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!]

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