Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Porcine Dalliances





Last night Hockeyman and I took another stab at pork loin roast. After some argument (I was into a recipe from the Chez Panisse cookbook. He wanted something spicier) , we settled on Country Style Pork Ribs with Chipotle, Roasted Tomatoes, and Red Peppers, from Molly Stevens' All About Braising.

We had neither the ribs nor the tortillas the recipe seemed to call out for. We substituted our pork loin roast to excellent effect, then decided to make the simple tortilla recipe in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Until about a year ago Hockeyman could cobble together only rudimentary meals. Early in our courtship he made me pasta with tomato sauce. It was very good, but he prepared it only that once. Afterward I became chief cook. I liked cooking, and was better at it. He, in turn, was, and is, much better at balancing the checkbook and mananging our money. He's also my personal computer tech--he set up this entire blog and ensures the links work smoothly.

Then he announced that he wanted to learn more about cooking. I was game, and set him up at the kitchen table with my largest cutting board and beloved chef's knife.

Here, I'd say, chop this.

How big? how small? How many?

His questions were all good, and all puzzling. I chopped garlic and onions without thinking, throwing them heedlessly into the pot.

How much salt? Why?

Some.

How much is some?

Enough.

We split tasks: he usually handled the vegetables while I took on the meat. I moved faster than he, and often found myself waiting, the roast browned, while he minced the last garlic clove into microscopic bits. Dishes that normally took me thirty minutes of prep stretched into forty-five minutes or longer. Meaning the final dish came to the table later. We had a few nine o'clock Sunday dinners before I got the hang of cooking with him.

Our cooking styles are analogus to our personalities. Hockeyman is the more sanguine one, calmer, more inclined to think a point through before speaking. I am quick to move, to think, to act. Cooking is no exception. I don't think about working quickly; I just do.

Now, though, when cooking with my husband, I have learned to move slowly. I stop to give instruction, to explain about gluten formation or why browning is a good idea. I am still stymied at times by physical experience. How do you explain why the tortilla dough needs more water, or when it's been sufficiently kneaded?

Feel that, I say. Taste this.

We bought him a chef's knife, a ten inch Wusthof. Most Sundays find us in the kitchen together. We tend toward braised dishes like the pork roast. We've prepared Zuni Roast Chicken several times. I am far more interested in cooking with him than preparing an elaborate meal a la Gourmet magazine, with its fancy photo shoots of beautiful people at table--so like the Williams Sonoma Catalogue in their efforts to sell the perfect entertainment experience. With Hockeyman, I can drink a beer and wear old clothes and not worry if something isn't perfect. And I don't need to pull out the wine charms.

Country Style Pork Ribs Braised with Chipotle, Roasted Tomaotes, and Red peppers can be found on page 367 of All About Braising.

The tortilla recipe we used can be found on page 653 of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.



Kitty approved.

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