Monthly Archives: August 2009

Côtes de Porc Poêlèes

The question: can Julia Child’s recipes save Sams Club Pork? Perhaps this is better worded as: can Julia Child’s recipes prevent me from brutalizing pork to the point of inedibility? When I was a child, one of my favorite meals was pork chops, macaroni and cheese and spinach, spinach from a can. My mother added just a touch of vinegar to the spinach to make it palatable. So in homage of that meal, I fixed the Côtes de Porc Poêlèes, Casserole sauteéd Pork Chops, and Épinards Gratinés au Fromage.

I started the spinach first, breaking off stems until I had a green thumbnail, not my favorite look. I then plunged the spinach into a large bowl of water to clean any residue of dirt or sand. The water being clean, meant this was a one time dunk. Now, I have to tell you the spinach seemed more dificult than a Time Step, an old tap maneuver. First the spinach was gently boiled in salted water, then drained, then tossed in a pan with butter until “dried”,  braised with beef stock, mixed with cheese, topped with cheese and bread crumbs, I forgot the bread crumbs, then baked for 30 minutes at 375 until browned. Or not so brown as I forgot the bread crumbs.

For the pork chops, I marinated them in a dry rub. The chops are marinated for two hours. The rub is scraped off, the chops dried then sauteéd.  Drying the chops does make them brown nicely. They are finished in the oven for 30 minutes at 325.

The spinach was wonderful, even Mr. Lane liked it. By no means is he to be confused with a spinach fan. The chops were tender, I thought they were oversalted, but Mr. Lane disagreed.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Milk Man Cometh, no more

Gold Spot Dairy, Enid

Gold Spot Dairy from Enid Buzz via Pinterest

The milk bottles were my job, back when children had chores, back when the milk man made deliveries. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do and milk bottles would frequently line the foyer, on their way to the milk box. The milk box was a small metallic insulated box with a lid that sat on our front walk. At the time that the milk bottles became my job, we were living in a true fifities ranch style house, with an overly small porch, one with no room for the milk box. But there was a generous sidewalk. It ambled past the center of the house which had vertical, rough hewn,  “barn” siding on the facade, and culminated past the edge of the porch at a garden containing a concrete fountain putti whom we named Euclid. Though it was the sidewalk, it functioned more as the porch than did the actual porch. Our milk came from Gold Spot Dairy now, having  become a minnow in the merger sea, part of AMPI. Hooked on Houses posted about her latest find this morning on Tara’s etsy shop. The pristine beauty of a high-shouldered milk bottle took me back to that simpler time. How I miss the clink of the milk bottles arriving and departing the porch!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Back tonight

Mrs. Lane will be back cooking tonight! I promise.  We neglected to put the pork into the fridge to defrost. Yes, I own a microwave, unlike the first 8 years we were married. However, I find that it rubberizes food if you aren’t careful. Frankly, most pork today has been leaned down to the point of being rather unappetizing. I swear they are putting those hogs on treadmills!

Tonights challenge: Can Julia Child’s recipes redeem Sam’s Club Pork?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Taking a Bathroom Break

Well, not that kind. Mrs. Lane is experiencing some plumbing issues or rather some installation issues with plumbing. Well, it’s complicated, but it should be cleared up by next week. However, tonight had to be spent shopping for things to address said plumbing issues, so no food report tonight.
Mrs. Lane was very tempted by a few things at the TJMaxx, which is very near the big box home improvement store. While Mr. Lane was busy returning a faucet, he left Mrs. Lane to wander around TJMaxx. A very dangerous proposition. While there, I found an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven but not a brand I recognized, not Le Creuset and not Lodge. I was very tempted. It was priced at the same amount as a Lodge. I put it back. I’ll keep looking until I find what I want and I won’t bring home a compromise. At least for now.
Tomorrow night, the cooking resumes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

This could be a serious problem

Julia did warn me. Read the entire recipe completely before beginning. That way you won’t get a surprise and need something in the middle of a recipe. For the Gratin Dauphinois, Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a Pinch of Garlic, I either didn’t read the directions or glossed over them sufficiently not to notice that I was to “set baking dish over heat and when simmering,…” uh oh. Yeah, the Pampered Chef pan, the only one in my house 2″ deep, won’t take that, at least I won’t take a chance that it will take that. I guess I could have used a cake pan, but I don’t think I want people to wonder why my cakes all taste of garlic. I just can’t trust that the garlic won’t stay with the pan, I know it will probably stay with the baker, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Perhaps I should have made spinach timbales, I have timbales.
Well, we’ll just have to hope that potatoes work out right, and, if not, the the Supremes de Volaille a Brun with Madeira deglazing makes up for it. When Julia wrote the book, the servantless American cook, you know, your mom or grandmom, couldn’t buy skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Frankly, I am not sure she could buy a Whole Chicken Cut Up!Sometime in the seventies, grocers began to stock boneless chicken breasts, sometime in the last ten year, chicken breasts went nuclear power plant. These things weigh as much as an entire fryer / broiler, with bones! But I am too lazy or too tired, or too whatever, but, bottom line, I didn’t bone my own chicken breasts. I bought the nuclear power plant chicken breasts, two pounds of potatoes, 1 lb of Swiss, about 3/4 of a pound too much. All of this, enough to serve 4 people, six with an additional vegetable or desert, for $20. One thing that is striking is how simple the ingredients are and how difficult it is to find them in so many grocery stores. There are 40 or 50 different bags of convenience shredded cheese, but only one block of Swiss cheese and we nearly didn’t find that.
Hurray! The potatoes are perfection! The sauce is delightful. The chicken is well, rubbery. Looks like better chicken quality is in order.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

To make up for the leftover Chicken,…

Le Creuset

Le Creuset


On Sunday, Mr. Lane and I went to see Julie & Julia, 2nd time for me and 1st time for him. I found that I wanted even more of Julia. Since we decided to go to the movies at the last minute, we shared some leftovers, I gave him my leftover Chicken Marsala, from a local restaurant, while I ate two slightly warmed up eggrolls. Both suffered in the reheating as we did in the re-eating.
For tonight, I promised him something that wouldn’t give him heartburn for hours and hours.
Lodge

Lodge

My intention was to make a breast of chicken with mushrooms and vermouth. However, I discovered that Julia’s recipes for Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons required a piece of equipment I don’t own. For roughly the cost of half a car payment, I could own a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Although I am certain that it would be worth the price, with two college tuitions to pay, instead I will consider the Lodge enameled Dutch Oven. At under $70, it is worth a try!
In any case, I couldn’t get either one by tonight’s dinner, so that was that!
How hard could this be? Some cut of meat, near chicken, some mushrooms some cream? Basic! Has to be there.
Escalopes de Veau a la creme, Escalopes de Veau a la creme, Escalopes de Veau a la creme!!! Sorry, I’m excited, I had no desire to wait an hour and a half to Rotisserie an entire Chicken, search Walmarts from the Capital of the Free World to Paducah for a Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven in which to cook the Suprêmes. So I am stuck until I find the classic, Veal, Cream, Mushrooms a meal on which I cut my gourmet teeth. That and egg yolk!

Now, the hardest part of this recipe, since I live near the Capital of the Free World and no longer in the Heartland, is finding Veal. Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods, is morally opposed. So that’s out. Safeway and Giant are better shots for it, but Monkey County has more rules about selling wine than a preacher on Sunday. I should know, my grandaddy was one. Since we need wine, particularly a White Cote de Rhone or White Graves, we stop at Shoppers. They have one of the best wine selections in our area. Unfortunately, the Veal was disappointing, but I could deal. No, I don’t recommend making Escalopes de Veau from a Veal Shoulder Steak, but it will do in a pinch.
Armed with Mint, rather scraggly, if organic, mint, handpicked mushrooms, they looked better than the pre-sliced I usually buy, frozen peas, sorry! no fresh, and replacement shallot, you don’t want to know, we headed home to fricasee the kitchen. Oh, yes! A Cote du Rhone, should I say, the Cote du Rhone? There was only one. But it was valiant!

One thing I always try to do when cooking a complicated entree, is to have a simple side or two. Steamed rice, Mr. Lane is a Louisiana heritaged steamed rice expert, so that is his province. Hence, the frozen, yes frozen, peas for Petits Pois Frais à l’Anglaise. You know it isn’t June and peas are not technically in season. They were wonderful, they would have been even better if I hadn’t left the sugar on the counter and actually put it in the peas. But, by golly, I did add the mint.
One other thing, keep the mushrooms moving around and the heat high, they will brown. No need to arrange them like a Matisse painting.

Bon Appétit! And, my apologies, wordpress and images, not so good together.

 

 

Chotes du Rhone
Chotes du Rhone
Escallopes de Veau a la creme

Escallopes de Veau a la creme

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bon Appétit!

Finally! Mrs. Sloan has been to see Julie & Julia. So many movie reviewers have complained that they wished that Julie would just get out of the way and make way for more Julia. I liked seeing how the blog came about and her struggles with Cordon Bleu cooking every night. I do have to say while I enjoyed the Julie moments, though some seemed to drag a tad, the Julia moments flew by and I wished for more of them.
For the most part I was struck by this thought, Julia was a cook, no, a chef, who had to write . Julie was a writer who had to cook.
My favorite moments were all Julia, chopping onions, greeting her sister, meeting Simone, Simca, Beck. Even the tragic moments of Julia’s life resonated with me. Though I can sympathize with Julie. Being low on the totem pole, again, since I put my family ahead of my career for years, Frankly, I don’t believe that I would attempt to take on a year of cooking from Mastering the Art, a tome I have owned for nearly as long as Julie has been alive.
The Republican bashing bothered me, too. It was specious. A Republican would have fired you? Really? Most places of employment have a “Personal Day”, regardless of person political conviction. I understand her political views are her views, but the bashing in the movie didn’t tell me that these were Julie Powell’s views, they were more presented as sport. Her blog says she is “terrified of everything [Republicans] stand for”. To me, Repubicans stand for not snuffing out an innocent’s life just because they don’t have a voice, and secondly, fiscal responsibility. By the way, part of history, the Kennedy’s supported and worked with McCarthy, Yikes! I didn’t know this when I once considered myself a Kennedy Democrat.
I am off my soap box now, this isn’t a political opinion blog and I will truly try not to ever mention politics again, and back to waxing poetic about food! Yes, the FOOD. Whatever you do, don’t go to the movie hungry! The food is tantalizing. Although it is the focus of the movie, it doesn’t eclipse the events in Julia’s life. I would have liked to have seen much more of Julia and her food. But what we did see inspired us to cook at home that evening. Judiciously, I post-it marked the pages of the recipes so that I could quickly flip back and forth as everything was going at once! Our menu was Steak au Poivre, Haricots Verts à la Maître de l’Hôtel and Pommes de Terre Sautées.  The one thing I resorted to was frozen Haricots Verts and yes, they suffered.  We also had a problem with the sauce for the Steak au Poivre. As Julia has always said, you are alone in the kitchen, no one will know, so we had to resort to cornstarch to thicken the sauce. You can see that the sauce is separating a bit in the boat. The sauce boat was heated, by the way.  The taste was still superb, but I will have to work on this one a bit. Also, as we couldn’t find new potatoes and only had the larger red potatoes, they were cut in half mid way through the cooking to allow them to finish cooking  at the same time as the steak and beans. This made them impossible to roll around tp the other sides to allow them to brown properly when the pan was shaken.  I think, if this happens again, and I expect it will, that I will cut them first, then shape them a bit to give them a rounded shape.
I encourage you to visit The Julia Child page on PBS for more of Julia!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized