Theoretically, there are about 7 weeks to go before munchkin No. 2 arrives. Our lives are definitely consumed between work and preparations for that event, but we are getting some enjoyable cooking time in, just not the kind of creative cooking that might lead me to blog frequently.
I had an amusing experience the other day during one of our hypnobirthing classes, where we were supposed to imagine the kitchen in which we felt most comfortable, and then imagine the smells coming from your favorite comfort food. What would you imagine?
I ended up in my mother’s kitchen. I could psychoanalyze that one for a while (wait, stop, why are you saying that about me? Hey. Stop!), but I choose to believe that until I get a 48″ inch cooktop, I will never be satisfied with my own kitchen, so hers was the best option. I’ve had a lot of great meals out of that kitchen as well. Unfortunately, I don’t forsee conquering that particular cooktop milestone anytime soon, but there it is. We all must aspire to something. Don’t play any tiny violins for me — I still feel lucky to no longer cook in a Manhattan shoebox.
This weekend, I revisted a simple but delicious pork dish where I bake pork slathered in cilantro, spring onions, ginger, jalapeno peppers and white wine vinegar (see recipe). Country style ribs from Fleishers were the perfect excuse.
While my favorite methods for cooking pork are braising or grilling, I find baking at 350F to be an excellent option when you don’t have time for a braise and your grill happens to be under a foot of snow. The broiler just gets so damn smoky (I nearly smoked out some dinner guests the other weekend broiling a pork tenderloin) and this kind of baking does a nice job keeping the moisture inside the pork, even if you haven’t had time for a long marinade.
We also roasted a chicken. Snow… roasting chicken… aren’t they perfect together? Like peas and carrots, only “chicken” and, um, “roasting”.
Our favorite method for roasting a chicken comes from Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef, where you stuff herbs under the skin, stick a lemon in the cavity, and roast a 3lb bird at 425F for about an hour. Lisl adds softened butter under the skin as well. I love to toss root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, celery root) around the chicken as well.
We took the leftover root vegetables from the roast chicken and made a stew with chickpeas, cranberry beans, and kale (with some oregano, basil, and a homemade vegetable broth). Any other time of the year, it might have felt too starchy, but it was perfect for a cold day.
Later today we get a new president. I’ll be very happy to see him take office, and hope that feeling remains for a long, long time.
P.S. if anyone else tries to make the spinach, meat and ricotta lasagna from the January Gourmet, get more moisture into the dish and add more cheese to the top. Just saying.