Monday, October 29, 2007
Blue Plate Special
The mistress of Not Eating Out NY has laid down a challenge for the ugliest, most delicious food. The idea is that home cooks shouldn’t worry too much about the presentation of the food; cf. all those pretty, oft architectural, layouts in fancy restaurants. You know, after the celebrity chief's lackey drops the meat on the floor and… o never mind, you don’t want to know. It’s about the substance, not the image. (Hmmm, sounds like this NEONY is a Canadian.) Since her blog, and the project she is documenting, is so worthy -- and, let us admit, since she’s such a looker (boyfriend-schmoyfriend!) -- I am partaking. Anyway, I’ve wanted to make this for a while. Five others over for Sunday supper, so when better? Now, this may be more conceptually scary than photographically so, but check it out: pork braised in milk: Talk about traif! I got this from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Classical Cooking. Brown meat, add milk. That’s pretty much it, plus salt and pepper. I used pork butt (that’s shoulder, for those of you who can't tell your ass from your...) from Flying Pigs Farm. Just over four pounds of it, which was twice Marcella’s two pounds (she claimed you could feed six with that). Whole milk, of course, 2. 5 cups (I added no extra for the doubled amount of meat, eyeballing it as I was). A bit of butter and oil for the browning. I used good ol' Trotsky, my red Dutch oven. After browning, add a cup of milk and let it simmer for an hour, then add another cup, etc. The liquid is cooked down to a nut-brown sauce…. Actually, it never really got too nutty, Senora Hazan, but the meat was done after 2.5 hours. There was a good bit of fat in the pan, which was skimmed off to allow us to savor the cooked milk solids. Served with roasted sweet potatoes and two kinds of green beans with tomato and garlic, as you see here on the blue plate expertly modeled by T (as usual, crappy images by me). And dessert was a strawberry rhubarb cobbler with vanilla custard, which broke, ever so slightly (not that it matters all that much). And the after-dessert, after almost everybody had left, was even sweeter.