he said was delicious, so I take his protests with a grain of salt and as a challenge to prove there's a delicious way to prepare all food, and it doesn't have to be masked in butter and cheese.
I've been doing a lot of reading on the proper way to cook meat, and I think I've got it down: pat it dry, rub it with seasoning, place on medium-high heat and don't touch it until it's ready to flip. It's also a cardinal sin to stab your meat with a fork in order to pick it up and flip it - I got myself some silicone-coated tongs to turn meat, and they work great. Above all, don't over-cook it! I allowed the meat to rest for a couple minutes after taking it off the heat and it ended up being super flavorful and juicy. Andrew said a couple times how delicious it was. See, Andrew? Pork is delicious if you do it right.
The best part? There were leftovers, and I get to have them for lunch today. Yessssss.
[update: the pasta does not reheat well, but it tastes great cold!]